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The Church: The Gospel Made Visible (9Marks) Paperback – April 1, 2012
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“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.”
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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.
Let me answer an objection I could foresee, "Read a Baptist book?" Yes, even if you're not persuaded by credobaptism, this book will truly help you biblically define what a church is. Dever's solid foundations and formulations will challenge you to think Scripturally about many of our accepted practices within the church today. Many of the blurbs in the front will attest to this as well.
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.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a 5 point Calvinist & I believe in the 5 Solas. The sub title of this book is "The Gospel Made Visible." You'd think it would be about the Gospel. IT'S NOT.
It's a book about how Southern Baptists do church. It's not for the rest of the remnant Church that isn't an American Southern Baptist.
And why the harshness with the one star? Other reviews have said it's not an easy read. No, wrong description. A book can be a difficult but worthwhile read. This is not it. It's just poorly written. Good writing is one word after another, ordered in a clear, concise manner. This book is not writing. It's oatmeal. It's a soup of words.
Most recent customer reviews
A very good book.