As I look forward to starting seminary at the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies Seminary (IRBS) this Fall, I have a lot on my plate moving forward as we relocate to a new state, possibly purchase our first home, and get used to life in Texas. But there is something else that has peaked my interest that I look forward to engaging as time permits.
Xavier Ries is the head pastor at Calvary Chapel in Pasadena, CA. He has been a pastor for many years, and is the brother of another well known pastor Raul Ries of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, CA. I have been listening to a sermon series titled “TULIP” by pastor Xavier the last several days that he presented to his church in 2014. This is no surprise to me, as I am used to pastor Xavier’s name from my time in the Calvary Chapel denomination for most of my life. In this series pastor Xavier holds nothing back as he refers to Calvinism, Reformed Theology, the TULIP, and the Doctrines of Grace as man created doctrines (Augustine and Calvin) that are found nowhere in scripture. He refers to the late R.C. Sproul as “Calvinisms Golden Calf,” and even quotes from the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) in part one of his series titled “Total Depravity.”
Besides the things mentioned above, some more reasons why I look forward to responding to this series are:
1) My former connection to the Calvary Chapel movement.
2) Pastor Xavier’s well known status as the primary Calvinistic teacher in the denomination.
3) The many weak arguments (straw man) he makes in the series concerning the TULIP.
4) His lack of knowledge concerning the Doctrines of Grace.
5) His denominations continued stance to not engage anyone outside of their bubble, and refusing to allow the best of both sides to present their arguments with clarity and respect. The last time they attempted to do so it did not turn out so well (here).
6) The lack of explaining thier own traditions entire response to these doctrines, and where they ultimately lead if fully worked out.
7) I consider pastor Xavier my brother in Christ, and would like to find out if he considers me (a Calvinist and Reformed Christian) in the same light?
I don’t intend to attack pastor Xavier in my engagement of his TULIP series. Rather, I intend to show him and others the truths of these important doctrines as recorded in the scriptures. I hope that this could possibly lead to future discussions concerning Calvinism, Arminianism, and the Holy Scriptures. I plan to engage this via YouTube videos, as well as through written articles here on my blog as time permits. If you’re interested in following I would truly appreciate your encouragement, critique, and dialogue throughout this response to this very troubling series.
Pastor Xavier Ries sermon series starts at the link below…