Friday, February 15, 2008

How to choose a church

Here's a great little list of priorities in looking for a new church from Mark Dever's book, "What is a healthy church"

How To Find A Good Church

1. Pray.

2. Seek counsel from a godly pastor (or from elders).

3. Keep your priorities straight.
• The gospel must be truly affirmed, clearly preached, and faithfully lived out. A serious lack in any of these expressions of the gospel
is very dangerous.
• The preaching must be faithful to Scripture, personally challenging, and central to the congregation’s life. You will only grow spiritually
where Scripture is treated as the highest authority.
• Also very important is to consider how the church regulates baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church membership, church discipline, and
who has the final say in decision making.
• In short, read chapters 5 to 13 in this book!

4. Ask yourself diagnostic questions such as:
• Would I want to find a spouse who has been brought up under this church’s teaching?
• What picture of Christianity will my children see in this church—something distinct or something a lot like the world?
• Would I be happy to invite non-Christians to this church? That is, would they clearly hear the gospel and see lives consistent with
it? Does the church have a heart for welcoming and reaching non-Christians?
• Is this church a place where I can minister and serve?

5. Consider geography. Would the church’s physical proximity to your home encourage or discourage frequent involvement and service? If
you’re moving to a new area, try to locate a good church home before you buy a house.


Get the whole book here.

HT: New Attitude

Friday, February 1, 2008

Great post on cooperation over on the 9Marks blog

Mark Dever was speaking earlier this week at the Acts 29 conference up in Chicago.

I think he's spoken pretty boldly and wisely here:

Our differences are enough to separate some of my friends—your brothers and sisters in Christ—from you. And perhaps to separate them from me, now that I’m publicly speaking to you. And I don’t want to minimize either the sincerity or the seriousness of some of their concerns (things like: humor, worldliness, pragmatism, authority).

But I perceive some things in common which outweigh our differences—which the Lord Jesus shall soon enough compose between us, either by our maturing, or by His bringing us home. I long to work with those, and count it a privilege to work with those whom My Savior has purchased with His blood, and with whom I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I perceive that we have in common the knowledge that God is glorified in sinners being reconciled to Him through Christ. This is not taught by other religions, nor clearly by the ancient Christian churches of the East, or by Rome, by liberal Protestant churches, by Mormons, the churches of Christ, or by groups of self-righteous, legalistic, moralistic Christians. And not only do we together affirm the exclusivity of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone—we agree on the sovereignty of God in life and salvation, the regenerate nature of church members, the importance of church membership and discipline, the baptism of believers alone, the priorities of expositional preaching, and evangelism, the importance of authority and a growing appreciation for the significance of complementarianism. These are not slight matters. And they only fire my desire to encourage you and cheer you on, until you cross that finish line that the Lord lays down for us.

For more great (and highly amusing) posts about the conference on the blog read here,
and here.