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The Church: The Gospel Made Visible [Kindle Edition]

Mark Dever
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Christians face lots of practical questions when it comes to life in the local church: How is the gospel displayed in our lives together? What are we supposed to do and believe? Different followers answer differently—even as they preach the same gospel! What should we think about such differences?

A church’s life, doctrine, worship, and even polity are important issues. Yet they are so rarely addressed. The Church is Mark Dever’s primer on the doctrine of the church for all who see Scripture alone as a sufficient authority for the doctrine and life of the local church. He explains to the reader what the Bible says about the nature and purpose of the church— what it is, what it’s for, what it does.

Indeed, Scripture teaches us about all of life and doctrine, including how we should assemble for corporate worship and how we’re to organize our corporate life together. God has revealed himself by his Word. He is speak- ing to us, preparing us to represent him today, and to see him tomorrow! A congregation of regenerate members, fulfilling the responsibilities given to us by Christ himself in his Word, regularly meeting together, led by a body of godly elders, is the picture God has given us in his Word of his church.

Editorial Reviews


 “Mark Dever has rendered an invaluable service to the Body of Christ in this book. Its biblical grounding is sure, and its theological insights are spot on! Few address the issues of ecclesiology better than this pastor/theologian. This work will help us better understand what the church is and what the church does when it is faithful to Scripture.”
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Mark Dever has taught me more about the church than any other living human being. He’s a keen observer and insightful practitioner. In The Church: The Gospel Made Visible, Dever helps us to see how the good news goes cinematic in the nitty-gritty lives of local congregations. What joy comes from recognizing the embodiment of the gospel in our very ordinary congregations!”
Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman Islands

“The church today desperately needs to think more deeply about the church. That’s why I’m incredibly thankful for Mark Dever. No one writes as passionately, as winsomely, as biblically, or as practically about the church. This book is a wonderful example of all those traits. Even though my theology is different on a few important points like baptism and congregationalism, I always learn from Mark when he talks ecclesiology. If you love the church, you’ll love this book. And if the doctrine of the church sounds terribly unimportant, then you need to read this book even more.”
Kevin DeYoung, Senior pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan

“I’m not sure that I know anyone who has read more on ecclesiology, from the whole breadth of the Christian tradition, than Mark Dever. So, his exegesis is not done in isolation but in conversation with twenty centuries of Christian thinking. As a Presbyterian, I would encourage non-Baptists and non-congregationalists to read and engage with Mark’s work, not only because it is so welldone, biblical, and helpful, but also because of a huge evangelical blind spot the book addresses. Ecclesiology is indisputably one of evangelicalism’s great weaknesses, in part because of subjectivism, individualism, and pragmatism. Mark offers a robust corrective to this, and even where you may disagree you will find yourself edified and instructed. Mark approaches this subject not simply as a skilled historical theologian and systematician, but also as a local church pastor who has fostered a vital and healthy embrace of biblical polity in his own congregation, with happy results. He is no “dry- land sailor” or impractical theoretician but a faithful shepherd. The growth and life and fruitfulness of his flock testify to this.”
Ligon Duncan, Senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

“Trust me, if you talk with my friend Mark Dever for more than five minutes, the local church will come up in the conversation—not only because it is the focus of his impressive academic work, but because the church is to him as it was to Charles Spurgeon, ‘the dearest place on earth.’ Over many discussions Mark has taught me much about the church, and even in areas where we disagree, I’ve been affected by his passion for the church. This book allows you to have a similar conversation with Mark, and I have no doubt that your heart will be stirred with love for the church universal and for your local church in particular.”
C. J. Mahaney, President, Sovereign Grace Ministries

“For far too long, the church has suffered for its lack of attention to ecclesiology. Thankfully, that neglect has given way to a new age of rediscovery, and Mark Dever has been a key catalyst for the recovery of biblical ecclesiology. In this book, you will find a faithful, truthful, thrilling understanding of the church. But be warned: Once you read this book, you will never be satisfied until you are a part of a church that is growing into this kind of faithfulness and life.”
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

Mark Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and president of 9Marks. He holds degrees from Duke University (B.A.), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Theol.), and Cambridge University (PH.D.).

Product Details

  • File Size: 1808 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (November 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143367890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433678905
  • ASIN: B007K8JJHK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,906 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Baptist Ecclesiology June 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have you been searching for a modern Baptist ecclesiology? Look no further. Mark Dever says in the opening pages that he decided to rewrite and expand his chapter from Akin's A Theology for the Church into book length because nothing has been produced like this from a Baptistic perspective. There just aren't any works that we can point people to. So, now you have a new resource. This is not a long book either. It's very manageable. Dever, a true scholar, made this book very accesible. Neither does he need many words to express what he has to say. The words he does use are powerful. It's one of those books that you will want to underline almost every sentence.

It's densely packed with insight from a pastor-theologian who has built his preaching ministry around the Word of God. Dever's passion is for healthy churches. He believes that God's Word is sufficient for every aspect of the church. This is the first part of the book. I. What Does the Bible Say? Here he gives us the biblical foundations of the church. Then he looks at historical issues related to the life of the church in II. What Has the Church Believed? Finally Dever answers in the final part III. How Does It All Fit Together? This is the modern application for church life.

While I did initially expect the book to be longer, Dever packs it with footnotes and points the reader to many reference sources. It's a great primer on Ecclesiology. I would recommend it if you're familiar with Dever's previous works on healthy churches because this treatment of the church seems to be more of a complete thought, more well-rounded. And, if you're not familiar with Dever this would be the best place to start.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Baptist Egg September 4, 2012
Mark Dever is Baptist, not Anglican, but this is a curates egg of a book.

I am a Dever fan and over the past few years have found him and his 9 Marks [...] organisation tremendously helpful. He has helped me to sharpen up my ecclesiology and to think more carefully through such subjects as church membership and discipline. The church I pastor is historically Baptist, so I also have that direct connection with Dever.

In The Church Dever seeks to set out a clear doctrine of the church, and as such this is a very useful book. I shall certainly be recommending it when I teach ecclesiology in our leadership training program. In three sections Dever explores what the Bible says about the church; what the church has believed about the church; and how this should all fit together in the local congregation. It is all good stuff, and zips along nicely, giving plenty of material while not getting too bogged down in detail.

Dever has a real passion for the church, as all Christians should. He has devoted his life to serving a local congregation and his love for the body of Christ shines through. I am with him all the way on this. As the first sentence of the first chapter puts it, "The church is the body of people called by God's grace through faith in Christ to glorify him together by serving him in his world." Amen!

So, so far so good.

Where I found The Church less satisfying is that it reads very much like a detailed membership course for people looking to join Dever's church. It could do with being more engaging and lyric, while no less factual. Also, almost inevitably, Dever comes to the conclusion that the ideal expression of the local church is the type of church that he leads!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was well researched and supported by Scripture. I enjoyed the historical overview and the author's noting of many critical points in the history of the church. My impression is the author holds a "Baptist" viewpoint, doctrinally speaking, but I would not label it as "heavy handed" or exclusive by any means. (I do not identify as Baptist) His addressing the ordinance of baptism could be construed as avoiding one of the more prolific practices of many Baptist churches today, the issue of "the sinner's prayer" and how it relates to conversion, separate from baptism. (Some readers will think that not addressing this critically goes without saying, while others might find it curiously absent). That aside, I still found the book a balanced presentation of the role of the church that offers solid insight to its structure and practices.

There is much Truth to be reminded of for today's Church and the author makes his case by applying a broad range of Scripture and recalling the relationship of God with His children. Don't expect anecdotes, contemporary illustrations or "5 Steps to Have a Biblical Church", it's not that kind of a book. It is more systematic rather than "self help"or philosophical. At it heart it is rather thorough examination of the historical Church, it's divine purpose and the call to be firmly rooted in the Scriptures as it represents the Glory of God to the world today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read February 15, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mark Dever is one of todays Pastors that does not bend the Word of God. This is a good practical view of what God's Word says the church should be. Anyone can find truth here from Pastors to people like me that needs to see the church looks like and how it functions well. Any book 9Marks has is an excellent read for every Christian who is seeking the truth about Jesus.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh! Not a bad book but...
I didn't find anything particularly interesting, new or exciting in this book. Not particularly well written. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Bob E.
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed
Dever's volume on the church is desperately needed today. The way he theologically shows why the church is needed and the purpose it serves encouraged my soul. Read more
Published 2 months ago by matt
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Review
The book was received in good condition. The same as it was advertised as. There were so smudges on the cover, but nothing we could not wipe off.
Published 3 months ago by martha brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is a very clear and readable book on the theology of the church. Mark Dever is one of the few pastor/theologian who writes clearly on what the church is and how it should... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wai Hong Lee
2.0 out of 5 stars Not overly helpful for me.
While I have no argument with the author's logic or theology, the content was not relevant for me. It applies to some churches but seemed limited to a Baptist paradigm.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gospel Centered Church!!!
This is a guide to how a gospel centered church should be or structure itself based on the word of God. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Navin
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Ecclesiology Matters
This book is an inclusive introduction to ecclesiology. It will help anyone explore the the question, "Why does the church matter? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kyle Nieber
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful
The Church: The Gospel Made Visible is a highly accessible book by Mark Dever that examines the doctrine of the church. Why study the doctrine of the church? Read more
Published 8 months ago by parkerj
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful and readable resource
Lucid, thoughtful, easily searchable and highly quotable. An excellent resource for the average churchmen! Read more
Published 11 months ago by Josh Camacho
5.0 out of 5 stars The Church: The Gospel Made Visible
During the past four years of pastoral ministry I have enjoyed the privilege of sitting in a decision room. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Joseph T. Cochran
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