The full name of this book, “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit” speaks volumes on its own. I picked this gem up during a Promise Keepers seminar, as you might say I was led to do so! The author, Francis Chan, is perhaps better known for his other work, “Crazy Love”, and I’m sure I’ll get to that one sometime down the road. But this title grabbed me more than anything.
“Forgotten God” is a wake up call. Collectively I think many have gotten quite accustomed to praying to the Father in Jesus name and leaving it at that. I’m starting to realize that being led by the Spirit is a different matter entirely.
It’s no big secret that we as a Christian body have put the Holy Spirit in the back seat of our spiritual minivan and many times have wanted Him to be quiet like an over-chatty child. Oh sure, we pray for God’s guidance…in OUR lives. I speak from personal experience.
What I appreciate more than anything is the mature view of the Holy Spirit the author has. The role of the Spirit is not to give us the shakes, emotional highs, or the ability to babble incoherently. None of those transform our world. If I can be so bold as to say, it’s easy to fake that kind of “presence of the Spirit” isn’t it? But in truth, you can’t fake the genuine article. He hits like a ton of bricks.
One review on the net lamented the lack of any “charismatic coverage“, but that’s the point of the book. The Spirit is about much larger things than one’s personal edification. I would argue that reducing Him to such things means we simply use God to “turn the Spirit on” whenever we need a buzz. Thus, once again it becomes all about us.
Rather, the work of the Spirit is far, far grander in scope. It is the power to take one person and change the world.
Chan argues that the church as a whole has failed to let the Spirit have His way out of fear, lack of knowledge, or because of church tradition. A truly Spirit-led life is rarely a boring one, and that’s what scares us. Present company included.
“From my perspective, the Holy Spirit is tragically neglected and, for all practical purposes, forgotten…There is a gap between what we read in Scripture about the Holy Spirit and how most believers and churches operate today. In many modern churches, you would be stunned by the apparent absence of the Spirit in any manifest way. And this, I believe, is the crux of the problem.” ( Forgotten God )
In between chapters are short biographies on people, both historical and current, who were obviously empowered. The last chapter was the most compelling. Only a half page long. The biography asks the reader what they would like it to say for them. To me this was a caution and a warning to never underestimate what the Holy Spirit can do in my life.
Forgotten God is not a big read, but it is solid. Perhaps that is a strong point too as not to loose our cultural ADHD levels of attentiveness. It’s also not revolutionary, but it is a needed message in our time. I give this 4 feathers out of 5.