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Raul Ries, 53, is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs and President of Somebody Loves You Ministries.
Calvary Chapel West Covina grew out of Raul's home fellowship as well as his Kung-Fu studio and was soon meeting weekly at an old converted Safeway store. Calvary Chapel Golden Springs (as it is now called) draws between 10,000 - 12,000 in attendance weekly.
Somebody Loves You Ministries, directed by Raul Ries, encompasses Somebody Loves You Radio as well as crusade evangelism, concert outreaches, and film/video production. (http://www.calvarygs.org/calvary/index.htm, hard copy on file)
Raul Ries is among the many false teachers produced by the ungodly Calvary Chapel movement headed by Chuck Smith, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA (see our report on Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel). It is evident from the quote above, as well as in Mr. Ries' taped sermons (e.g. tape # 5/41-12; 5/41-09), and information posted on his web site (www.calvarygs.org), that he is a product of the ungodly Calvary Chapel movement; and that he is in agreement with it. He sells Smith's books (e.g. The Philosophy of the Ministry of Calvary Chapel, by Chuck Smith) and speaks highly of Mr. Smith, Greg Laurie, and even Kathran Kulman (e.g. tape # 5/41-09). In fact, his endorsement of Kathran Kulman's ministry, calling her "a very godly woman" (tape # sly00-02) reveals that Mr. Ries is undiscerning (Romans 1:31) and rejects 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-14, because Kulman did not practice these verses but rejected them in her "ministry." Kulman was a false teacher on this account alone. Yet, Ries has no such discernment (Romans 1:31; 2 John 9).
For a sampling of some of Mr. Ries' false doctrine, note the following.
[See also our report on Identifying False Teachers, under IV. Lewdness.]
A. Practical Lewdness
Jude 4 says that ungodly men (Jude 14-15) turn the grace of our God into lewdness. Ries is ungodly and this is exactly what he does.
Who are the carnal people? He'll tell you in a moment. The carnal people have been born again of the Holy Spirit. And it is possible to be a Christian and to be carnal. Because, to be spiritual is what? Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of my life. Where carnal person is Jesus Christ is what? Savior of my life, but not Lord of my life. That's the difference. You see. Where you say Jesus Christ is Lord of my life, it means He has full control of my whole life. I am in total submission to Him. I don't argue with Him. Whatever He says, "Yes sir, whatever you wanna do I'll do.
But a carnal person is person that doesn't pray, doesn't read, doesn't study. And what's happened from the day one that they accepted Christ they have never ever grown in their relationship with God. Carnal people do not mature as God says to be matured. (tape # 2/46-03, bold emphasis added)
Shortly thereafter, speaking to such a carnal person Ries adds, "The word of God has no interest to you."
Although on other occasions (such as tapes # 2/47-04, Pt.2; & # 2/47-09), Ries correctly preaches that the unrighteous are not in a saved state (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9), here, in hypocrisy, he teaches the unrighteous are saved. Anyone who may be described as "Christ is not Lord of my life" is unrighteous, rebellious, and still lost in their sin (Matthew 7:21), and such a one is not "born again," as Ries asserts (1 John 3:9). Anyone who "doesn't pray, doesn't read, doesn't study," and has no interest in the Word of God, doesn't love the Truth (John 14:6, 21, 23-24). Whoever doesn't love Christ (the truth, John 14:6) is cursed (1 Corinthians 16:22) and on their way to hell (Revelation 21:8).
In the above quote, Ries describes a carnal person as born again, yet Jesus Christ is not Lord of their life. This is completely against Romans 10:9-10.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Verse 10 states, "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." The result of the confession is salvation. And what is the confession? It is "Lord Jesus." There is no salvation for those who do not submit to the authority of Christ. Jesus said,
Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Confession is not just professing, "Lord Jesus." True confession is submission to Christ saying "Lord Jesus" as one calls upon God, not in hypocrisy, but in truth. As Psalm 145:18 states,
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
Ries describes a person as born again (i.e. saved, John 3:3), yet removes the "Lord Jesus" of Romans 10:9-10. Ries says, "The carnal people have been born again of the Holy Spirit." Yet, he adds, "Where carnal person is Jesus Christ is what? Savior of my life, but not Lord of my life." This turns the grace of God into lewdness, and denies the power of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5; see also 1 Peter 1:23-24; 1 John 2:3-5 and our report entitled Identifying False Teachers, IV. Lewdness).
B. Doctrinal Lewdness:
Scripture describes only one way (John 14:6), only one kind of true Christianity (Matthew 7:24-27; John 4:24; Romans 15:5-6; 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 1:8-9; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:3; 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 1 John 2:3-5; 4:6; 2 John 9; Jude 3; etc. see our article, Unity Of The Saints). Ries, like so many others, describes an ecumenical kaleidoscope of Christianity.
And you can go to a Baptist church or a Methodist church or a Presbyterian church, and it's not because they're no longer my brothers in the Lord. They're brothers in the Lord. They're Christians. If they have been born again of the Holy Spirit, hey, we're still same (sic) part of the body of Christ and we are brothers and sisters in the Lord; even though we have different ministries, different gifts, different activities. We're all one in Jesus Christ. (tape # 2/46-12)
What he deceitfully failed to mention is that they are different in doctrine, and that is why denominations exist. It is because these different churches have distinguished themselves from others based upon their different views on what the Bible teaches.
In another message, commenting on 1 Corinthians 1:12 Ries states,
Hey this is where denominationalists started. It's dumb. We're all in the body of Jesus Christ, Baptist, Presbyterian, whatever, we are all one in Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus Christ and His blood and His resurrection and His death, hey we're all one in Christ. (tape # 2/46-02)
What Ries is describing here is the very thing Jesus warned about when He said,
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Ries' "Christianity" is broad. It encompasses a wide variety of conflicting doctrinal beliefs. Contrary to this, Jesus said,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
It is only through the truth that anyone gets to the Father. Lies and false doctrine lead to hell (2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 22:15). By propagating that Christians can maintain differing views on what the Bible teaches, Ries ignores this serious reality and teaches a broad way (Matthew 7:13-14) that encourages people not to "receive the love of the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:10; see also Psalm 119:104, 128). Salvation only comes to people through "belief in the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13), all of it (Matthew 4:4; see also our article Where Do We Stand under "VIII. The Fundamentals").
In another statement, Ries says "we can actually disagree agreeably" (emphasis added) when it comes to what the Bible teaches. This is a concept nowhere taught in the Word, but actually fought against (e.g. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Speaking of 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ries states,
Notice here no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Hey, you can be, you know, you can believe in, ah, maybe you're not a pre-rapture. You can be a mid-rapture or, you know, post-rapture person which means you don't believe that Jesus Christ will come the first 7 years, but He'll come in the middle or He'll come at the end. Now, we can actually disagree agreeably. But we don't go around trying to proclaim our doctrine to convince people and to turn them to ourselves so that you're wrong and I'm right. You see, that causes division. Notice what he said, "Joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (tape # 2/46-02)
This is amazing! Ries is teaching here the very opposite of what the passage says! Amos 3:3 says,
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
In order to have the same mind and same judgment, believers need to be in agreement about what the Bible teaches, that they "may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6). But, since Ries and those who follow him do not have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17), they have to create a man-made ecumenical unity that is devoid of the Spirit (as in Jude 19).
Either the Bible teaches a pre, mid, or post-rapture or it doesn't. If it does, then it should be contended over (Jude 3), because the Spirit of Truth guides into all truth (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27). If it doesn't, it should not be contended over (2 Timothy 2:23), and anyone who contends over such an issue sins (Titus 3:9-11). By the way, Scripture does address the timing of the "rapture" (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
II. Rejection Of Election
Scripture clearly teaches that God has chosen certain individuals to be saved from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:3-5 says,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (see also 2 Timothy 1:9)
This election has nothing to do with what the individual may or may not do, as Romans 9:11-13 exemplifies.
(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
The Lord has indeed created vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (Romans 9:21-23) for eternal destruction and eternal salvation, as Proverbs 16:4 says,
The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
Ries rejects the Word of God. On tape # 5/41-16 Ries says,
We're not puppets. You talk [to] a person that is a Calvinist, five point Calvinist, and they'll tell yah, "Well, you know what? There's only [a] few people that are saved and that's only by election. God elects who He's gonna save and that's it." I don't believe that. I believe that we have a will. We have a choice to make. We can receive or we can reject. The gospel is not for the few. It's for everybody. God is not willing that any should perish [but] that all should come to repentance. You see. The gospel's for everyone. The gospel's never forced upon anybody. (bold emphasis added)
Ries clearly states here that he does not believe salvation is by election. Yet, this is exactly how God describes salvation (i.e. by election, see also Isaiah 65:22; Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:33; 11:5, 7; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2; 5:13). Also, in his denial of election, Ries says, "I believe that we have a will." Yet God says, in the context of election,
So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. (Romans 9:16)
When it comes to Biblical salvation in election, God says it is not of him who wills (for more explanation, see our report entitled Calvinism & Arminianism, Neither Are In The Truth). Yet, at the same time, Scripture does teach men make choices (Joshua 24:22; Psalm 119:30; Luke 10:42; Judges 5:8; 10:14; Proverbs 1:29; Isaiah 7:15-16; 66:3). Yet, it also teaches that "It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23), and "A man's steps are of the Lord" (Proverbs 20:24). "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).
Moreover, in the quote above, Ries says, "The gospel is never forced upon anybody" (emphasis added). Paul, by both doctrine and experience, knew otherwise (Acts 9:3-6; 22:6-10; 26:13-18; Ephesians 2:1-5).
In another message, Ries again denies the teaching of Scripture.
Now we know that there's a lot of people that do not receive Christ by faith and they have no salvation. And at the same time, many people believe that, well you know, God only chooses certain people. No. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. (tape # 2/47-05)
Truly, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). Yet, it is also true that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14; see also Matthew 20:16 NKJV). Ries says "No." God says, "Yes" (Proverbs 16:4; see also 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 17:14).
Commenting on 2 Corinthians 5:10, Ries says,
What is he talking about. Salvation? No. No salvation here. (tape # 2/47-04)
In other words, Ries assures his listeners that 2 Corinthians 5:10 does not concern any judgment on the salvation of people's souls. Yet, this is exactly the issue at hand (see John 5:28-29; Romans 2:6-10; Galatians 6:7-8). And Paul, knowing that salvation is very much the concern says in the next verse,
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. (2 Corinthians 5:11)
He says, "Knowing this therefore, the terror of the Lord" - that's a terrible word - terror - it's the word fear, literally.
And then shortly thereafter he describes this fear saying,
It is not fear where you're trembling or you're trying to hide from God. No. It's a reverence. It's a fear where you respect God in what you do.
Ries lies when he says, "It is not fear where you're trembling" (emphasis added). It is fear where you're trembling (see 1 Chronicles 16:30; Ezra 10:3; Job 37:1; Psalm 2:11; 99:1; 114:7; 119:120; Isaiah 66:2, 5; Hosea 13:1; Mark 5:33; Luke 8:47; Acts 9:6; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 6:5; Hebrews 12:21). Indeed, godly fear includes reverence (Hebrews 12:28) and not hiding from God, but it does include trembling and even "terror" (Job 23:16; Isaiah 8:13). For those who follow Ries' deceit, the words of Jeremiah 5:21-22 are apropos.
"Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not: Do you not fear Me?" says the Lord. "Will you not tremble at My presence, . . . ?" (Jeremiah 5:21-22)
No they won't. As long as they take heed to the likes of Raul Ries, they are more perverted than demons on this account. For even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19). Ries and those who follow him do not tremble, because they do not know God. If they knew and understood the Almighty, they would tremble before Him. Ries clearly does not know Him, because he also teaches,
IV. "God Never Ever Ever Sends Anyone To Hell"
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God never ever ever sends anyone to Hell because of His love. If you go to hell it is by your own choice you make, your own choice. (tape # sly00-02)
Indeed, people choose to do evil (Isaiah 66:3) and they love death (Proverbs 8:36) and seek death (Proverbs 21:6); and "he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death" (Proverbs 11:19); and they bring these things upon themselves (e.g. Jeremiah 2:17). But, God still is the One Who sends people to Hell, as Jesus warned,
Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:5; see also Matthew 10:28; 24:50-51; 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15; and our articles, Hell, and How Can A God Of Love Send People To Hell?)