Book Review: Redeemed Unredeemable by Tom Horn and Donna Howell

This book will challenge your perspective and sensitivities. It most certainly did mine. This book puts to the test in very sharp relief Scriptures about what is and isn’t “the unpardonable sin” and how “God’s ways are higher than ours.”As other reviewers have rightly stated: This is a generous book from a generous author or really authors because it was both Tom Horn and Donna Howell collaborating. Be on the lookout for a special testimony at the end of the book from Donna.

Let’s face it: Most of us have and would look at any of these people on the news and throw the switch without a second thought and that’s perfectly understandable. The authors themselves are no exceptions to that and make note of it. Thankfully for all of our sakes that is not how God operates. This book takes all of that and truly puts it to the test with situations that any of us would deem hopeless, impossible, and utterly beyond salvage.

What do all of these criminals highlighted in this book have in common besides their nefarious actions? They all apparently made professions of Christ and at least some of them had complete changes in life and personality changes after being jailed that never went away like you would expect with a faker. Pardon the cliche but the book really does take a “we report, you decide” stance on the accounts and leaves it at that.

This is not a forensic book nor is it a criminology book so we are mercifully spared the gory details of the crimes although what the crimes were are discussed with care and tact.

This book very carefully lays out as much unbiased fact as possible of the people and leaves it up to the reader to try and carefully gauge what they are looking at in regards to each person. The admonition of “only God can judge people’s hearts” is repeated often and for good measure because there are a few of these where I really wasn’t terribly sure. There are some other testimonies in here that bowled me over and left me with no doubts that the person was saved.

Make no mistake about it: There are consequences for sins and all of these people faced those consequences and many of them admitted that they deserved to face those consequences even if it meant death.

I found myself in a position where you are arguing with yourself and making occasional exclamations out loud to yourself while reading because there are definitely some situations described where I personally don’t know how the profession and total life changing conversion could be anything but genuine. Be prepared to be surprised. Be prepared to be knocked out of a comfort zone like I was. Be prepared to have a new awareness and sensitivity on a number of levels after reading this book.

There is one profile in here where I found myself at the end of it with an amazing amount of sympathy for the individual and an even dimmer view for a now former POTUS but I digress. I think this particular account might be the most moving and compelling out of all of them but each account is unique and powerful in its own way.

We have no idea what most people live with day by day and what damage can be done. That isn’t an excuse. This book takes GREAT pains to not play the “well, they had a messed up childhood” excuse card. The authors balance a careful lack of excuses and pity for actions but take a careful and sympathetic look at a number of backgrounds that clearly show abuse and neglect and it’s a simple of matter of fact that the human psyche on its own can only take so much without fallout and collateral damage.

I think it takes a lot of courage to put out a book like this because it’s not an easy stance to take and it’s not a popular one to take. It’s much more comfortable to go with the idea of “serial killer, doomed, forget about it” but God is bigger than that and I think you will find some absolutely incredible and jaw dropping changes that only God Himself could do out of the pits of some of the most deranged and hopeless pits one could ever find themselves in. Only God could fix it. Only God could heal it. Be prepared to find yourself praising God in amazement at the end of this book while being shell-shocked at the same time. I’ll admit for at least two of these I was like “Come on, no way. THIS guy?” Yes, if we take God at His Word and only He knows people’s hearts…if it’s genuine…then yes, “that guy.” That is the takeaway from this book and it truly is a mind blowing one to contemplate.

I am left wondering myself: How many people have I run across in my life that have issues at home and backgrounds that I simply wasn’t aware of. The kid that I knew in school that was picked on by the jocks just because he was different and he ended up coming to school in his last year wearing a black glove on his right hand as a “symbol” and telling my sister that it was only because he was a Christian that he wasn’t going to do anything violent but he was sorely tempted. That’s a warning, folks. That’s a warning that all of us should have taken more seriously back then. This is was pre Columbine and praise the Lord nothing ever happened but it most certainly could have. How many more of these are out there?

If the authors ever want to revisit this subject for another book it would be a challenge but there are accounts of certain Nazis and other historically infamous people like that who allegedly repented and accepted Christ as well and those accounts at least as mind blowing and comfort zone challenging as what’s in this book. It truly is amazing and faith building to see the Lord save even the lowest of deviants and witness it happen and have it documented which I think absolutely happened with some of these people.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I think it’s amazing account of testimonials and potentially changed lives that gives fully glory to the Lord through a saving relationship in Jesus Christ. Only He could do something like this.

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