Francis Chan is senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He is the founder of Eternity Bible College and sits on the board of Children’s Hunger Fund. His debut book, Crazy Love, has been published in over ten languages.
The Holy Spirit is “incomprehensible, incomparable, and unlike any other being” says Francis Chan in his new book Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Though we have concocted many different illustrations in order to describe the complexities of the Trinity, Chan uses real life examples to explain the role of one of the most important players in the Christian life. This book will give you a clear picture of who the Holy Spirit is, setting any person’s attitude straight along the way. Chan brings us closer to the Holy Spirit, describing His characteristics in an intimate way while breaking down common misconceptions that many Christians hold regarding the Holy Spirit.
This book is clearly written to believers who have a basic knowledge of the Christian faith. Francis writes in a reader-friendly style that makes you feel like you’re listening to him preach on a Sunday morning. He is very clear in using a biblical perspective to look at different characteristics of the Holy Spirit. At the end of each chapter, he writes a testimony about a person or a pair of people, illustrating how the Holy Spirit moved in their particular lives. Each story is personal and touching, showing the persevering nature of the Holy Spirit in the human condition. It’s inspiring and real.
One of the most noticeable aspects of Francis’ new book was his efforts to break down stubborn theological perspectives. “Fear of stepping outside of a certain theological framework causes us to be biased in our interpretations.” From a more moderate position, an open-but-cautious stance, he emphasizes the fact that whether we’re conservative or charismatic, we need “to base our understanding of and experience with the Holy Spirit on biblical truth and not on fear” of what the other side might think. He gives a balanced attack on the views from each side; he writes, “Some conservatives may quench the Spirit by ignoring His working, but surely putting unbiblical words into the mouth of God is a form of quenching the Spirit as well.” Ultimately, Francis lands on the important stance of acknowledging and pursuing the oft forgotten Spirit by calling attention to the reasons behind wanting the Spirit in our lives; too many people who “emphasize the Holy Spirit seem to draw attention to themselves” but instead, Chan writes, Christ should be magnified.
This book was personally challenging as well. “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit,” exclaims Francis Chan. It made me want to stand up and cheer, but more importantly, it caused me to wonder whether my words and actions cause others to glorify God rather than me. “People ought to see the transformation in our lives and respond by saying, ‘The Lord—He is God!'” You see, God in us is supposed to create a noticeable difference. Francis emphasizes this point, describing the role that the Spirit is supposed to play in our hearts. Even more, he tells how it’s impossible to muster up these Godly characteristics without help from the Spirit. In essence, the Spirit is present and essential in every believer. Francis encourages his readers to pursue the Spirit of God by praying fervently and truly seeking out a relationship with Him.
After reading this book, I would easily recommend it to any believer striving to understand God, namely the Holy Spirit, in a deeper light. Francis Chan’s main point is clear: we’re solely dependent on God through the Spirit and we should act as such. Chan does a very good job of giving a general overview of the Holy Spirit and how we should react to the glory that accompanies Him. Not shying away from the challenge, this book will make people look at their lives and the fruit of their labor from an entirely new perspective.