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Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters + The Prodigal God + The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594485496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594485497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians. Christianity Today magazine 'In this apologia for Christian faith, Keller mines material from literary classics, philosophy, anthropology and a multitude of other disciplines to make an intellectually compelling case for God. Written for sceptics and the believers who love them, the book draws on the author's encounters as founding pastor of New York's booming Redeemer Presbyterian Church.' for THE REASON FOR GOD Publishers Weekly Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him. Billy Graham 'This is a great book. All pastors and thinking Christians should read this book.' Christianity Magazine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

As the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Tim Keller started his congregation with a few dozen people. It now draws over five thousand weekly attendees who meet in three Manhattan locations. Redeemer has since spawned a movement of churches across America and throughout major world cities. Many pastors model their churches on Redeemer and Tim's thoughtful style of preaching. Dr. Keller lives in New York City with his wife and sons.


More About the Author

TIMOTHY KELLER was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular attendees at five services, a host of daughter churches, and is planting churches in large cities throughout the world. He is the author of COUNTERFEIT GODS, THE PRODIGAL GOD, and the New York Times bestseller THE REASON FOR GOD.

Customer Reviews

After focusing on love and money as idols, Keller turns to politics.
Bradley Bevers
Tim Keller opens up the book in a great way and provides examples that are easy to understand.
karobe
This is my first book to read from Tim Keller, and I really enjoy his writing style!
J. Dean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

178 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Tim Keller knows how to tell a Bible story. Like The Prodigal God before it, his latest book, Counterfeit Gods is built around them. And every time I read one of those stories, I feel like I am hearing it for the first time. I find myself lost in the story, anticipating how it could, how it might, end. In the back of my mind I know exactly how it will turn out, but somehow Keller takes me along for a ride as he tells these stories in such a fresh way. In Counterfeit Gods he tells of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Jonah and Zacchaeus. Each one of these characters and the stories of their lives are used to teach the reader about the prevalence of idolatry in the Bible and in the human heart.

"The human heart takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them." Thus anything can be an idol and, really, everything has been an idol to one person or another. The great deception of idols is we are prone to think that idols are only bad things. But evil is far more subtle than this. "We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life."

What then is an idol? "It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give." If anything in all the world is more fundamental than God to your happiness, to your meaning in life, then that thing has become an idol.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Robbins on October 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was a big fan of Tim Keller's first 2 books, The Reason for God, and The Prodigal God. Speaking largely as an apologist in the former and a pastor in the latter, Keller demonstrated his immense intellect and knack for offering keen observations of culture as it relates to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These strengths are applied directly to his latest work, Counterfeit Gods. This is Tim Keller at his finest as he subtly, yet powerfully, points out the things people, and particularly Americans, tend to turn into idols that take the place of God in our lives.

Taking on various arenas of life, Keller explains how even good things become bad things when they turn into God things. His working definition of an idol is simply anything that ascends to the place that only God should occupy in our lives, and he shows how career, money, sex, and even family can become idols in our lives, taking the place of God but lacking the ability to live up to the positions where we place them.

For example, when a parent places their kids in the place of God and wraps their entire identity in a child, an enormous amount of pressure is placed on the child, a pressure they will inevitably fail to live up to. This causes disappointment for the parent and disillusionment for the child. This is because the child isn't God. He or she isn't ever-faithful, ever-loving, all-powerful, and perfect. Only God is. It's unfair to children and damaging to the parents when these situations occur.

This idolatry can show up anywhere. I especially found Keller's chapter on power particularly helpful. When power is made into a God, it manifests itself in many places such as careers, parenting, and relationships; today, it mostly shows up in the political arena.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Bevers TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The First Commandment: Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me

"Thus you can easily understand what and how much this commandment requires, namely, that man's entire heart and all his confidence be placed in God alone, and in no one else. For to have God, you can easily perceive, is not to lay hold of Him with our hands or to put Him in a bag [as money], or to lock Him in a chest [as silver vessels]. But to apprehend Him means when the heart lays hold of Him and clings to Him. But to cling to Him with the heart is nothing else than to trust in Him entirely. For this reason He wishes to turn us away from everything else that exists outside of Him, and to draw us to Himself, namely, because He is the only eternal good. As though He would say; Whatever you have heretofore sought of the saints, or for whatever [things] you have trusted in Mammon or anything else, expect it all of Me, and regard Me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things."

The words above from Martin Luther's Large Catechism serve as a sobering reminder that idols are not made out of brick, wood, and stone alone - often, they are found in our heart. In Timothy Keller's new book, Counterfeit Gods, he lays out a case for idolatry in our current time that should pierce every Christian to the core. As Keller says in the beginning of his book, perhaps there is no better time to be reminded of the idols in our own hearts then in a time of uncertainty. The current economic crisis has stripped away our masks of religiosity and exposed idols that we did not know existed.

In Keller's second chapter, he focuses on love and sex. He specifically shows how our love for other human beings becomes an idol if we place our love for them above our love for God.
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