Timothy Keller is my favorite modern Christian author for his clear and simple language, down-to-earth relevance, and profound insight into scripture, faith, and life. Keller’s Counterfeit Gods continues in this vein. I began reading this book with a men’s study through City Church, the church plant that I’ve been involved in here in Baltimore City. But when we weren’t able to continue the discussion for various reasons, I finished it on my own. Counterfeit Gods isn’t my favorite Keller book – at times it feels repetitive, either within itself or with other Keller writings. Nonetheless, Keller still delivers with great scripture exposition, and challenged me to examine my own heart and take practical steps toward dethroning my personal counterfeit gods.
I particularly appreciated Keller’s remarks in the closing chapter:
“Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God. This cannot be remedied only by repenting that you have an idol, or using willpower to try to live differently. Turning from idols is not less than those two things, but it is also far more. …If you uproot the idol and fail to ‘plant’ the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.”
I think that one of the greatest mistakes Christians make when trying to combat sin in their lives is to fight the sin without the greater love of God to replace it. I will also add that in my experience, diving in more fully to the mission of God helps to put idols in their rightful place because it focuses our attention and orients our hearts away from worldly things and toward things of eternal value and significance.