Building Up the Body of Christ

[Re]view: Empty Promises by Pete Wilson


Idolatry is on a lot of folks’ radar these days. Tim Keller writes and preaches about it. Mark Driscoll rants about it. Now Pete Wilson writes about it– skillfully, I might add. In Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing, Pastor Pete Wilson looks at some of the deepest outlets for human idolatry: achievement, approval, power, money, legalism, beauty, and ambition. Wilson clearly lays out the universal problem of human idolatry and how our idols fundamentally fail to save, to redeem…fail to fulfill their most basic promises. He concludes by directing us again and again toward the faithfulness of God and the life of true worship.

Wilson, overall, does a fantastic job in this book. It’s an insightful book that helps the reader probe and do an appropriate level of introspection to identify areas of idolatry in their life. He also doesn’t allow the reader to despair about sin or look at their situation as hopeless, but again and again directs the reader toward Jesus’ work in the cross. One thing that would have been helpful, though, is instead of “Religion Lies” as a chapter, to appropriately speak of it as “Legalism Lies.” Religion is a favorite whipping boy in our postmodern era, but it is legalism, not religion or tradition that distracts us from Jesus and what he’s called us to do. Beyond that, this book comes fully-recommended.

Author: Dave Ketter

Dave Ketter is a Pittsburgh native currently working on his M.Div at Trinity School for Ministry. He graduated from Geneva College in 2010 (B.A., Christian Ministries) and in 2013 (M.A. in Higher Education ). He is passionate about being part of calling God's people to Jesus' mission.


  1. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review. I also agree with your title suggestion. Maybe I’ll get a second print. :)

  2. Thank you, Pete! God bless you, brother!

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