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What Is A Healthy Church? [Hardcover]

By Mark Dever (Author)
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Item description for What Is A Healthy Church? by Mark Dever...

Guides both pastors and members to recognize key characteristics of a healthy church and then challenge each person to do his or her part in developing those characteristics in the local church body.

Publishers 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.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   128
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.13" Width: 5.25" Height: 0.54"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 19, 2007
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1581349378  
ISBN13  9781581349375  

Availability  27 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 08:04.
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More About Mark Dever

Mark Dever

Mark Dever (PhD, Cambridge University) is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks ( Dever has authored over a dozen books and speaks at conferences nationwide.

Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues. Both can be accessed at

C. J. Mahaney is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He has written, edited and contributed to numerous books, including Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology; Don't Waste Your Sports; and Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of three married daughters and one son, and the happy grandparents to twelve grandchildren.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile (MS, North Carolina State University) serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, and is the author of numerous books. He serves as a council member of the Gospel Coalition, is a lead writer for 9Marks Ministries, and regularly blogs at The Front Porch and Pure Church. He and his wife, Kristie, have three children.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.

Mark Dever has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 9Marks
  2. 9marks: Building Healthy Churches
  3. Church Basics
  4. Good Book Guide
  5. IX Marks
  6. Together for the Gospel

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about What Is A Healthy Church??

A Biblical Vision of the Church  Oct 24, 2008
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.
Great Book  Sep 5, 2008
This book needs to be read by all pastors desiring to have healthy churches. Mark has captured the biblical mandate for healthy churches. It was a easy read and once I started I could not put it down. At times while reading I had to stop and ask for God's forgiveness.

The world needs healthy churches today more than ever and as pastors God has given us the responsiblity to work with Him to grow healthy churches.

Too brief  Feb 26, 2008
Mark Dever has created a nice summary of obvious points regarding church health. In this book, he fails to investigate any of those points in depth. The lack of detail is disappointing. He has created a work that merely skims the surface of potentially deep issues. This is a very short work and a very quick read. When you are done, you find yourself no further ahead than when you started. He mentions a few obvious factors of church health but does not develop any of those thoughts. This is a good book if you are looking for a quick summary of church health issues. If you are looking for a indepth study, keep looking. You won't find it here.
Healthy Advice  Sep 28, 2007
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."
A Solid Introduction to Church Health  Sep 4, 2007
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.

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