We’re Praying for Epiphany Fellowship
Sun Mar 09, 2014
by Mark Driscoll
Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
Immerse Yourself in God's Story
Exodus - Forgiveness, Identity, Guilt, & Shame
DG: The outline of your book follows the outline of the Book of Exodus. Why have you ordered it that way?
MW: I wrote Redemption from Exodus because it is the Bible’s back story for redemption in Jesus: freedom from slavery to sin and its effects, by a costly ransom, to a new life in God with forgiveness for sin, cleansing for shame, healing for wounds—and most of all—a restored relationship with God himself.
I generally followed the story line of Exodus from beginning to end because an important part of the strategy was to take readers and participants on a journey in the story of God of which Exodus is a microcosm. There’s something powerful about immersing yourself in any story, but especially the story—God’s story centered on Jesus—that makes sense of the chaos in our lives and reveals our Redeemer.
God vindicates his claim on his people by defeating their enemy, eradicating the source of their shame, and making them a new creation.
Also, Exodus begins with the suffering of God’s people and ends with God’s presence filling the tabernacle and pointing forward to the Promised Land. These were the perfect start and end points for our curriculum: from the darkness of slavery to the light of God’s presence. For the various points in between, though, I selected scenes in Exodus that would help me bring to my audience the theological framework they would need for the journey. For example, in Chapters 3 and 4, I work from the Passover and the Red Sea. In the Passover, we encounter God’s grace and forgiveness for guilty sinners who deserve the same judgement as Egypt. At the Red Sea, we see that God vindicates his claim on his people, defeating their enemy, eradicating the source of their shame and making them a new creation. So the two chapters back-to-back deal with guilt and shame, two crucial issues for my audience. The same chapters also explore forgiveness and identity—two more essential subjects—all within the context of the exodus story.
The Need for Unity
DG: Why did you write this book? What, if anything, does it offer that is not already out there?
MW: In this case, necessity truly is the mother of invention. As I mentioned before, at Mars Hill Church, we used to have many different kinds of support or recovery groups, each targeting a different issue. Each had its own curriculum and ethos, and some of them clashed with others. A husband in one group and a wife in another group might learn opposing ideas that would create more tension at home, rather than increasing healing and harmony. Some of them drifted from the firm foundation of the gospel.
We knew we needed to unify these groups, not only for the sake of being more effective with limited resources, but also to make the theology and counseling philosophy more consistent and faithful to Scripture. If we’d only wanted to build groups for addictions, we probably would have used Ed Welch’s Crossroads curriculum. We love his work. However, since our ministry strategy was aimed at a broader audience, we needed a broader curriculum.
The only existing resources for mixed-issue groups we were aware of either lacked the biblical theological depth and gospel-centricity we were looking for or were tied to the twelve step model. We wanted something gospel-saturated, immersed in God’s story. So with my fellow pastors, Bill Clem and James Noriega, we started developing a prototype for a curriculum. Those prototypes were the starting points for Redemption.
Compassion & Grace to Sufferers & Sinners
DG: What do you hope people will learn about God from this book?
MW: It has been one of the most profound experiences of my life to encounter the God who abounds in steadfast love as I have immersed myself in Exodus for the writing of this book. I hope people are surprised by his immense compassion and grace—not only to sufferers, but also to sinners. I also hope they are persuaded beyond all doubt that he is powerful to redeem from any slavery, however hopeless it may seem.
For more from Mike Wilkerson check out his Re:lit book, Redemption, where he dives into the Exodus events and how the gospel is the centerpiece to counseling.