Sunday, September 25, 2011

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Instead of sport analogies Keller, quotes CS Lewis, Malcolm Galdwell and Robespierre. While I like Keller's preaching I actually think he's best at answering questions or expressing concepts, in this case idolatry. Counterfeit Gods, is a book length fleshing out of idolatry, it's definition (xxii) it's nuanced forms (24, 100 or 104) and how to deal with it (170 or 174).
"Dutch-Canadian philosopher Al Wolters taught that in the biblical view of things, the main problem in life is sin, and the only solution is God and his grace. The alternative to this view is to identify something besides sin as the main problem with the world and something besides God as the main remedy." (100)
"What is operating in the place of Jesus Christ as your real, functional salvation and Savior?" (174)

In the book Keller works his way through various biblical characters illustrating different aspects of Idolatry with an analysis of each character. God's call to sacrifice Abraham, the humbling of Naaman, the way in which our departure from Eden is us waking up to Leah, Nebuchadnezzar; "to be your own God leads to bestial behaviour" (121) and Jonah "shouldn't your love be like mine" (152). I felt his chapter on Jonah was the weakest because he over-exagerated the theme of idolatry. Then in the chapter on Jacob Keller points out that God feigns weakness "for no other reason than because Jacob held on desperately" (162).