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

These are the results of the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Neo-Puritanism in the Evangelical Free Church of America’s  (EFCA) North Central District. The North Central District includes Minnesota and one EFCA church in Wisconsin.  As I continue to work through the EFCA this research continues to show that this denomination is slowly 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

“We are a body of believers that seeks to intentionally invest our lives with others by living the gospel of Jesus Christ and continuing to follow him together.”

How City on a Hill Church in Rosemont, Minnesota advertises itself in 9 Marks 

“Our purpose is to glorify God by making disciples by reaching and teaching all people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.”

How Grace Evangelical Free in Fridley, Minnesota advertises itself in 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 eleventh 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 at least 1,500 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 eleventh district – The North Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Unless I am mistaken but numbers are fluid…there are 156 churches in the North Central 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 make my point. Rock Hill Community Church in Duluth, Minnesota as led by Kyle Eaton is both Acts 29 and affiliated with The Gospel Coalition. Brian Erickson’s Lakewood Church in Baxter, Minnesota is affiliated with 9 Marks. Another example is Grace Community Church in Worthington, Minnesota. Scott Barber’s church is apart 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 Estes Brook Evangelical Free in Oak Park, Minnesota. Estes Brook which is led by Jeff Starnes is not affiliated with 9 Marks or The Gospel Coalition. But look at the links which you can access here. Here is a church promoting John Piper’s Desiring God, Mark Dever’s 9 Marks and Ligonier Ministries of the late R.C. Sproul among others. That is what landed Estes Brook in the Neo-Calvinist/Reformed camp at The Wondering Eagle. 
  • 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 North Central District this also happened. For example look at one of the blogs from Eric Johnson, the Senior Pastor of Good News Evangelical Free Church. Praise for John Piper, and John MacArthur. And then tearing down Greg Boyd. Its classic Neo-Calvinist rhetoric.  That was how Good News Evangelical Free ended up on this list. 
  • In other situations in examining the website there is not enough information to go on, so I did not include them in the list. I gave the EFCA church the benefit of the doubt. 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 North Central District this did happen a few times. For example I could not find the website for Little Fork Evangelical Free. And I learned in my research that it appears Como Evangelical Free in Minneapolis has 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 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 some reformed people I respect. An example of that would be Matt Redmond.  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 North Central District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp below.

 

Minnesota 

  1. Border Evangelical Free (Baudette)*
  2. Evangelical Free Church (Thief River Falls
  3. Littlefork Evangelical Free (Littlefork)*
  4. Grand Marais Evangelical Free (Grand Marais)
  5. Hope Evangelical Free (Fertile)
  6. Calvary Evangelical Free (Bagley)
  7. Blackduck Evangelical Free (Blackduck)
  8. Alvwood Evangelical Free (Blackduck)
  9. Evangelical Free of Embarrass (Embarrass)
  10. Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji (Bemidji)
  11. Lake Eunice Evangelical Free (Detroit Lakes
  12. Calvary Evangelical Free (Pelican Rapids
  13. Riverside Chapel (Forbes
  14. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Fergus Falls) (Reformed)  
  15. Calvary Church (Walker)
  16. Evangelical Free Church of Two Harbors (Two Harbors)
  17. Grand Rapids Evangelical Free (Grand Rapids)
  18. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Pipestone)
  19. Living Hope Evangelical Free (Edgerton
  20. Crosslake Evangelical Free (Crosslake
  21. Arise Church (Cloquet
  22. Morris Evangelical Free (Morris)
  23. Iglesia Nueva Vida (Morris)
  24. Skandia Evangelical Free (Balaton)
  25. Rock Hill Community Church (Duluth) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  26. Grace Community Church (Worthington) (Reformed – TGC) 
  27. Anchor Point Community Church (Duluth)
  28. Grace Evangelical Free (Elbow Lake
  29. Calvary Evangelical Free (Spring Grove
  30. Hope Community Church (Minnewaska)
  31. Hope Community Church (Starbuck)
  32. The Journey (Nisswa)
  33. Cornerstone Country Church (Carlton)*
  34. Rose City Evangelical Free (Eagle Bend)
  35. Lake Community Church (Alexandria
  36. Marshall Evangelical Free (Marshall)
  37. Cromwell Wright Evangelical Free (Wright
  38. East Chain Evangelical Free (Granada
  39. Rock Haven Church (Granite Falls
  40. Bethany Evangelical Free (Houston)
  41. Lakewood Evangelical Free (Baxter) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  42. Windom Evangelical Free (Windem
  43. Lincoln Evangelical Free (Cushing)
  44. First Evangelical Free (Benson
  45. Swan Lake Evangelical Free (Cottonwood)
  46. La Crescent Evangelical Free (La Crescent) (Reformed – TGC) 
  47. Redwood Falls Evangelical Free (Redwood Falls
  48. Cornerstone Evangelical Free Hispanic Ministry (Blue Earth)
  49. Birch Hills Community Church (Melrose
  50. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Blue Earth)
  51. Pleasant Valley Evangelical Free (Winona
  52. Harvest Community Church (Sauk Centre) (Reformed – TGC) 
  53. Kerkhoven Evangelical Free (Kerkhoven)
  54. El Camino Ministry (Fairmont)*
  55. Bethel Evangelical Free (Fairmont) (Reformed) 
  56. Sandstone Evangelical Free (Sandstone
  57. Esperanza Vita (Willmar
  58. Crossroads Church (Albert Leah
  59. Hinckley Evangelical Free Church (Hinckley)
  60. Paynesville Evangelical Free Church (Paynesville
  61. Hope Church of Albert Leah (Albert Leah
  62. Faith Evangelical Free (Austin
  63. Grace Community Church (Olivia) (Reformed)  
  64. Isle Evangelical Free (Isle)
  65. Malmo Evangelical Free (Isle)*
  66. Living Hope Evangelical Free (Willmar) (Reformed) 
  67. New Hope Fellowship (Rochester)*
  68. Grace Community Church (New Ulm
  69. Anchor Point Church (Wabasha) (Reformed)  
  70. New Life Community Church (Hector
  71. Trinity Evangelical Free (Plainview) (Reformed)
  72. Cornerstone (Rochester) (Reformed – TGC) 
  73. The Gathering Church (Rochester
  74. Grace Evangelical Free (Stewartville
  75. Harvest Community Church (Litchfield
  76. Estes Brook Evangelical Free (Oak Park) (Reformed) 
  77. Milaca Evangelical Free (Milaca)
  78. Calvary Evangelical Free (Rochester) (Reformed – TGC) 
  79. Sanctus Missional (Saint Cloud
  80. Pine City Evangelical Free (Pine City) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)  
  81. Journey North Church (Pine City
  82. Westwood (Saint Cloud
  83. Church at Maple Ridge (Stanchfield)* 
  84. River Ridge Evangelical Free of Mankato (Mankato
  85. Crosswinds Church (Oronoco
  86. Princeton Evangelical Free (Princeton) (Reformed – TGC) 
  87. Wyanett Evangelical Free (Wyanett
  88. Dale Evangelical Free (Harris)
  89. Lamson Evangelical Free (Dassel)
  90. Christ Community Church (Waseca)
  91. Hutchinson Evangelical Free (Hutchinson)
  92. Good News Evangelical Free (Pine Island) (Reformed)  
  93. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Owatoma)
  94. Refuge (Zimmerman)
  95. Buffalo Creek Community Church (Glencoe)
  96. Oxlip Evangelical Free (Isanti
  97. Albion Evangelical Free (Cokato
  98. Kost Evangelical Free (North Branch
  99. Becker Evangelical Free (Becker)
  100. Elim Mission Church (Cokato)
  101. Annandale Evangelical Free (Annandale) (Reformed – TGC)
  102. Grace Church (Wyoming) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)  
  103. Living Hope Evangelical Free (Saint Francis
  104. Buffalo Evangelical Free (Buffalo
  105. Harvest Community Church (Lester Pine)
  106. River of Life (Elk River)
  107. Faribault Evangelical Free (Faribault)
  108. Hope Evangelical Free of Monticello (Monticello)
  109. Lakes Free Church (Lindstrom
  110. Iglesia Evangelica Libre de Monticello (Monticello
  111. Coon Rapids Evangelical Free (Coon Rapids
  112. Stillwater Evangelical Free (Stillwater)
  113. Village Evangelical Free (Maple Plain) (Reformed)  
  114. Centennial Evangelical Free (Forest Lake)
  115. New Joy Church (Rogers
  116. Constance Evangelical Free (Andover)
  117. Delano Evangelical Free (Delano)
  118. Evangelical Free of Watertown (Watertown)
  119. Northfield Evangelical Free (Northfield)
  120. Grace Evangelical Free (Fridley) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  121. Hope Church (Oakdale)
  122. Valley Evangelical Free (Chaska)
  123. Brooklyn Park Evangelical Free (Brooklyn) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  124. New Life (Hastings)
  125. Maple Grove Evangelical Free (Maple Grove)
  126. Mound Evangelical Free (Mound) (Reformed – TGC) 
  127. Rockpoint Church (Lake Elmo) (Reformed – TGC) 
  128. Cornerstone Church of Blaine (Blaine)
  129. Faith Evangelical Free (Robbinsdale)
  130. Amigos de Jesucritco Comunidad Hispanal Latina (New Hope)
  131. New Hope Church (New Hope) (Reformed – TGC) 
  132. CrossCultural Evangelical Free (Saint Paul)*
  133. Wayzata Evangelical Free (Plymouth)
  134. Trinity Evangelical Free (Lakeville
  135. Bienvenideos a Jesus (Lakeville)
  136. Five Oaks Church (Woodbury)
  137. First Evangelical Free (Maplewood) (Reformed – TGC) (Neo-Cal Biblical Counseling) 
  138. South Suburban Evangelical Free (Apple Valley)
  139. Park Community Church (Saint Louis Park) (Reformed – The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29)  
  140. Antioch Community Church (Minneapolis) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  141. City on a Hill Church (Rosemount) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  142. Hope Community Church (Lakeville
  143. Prairie Hill Evangelical Free (Eden Prairie)
  144. Payne Evangelical Free (Saint Paul
  145. Elmwood Evangelical Free (Saint Anthony
  146. Oxboro Free Church (Bloomington)
  147. First Evangelical Free of Minneapolis (Minneapolis
  148. Riverside Evangelical Free (Minneapolis
  149. Como Evangelical Free (Minneapolis)(Closed)  
  150. CrossPoint Church (Bloomington)
  151. Hispanic Ministry of Salem Evangelical Free (Minneapolis
  152. New Salem Church (Minneapolis
  153. Trinity City Church (Saint Paul) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  154. Hope Community Church (Minneapolis) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks, Acts 29) Church is also Converge  
  155. Arise Church (Cloquet) (Reformed – Acts 29) 

Wisconsin 

  1. Hope Evangelical Free (Oscela)

 

Percentages of the North Central District Which are Reformed

Having laid the foundation there are 32 Reformed/Neo-Calvinist churches in the North Central District. When I do the numbers that means that 21% of the North Central District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed.

There are five Acts 29 Churches in this EFCA District. Those five Acts 29 are Rock Hill Community Church, Antioch Community Church, Hope Community Church, Trinity City Church and Arise Church. There are seven 9 Marks churches in the North Central District. Below you can find all the Neo-Calvinist/Reformed in this EFCA District. 

 

Churches that are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the North Central District

  1. Cornerstone Evangelical Free (Fergus Falls) (Reformed)  
  2. Rock Hill Community Church (Duluth) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  3. Grace Community Church (Worthington) (Reformed – TGC) 
  4. Lakewood Evangelical Free (Baxter) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  5. La Crescent Evangelical Free (La Crescent) (Reformed – TGC) 
  6. Harvest Community Church (Sauk Centre) (Reformed – TGC) 
  7. Bethel Evangelical Free (Fairmont) (Reformed)  
  8. Grace Community Church (Olivia) (Reformed)  
  9. Living Hope Evangelical Free (Willmar) (Reformed)
  10. Anchor Point Church (Wabasha) (Reformed)  
  11. Trinity Evangelical Free (Plainview) (Reformed) 
  12. Cornerstone (Rochester) (Reformed – TGC) 
  13. Estes Brook Evangelical Free (Oak Park) (Reformed) 
  14. Calvary Evangelical Free (Rochester) (Reformed – TGC) 
  15. Pine City Evangelical Free (Pine City) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)  
  16. Princeton Evangelical Free (Princeton) (Reformed – TGC) 
  17. Good News Evangelical Free (Pine Island) (Reformed)  
  18. Annandale Evangelical Free (Annandale) (Reformed – TGC)
  19. Grace Church (Wyoming) (Reformed –  TGC, 9 Marks)  
  20. Village Evangelical Free (Maple Plain) (Reformed)  
  21. Grace Evangelical Free (Fridley) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  22. Brooklyn Park Evangelical Free (Brooklyn) (Reformed – 9 Marks) 
  23. Mound Evangelical Free (Mound) (Reformed – TGC) 
  24. Rockpoint Church (Lake Elmo) (Reformed – TGC) 
  25. New Hope Church (New Hope) (Reformed – TGC) 
  26. First Evangelical Free (Maplewood) (Reformed – TGC) 
  27. Park Community Church (Saint Louis Park) (Reformed)  
  28. Antioch Community Church (Minneapolis) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  29. City on a Hill Church (Rosemount) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks) 
  30. Trinity City Church (Saint Paul) (Reformed – TGC, Acts 29) 
  31. Hope Community Church (Minneapolis) (Reformed – TGC, 9 Marks, Acts 29) Church is also Converge 
  32. Arise Church (Cloquet) (Reformed – Acts 29) 

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