Am gasit-o din intamplare si ma intereseaza daca exista deja si in limba romana. O recomand tuturor prietenilor mei.
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:
1. Expositional Preaching – Expositional preaching (otherwise known as expository preaching) is the investigation of a particular passage of Scripture whereby the pastor carefully explains the meaning of a passage and then applies it to the members of the congregation. The point of a sermon, then, takes the point of a particular passage. This is in opposition to the topical preaching showcased in the majority of evangelical churches, where Bible passages are woven together to support a pre-existing point.
2. Biblical Theology – This emphasizes not only how we are taught but also what we are taught. In a sense this should follow naturally from expository preaching because the careful exposition of a passage should lead to sound theology. The majority of poor theology arises from a lack of careful Biblical exposition. Where there is poor exposition, we should expect to eventually find poor theology.
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News – There needs to be a proper understanding and necessary emphasis on the full gospel. Where many contemporary churches teach that Jesus wants to meet our felt needs and give us a healthier self-image, that is not the gospel. The gospel message is that we are sinners who have rebelled against our Creator. But Jesus took the curse that was rightfully ours and all that remains is for us to have faith in Him so God may credit Christ’s righteousness to our account. When we de-emphasize sin and damnation to make the presentation more friendly and less offensive we cease declaring the full gospel.
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion – When we have a Biblical understanding of the gospel, we must then also have a proper understanding of conversion. Conversion is a new birth from death to life and is a work of God. It is not merely a change of attitude or a change of affection, but a change of nature. Conversion does not need to be an exciting, emotional experience, but does need to produce fruit to be judged a true conversion.
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism – The way we evangelize speaks volumes about how we understand conversion (and further, what we understand about the good news). If we believe that people are essentially good and are seeking Jesus, we evangelize using half truths and tend to elicit false conversions. When we present a watered-down gospel, we end up with a watered-down church. We need to be faithful to present the full gospel, the good news with the bad, and leave the results to God.
6. Biblical Understanding of Membership – Church membership is a privilege and a responsibility and needs to be regarded as such. People should only be members if they are dedicated to the church – in attendance, prayer, service and giving. To allow people to become and remain members for sentimental or other unbiblical reasons makes light of membership and may even be dangerous.
7. Biblical Church Discipline – Discipline guides church membership. The church has the responsibility to judge the life and teaching of the membership since they can negatively impact the church’s witness of the gospel. Leadership need to be firm in discipline as this is an expression of love to the congregation.
8. Promotion of Church Discipleship And Growth – We need to recover true discipleship – discipleship that causes Christians to live lives of increasing holiness. The emphasis on growth needs to be directed at holiness rather than membership. True discipleship producing strong, committed Christians will present a clear witness to the world.
9. Biblical Understand of Leadership – Until recent times, almost all Protestants agreed that in church government there should be a plurality of elders (which means that there should be an office of elder and not merely one or more pastors in positions of leadership). This is a Biblical and practical model that has fallen out of favor in modern times.
Dever presents a convincing argument that a return to each of these nine principles would do much to restore the church to what God intends her to be. He dedicates twenty or thirty pages to each of them, usually tracing how they were understood in church history and showing the effect they would have on today’s church. Perhaps what I appreciated most about this book is that, while he is willing to share from his own ministry, this is not a “do as I have done” type of book. Never once does he tell us how many people attend his church, trying to woo us with human credentials. All we learn about the numbers in his church is that membership decreased, but attendance increased as a result of his pastorate. Very rarely does he portray himself as the model other church leaders are to emulate. Needless to say, this stands in stark contrast to other books written to address the same topic.
So while this book left me a little bit disappointed, I realize that it was my unrealistic expectations that made it so. This is a very well-written and thoroughly biblical book. Dever expounds God’s wisdom on the church and in that way does exactly what he set out to do – he provides godly insight into what makes a healthy, vibrant church that pleases our Lord. I highly recommend it.
t’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.
What makes for a healthy church? A large congregation? Plentiful parking? Vibrant music?
You may have read books on this topic before-but not like this one. This new expanded edition of Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is not an instruction manual for church growth. It is a pastor’s recommendation of how to assess the health of your church using nine crucial qualities that are neglected by many of today’s churches.
Whether you’re a church leader or an involved member of your congregation, you can help cultivate these elements in your church, bringing it new life and health for God’s glory.
“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-Teacher
“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, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church
“This is the best book I have read on this topic of critical importance.”
-C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“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, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is a biblical prescription for faithfulness.”
-J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS