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

These are the results of the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Neo-Puritanism in the Evangelical Free Church of America’s  (EFCA) Western District. The Western District includes northern California and Nevada. As I continue to work through the EFCA this research continues to show that this denomination is being theologically hijacked by Neo-Calvinists. 

“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

“The mission of our church is to build Christians who worship God, walk in love, and witness to the world (Matthew 28:19,20). We do this best by following the biblical method of discipleship. The natural response of spirit-filled lives impelled by Scripture is devotion to God, our worship, and walk, and our witness. Our vision is to be a teaching church, where every ministry and member is committed to the proclamation and application of the Word of God so that others may come to know Him and live to the glory of God. Thus, we will preach and teach the Word of God at every opportunity in every possible way. This is the primary method of disciple-making by which we accomplish our mission. A church centered on the Word of God will not fall for the foolish fads of modern man. All other efforts are like grass that withers and dies, but ?the Word of the Lord abides forever?”

How NorthCreek 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 tenth 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 tenth district – The Western District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Unless I am mistaken but numbers are fluid…there are 54 churches in theWestern 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. Solano Community Church in Albany, California which is led by Andrew Hoffman is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Another example is Drew Buell’s Cool Community Church in Cool, California which plants its flag with The Gospel Coalition. A 9 Marks example in this district is NorthCreek in Walnut Creek, California. That church is led by Jon McNeff
  • 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 Orland Evangelical Free in Orland, California which is led by Anton Van Straaten. When you study the pastor’s page you can see the influence of John MacArthur. This was an Evangelical Free that was theological hijacked, especially given its history going back to 1912. Its membership covenant is quite legalistic. 
  • In other situations I examined the recommended resources and blogs or Twitter to see what books either the church or the Senior Pastor is reading, consuming or pushing. In the Western District this did not happen. I studied and read the blogs of Drew Buell of Cool Community Church or Paul Ortlinghaus of Soma Community Church in Santa Rosa, California among others and all the indicators were there. However, when I ran all 54 churches through the databases of 9 Marks, or The Gospel Coalition they popped up. In other EFCA districts there were strong indicators on a pastor’s blog or Twitter account that indicated the problem of Neo-Calvinism. 
  • 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 in the Western District this is not a problem as I found the webpage or Facebook page for every Evangelical Free. 

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 howJohn 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.

California 

  1. SOMA Community Church (Santa Rosa) (Reformed – TGC) 
  2. New Life Community Church (Ukiah
  3. San Francisco Evangelical Free Church (San Francisco)
  4. Faith Community Church of Peninsula (Belmont)
  5. Hydesville Community Church (Hydesville)  
  6. Community Church of Brisbane (Brisbane
  7. Grace Evangelical Free of San Francisco (San Francisco
  8. Hope Evangelical Free (San Francisco
  9. Loleta Community Church (Loleta
  10. Northcreek – World Harvest Fellowship  (Walnut Creek) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  11. Pelican Bay Evangelical Free (Crescent City
  12. Grace Evangelical Free Church (Kelseyville
  13. Casa De Luz (Kelseyville)
  14. Glen Ellen Community Church (Glen Ellen)
  15. Higher Ground Church (Oakland)
  16. Bay Hills Community Church (Richmond)
  17. Trinity Evangelical Free (El Cerrito)
  18. Solano Community Church (Albany) (Reformed – TGC) 
  19. NorthCreek Iranian Fellowship (Walnut Creek
  20. NorthCreek Church (Walnut Creek
  21. Creekside Community Church (Napa
  22. Concord Bible Evangelical Free (Concord
  23. Valley Evangelical Free (Vacaville
  24. Living Hope Church of Dixon (Dixon
  25. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Lodi
  26. Orland Evangelical Free (Orland) (Reformed) 
  27. Grace Evangelical Free (Elk Grove
  28. Westside Church of Redding (Redding
  29. Hamilton City Evangelical Free (Hamilton City
  30. Christ Community Church of Vina (Vina
  31. Adventure Church of Yuba City (Yuba City
  32. Iglesia Misionera Hermanos Unideos en Cisto (Yuba City
  33. Cornerstone Church of Yuba City (Yuba City
  34. The Orchard (Sacramento
  35. Richvale Evangelical Free (Richvale
  36. Creekside Evangelical Free (Rocklin
  37. Evangelical Free Church of Chico (Chico
  38. Community Bible Church (Folsom
  39. Vintage Grace (El Dorado Hills
  40. Decision Life Evangelical Free (Yreka
  41. Evangelical Free of Orville (Orville)
  42. Paradise Evangelical Free (Paradise
  43. Cornerstone Community Church (Auburn) (Reformed – TGC) 
  44. Discovery Hills Church (Shingle Springs)
  45. Evangelical Free of Mount Shasta (Mount Shasta
  46. Community Church (Susanville
  47. Intermountain Evangelical Free (McArthur
  48. Camino Community Church (Camino) (Reformed) 
  49. Mother Lode Evangelical Free (Coloma
  50. Community Church of Pine Grove (Pine Grove) (Reformed – TGC) 
  51. Cool Community Church (Cool) (Reformed – TGC) 

 

Nevada

  1. Mountainside Community Church (Reno) (Reformed – Acts 29) 
  2. Mount Rose Evangelical Free (Reno) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  3. Sierra Bible Church (Reno

 

Percentages of the Western District Which are Reformed

Having laid the foundation there are 10 Reformed/Neo-Calvinist churches in the Western District. When I do the numbers that means that 19% of the Western District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. Here is the breakdown by state:

  1. Northern California  16% is Neo-Calvinist
  2. Northern Nevada 67% is Neo-Calvinist

There is one Acts 29 church in Reno, Nevada called Mountainside Community Church. There are two 9 Marks churches in the Western District. I have listed all the churches from the Western District below as I finished this district.

 

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

  1. SOMA Community Church (Santa Rosa) (Reformed – TGC) 
  2. Northcreek – World Harvest Fellowship  (Walnut Creek) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  3. Solano Community Church (Albany) (Reformed – TGC)
  4. Orland Evangelical Free (Orland) (Reformed) 
  5. Cornerstone Community Church (Auburn) (Reformed – TGC) 
  6. Camino Community Church (Camino) (Reformed) 
  7. Community Church of Pine Grove (Pine Grove) (Reformed – TGC) 
  8. Cool Community Church (Cool) (Reformed – TGC) 
  9. Mount Rose Evangelical Free (Reno) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  10. Mountainside Community Church (Reno(Reformed – Acts 29) 

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

  1. Pingback: To the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) It’s Your Church; 20% of California is Neo-Calvinist, as The Wondering Eagle Documents the Theological Hijacking of a Denomination | Wondering Eagle

Comments are closed.