Analyzing the Growth of Reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism in the Evangelical Free Church of America: The Southeast District

Today I am unveiling the results of the Southeast District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. This is the second district I have analyzed and with this I am moving on to the third district. My gut feeling tells me at the end of the year that I will be writing about the theologically hijacking of a denomination.

“As I understand God’s Word, if Jesus truly died for the sins of all mankind, if even one of those persons ends up in hell, then that would make a mockery of the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning blood on Calvary’s cross,” 

Al Mohler

“[Neo-Calvinist’s are] a tribe, and they’ve closed ranks. Somehow they’ve formed a mentality that they have to support each other because they are a minority on a crusade. Any criticism hurts the cause. I’ve seen the same thing among feminists and black theologians.”

Roger Olson

“Ironworks Pike Community Church, planted in 1990, is the only Evangelical Free Church in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky; and one of the few churches in a tri-county area that seeks to run its ministry in accordance with the nine marks of a healthy church. In a region overrun by Name It & Claim It Pentecostalism, liberal mainline churches, KJV-Only Baptists, baptismal-regeneration megachurches, and the so-called Churches of Christ, our goal is to serve our Lord by providing a Biblical alternative for needy people.”

How Ironworks Pike Community Church in Georgetown, Kentucky describes itself on 9 Marks

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave  his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 

John 3:16 NLT


Before I get into this post which is the second of two posts today by the way I want to define what is Neo-Calvinism which has a strong Neo-Puritan bent.

  • Neo-Calvinism has authoritarian leadership which has little if any accountability. For example I present issues with Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney as an example.
  • It embraces a complementarianism  structure that is patriarchy centered.
  • Its rooted more in the Old Testament than the New Testament and deals with dominionism issues.
  • Views the church as the final authority and often avoids civil responsibility or accountability. For this example I would present Sovereign Grace and the Acts 29 network in how parts of it functions.
  • Election which is more of a determinism or fatalism.

Brad Sargent has a good list here, plus I also used that Tim Challies post in discussing John Piper. For further reference Roger Olson wrote a good post a while back that I will also link to in today’s post.

Neo-Calvinism in the Evangelical Free Church of America Project at The Wondering Eagle

At The Wondering Eagle I am undertaking a massive project of which today’s post is the second installment. This project will carry over for at least a year and I’ll have my work cut out for me. What I am doing is research and write about each district in the Evangelical Free Church of America.  To the very best of my ability I am going to find out which churches are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist and get some numbers to calculate the growth of Reformed Theology throughout the denomination. There are 17 districts and over 1,300 churches throughout the United States. At the end of this project I will use the numbers I have created and write a final post. Today I am unveiling the results from the second district – The Southeast District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Unless I am mistaken but numbers are fluid…there are 83 churches in the Southeast District.

I will unveil my numbers at the bottom of this post but to give you some understanding let me explain how I arrived at my numbers, or how I determined the baseline.

  • If a church is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29 or 9 Marks it is included in the list. A couple of examples are Riverside Community Church in Columbia, South Carolina which is affiliated with Acts 29. Crossroads Community Church which is in Naples, Florida is headed up by Michael Bannon is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Another example is Faith Community Church in Leesburg, Florida which is headed up by Jason Kelly and also affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. There are a number of churches affiliated with 9 Marks that I came across, for example City Church in Gainesville, Florida is listed as a 9 Marks church.
  • Other churches that are reformed but not affiliated with a Neo-Calvinist network are included. In these situations I examined the doctrinal statement and website and came to the conclusion they are reformed. An example is Lakeside Community Church in Middleburg, Florida which is led by Craig Bowen.
  • In other situations I examined the recommended resources to see what books either the church or the Senior Pastor is reading, consuming or pushing. For example look at the recommend resources at Grace Bible Church in Kingsport, Tennessee. There you will see a strong push for 9 Marks, The Gospel Coalition and other material but they are not affiliated with 9 Marks at all. In other cases I noticed a church or two that I would state is in the process of being theologically hijacked and will be in the Neo-Calvinist camp in a few years. I will speak about this in great detail in my other post but consider the Evangelical Free in Charlotte, North Carolina. For example look at the Church of Charlotte’s statement on the ESV. Then you find the recommend reading or their personal favorite books of members on the staff. For example consider the Creative Media Pastor Tim Briggs. On his reading list is C.J. Mahaney which deeply influenced him. I do wonder if Tim knows about Mahaney’s “Gospel Centered Blackmail?” If he doesn’t he can read this post that I wrote. I do wonder if the Lord has foreordained all the allegations of criminal activity and child sex abuse cover up which continue to dog  C.J. Mahaney
  • In other situations in examining the website there was not enough information to go on, so I did not include them in the list. If there was reason to doubt, then I did.  Others were extremely basic and didn’t share enough information to make a determination.
  • In some situations I could not find a website to review. The reason for this is that the church has most likely closed. There are exceptions to this as well which one should consider. But let me say the following…I couldn’t find out if The Gathering in Fort Lauderdale, or Northwest Community Church in Jacksonville are open. If I cannot find a church online then expect to find an asterisk next to it.
  • I did not look at any of the churches in Haiti. Instead I focused on mainland churches and looked into the one in Puerto Rico.

One thing I would also like to say, if there is any mistake in the analysis such as a church being listed as reformed when it is not, or when it is and I missed it; well I invite feedback and correction. Just email me at and I will correct it. Also for the record I am neither Arminian nor Reformed, I am somewhere in the middle. The current crop of Neo-Calvinist leaders such as John Piper, C.J. Mahaney Mark Dever and their minions are deeply corrupt and I wouldn’t trust them to feed my goldfish. Also for the record if you want to read the problems with 9 Marks this is one of the most read posts at my blog. It’s called “9 Marks : What is it? How Mark Dever Undermined it and Made it Absolutely Worthless.” Plus there is this post that explains how Neo-Calvinism could be made healthy. That said, there are a couple of reformed people I respect such as Matt Redmond, and Wade Burleson. Having explained all that here is why I reject Reformed Theology. I need to write a long , detailed post on it, but Reformed Theology makes the problem of evil worse. It leads to a corrupt God, and it ultimately makes acts of evil as acts of worship if God foreordains every act, especially as there is no free will. It puts a whole new twist on situations from a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut, to flying a 767 into 1 World Trade on September 11, 2001. It also removes accountability from people especially if the Lord foreordains every act. In short order you have determinism which is all John Piper is about. I’ve written about the problem of evil here and how I found a working answer to it for me. In the process I also thank Pam Palmer and the other Sovereign Grace families who filed a “Gospel Centered Lawsuit” against C.J. Mahaney for teaching me as to how you deal with the problem of evil. Having explained all that below you will find all the churches in the Southeast District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp.



  1. The Living Church (Anniston) (Reformed – TGC)
  2. Shades Valley Community (Homewood)
  3. Hope Church (Madison) (Reformed – TGC)


  1. Sunrise Community (Atlantic Beach) (Reformed –  9 Marks)
  2. Faith Bible (Bradenton)
  3. Northwood Community (Clearwater)
  4. Grace Community (Clermont)
  5. Christ Community (Daytona Beech) (Reformed – TGC,  Acts 29)
  6. Grace Community (Englewood)
  7. Trinity Evangelical Free Church (Eustis)
  8. The Gathering (Fort Lauderdale)*
  9. Fort Meyers Evangelical Free Church (Fort Meyers)
  10. Creekside Community (Gainesville) (Reformed – TGC)
  11. City Church of Gainesville (Gainesville) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  12. Radiant Christian Church (Homestead)
  13. Blessed Hope Community (Jacksonville)*
  14. Eastside Community (Jacksonville) (Reformed)
  15. Northside Community (Jacksonville)*
  16. Lake Morton Church (Lakeland)
  17. Candlewood Community (Land O’ Lakes)
  18. Faith Community (Leesburg) (Reformed – TGC,  9 Marks)
  19. Faith Fellowship (Melbourne)
  20. True Vine Christian Church (Miami)
  21. Lakeside Community (Middleburg) (Reformed)
  22. Iglesia Biblica Gracia y Verdad (Miramar)
  23. Jerusalem Community (Miramar)
  24. Miramar Evangelical Free Church (Miramar) (Reformed)
  25. Crossroads Community (Naples) (Reformed – TGC)
  26. Ministerios Egeiro (Naples)
  27. Beacon Community Evangelical Free (New Port Richey)
  28. Christ Community (Ocala) (Reformed – TGC)
  29. Cast Member Church (Orlando)
  30. Crossway Community (Orlando)
  31. Grace Community (Pensacola)
  32. Restoration Church (Port Orange) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  33. Grace Emmanuel (Port St. Lucie)
  34. Coquina Community (St. Augustine) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  35. Church of the Way (Sebring)
  36. Faith Hill Evangelical Free Church (Spring Hill)
  37. Four Oaks Community Church (Tallahassee)  (Reformed – TGC)
  38. Oakwood Community (Tampa) (Reformed – TGC)
  39. Live Oaks Community (The Villages)
  40. Yankeetown Community Church (Yankeetown)


  1. Open Table Community (Atlanta)
  2. New Heart Bible Fellowship (Augusta) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  3. Stonemill Church Atlanta (Lawrenceville)
  4. Coastal Bible Fellowship (Rincon) (Reformed  – TGC, 9 Marks)
  5. Camden Crossroads Community (St. Mary)
  6. Legacy Community (Stockbridge)


  1. Clear Creek EFC (Fisty)
  2. Ironworks Pike Community (Georgetown) (Reformed  – 9 Marks)
  3. Lotts Creek EFC (Hazard)
  4. Lost Creek EFC (Jackson)
  5. Grace Evangelical Free Church (Louisville)
  6. Faith Community (Prospect) (Reformed – TGC)
  7. Cody Bible (Red Fox)
  8. Mercy Hill Community Church (Simpsonville) (Reformed – TGC)
  9. Calvary Bible (Viper)


  1. Grace Chapel (Covington)
  2. Trinity Church (Covington)
  3. Castle Rock Community (New Orleans)


  1. No EFCA

North Carolina

  1. Christ Community (Andrews)
  2. Trinity Community (Cary)
  3. Church at Charlotte (Charlotte)
  4. Community Bible (High Point)
  5. Community EFC (Monroe)
  6. Christ Community (Pinehurst)

South Carolina

  1. Riverside Community (Columbia) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29, 9 Marks)
  2. Doxa Church (Myrtle Beach) (Reformed – TGC)
  3. Manchester Creek Community Church (Rock Hill) (Reformed – TGC,  9 Marks)


  1. Hope Community Church (Alcoa)
  2. SURF Church (Bristol)
  3. Grace Bible Church (Kingsport)  (Reformed)
  4. Fellowship EFC (Knoxville) (Reformed – TGC)
  5. Vietnamese Christian Fellowship (Knoxville)
  6. Two Rivers Church (Lenoir City)
  7. River Oaks Community (Maryville)  (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  8. Community of Grace (Memphis)
  9. Lakeway Community (Morristown)
  10. Cottage Cove (Nashville)
  11. Faith Bible Fellowship (Oak Ridge)
  12. House of Worship (Oak Ridge)

Puerto Rico

  1. Church Without Walls (Rincon)

Percentages of the Southeast District Which are Reformed

Having laid the foundation there are 27 Reformed/Neo-Calvinist churches in the Southeast District. When I do the numbers that means that 33% of the Southeast District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. Here is the breakdown by state:

  1. Alabama 67% is Neo-Calvinist
  2. Florida 35% is Neo-Calvinist
  3. Georgia 33% is Neo-Calvinist
  4. Kentucky 33% is Neo-Calvinist
  5. Louisiana 0% is Neo-Calvinist
  6. Mississippi has no Evangelical Free Churches
  7. North Carolina 0% is Neo-Calvinist
  8. South Carolina 100% Neo-Calvinist
  9. Tennessee is 25% Neo-Calvinist
  10. Puerto Rico 0% Neo-Calvinist

Neo-Calvinism isn’t an issue right now in Louisiana and North Carolina but I suspect North Carolina is changing. The highest rate of Neo-Calvinism is in South Carolina which is at 100% and in looking at those I believe those are recent church plants as well. South Carolina has the highest percentage of 9 Marks churches as well at 67%. I have listed all the churches from the Southeast District below as I finished this district.


Churches that Are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the SE District

  1. The Living Church (Anniston) (Reformed – TGC)
  2. Hope Church (Madison (Reformed – TGC )
  3. Sunrise Community (Atlantic Beach) (Reformed –  9 Marks)
  4. Christ Community (Daytona Beech) (Reformed – TGC,  Acts 29)
  5. Creekside Community (Gainesville) (Reformed – TGC)
  6. City Church of Gainesville (Gainesville) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  7. Eastside Community (Jacksonville) (Reformed)
  8. Faith Community (Leesburg) (Reformed – TGC,  9 Marks)
  9. Lakeside Community (Middleburg) (Reformed)
  10. Miramar Evangelical Free Church (Miramar) (Reformed)
  11. Crossroads Community (Naples) (Reformed – TGC)
  12. Christ Community (Ocala) (Reformed – TGC)
  13. Restoration Church (Port Orange) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  14. Coquina Community (St. Augustine) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  15. Four Oaks Community Church (Tallahassee)  (Reformed – TGC)
  16. Oakwood Community (Tampa) (Reformed – TGC)
  17. New Heart Bible Fellowship (Augusta) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  18. Coastal Bible Fellowship (Rincon) (Reformed  – TGC, 9 Marks)
  19. Ironworks Pike Community (Georgetown) (Reformed  – 9 Marks)
  20. Faith Community (Prospect) (Reformed – TGC)
  21. Mercy Hill Community Church (Simpsonville) (Reformed – TGC)
  22. Riverside Community (Columbia) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29, 9 Marks)
  23. Doxa Church (Myrtle Beach) (Reformed – TGC)
  24. Manchester Creek Community Church (Rock Hill) (Reformed – TGC,  9 Marks)
  25. Grace Bible Church (Kingsport)  (Reformed)
  26. Fellowship EFC (Knoxville) (Reformed – TGC)
  27. River Oaks Community (Maryville)  (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)

10 thoughts on “Analyzing the Growth of Reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism in the Evangelical Free Church of America: The Southeast District

  1. As someone who was Reformed, I find the movement of any church toward that theology discouraging. You have described Reformed theology fairly and exactly. I hope that people will find your work useful, and maybe some will even be able to stop this from happening to their own church.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment. This has been a lot of work but after what I went through in staying out/ and away from Sovereign Grace in the DC area I don’t want anyone else to endure what I did. The fruit of the spirit should be love, kindness, gentleness, etc.. not pain, false accusations, tears and trauma.

      But in addition to that there are a whole host of other issues which need to be discussed. For example many people reject Christianity over the problem of evil. Neo-Calvinism theology makes the problem of evil worse. Its why whenever there is a bridge collapse, incident or problem John Piper is shooting off his mouth and proclaiming it to be God’s will. Its nothing but determinism. Thanks for your comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know. It’s terrible. I should write some day about why I actually found that idea attractive at one point. When one’s life is in chaos and all around all they see is hypocrisy and lies, yet they still long to believe in God and remain faithful to Him, it is easy to fall for the idea that “it’s all part of God’s great plan.” It briefly gives one hope, that somehow God is truly using all the evil happening around you to make something better. But slowly the truth becomes apparent, people are just using this idea as an excuse for apathy and cruelty and you’ve ended up even more a child of hell than you were beforehand.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neo-Calvinism theology makes the problem of evil worse. Its why whenever there is a bridge collapse, incident or problem John Piper is shooting off his mouth and proclaiming it to be God’s will.

        “In’shal’lah… Eh, Kismet?”


    • As someone who was Reformed, I find the movement of any church toward that theology discouraging.

      Comrade Stalin’s Salami Tactics, except for the Word of Calvin instead of the Word of Marx.


  2. Little side thought here, I can’t and won’t speak to the larger issues of your religions troubles with this particular denomination. But something you said about Reformed theology sparked a thought.

    Neo-Calvinism theology makes the problem of evil worse. Its why whenever there is a bridge collapse, incident or problem John Piper is shooting off his mouth and proclaiming it to be God’s will. Its nothing but determinism.

    How does it make the problem of evil worse? It at least gives sovereignty and control to the deity, as opposed to making the deity powerless to affect fate or determine what happens in the world. If one is going to have an all powerful god in control of existence, the Reformed really own what that sort of god is. Just a little side thought. 🙂


  3. Eagle, I have a question about two churches in the Raleigh area. First, Open Door Church pulls almost all their staff from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. They have also allowed 9 Marks conferences to use their facilities. They have a nouthetic counseling center and “a cover their butt” contract to use the services. They don’t say they are reformed or 9Marks on their site, but they act like it. And they are a church plant. Do you know anything about them?
    Second is The Summit Church in Raleigh and satellite sites whose pastor is JD Grear. I think he is a possible candidate to be next leader of SBC. They also are a plant and have ties to SETS in Wake Forest. Are the also considered neo-Calvinists? Sometimes it seems these churches hide some of their connections. Thanks for any info you have!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David, I think you missed a few 9Marks churches in Kentucky. There is at least one more that I know for a fact is reformed and 9Marks – Living Hope Baptist Church in Hopkinsville. My daughter was invited to attend, and she asked all of the right questions. All of the authors recommended on the church website are reformed, Piper, Platt, and so on. There are more churches that I believe are 9Marks, but I can not verify.

    Like you, I am neither Arminian nor Reformed. I don’t believe that Jesus is an “Indian giver”, nor do I believe he choose only the “elect”. If only the “elect” can be “saved”, why would Jesus have given the “Great Commission”?
    God does not make evil things happen. He gave us free will and he allows the world to run it’s course. Some people choose to be evil, some people make bad decisions and mistakes, and sometimes things just deteriorate. It began with the fall in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve wrongly used their free will.
    My .02. Sorry for the rant. I’m in one of those moods ……


  5. My mistake, I am so caught up in seeing some of my family giving in to this obedience-authority crap, I forgot that you are looking at one particular denomination. The churches I mentioned are Southern Baptist. I grew up Methodist in the south, but moved up north when I was young. We returned 30 years later and the whole church culture had changed in the SB denomination. My poor nieces are very obedience driven. (They are 25-30 years old). At one wedding, the whole service centered around “gospel marriage”, gospel this and gospel that. However, the pastor never once said what the gospel is!!! Thanks for your blog. I followed you on the Deebs site. They are amazing women!! Ann

    Liked by 1 person

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