Reviewed by Dale Lewis
Forgotten God by Francis Chan
"...pastor/author Francis Chan graciously compels us not to assume anything and not only pursue head knowledge of the Holy Spirit but to embrace the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives."
Having been raised
in The Salvation Army, my understanding of the Holy Spirit was limited
to His work of holiness in our lives. Yet, there is so much to the Holy
Spirit, the third person of the trinity, according to Francis Chan. The
title could have easily been the “Misunderstood, Neglected or Denied
God” but Francis wisely chose “Forgotten” because we've
simply ignored the Spirit far too long and from Chan’s perspective
are now reaping the devastating results.
In his follow up to the poignant message of Crazy Love, pastor/author Francis Chan graciously compels us not to assume anything and not only pursue head knowledge of the Holy Spirit but to embrace the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives.
Chan chooses not to get entangled with past and current theological debates surrounding the Holy Spirit. Instead he exposes how Western culture breeds Christ-followers who live as though the Holy Spirit has already headed to the showers after the game. In other words, the Holy Spirit as a non-factor in their lives. Chan does not lean towards any of the extremes as he presents a solid biblical basis of information, especially in chapter 3, “Theology of the Holy Spirit 101.” Chan often asks the reader to stop reading and follow through on action points sprinkled throughout the pages.
Chan woos the reader with a gentleness and humility that flow through his words, because the author doesn’t see himself as an expert but rather as a fellow pilgrim. Chan is also hard-hitting and convicting at times as he strives to balance his unbridled passion for something much more satisfying than self-focused entertainment in our churches. He challenges us to know why we want the Holy Spirit in our lives in chapter 4. This unorthodox approach to questioning motives caught me off guard. He states, "Is it for power? Is it for your own betterment and purposes? Or is it because you want to experience all that God has for you? Is it because you love the church and desire to be a better servant to your brothers and sisters?”
Chan concludes each chapter with a short biography about a person modeling a Holy Spirit-led life. These narratives help solidify the material presented in the previous pages.
I still have questions, but reading Forgotten God has compelled me to spend more time in intentionally seeking the Holy Spirit while not hindering his work within me and the body of Christ.
A seven session DVD Study Resource based on Forgotten God will be available in January 2010 for use in a small group setting.