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The Church: The Gospel Made Visible (9Marks) [Paperback]

Mark Dever
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433677768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433677762
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 682,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Baptists Egg 4 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mark Dever is Baptist, not Anglican, but this is a curates egg of a book.

I am a Dever fan and over the past few years have found him and his 9 Marks (...) organisation tremendously helpful. He has helped me to sharpen up my ecclesiology and to think more carefully through such subjects as church membership and discipline. The church I pastor is historically Baptist, so I also have that direct connection with Dever.

In The Church Dever seeks to set out a clear doctrine of the church, and as such this is a very useful book. I shall certainly be recommending it when I teach ecclesiology in our leadership training program. In three sections Dever explores what the Bible says about the church; what the church has believed about the church; and how this should all fit together in the local congregation. It is all good stuff, and zips along nicely, giving plenty of material while not getting too bogged down in detail.

Dever has a real passion for the church, as all Christians should. He has devoted his life to serving a local congregation and his love for the body of Christ shines through. I am with him all the way on this. As the first sentence of the first chapter puts it, "The church is the body of people called by God's grace through faith in Christ to glorify him together by serving him in his world." Amen!

So, so far so good.

Where I found The Church less satisfying is that it reads very much like a detailed membership course for people looking to join Dever's church. It could do with being more engaging and lyric, while no less factual. Also, almost inevitably, Dever comes to the conclusion that the ideal expression of the local church is the type of church that he leads!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dever on The Church 28 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an extremely helpful guide to Biblical principles of the church. Dever as a Baptist and Congregationalist puts forward this view, but argues for it competently from scripture. I found the book a great help in thinking through some very important principles of the local church.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Biblical, practical and clearly presented. 1 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author constantly grounds his teaching in Scripture, honestly and graciously handles different opinions, clearly states his own convictions, and suggests how these important church truths are to be applied to contemporary church life. Eminently readable and challenging.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Baptist Ecclesiology 17 July 2012
Format:Paperback
Dever has written a great book on the theology of the church, it is written from a baptist prespective however there is solid biblical teaching in there for everyone to benefit from. Highly recommended.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Baptist Ecclesiology 4 Jun 2012
By Corey Sosebee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have you been searching for a modern Baptist ecclesiology? Look no further. Mark Dever says in the opening pages that he decided to rewrite and expand his chapter from Akin's A Theology for the Church into book length because nothing has been produced like this from a Baptistic perspective. There just aren't any works that we can point people to. So, now you have a new resource. This is not a long book either. It's very manageable. Dever, a true scholar, made this book very accesible. Neither does he need many words to express what he has to say. The words he does use are powerful. It's one of those books that you will want to underline almost every sentence.

It's densely packed with insight from a pastor-theologian who has built his preaching ministry around the Word of God. Dever's passion is for healthy churches. He believes that God's Word is sufficient for every aspect of the church. This is the first part of the book. I. What Does the Bible Say? Here he gives us the biblical foundations of the church. Then he looks at historical issues related to the life of the church in II. What Has the Church Believed? Finally Dever answers in the final part III. How Does It All Fit Together? This is the modern application for church life.

While I did initially expect the book to be longer, Dever packs it with footnotes and points the reader to many reference sources. It's a great primer on Ecclesiology. I would recommend it if you're familiar with Dever's previous works on healthy churches because this treatment of the church seems to be more of a complete thought, more well-rounded. And, if you're not familiar with Dever this would be the best place to start.

Let me answer an objection I could foresee, "Read a Baptist book?" Yes, even if you're not persuaded by credobaptism, this book will truly help you biblically define what a church is. Dever's solid foundations and formulations will challenge you to think Scripturally about many of our accepted practices within the church today. Many of the blurbs in the front will attest to this as well.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Baptist Egg 4 Sep 2012
By Matthew Hosier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mark Dever is Baptist, not Anglican, but this is a curates egg of a book.

I am a Dever fan and over the past few years have found him and his 9 Marks [...] organisation tremendously helpful. He has helped me to sharpen up my ecclesiology and to think more carefully through such subjects as church membership and discipline. The church I pastor is historically Baptist, so I also have that direct connection with Dever.

In The Church Dever seeks to set out a clear doctrine of the church, and as such this is a very useful book. I shall certainly be recommending it when I teach ecclesiology in our leadership training program. In three sections Dever explores what the Bible says about the church; what the church has believed about the church; and how this should all fit together in the local congregation. It is all good stuff, and zips along nicely, giving plenty of material while not getting too bogged down in detail.

Dever has a real passion for the church, as all Christians should. He has devoted his life to serving a local congregation and his love for the body of Christ shines through. I am with him all the way on this. As the first sentence of the first chapter puts it, "The church is the body of people called by God's grace through faith in Christ to glorify him together by serving him in his world." Amen!

So, so far so good.

Where I found The Church less satisfying is that it reads very much like a detailed membership course for people looking to join Dever's church. It could do with being more engaging and lyric, while no less factual. Also, almost inevitably, Dever comes to the conclusion that the ideal expression of the local church is the type of church that he leads! I think we all do this - if we didn't, presumably we would join a church with a different ecclesiology - so I don't blame Dever for it; but it becomes irritating at those points where his arguments are not so strong as he tries to contend. This is especially the case with his defense of Congregationalism.

Dever argues for `elder led' rather that `elder ruled' congregations (despite the fact that I should think his word is pretty much law at Capitol Hill Baptist) but highlights the flaw in his model when he writes, "On matters that are important and clear, the elders and congregation should normally agree; and when they do not, the authority of the congregation is final." The problem with this, of course, is who gets to define `important and clear'? I think it is very hard to argue from the New Testament that local congregations were the ones who determined doctrine. Instead, local elders, under apostolic authority, have responsibility to guard the truth and guard the flock.

In the churches I am most familiar with I think the congregational aspect of ecclesiology has often been underplayed - largely as a swing against the terrible abuses of Congregationalism that many of an earlier generation experienced in Baptist churches. At the church I lead we have been working to rectify this, placing increased emphasis upon membership and members meetings; in the role of the whole congregation in exercising church discipline and recognizing new members; and so on. However, rather than Dever's pure congregationalism I would argue for a blend of Congregationalism and Presbyterianism - a congregation which exercises its proper responsibilities, led by a team of elders who have recognized spiritual authority, who in turn choose to submit to an external presbytery (or, in our case, `apostolic' ministry).

But of course, I would say that, wouldn't I.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview and Reevaluation of the Purpose and Structure of the Church 8 Mar 2014
By paddleB4long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was well researched and supported by Scripture. I enjoyed the historical overview and the author's noting of many critical points in the history of the church. My impression is the author holds a "Baptist" viewpoint, doctrinally speaking, but I would not label it as "heavy handed" or exclusive by any means. (I do not identify as Baptist) His addressing the ordinance of baptism could be construed as avoiding one of the more prolific practices of many Baptist churches today, the issue of "the sinner's prayer" and how it relates to conversion, separate from baptism. (Some readers will think that not addressing this critically goes without saying, while others might find it curiously absent). That aside, I still found the book a balanced presentation of the role of the church that offers solid insight to its structure and practices.

There is much Truth to be reminded of for today's Church and the author makes his case by applying a broad range of Scripture and recalling the relationship of God with His children. Don't expect anecdotes, contemporary illustrations or "5 Steps to Have a Biblical Church", it's not that kind of a book. It is more systematic rather than "self help"or philosophical. At it heart it is rather thorough examination of the historical Church, it's divine purpose and the call to be firmly rooted in the Scriptures as it represents the Glory of God to the world today.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read 15 Feb 2014
By James T. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mark Dever is one of todays Pastors that does not bend the Word of God. This is a good practical view of what God's Word says the church should be. Anyone can find truth here from Pastors to people like me that needs to see the church looks like and how it functions well. Any book 9Marks has is an excellent read for every Christian who is seeking the truth about Jesus.
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed 11 July 2014
By matt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dever's volume on the church is desperately needed today. The way he theologically shows why the church is needed and the purpose it serves encouraged my soul. I wish everyone who sits in church pew this Sunday would read this. I believe it would serve to greatly improve the health and effectiveness of our churches.
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