Showdown by Ted Dekker

Not for the faint of heart. Showdown makes a point and it does so well and at times in a graphic manner. Still, the best part of any Dekker novel is the intertwining of the message with the plot in a gripping manner. You can never extract the message from the plot, because the plot would die. And yet, you never quite reach the point of feeling “preached at”. Dekker does a fabulous job of making this story sufficiently allegorical to subdue the message without going overboard in the allegory.

Showdown takes place in a small town named Paradise in a Colorado valley. Paradise lies beneath a hidden and mysterious monastery. When a mysterious “Preacher” enters town with a message from God, things go from sleepy and quiet to insane in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, back at the monastery, a David Abraham leads a group of teachers who have been raising thirty-seven children. These children are being raised outside of the “wicked” influences of society in an experiment on human nature. Unfortunately, a rebellion is brewing amongst the ranks of the children. The crucible for these children and the town of Paradise is coming sooner than anyone expects. What is the place of “love” in religion and life?

Showdown lends itself to the gory in the first several chapters. After that, it tends toward unpleasant but not gross. Every character in the town of Paradise has a sin nature. One complaint is that a deacon runs the town saloon and the characters are introduced as they sit around the bar drinking. They are all church-going people. Another problem is the use of the name of God. Dekker uses the title of God in several ways that are questionable at best. There is no need for a Christian writer to write in that manner.

Overall, this isn’t his best book, but certainly better than the vast majority of Christian fiction writers. Well worth reading. Oh, and as a teaser: several elements from the Circle Trilogy show up in this book.

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2 thoughts on “Showdown by Ted Dekker

  1. A Deacon owning a bar, and several church members drinking at it, while not the best Christian testimony, made sense to me within the context of the story. He seemed to be making a point that for many Christians, there is a huge divide between their religous and secular life, that without love, Divine unconditional Agape, Christians are just acting a character in Church and behaving like the world outside it. And what specific examples are there of him misusing the title of God? Can you cite them from the book?

  2. Uhh, as I read the book in ’05, no I can’t cite anything off the top of my head. Sorry.

    I personally think that Dekker tries to hard to be allegorical without offending the world. The end result is a story that is almost good as a story and almost good as an allegory, but utterly fails at both. He should choose one or the other. Not both.

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