BOOK REVIEWS · Pneumatology · Theology

THE FORGOTTEN GOD – Francis Chan (2009)

Forgotten God by Francis Chan is an introductory book about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  The subtitle describes the essence of the book, namely – Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.  Many churches through fear or ignorance have done just Chan suggests; they have neglected the Holy Spirit.  And the net results are tragic indeed.

Chan holds that many people “have an eisegetically formed concept of the Holy Spirit.”  His accusation is essentially this: These people have “cut and pasted whatever verses and ideas work for [them].”  So the author sets out to “present the core truths that have been revealed to believers about the Holy Spirit.”

Each chapter includes a brief explanation of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  At the end of each chapter, the author includes a short vignette of real life characters who exemplify a life led by the power of the Spirit.

Forgotten God reveals much about the author.  This is solid writing that is clear and biblical.  High school students and first year Bible College students will benefit greatly from Chan’s insight.  This book may be the most helpful starting point for anyone seeking an introductory look at the Holy Spirit.

4 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · Eschatology

ERASING HELL – Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

The biblical doctrine of eternal punishment is part of the warp and woof of historic Christianity.  Prominent theologians from Augustine to Calvin and Wesley have boldly taught this doctrine.  Luther remarked, “The fiery oven is ignited merely by the unbearable appearance of God and endures eternally.  For the Day of Judgment will not last for a moment only but will stand throughout eternity and will thereafter never come to an end. Constantly the damned will be judged, constantly they will suffer pain, and constantly they will be a fiery oven, that is, they will be tortured within by supreme distress and tribulation.”  Despite the widespread support for this crucial doctrine, several writers in recent years have either discounted the doctrine of hell or denied it outright.

After the release of Rob Bell’s Love Wins (see my review), there was a huge chasm between Bell’s work and people in the pew.  The net result is a large audience who either affirmed or were sympathetic to Bell’s compromised position.  Thankfully, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle stepped up to the plate and not only offered a response to Bell; they also affirmed the biblical doctrine of eternal conscious punishment.

Chan and Sprinkle serve up an impressive number of arguments that bolster the case for hell and provide a rational, biblical defense of this important doctrine.  While Erasing Hell is written with the laymen in mind, it is not simplistic.  Nor is it compromised in any way.  The authors do not claim to have all this answers, which may appeal to younger readers more inclined to postmodern literature.  Rather, they merely spell out the basics of the biblical doctrine.

4 stars