Jennifer's Reviews > Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

Forgotten God by Francis Chan
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Dec 21, 11

bookshelves: bible-study, christian-non-fic
Read on December 21, 2011

In this book, pastor Francis Chan attempts to "reverse our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit", the third of the trinity he has named "the forgotten God." Unfortunately, he spends more of his time apologizing for his beliefs about the Holy Spirit and asking the reader if she has the courage to change her beliefs about the Holy Spirit. Several chapters can be summed up this way: 1. "Would you change what you believe if I showed you the Bible said something that contradicts your current beliefs?", 2. "Are you sure? Because I may say something you don't want to hear." 3. "Are you sure you're sure? Because, seriously, I could possibly show you something that really challenges your preset beliefs. I mean, let's really question your motives for WHY you want to learn about the Holy Spirit." 4. "Okay, you asked for it!! Here's several well-known passages about the Holy Spirit." 5. "Are you okay? Did I blow your mind with Holy Spirit 101? I am so sorry. Really, really sorry. It's just that I have these radical beliefs... Again, I'm sorry." It takes five chapters to get to any material that is mildly connected to a believer living his life in neglect of the Holy Spirit, and even then the chapter is so basic it makes me wonder if I am have attended the only 3 churches in the world that preach and teach from the Bible. All of this is old hat to anyone who has spent a little time in a pew. Chapter six gets no better as it describes how whole churches are operating on their own power instead of God's. Except for Chan's church who has truly pondered what it is to live like the early church did in the book of Acts. And then the book is over, questioning again, "Do you have the courage to live like you believe in the Holy Spirit? Well, DO YOU?"

On the whole, the basics presented in this book (and workbook, sold separately) are a decent starting place for a new believer with little to no knowledge of what the Bible says. On the other hand, there's a few statements in here that make me think it would be a horrible place for a new believer to start because there's not enough Scripture, and a little too much commentary from Chan. For instance, he writes, "I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit." Good desire! I totally agree! But then he describes the Fruit of the Spirit (from Galatians 5) to be traits that anyone can have (he cites Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists and athiests) but that as Christians we can possess these traits to a supernatural degree. Though I think he was on the right track with this thought, that the fruit of the Spirit is supernatural and only obtained through the Spirit in us, he makes it sound like anyone can have a little bit of it just through their natural goodness. In chapter one he says there is a danger to reading the Scriptures and asking the Spirit to aid your understanding "since the Bible is meant to be interpreted within the context and accountability of faithful community." Say what?! He cited no verse to prove this point, since he would be hard-pressed to find one.

Final Verdict: Chan is more of a danger to those who are not mature and need guidance than he is a help.

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message 1: by Kristen (new) - added it

Kristen Stieffel Wow, excellent analysis. Thanks for taking the time to break the book down that way.


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