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Counterfeit Gods: When the Empty Promises of Love, Money, and Power Let You Down [Hardcover]

Timothy Keller
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2009

The issue of idolatry has been with the human race for thousands of years; the subtle temptation is always to take what is good and turn it into the ultimate good, elevating it above all other things in the search for security and meaning. In this timely and challenging book, New York pastor Timothy Keller looks at the issue of idolatry throughout the Bible - from the worship of actual idols in the Old Testament, to the idolatry of money by the rich young ruler when he was challenged by Jesus to give up all his wealth. Using classic stories from the Bible Keller cuts through our dependence on the glittering false idols of money, sex and power to uncover the path towards trust in the real ultimate - God. Today's idols may look different from those of the Old Testament, but Keller argues that they are no less damaging. Culturally transforming as well as biblically based, COUNTERFEIT GODS is a powerful look at the temptation to worship what can only disappoint, and is a vital message in today's current climate of financial and social difficulty.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (15 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340995076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340995075
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Timothy Keller is senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Manhattan: and New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God. He is also author of Counterfeit Gods and The Prodigal God book, film, and discussion guide.

Product Description


'This is a great book. All pastors and thinking Christians should read this book.' (Christianity Magazine)

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)

Book Description

New book from the bestselling author of THE REASON FOR GOD

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Keller invites us to explore our deepest longings and motivations and to wean us off the gods that we pursue, by directing us to Jesus Christ. Although this book is, in many ways, a challenging, even a painful book to read as it lays bear the longings of our own hearts, it offers fresh hope for those of us whose gods have let us down.

In an accessible and masterful way, Keller reveals how we can take good things (career, love, family, material things) and make them "ultimate" things - seeking in them a security and fulfillment that are are never unable to deliver. He is also realistic about the hold that our idols have upon us, recognising that only a living encounter with God can deal with their stubbornness, as Christ himself becomes what it ultimate in our lives. Time after time, Keller shows us that the answer to the slavery that idols bring - is not simply to love these good things less - but to love Christ more, and throughout this short book, Keller's insightful exploration of the gospel through some of the familiar stories of the bible, helps and encourages us to do this.

I can't recommend this book too highly and I'm itching to read it with others and to allow its message and insights to work more deeply in me.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Age old wisdom for the 21st century 5 Feb 2010
Keller's book is a powerful and compelling expose of the emptiness and superficiality of our age and its obsession with money, love and power. Drawing on lessons and wisdom from the lives of, among others, the Old Testament characters of Abraham, Jacob and Jonah and interspersing them with real life stories from today, I found this an enormously helpful book in understanding how my heart is so easily drawn away from the living God and where to go to find real lasting fulfilment and joy. As Keller so succinctly puts it in his introduction, "The living God who revealed Himself at both Mount Sinai and on the Cross is the only Lord who, if you find Him, can truly fulfil you, and if you fail Him, can truly forgive you". This very much is a book for our time that deserves to be widely read by those of whatever faith or religious or sceptical persuasion.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Keller Classic 19 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tim Keller once again draws together a rich understanding of the Christian gospel and insights into contemporary culture into a thought-provoking and engaging book. Perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of the book is to articulate an estranged idea, namely idolatry, into the twenty first century experience; showing how that rather than escaping the primitive power of idols we are in fact surrounded and enslaved by them. Through a Christ-centred analysis of scripture, Keller exposes our personal and cultural idols and shows that the only antidote to our idolatry is the true God, revealed in Jesus Christ. A compelling message and thoroughly recommended reading.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cultural analysis by Tim Keller 16 Dec 2009
Tim Keller has written a superb book on hidden drivers of our behaviour and our western culture. Illustrated by several inspiring examples from the Scriptures, on which he has some new insights, he really has pointed me in the right direction. This book might change your perspective on life an it's many challenges.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than five star 1 Oct 2010
I put this book in a unique category. Never before have I read a book, immediately reread and then studied it again.

When I was given this book I thought it would be evangelistic. It is but it is much more. it challenges you to think what is the most important thing in your life. Is God in prime place? The idols of our age are confronted, family, wealth, nationalism, success, sex, power and hidden idols we may not know we conceal. Each chapter is also an exposition of a Bible story to expose the idolatry. Each story is brought to a Christ honouring exegesis. The command of other sources cited is impressive including non-Christian ones.

I have only one minor criticism. After wealth, the idol I see most in the world around me is the state. People would rather have their future depend on the state than on God. The state is allowed to make demands in all of life. It educates, heals and provides financial security and we love to have it so. Maybe this is omitted because the US is not the welfare state we have in the UK.

Superb book. I must read more from Keller.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book from Keller 17 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Keller again illuminates things in a way that reveals truth about culture and more importantly about our hearts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to idolatry 3 May 2010
A good book that provides a basic introduction to the 'false gods' of love, money and power. It also explores what it calls 'deep idols', how ultimately everything is a gospel issue. It provides a quick guide on how to identify your idols and how to start tackling them. Rather brief and quick treatment of issues though, might want a bigger book on idolatry to read after this introduction.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking book.

For those unfamiliar with Timothy Keller he has a very enjoyable way of writing. He is able to convey difficult ideologies in an easily understood manner. In doing so he is able to make his points seem interesting, relevant and thought provoking. Keller's ability to write in this style has lead to him being recognised as a modern version of CS Lewis.

The primary premise of this book, as the title suggests, rests on idols. The book suggests that the bible, as originally illustrated by the 10 commandments, claims that our worldly problems rest on our constant need to make idols of non-godly things. The book addresses the modern materialistic idols of the western world, namely money, fame, culture, power etc. It then attempts to help the reader identify if they share any of these idols. The book concludes that man needs to turn back to God and in doing so will free himself from his worldly attachments and become a happier being.

I can't fault Keller's thought on idols. I gained significant amounts of insight from his book. I would however highlight that the majority of Keller's Theology is specifically Protestant. He draws a lot of reference to Luther's Theology of the Cross, and a lot of his assertions are based on Lutheran ideas.

The only critique I can offer is that at points the book reads a little more like a self-help book than a book on Biblical thought. However, this does not occur enough for me to feel deterred or irritated by the content itself so the critique really is only a minor one.

Overall, I highly recommend the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars book review for Counterfeit Gods .
Very happy with this book so far .thought provoking. Counterfeit good description of other people and things in our lives .l
Published 6 months ago by Joyce Park
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Nothing 'Mere' about it. A brilliant addition to my library.
I read it many years ago and had forgotten how wonderful a writer CS Lewis was.
Published 14 months ago by David A White
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Life changing book on idols and how they affect us. It helped me invaluably to fight and get rid of idols in my own life! It's a must read.
Published 14 months ago by Bookman
5.0 out of 5 stars The way in which we fill our lives with false gods
A book that explains so much of our disappointments and provides answers to why so many people are unhappy when on the surface of it they have so much.
Published 14 months ago by stewart lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, really helpful
I bought this book on recommendation from a friend. Its easy to read and really challenging and helpful. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Saira
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Never dissapointed with Timothy Keller. Enjoyed the read and gives a good account of how material things such as cars, houses etc can be thought of a gods. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Tendai Horton
5.0 out of 5 stars Here is today's world
How inspiring to read easily why this world is in such a mess. God must surely be pleased that so many people are reading this writing.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey of self discovery
This is a read that requires facing ones self at the deepest innermost part of our being, and being honest about what is there. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Saga
5.0 out of 5 stars great and inspiring
bought this for my kindle, have already read it but wanted to have it to read again on my kindle
Published 18 months ago by Mr. C. P. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Counterfeit Gods is an excellent book
"Counterfeit Gods" really makes you think! It challenges accepted understanding and offers new insights but most of all it asks the reader some difficult questions.
Published 18 months ago by GJ ELLIOTT
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