In response to Crossway’s release of What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever, I submitted a few questions to Dr. Dever, which he was gracious enough to answer. The brief text-interview is below:
1) We hear a lot today about contextualization of the Gospel. What is your view of the role of contextualization and church health?
My view changes with the definition of contextualization. The more we are talking about contextualization as the basic translation of God’s truth into language we understand (e.g. including even literal translations from the Hebrew and Greek into local language), then such contextualization is vital. On the other hand, the more we are talking about the eating habits of nurses in St. Louis on the night shift needing to be understood in order to witness to them then the less central such contextualization is to the gospel and church health.
2) One of the things that most impressed me when I came to a “Weekender” was the culture of service at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. What advice would you give on how a pastor can cultivate an attitude of service in his own heart and then build it into the life of the local church?
A pastor should cultivate, within his own heart, a continuing stunned and surprised joy of God’s inclusion of him in the gospel, to take a way any sense of entitlement, and this should encourage graciousness and service that should come from such an appreciation.
3) Do you have a sort of outline or structure in your mind when you think of discipleship or do you think of it more as a dynamic, person by person process? Even if it is the latter, are there certain signs of growth that you watch for as you walk with someone?
I do think of it as the latter, and yes there are signs of growth that I would generally watch for. One of the chief would be an obvious concern growing in the heart of the disciple for other people and for God’s glory and will to be accomplished in the lives of others – for his thoughts to be more taken up with others than with himself.
4) What are your thoughts on the relationship between youth ministry, as it is typically practiced in churches here in the States, and church health?
The most important teaching the youth receive is from the home, if they are from a Christian home, and from the pulpit.
5) Are there dangers or pitfalls that you see afflicting pastors and/or churches that are sympathetic with the mission of 9Marks?
The whole purpose of 9Marks, in one sense, is to identify and defeat certain temptation in the ministry. So, my short answer would be no. I think that we share all the same temptations and difficulties with other pastors.
6) Are there blogs that you find particularly helpful, or do you mainly avoid them altogether? Is there something you do to make sure that blogs and other daily stuff (political news, etc.) don’t keep you from your Canon of Theologians?
I don’t read blogs much.
Those interested in reading or hearing Dever sermons can check out the sermon page on the Capitol Hill Baptist Church website.
We praise God for the ministry he has given you, Mark, and we extend to you our hearty thanks for your faithful service and example, for your work on this and other books, and for this interview! May God continue to bless CHBC and 9Marks.
Great interview Jim.
Of course it is disappointing that he does not read our blogs….. -:)
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