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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church Paperback – 2004
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"If you are a Christian leader, be careful of the work you are now holding in your hand: it may change your life and ministry."
—D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"This is a foundational work which I highly recommend."
—John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California
"I want God's word about the church. I turn with hope and confidence to Mark Dever's radically biblical commitment. Few people today have thought more or better about what makes a church biblical and healthy."
—John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary
"This is the best book I have read on this topic of critical importance."
—C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
"Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is required reading for my students in ecclesiology."
—Paige Patterson, President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
"[This book] belongs in the hands of every faithful pastor and all those who pray for reformation in this age."
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is a biblical prescription for faithfulness."
—J. Ligon Duncan III, Chancellor and John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi
About the Author
Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and pastor of 9Marks Ministries. Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide.
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Top customer reviews
Fear not, because Mark Dever, as a faithful pastor lights the way using the Bible as our source book/model. There is nothing in this book that is not backed by by scripture. Dever doesn't just proof-text his way along in this book, but really takes into consideration the context of each passage. I won't list here the chapter titles. You can check Amazon.com for those. I'll just say that Dever does not shy away from difficult topics.
The most difficult in my opinion to implement is the chapter of biblical church discipline. Dever pulls no punches here. Our churches need to once again practice biblical church discipline if we are to be really faithful to God and if we want to improve not just numerically, but also in depth as well.
I must say I was impressed by reading this book. I really didn't find much I disagreed with. It's a fairly quick read, but at the same time it is not shallow. I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a fuller understanding of what a healthy church looks like.
Dever lists and expounds upon nine "marks of a healthy church"; nine things which a church must teach/practice in order to conform to Scripture. These nine marks are:
1. Expository Preaching
2. Biblical Theology
3. The Gospel
4. A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5. A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
6. A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
7. Biblical Church Discipline
8. A Concern for Discipleship and Growth
9. Biblical Church Leadership
While Dever is a Southern Baptist, and presents a baptistic and congregationalist understanding of the doctrine of the church, most of what he writes in this book will apply to evangelical churches across denominational lines. On the other hand, much of what he describes as normative for churches will sound foreign to most Southern Baptist congregations. However, he provides much support -- both from Scripture and from historic Baptist documents and Southern Baptist history books -- for his argument that things like church discipline and a plurality of elders (churches being led by a group of godly men, selected and appointed by the congregation, of which the pastor is one) have a strong tradition of practice among Baptist congregations. The ideas set forth in this book are NOT new ideas for Southern Baptists; rather, they are a return to the biblical model, which has been abandoned in large part by contemporary SBC churches.
Dever's writing is clear, concise, and easily understood by laypeople with no prior theological training, though it is thorough enough to benefit seminary-trained pastors.