New from Re:Lit (Crossway Books) comes Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the idols we worship and the wounds we carry which is written by Mike Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a pastor at Mars Hill Church, Seattle and has been leading gospel-based counseling ministries at the church for a number of years.

Redemption is, in effect, the outworking of that ministry, made available for other churches to examine and adopt the teaching material for these types of groups. In the introduction there is the frank telling of how these Redemption Groups first started as good-willed attempts to bring freedom to people in addiction, but by forming affinity groups around the specific issue the identity of the addict or victim was only strengthened in the sin committed by or against them. The pastors realized a change was needed and that change gave birth to this current effort. Instead of gathering around the problem, the teaching gathers around the solution – Jesus.

By drawing primarily from the narrative of Exodus, this books covers a full vista of healing and freedom as we see the faithfulness of God, the brokenness of man and the power of idols, sin and death; and finally how none of that bondage can withstand the decrees of God and the redeeming work of Christ crucified and risen exalted.

A few things really stand out as you read this work. Wilkerson is clearly devoted to Christ. Gospel passion oozes from the pages, and the tempered wisdom of a man who has been in the trenches with this stuff is clearly evident. Even more so there is a mark of humility about his writing and work in counseling – he knows it isn’t all about him and he’s glad for that!

I really appreciated the interweaving of personal narratives within the theological framework as it helped connect the dots from teaching to application. Each chapter ends with recommend resources so you can dig deeper into topics with the benefit of a reading list from people who have been studying and applying this for years, including sections of further scripture references to study. And finally there are questions for reflection and discussion so that the material can be applied to yourself and others.

Most vitally, this is a book that gathers around the Bible, treats it as the Word of God and allows its light to penetrate the darkest places to bring hope and freedom to the bound and broken. I’m so very thankful that Pastor Mike penned this book and am considering its place in ministry here in Nampa, ID. I know my friend Rick is feeling the same and since we’re in the same city and share the same passions, maybe this will be a resource we’ll employ together.

Highly recommended for pastors, leaders, non-leaders, non-pastors and all people who breathe oxygen and have a pulse.


A review copy was provided to me at no charge by the publisher. No attempt was made to gain a favorable review, and all opinions and recommendations expressed are the author’s own.