by Ted Dekker

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Ted Dekker's horror thriller Thr3e is a novel about murder and suspicion as a man is pursued by a notorious serial killer. Dekker explores Christian themes in all of his works, and he uses compelling situations to create opportunities to explore intricate and complex aspects of Christian faith.

The Necessity of Repentance

The story explores the Christian idea of repentance in great detail, as the main character, Kevin, is being pursued by a serial killer who gives him one chance to escape the fate that awaits him. This situation parallels the very heart of the Christian faith. The serial killer promises to stop pursuing Kevin if he confesses all of his sins—in spite of the fact that Kevin seems very innocent and is even a seminary student. The Christian parallel is that, through confession and repentance by trusting in the death of Jesus Christ, the Christian can avoid eternal death in hell, much like Kevin is avoiding physical death through confession.

The Existential Threat of Death

As a thriller, the novel delves deeply into the idea of fear. Kevin begins receiving threats that he will be murdered by this serial killer, and his fear escalates dramatically. The existential threat of death is always present, but this situation ratchets up the pressure and brings it to the forefront of Kevin's mind. In modern Christianity, it is often remarked that the weight of death is far from the individual mind—it is more of an abstract concept. This parallels Kevin's life. As a Christian, he knows the potential for death but has no impending fear of it until he is marked for death, which makes his compulsion to confess all the more powerful.

The Possibility of Salvation

The end of this story is a joyful one, as Kevin narrowly escapes death and clears his own conscience by confessing his sins. He also realizes that he is not as innocent as he had believed. Dekker is attempting to represent his belief in the need for salvation that is inherent in every human being, no matter how many good deeds they have performed or how innocent they seem; even the best in the eyes of the world need salvation and live with the threat of eternal death looming over them.

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