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The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Songs of Jesus and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things “ultimate” in this book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.  Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held t The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Songs of Jesus and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things “ultimate” in this book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.  Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things—gods that can’t give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings—and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time. The Bible tells us that the human heart is an “idol-factory,” taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller’s reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time—for both the faithful and the skeptical.


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The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Songs of Jesus and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things “ultimate” in this book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.  Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held t The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Songs of Jesus and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things “ultimate” in this book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.  Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things—gods that can’t give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings—and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time. The Bible tells us that the human heart is an “idol-factory,” taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller’s reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time—for both the faithful and the skeptical.

30 review for Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Hard hitting, and grace-filled, this book was a perfect book to set the tone for 2017! Here are a few of the gems I found: “An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.” 
 “God saw Abraham’s sacrifice and said, “Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold Hard hitting, and grace-filled, this book was a perfect book to set the tone for 2017! Here are a few of the gems I found: “An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.” 
 “God saw Abraham’s sacrifice and said, “Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.” But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, “Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.” When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else.” “If you marry someone expecting them to be like a god, it is only inevitable that they will disappoint you. It's not that you should try to love your spouse less, but rather that you should know and love God more.” “Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.” “Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake… Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ.” 


  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Thomas

    This has to be my favorite Timothy Keller book that I've read to date, and easily one of my all time favorites! The ways in which he unpacks numerous of the idols and counterfeit gods that rule our lives through the use of real life stories as well as examples in Scripture reveals the real heart of the issue with each of those. The end of each chapter also does an awesome job of relating each of those idols to Jesus, showing how He is always the thing we need in those unique spaces in our hearts This has to be my favorite Timothy Keller book that I've read to date, and easily one of my all time favorites! The ways in which he unpacks numerous of the idols and counterfeit gods that rule our lives through the use of real life stories as well as examples in Scripture reveals the real heart of the issue with each of those. The end of each chapter also does an awesome job of relating each of those idols to Jesus, showing how He is always the thing we need in those unique spaces in our hearts. The idols cannot simply be removed, they must be replaced and only Jesus truly fulfills.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gene Helsel

    Tim Keller does an excellent job of exposing the idols of money, sex and power and the many various forms that they take today. The first chapter alone is worth twice what I paid for the book. Keller is an able expositor and pastoral "applier" of God's Word. For the majority of this book Keller is very careful to draw his insights and applications directly *out of* the biblical narratives (exegesis.) But a few times he falls prey to the preacher's ever-present temptation of "eisegesis" (reading Tim Keller does an excellent job of exposing the idols of money, sex and power and the many various forms that they take today. The first chapter alone is worth twice what I paid for the book. Keller is an able expositor and pastoral "applier" of God's Word. For the majority of this book Keller is very careful to draw his insights and applications directly *out of* the biblical narratives (exegesis.) But a few times he falls prey to the preacher's ever-present temptation of "eisegesis" (reading *into* the text.) A couple of examples will suffice: - According to Keller, Jacob was an ancient-day "sex-addict" and infatuated with Rachel for almost entirely unbiblical reasons. - According to Keller, one of the reasons that Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh was that he was afraid of ministerial failure. Unfortunately, Keller's take on Jacob significantly mars the typeoloy of Jacob as a Christ-figure and the intensity of his love for his bride (the Church.) And although "fear of ministerial failure" is indeed an idol to be reckoned with, the Bible clearly teaches that Jonah's greatest fear was "ministerial success" in Nineveh. On the whole I heartily agree with Keller's pastoral conclusions and applications, even when I don't agree with how he arrived at them. Conclusio: Buy this book. Read it. Forsake the idols it reveals and cling to Jesus as the only one worthy of your adoration and trust.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Keller speaks on idolatry, and the power that this sin commands in a world obsessed with materialism, selfish gain, celebrity and greed. Essentially, idolatry is at the root of all sin, as we choose to worship something more than God - to put something ahead of God. Keller makes his point (idolatry sux if you call yourself a christian!) and takes the next 2/3rds of the book outlining different types of idolatry with a few anecdotes segmented throughout. But then things get good towards the end. Keller speaks on idolatry, and the power that this sin commands in a world obsessed with materialism, selfish gain, celebrity and greed. Essentially, idolatry is at the root of all sin, as we choose to worship something more than God - to put something ahead of God. Keller makes his point (idolatry sux if you call yourself a christian!) and takes the next 2/3rds of the book outlining different types of idolatry with a few anecdotes segmented throughout. But then things get good towards the end. Keller starts talking about sin as a concept, how to notice you are idolatrous, then how to deal with it. I read on through quick pages of mediocrity to land on some great ideas and thoughts about resisting sin (replace it with God). I learned that the will is weak, yet God makes all things possible, and by seeking Him the temptation is gone. Powerful technique which is so damn true in my life right now. I wish I knew this months ago when I struggled with bouts of guilt and desperation as I tried to will myself through temptation. Replace it with God. Praise be to Him. -"become increasingly enslaved and addicted to it...we must have it, and therefore it drives us to break rules we once honoured, to harm others and even ourselves in order to get it." Intro -"you don't realise Jesus is all you need until is all you have." p19 -"making an idol out of work may mean that you work until you ruin your health." p23 -"the family has become the nursery where the craving for success is first cultivated." p79 -"she suffered and forgave not knowing how much God would use her sacrifice." p91 -"when we believe in what he accomplished for us with our minds, and when we are moved by what he did for us in our hearts." p94 -"rather than accept our finitude and dependence on God, we desperately seek ways to assure ourselves that we still have power over our own lives." p101 -"the reason he wanted to be in christian ministry was not because he was attracted to serving God and others, but to the power if knowing he was right, that he had the truth." p112 -"if you had been born in a yurt in outer Mongolia, instead of where you were, it wouldn't have mattered how hard you worked or used your talents - you would have ended up poor and powerless." p116 -"what do you have which you did not receive?" p117 -"our cultural idols are... breakdown of the family, rampant materialism, careerism, and the idolization of romantic love, physical beauty and profit." p130 - mentions the spiritual 'fruit' - love, joy, patience, humility, courage, gentleness -"because we have lived virtuous lives we feel that God (and the people we meet) owe us respect and support" p132 -"storms here on earth can take away many things, even my physical life, but not my Life" p152 -"idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced." p155 "what we need is a living encounter with God" -"every human being, then, needs blessing. We all need assurance if our unique value from some outside source. The love and admiration of those you most love and admire is above all rewards. We are all looking for this deep admiration, looking for it from our parents, our spouse and our peers." p158 -"the general answer is "because we are weak and sinful", but the specific answer in any actual circumstance is that there is something you feel you 'must' have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God himself." p166 -"your religion is what you do with your solitude (archbishop William Temple) - in other words, the true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention." p168 -"it entails joyful worship, a sense of God's reality in prayer. Jesus must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive to your heart, than your idol." p172 "rejoicing and repentance must go together." -"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... Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin." p172 -"rejoicing is a way or praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, and until it relaxes its grip on anything else it thinks that it needs." p173 -"it is worship that is the final way to replace the idols of your heart - private prayer, corporate worship, and meditation." p175

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Counterfeit Gods is my introduction to Timothy Keller, guess I'm late to the game, but based on what I read, I plan on reading more of his works. This is an excellent book, one of the most convicting I've read in a while, with a much needed message for our modern culture and society. When many of us think of the word "idol", we either think of teen pop stars or people worshipping before a golden calf and other statues. However, Keller shows the reader what false gods look like in this day and ag Counterfeit Gods is my introduction to Timothy Keller, guess I'm late to the game, but based on what I read, I plan on reading more of his works. This is an excellent book, one of the most convicting I've read in a while, with a much needed message for our modern culture and society. When many of us think of the word "idol", we either think of teen pop stars or people worshipping before a golden calf and other statues. However, Keller shows the reader what false gods look like in this day and age, the subtle ways they present themselves, and the ways they can take over our lives and become destructive forces. Keller skillfully explains what these idols are, through the well known stories of Abraham and Isaac and Jonah and less familiar stories of Leah, Naaman, and Nebuchadnezzar. It seems like we don't often associate these stories with being about idol worship, so some readers might be concerned with whether or not the author is reading too much into the text. I felt that it was a refreshing look, and liked how it connected these stories to readers' lives. Many of us pay lip service and say that we follow Christ and worship God, but often in our day to day lives, our hearts are divided. But then, when our hopes and dreams, our world comes crashing down before us, the idols in our lives are revealed to us- whether it be falsely believing that true love will satisfy all our needs in life, thinking that the accumulation of money will definitely provide security, or finding our identity solely through our status or accomplishments. When things don't work out, the disappointment can be brutal and incredibly difficult to overcome. This is what happens when we put all our hopes into counterfeit gods. Keller exhorts his readers that we must be relentless in rooting out the idols in our lives, look deep into ourselves to find the reasons why we are so enamored with them, and replace them with true, biblical, and spiritual worship and cling to the one hope worth having, our faith in the work of Jesus Christ. This book is not completely perfect, the majority of it focuses on identifying idols, so much so that the last chapter on replacing idols can seem like an afterthought, but I would still highly recommend it to others.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Gardner

    As with Keller’s previous two books, this one is very good. In fact, it may be his best yet, which is high praise from a big-time Keller fan like me! In “Counterfeit Gods”, Keller delivers a timely message regarding idolatry in our culture, and in our own lives. He very quickly dispels the common image of an idol as a carved statue that is literally worshiped (though this does still happen and he does address it). Instead, he writes that most idols are, in fact, good things, such as spouses and c As with Keller’s previous two books, this one is very good. In fact, it may be his best yet, which is high praise from a big-time Keller fan like me! In “Counterfeit Gods”, Keller delivers a timely message regarding idolatry in our culture, and in our own lives. He very quickly dispels the common image of an idol as a carved statue that is literally worshiped (though this does still happen and he does address it). Instead, he writes that most idols are, in fact, good things, such as spouses and children. The problem comes when we take a “good thing” and elevate it to an “ultimate thing”, giving it a higher place in our lives than God. Keller devotes a chapter each to different categories of personal idols (Love/Sex, Money/Greed, Success, and Power/Control) and their modern manifestations. Next he explores “the hidden idols in our lives”. These are the idols of our culture and society (profit, politics, religion, etc). Finally, he digs even deeper to expose what he calls “deep idols”, which are the underlying motivations that drive our “surface idols”, and which are harder to uncover. For instance, a woman with a “deep idol” of approval may eliminate the “surface idol” of a succession of abusive relationships, only to seek approval through the clothes she wears. Rather than simply removing idols, then, we must replace them by giving God the glory He is due, making Him our highest object of praise and acknowledging Him as the fulfillment of every longing. Keller’s points are illustrated through the Biblical examples of Jonah, Nebuchadnezzer, Jacob, and several others. Because he is a master story-teller, Keller is able to write an engaging and convicting book that allows us to see these idols from an external perspective while simultaneously keeping our focus on the idols in our own lives.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Josh Miller

    After reading this book written by Timothy Keller, it is a no-brainer - I will try and read anything by him that I can get my hands on! Talk about an intriguing read! Keller challenges the gods of our current society (and nearly every society) in a masterful way. There are very few intellectuals that are enjoyable to read. However, Keller is one of those. This would make an outstanding "book club" read or a good Bible study by a Sunday School. Although I underlined, starred, and marked many secti After reading this book written by Timothy Keller, it is a no-brainer - I will try and read anything by him that I can get my hands on! Talk about an intriguing read! Keller challenges the gods of our current society (and nearly every society) in a masterful way. There are very few intellectuals that are enjoyable to read. However, Keller is one of those. This would make an outstanding "book club" read or a good Bible study by a Sunday School. Although I underlined, starred, and marked many sections throughout the book, the two chapters on Money & Success delved into areas I have not studied in depth concerning idolatry. For instance, Keller writes in the chapter, "Money Changes Everything," the following: "Jesus warns people far more often about greed than about sex, yet almost no one thinks they are guilty of it." The chapter entitled "Seduction of Success" grabbed a hold of my attention more than any other in the book. It also convicted the fire out of me! You see, I surrendered to preach at a conference where the seduction of "ministry success" ran at an all time high. And was I ever infected with it! For years, I heard moaning and groaning from ministry leaders that our particular brand of fundamentalism was losing its top spots in the nation (by top spots, I mean largest churches. There were churches actually named and in what state our kind of churches at one time were the biggest, most growing, dynamic churches in the country). Conferences were held and the "success syndrome" was lifted up high for pastors and pastors in training to shoot for. To be honest, I was completely taken in by it all. After graduating from Bible college, I pastored for nine years in upstate New York. And although God blessed the work there, I was constantly aiming to be the biggest, Bible-believing church in our area. I was full of pride and God hates pride. As I read this book, I realized that I had made an idol out of "ministry success." Keller in the chapter on "The Seduction of Success" said the following: "The main sign that we are into success idolatry, however, is that we find we cannot maintain our self-confidence in life unless we remain at the top of our chosen field." One of the main features in the book is that Keller not only exposes the idols we worship today, he shows in the Bible a story/character that depicts the truth he is sharing. The last chapter, Hidden Idols in our Lives, convinced me that so many of us (for sure me) have idols in our lives that we do not even realize. After reading the following quote, I realized that many leaders in our ranks of "Bible-believers" also have these hidden idols in their lives: "Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance, and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ." Wow! Did that every convict me! Suffice it to say, I recommend this book to every Christian. You will only be blessed, challenged, convicted, and strengthened in your resolve to live a life devoid of the many idols that attempt to take ground in our hearts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This is one of the books I'd categorize as a must read. Keller's thesis is that idolatry lies behind all sins, and he plumbs the idols that we all have in our lives (money, sex, power, theological, political, economic, and many others). He's at his best in identifying these idols and illustrating them in the lives of different biblical characters (Jonah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, and others). More light could have been shed on replacing these idols with God, but that's rightly the material for ano This is one of the books I'd categorize as a must read. Keller's thesis is that idolatry lies behind all sins, and he plumbs the idols that we all have in our lives (money, sex, power, theological, political, economic, and many others). He's at his best in identifying these idols and illustrating them in the lives of different biblical characters (Jonah, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, and others). More light could have been shed on replacing these idols with God, but that's rightly the material for another book. Keller doesn't have the rhetorical brilliance of a C.S. Lewis (Who does?), but his work is wonderfully insightful into the realities of the human heart. My advice is to read it, discuss it, and let the gospel work deep into your heart and life. --- Four ways to discern idols: 1. Look at your imagination. "In other words, the true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy daydreaming about? What occupies your mind when you ahve nothing else to think about? Do you develop potential scenarios about career advancement? Or material goods such as a dream home? Or a relationship with a particular person?" 2. Look at how you spend your money. Cf. Matt. 6:21 3. How do you respond to unanswered prayers and frustrated hopes? 4. Look at your uncontrollable emotions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    Good book. Here are some highlights: An idol of politics "One of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life" (98). Keller goes on to show how fear leads to reviling and demonizing political opponents, making a toxic instead of healthy atmosphere for political discourse. This comes from making politics an idol, for fear that we will lose political stability if our politicians and policies don't SAVE us. We can SAY politics isn't a Good book. Here are some highlights: An idol of politics "One of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life" (98). Keller goes on to show how fear leads to reviling and demonizing political opponents, making a toxic instead of healthy atmosphere for political discourse. This comes from making politics an idol, for fear that we will lose political stability if our politicians and policies don't SAVE us. We can SAY politics isn't an idol for us all we want, but as long as we are driven by fear to read all those weekly newsletters, it's taken too high a place in our lives. An idol of religion "Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to contant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ" (p 132). Some think they are not godly unless they are in conflict with someone in the church all the time. After all, we're supposed to "fight the good fight," right? Yes, but not carnally. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, both in your heart and in the body of Christ. If church conflict is normal part of its life, there is an idol lurking about. Turn your warring tendencies against THAT. Seek and destroy it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    2020 review: I enjoyed this just as much the second time around. These are truths that I need to be reminded of. "Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced.... Jesus must become more beautiful to you than your idol." 2016 review: Counterfeit Gods by Pastor Timothy Keller is a bracing and articulate look at how easily the human heart worships the wrong things. In fact, he calls the heart a mass producing "idol factory." According to Keller, anything can serve as a counterfeit god, espe 2020 review: I enjoyed this just as much the second time around. These are truths that I need to be reminded of. "Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced.... Jesus must become more beautiful to you than your idol." 2016 review: Counterfeit Gods by Pastor Timothy Keller is a bracing and articulate look at how easily the human heart worships the wrong things. In fact, he calls the heart a mass producing "idol factory." According to Keller, anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life (job, family, etc.) His definition of an idol is when a "good thing becomes a supreme thing." One of his best examples is human love. Since God has been removed from our culture, the highest good is now "apocalyptic romance." We look to sex and romance to give us the transcendence and sense of meaning we used to get from our faith in God. (p. 28) These counterfeit gods cannot be simply removed. They must be replaced by the Lord himself. A great little book with much food for thought.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Justin Lonas

    Short, to the point, and kindly ruthless. I was put off at first by Keller's somewhat pedantic style (he typically writes for a broad audience, especially for non Christians, so his rehashing of basics can seem insulting to some), but after finishing the whole book, it seems like a good fit. He pares away rhetorical flourishes, side-notes, allusions, and deeper discussion to cut the chase, a bruising theological argument that all sin begins as idolatry. Keller doesn't sugar-coat the accusation tha Short, to the point, and kindly ruthless. I was put off at first by Keller's somewhat pedantic style (he typically writes for a broad audience, especially for non Christians, so his rehashing of basics can seem insulting to some), but after finishing the whole book, it seems like a good fit. He pares away rhetorical flourishes, side-notes, allusions, and deeper discussion to cut the chase, a bruising theological argument that all sin begins as idolatry. Keller doesn't sugar-coat the accusation that all people are idolators in any way; he doesn't leave any wiggle room to feel good about yourself. He methodically points readers to Christ over and over again, showing that it is only when He becomes our life and sole source of fulfillment that we can break free from the passions that enslave us. This is one of those books that can be read in a day, but takes weeks to chew on before the lessons are digested.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    I had a hard time reading this book. It's not that it was written in an odd manner; I actually appreciated it's down-to-earth tone and brevity. It's not that Tim Keller was incorrect on his assertions; he was actually very Biblical. Rather, I had a hard time reading this book because it made me aware of the idols I had in my own life. Counterfeit Gods is a book that gets you, the reader, to better understand how idols work and creep in to our lives. Keller walks through different Old Testament cha I had a hard time reading this book. It's not that it was written in an odd manner; I actually appreciated it's down-to-earth tone and brevity. It's not that Tim Keller was incorrect on his assertions; he was actually very Biblical. Rather, I had a hard time reading this book because it made me aware of the idols I had in my own life. Counterfeit Gods is a book that gets you, the reader, to better understand how idols work and creep in to our lives. Keller walks through different Old Testament characters to show us the effects of idols in our lives. While it's quite dour at times, Keller always connects it back to what happens when we remove idols and embrace Christ. Regardless of what you may think of Tim Keller in 2021, I have to say that this book is a great read and an even better catalyst towards sanctification. Highly recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Troy Nevitt

    This was an easy read. Short. Helpful. I feel I should leave the review short to prove that. Keller focuses on idolatry we know easily invades our lives, and how they do not truly satisfy the longings people have like Christ does. He's right. This book is helpful as a reminder of the deception that is promised through sex, money, and power. This was an easy read. Short. Helpful. I feel I should leave the review short to prove that. Keller focuses on idolatry we know easily invades our lives, and how they do not truly satisfy the longings people have like Christ does. He's right. This book is helpful as a reminder of the deception that is promised through sex, money, and power.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    This is an absolutely phenomenal book. I personally have always been foggy on what idolatry really is. This book has changed the way I perceive the world around me and even who I am. Idols drive almost every action I take, and I have just begun the lifelong battle of uprooting them and replacing them with the only One who is truly worth idolizing. Wish me luck.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Josh Long

    Don't blow it off this book off you think it's going to be self-explanatory stuff. Keller does a great job at unpacking the narratives of Abraham, Jacob and Jonah in really insightful ways. Worth the read. Don't blow it off this book off you think it's going to be self-explanatory stuff. Keller does a great job at unpacking the narratives of Abraham, Jacob and Jonah in really insightful ways. Worth the read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This is a very simple and well laid out book helping us to understand that idolatry isn't a relic of the Old Testament or obscure tribal communities but rather a universal human condition. Keller deftly lays out the primary "idols" of American society and discusses how one can identify and replace the idols the reader is specifically wrestling with. I will definitely use this book in discipleship relationships. This is a very simple and well laid out book helping us to understand that idolatry isn't a relic of the Old Testament or obscure tribal communities but rather a universal human condition. Keller deftly lays out the primary "idols" of American society and discusses how one can identify and replace the idols the reader is specifically wrestling with. I will definitely use this book in discipleship relationships.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara Nemcik

    This book really dives into the tendencies of human behavior to show us how we have made gods of earthly things. Identifying why we struggle with finding real peace and job. It can be a rough journey to better understand yourself, but I would recommend exploring your own personal idols.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I often hear Christians comparing Keller to C.S. Lewis in his ability to distill complex theological ideas into manageable, everyday language. While I know that there is a need for this level of discourse for large swathes of people, religious and non-religious alike, and appreciate that Keller's books often serve as an entrypoint for further exploration, it was this very "toning down" that I found frustrating about Counterfeit Gods (and tend to find frustrating in general with Keller's books, p I often hear Christians comparing Keller to C.S. Lewis in his ability to distill complex theological ideas into manageable, everyday language. While I know that there is a need for this level of discourse for large swathes of people, religious and non-religious alike, and appreciate that Keller's books often serve as an entrypoint for further exploration, it was this very "toning down" that I found frustrating about Counterfeit Gods (and tend to find frustrating in general with Keller's books, particularly these shorter, topical, pamphlet-type publications). There was a clear formula for each chapter -- an anecdote about an individual illustrating the "counterfeit god" at play, some general thoughts regarding the idol and society, and then minor exegesis of a Biblical character's story to provide an antidote or alternative. It was, however, never really clear how the changes he was advocating for on the individual level would or could effectively address a larger social problem, and the overly formulaic use of the Biblical illustrations (something Lewis certainly would never have tolerated in his own writing) made the illustrations themselves feel defanged/tired and the writing naive. Where I really wanted Keller to delve deeper was in his cultural analysis/critique. He often made quite incisive observations regarding the problems of post-economic-downturn America (particularly re. the problems of capitalism), but would then quickly turn his focus elsewhere. Perhaps it is uncharitable of me to quibble with the book Keller did write (focused mostly on individual change with occasional gestures to larger issues) because I'd rather read the one he didn't (a more academic account of larger social structures and cultural trends that would allow for the full breadth of the intellect you sense lurking behind the everyday-ness of his prose and presentation here). But Keller himself points out (in what was, to me, the most insightful and applicable observation of the book) that for Christians the project of cultural critique is also necessarily one of idol critique and thus valuable (an argument for the study of humanities if I ever heard one!), and I can't help wishing he approached his own text from more of a cultural critique standpoint. In all, this book felt like milk, and I wanted meat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mikelkpoet

    Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

    Timothy Keller's "Counterfeit Gods" is a great book about the idols that plague our society. Keller looks at how money, sex, power, success and even theology all work as idols that tear us away from genuine devotion to Christ. He uses Biblical narratives, such as the stories of Jacob and Jonah, in order to help the reader grasp how certain idols affected these individuals and how they struggled and moved past them. I would have liked Keller to have a chapter on entertainment/Hollywood as I feel Timothy Keller's "Counterfeit Gods" is a great book about the idols that plague our society. Keller looks at how money, sex, power, success and even theology all work as idols that tear us away from genuine devotion to Christ. He uses Biblical narratives, such as the stories of Jacob and Jonah, in order to help the reader grasp how certain idols affected these individuals and how they struggled and moved past them. I would have liked Keller to have a chapter on entertainment/Hollywood as I feel that is a major idol (after all, there is a reality show called "American Idol").

  21. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    People might look at you funny when you start speaking about idols. Yet, this way of looking at problems prevalent in our world brings so much clarity. This book should be read more, even by non-believers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marcás

    Counterfeit Gods is yet another excellent book from Timothy Keller, that walks the tightrope between academia and a popular audience most admirably. Keller relates the beautiful and timeless Biblical stories of Leah and of Jonah, amongst others, to remind us of the joy of the Gospel. Showing us that we are not to be judged by our counterfeit gods of money, sex or power. They each have their place but, when made central, can become merely idols of our hearts, and cannot fulfil our longing for the Counterfeit Gods is yet another excellent book from Timothy Keller, that walks the tightrope between academia and a popular audience most admirably. Keller relates the beautiful and timeless Biblical stories of Leah and of Jonah, amongst others, to remind us of the joy of the Gospel. Showing us that we are not to be judged by our counterfeit gods of money, sex or power. They each have their place but, when made central, can become merely idols of our hearts, and cannot fulfil our longing for the true and living God. The true and living God loves us beyond the all-too-often superficial and pragmatic performances of the world as it plays out in its daily sinful state. Even when our beauty fades or are material wealth is lost, and when we've been stripped of worldly powers. This is especially important to note as more and more turn to the political realm, the sexual revolution or consumerism to 'solve' existential problems that far exceed their abilities. Politics is not a panacea and cannot repair the 'social covenant' of civil society, recognised by the late great Jonathan Sacks. Let alone bring on the Kingdom of God. Pastor Tim does not just condemn the idols, but proclaims the goodness of the good news through masterful story telling and a grounded philosophy of virtues and the good life. God's map of life in the cosmos and 'Hesed' companionship offers us orientation and a home in a world that is without clear direction. As a part of this, and within the matrix of grace, Keller carefully reminds us that it is important for us to cultivate distinctly Christian spiritual disciplines. Both as individuals and as communities- through prayer, corporate worship, etc

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam Victor

    "The Human Heart is an idol factory. Our hearts take good things 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. Anything in life can serve as an idol, a God-alternative, a counterfeit god. Counterfeit gods always disappoint. 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 co "The Human Heart is an idol factory. Our hearts take good things 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. Anything in life can serve as an idol, a God-alternative, a counterfeit god. Counterfeit gods always disappoint. 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. The only way to free ourselves from the destructive influence of counterfeit gods is to turn back to the true one." **re-read but this time on audio-such a fan of this book. Full of timely reminders in the midst of the pandemic when culture is looking to anything for hope/safety/satisfaction. I love that Keller uses stories from the Old Testament as examples of where the different idols of money, sex, power, etc are illustrated. Many times in scripture the Lord reminds the people that they should have no other gods besides him and he executes judgment because of their idolatry. Yet today many of the idols in our heart/culture we don't even notice or recognize. It is not enough to just identify the idols of our hearts and culture, we must replace those idols with the Lord- not just knowledge of him but an abiding relationship.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    There is this thing Timothy Keller does that marks him a good writer of the Christian sort. It is that he tell a few stories that connect to the theme of a chapter and then explore it both the theme and the story by the writing. This way one gets insight into the biblical narrative as well as more modern example of the same principles as work. It makes the writing feel good and the reader feel satisfied. Keller has also a keen eye on where to do the approach and how to drive the point home, and There is this thing Timothy Keller does that marks him a good writer of the Christian sort. It is that he tell a few stories that connect to the theme of a chapter and then explore it both the theme and the story by the writing. This way one gets insight into the biblical narrative as well as more modern example of the same principles as work. It makes the writing feel good and the reader feel satisfied. Keller has also a keen eye on where to do the approach and how to drive the point home, and manages to add new insight into things that have been explored by many before him. This does not make him a very original thinker, more of a good storyteller and communicator. It means also that some “errors” or side issues seem smoothed over to please the middle ground rather than Keller taking a stand(for instance of the political matters), not that it matters in the whole. This book is worth a try if you are looking for an inspirational book or maybe even more if you struggle with counterfeit gods in your own life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    A deeply affecting book, relevant to everyone. At first, I was disappointed that it was written in a simpler fashion than, say, C.S. Lewis's masterworks, but I came to realize that it was all the more powerful for being straightforward. Universal truths about the human condition don't need to be dressed up. This is sometimes an uncomfortable read because of the incisive insight it has about the many finite gods to which we enslave ourselves: I found some of the examples eerily relevant to my own A deeply affecting book, relevant to everyone. At first, I was disappointed that it was written in a simpler fashion than, say, C.S. Lewis's masterworks, but I came to realize that it was all the more powerful for being straightforward. Universal truths about the human condition don't need to be dressed up. This is sometimes an uncomfortable read because of the incisive insight it has about the many finite gods to which we enslave ourselves: I found some of the examples eerily relevant to my own life. That said, everyone should read this book, not because it plumbs heretofore unknown philosophical depths, but because it fearlessly and practically addresses the issue of emptiness and meaninglessness that plagues all of us. I think on some level, most of us realize that we're trying to dress a deep wound with band-aids, and this book unflinchingly presents the soul-exsanguinating results. An excellent, sobering, and very thought-provoking read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laney Mills

    Potentially more than any other author I’ve read, Tim Keller has a knack for communicating how every aspect of the Biblical story subtly shows Jesus as “the better.” Chapter after chapter in Counterfeit Gods, Keller delves into scripture in a way that blows my mind, taking familiar stories and painting them in such a way that they feel new and more profound than I knew before. There’s hardly a chapter that goes by without clearly laying out the gospel, and yet it’s fresh every time. This book is Potentially more than any other author I’ve read, Tim Keller has a knack for communicating how every aspect of the Biblical story subtly shows Jesus as “the better.” Chapter after chapter in Counterfeit Gods, Keller delves into scripture in a way that blows my mind, taking familiar stories and painting them in such a way that they feel new and more profound than I knew before. There’s hardly a chapter that goes by without clearly laying out the gospel, and yet it’s fresh every time. This book is highly applicable for anyone — follower of Jesus or not — and I would definitely recommend this as a book to add to your “to read” list.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Print

    A helpful, biblically-based book which encourages us to see where we are valuing certain things too highly and living with them as more important to us than God. I found it very challenging - in a good way - as it really helped to highlight some of my idols, without piling on the guilt! Tim Keller encourages us to keep battling our idols, whilst not losing sight of the fact that Jesus has done everything to forgive us, and having realistic expectations about the Christian life, for growth not pe A helpful, biblically-based book which encourages us to see where we are valuing certain things too highly and living with them as more important to us than God. I found it very challenging - in a good way - as it really helped to highlight some of my idols, without piling on the guilt! Tim Keller encourages us to keep battling our idols, whilst not losing sight of the fact that Jesus has done everything to forgive us, and having realistic expectations about the Christian life, for growth not perfection. I underlined so much in this book, it is full of helpful insights.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clay

    If there is an annual reading list, this should be at the top. Stress levels in young Americans are increasing at an alarming rate and yet we are living in the most prosperous and worry free (rationally speaking) time in human history. Our culture is telling us that there’s a life out there that we can attain that will bring our souls peace and remove all insecurity and stress. The cultural theme is that you can be your own god. I often forget it in my own life, but nothing is enough except for G If there is an annual reading list, this should be at the top. Stress levels in young Americans are increasing at an alarming rate and yet we are living in the most prosperous and worry free (rationally speaking) time in human history. Our culture is telling us that there’s a life out there that we can attain that will bring our souls peace and remove all insecurity and stress. The cultural theme is that you can be your own god. I often forget it in my own life, but nothing is enough except for God’s unconditional love and unfathomable grace. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Porter Sprigg

    Tim Keller never fails to speak to my mind and soul simultaneously. This book is painful in its wisdom about the human soul. Idols must not only be displaced; they have to be fully replaced by our glorious God himself. “To rejoice is to treasure a thing, to assess its value to you, to reflect on its beauty and importance until your heart rests in it and tastes the sweetness of it. Rejoicing is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, and until it relaxes its grip on anythin Tim Keller never fails to speak to my mind and soul simultaneously. This book is painful in its wisdom about the human soul. Idols must not only be displaced; they have to be fully replaced by our glorious God himself. “To rejoice is to treasure a thing, to assess its value to you, to reflect on its beauty and importance until your heart rests in it and tastes the sweetness of it. Rejoicing is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, and until it relaxes its grip on anything else it thinks that it needs.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Johnston

    This book is a powerful call about the idols in one's life. Whether it is greed, power, lust, these idols take hold in our lives and control us--when God should be first in our lives! I appreciated Keller's forwardness, yet even in his idol exposure he sends us back to the one true antidote...Christ. What an encouragement, for getting rid of idols is a lifelong task, which we can only persevere through in His strength! Highly recommend this. This book is a powerful call about the idols in one's life. Whether it is greed, power, lust, these idols take hold in our lives and control us--when God should be first in our lives! I appreciated Keller's forwardness, yet even in his idol exposure he sends us back to the one true antidote...Christ. What an encouragement, for getting rid of idols is a lifelong task, which we can only persevere through in His strength! Highly recommend this.

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