When I first learned of my opportunity to review this book for Crossway I was excited. I had been exposed to Wilkerson through one of my classes in seminary. My class had an hour long phone conference with him as he shared about what Mars Hill did for soul care in their congregation. He also mentioned this book as an adaptation of the material they use in their Redemption groups. I quickly jotted down the title as one to pick up in January.
I expected Redemption to strengthen the way that I do ministry and help me develop a plan for healing the brokenness in our church community. I did not expect it to confront my idolatry. But it did.
One of the things that I often pray is, “Break me where I need broken and heal me where I need healed”. There are certain books that have a tendency to be used by God to do both. Wilkerson’s book confronts our idolatry (breaks us) but it also displays the beauty of Christ and provides substantial healing.
As stated earlier this is an adaptation of what Mars Hill uses for their redemption groups. Their redemption groups are an interesting concept. Rather than having specific groups for various addictions they have one specific group. But what is even more interesting is that they not only combine the various forms of addiction, they also have those that are victims go through the same material in the same group. This book is essentially what they use.
How can something possibly tie together victims and addicts? The thread that holds these two together is the biblical theme of Redemption. In this book Wilkerson uses the biblical story of the Exodus as a framework for God’s pattern of redemption. One thing that addicts and victims have in common is a desperate need for redemption (freedom).
This is why I thought I would use this book to strengthen ministry to broken people. I know that I am broken but I would not have classified myself as much of a victim or an addict. But this book is useful for every sinner that needs redemption and healing. We all carry wounds and we all worship idols. Wilkerson uses the story of the Exodus to both break and heal sinners in the name of Jesus.
The book is eight chapters long. Stories of real people is interwoven with the real biblical story of the Israelite Exodus. God redeems people today just as He redeemed the Israelites, and he does it through Christ. Wilkerson shows his firm commitment to the Scriptures and solid biblical scholarship. But he also shows that he is a physician of the soul as well. He shows how the gospel heals real life sinners.
I heartily recommend this book to everyone. In fact I am trying to figure out ways to use this book in our congregation. Immediately after reading it I told my wife to put down all my other book suggestions (I have a tendency to suggest way too many books for people to read) and to focus on this one. In the coming months we are going to slowly go through this book and use the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
I would like to see something from Wilkerson and the folks at Mars Hill on the specifics and ministry side to these Redemption groups. I think it is an awesome idea and I would love to see something that is a little more small-group/curriculum based as well. But don’t wait for those. Whoever you are if you have a beating heart this book will greatly benefit you.