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Mark E.

Mark E. Dever (born circa 1960) has been the senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Churchmarker in Washington, D.C.marker since 1994 and is the executive director of 9Marks Ministries (formerly known as the Center for Church Reform), a Christian ministry he co-founded "in an effort to build biblically faithful churches in America."


Dever grew up in rural Kentuckymarker where he was an avid reader. He began reading sections of the World Book Encyclopedia and the Harvard Classics before he was ten years old and based upon his reading and thinking considered himself an agnostic in his younger years. Later rereading and thinking about the Gospels and the change that he saw in the life of Jesus' disciples led him to become a Christian.

Dever earned the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Duke Universitymarker, Master of Divinity, summa cum laude, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminarymarker, Master of Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminarymarker, and Doctor of Philosophy in ecclesiastical history from Cambridge Universitymarker.

Dever is married with two children.

Dever's ecclesiology and the nine marks

Dever is a Baptist and Reformed, but his church polity is notable for its emphasis on an elder led, congregationally ruled church. In addition, he believes that Baptist churches should be led by a plurality of elders as opposed to a single elder.

Dever's main emphasis, as evidenced by his 9 Marks Ministries, is in the realm of ecclesiology. He aims to help Bible-believing churches become healthy by recovering a Biblical view of the church. The 9 marks he provides are his positive prescription for church health. He does not intend the book as a comprehensive ecclesiology or even a comprehensive diagnosis of all the problems that may be found in contemporary churches. The nine marks are:

  1. Expositional preaching
  2. Biblical theology
  3. Biblical understanding of the Gospel
  4. Biblical understanding of conversion
  5. Biblical understanding of evangelism
  6. Biblical understanding of membership
  7. Biblical church discipline
  8. Promotion of Christian discipleship and growth
  9. Biblical understanding of church leadership

Dever's influence

In the last several years, Dever has become a more widely-recognized name among conservative Evangelicals, due in part to his appearance at large, nation-wide conferences such as the Desiring God National Conference, the Ligonier Ministries Conference, the Shepherd's Conference organized by Rev.John F. MacArthur, and the Together for the Gospel conference (which Dever co-founded with C. J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, and R. Albert Mohler).

Dever and the congregation that he serves in Washington, DCmarker also train church leaders on a smaller scale. For the past four years, twelve interns a year have passed through the church's internship program that centers around ecclesiology. Many of these interns have gone on to seminary education, at the same time becoming active reformers in their current local churches. In addition, 9 Marks Ministries hosts semi-annual weekend conferences at the church where pastors, elders, and seminarians from around the country experience the inner workings of Dever's church.

Most churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (the association of which his church is a member) have not adopted his views on ecclesiology. Even so, he narrowly missed being elected as the convention's first vice-president in June 2006, and he does serve the convention as a trustee of its Southern Baptist Theological Seminarymarker.

Selected Works

  • Dever, Mark E., ed., Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents--Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life, Center for Church Reform, (2001). ISBN 0-970125-21-6
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Crossway Books, (2004)
  • The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept, (2005)
  • The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made, (2006)
  • The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, (2007)


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