11 provocative quotes on the church by Mark Dever

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is a provocative book which challenges use to think biblically about what a church looks like. Check out some quotes below:

1 - Do we believe the Bible is actually God's word?

We say that we believe the Bible is actually God’s Word, God speaking to us, and yet so often we ignore it and set it aside and refuse to give time to thinking about it. Instead, our lives are absorbed by things such as going out to dinner with a friend, watching television, or reading books other than the Bible. None of those things are bad. But what does it mean when we say that the Bible is the Word of God? It means that we must hear it and heed it.

2 - Preaching in line with the word of God

We should want pastors who will preach from the Word of God, but we should also carefully listen to what the pastor says and decide whether or not what he says is according to the Word of God. We need not just someone who claims to preach from the Word, but someone who substantially does that—whose sermons are in line with what the Word of God actually teaches. 

3 - Is everything fine?

We are at our most dangerous point spiritually when we think everything is fine.

4 - Reflecting on the relationship

We can’t just say, “Oh well, I only broke seventeen of God’s laws this week—that’s not so bad.” No, the issue is, what does it say about our relationship with God Himself if we knowingly disregard His law? What’s going on between us and God?

5 - Joyful evangelism

When you understand that evangelism isn’t converting people, but that it is telling them the wonderful truth about God, the great news about Jesus Christ, then obedience to the call to evangelize can become certain and joyful. Understanding this increases evangelism, as it moves away from being a guilt-driven burden to being a joyful privilege.

6 - Committed to local church

By identifying ourselves with a particular church, we let the pastors and other members of that local church know that we intend to be committed in attendance, giving, prayer, and service. We allow fellow believers to have greater expectations of us in these areas, and we make it known that we are the responsibility of this local church. We assure the church of our commitment to Christ in serving with them, and we call for their commitment to serve and encourage us as well.

7 - Uninvolved members

Uninvolved members confuse both real members and non-Christians about what it means to be a Christian. We “active” members do the voluntarily “inactive” members no service when we allow them to remain members of the church. Membership is the church’s corporate endorsement of a person’s salvation.

8 - Recognising members

If we are more careful about how we recognize and receive new members, we will have less occasion to practice corrective church discipline later.

9 - Church discipline

Corrective church discipline is never to be done out of meanness of spirit but only out of a love for the offending party and the members of the church individually, and ultimately out of our love for God Himself.

10 - Elders

The Bible clearly models a plurality of elders in each local church. Though it never suggests a specific number of elders for a particular congregation, the New Testament refers to “elders” in the plural in local churches (e.g., Acts 14:23; 16:4; 20:17; 21:18; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). When you read through Acts and the Epistles, there is always more than one elder being talked about.

11 - Leadership qualifications

Instead of searching for leaders with secular qualifications, we are to search for people of character, reputation, ability to handle the Word, and who display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Those are the kinds of people we should recognize and into whose hands we should commit the responsibility of leading a congregation.