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Showing 1-10 of 349 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 431 reviews
VINE VOICEon April 16, 2010
This book was undoubtedly assembled and prepared with Keller's sermons as a starting point. The main theme of the book is that we have a habit of taking the good things that God has given us and turning them into counterfeit gods. We take temporal things and make them out to be ultimate things that take more of our devotion and time than God himself.

In a chapter about Jonah, Keller contends that Jonah's god was the nation of Israel, and that's why he had a hard time doing ministry in the city of his enemy. It sounds quite plausible. but since the text itself doesn't confirm this, it should not be pressed to hard in my view.

For Abraham in Genesis 22, his god may have been Isaac. He waited all those years to have the promised son with Sarah, and perhaps their was a temptation to be overprotective of his boy, and that's why God said he had to "give up his Isaac." Again, plausible, but the text itself doesn't spell this out.

The chapter on Naaman the Syrian follows the same pattern. An idol is assigned to Naaman that the text itself doesn't necessarily bear witness to, and the whole premise is tenuous.

The rest of the book's chapters are stronger, and even the three that I mentioned are compelling and convicting. I don't think this book is as timeless and as memorable as the author's book The Reason for God, but it is a tasty and zesty offering of expositions around the theme of idolatry.
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on May 19, 2017
The subject about idol can be found throughout the Bible. But I did not realize that the idol is the root of all sins. It help me to have a much better understanding on Roman 1:18-32. Very helpful. I decided to read the books listed on the foot note for further Study
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on March 4, 2014
I like most of what Keller writes.. His many years of pastoral work have provided a solid base to understand what motivates people who are driving themselves into misery and are desparate for a way out. This book will be a good one to read for anyone needing to meditate on their own lives. This will probably be true especially for those who find themselves in trouble regularly and need help recognizing which of the many temptations we face that they have elevated into a false god that they hope will bring happiness when it does nothing of the sort.

I give this book only four out of five stars because analyzing what is wrong is only half of the process, and "return to God" is only a part of the solution. I would have appreciated a similar level of analysis on how turning to God makes the difference. For some of that detail, you can read Keller's other books, but it would have been helpful to have included it here.
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on February 17, 2010
Keller delivers a great read with "Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters". Known for his great writing skill and intellect, Tim Keller continues to produce biblically sound material that strikes at the heart. Keller is precise and careful, aware of how the human heart responds to the stimulus of this world. He defines a counterfeit god as "anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living." The book examines five main idols that face Christians and non-Christians today including love and sex, money, and success and power. Using a blend of real life examples (and shocking ones at that) and bible stories, Keller meticulously leads the reader into evaluating these issues from God's perspective. The perfect blend of modern-day and biblical stories are used to translate biblical principles into the language of our contemporary consciousness.

Keller courageously tackles the issue of religious idols. He looks at the scarcely examined idol of doctrinal accuracy and moral self-righteousness in a very understandable manner. A great storyteller in his own right, Keller relays the story of Jonah and goes beyond the usual plotline that children often hear in Sunday school. He examines the depth of Jonah's religious idolatry, something that is often forgotten or overlooked. I found this chapter very helpful in examining my own heart issues, my own idols and my own fears. It was encouraging to be able to acknowledge my own shortcomings and be set on a path to replace my own idols with the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

One of the most convicting chapters, especially for college students like myself, is his chapter titled "The Seduction of Success." In it he describes the deception of success in this particularly chaotic and backwards time. Keller uses the oft read yet rarely examined passage in 2 Kings 5:1-14. He looks at the successful life of Naaman, noting his backwards approach to God's sovereign blessing. It was eye-opening to witness the impact that success truly has upon a person's life and the blindness it inflicts. Especially in a society where students are pushed to the limit for the sake of a career or job security, Keller's chapter on success was a humbling, paradigm-shifting experience. After reading this chapter, I see our world and it's culture for what it is in opposition to the promises of God.

Though I haven't read Keller's previous two books, if Counterfeit Gods is indicative of the insight he brings I'll be sure to pick them up sooner rather than later. This book was extremely helpful in identifying my own idols. Keller provides insight, biblical support, and solutions that are God-centered. This is a book for all Christians and non-Christians alike because we all struggle with idols that negatively affect our spiritual lives. I would specifically recommend this book to college students based on the content. Keller articulates his points in an intellectual manner which is appealing to Christians who think faith concepts are too watered-down in most books. If you're hoping to be challenged spiritually and intellectually, you've met your match in this book.
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on June 14, 2016
Wow! I've read the introduction and the first chapter thusfar and it is very convicting. You might think...."I don't have any idols!" but read on. I think every person in the world should read this book as it may provide some insight as to why things might not be going so well for you and your children. Powerful words. Amazing parallels. I am reading the book with a women's Bible Study group and it so helps to hear others and their thoughts while reading. I am anxious to read every chapter. If you can't tell, I would recommend.
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on December 13, 2016
God will convict your heart through it, create change in you and then give you tools to help others. ( If you ask Him to)

Pro 4:10 — Pro 4:13
Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.
I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life. (ESV)
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on December 1, 2015
Interesting talk about how we can let ourselves become caught up in the things of this world. Sounds a little cliche and you've probably heard similar sermons from your church, but Keller does a good job showing real world examples and then tying each to an example in Scripture. I enjoyed it.
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on May 10, 2017
I love Timothy Keller's down to earth writing style and thorough presentation of material on a very important topic. Every Christian will find "Counterfeit Gods" to be a very helpful guide to overcome three of the greatest challenges and temptations of our modern culture: money, sex, and power.
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on June 7, 2011
I've had this book for a while now but just recently made the time to read it. And, I am glad I did.

If you have not read or listened to Tim Keller before, you will quickly catch on to his style of writing. Keller ministers in New York City and so there is no room for `fluff' in his preaching and that clarity carries over into his writing. Counterfeit Gods is a book dealing with idols and it is a convicting read.

Keller begins by defining just what an idol is and reminding us that just because we don't have gods made from gold doesn't mean we don't have idols. Here's how he describes a counterfeit god:

A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. (xviii)

An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, "If I have that, then I'll feel my life has meaning, then I'll know I have value, then I'll feel significant and secure." (xviii)

Keller reminds us that our counterfeit gods are often good things in life that we have made ultimate things. The book then is filled with Keller considering some of those good things and how we tend to make them ultimate things.

He considers love, money, success, and power, and how easily and powerfully these can become counterfeit gods. Keller has an amazing ability to get to the heart of why we tend to make these things ultimate. Few people, that I am aware of, are as good at critiquing culture as Keller is. In each chapter he unpacks an historical event or person and shows how a particular idol controlled them.

Keller then draws in a biblical story that demonstrates the power of a particular idol. These are not just thrown in as an afterthought, rather, Keller takes time to explain the text and draw the meaning out.

Each chapter ends with Keller showing that our greatest need in destroying our idols is the gospel. He writes at the end of the chapter on money, "Andrew Carnegie knew that money was an idol in his heart, but he didn't know how to root it out. It can't be removed, only replaced. It must be supplanted by the one who, though rich, became poor, so that we might truly be rich." (71)

Each of these chapters is powerful and convicting, but the last two chapters were the most clarifying for me. In, The End of Counterfeit Gods, Keller takes time to show that idols cannot simply be removed; they must be replaced by Christ. This is not always easy and, "It often takes an experience of crippling weakness for us to finally discover it." (164)

The Epilogue is a very practical help on discovering what our idols are and how to replace them with Christ. This is, Keller reminds us, a lifetime process. Mature Christians, then, are not those who have completely gotten rid of idols. No, mature Christians are those who know that they must be continually looking for idols and replacing them with the only one who is worthy of ultimate devotion and affection.

Counterfeit Gods is a book I would give to a believer at any maturity level. It is also a book that is appropriate for skeptics and seekers. We were designed to make something ultimate, whether Christian or not, so we all struggle with counterfeit gods.

In the end, however much we believe we have it figured out, idols can be subtle and rob God of the glory that he alone is worthy of.
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on May 13, 2017
Have heard or read the "no other gods" commandment many times falsely believing I understood it. Keller successfully exposed my ignorance while opening my eyes to the deeper gods that are at work. Thank you Tim Keller!
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