Mike Wilkerson is a pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. From the sources he uses, you can easily see that Mike is passionate about using gospel-based counseling in the local church. This book grew out of Mars Hill’s Redemption Group Ministry and the curriculum that they used in those groups.
I already mentioned this, but one of the things I liked most about Redemption is the sources that Pastor Mike uses. This book is highly influenced by the counseling philosophy of CCEF and frequent quotations appear from David Powlison, Paul Tripp, and Ed Welch, as well as other prominent authors like Tim Keller and G. K. Beale. For me, this made the overall concepts of life change and redemption very familiar, but Pastor Mike’s treatment of it is still very compelling.
What makes it compelling is the way that Pastor Mike weaves everything together. The book is essentially an exposition of Exodus. The chapters move the reader through the narrative of the Israelites journey from slavery in Egypt to the cusp of the Promised Land. In each chapter though, Pastor Mike draws out a redemptive principle from the story and also connects it to real life stories of gospel change that he has encountered in his ministry.
Rather than simply being biblical exposition with some anecdotal stories tacked to the end, Pastor Mike moves back and forth between the two throughout the chapter. He starts by introducing a person who is either suffering from abuse, addiction, or an assortment of troubles. He then introduces where the people of Israel were at that particular part of the Exodus narrative before shifting back to the original person’s story. Moving back and forth in this manner makes it a more engaging read and also helps you see how the biblical story relates to our every day life stories and struggles.
At the end of each chapter, Pastor Mike presents several suggested resources, usually ones that he has drawn on heavily throughout the specific chapter. There are also suggested Scripture readings and very well crafted questions for reflection and discussion. In short, while this book has been published and made available for the general public to read, it is still is very well tailored to be a small group resource and would be a great study to do with your own small group. From what I understand, the pastoral staff at our church is planning on going through the book sometime in the near future.
It is rare that a book has the flexibility to be a read alone tool for personal Spiritual growth, yet also a great resource for a group to dig into. It is rarer still to have a book that reads so well and flows like a story should, even while confronting the reader with the need to be reshaped by the gospel of Exodus as well as the gospel of Christ. I would highly, highly recommend this book to you. It is a fairly short, easy read, but it is a book to be soaked in and pondered over multiple times. It would probably be best to read with a friend to at least dialogue on some of the issues it raises and the changes it proposes.
- Paperback: 208pgs
- Publisher: Crossway (January 5, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433520770
[You’re reading this review of Redemption: Freed By Jesus From The Idols We Worship and The Wounds We Carry because I asked Crossway for a review copy and they said yes!]