This book is by Mark Dever who is the head of 9 Marks Ministries which is really about trying to help people build healthy churches. He pastors Capitol Hill Baptist Church which is only about 10-12 blocks from where I work at National Community Church. I actually had the opportunity to go have lunch with Pastor Mark a few weeks ago.
I’ll leave out my critique of these marks cause this blog will be too long. I’ll just say while P. Mark is a godly man and I had quite a pleasant lunch with him, I do differ on some key theological issues, some of which were included in this book, but there is still much I can learn from someone who has been in ministry much longer than myself, which is precisely why I scheduled a lunch with him, to learn from him. Maybe I’ll write a blog about our lunch together.
Here are the 9 Marks of a healthy church according to Dever.
1. Expositional Preaching – Meaning you should preach verse by verse through the Bible all the time and not teach topically.
2. Biblical Theology – Our theology should be shaped by the Bible and not the world or something else.
3. A Biblical Understanding of the Gospel – All churches should understand and proclaim the gospel and it should be at the heart of every sermon we preach.
4. A Biblical Understanding of Conversion – It means we understand what theologians call, “Soteriology” which is the study of how people get saved and we can tell if people are saved or not.
5. A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism – We understand how to lead people to Christ.
6. A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership – We understand what it means to be committed to a local body of believers.
7. Biblical Church Discipline – It just means the church is willing to lay down the hammer if needed in a redemptive, loving way.
8. Biblical Discipleship and Growth – We need to be committed to not only growing in numbers but growing people also.
9. Biblical Church Leadership – We need elders and deacons in the church to govern it properly.