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Counterfeit Gods
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Book Review: Keller, Tim, Counterfeit Gods, Penguin Group, New York, N.Y. 2009

Reviewed by Ron Aguilera

I was deeply impressed by the first book by Tim Keller I read, The Prodigal God, which focuses on my favorite chapter in the Bible, Luke 15. Powerful! This book, Counterfeit Gods, tackles the subject of idolatry, the counterfeit gods of our world, past and present. Again, powerful! It is not only well-written, but deeply insightful.

Keller’s thesis is that the human heart is an “idol factory”, that we as human beings take even good things and turn them into God substitutes, or “counterfeit gods,” which will always disappoint us, often destructively so. This made a lot of sense to me. It made me realize that the First Commandment being about idolatry is not a coincidence. Hmmm…

Each chapter in this book tackles an example of a modern idol; such as money, success, romantic love, and political or even religious ideology. He illustrates each one with well-chosen contemporary examples, as well as from Bible characters such as Abraham, Zaccheus, Naaman, Nebuchanezzar, and Jonah. And, Keller takes each story and offers fresh insights that address today’s culture and mindset.

This book is not a long book and will not take you a long time to read, but if you are like me, you will begin to re-read it as soon as you are done. One of the things it has done for me is to cause me to reflect and examine the deep idols that have or are trying to take root in my life. Keller suggest the best way to get rid of these idols is to identify them, then address them, but not by trying to suppress them, but by supplanting them with a living encounter with God himself.

Great book! I highly recommend it!