Thursday Review: Francis Chan on The Forgotten God

A review of Francis Chan, The Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, David C. Cook, 2009.

Available here from and

I love this book. I suspect that for most readers of this blog it will not add much that you did not already know (and, to be fair, it does not claim that it will). Instead it is an impassioned plea to take the Holy Spirit seriously. So, while it might not add to your knowledge, it will stir your heart to seek the Spirit, not to grieve the Spirit, to prayer for the Spirit, to be open to the Spirit. It is good for the soul.

Here are some quotes (with more following in future posts):

“From my perspective, the Holy Spirit is tragically neglected and, for all practical purposes, forgotten. While no evangelical would deny his existence, I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced his presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can.” (15).

“If you or I had never been to a church and had read only the Old and New Testaments, we would have significant expectations of the Holy Spirit in our lives … If we read and believed these accounts, we would expect a great deal of the Holy Spirit. He would not be a mostly forgotten member of the Godhead whom we occasionally give a nod of recognition to, which is what He has become in most American churches. We would expect our new life with the Holy Spirit to look radically different from our old life without him.” (30-31)

“Have you ever thought about the significance of having ‘another’ Counsellor who is ‘just like’ Christ? Right now, imagine what it would be like to have Christ standing beside you in the flesh, functioning as your personal Counsellor. Imagine the peace that would come from knowing you would always receive perfect truth and flawless direction from him. That sounds amazing, and none of us could deny the benefit of having Jesus here physically, guiding and enabling us every step of the way. Yet why do we assume that this would be any better than the literal presence of the Holy Spirit? Those of us who believe in Jesus would never deny the truth that we have the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us. I’m just not convinced we’ve internalized this truth and enjoyed his blessings as he intends. It seems like this is mostly head knowledge to us, and that we have not owned it. It has not really made much of a difference in our lives, to the degree that if we woke up tomorrow and discovered that it is not true the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, most likely our lives wouldn’t look much different.” (35).
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3 thoughts on “Thursday Review: Francis Chan on The Forgotten God

  1. What a fabulous looking book. I’m intrigued, now, by the phrase that we are to be “open to the Spirit” – one I’ve used many times. At a conference I was at recently, the speaker pointed out that if he asked his wife out to dinner and she replied “ok. I’m open to that” he’d be hugely offended! I look forward to reading this book, and ending up more than “open” to the Spirit!

  2. Good point, Phil. I prefer ‘led by the Spirit’ (knowing I’m safe ground given Galatians 5:18). Perhaps we should talk about being ‘obedient to the Spirit’ rather than being ‘open to the Spirit’.

  3. Pingback: Review of Francis Chan’s “The Forgotten God” | Jeff Lovell

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