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What Is a Healthy Church? (9Marks)

What Is a Healthy Church? (9Marks) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Dever

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Product Description

Product Description

What is an ideal church, and how can you tell?

How does it look different from other churches? More importantly, how does it act differently, especially in society? Many of us aren't sure how to answer those questions, even though we probably have some preconceived idea. But with this book, you don't have to wonder any more.

Author Mark Dever seeks to help believers recognize the key characteristics of a healthy church: expositional preaching, biblical theology, and a right understanding of the gospel. Dever then calls us to develop those characteristics in our own churches. By following the example of New Testament authors and addressing church members from pastors to pew sitters, Dever challenges all believers to do their part in maintaining the local church. What Is a Healthy Church? offers timeless truths and practical principles to help each of us fulfill our God-given roles in the body of Christ.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 162 KB
  • Print Length: 130 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1581349378
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (19 Jun 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017JWL5A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #470,146 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Introduction to Church Health 4 Sep 2007
By Tim Challies - Published on
I spoke to Mark Dever just about a year ago and asked him if there were any new books in his future. At that time he mentioned that he'd soon have a book out dealing with personal evangelism but that he had nothing planned after that. It seems that his plans changed! The book on evangelism is due for release in just a few days (September 11). It has been preceded by What is a Healthy Church and will be followed by The Church and Her Challenges. What is a Healthy Church? is a shortened, introductory version of Dever's previous book 9 Marks of a Healthy Church written primarily for people in the pews rather than the men in the pulpits. After all, church health is not the sole responsibility of a local church's leadership. "If you call yourself a Christian but you think a book about healthy churches is a book for church leaders or maybe for those `theological types,' while you would rather read books about the church life, it may be time to stop and consider again exactly what the Bible says a Christian is." Said even more forcefully, "you and all the members of your church, Christian, are finally responsible before God for what your church becomes, not your pastors and other leaders--you." Despite this, we might rightly ask, How many Christians have ever read a book about church health?

If you are familiar with Mark Dever's ministry you know that he can be provocative, though always in a sanctified way. This book is no exception. Consider this, a portion of a short anecdote he shares: "If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell." Why would Dever extend such a warning and do so at the beginning of the book? "I want [the reader] to see something of the urgency of the need for a healthy local church in the Christian's life and to begin sharing the passion for the church that characterizes both Christ and his followers." Church health and church membership really are that important.

The book falls into three parts. In the first, Dever answers the question of "What is a healthy church," ultimately defining it as "a congregation that increasingly reflects God's character as his character has been revealed in his Word." In the second part he looks at the first few of the nine marks of a healthy church, defining three of them as essential: expositional preaching, biblical theology, and a biblical understanding of the Good News. In the final part he looks at the remaining six "important" marks, which are: a biblical understanding of conversion, a biblical understanding of evangelism, a biblical understanding of membership, biblical church discipline, biblical discipleship and growth, and biblical church leadership. Those who have read 9 Marks of a Healthy Church will recognize parts two and three as a summary of nine chapters of that earlier book.

My wife and I have been members of an unhealthy church in the past (though, thankfully, we are now privileged to be members of a distinctly healthy church) and I suppose the one thing I would wonder about a book like this is how likely it is to make its way into churches that may need it most! After all, pastors of unhealthy churches will certainly not be likely to commend it to the members. In a few locations, and most notably at the end, Dever urges caution to those who are members of unhealthy churches, urging them to proceed carefully and biblically in trying to bring about change. "Pray, serve, encourage, set a good example in your own life, and be patient. A healthy church is less about a place that looks a certain way, and more about a people who love in the right way." This is a valuable charge and one that clearly proceeds from a pastor's heart.

What is a Healthy Church? is a valuable little book and one I hope is widely distributed and widely read. Churches that truly seek to be healthy should be glad to distribute this among its members and to discuss it. I think it could make a valuable title for study. Those who truly desire church health have nothing to fear from it, and certainly a lot to gain.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healthy Advice 28 Sep 2007
By W. Worcester - Published on
In Mark Dever's remarkable style, this small text is both poignant and concise, delivering a remarkable amount of information in a credible and easily digestable way. He writes from experience, often giving personal examples, but also from a heart focused on a Christian vision grounded in biblical truths. There are excellent principles stated with motivational certainty of God's church alive and well when His followers are obedient and worship and work together in a covenantal relationship. Mark Dever has other more intense and well-developed books on church life and integrity, but this one is a gem and an easy "starter course."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Basic Training for Church Members 31 Mar 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Mark Dever has written What is a Healthy Church? as a shorter, concise, companion piece to his larger volume Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. As such, this review will roughly encompass the merits of both, since the shorter book remains very true to the original. Healthy Church is written on the premise that there are nine “marks” that identify a healthy church. Dever is very clear in stating that these marks do not define a church, as he affirms the classical church doctrine that a church is a regular gathering of believers that teaches the Bible and administers sacraments. Healthy Church does not seek to uncover the most basic definition of a church or to codify the minimum requirements for a church to be a true church. Rather, this book seeks to enable the reader to evaluate his own church or others for their health, with the rationale that a believer should seek a healthy church – or seek to improve the health of his own church – since “a healthy church is a congregation that increasingly reflects God’s character as His character has been revealed in His Word.”

Healthy Church is divided up into three sections. The first sets out to describe and identify a healthy church. It attempts to win readers to the understanding that a healthy church is vital to Christian life. The primary arguments center on the church’s role in God’s plan for spreading the gospel, the church’s unique ability to combat sin in its members, and the church’s representation of God’s character. In this section and throughout the book, Dever supports his premises with an incredible amount of scripture while still communicating integral truths in the terms of the layperson. The flow of ideas is easy to follow and a comprehensive picture of the church seems attainable despite such widespread disagreement among Christians about the church.

The second section consists of “essential” marks of a healthy church, of which there are three. These three, plus the remaining six “important” marks make up the titular Nine Marks of the original volume. The essential marks are considered by Dever to be the absolute core of a church’s health, without which it will wither, even if the doors remain open. They are: expository preaching, Biblical theology, and the true gospel. Each of these marks is well-defined and supported with scripture and Dever’s rationale for considering them essential. The third sections includes the important, but non-essential marks of conversion, evangelism, membership, discipline, discipleship, and leadership. These marks are considered to be non-essential because Dever believes that, in the presence of the essential marks, the others will steadily grow as well.

Clocking in at just 120 small pages, this is not a comprehensive manual on ecclesiology, but accurately bills itself to be a quality introduction to the topic for the layperson. It is very readable and lays a solid foundation for discussion and further study. There are many quality metaphors and analogies in addition to highly practical breakdowns of the principles discussed as applied to real church scenarios.

On the whole, Healthy Church is a Biblical, well-written, accessible book that accurately lays out the marks of a healthy church. These marks are not all that a church should have, nor are they arbitrary. Rather, they are timely for our age and both encouraging and convicting to church members.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Biblical Vision of the Church 24 Oct 2008
By Trevin Wax - Published on
Take Mark Dever's The Deliberate Church and 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, condense them down to their core ideas, and you have What is a Healthy Church? This small book (128 pages) published by Crossway serves as a splendid introduction to Dever's practical insights into the reformation of the evangelical church.

What is a Healthy Church is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the biblical vision of church - a people, not a place - a family, a fellowship, a body - and the people through whom God's glory is most brilliantly displayed. Dever emphasizes the importance of commitment, church membership, and theological integrity.

The second section lists three essential marks of a church. These are the marks that Dever claims must never be compromised. He considers expositional preaching, biblical theology, and a biblical understanding of the gospel as the three core elements that are essential to church health.

The third section lists six other marks of a healthy church (though he calls these "important" rather than "essential.") These marks are a biblical understanding of conversion, of evangelism, of membership, biblical church discipline, discipleship and growth, as well as biblical leadership.

Dever warns his readers to not abandon weak or struggling churches and their ministries too quickly. He offers "quick tips" for those who consider leaving their church. His tips include prayer, motivation-checking, reconcilation, and an emphasis on humility. Dever also gives sound advice to those who do leave a church, passionately pleading for unity and forgiveness instead of schism and heartache.

Throughout the book, Dever weaves personal testimony and memorable illustrations into the text in order to elucidate his argument and to keep the book light and practical. Though Dever makes some weighty statements, this book can be read quickly and with relative ease. Busy pastors might be inclined to pick this book up before trying Dever's other, longer works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense and good biblical teaching 20 May 2014
By Dan and Judy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What does it mean to be a healthy biblical New Testament church? Many members and some pastors fail to realize, or have never been taught, what the church should look like and what the responsibility is of each member. Mr. Dever does a good job of explaining both in this easy to read book.
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