Mark Dever, What is a Healthy Church? (126 pages, Wheaton, USA: Crossway), 2007.
Mark Dever is a big proponent for the local church. Previously he has written a number of books about the local church and what is important about it. This one is no different and is essentially a more concise version of one of his previous books, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.
While only a short volume Dever packs a number of important topics within. In part 1 he details what a healthy church is, then goes on to talk of the three essential marks of a healthy church (expository preaching, Biblical theology and a Biblical understanding of the Gospel) in part 2. Part 3 is made up of six important marks of a healthy church, that being a Biblical understanding of conversion, evangelism and membership while also talking about church discipline, discipleship and leadership.
It is a very good book and one that certainly gets you thinking about a theology of the local church. I particularly like the way in which he has thought through the different and more important elements of the local church. What else is good is that he doesn’t give a model of ministry or different ideas of how church should be run but rather is giving large Biblical concepts as an over-arching guide to ones ministry philosophy. While he does talk about eldership, he doesn’t go into how one should order a service, what kind of music, how to make the place acceptable to ‘outsiders’ or visitors. What he does do is push for a church that is Biblically-centred, that is in the world but not of the world. 8/10.