What does it mean to say that Calvary Baptist Church is a 9 Marks Church?
The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church is a book written in 2001 by Pastor Mark Dever. A Baptist Pastor in Washington D.C. The 9 Marks website is based on the book and lists the churches across the United States that subscribe to the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.
If you are looking for a church home and you are seeking a church that strives to be balanced and healthy, then we recommend our church. We are the only church in the City of Sand Springs that is listed as a 9 Marks Church.
While you likely will have no problem finding a church with a large building, entertaining youth activities and motivational speeches, we at Calvary have taken a different approach. We believe that by striving to be a 9 Marks Church, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for His Church. We would love for you to join us.
The 9 Marks are listed as:
1. Expositional Preaching This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.
2. Biblical Theology Paul charges Titus to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught, but with what we are taught. Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News The gospel is the heart of Christianity. But the good news is not that God wants to meet people’s felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge. Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ’s acquittal to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is the good news.
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion The spiritual change each person needs is so radical, so near the root of us, that only God can do it. We need God to convert us. Conversion need not be an emotionally heated experience, but it must evidence itself in godly fruit if it is to be what the Bible regards as a true conversion.
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism How someone shares the gospel is closely related to how he understands the gospel. To present it as an additive that gives non-Christians something they naturally want (i.e. joy or peace) is to present a half-truth, which elicits false conversions. The whole truth is that our deepest need is spiritual life, and that new life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus. We present the gospel openly, and leave the converting to God.
6. Biblical Understanding of MembershipMembership should reflect a living commitment to a local church in attendance, giving, prayer and service; otherwise it is meaningless, worthless, and even dangerous. We should not allow people to keep their membership in our churches for sentimental reasons or lack of attention. To be a member is knowingly to be traveling together as aliens and strangers in this world as we head to our heavenly home.
7. Biblical Church Discipline Church discipline gives parameters to church membership. The idea seems negative to people today – “didn’t our Lord forbid judging?” But if we cannot say how a Christian should not live, how can we say how he or she should live? Each local church actually has a biblical responsibility to judge the life and teaching of its leaders, and even of its members, particularly insofar as either could compromise the church’s witness to the gospel.
8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth A pervasive concern with church growth exists today – not simply with growing numbers, but with growing members. Though many Christians measure other things, the only certain observable sign of growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial. These concepts are nearly extinct in the modern church. Recovering true discipleship for today would build the church and promote a clearer witness to the world.
9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership What eighteenth-century Baptists and Presbyterians often agreed upon was that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church. This plurality of elders is not only biblical, but practical — it has the immense benefit of rounding out the pastor’s gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God’s church.
Essential Convinctions For Missionary Work & Support
1. Missions is an Impossibility apart from the Power of God. All men of every culture are born radically depraved, at enmity with God, and restraining the truth. The conversion of a man and the advancement of missions are an absolute impossibility apart from the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Modern church growth strategies and many new mission methodologies often overlook this essential truth.
2. A True Gospel must be Proclaimed. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) and the preaching of the Gospel is the great “means” and “methodology” of missions. The Gospel is, first and foremost, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (II Corinthians 5:19). It answers the eternal question of how a just God can rightly justify wicked men (Romans 3:26). It points to Christ alone, who bore the sins of His people upon the cross, was forsaken of God, and crushed under the full force of His just wrath against sin. The Good News of the Gospel is that through Christ’s death, the justice of God was satisfied, and salvation was won for a great multitude of people. This is evidenced by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).
3. The Gospel Transcends Culture. The greatest need of all men of every culture is the clear proclamation of the Gospel. Men are saved through the Gospel and continue in sanctification through continued growth in the full counsel of God’s Word. Although differences in culture are to be considered, it is more important for the missionary to be biblically sensitive than culturally sensitive. A missionary was once asked how he preached the Gospel to a certain remote tribe. He declared, “I do not preach the Gospel to a remote tribe. I preach the Gospel to men!”
4. Incarnational Missions is Essential. Although there may be some effective non-personal means of communicating the Gospel, there is no substitute for one man living among a people, teaching the Gospel to them, and living out his faith before them. God sent his own Son, and He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14; 3:16).
5. Superficial Evangelism is one of the Great Obstacles to Missions. Non-theological preaching, entertaining skits, and Gospel films are no substitute for the biblical exposition of the Gospel. Inviting men to raise their hands and pray a prayer is no substitute for the biblical call to repentance, faith, and personal discipleship. Biblical assurance of salvation does not flow from a past decision or a prayer, but from the examination of one’s enduring lifestyle in the light of Scripture.
6. True Missions is Costly. Amy Carmichael explained that missions is no more and no less than an opportunity to die. We live in a fallen world that is at enmity with God and opposes His truth; therefore, missions and suffering go hand in hand. Any advancement of the kingdom of Christ into the dominion of the devil will be met with warfare. There are many countries and people groups where martyrdom cannot be avoided. Portions of these convictions are courtesy of Heartcry Missionary Society.
We very much enjoy the expository ministry of Pastor David Miller. Former Church Member & Louisiana Pastor Shane Kastler recently hosted Pastor Miller. Here are the sermons he preached.