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

These are the results of the growth of Neo-Calvinism/Neo-Puritanism in the Evangelical Free Church of America’s  (EFCA) Northern Mountain District.  The Northern Mountain District includes eastern Washington, Idaho and most of Montana. Having completed this district I will begin working on another district.

“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 an new Church Plant of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) We exist to glorify God by multiplying disciples, leaders and churches who believe the gospel, grow in Christ and go to the lost.”

How Ambassador Bible Fellowship in Idaho describes itself on 9 Marks 

Before I get into this post which is the second of two posts today 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 Dever 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 twelfth installment. This project will carry over at least three years and I’ll have my work cut out for me. What I am doing is researching 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. 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 twelfth district – The Northern Mountain District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. Unless I am mistaken but numbers are fluid…there are 32 churches in the Northern Mountain 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. I ran all the churches in the Northern Mountain District through The Gospel Coalition or 9 Marks church databases. Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate my point. Crossroads Bible Church of the Tri-Cities which is led by Tim Karr is affiliated with both The Gospel Coalition and 9 Marks. Another example is Ambassador Bible Fellowship in Meredian, Idaho which is led by Thomas Herringshaw and also affiliated with 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 and/or website and came to the conclusion they are reformed. In the Northern Mountain District I did not see any examples of this. 
  • 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. One EFCA church was a dead give away which ended up on my radar. Three Crosses in Spokane recently changed their website while I was working this project. On their old blog which is not linked to their new website you can see all the John Piper and Desiring God which is how Dave Hammond’s church ended up on my 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, or some churches can be so small especially in a rural area that a website is not needed.  But in the Northern Mountain District a church like Community Evangelical Free in Deer Lodge, Montana falls into this category as they do not have a website. An asterisk marks those that do not have a website to review. In the Northern Mountain District I found three. 

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 fix 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 some reformed people I respect such as 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 Northern Mountain District, a link to their website, and if they fall in the Neo-Calvinism camp below.

Eastern Washington 

  1. Entiat Warehouse Church (Entiat
  2. Crossroads Bible Church of the Tri-Cities (Kennewick) (Reformed TGC, 9 Marks)
  3. Community Evangelical Free Church (Soap Lake) (Reformed TGC)
  4. Evangelical Free Church of Palouse (Palouse)
  5. Chewelah Evangelical Free (Chewelah)
  6. Grace Evangelical Free (Colville)
  7. Rice Christian Fellowship (Rice)
  8. Aeneas Valley Community Church (Tonasket)
  9. Crossroads Christian Fellowship (Airway Heights)
  10. Three Crosses (Spokane) (Reformed)
  11. Genesis Church of Spokane (Spokane)
  12. Liberty Lake Community Church (Liberty Lake)
  13. Otis Orchards Community Church (Otis Orchards)

Idaho

  1. His Place (Post Falls)
  2. Sandpoint Bible Fellowship (Sandpoint)
  3. Grace Evangelical Free (Osborn)
  4. Centennial Evangelical Free (Grangeville
  5. Ambassador Bible Fellowship (Meredian)(Reformed – 9 Marks)
  6. Trinity Evangelical Free Church (Boise)
  7. Valley Christian Fellowship (Grand View)* 
  8. Magic Valley Evangelical Free (Jerome)* 

Western Montana 

  1. Grace Bible Church (Forsyth)
  2. First Evangelical Free (Billings)
  3. Evangelical Free Church of Bozeman (Bozeman
  4. Butte Evangelical Free (Butte)
  5. Community Evangelical Free (Deer Lodge) *
  6. Alberton Community Church (Alberton)
  7. Stockett Community Chapel (Stockett)
  8. The Bridge Church (Great Falls) (Reformed – TGC)
  9. Community Bible Church (Fort Benton)
  10. Faith Bible Church (Libby)
  11. Grace Fellowship (Malta)

 

Percentages of the Northern Mountain District Which are Reformed

Having laid the foundation there are 5 Reformed/Neo-Calvinist churches in the Northern Mountain District. When I do the numbers that means that 16% of the Northern Mountain District is Neo-Calvinist/Reformed. Here is the breakdown by state:

  1. Eastern Washington 23% is Neo-Calvinist
  2. Idaho 13% is Neo-Calvinist
  3. Western Montana 9% is Neo-Calvinist

There are no Acts 29 churches in the Northern Mountain District. There are two 9 Marks churches in the Northern Mountain District, with one in Eastern Washington and one in Idaho.  I have listed all the churches from the Northern Mountain District below as I finished this district.

 

Churches that are Reformed/Neo-Calvinist in the Northern Mountain District 

  1. Crossroads Bible Church of the Tri-Cities (Kennewick) (Reformed TGC, 9 Marks)
  2. Community Evangelical Free Church (Soap Lake) (Reformed TGC)
  3. Three Crosses (Spokane) (Reformed)
  4. Ambassador Bible Fellowship (Meredian)(Reformed – 9 Marks)
  5. The Bridge Church (Great Falls) (Reformed – TGC)

 

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

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