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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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"Keller's wisdom and biblical understanding, served up in clear, engaging writing, can help both Christians and non-Christians to identify the idols in our own hearts and replace empty promises with hope in Christ." —World magazine
"Offers much insight for shepherding local churches. Keller argues that Christians cannot understand themselves or their culture unless they discern the counterfeit gods." —Christianity Today
"Tim Keller knows how to tell a Bible story. Like The Prodigal God before it . . . 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. . . . Counterfeit Gods is easily one of the best books I've read this year." —Tim Challies
"Smashes the arrogant conclusion that violation of the first commandment was merely an ancient problem. Combining biblical theology with experienced surgery on the soul over the years in modern Manhattan . . . Keller's heart diagnostics will leave us neither ignorant nor unmoved." —David B. Garner, associate professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary
About the Author
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of The Songs of Jesus, Prayer, Encounters with Jesus, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Every Good Endeavor, and The Meaning of Marriage, among others, including the perennial bestsellers The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
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I was uncertain about reading it fearing it would just make me more angry with religion than I already was. So I took a risk and eventually downloaded it.... After the first chapter I wasn't sure I liked it... the examples given seemed to say that if you weren't fortunate enough to end up with good relationships it was somehow due to your lust and idolatry. The Leah Jacob Rachel marriage debacle didn't help because of the many hot messes in the bible that God allowed its a pretty big one. Its also probably one of the most misinterpreted bible stories used tell women to stay in unloving unfaithful marriages because God will bless them.... Or that ongoing debate of how not wanting to be single and wanting a stable marriage and a family makes you either ungrateful, desperate, or lacking in faith.
Despite my opposition I kept reading....I'm glad I did....., the book got MUCH better the explanation of idols as not something we do wrong but actually the foundation of all sin and original sin was the catalyst for idolatry, the desire to live apart from God and manage our own lives as if we can control something..... The concept that in this broken world so many factors play into the lives we end up with and lack of FAITH has NOTHING to do with it was like taking a breath of fresh clean air. That one negative belief that has kept me in bondage for YEARS is that I can earn brownie points with God by being a good church going, tithe paying, Sunday school teaching, bible reading, Christian only music listening, modest dressing, polite, abstaining Christian woman. Finally a pastor was admitting that life isn't all about moral behavior and you can't earn your way into blessings or God's mercy and grace. Don't get me wrong I think moral behavior is important but it has to be for the right reasons , which is to glorify God, frankly most examples I had seen were based on getting human approval or people pleasing which is a form of idolatry.
He discussed this in excellent detail. He went over every area of idolatry and male and female idolatry and really explored this basic sin. He even admitted to maintain his own idolatry and that its an ongoing process.... for the first time in years I didn't feel like a lonely loser Christian who somehow didn't have faith the right way to not have a crap life.... In the end I not only understood the idols in my life that I needed to work on but I had a renewed hope in God that despite I was 40 divorced single and childless I still have worth in Gods eyes. But God doesn't judge me and he loves me and sees how hard I try. I just have to work on letting God love me in the ways the humans in my life haven't and healing is waiting for me if I'm willing to let go of what the world/church says my life is supposed to look like... God Always will love me and Always has I just couldn't see it because I placed to much importance on my human relationships for happiness. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to become a hermit. I will however be thankful for the family and friends I have left, and focus on replacing my idols with the love God has always had for me.
With each passing day being alone is not feeling so lonely. Thanks for this book. If anyone who reads this has experienced any life hardships or doubts or you are just feeling lost in life then read this book... its really surprisingly nothing like what I expected at all and I'm so thankful for that.
Tip: Be sure to check the footnotes esp on kindle he gives a lot of information for further study to let go of idols and experience God love, as well as, he gives good points that can't fit in the book. He took one section about the slave girl when discussing power and pride idolatry and in the notes was very clear that taking abuse or neglect was not acceptable and that biblical times had certain standards. All I can say is if you are struggling in your relationships in life or your relationships with God read this book
He saves the best for last: by far my favorite section of the book is the epilogue. In it, Keller provides some suggestions for uncovering and uprooting the idols that supplant God in our hearts. Here is my favorite passage:
"Rejoicing and repentance must go together. Repentance without rejoicing will lead to despair. Rejoicing without repentance is shallow and will only provide passing inspiration instead of deep change. Indeed, it is when we rejoice over Jesus's sacrificial love for us most fully that, paradoxically, we are most truly convicted of our sin. When we repent out of fear of consequences, we are not really sorry for sin, but for ourselves. Fear-based repentance (I'd better change or God will get me") is really self-pity. In fear-based repentance, we don't learn to hate the sin for itself, and and it doesn't lose its attractive power. We only learn to refrain from it for our own sake. But when we rejoice over God's sacrificial, suffering love for us--seeing what it cost him to save us from sin---we learn to hate the sin for what it is. We see what the sin cost God" (172).
Top international reviews
Loved the use of scriptures and intellectual arguments whic emphasised the points made.