Anyone who knows me well, knows that I truly do prefer fiction to non-fiction. When those precious moments of free time come around, I would much rather escape to some exciting time or place than spend time combing through the tedium of reality. (Believe me, as a mother of two little boys, I get my fill of reality.) Judge me if you will, but that is the truth. So when I was told our Bible study group would be reading through the book Forgotten God Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan, I was admittedly hesitant. First of all, so many books written for believers fall into three categories: dry historical lecture, heresy, or cliché. (Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you hit the jackpot and get all three in one!) Second, if I am going to invest my time in reading something I haven’t chosen myself, I want something that will be original, scripturally sound, and challenging. Forgotten God exceeded these qualifications.
In this book, Francis Chan boldly opens up the semi-taboo discussion of the Holy Spirit. He sheds light on the elephant in the room using Scripture, in context, rather than resting on human tradition. The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person of the Trinity. No denominational tradition, be it Calvinist or Arminian, Pentecostal or Holiness, Evangelical or Liturgical, is free from human error in thinking. Some choose to put the Spirit on the shelf and pretend He is no longer relevant while others wax loudly of His power without showing evidence of His presence. So to open the door and boldly approach the topic of the Holy Spirit purely from Scripture—all tradition aside—is pretty amazing. And it so needed by those of us within the church who sense something—SOMEONE—is missing.
“There is a big 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.
If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get church goers to ignore the Holy Spirit. The degree to which this has happened (and I would argue that it is a prolific disease in the body of Christ) is directly connected to the dissatisfaction most of us feel with and in the church. We understand something very important is missing. The feeling is so strong that some have run away from the church and God’s Word completely.
I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone—namely, the Holy Spirit. Without Him, people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results. The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation. And the church is not empowered to live differently from any other gathering of people without the Holy Spirit. But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural. The church cannot help but be different, and the world cannot help but notice.”
Warning: this book will challenge you. I hope you pick up a copy of Forgotten God, but if you do, pray. The challenges the author brings to light have great potential to change the way you live, the way you think, the way you worship, the way you see God.