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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Matt Schmucker

Blog posts by Matt Schmucker:

9 Ways to Help 9Marks

The other day I wrote 9 reasons to give to 9Marks.  Today is 9 ways to help:1.  Begin working today to get 9Marks in your church's 2010 or 2011 budget.  Don't worry that it might be a small amount.2.  Begin working today to find a handful of supporters who would donate directly to 9Marks.3.  Host a coffee when 9Marks is nearby for a conference.4.  Host a dinner with potential donors and invite Mark Dever or me to talk to those in attendance about the mission of 9Marks.5.  Host a 9Marks Workshop in your town and plan to gather potential donors for a meal.6.  Buy a bundle of 9Marks books and pass to friends and church members letting them know that the organization's mission is worthwhile, the task is huge and their donations are carefully invested.7.  You.  You write a check and mail it to 9Marks, 525 A St. NE, Washington, DC 20002.  I promise it will be better spent than any other money you send to Washington (i.e. Your TAXES!)8.  You.  Pull out your credit card and make a donation online.  It's easy.  Just go here.9.  You.  You pray with us that God would provide all we need to accomplish His purposes for this organization.Merry Christmas to all.  It has been a great year!

9 Reasons to Give $$$ to 9Marks Before the End of the Year.

1.  We need your support to be able to give more 9Marks books away to pastors and seminarians next year.2.  We need your support to continue to address important church issues in the 9Marks 9Marks Journal.3.  We need your support to offer scholarships to more seminarians to attend Weekenders.4.  We need your support to host more regional conferences (9Marks Workshops).5.  We need your support to provide practical and theological resources for church leaders on the web.6.  We need your support to write more books, study guides and prepare translations.7.  We need your support because few organizations are devoted to equipping pastors.8.  We need your support because churches around the world need help..9.  We need your support because churches are called to display God's glory.Will you help?

Catherwood (daughter) on Lloyd-Jones (her father)

Below is from the hand of my church's faithful receptionist/secretary, Kasey Gurley:Last year when J.I. Packer was visiting Mark Dever, we had an informal Q & A with Dr. Packer in Mark’s study. 
 
Knowing I might have an opportunity to ask Dr. Packer a question
and knowing that Dr. Packer had sat under Lloyd Jones' preaching, I
googled their names together before the Q&A to help me ask a more
informed question. 
I came across this quote from the Desiring God website:
 
When J. I. Packer first heard Lloyd-Jones he said that he had
"never heard such preaching." It came to him "with the force of
electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a
sense of God than any other man" he had known.

 
I brought up this quote to Dr. Packer and asked him what set Dr.
Lloyd-Jones apart from other preachers (understanding that ultimately the
force behind his preaching was not Dr. Lloyd-Jones, but the Lord’s good
pleasure to bless Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ life and ministry).  Dr.
Packer said that he had thought about this question himself and had
boiled his thoughts down to three main things that permeated all of
Lloyd Jones’ life and teaching.
 
This week when Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ daughter, Lady Elizabeth Catherwood, was asked a
similar question during a similar informal Q&A in Mark’s study, she
repeated many of the same themes Dr. Packer had noted.  Those themes
were:
 

  1. The man deeply felt his conversion.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones never got over the
    Lord’s mercy to him in saving him and this was clear in his preaching. 
  2. The underlining issue behind his preaching was the glory of
    God.  Behind all of his preaching the main point and main issue was
    always that God be glorified and exalted.  He never treated the Lord
    casually. 
  3. He had the presence of a man who dwelt with the
    Lord in prayer.  When he preached, he sincerely preached as a man that
    had consistently lingered truly humbly before the Lord and had dwelt on
    the Truth of God in Scripture.  He brought those meditations
    and that posture to the people.

Learn Preaching in Philly!

Mark Dever and Phil Ryken will be conducting a workshop at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for Simeon Trust in February.  Here's the details:Date: February 3-5, 2010Cost: $99 before 1/20, $124 after that (this includes breakfast and lunch each day)People can register at www.simeontrust.orgThe Workshops on Biblical Exposition were
started by Kent Hughes of the College Church in Wheaton, who
modeled them after seminars led by London’s
Dick Lucas. They are sponsored by the Charles Simeon Trust, which seeks to
promote expository preaching. The training comes in three forms: lectures on preaching, model sermons, and collaborative workshops in which pastors share and critique sermon
outlines, usually working together through a book of Scripture.  This year the workshop is designed to give you the tools to preach effectively from Romans 1-5.

Resources for Those With Special Needs

I am humbled by John Knight's comments to my post on special needs the other day (you can read the full response at the second website listed below).  He has now alerted me to two resources that I did not know existed, both Bethlehem Baptist Church related.  I pray the church of Jesus Christ not miss God-given opportunities to shepherd all His people. Check out these two websites:http://www.hopeingod.org/MinistriesSpecialNeeds.aspxwww.theworksofGod.com

Should Multi-Site Churches be Church Plants Instead?

Christianity Today posted multiple answers to this question from various pastors and professors.  Click here to see them.  I'm glad the question is being asked!  For a while there seemed to be no debate.

Church Membership for "Special Needs"?

I took a call from an elder in a church yesterday asking about membership for one who has "special needs", who is apparently severely limited in his ability to relate and converse, to the point of an inability to convey the gospel in any meaningful way.  The parents of this 30 year old man are anxious to have him received into membership.  This family lives in the southern part of the U.S. and, as the elder described it, believe membership is a "right."  This is one of those times where I don't want to be an elder/pastor.  These situations break one's heart and cause sleepless nights -- am I doing the right thing by admitting or denying membership?  At some point you have to make a decision.  As difficult as it is and given the severity of the applicant's condition, I counseled the elder to view this situation as analogous to a child who was too young to communicate a credible profession of faith and therefore not grant membership.  We're not saying he is not a Christian; we're simply saying it is nearly impossible for us (the church) to discern.  But of course the church should extend care to him in every way possible.  I was asked for counsel on this matter and don't have much more to go on then I have conveyed in this post.  Can anyone give some guidelines in such a matter without getting into specifics?

Internet Baptism?

Friends,Below is the "first known internet baptism" ever. Let's not merely dismiss it as funny or quirky. Would love to know from the 9Marks bloggers their real concerns about what you are about to see.Many thanks!

Blessing of the Bikes (I'm not kidding!)

In my travels I occasionally get to attend other churches on a Sunday morning.  Often it is an enjoyable experience as I find a kindred spirit.  Sometimes it is a horrible experience as I find an anti-gospel message dressed up to look like the Christian church.  But I would say most times I find what I found in a recent trip:  the church is a truly Christian community but is employing every worldly gimmick in the book to attract people.  For instance?

I found this as I entered the lobby of one church... And then found a brochure on my pew/chair advertising an upcoming Sunday morning service called "Blessing of the Bikes" complete with a Harley-Davidson logo.  They have a special guest coming.  "Dennis Rogers:  Named pound for pound the world's strongest man" will "hold back Harleys from taking off at FULL THROTTLE!"  To begin the service there was a 30 minute rock concert in which we were supposed to sing along, but it was distractingly loud and most people simply stood and watched.  The lyrics of one song went like this...Count me in.Come on count me in.And you can count me in.Count me in.Ooh ooh.Ooh ooh.Yes, they actually flashed up on the screen the "word" ooh four times.  On the way out I used the men's room.  (Readers know I don't usually give such detail, but I can't resist.)  Hanging over the men's urinal was this... You may not be able to read the caption but it begins, "Excellence is never an accident...."  Over the men's urinal?  Out of the men's room I passed "Hebrews Cafe" where I could have purchased a latte had I been so inclined, but I was anxious to get to my car.  Fortunately, the church put large speakers in the parking lot blasting Christian music to accompany me.  Here's to EXCELLENCE!

Thoughts on Australia

Mark Dever, Philip Van Steenburg and I traveled in Australia during most of August.  Mark gave 29 talks/lectures/sermons in Brisbane and Sydney and I gave seven talks/sermons in Tamworth.  We had countless conversations with pastors and those in training as well as many small group interactions.  Best of all for 9Marks audio listeners we recorded five new interviews (due out in 2010) with:

  • Bruce Winter--formerly the warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge and now the principal at Queensland Theological College
  • Michael Bennett--author of Christianity Explained
  • William Taylor--Senior Minister at St. Helen's Bishopgate in London 
  • Phillip Jensen--Dean of Sydney and senior minister of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney 
  • Matt Chandler-- Senior Pastor of The Village Church in a suburb of Dallas, TX who happened to be traveling in Australia the same time we were.  

  A couple of takeaways from my travels:

  1. The evangelistic effort is broader than merely what's happening in Sydney.  Yes, the evangelical church is tiny in Australia, but it exists beyond the city.
  2. We spoke to loads of young, vibrant ministers which speaks well of the future of the church. 
  3. I was very surprised how well known 9Marks material was among the various groups we spoke to.  Mike McKinley is a known commodity down under! 
  4. I was equally surprised at how well versed our Australian friends are on the entire American evangelical scene.  Honestly?  I ran into loads of people who knew more particulars about Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll and John Piper than I do.  It appears many of our Australian brothers and sisters download and listen a lot.  This speaks to both the opportunity and responsibility we Americans have for good content.
  5. A minister described (to his face) Phillip Jensen as the "oldest angry young man he had ever met."  I think I know what he means.  At age 62 Phillip has the fight of a young man.  He bucks against the system when the system is broken.  He fails to conform when the gospel is at stake.  He labors to train men and women for gospel ministry with unmatched vigor.  No doubt Phillip is wrong on some fronts.  But more of us (myself included) should risk being wrong for the sake of doing right!