Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Is a Healthy Church? – Mark Dever

© 2007 Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois

One thing that struck me the first time I had opportunity to encounter Mark Dever was “this guy thinks a LOT deeper than I usually do.” I’m glad that he does, because it’s given him the opportunity to develop what he calls the “9 Marks of a Healthy Church.” On my shelves I can find both a booklet and an expanded book by that title. This little book is the replacement for the booklet in introducing people to Dever’s brainchild 9 Marks Ministries.

The book itself is divided into three parts—the definition of a healthy church; then two parts dealing with the nine marks—three of which are described as “essential” (if one or more of them are missing, your church is probably not really healthy), and six remaining marks that are designated as “important” (desired, and expected in healthy churches, but not essential—these are marks that will develop as the church grows spiritually).

For the most part Dever, keeps the material flowing, and writes on a level for most readers to follow. At other times, he slips into his academic mode and will leave the unsuspecting reader behind. My advice—bear with him. He is working diligently to remain faithful to Scripture, and you’ll catch back up in a few pages. There are occasions in the reading that some will disagree with Dever’s conclusions—which is okay, but disagreement will still cause the reader to do two things (at least that is the author’s desire): think more intently about what they believe (and why it varies from Dever’s viewpoint), and study more Scripture to find the foundation for their beliefs.

This is a good little introduction to church life. You should read it. (four out of five reading glasses)

Benjamin Potter, August 31, 2010

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