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Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

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A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love , Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives. In the name of the Father, the Son, and … the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today’s church has admired the gift but neglected to open it. Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church’s power—the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we’ve ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough scriptural support and compelling narrative form Chan’s invitation to stop and remember the One we’ve forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.

167 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Francis Chan

74 books2,489 followers
Francis Chan is an American pastor and teacher, who lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children. He is the former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA, which he and his wife started in 1994.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,615 reviews
Profile Image for Keri.
2 reviews
June 10, 2012
This is one of those books that changes you forever. One of my favorite parts is where the author is explaining how he is giving sacrificially to the ministry he is so passionate about, which is human trafficking. He gives to the point that he draws criticism from others who say, "you've given enough, shouldn't you be thinking about yourself now? Shouldn't you be concerned about your future? Don't you think you should have save up for an emergency?" I love his answer: What part about children being kidnapped and then raped repeatedly every single day of their life is NOT an emergency? Really changes your perspective. I also love how he goes into detail how important the Holy Spirit is in our lives....how do we grieve the holy spirit? Why did Christ say it was better that he die so that the Holy Spirit could come? Are we treating the Holy Spirit like he is even better than having Christ here in the flesh? There are so many gems in this book. You simply must read it. And don't just read it, allow the truths Mr Chan exposes transform you. Cannot recommend this book enough!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
275 reviews15 followers
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.

November 27, 2019
“I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit's leading on a daily basis. Christ said its better for us that the Spirit came and I want to live like that is true. I don't want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.”

Francis Chan is one of my favourite teachers; I listen to his sermons on YouTube (even though he recently moved to Asia with his family to serve people in need and is not preaching anymore) and I appreciate his ability to talk about subjects that can be challenging with a smile on his face. There are many false teachers out there, and in the age of internet it's even more difficult than the past to distinguish between real and false teachings. The best way to tell the difference is their relationship with the Scriptures: if a person presents their opinions, ideas coming from their head and that's it, there is no guarantee they can be right. Francis Chan, on the other hand, always refers to the Scriptures and even when he shares "his" ideas, they always come from the Bible, and he continuously reference to the passages in question. That is why I trust him as a teacher and I love reading his books, because they often talk about "uncomfortable" or forgotten truths of Christianity in a theologically accurate way; unapologetically but in a way that still it's relatively easy to accept and understand.

In this book, for example, he talks about the fact that the Holy Spirit, an aspect of God like the Father and the Son, is often forgotten and referred to less and the other two. Why is that? Maybe because His nature is ineffable, and more difficult to define.

A brief, interesting and simple read; just like Chan's other works. I love this teacher more and more every time I hear/read his ideas!
Profile Image for John.
745 reviews47 followers
September 29, 2010
My junior year in High School I picked up the habit of listening to the preaching of Charles Stanley. Most afternoons on the way home from school the dial on my family’s ’79 Corolla was set to 830AM and I listened to his baritone southern cadence. It’s not surprising then, that one of the first Christian books I purchased on my own was Stanley’s freshly printed The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life. 15 years later, Chan’s Forgotten God took me right back to that book.

Now, it’s unlikely those who pick up Chan’s book will have read Stanley’s. Perhaps equally as unlikely is the fact that an old school Baptist preacher born and bred in the south and this cutting edge Chinese-American leader who is Californian through and through would deliver the same thesis: the American church has neglected the Holy Spirit and needs to reclaim and understanding of and a responsiveness to the Spirit and his work.

Chan’s message in the book is consistent with the concerns he has voiced (and acted upon) publicly: “The light of the American church,” Chan says, “is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world” (17). American affluence has created spiritual cataracts on our eyes and we’re in need of a radical answer to the crisis. Chan responds with a simple solution: “I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone –namely, the Holy Spirit” (16).

Chan doesn’t believe our problem is fundamentally theological in nature. He likens the American church to freshwater spring in James 3:11 that pours forth saltwater. Our problem is one of faith-response to the Spirit of God. We say we are born anew and yet the Spirit sits stultified on our theological mantles and not living and active in our hearts. “What are we afraid of?” Chan asks. Perhaps we’re afraid that God might not come through, but even deeper, Chan believes, is that we’re afraid that God will come through and call us to a radical Spirit-led life.

Chan then spends a chapter working out a theology of the Spirit in which he tries to tread some middle ground between those conservative churches who “may quench the Spirit by ignoring His working” (56) and those charismatic churches who tend to “practice prophetic utterances” without rejecting false prophets and prophecies “by calling them out on their biblical inconsistencies” (56). Chan also spends some time fleshing out what a theology of Spirit response might look like.

The final four chapters are spent reflecting on what our response to the Spirit ought to look like. Seeking the Spirit, Chan says, ought to be driven by seeking God himself: his holiness and godliness, and the accompanying fruits his gives us (love, joy, peace, etc). This stands in contrast to those who seek the Spirit to seek out his miraculous gifts or those who seek the Spirit to seek out the ‘will of God’ (as though it was something other than seeking God himself). One of Chan’s fundamental calls in these chapters is for us to turn to the Spirit in prayer and in committing our lives and concerns to him.

Chan’s book is deeply practical and personal. Each chapter ends with a story of a different friend of Chan’s who has responded to the Spirit in a radical way, and like so much Chan writes about and preaches on, he is always holding up his own life and his church to the light and considering what dramatic changes he personally needs to make. Just as with Crazy Love, this makes Chan both authentic and trustworthy as an author. Those who read Chan will inevitably be inspired to follow Chan’s bold faith.

It is worth noting that Chan does not put on airs about his deep convictions. Chan’s generosity and willingness to make radical changes have always been part of his ministry. In fact, this year has brought about perhaps the most radical of those steps. In April Chan stepped down as Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, a church he founded in 1994 with 30 people that has grown to several thousand. Chan stepped down without any clear direction from God other than that God was calling him to a new chapter. Chan and his wife have spent the last several months praying and walking cities where they feel God may be leading them. One has to deeply respect such radical and humble faith and Chan’s genuineness.
Despite my high esteem for Mr. Chan, there were several components of the book that I felt could have been significantly improved. The first is the basic argument itself. Chan argues that we have neglected the Holy Spirit. Almost always, Chan frames this argument around our neglect in terms of responding to the Spirit, which I think is spot on. But there are times where Chan at least implicitly argues that we have improperly neglected the Spirit as an area of focus in the church. And he doesn’t hold up a simple but important truth that the Spirit’s purpose is to point to the Son (Jn 14:26; 1 Jn 4:2).

This leads to the second component of the book I felt could have used improvement. In the book, Chan admirably tries to bridge the charismatic-conservative divide in terms of our study of and response to the Sprit. In so doing, Chan tends to downplay some significant debates (“I don’t want to get caught up in abstract and nebulous distinctions” (65)) pushing us to consider instead just those “theological issues that shape our faith and behavior” (65). That is a noble intention, and Chan does well in not turning his book into a theological textbook, but I think he’s pushed too far the other direction and downplayed some critical debates. Take, for example, his contention that “it’s needless for us to debate about when the Holy Spirit becomes a part of someone’s life” (68). On the contrary, the debate about when one is or isn’t filled with the Spirit and how one can or cannot lose the Spirit are of the utmost importance as we consider the security of our relationship with God and what he requires of us and calls us to. I appreciate why Chan didn’t want to get caught up in the minutiae, but I think that he really could have served his reader better by discussing some of these important discussions that have a direct impact on our faith and our life with God.

Despite some weaknesses, this is a book I would recommend to readers at all levels of spiritual maturity. The book may not build as sturdy a theological foundation as I might like, but I do believe that God will continue to use it as he has used all of Chan’s ministry, to ‘build His church, an unstoppable force, empowered and sustained by the Holy Spirit” (156).
Profile Image for Mike Conroy.
85 reviews4 followers
September 22, 2016
I was more impressed by this book than I thought I would have been and more disappointed by it than I thought I would be. What I mean by this is:

For me, pages 32-35 were worth the price of the book. Seriously. If you burned this book after I read page 35, I would not have wasted a penny. There was one analogy he gave that was so good!

Here is my paraphrase (because my copy is loaned out): What if I told you that I had an encounter with God where He actually came into my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball? But, when you watched me play you saw no improvements in the way that I dribbled, shot, passed, etc? Would you believe that my encounter was real?

And yet, how many Christians say that God Himself has come inside of them and has given them the supernatural ability to kill sin, pray, witness, worship, etc, but there is hardly a noticeable different between them and the world around them?

Ouch. Those words are worth the $10 or $12 of the book. What Chan nails is this big problem and all of the ways the Spirit works in us that are promised in Scripture. Killing sin. Praying. Witnessing. All of those are gifts that God enables us to do by the Spirit and they are also promises. Meaning: you have to ask for them and God will grant them to you. That is so encouraging and helpful to me. This book has made me cry out more desperately for the Holy Spirit to help me in my Christian life, resting in Christ’s finished work and promises.

However, I was very disappointed that Chan did not develop this more. The last half of the book just drifted I thought. I would have loved him talk more about the Spirit’s empowering us to do “ordinary” Christian things, as mentioned above. Because too many think and write about the Spirit’s work in our lives and go right to whether there are miraculous gifts or not. Forget that! I want to get the promised things!
Profile Image for Donovan Martin.
58 reviews2 followers
December 5, 2016
I read this using the kindle app and now face the dilemma of wanting a bound copy. Back in my early education days I took a class on the Holy Spirit and have always been convinced that we often neglect this aspect of God. I worship in a denomination that seems to have many of its roots grounded in reactionism. The Holy Spirit has been abused and taught poorly so we (maybe just me) have stayed clear of that topic and by doing so missed out on important aspects of faith.
There are two statements that Chan makes that I will quote here.

"The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God." pg 18.


"So much of what we see today is anything but unstoppable. It can easily be derailed by the resignation of a pastor or an internal church disagreement or budget cuts. Churches we build only by our own efforts and not in the strength of the Spirit will quickly collapse when we don't push and prod them along. I spent years asking God to be part of whatever I was doing. When I read the book of Acts, I see people privileged to play a part in what God was doing." pg 155

This book is a good reminder of the power and mystery of God.
Profile Image for Christina DeVane.
361 reviews31 followers
September 30, 2022
This was a great, short book that was helpful and thought-provoking. I enjoyed the questions that made me think deeper and centered my focus.

He glosses over specific theological aspects of the Holy Spirit such as when you receive him or how much do you receive of him at first, etc. He’s appealing to a larger audience and isn’t dogmatic about these truths.

(Side note: The question is not how much of the Holy Spirit did I get as I got all of Him the moment of salvation, but how much of me does the Holy Spirit have?!?) 🤗🤗

📖 “Live in such a way that it couldn’t be explained other than God and the Holy Spirit’s working.”

📖 Many times “We focus on what God wants us to do and forget the kind of people God wants us to BE!”

📖 “What do I want my biography to say about me? -All the things that *I* accomplished, or how much the Holy Spirit did in and through my life?”
Profile Image for J.E. Jr..
Author 6 books48 followers
February 29, 2012
This title fits nicely into a category I would call “Vernacular Theology” because, while it isn’t up to the level of academic or even advanced lay-level theological writing, it isn’t exactly mere “Christian Living” either.

I appreciated Francis Chan’s effort to challenge Christians toward more thorough and faithful consideration and reliance upon the Holy Spirit. In that way, it was a very strong work on a needed topic. The Holy Spirit— and our theological reflection on His presence and work in our lives— is probably one of the more woefully neglected topics in the broader evangelical tradition (apart from our Pentecostal and Charismatic brethren, at least), and certainly among Reformed or Calvinist folk.

There were times when I wasn’t 100% with Chan in his particular points, like when I felt he was being provocative for the sake of it or even throwing down a gauntlet of “if you disagree then maybe you aren’t a Christian” (though never in those words). These occasions weren’t enough to sour my overall impression, however.

Chan’s writing isn’t bad, and it is generally engaging enough. He’s not up to the level of a Nouwen, Wangerin, or Sinclair Ferguson in his ability to engross his readers in a page-turning literary feast.

I read this one as a free, borrowed title from Amazon’s Prime Kindle Lending Library, so I didn’t have any financial stake in liking it— but I did anyway.
Profile Image for Robert Durough, Jr..
159 reviews15 followers
March 20, 2012
In Forgotten God Chan invites his reader to take a deeper look into one's understanding of the Holy Spirit, the seemingly "forgotten" part of the Trinity. It appears a more apt description may be "ignored" or "quenched", since it is acknowledged that the reader is aware of the Him (the pronoun preferred by Chan over the commonly used "it"), but tends to "quench" (1 Thess. 5:19) Him more than "forget" Him (this is not a book intended for nonbelievers, nor is it one on "how to become a Christian," but the offer is extended).

Forgotten God is not a theological treatise on exactly "who" or "what" the Spirit is, nor does it explore exactly "how" the Spirit works; rather, the focus is that the Spirit "is," works, is necessary, and that we need to be open and willing to allow the Him to work in our lives--"lead" our lives. After every chapter Chan provides a brief biography of those in whom he has seen the Spirit at work, a helpful addition that brings a bit of "sight" to the "faith" in which we are called.

This is a good, introductory and practical read for those who have not spent much time thinking about the Holy Spirit, admit they are not being led by Him, or have been longing for an honest invitation into dialogue with themselves and the Spirit.

[Originally posted on Amazon.com, December 17, 2010.]
Profile Image for Kris.
1,298 reviews174 followers
July 4, 2017
A lot of talk, and not much substance.

I was going to give this one three stars. But after putting it down and looking at it, I realized that it left me with nothing. There was no takeaway for me. It didn't leave me with a rousing sense of spirituality. It didn't leave me with any emotion, really. If anything, I was just left wanting.

I guess the book has been helpful and motivational for some. But I wanted actual theology and deep insight, and while this book has some good ideas, it felt disappointing overall. It's definitely better than Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God though, which left me with an abundance of negative emotion. No more Francis Chan for me.

Most likely a result of my friend hyping up the book, before lending it to me.
February 27, 2016
I thought this book was pretty easy and enjoyable to read. It wasn't an especially deep discussion or study of the Holy Spirit, but I am still glad to have read it.

I think Chan had two main points that I take away from this book:
1) If we are truly living by the Holy Spirit and not in our own will and self-control, our lives will look different than that of the neighbor at the store. I liked his illustration that if a basketball player claimed to have an indwelling supernatural ability to play basketball, you would expect to see amazing improvement in his game. Similarly, shouldn't we have more overcoming of sin, more faith and peace in times of trial, more confidence and trust when others would worry, more love and mercy for our fellow man?

"If it's true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit's temple, then shouldn't there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?" (32).

"When I look at our churches, this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have, in a sense, asked Him to join them on *their* life journey, to follow *them* wherever *they * feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded" (121).

"He asks 'Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?' (Gal. 3:3). I think each of us has a strong tendency to attempt to wrestle control from the Spirit and 'do' this life on our own. Each of us tends to switch from living the gospel of grace to trusting in a system of works" (131).


2) Who gets the glory? If I'm living a "good" life out of my own strength, I get the glory. But if I'm 'living by the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit', it's obvious that God gets all the credit and glory.

"I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn't be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He doesn't come through, I am screwed. (I probably shouldn't write that word here, but it's how I truly feel about this.)" (142)

"No matter where you live and what your days look like, you have the choice each day to depend on yourself, to live safely, and to try to control your life. Or you can live as you were created to live-as a temple of the Holy Spirit of God, as a person dependent on Him, desperate for God the Spirit to show up and make a difference. When you begin living a life characterized by walking with the Spirit, that is when people will begin to look not to you but to our Father in heaven and give Him the praise" (156).

I didn't agree with every single thought or statement in the book, but there were several points that made me think. Here are some other quotes I want to remember:

"Fear of stepping outside of a certain theological framework causes us to be biased in our interpretations (of the Word). We work diligently to 'prove' that our presuppositions were correct (another example of eisegesis instead of exesgesis) rather than simply and honestly pursuing truth" (47).
"What you do and how you live are absolutely vital. Without action and fruit, all the theology in the world has little meaning. But theology is still important--what you believe absolutely determines how you act" (64).
"I believe that if we truly cared about the Holy Spirit's grief, there would be fewer fights, divorces, and splits in our churches" (73).
"Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the 'Helper' or 'Comforter'. Let me ask you a simple question: Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?" (107)
Profile Image for Neil R. Coulter.
1,064 reviews104 followers
October 18, 2020
This is about the third Francis Chan book I’ve read, and it’s pretty typical of the others: very quick, very friendly, a little scattered, not quite approaching the topic in the way I’d like. There’s nothing wrong with what Chan writes about the Holy Spirit in this book, but it overall doesn’t seem to match the grand subtitle: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. For one thing, I don’t feel that I’m neglecting the Holy Spirit. Praying through the daily hours, I say “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit” and conclude prayers with “through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, Amen.” Neglect? Maybe the Holy Spirit is misunderstood, perhaps less distinct in our minds than the Father and the Son, but I don’t feel that the Spirit is “forgotten.”

My other difficulty with this book is that very little of it is specifically about the Holy Spirit. Chan doesn’t really get going until at least halfway through (the first half of the book is an exercise in how many rhetorical questions each page can sustain), and even then it’s really more of a “general Christian living” book, not just about the Holy Spirit. It’s totally fine, but not what I was expecting from the title.

As usual, what I love about Chan is his enthusiasm for really putting into practice what he reads in the Bible. It’s not just about acquiring more knowledge about God, but about actually living the way God teaches us. “My prayer as I’ve written this book,” says Chan, “is that it would not merely add to your knowledge. . . . The truth is that greater knowledge does not necessarily equal greater spirituality. Knowledge can lead to greater intimacy and a deeper relationship with God, but this is not an automatic effect” (156). Even though this book was not for me right now, I very much appreciate Chan’s desire to live, not just know. Great pastor, not my favorite writer.
Profile Image for Chrissy.
137 reviews
July 20, 2016
Of the nonfiction books written in this century (so far), this is the most helpful, edifying one I've ever read.

Through simple, vulnerable introspection, Chan steers the reader away from doctrinal speculation about what the Holy Spirit may or may not be, and instead focuses on what the Bible clearly states about the Holy Spirit. This book is a wall-shattering plea for us to allow what we know about God's spirit to affect our daily thoughts, plans, and prayers. A significant portion of this (small) book is also geared toward missions/social justice work, and the difference between doing it by/for ourselves and doing it by/for our God.

Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
May 29, 2017
4.5 stars; not quite five for me, simply because it's more of a summary. It wasn't anything that completely blew my mind; I know I should live it more often, and it was a good reminder.

One quote that stuck out at me, after knowing many family and friends who are struggling to find churches that are truly welcoming and God-honoring: " 'You see, in the gangs we weren't just nice to each other once a week—we were family.' ... It saddened me to think that a gang could paint a better picture of commitment, loyalty, and family than the local church body." Can you imagine if we really took to heart that idea that fellow believers are our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Profile Image for Alice.
6 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2014
Forgotten God: Reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit, along with Chan's Crazy Love, are nearly part of my Bible! He teaches truth, and he teaches it well. He takes Biblical evidence and applies it to 21st Century living. He motivates the reader to change their life, by the power of Christ, Father, Holy Spirit. This is not some "happy clappy" rendition of Acts, or a stark, boring exegesis on how unattainable the power of the Spirit is. It challenges the Western Church's apathy, it liberates those stuck under the bondage of a quenched Spirit. Francis Chan speaks the truth in love. Read this.
Profile Image for Francine.
42 reviews37 followers
August 11, 2020
This book is exactly what you'd expect from Chan -- a loving, and yet strong, reminder to live radically for Jesus. I ended it in tears, wanting to listen to the Spirit as He leads me to real selflessness. However, this book is not a theologically deep work on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (and Chan explicitly says it wasn't supposed to be), so keep your expectations in check as you pick it up.
Profile Image for John.
27 reviews11 followers
February 6, 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
Francis Chan is on a mission to change Western Christianity.

Not a mission to make us better informed, or more culturally relevant, or even more doctrinally correct.

He is on a mission for us to walk with the "Forgotten God," the Holy Spirit. He calls the Holy Spirit such because he affirms that although we say we know and walk with Him, our lives testify otherwise:

"The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world."

"When was the last time you were saddened because your sin pained the Holy Spirit?"

"Has anyone ever been amazed by your peace? Love? Joy? Have they ever envied your self-control? Have you ever prayed that God would so fill you with the Spirit that people would know that the change could only be empowered by the Spirit?"

So this is not a book on doctrine or strategies. It's a desperate cry for us to look at ourselves, see how lost we are living in our own strength while giving lip service to God, and repent and turn to Him.

Yes, Chan desires that we come to know and walk with the Spirit in an intimate & powerful way, but he is careful to state that this is not to be an end unto itself: the Holy Spirit is not at our disposal, but we should be at His. Chan sees the Holy Spirit not as the key to "your best life now," but to a lifestyle that promises to be "radical and terrifying," one that brings not comfort to ourselves, but glory to God.

In a way, this book is the next step beyond his first book, Crazy Love. In it, Chan urged us toward lives that were obsessed with God & His Kingdom. Now in Forgotten God he shows us the only way to do it: through the God Who lives in us.

There is no Christian who does not need to read this book. It has my highest recommendation.
Profile Image for Tracey.
119 reviews16 followers
October 13, 2009
I feel that there are many flaws to this book. Certainly, there are a few gems of wisdom in there. But the thing I found the most infuriating and almost caused me to stop reading was that Chan seems to spend the entire first half of the book questioning the reader's motivation for wanting to read a book about the Holy Spirit. He seems to make assumptions that the reader is probably suspicious of charismatic churches, and that perhaps the reader's motivation for reading the book is that we want the Spirit for personal selfish gain, like Simon the magician in Acts 8 who wished to pay money to obtain the Spirit.

Chan makes a few helpful points. The chapter "Supernatural Church" was one of the best in the book, showing how God-glorifying it would be if we led lives that were undeniably Spirit-led. ("I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn't be doing this by my own power," page 142.) He shows it isn't in what we say that we will convince people but by how we live our lives. He explains further that we as the modern church could learn a lot from the early church in Acts.

Another thought-provoking point was Chan's explanation that if we actually lived our lives in complete submission and obedience to the Spirit, we could not actually sin (see Galatians 5:16). However, "if the Holy Spirit is in you, as a believer, then when you sin you are not listening to the Spirit's leading," (pages 129-130).

I was tempted to give this book only two stars, but overall, there are still quite a few good points in this book for me to consider the book to be "helpful" as a guide for Christian living.
Profile Image for Barnabas Piper.
Author 11 books895 followers
March 8, 2012
The first 1/2 of the book is fantastic. Chan has a way of digging into truth and unpacking it without amazing turns of speech or pointed vocabulary. He is relentless. He presents great challenges. And this book is well worth a read.
Profile Image for Owen Braden.
31 reviews1 follower
September 20, 2022
Such a great reminder of the person of the Holy Spirit and his work in our daily lives. I had eye-opening realizations about the personal relationship I have with Him. It reminded me that He’s not just some “force” but a personified member of the trinity that pleads our case moment by moment to the Father. This book has definitely changed up my prayer life for the better.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Cottrell.
Author 1 book36 followers
January 21, 2010
Well worth my time, but I had mixed feelings about some of the content. While Chan addressed the problem of forgetting about Grace, his themes seemed to emphasize OUR part in a transactional relationship which, if taken too far, minimizes the importance of Grace and the undeserved love of God in our lives. I agreed with his conviction that our churches need to turn more to the Bible to model the early church and its energetic and viral Spirit at work.

My personal take-aways from this book (not all new, but worthwhile reminders):
1) Try to spend more time throughout the day acknowledging the presence of God and Spirit.
2) Pray more often and more specifically: for guidance, for inspiration, and for others.
3) Intentionally listen fo the "still small voice" and expect to hear it.
4) Beware of good-intentioned quenching of the Spirit in myself and others.
5) Quit trying to do things on my own steam -- rest in God's love and power.
6) Remember that the cultivation of a relationship -- whether with God or others -- is not done by wishing or waiting for the other party, but only by an investment of time and intention to it.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,155 reviews76 followers
November 12, 2011
Though this book is considered “Inspirational,” I feel that Chan’s narrative voice is very distinct—he is not preaching at his readers, but rather working through what he is writing for himself and sharing it with those who decide to pick up his book and take this journey with him. This book is not merely another instructional guide for living a better life according to so-and-so’s personal opinion. Instead, this book delves into the Word of God, and Chan lets the Scripture do most of the talking. Yes, he interprets and remarks upon his thoughts and feelings, he also lets his readers know that he acknowledges the fact that he does not know everything, and that this is as much of a challenge for him as it is for anyone else.

This book is based on the true premise that today's church focuses so much on God the Father and God the Son, but tends to forget about God the Holy Spirit. In this book, Chan reminds us of the importance and the power of the Holy Spirit, both to the church and to our own relationships with Christ. Chan delves into Scripture about the Holy Spirit and embarks on a journey of remembering, acknowledging, and living in the power of the Spirit.
Profile Image for Alexis Neal.
463 reviews55 followers
July 13, 2011
A decently written and unobjectionable book, but I'm still not really sure I get the point. It's a book about the Holy Spirit, sure, and Chan is clearly disturbed by the degree to which the Holy Spirit is ignored or misunderstood, but I felt like he never really got anywhere. The opening chapter convinced me that churches tend toward one extreme or the other and that both approaches are wrong (though this was something I had already been struck by), but I wasn't really sure about the purpose of the chapters that followed.

I did appreciate his willingness to challenge both the Pentecostal and more staid evangelical churches, and I don't think he said anything that was actually wrong. I just kept thinking he would get somewhere and never felt like he did. (Also, a few of his arguments included unsupported leaps that were less than convincing to me.)

Still, he's not a bad writer (or he had a good editor), and I'd be willing to read more of his stuff.
Profile Image for Sean.
55 reviews
August 8, 2011
I love Francis Chan and his insatiable desire to "get" the Spirit. The book (with an intriguing title) doesn't focus on the depth of pneumatology that some might expect, rather, it serves as a challenge to daily submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 6 is a personal favorite, but I skimmed major chunks of other chapters. There are some great quotes, some convicting thoughts, and a few good ideas to help the reader understand more of the Holy Spirit's activity beyond Acts 2.

I was hoping for some more categorical explanation of the work of the Spirit instead of the daily-living kind of feel. But it is a good read, it is a quick read, and it is definitely a convicting read. The main crux of the book is that for us to forget about the Spirit is a huge problem in our churches today, because Jesus often pointed to the necessity of the coming Holy Spirit. If you have a long flight or a free weekend, I'd pick this one up.

Profile Image for Mark.
Author 1 book5 followers
September 13, 2011
I loved this book. There were times when I felt like Chan had written what was in my own head and heart - almost as if I had written it myself - and there were times when I was instructed and convicted. It is a book that pulls no punches in talking about the Church's "tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit," but it does so with much grace. A reader may find himself challenged and greatly convicted, but there is nothing here to make one feel condemned, which is as it should be.

Chan presents a very balanced view on a very controversial subject in the Church, and he does so with a pastoral style rather than with a more scholarly approach. While those who prefer the latter may find this book to be basic, there is much here for the reader to chew on and to cause the reader to evaluate his own beliefs and, indeed, his own interaction with the Holy Spirit.

For me, this was the right book at the right time. I suspect others might feel the same way after reading it.
Profile Image for Lizzy Bueckert.
60 reviews
June 27, 2016
We don't take the Holy Spirit serious enough. He's a full being who lives in us! Not beside or around but in! Think about that.
Profile Image for Dyanna.
821 reviews70 followers
October 3, 2020
The Holy Spirit was a person that I personally had neglected in my life even if I watch in retrospective of my past I can affirm without doubt that He was in me from an early age and now I know He was always dwelling in me from the day I was conceived. The problem was that I never acknowledged Him for who He was or how He protected me, or how He carried me, or how He guided me. I always prayed Father and Jesus but never the Holy spirit because true be told I was ignorant and fearful and maybe afraid that ones I know about the truth I had to revoke my believes.

However the truth set you free because now I know that He is my confident, my friend, my comforter and I truly mean it because I experienced Him through my life and know I know that He was always there beside me even if I did not knew Him at all.

Now my biggest fear is that listen Him very little but I pray that while I step in this life of mine, He will be always with me and hope that someday I will surrender all of me to Jesus through Him!
Profile Image for Oceana.
633 reviews834 followers
March 16, 2022
I like Chan’s writing. He writes clearly and builds up his points well.
The content was solid, just not anything new. I skimmed a lot.
The verses he referenced on the Holy Spirit were awesome. I enjoyed reading them back to back.
Profile Image for Wes Gray.
10 reviews
July 25, 2022
One of the most needed books for the church of our time. Chan walks through who the Bible says the Holy Spirit is and the work is that He does. No matter what “denomination” you call yourself a part of this book will challenge you to really evaluate your life and who you are living it for. The only reason this book has the ability to do that is because the book itself basically just walks through Scripture and Chan challenges us with what that means for believers now. Highly recommended!
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