Christians face lots of practical questions when it comes to life in the local church: How is the gospel displayed in our lives together? What are we supposed to do and believe? Different followers answer differently-even as they preach the same gospel! What should we think about such differences?
A church's life, doctrine, worship, and even polity are important issues. Yet they are so rarely addressed. The Church is Mark Dever's primer on the doctrine of the church for all who see Scripture alone as a sufficient authority for the doctrine and life of the local church. He explains to the reader what the Bible says about the nature and purpose of the church- what it is, what it's for, what it does.
Indeed, Scripture teaches us about all of life and doctrine, including how we should assemble for corporate worship and how we're to organize our corporate life together. God has revealed himself by his Word. He is speak- ing to us, preparing us to represent him today, and to see him tomorrow! A congregation of regenerate members, fulfilling the responsibilities given to us by Christ himself in his Word, regularly meeting together, led by a body of godly elders, is the picture God has given us in his Word of his church.
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Customer Reviews for The Church: The Gospel Made Visible
There is no clearer voice on the subject of church reformation in our day than Mark Dever. This recent work, "The Church: The Gospel Made Visible" elaborates in greater theological tone what he has already unfolded practically in "Nine Marks of a Healthy Church." That is not to say that the present volume is written for the scholar (after all, how much can be put forth in 166 pages?), but it is well-researched and well-referenced. The footnotes on nearly every page expand what Dever himself writes. The author chooses instead to present non-murky statements that motivate the interested reader to dig deeper into the subject of how the local church has been called to image the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. Rather than being an academic text, this book is more of a handbook on church polity. It is intended to provide a foundation or "starting point" in thinking through what the reformed local assembly is to look like. Dever begins with a brief overview of what the Bible has to say about the church. He next moves into an even briefer history of the church from its beginning until now. In the final section, he discusses the practical implications of local church life and argues why the Congregational-Baptist model best fits the biblical pattern. The final chapter of the book is entitled "What Does This Matter?" and whets the reader's appetite for more discussion about the importance of church membership and church discipline. "The Church" would make an excellent volume for small group study within churches looking to reform. It lacks enough detailed content to serve as an ecclesiology text in a more advanced course of study, but it would serve well as a complementary volume.