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

These are the results of the Midwest District in analyzing the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Reformed theology. This is the seventh district in the EFCA and I will now be moving onto another district. My gut tells me that when I complete this project I will be writing about the theological hijacking of a denomination. Does Highland Park Evangelical Free in Columbus, Nebraska foreshadow the future of the EFCA 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

“We are church committed to “exalting Jesus Christ, loving one another, and giving ourselves away” for the glory of God. We have been blessed with a congregation just under 500 and with many opportunities for discipleship in the local church, community, and beyond.”

How Highland Park Evangelical Free describes itself on the 9 Marks Church Search.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 NIV

Before I get into this post which is the second of two posts 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 going to undertake a massive project of which today’s post is the seventh installment. I am now moving on to the eighth district of the Evangelical Free Church of America.  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 1,500 churches throughout the United States. To date I have studied over 650 EFCA churches in 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 Midwest District of the Evangelical Free Church of America.

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 on the list. Here are some examples to make my point. First Evangelical Free Church of Wichita, Kansas which is led by Josh Black are members both of The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks. Christ Community Church which has several locations in Kansas are members of The Gospel Coalition. This includes the Olathe location which is led by Nathan Miller, Leawood which is led by Andrew Jones, and the Shawnee Mission which is led by Tim Spanburg. While The Gospel Coalition Church Directory does not have the Downtown, or Brookside locations on there, I believe there has to be a mistake. Especially if Tom Nelson is on the council of The Gospel Coalition. But I included them because of Tom Nelson. For my last example I will use Evangelical Free Church in Minden, Nebraska which is led by Tom Barnes and a part of The Gospel Coalition.
  • Other churches that are reformed but not affiliated with a Neo-Calvinist network are included. In these situations I examined the doctrinal statement or website to see what they said and came to the conclusion they are reformed.  An example of this is Moundridge Evangelical Free Church in Moundridge, Kansas. They are neither a member of The Gospel Coalition or 9 Marks, and yet when you look at their Facebook page you see all the identifiers of a Neo-Calvinist outfit. The church is pushing Tim Challies, Desiring God and similar minded material.
  • I also examined the recommended resources to see what books, blogs or material the Senior Pastor is reading, consuming or pushing. For example look at the books and the pastor’s resources that Russ Gaar at Grant Evangelical Free at Grant, Nebraska is promoting. He’s promoting Jonathan Edwards which shows his Neo-Puritan leanings, and then in his pastor’s resource page he is promoting The Gospel Coalition, Denny Burk and more. I also want to note that Grant Evangelical Free is not a member of The Gospel Coalition. Yet when I looked at the material that is how this church made the list of being Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. 
  • 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. For example there are a couple of churches that did not have doctrine statements and explained what they believed.
  • Finally there were a couple of churches where I could not find the website. An example of this is Albion Evangelical Free Church in Albion, Nebraska.  In those situations I put an asterisk next to that church name.

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 wonderingeagle261@gmail.com and I will correct it.  And for those of you who want to know where I stand on Calvinist theology this is it.  For the record I am neither Arminian nor Reformed, I am somewhere in the middle.  That said, 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 called9 Marks : What is it? How Mark Dever Undermined it and Made it Absolutely Worthless.” However, 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. Reformed theology makes the problem of evil worse. Recently I wrote the following post in which you can read how the process goes.  “How Reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism Makes the Problem of Evil Worse: John Piper, Adam Lanza and a Massacre in Connecticut.”  Neo-Calvinism/Reformed theology 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. Recently I wrote a post about an Evangelical Free Church in California that is Calvinist that believed in sovereignty, until the State of California wanted to build a high speed railroad through the front door. In that post called, “The Church of the Canyons, The California High Speed Rail Project and my Question to Senior Pastor Bob Childress: Is the Lord Still Sovereign?” I also ask the question if Matt Chandler believes in the Lord’s sovereignty, or if he sinned when he sought medical treatment for his brain tumor? If the Lord ordains all things, that would include medical conditions as well. And no I am not trying to create shock value or be a troll, my father dealt with a brain tumor in his life. Its a hard and difficult question to ask.  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 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 Midwest District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp.

 

Kansas

  1. Landmark Church (Belleville)
  2. Clearwater Evangelical Free (Clearwater)
  3. Crosswinds Community Church (Derby)
  4. Beacon Community Church (Goddard)
  5. Harvest Evangelical Free Church (Goodland)
  6. Grace Community Church (Great Bend) (Reformed –  TGC) 
  7. Calvary Bible Evangelical Free (Jewell)
  8. Bridge of Hope Community Church (Kansas City, Kansas)
  9. Christ Community Church (Lawrence) (Reformed – TGC)
  10. Rock of Ages Chapel (Leavenworth)
  11. Christ Community Evangelical Free (Leawood) (Reformed – TGC)
  12. Redemption Church (Maize)
  13. First Evangelical Free Church (Manhattan)
  14. Valley Community Church (Marquette)
  15. Moundridge Evangelical Free Church (Moundridge) (Reformed)
  16. Neal Evangelical Free (Neal)
  17. River Point Church (Newtown)
  18. Christ Community Evangelical Free Church (Olathe) (Reformed –  TGC)
  19. Living Water Evangelical Free Church (Oskaloosa)
  20. Grace Fellowship (Overland Park)
  21. Twin Oakes Church (Sabetha)
  22. Christ Community Evangelical Free (Shawnee) (Reformed – TGC)
  23. Smith Center Evangelical Free (Smith Center)
  24. Grace Bible Church (Topeka)
  25. Heritage Evangelical Free Church (Udall)
  26. Centre Point Church (Whitewater)
  27. East Evangelical Free Church (Wichita)
  28. First Evangelical Free Church (Wichita) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)
  29. Iglesia Evangelica Libre El Faro (Wichita)*
  30. Iglesia Evangelica Libra Genesis (Wichita)
  31. Hilltop Urban Church (Wichita
  32. West Evangelical Free Church (Wichita)
  33. The Bridge  (Wichita)
  34. Cornerstone Bible Church of Winfield (Winfield)

Nebraska

  1. Ainsworth Evangelical Free Church (Ainsworth)
  2. Albion Evangelical Free Church (Albion)*
  3. Alliance Evangelical Free Church (Alliance) (Reformed)
  4. Lakeside Fellowship (Alma)
  5. River Valley Evangelical Free (Arapahoe)
  6. Riverview Community Church (Ashland)
  7. Aurora Evangelical Free (Aurora)
  8. Keene Evangelical Free (Axtell)
  9. Twin Valley Church (Bellevue)
  10. Broken Bow Evangelical Free Church (Broken Bow)
  11. Heartland Evangelical Free Church (Central City) (Reformed)
  12. Highland Park Evangelical Free Church (Columbus) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  13. Evangelical Free Church (Concord)
  14. Cornerstone Community Church (Fairbury)
  15. Evangelical Free Church of Firth (Firth) (Reformed)
  16. Christian Fellowship Evangelical Free Church (Franklin)
  17. Freemont Evangelical Free Church (Freemont) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  18. Emmaus Evangelical Free Church (Funk)
  19. Geneva Evangelical Free Church (Geneva)
  20. Gothenburg Evangelical Free Church (Gothenburg)
  21. Evangelical Free Church (Grand Island)
  22. Evangelical Free Church (Grant) (Reformed) 
  23. Hastings Evangelical Free Church (Hastings)
  24. Holcomb Evangelical Free Church (Holdrege)
  25. Trinity Evangelical Free Church (Holdrege)
  26. Evangelical Free Church (Kearney)
  27. Hope Evangelical Free (Kearney)
  28. Kimball Evangelical Free (Kimball) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  29. Camino de Vida (Lexington)*
  30. Lexington Evangelical Free (Lexington)
  31. First Evangelical Free (Lincoln)
  32. Mosaic (Lincoln)
  33. Oak Lane Evangelical Free (Lincoln)
  34. Loomis Evangelical Free Church (Loomis)
  35. Westmark Evangelical Free Church (Loomis)
  36. Louisville Evangelical Free Church (Louisville)
  37. Mamre Evangelical Free Church (Marquette)
  38. McCook Evangelical Free Church (McCook)
  39. Evangelical Free Church (Minden) (Reformed – TGC)
  40. Mitchell Evangelical Free Church (Mitchell)
  41. Calvary Community Church (Nebraska City)
  42. Iglesia Evangelica Libre Fe Eficaz (Nebraska City)
  43. Rosehill Evangelical Free Church (Newman Grove)
  44. Victory Road Evangelical Free Church (Norfolk)
  45. Bethel Evangelical Free (North Platte)
  46. Evangelical Free Church of Oakland (Oakland)(Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  47. New Hope (Ogallala)
  48. Brookside Church (Omaha) (Reformed – TGC)
  49. Hope Evangelical Free (Omaha)
  50. Orchard Evangelical Free (Orchard)*
  51. Evangelical Free Church (Ord)*
  52. Oxford Evangelical Free Church (Oxford)
  53. Monroe Evangelical Free Church (Philips)
  54. Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church (Pleasanton)
  55. Evangelical Free (Polk)*
  56. Ponca Evangelical Free (Ponca)
  57. Finding Life Church (Ralston)
  58. Sargent Evangelical Free (Sargent)
  59. Hillcrest Evangelical Free (Seward)
  60. Evangelical Free Church (Sidney) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  61. Living Water (Sioux City)
  62. Stanton Evangelical Free (Stanton City) (Reformed)
  63. Stromsburg Evangelical Free (Stromsburg)
  64. Grace Community Evangelical Free (Superior)*
  65. Second Wind (Valentine)*
  66. Calvary Bible Evangelical Free (Wayne)
  67. Wilcox Community Church (Wilcox)
  68. York Evangelical Free (York)

Kansas City Metropolitan Area

  1. Vox Dei Community (Belton, Missouri)
  2. Cornerstone Community Church (Harrisonville, Missouri)
  3. Grace Fellowship (Kansas City, Missouri)
  4. Beggar’s Table (Kansas City, Missouri)

Percentages of the Midwest District Which are Reformed

There are a total of 106 churches in the Midwest District. That breaks down into 4 for the Kansas City metropolitan area, 34 for Kansas and 68 for Nebraska. In Kansas alone there are 7 Neo-Calvinist/Reformed churches. That means that 21% of the EFCA in Kansas are Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. In Nebraska there are 11 Neo-Calvinist/Reformed churches. That means that 16% of the EFCA in Nebraska are Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. None of the 4 EFCA churches in Kansas City metropolitan area are Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. The total of the Midwest District when it comes to Neo-Calvinism/Reformed theology is the following: 17% of the district falls in that camp.  I looked through the Acts 29 church locator and there are no EFCA/Acts 29 churches in the Midwest District. What did strike me is that in those Neo-Calvinist/Reformed churches there is a higher presence of 9 Marks than I anticipated. Its higher than the rates of the EFCA Texas – Oklahoma District. I would put in on par with EFCA SE which is led by Glen Schrieber. That has a larger number of 9 Marks churches. In the future I would like to write a post about why its time for the EFCA to return more to its Lutheran roots and heritage.

 

Churches that are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the Midwest District

  1. Grace Community Church (Great Bend) (Reformed –  TGC) 
  2. Christ Community Church (Lawrence) (Reformed – TGC)
  3. Christ Community Evangelical Free (Leawood) (Reformed – TGC)
  4. Moundridge Evangelical Free Church (Moundridge) (Reformed)
  5. Christ Community Evangelical Free Church (Olathe) (Reformed –  TGC)
  6. Christ Community Evangelical Free (Shawnee) (Reformed – TGC)
  7. First Evangelical Free Church (Wichita) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)
  8. Alliance Evangelical Free Church (Alliance) (Reformed)
  9. Heartland Evangelical Free Church (Central City) (Reformed)
  10. Highland Park Evangelical Free Church (Columbus) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  11. Evangelical Free Church of Firth (Firth) (Reformed)
  12. Freemont Evangelical Free Church (Freemont) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  13. Kimball Evangelical Free (Kimball) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  14. Evangelical Free Church (Minden) (Reformed – TGC)
  15. Evangelical Free Church of Oakland (Oakland)(Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks)
  16. Brookside Church (Omaha) (Reformed – TGC)
  17. Evangelical Free Church (Sidney) (Reformed – 9 Marks)
  18. Stanton Evangelical Free (Stanton City) (Reformed)

 

 

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

  1. Pingback: Why Do Neo-Calvinists have a Problem with Phillip Yancey? Plus Mike Hellum of Westmark Evangelical Free in Loomis, Nebraska Promotes “Disappointment with God.” | Wondering Eagle

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