Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Counterfeit Gods are Idols

The last book that I read over my summer holiday was Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. In this book Keller expounds an idea that I have heard by Driscoll and Stephen Um speak on (who both attribute their stuff from Keller).

Keller starts by justifying what an idol is and removes the concept from little carved images, but being anything really that we make an ultimate thing, and most of the time it is a good thing. Keller then spends each chapter on focusing on some idols he thinks present day people might have such as family, romantic love, money, success and power.

Instead of going to some propositional statements like "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" or "God opposes the proud and give grace to the humble," Keller goes about telling stories from the Old Testament. I think this is to draw the reader into a living example and we probably remember and enjoy stories better than dry statements about what we should and should not do. Anyway it made the book more enjoying to read, than a series of doctrinal statements.

When looking at the idol of family the testing of Abraham with the binding of Isaac is looked at . With romantic love the story of Jacobs love for Rachel and him being tricked into marrying Leah is looked at. Keller uses the phrase "in the morning it was Leah" as a parable of most idols. At night we thing we are seeking after our desires, but in the morning it is Leah. Our idols are always Leah... The book also tells the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5 and Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 and 4 to show how power and success are fleeting. Then the book turns to the story of Jonah and to the topic of hidden idols. Sometimes it easy to see idols in other people, such as the topics of the other chapters, but we have secret idols in our own hearts. Ultimately the goal is really to replace our idols/functional saviours with the true God. One that we can not control and who challenges us.

Like other Keller books, this one was easy to read and very clear. Keller seems to be well read and knows how to engage/communicate to his reader. It is well worth a read.

Other books by Tim Keller I have read:
The Prodigal God
The Reason For God


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