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Nine Marks of a Healthy Church Paperback – 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; Enlarged edition edition (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158134631X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581346312
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. The problem is not that it is a poor book but more that I had unrealistic expectations of it. I was hoping this book would be everything the church growth manuals are not; that it would be a knockout punch against church growth. It is not all of this, but that does not mean it is without value. I suppose I expected it to be a rebuttal of the seeker-friendly/church growth movement, but this is not what it is inteded to be. In retrospect, this is far better, for the book begins and ends with the Bible and the wisdom of God rather than with a rebuttal of the the wisdom of men. This book represents an interesting contrast to other books on this topic that have emerged from the Southern Baptist Convention, most notably The Purpose Driven Church. Where Warren's book claims to be about church health it is clear that the true focus is on growth. In 9 Marks, Mark Dever is able to seperate health from growth, rules from results. The focus of this book is on "being" church rather than "doing" church - on accentuating biblical perspectives on personal holiness above numbers or cultural relevance.

The author, Mark Dever, is pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Washington, D.C., and also heads up IX Marks Ministries. Dever seems to be anything but typical as a Southern Baptist pastor, and with his thoroughly Reformed theology must represent a minority position within the Convention. In this book, as in IX Marks Ministries, he seeks to rediscover the pillars of the church as outlined in the Bible and practiced in traditional Protestant churches. Here is a brief overview of the 9 marks he identifies:

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Format: Paperback
In the age of the pragmatic Purpose-Driven Church movement with Church Growth gurus such as Rick Warren, C. Wagner, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, and Bill Hybels, Mark Dever's book is a breath of fresh air of true biblical and sound theological analysis of a healthy church.

I appreciate Dever's focus on church health rather than church growth. Too often the stress is on getting the crowd (goats) and mix them with sheep but in Dever's case he has a true passion for teaching and preaching healthy disciples. Each chapter was well thought out and quite easy to read. Dever is not writting a classroom text book on the local church but merely the marks of a healthy congregation focused on the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus.

For those who want the get big, get rich quick books, this book is not for you. Dever is not interested in building a seeker model or a purpose driven model but a biblical model and this takes time and energy. I appreaciated Dever's willingness to wrestle with Scripture and not just give his opinions on the local church. He truly gave me a book that I could use on a practical level.
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Format: Paperback
It's always interesting to read through the reviews people post on a book... the range of opinion is quite wide.

I attended Dr. Dever's church in Washington D.C. for a semester in college. Anyone who has done so knows that Dr. Dever's book is not a mere set of ideas or pie-in-the-sky visions, but instead are biblically based concepts that Capitol Hill Baptist Church practices with great faithfulness. In my semester there, I only had two Sundays (in four months) in which I was NOT invited to lunch afterward. I became friends with people in many different age groups and life situations. Most importantly, I recieved the best biblical teaching and training that I had experienced before or since.

It's a major mistake to accuse Dr. Dever of being high-brow or "suburban". The fact is, CHBC is right in the middle of Washington, D.C. Its members are from countries all over the world, from different economic situations and backgrounds. Top officials in the federal government chat easily with grocery store clerks. It truly is a display of God's glory.

Further, Dr. Dever's preaching is consistently excellent without being condescending. He spends phenomenal amounts of time studying the Scriptures (a constant point of amusement at CHBC is his complete lack of sports knowledge), and yet the average Joe coming to CHBC for the first time has no problem understanding what he's saying.

9 Marks of a Healthy Church is the best book on church health (which is more important than growth) that I have come across. Most important, it is the best because it is the most faithful to the principles already in Scriture. Those churches that honestly seek to glorify God in their corporate life and worship will find this to be an excellent guide.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Mark Dever's 9 Marks of a Healthy Church is must reading for 21st century pastors and lay leaders. It is an excellent book (however, I still think the best book on the church is Dr. John MacArthur's The Master's Plan for the Church), which I read in less than 72 hours--not normal for me at all.

9 Marks gives its readers "a plan for recovering biblical preaching and church leadership at a time when too many congregations are languishing in a merely notional and nominal Christianity" because the "purpose of too many churches has fallen from one of glorifying God simply to growing larger, assuming that that goal, however achieved, must glorify God" (25). Because of this, Dr. Dever's goal is "to call attention to some important aspects of church life that have been overlooked or even forgotten in modern American Christian life" (148).

So, for churches who have glorifying God as their highest goal and health as their desired description, what are the 9 Marks Dr. Dever prescribes:

1. Expositional 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 reading the first five chapters, the one thought that kept coming to my mind was "Thank God for the seminary I went to (The Master's Seminary) because from day 1 and for all 4 years, these values were firmly and effectively hammered into our brains so that the first 5 chapters ended up being a very good review.

For instance, I could not agree more with Dr.
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