A Display of God's Glory by Mark E Dever
Dever unfolds the biblical blueprint to find a leadership structure that blesses churches with peace, but doesn't buckle under the pressures of corporate life.
- Paperback: 84 pages
- Publisher: 9Marks (January 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0970125224
- ISBN-13: 978-0970125224 / 9780970125224
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
This book is short, simple, and to-the-point. Dever argues clearly that churches should have a plurality of elders who oversee a congregational church government structure. He clearly articulates that the office of deacon is an office of service rather than authority. Dever also helps us to see why it is important that individuals take church membership seriously.
A few quotes might help to show some of the solid teaching that Dever shares in this tiny work. Dever argues that deacons are to be supporters and defenders of church unity when he writes:
Edifying and uniting the church is especially the ministry of the deacons as we see it in Acts 6. Therefore, we cannot have people serve us well as deacons who are unhappy with the church. The deacons are not those in the church who are complaining the loudest or jarring the church with their actions or attitudes. Quite the opposite! The deacons are to be the mufflers, the shock-absorbers (14).
Dever points to the role of elders in a church as one of both teaching and character by stating, "It seems that the role of the elders is fundamentally to lead God's people by teaching God's Word. This teaching must be by the public handling of God's Word and also by the exemplary lives they lead" (25). Unlike some who present elders in a church and exclude congregationalism, Dever argues that the congregation is the final earthly protector of the gospel when he asks, "Could it be that the gospel itself is so simple and clear, and the relationship that we have with God by the Holy Spirit's action in giving us the new birth is so real that the collection of those who believe the gospel and who know God are simply the best guardians of that gospel" (42)? And the author challenges churches to avoid false messages and confusion by taking membership very seriously when he writes, "Uninvolved "members" confuse both real members and non-Christians about what it means to be a Christian. And we "active" members do the voluntarily "inactive" members no service when we allow them to remain members of the church; for membership is the church's corporate endorsement of a person's salvation" (58).
The weaknesses of this book are attributable to the shortness of the work. The author simply does not have enough pages in this book to prove every point he wants to make. He also makes at least one weak argument by failing to go deep in his addressing of the question of whether or not a body of elders should have one lead pastor over it. Dever addresses that point, but, he cannot make a satisfactory argument around it.
I wholeheartedly recommend A Display of God's Glory to any church member interested in how the church should be structured. This would be a great starting point for churches that are considering eldership, biblical deacon roles, or membership issues. It is short, clear, and highly readable besides being solid in what it presents.
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