Saturday, 28 July 2007

Book - Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Dever) - Introduction

Dever, Mark (2004), Nine marks of a healthy church. Wheaton: Crossway Books.

Introduction

For you historians
"The Reformation made the gospel, not ecclesiastical organization, the test of the true church." (22)

Since the Reformation, Protestants have typically viewed these two marks - the preaching of the Gospel and the proper administering of the sacraments - as delineating the true church over against imposters. (23)

"true preaching of the Word; proper observance of the sacraments; and faithful exercise of church discipline" - Edmund Clowney (23)

The church today reflects the world
The two most easily recognizable hallmarks of secularization in America are the exaltation of numbers and of technique. - Os Guinness (24)

Popular models of the church
1. Liberal - F. D. E. Schleiermacher
2. Seeker-sensitive - Bill Hybels, Willow Creek
3. Traditional (evangelical) - Billy Graham, First Baptist Women's Trio

All three are in part influenced by the assumption that evident relevance and response is the key indicator of success ... From both a biblical and a historical standpoint, this assumption seems incalculably dangerous ... He calls us more fundamentally to a relationship of trust with Him than a full understanding of Him and His ways (God's Word replete with images of delayed blessing). (27)

... successful ministry not as necessarily immediately fruitful but as demonstrably faithful to God's Word. (28)

Needed: A Different Model
We need churches in which the key indicator of success is not evident results but persevering biblical faithfulness ... the preaching of the message and the leading of disciples. (28)

Preaching the message (Marks 1-5)
Mark 1 - It is a defence of the primacy of expositional preaching as a reflection of the centrality of God's Word
Mark 2 - We must understand God's truth as a coherent whole, coming to us first and foremost as a revelation of Himself. (29)

Leading the disciples (Marks 6-9)
Mark 8 - Evangelism that does not result in discipleship is not only incomplete evangelism but is entirely misconceived. (31)

The end and purpose of all this is the glory of God as we make Him known. (31)

(Eph 4:1-16) God has entrusted to His church the glory of His own name - Mark Ross (32)

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