Book Review: Forgotten God, by Francis Chan

How Forgotten God by Francis Chan came to be on my Kindle is a mystery, but as I’m waiting for some other books to come in from the library, I (Helen) thought I’d give it a read. It is by no means a new book (published in 2009 as Chan’s second release), but it is a terrific examination of the “tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit,” and a timely read for me.

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The simplicity of the Gospel has been on my mind quite a bit lately, mainly because I’ve realized I have a tendency to over-complicate things, in this case, my understanding of the cross. It’s so easy for me to gravitate towards a works-based gospel of jumping through hoops to prove I am worthy of salvation, but that, of course, is not the Gospel at all. Part of forgetting the simplicity of what Christ has accomplished for those who believe in who He is and what He has done, is neglecting the presence of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God just as Jesus is God and the Father is God, and when I have a misconception about one, it follows that I have misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Trinity. Forgotten God was an excellent and straightforward reminder that living without the Spirit is not really living at all. A works-based gospel leaves no room for a Holy Spirit dependent life, and that was never the way believers were meant to live. That is not the way I want to live.

“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.”

Can I “manage” without the Spirit? I suppose the answer is “yes” – after all, those who don’t know Christ and therefore don’t have the Spirit “manage” to live. But I don’t want to just “manage” – I want to walk in step with the Spirit, and this means depending on Him in a way that will likely look reckless and even foolish to the world. It means taking steps of faith, when “common sense” would point in a different direction. It means refusing to rely on my wits and abilities, and leaning into the infinitely greater power of the Spirit.

If you long for comfort, encouragement, and strength; if you desire to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth; if you want to put to death the sins with which you struggle, if you desire intimacy with the Father; if you long for life and freedom; if you want to be molded into the likeness of Christ, what you are looking for is the Holy Spirit. Forgotten God is a helpful resource, pointing the reader in the direction of what walking in step with the Spirit might and can look like.

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