Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel - by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander

"When it comes to building a people for His own name and glory, God cares how we go about participating in His redemptive purposes." (pg. 27)

"God's Word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That's why our eloquence, innovations, and programs are so much less important than we think; that's why we as pastors must give ourselves to preaching, not programs; and that's why we need to be teaching our congregations to value God's Word over programs." (pg. 35)

"...when we assume the Gospel instead of clarifying it, people who profess Christianity but don't understand or obey the Gospel are cordially allowed to presume their own conversion without examining themselves for evidence of it - which may amount to nothing more than a blissful damnation." (pg. 43)

"The only external evidence that the Bible tells us to use in discerning whether or not a person is converted is the fruit of obedience (Matt. 7:15-27; John 15:8; James 2:14-26; 1 John 2:3)." (pg. 53)

"Remember - what you win them with is likely what you'll win them to. If you win them with entertainment, they're likely to be won to the show rather than the message, which increases the likelihood of false conversions." (pg. 54ff)

"Entertainment is therefore a problematic medium for communicating the Gospel, because it nearly always obscures the most difficult aspects of it - the cost of repentance, the cross of discipleship, the narrowness of the Way." (pg. 55)

"Edification - building people up - happens when people are encouraged to understand and apply the Gospel more biblically, not necessarily when they are led into an emotional experience or encouraged to identify temporary emotional expressiveness with worship." (pg. 84ff)

"Corporate worship is not about pleasing people, whether ourselves, the congregation, or unbelieving seekers. Worship in the corporate gathering is about renewing our covenant with God by meeting with Him and relating to Him in the ways that He has prescribed." (pg. 115)

"Transformation into the likeness of the Lord happens as we gaze at Him together over time. The biblical hallmarks of church health - holiness, faith, love, sound doctrine - are cultivated in us as we are captivated by Him." (pg. 195)

"As our ministry methods become more complex, more reliant on human ingenuity, and more concerned with the approval of the world, they begin to cast a shadow on the image of God, and 'the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ' (2 Cor. 4:6) appears correspondingly dimmer. The mirror of God's Word becomes increasingly opaque, tarnished by the overapplication of human technique, and the result is a gradual diminishing of the transforming power that enables the church to reflect the character and knowledge of God." (pg. 196)

Mark Dever and Paul Alexander, The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005)