I grew up in a Pentecostal family (in fact, I’m a third-generation Pentecostal), so talk about the Holy Spirit was almost second nature to me. But even with my background, sometimes it’s easier to have discussions about God the Father or God the Son, than it is God the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has, in many circles, become the “forgotten God.” That’s why Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan is such a timely book.
“If I were satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit.” (Francis Chan)
I think part of our forgetfulness is that it’s hard to know where to put the Holy Spirit cognitively. We can understand the concepts of the Father and the Son, but it’s hard to have a mental “place” for the Spirit. And since we can find places for the Father and the Son, we can keep them in their places. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t have a “box,” and so we cannot contain Him.
Nor should we try. But, sadly, far too many people do. Again, Francis Chan writes:
“The reality is that the early church knew less about the Holy Spirit than most of us in the church today, at least in the intellectual sense. But they came to know the Spirit intimately and powerfully as He worked in and through their lives. All throughout the New Testament, we read of the apostles whose lives were led by the Spirit and lived out by His power.”
When I read what happened in the Book of Acts, my cry is always, “Do it again! Do it today!” I believe the Holy Spirit is also desirous of operating in us and through us, just as He did in the First Century Church. The question is: Will we let Him?
Forgotten God is a great introduction course for those curious about Who the Holy Spirit is, or what His role is in our lives today. This book is also a great reminder course for those of us who have grown up with the theology, but perhaps are lacking the full operational force of the Spirit in our lives. In either case, Forgotten God is an eye-opening book.