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

Today I am unveiling the results of the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Reformed theology in the Pacific Northwest District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. This is the eighth district I have analyzed and I will now move onto the Forrest Lakes District.

“When we use old confessions and catechisms, we help teach our people that their faith is an old faith, shared by millions over many centuries. We also help them realize that other Christians have asked the same questions.”

Kevin DeYoung

 “[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 a small community bible-beleiving, bible-teaching church dedicated to learning by studying the Word of God and loving one another. By believing the Word of God and doing our best to broadcasting the Good News about Jesus Christ, we’ve found a place to worship, serve and be served amongst a fellowship of like-minded people

How Lexington Bible Fellowship describes themselves 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 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 eighth installment. I am now moving on to the ninth  district of the Evangelical Free Church of America.  This project will carry over for two years  and I’ll have my work cut out for me. What I am doing is researching and writing 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 700 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 Pacific Northwest 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. In the Pacific Northwest District there are not many churches affiliated with any of those Neo-Calvinist organizations. But an example is Lexington Bible Fellowship in Kelso, Washington which is 9 Marks.
  •  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 Jeff Sickles Snohomish Evangelical Free Church. This church promotes The Gospel Coalition on its webpage but when you check The Gospel Coalition directory it is not affiliated with that organization.
  • I also examined the recommended resources to see what books, blogs or material the Senior Pastor is reading, consuming or pushing. For example let’s look at Toby Logsdon New Beginnings Church in Lynnwood, Washington. Look at the recommended reading list that this church promotes. John Owen, John MacArthur and John Piper are the give away. The promotion of that 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 Valley Evangelical Free in Cave Junction, Oregon.  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. Last year 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 Pacific Northwest District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp.

 

Washington

  1. The Summit (Enumclaw)
  2. Echo Lake Community Church (Snohomish)
  3. Snohomish Evangelical Free Church (Snohomish) (Reformed)
  4. Mountain Ridge Community Church (Redmond)
  5. Life Fellowship (Kenmore)
  6. New Beginnings Church (Lynnwood) (Reformed)
  7. Redemption Fellowship (Tukwila)
  8. Chinese Grace Evangelical Free Church (Edmonds)
  9. Elim Evangelical Free Church (Puyallup)
  10. Northwest Fellowship (Graham)
  11. Sonrise Evangelical Free Church (Seattle)
  12. United Evangelical Free (Seattle)
  13. Portland Evangelical Free Church (Tacoma)
  14. The Church at Baker View (Bellingham)
  15. Faith Community Church (Tacoma)
  16. Bethel Evangelical Free Church (Vashon)
  17. Harper Evangelical Free Church (Port Orchard)
  18. Central Bible Evangelical Free Church (Tacoma)
  19. Hillside Evangelical Free (Greenbank)
  20. Olympic Evangelical Free Church (Poulsbo)
  21. Yacolt Community Church (Yacolt)
  22. Irondale Evangelical Free Church (Port Hadlock)
  23. The Church at Proebstel (Vancouver)
  24. Charter Oak Community Church (Battle Ground)
  25. Northcrest Community Church (Vancouver
  26. Vista Community Church (Ridgefield)
  27. La Center Evangelical Free (La Center)
  28. Hope Community Church (Olympia)
  29. Central Bible Evangelical Free (Centralia)
  30. Lexington Bible Fellowship (Kelso)(Reformed – 9 Marks)

 

Oregon

  1. Two Rivers Church (Milwaukie)
  2. Bethany Evangelical Free Church (Canby)
  3. United Evangelical Free Church (Klamath Falls) (Reformed)  
  4. North Marion Fellowship (Aurora)
  5. Butteville Community Church (Aurora)
  6. Hope Fellowship Church (Wilsonville)
  7. Faith Evangelical Free Church (Dallas)
  8. River Oaks Community Church (Eugene)*
  9. Emmaus Life Evangelical Free Church (Eugene)
  10. Servants Fellowship Evangelical Free (Corvallis)
  11. New Hope Church (Roseburg)
  12. Valley Evangelical Free (Cave Junction)*

 

Alaska

  1. Trailside Community Church (Anchorage)

 

Percentages of the Pacific Northwest District Which are Reformed

There are a total of 43  churches in the Pacific Northwest District. That breaks down into 1 for Alaska, 30 for Western Washington and 12 for Oregon. In Washington alone there are 3 Neo-Calvinist/Reformed churches. In Oregon there is 1 as of this writing. As of this writing 11% of the Pacific Northwest District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. 10% of Western Washington is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. The remainder of the Evangelical Free Churches in the state of Washington are in the Northern Mountain District. That is on the schedule to be done in about 3 months time. Right now I don’t believe there are any Evangelical Free/Acts 29 churches in this district. What does surprise me is that I honestly went into this expecting to see more churches affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. This actually creates a baseline to monitor and follow what happens with Neo-Calvinist theology in this district.

 

Churches that are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the Pacific Northwest District

  1. United Evangelical Free Church (Klamath Falls) (Reformed)  
  2. Snohomish Evangelical Free Church (Snohomish) (Reformed)
  3. New Beginnings Church (Lynnwood) (Reformed)
  4. Lexington Bible Fellowship (Kelso)(Reformed – 9 Marks)

One thought on “Analyzing the Growth of Neo-Calvinism/Reformed Theology in the Evangelical Free Church of America: Pacific Northwest District

  1. Wonderingeagle, Have you completed and if so would you direct me to your comparison of Neo-Calvinism to Traditional Calvinism. I can hardly keep up with all the labels and unorganized groupings of churches in America today. Also in reading your article, I failed to see a doctrinal point against neo-calvinists, though the high speed train illustration pointed to a hypocrisy. Stay faithful to the fight and don’t forget grace!

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