What can a serial killer tell us about the gospel? Plenty, according to Zach J. Hoag’s new book. In Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter, Hoag looks at the Showtime drama in light of what it reveals about our darker selves and our need for redemption. Set against the narrative of a vigilante who delights in killing, The Gospel According to Dexterwas birthed out of a desire to engage people in meaningful conversation about humanity’s brokenness and what it means to be fully human.
More than fantastic entertainment, Dexter is great art. But there is something deeper going on that makes the series so compelling. There is an element in Dexter’s story that resonates profoundly with all of our stories.
“Like Dexter, we all have our dark passengers,” Hoag says. “There is a monster of sorts in each of us. The gospel begins there, with a brutally honest inward look. As much as [Dexter] is not able to fully overcome his darkness, he senses its gravity. He knows how desperate his situation really is. ‘If hell exists,’ he says, ‘I’m in it.’”
But while the gospel begins with our brokenness, it doesn’t end there—it promises restoration and wholeness. Dexter expresses this desire for redemption when he says, “Maybe I can learn to be better.”
Dexter is also about justice. In the world today, 20 million people are currently living in slavery, including children trapped in the sex trade. As we learn about such evils, it elicits a reaction in us that is a lot like Dexter. Dexter’s way of vengeance, though shocking, reflects a universal longing for God to make things right.
Something within us knows that retribution is necessary. But the greater aim of God’s justice is restorative. In this sense, Dexter’s retribution is yet an aspect of his deep brokenness. As people of faith, we have to become a body that ultimately trusts in the divine justice of God. This is what The Gospel According to Dexter is about.
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD: The Gospel According to Dexter can be purchased here: BUY BOOK
Follow author Zach Hoag’s updates about the book and the show DEXTER here: ZACH HOAG’s BLOG