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

Today I am rolling out the results from the latest Evangelical Free Church of America District. This looks at the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Reformed theology for the Forest Lakes District which is primarily Wisconsin and the upper Michigan peninsula it appears.  This has a higher population of Neo-Calvinist theology, and again my gut is telling me that when this project is over, I will be writing about the theological 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

“One of my favorite sites and one I highly recommend. The Gospel Coalition is a group of Christian pastors, authors, and thinkers who are committed to the centrality of the Gospel above all else. Articles and blogs on this website often cover current issues or topics and
most are very balanced and thoughtfully written. Many of the most prominent and well-respected voices in evangelical Christian circles can be found here and the blogs and articles are both informative and relevant.” 

Lake Wisconsin Evangelical Free promoting The Gospel Coalition 

We are an Evangelical Free Church of America congregation planted by a pastor with 20 years experience with Campus Crusade for Christ converted to the Reformed Baptist position and committed to planting a church organized around the gospel and not sociological affinities or market driven techniques. We emphasize expositional, exegetical preaching informed by historic Reformed theology, small group ministry, motivating and equipping parents to teach the gospel to their children and intergenerational discipleship.

 How River Hills Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin is listed in the 9 Marks Church Search

“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 ninth installment. This project will carry over two years 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 ninth district – The Forest Lakes District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Unless I am mistaken but numbers are fluid…there are 115 churches in the Forest Lakes 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. Let me give you a few examples to illustrate my point. Southern Lakes Evangelical Free in Elkhorn, Wisconsin which is led by Mike Wells, is a part of the 9 Marks network. East Troy Bible which is in East Troy, Wisconsin and led by Ron Christiansen is also a part of the 9 Marks network. Another example is Grace Community Church in Richland Center, Wisconsin which is led by Leland Schmidt. Grace Community is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. The last model I will use is The Vine Church in Madison. Wisconsin. This Acts 29 is led by Zach Nielsen and Scott Sterner. The Vine is also 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 and/or website and came to the conclusion they are reformed. An example is Faith Community Church in Praire du Chien, Wisconsin which is led by Ryan Thompson. 
  • 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 blog of the Senior Pastor of Edgewood Community Church Roger Knowlton. On the blog you find Al Mohler, Tim Challies, and John Piper. Now this North Fond du Lac Evangelical Free Church is not a part of The Gospel Coalition, or 9 Marks. Yet it is clearly Neo-Calvinist. Checking out Roger’s blog is how he made this list. 
  • 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. An example of that is Randolph Evangelical Free in Randolph, Wisconsin. I am wondering if this church is closed. 

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. 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 called9 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. 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. You can read how John Piper reacted to the Newtown massacre in Connecticut in “How Reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism Make the Problem of Evil Worse: John Piper, Adam Lanza and a Massacre in Connecticut.”  Plus I have 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 Forest Lakes District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp below.

Wisconsin 

  1. The Orchard Evangelical Free Church (Baileys Harbor)
  2. Westosha Lakes Church Twin Lakes Campus (Twin Lakes) (Reformed – TGC)
  3. Westosha Lakes Church (Salem)
  4. First Evangelical Free Church (Racine)
  5. A & D Biker Ministries (Mount Pleasant)
  6. Bethel Evangelical Free Church (Washington Island)
  7. Kenosha Bible Church (Kenosha)(Reformed – TGC) 
  8. Redeemer Evangelical Free (Milwaukee)
  9. Faith Chapel Evangelical Free (Burlington) (Reformed)
  10. Calvary Church (Muskego)
  11. Friedens Evangelical Church (Port Washington) (Reformed – TGC) 
  12. Cornerstone Church (Grafton)
  13. Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church (Sheboygan)(Reformed – TGC)
  14. Comunidad Cristiana Calvario (Williams Bay)
  15. Calvary Community Church (Williams Bay)
  16. Calvary Community Hispanic (Williams Bay)
  17. Harvest Hills Community Church (Clinton)
  18. Oakwood Church (Hartland) (Reformed) 
  19. Southern Lakes Evangelical Free (Elkhorn) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  20. Briggs Road Evangelical Free Church (Elkhorn)
  21. Faith Church (Manitowoc
  22. Hope Community Church (Manitowoc
  23. East Troy Bible Church (East Troy) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  24. Grace Evangelical Free Church (Walworth)
  25. Harvest Evangelical Free (Beaver Dam
  26. Village Community Church (Kimberly)  
  27. Edgewood Fond du Lac (North Fond du Lac) (Reformed)  
  28. South Shore Evangelical Free (Fond du Lac
  29. River Hills Community Church (Janesville) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  30. Spring Lake Church (Green Bay)
  31. Grace Evangelical Free (Beloit) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  32. Rock Valley Chapel (Beloit) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  33. Harvest Hills Community Church (Clinton
  34. Trinity Evangelical Free (Ripon) (Reformed – TGC) 
  35. The Vine Church (Madison) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  36. Door Creek Church (Madison)
  37. Oakbrook Evangelical Free (Oshkosh)
  38. Edgewood Community Church (Waupun) (Reformed – TGC)
  39. Hope Evangelical Free (Monroe)
  40. Appleton Community Evangelical Free (Appleton) (Reformed)
  41. Lake View Church (Stoughton)
  42. Appleton Gospel (Appleton) (Reformed – TGC) 
  43. Terrace Shores EFC (Markesan)
  44. Redeemer City Church (Madison) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  45. Zion City International Church Ministries (Fitchburg)
  46. Blackhawk Fitchburg (Fitchburg)
  47. Blackhawk Downtown (Madison)
  48. Randolph Evangelical Free (Randolph)*
  49. Iglesia Nueva Vida (Madison)
  50. Greater Madison Chinese Evangelical Free (Madison)
  51. Bethany Evangelical Free Church (Madison) (Reformed) 
  52. Crossroads (White Lake)
  53. Bethany Evangelical Free Church (Clintonville)
  54. River Shores (Berlin)
  55. Blackhawk Chinese Ministry (Middleton)
  56. Blackhawk Church (Middleton) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  57. DeForest Evangelical Free Church (DeForest)
  58. Faith Community Church (New London)
  59. Door Creek Church North Campus (DeForest)
  60. EFC of Gratiot (Gratiot)*
  61. Community Evangelical Free Church (Platteville)
  62. GraceWay Church (Prairie Du Sac)
  63. Marquette Community Church (Montello)
  64. Waushara Community Church (Wautoma)
  65. Three Lakes EFC (Three Lakes)
  66. Conover Evangelical Free Church (Conover)
  67. Lake Wisconsin Evangelical Free Church (Lodi) (Reformed) 
  68. New Hope Evangelical Free (Mount Horeb)
  69. Community Evangelical Free Church (Shullsburg)
  70. Valley Church (La Valle)*
  71. Trinity Evangelical Free Church (Fennimore)
  72. Highland Community Church – Weston Campus (Weston
  73. Woodlands Church (Plover)
  74. Faith Evangelical Free (Woodruff)
  75. Bridgepoint Mission Center (Wisconsin Dells
  76. Edmund Evangelical Free (Edmund
  77. St. Germain Evangelical Free Church (Saint Germain
  78. Antigo Community Church (Antigo
  79. Cornerstone Community Church (Marshfield
  80. Crossroads Church (Pittsville
  81. Evangelical Free Church of Kendall (Kendall)* 
  82. Faith Evangelical Free Church (Prairie du Chien) (Reformed) 
  83. Grace Bible Fellowship (Washburn) (Reformed) 
  84. Highland Community Church (Marathon
  85. Evangelical Free Church of Wisconsin Rapids (Wisconsin Rapids
  86. Highland Community Church (Wausau)
  87. Grace Community Church (Richland Center) (Reformed – TGC)
  88. Winter Evangelical Free (Winter)
  89. Whispering Pines Evangelical Free (Hawthorne)
  90. Living Hope Evangelical Free (Neillsville
  91. Faith Evangelical Free (Sparta
  92. North Bay Community Church (Superior
  93. Abbottsford Evangelical Free (Abbottsford
  94. Grace Church (Viroqua) (Reformed – TGC) 
  95. Bible Evangelical Free (Tomah)  
  96. Harvest Evangelical Free Church – La Cosecha (Norwalk)*
  97. The Bridge Church (Eau Claire
  98. Faith Evangelical Free (Fall Creek
  99. Faith Evangelical Free (Stanley) (Reformed) 
  100. Radisson Evangelical Free (Radisson)
  101. First Evangelical Free (Onalaska
  102. Countryside Evangelical Free Church (Merrillan)
  103. Bethany Evangelical Free (La Crosse
  104. Neighborhood City Church (La Crosse
  105. Hope Community Church (West Salem)
  106. Emmaus Church (Spring Valley)
  107. Plum City Evangelical Free (Plum City)
  108. Apple River Community Church (Amery)
  109. Reeve Evangelical Free (Clear Lake)
  110. Faith Evangelical Free (Boyceville)
  111. Trade River Evangelical Free (Grantsburg)
  112. Pepin Hill Evangelical Free Church (Pepin)
  113. Crosswalk Community Church (Frederic)
  114. Maranatha  Evangelical Free (Rice Lake

 

Upper Michigan

  1. Carney Evangelical Free (Carney) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 

 

Percentages of the Forest Lakes District Which are Reformed

Having laid the foundation there are 27 Reformed/Neo-Calvinist churches in the Forest Lakes District. When I do the numbers that means that 24% of the Forest Lakes District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. Here is the breakdown by state:

  1. Wisconsin 23% is Neo-Calvinist
  2. Upper Michigan 100% is Neo-Calvinist

There are two Acts 29 churches which are both in Madison. Wisconsin. Those churches are Redeemer City Church and The Vine Church. There are seven 9 Marks churches in the Forest Lakes District, with six in Wisconsin and one in Upper Michigan. I have listed all the churches from the Forest Lakes District below as I finished this district.

 

Churches that are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the Forest Lakes District 

  1. Westosha Lakes Church Twin Lakes Campus (Twin Lakes) (Reformed – TGC)
  2. Kenosha Bible Church (Kenosha)(Reformed – TGC) 
  3. Faith Chapel Evangelical Free (Burlington) (Reformed)
  4. Friedens Evangelical Church (Port Washington) (Reformed – TGC) 
  5. Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church (Sheboygan)(Reformed – TGC)
  6. Oakwood Church (Hartland) (Reformed)
  7. Southern Lakes Evangelical Free (Elkhorn) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  8. East Troy Bible Church (East Troy) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  9. Edgewood Fond du Lac (North Fond du Lac) (Reformed)
  10. River Hills Community Church (Janesville) (Reformed  – TGC, 9 Marks)
  11. Grace Evangelical Free (Beloit(Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  12. Rock Valley Chapel (Beloit) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  13. Trinity Evangelical Free (Ripon) (Reformed – TGC)
  14. The Vine Church (Madison) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  15. Edgewood Community Church (Waupun) (Reformed – TGC)
  16. Appleton Community Evangelical Free (Appleton) (Reformed)
  17. Appleton Gospel (Appleton) (Reformed – TGC) 
  18. Redeemer City Church (Madison) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29)
  19. Bethany Evangelical Free Church (Madison) (Reformed) 
  20. Blackhawk Church (Middleton) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  21. Lake Wisconsin Evangelical Free Church (Lodi) (Reformed) 
  22. Faith Evangelical Free Church (Prairie du Chien) (Reformed) 
  23. Grace Bible Fellowship (Washburn) (Reformed) 
  24. Grace Community Church (Richland Center) (Reformed – TGC) 
  25. Grace Church (Viroqua) (Reformed – TGC) 
  26. Faith Evangelical Free (Stanley) (Reformed) 
  27. Carney Evangelical Free (Carney) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 

 

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

  1. Pingback: Is Daniel Owen’s Blackhawk Fitchburg Neo-Calvinist and 9 Marks? Are they confused? Or is Mark Noll’s Theory on the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Further Validated? | Wondering Eagle

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