Adam Ross's Reviews > Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
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's review
Jan 29, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: church-and-culture, theology
Read from January 28 to 29, 2010

I always start Keller's books with such high hopes that this time he'll write one I can recommend to friends. This one has such a good premise and has so many good things to say about idolatry, and yet there is so much dross that I am prevented in handing it out to people who really need a basic primer on idols of the heart.

Keller hopelessly garbles so much Scripture in the book that it is bound to confuse more than help (to the point of framing Jacob as the bad guy and Laban as just "looking out" for his daughter Leah??). Anyway, the Scriptures are never really the point of the book, they always seem more like thinly veiled props to keep his essentially-psychological ideas afloat. And as I think about it, it really seems like he's psychologicalizing the Scriptures to make the point he wants to make, and it seems to get more obvious with each book. Another point of irritation is the trend among Christian publishers to write as though people were reading on a fourth-grade level. Drives me nuts. An additional annoyance is that it seems like (having read all three of Keller's books) he doesn't really read anyone except left-wing ideologues and the sorts of folk you'd hear chatting on NPR. People like David Brooks, Paul Krugman (calling him an "economist" in the book was one unintentional joke I actually enjoyed), the New York Times and his continued broadcasting of evolution's compatibility with Christianity (another one of those jokes).

Sadly, I cannot commend it except to those who can take the relative good from it while spitting out the bones.

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