This is simply the most Biblically invigorating work on the 'how to' of church that is available today. Absolutely essential reading for any conservative evangelical church who are serious about really prioritising and focussing on what's Biblically important in the present day morass of quasi/liberal evangelical thinking and cartloads of 'church programmes' all claiming to be Biblical, but which are weak on doctrine and merely accommodate the world. Nine Marks is a must!
Peter Millist Pastor Artillery Street Evangelical Church Colchester
I was initially sceptical about 9 Marks. There are enough church sucess books to drive you crazy and I bought this in desperation rather than expectation! However having read it I think this is a bit different and definately worth a read. Mark Dever doesn't set out to give an exhaustive list of the characteristics of a good church but picks 9 areas of weakness and says why he thinks these are important. The 9 Marks are 1. Expositional Preaching, 2. Biblical Theology, 3. The Gospel, 4. A Biblical Understanding of Conversion, 5. A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism, 6. A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership, 7. Biblical Church Discipline, 8. Concern for Discipleship and Growth, 9. Biblical Church Leadership. Although I didn't agree with all the detail I found his diagnosis really helpful in seeing areas of weakness in my own thinking and our church life. So don't just get the book if you think you'll agree with him even if you think you'll disagree it's worth being made to think. One slightly nauseating point about the book is the regularity with which Capitol Hill Baptist Church(where Mark Dever is pastor)is mentioned as a good model. If you can see past this it's definately worth getting hold of whether you're a church pastor, leader or member.
There's nothing ground-breaking here. Nothing new and earth-shattering; instead it's wisdom applied to the question of "how,do we 'do' church?" The wisdom comes primarily from the Bible, but also from church history.
If you're blessed to have come from a good, healthy church much will seem obvious and needless (Thank God!!), but sadly a lot of Christians will find themselves challenged over some unscriptual assumptions.