June 02, 2007

I've Finished Reading "Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church"

Ok, so I know I'm really late to the party on this one but I just found out who Mark Dever was several months ago so give a guy a break.

For those who don't know who he is, you need to find out who he is and read this book. Mark Dever is the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC. As a result of this book has come an organization called 9 Marks which you can visit here.

IF every pastor in America read the book and at least took the meat of it to heart, it would bring another Reformation to the church. And we are in desperate need of Reformation here in the United States.

So what are the 9 Marks? I'm glad you asked. I'll post them here along with some teasing quotes from each of the chapters. You have to get this book and go to the website. Your church can't afford for you not to.

Mark 1: Expositional Preaching
What does this all mean for our churches? Simply that the preaching of the Word must be absolutely central. It shouldn't surprise you to hear that sound, expositional preaching is often a fountainhead of growth in a church.

Mark 2: Biblical Theology
If we are to be a healthy church in such times, we must be especially careful to pray for leaders in the church to have a Biblical grasp of and an experiental trust in the Sovereignty of God. Sound doctrine, in its full, biblical glory, marks a healthy church.

Mark 3: The Gospel
These other messages -- "I'm OK, You're OK" "Whatever you think of as love is God", "Jesus Is Your Friend", "You Should Live Right" --these messages are messages other than the Good News Of Christianity. They are half true at best and are dangerously untrue when they are relied on as the Christian Gospel. But this good news of Christ's death the Cross as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in Him--this Good News is not make-believe. This Good News if for real!

Mark 4: Biblical Understanding Of Conversion
And so, our churches have come to resemble Elks Clubs And Moose Lodges more than churches of the truly regenerated. The cause of such a negative witness among reputed followers of Christ, must be in some part due to the unbiblical preaching of conversion by many pastors--with blame to be shared with the church congregations that have allowed them to do that.

Mark 5: Biblical Understanding Of Evangelism
According to the Bible, evangelism may not be defined in terms of results or methods, but only in terms of faithfulness to the message preached.

Mark 6: Biblical Understanding Of Church Membership
If you commit yourself to a church, you commit yourself to a local body of people who will try to help you work through such problems.

Mark 7: Biblical Church Discipline
What we actually need to do is to close the front door and open the back door. If we really want to see our churches grow, we need to make it harder to join and be better about excluding people.

Mark 8: A Concern For Discipleship And Growth
According to Edwards, while all these things may be evidences of true Christian growth, the only certain observable sign of such growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self denial. The church should be marked by a vital concern for this kind of increasing godliness in the lives of its members.

Mark 9: Biblical Church Leadership
Instead of searching for leaders with secular qualifications, we are to search for people of character, reputation, ability to handle the Word, and who display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

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