WHO IS ARTHUR W. PINK?

 

Note:

While it is the devil's work to accuse the brethren, it is the responsibility of all Christians to judge the doctrine, fruit, and spiritual temperment of those who would teach the Bible. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-16a ).

 

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A prolific author and staunch Calvinist, Arthur Walkington Pink (1886 – 1952) “was virtually unknown and certainly underappreciated in his day.”After many failed attempts to pastor in multiple countries, Arthur Pink concluded that his personal ministry through direct contact was “almost a complete failure,” and he devoted himself entirely to writing.However, biographer Ian Murray notes that “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century”, having authored over 2,000 expository articles and dozens of books.3

Arthur Pink was “a native of Nottingham, England, whose life as a pastor and writer was spent in a variety of locations in the British Isles, the United States, and Australia. As a young man he turned away from the Christian faith of his parents and became an adherent of the theosophical cult; but then he experienced an evangelical conversion and crossed the Atlantic in 1910, at the age of 24, to become a student at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. After only six weeks, however, he left to take up a pastoral ministry. It was during the years that followed in which he found his way to a strictly Calvinistic position in theology.”He rejected Dispensationalism for Covenant Theology, and he advocated what is today known as hyper-Calvinism. Referred to as a Puritan born out of time, “Pink’s view of the Scriptures, of doctrine, and of Christian practice was not the view of the twentieth century, nor even of many of his contemporary evangelicals.”5 Pink took pride in the “persecution” he received for his doctrinal views and eventually separated entirely from all Christian churches until dying of anemia in 1952.6

Early in his writing career, Arthur Pink championed dispensational Premillennialism, writing four books on the subject: Redeemer’s Return; A Treatise on the One Thousand Year Reign of Christ on Earth; The Antichrist; The Prophetic Parables of Matthew 13.7 Regarding Dispensationalism he wrote:8

The covenants referred to therein constitute one of the principal keys to the interpretation of the Old Testament, denoting, as they do, the dividing line between the different Dispensations, and indicating the several changes of procedure in God’s dealings with the earth … The Word of Truth can only be rightly divided as due attention is paid to the different covenants recorded therein. … There are exactly seven covenants made by God referred to in the Scripture, neither more nor less. First, the Adamic … Second, the Noahic … Third, the Abrahamic … Fourth, the Mosaic … Fifth, the Levitic … Sixth, the Davidic … Seventh, the Messianic or New Covenant which concerns the Millennium.”

Because of his dispensational outlook, Pink advocated a salvation by grace through belief for any who would voluntarily choose God:9

Let us settle it once for all that the Dispensation in which we are living is a unique one, that it is fundamentally different from all that have preceded it and from that which is to follow it—the Millennium. This is the Dispensation of Grace, and grace obliterates all distinctions, grace eliminates all questions of merits; grace makes every blessing a Divine and free gift … Again we say, let us settle it once for all that we are living in the Dispensation of Grace (John 1:17; Eph. 3:2) and that every blessing we enjoy is a gift of Divine clemency. We are justified by grace (Rom. 3:24). We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). The Holy Scriptures are termed “The Word of His Grace” (Acts 20:32). The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is denominated “The Spirit of Grace” (Heb. 10:29). God is seated upon a Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16). And, the Good Hope which is given us is “through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16). It is all of Grace from first to last. It is all of Grace from beginning to end. It was grace that predestinated us before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9), and it will be grace that makes us like Christ at the consummation of our salvation. Thank God for such a “Blessed Hope.”

Elsewhere he wrote, “Are you constrained to ask, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Then the answer, God’s own answer, is ready to hand—‘ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ Appropriate the provision which Divine grace has made for lost sinners. Flee to Christ while there is yet time.”10 Still another of several possible examples includes, “But the salvation of the soul, deliverance from the wrath to come, is an accomplished fact for every sinner, that has received the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour. … As another has said, ‘ … No matter how great a sinner he may be, if he can be persuaded to turn the eye of faith toward the cross, there salvation comes.’ (Dr. C. I. Scofield).”11

However, Arthur Pink eventually rejected Dispensationalism:12

During the palmy days of the Puritans considerable attention was given to the subject of the covenants, … But alas, with the exception of a few high Calvinists, their massive volumes fell into general neglect, until a generation arose who had no light thereon. This made it easier for certain men to impose upon them their crudities and vagaries, and make their poor dupes believe a wonderful discovery had been made in the “rightly dividing of the word of truth.” These men shuffled the Scripture until they arranged the passages treating of the “covenants’ ’ to arbitrarily divide them into “seven dispensations,” and partition off the Bible accordingly. How dreadfully superficial and faulty their “findings” are [sic] appear from popular (far too popular to be of much value—Luke 16:15!) “Scofield Bible” where no less than “eight covenants” are noticed, and yet nothing is said about the “everlasting Covenant”! … This being so, as G. S. Bishop pointed out, “It is clear that there can be but two and only two covenants possible between God and men—a covenant‚ founded upon what man shall do for salvation, a covenant founded upon what God shall do for him to save him: in other words, a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace” (Grace in Gal. p. 72). Just as all the Divine promises in the O. T. are summed up in two chief ones—the sending of Christ and the pouring out of the Spirit—so all the Divine covenants may be reduced unto two, the other subordinate ones being only confirmations or adumbrations of them, or having to do with their economical administration.

Arthur Pink berated Cyrus I. Scofield for advocating eight covenants while saying nothing about the everlasting covenant despite the fact that he himself had said nearly the same thing in his book Gleanings in Genesis, “There are exactly seven covenants made by God referred to in the Scripture, neither more nor less. First, the Adamic … Second, the Noahic … Third, the Abrahamic … Fourth, the Mosaic … Fifth, the Levitic … Sixth, the Davidic … Seventh, the Messianic or New Covenant which concerns the Millennium.”13 In any event Arthur Pink dramatically changed his theology, replacing Dispensationalism with Reformed Covenant Theology, and this in turn led to a change in Pink’s soteriology:14

Dispensationalism clearly led Pink to embrace grace “from first to last.”

When Pink abandoned Dispensationalism, however, he also abandoned Free Grace. The once proponent of the simplicity of justification by faith alone now asserts, “Something more than ‘believing’ is necessary to salvation” (Pink, Studies on Saving Faith, p. 12). Though he had once used John 5:24 and Acts 16:31 as the basis for the believer’s assurance, he now refers to the one basing his assurance upon these verses as “Mr. Carnal Confidence” (Pink, Studies on Saving Faith, pp. 156-63) and asserts that:

Thousands are, to use their own words, “resting on John 3:16,” or 5:24, and have not the slightest doubt they will spend eternity with Christ. Nevertheless it is the bounden duty of every real servant of God to tell the great majority of them that they are woefully deluded by Satan (Pink, Studies on Saving Faith, p. 109).

No longer could assurance be found in looking to Christ and His promises alone. Instead, “…the attainment of assurance is by an impartial scrutiny of myself and an honest comparing of myself with the scriptural marks of God’s children” (Pink, Studies on Saving Faith, p. 134, emphasis in original).

Arthur Pink became a fervent hyper-Calvinist, teaching the five points of Calvinism represented in the acronym TULIP:

1) Total Depravity—Man is born totally depraved, meaning that man is incapable of choosing God

2) Unconditional Election—From eternity past, God unconditionally elected some unto salvation, and some unto damnation

3) Limited Atonement—Jesus only died for those He elected unto salvation, therefore, limiting God’s offer of atonement to the chosen few

4) Irresistible Grace—Those whom God elected unto salvation from eternity past are irresistibly drawn to God’s grace

5) Perseverance of the Saints—God’s elect saints will persevere in their faith unto salvation

Arthur Pink begins with the conviction that God can only be truly sovereign if every act in history is accomplished in perfect harmony with God’s will—not merely a permissive will, but His decretive will, saying, “The decrees of God relate to all future things without exception: whatever is done in time, was foreordained before time began.”15 He wrote:

In treating of the Will of God some theologians have differentiated between His decretive will and His permissive will, insisting that there are certain things which God has positively foreordained, but other things which He merely suffers to exist or happen. But such a distinction is really no distinction at all, inasmuch as God only permits that which is according to His will. No such distinction would have been invented had these theologians discerned that God could have decreed the existence and activities of sin without Himself being the Author of sin. Personally, we much prefer to adopt the distinction made by the older Calvinists between God’s secret and revealed will, or, to state it in another way, His disposing and His perceptive will.16

In Pink’s theology, not even the minutest of details can occur apart from God’s decree, “Not as much as a fly can settle upon you without the Creator’s bidding, any more than the demons could enter the herd of swine until Christ gave them permission.”17 This is because, “God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning.”18

According to Arthur Pink, neither righteous nor unrighteous acts may occur unless God first determined from eternity past that they are what He most desires and, therefore, foreordained them to occur, “If the Lord directs the steps of a man, is it not proof that he is being controlled or governed by God? … Can this mean anything less than, that no matter what man may desire and plan, it is the will of his Maker which is executed?”19 After all, “God only permits that which is according to His will.”20 Arthur Pink teaches that, “God has appointed where each person shall reside: the particular country in which he should be born, and the very city, town, village, and house in which he shall dwell, and how long he shall remain there.”21 Further, “Christ rules and overrules for the good of His Church the deliberations of the senate, the conflict of armies, the history of the nations.”22 Therefore, Pink concludes that, “Plainly it was God’s will that sin should enter this world, otherwise it would not have entered, for nothing happens save as God has eternally decreed. Moreover, there was more than a bare permission, for God only permits that which he has purposed.”23

So adamant is Arthur Pink that all which transpires is the direct result of God’s foreordination that he makes God ultimately responsible for sin, including the fall of mankind, yet Pink endeavors to avoid this inevitable conclusion by arguing that “Culpability is failing to do what ought to be done.”24 Because man was unaware of God’s unchangeable secret will foreordained in eternity past, man is ultimately responsible—despite the fact that he could have done nothing different even if he was aware of God’s secret decree. As Pink has argued elsewhere:

God did not merely decree to make man, place him upon the earth, and then leave him to his own uncontrolled guidance; instead, He fixed all the circumstances in the lot of individuals, and all the particulars which will comprise the history of the human race from its commencement to its close. He did not merely decree that general laws should be established for the government of the world, but he settled the application of those laws to all particular cases. … [God’s decrees] are absolute and unconditional. The execution of them is not suspended upon any condition which may, or may not be, performed. In every instance where God [has] decreed an end, He has also decreed every means to that end.25

Nevertheless, Pink writes, “But we must go further: not only had God a perfect knowledge of the outcome of Adam’s trial, not only did His omniscient eye see Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should do so. This is evident not only from the general fact that nothing happens save that which the Creator and Governor of the universe has eternally purposed, but also from the express declaration from Scripture that Christ as a Lamb ‘verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world’ (1 Peter 1:20).”26 Likewise, he wrote, “Clearly it was the divine will that sin should enter this world or it would not have done so. God had the power to prevent it. Nothing ever comes to pass except what He has decreed. As John Gill said, ‘Though God’s decree made Adam’s fall infallibly necessary as to the event, yet not by way of efficiency, or by force and compulsion on the will.’ … God’s decree that sin should enter this world was a secret hid in Himself. Our first parents knew nothing of it, and that made all the difference so far as their responsibility was concerned.”27

The logical conclusion of Arthur Pink’s doctrine that “The cause of all things is the will of God” inevitably places responsibility for all sin at the feet of God, yet Pink himself recognizes that to say such is blasphemous.28 Instead, he contradicts his own teachings without sufficiently supporting how it is that God can order and bound man’s actions without infringing on man’s moral agency, “God had foreordained everything that comes to pass … though He had predestinated the fall of our first parents, yet in no sense was He the‚ Instigator or approver of their sins, and their accountability was left entirely unimpaired … The decree of God in no way infringes on man’s moral agency, for it neither forces nor hinders man’s will, though it orders and bounds its actions.” H. G. MacKay has critiqued this self-contradictory teaching by observing:29

Pink’s reasoning is ridiculously illogical. Take a look at the contradictions:

1. Everything is according to the divine decree.

2. These decrees are inexorable.

3. God decrees that man should sin.

4. Man sins, but it is his sole responsibility

Does [this] add up?

1. Everything God decrees must comes [sic] to pass .

2. But God’s decree “neither forces nor hinders man’s will.”

3. But God’s decree “orders and bounds its (mans will) actions.

4. God does not “force” man’s will but it orders its actions.”

Likewise, Arthur Pink seeks to absolve God of culpability for sin by placing the efficacy of sin under the decretive permission and negative action of God, “God’s purpose was concerned with everything, whether great or small, whether good or evil, although with reference to the latter we must be careful to state that while God is the Orderer and Controller of sin, He is not the Author of it in the same way that He is the Author of good. Sin could not proceed from a holy God by positive and direct creation, but only by decretive permission and negative action. God’s decree is as comprehensive as His government, extending to all creatures and all events.”30

Unfortunately, Pink does not explain what constitutes “decretive permission.” To decree something is not merely a permitting of that action; it is an ordaining of that action. As Arthur Pink wrote in his book The Sovereignty of God, “Plainly it was God’s will that sin should enter this world, otherwise it would not have entered, for nothing happens save as God has eternally decreed. Moreover, there was more than a bare permission, for God only permits that which he has purposed.”31 Likewise, Pink has strenuously argued that nothing occurs apart from God’s ordination; therefore, it necessarily follows that nothing occurs by negative action. Every action has been positively ordained by God. As Pink has written, “The decrees of God relate to all future things without exception: whatever is done in time, was foreordained before time began.”32 Similarly, “Not as much as a fly can settle upon you without the Creator’s bidding …”33 Also, “God has Himself designed whatsoever shall yet be, and what He has designed must be effectuated.”34

Try as he might to release God from the charge of authoring and causing sin, Arthur Pink’s theology simply does not afford such a possibility. Certainly Arthur Pink himself does not credit God with authoring sin, but this is merely a failure on his part to remain consistent to his own premises. One who is consistent in his application of Arthur Pink’s premises will necessarily conclude that God is the ultimate cause for all things in existence—including sin. Yet, Scripture teaches that God is a holy God (Leviticus 11:45; 19:2; 20:7) who cannot even tempt someone to sin (James 1:13-14), let alone foreordain such sinful behavior.

Furthermore, in Arthur Pink’s endeavor to emphasize God’s sovereignty, he has redefined the attributes of God as revealed in Scripture. According to Pink, God’s omniscience and foreknowledge are not essential characteristics of God, but are merely the consequence of God’s sovereign decrees. In The Attributes of God, Pink argued, “God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning. And, as cause stands to effect, so God’s purpose is the ground of His prescience.”35 He also wrote, “So God’s knowledge does not arise from things because they are or will be but because He has ordained them to be.”36 Still again, in The Sovereignty of God, Arthur Pink wrote, “Foreknowledge of future events then is founded upon God’s decrees, hence, if God foreknows everything that is to be, it is because He has determined in Himself from all eternity everything which will be …”37

More importantly, Arthur Pink limits God’s attribute of love to the elect whom God has pre-determined to save. In The Sovereignty of God, Pink wrote, “The fact is, that the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect Teacher, telling sinners that God loves them!”38 He also wrote, “‘God so loved the world’. Many suppose that this means The entire human race. But ‘the entire human race’ includes all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, lived here ‘having no hope and without God in the world,’ and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God ‘loved’ them, where is the slightest proof thereof?”39 After all, “Is it conceivable that God will love the damned in the Lake of Fire? Yet, if He loves them now He will do so then, seeing that His love knows no change — He is ‘without variableness or shadow of turning’!”40

Within Arthur Pink’s theology, it is reasonable that God should love only certain individuals because God, from eternity past, only chose to save certain individuals. By choosing some unto salvation, God necessarily chose others unto damnation, “From what has been before us in the previous chapter concerning the election of some to salvation, it would unavoidably follow, even if Scripture had been silent upon it, that there must be a rejection of others. Every choice evidently and necessarily implies a refusal, for where there is no leaving out there can be no choice. If there be some whom God has elected unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), there must be others who are not elected unto salvation.”41 Arthur Pink teaches that God created the elect unto salvation, and He created all others unto damnation:

Has God foreordained certain ones to damnation? … that God decreed that the non-elect should choose the course they follow we now undertake to prove. … in view of the eternal destination of His creatures, He purposed either that this one should spend eternity in Heaven or that this one should spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. If then he foresaw that in creating a certain person that that person would despise and reject the Saviour, yet knowing this beforehand He, nevertheless, brought that person into existence, then it is clear He designed and ordained that that person should be eternally lost. Again; faith is God’s gift, and the purpose to give it only to some, involves the purpose not to give it to others. … if there were some of Adam’s descendants to whom He purposed not to give faith, it must be because He ordained that they should be damned.42

Having foreordained some unto salvation and others unto damnation, Arthur Pink teaches that Jesus “died for none but those upon whom the gift of faith should be bestowed”.43 Jesus only died for those He elected to save. Just as Jesus’ love is restricted to the elect, so also His sacrifice was made only for those whom God had predestinated unto salvation, “For whom did Christ die? … We answer, Christ died for ‘God’s elect.’ … For whom did Christ die? … Christ died for the elect only.”44 Pink further wrote, “‘[T]he world’ does not mean the whole human family … the ‘world’ in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, for every other passage in the New Testament where God’s love is mentioned limits it to His own people—search and see!”45

The limited atonement of Christ necessarily follows from Arthur Pink’s understanding of God’s sovereignty, foreordination, and unconditional election. However, the logical conclusions of this system of theology are at odds with Scripture. In 1 John 2:2, the Apostle John clarifies his use of the term “world” in John 3:16 when he writes, “[Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” First, the Apostle John uses the term “world” to describe for whom it is that Christ died. The plain understanding of world in this passage is “all of mankind.” Second, he specifies that the term “world” is not limited in any fashion by prefacing it with the word “whole.” Christ died for the “whole world.” Third, the Apostle John draws a distinction between those who are saved and everyone else when he says that Christ died “for our sins, and not for ours only.” Christ died for the sins of the Christians to whom he was writing as well as the sins of the whole world, which according to 1 John 5:19, “lies in the power of the evil one.” Good hermeneutics would conclude that if the Apostle John intended 1 John 2:22 to mean that Christ died for the sins of all mankind, then he must also have intended John 3:16 to mean that Christ died for the sins of all mankind. When John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, and 1 John 5:19 are juxtaposed together, the Apostle John’s teaching remains consistent, “‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ … He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. … We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

Furthermore, Scripture plainly teaches that Jesus purchased both the saints and the reprobate with His shed blood on the cross (1 Cor. 6:20; 2 Pet. 2:1). In 2 Peter 2:1, the Apostle Peter wrote, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” The remainder of the chapter is spent emphasizing how these godless individuals are destined to suffer God’s wrath, despite the fact that Jesus bought them—just as Jesus also purchased the saints with His blood (1 Cor. 6:20). And this is why the Apostle Paul believed that maturity in Christ was possible for every person, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28).

Recognizing the discrepancy between Pink’s theology and the plain reading of Scripture, Norman Douty wrote in Did Christ Die Only for the Elect?:46

Apply this to the damnation of sinners. In Ezek. 18:23, 32 we read: “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? saith the Lord Jehovah; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live? . . . For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah wherefore turn yourselves and live.” Similarly in ch. 33:11: “As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Put with those these passages , Ps. 145:9: “Jehovah is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works;” Lam. 3:33: “He doth not afflict willingly (from His heart), nor grieve the children of men;” and Micah 7:18; “He delighteth in loving kindness.” See also Luke 7:30; 19:44; Acts 13:46; Rom. 10:21; II Cor. 2:15; Rev. 22:17.

We may point out here some opposite statements of Pink’s in his chapter on “The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation.” He says, “God decreed that the non-elect should choose the course they follow.” “In giving being and birth to those He knew would reject Christ, He necessarily created them unto damnation.” “He purposed either that this one should spend eternity in Heaven, or that this one should spend eternity in the Lake of Fire . . . . It is clear He designed and ordained that that person should be eternally lost . . . . If there were some of Adam’s descendants to whom He purposed not to give faith, it must be because He ordained that they should be damned.” “From His actually leaving some men in final impenitency and unbelief, we assuredly gather it was His everlasting determination to do so . . . . He must have decreed that vast numbers of human beings should pass out of this world unsaved to suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire.” “Prov. 16:4 . . . expressly declares that the Lord made the wicked for the Day of Evil: that was His design in giving them being.” (All italics Pink’s.) Immediately afterward he says that Christ’s words come on the Day of Judgment, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23), mean simply, “I never loved you” (instead of, “I never fixed My choice on you”). The disparity between the texts cited in the preceding paragraphs and the quotations made in this one, should warn readers to challenge some of Pink’s handling of Rom. 9:17-23, which immediately follows the pages referred to.

In predestinating only some and limiting Christ’s atoning sacrifice to these elect, Arthur Pink changed not only the plain reading of Scripture and the attributes of God, Pink also changed the gospel message. According to Arthur Pink, the gospel is good news only for a minority of people despite the declaration of the angels in Luke 2:10, “‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” Pink wrote, “The Gospel is God’s good news concerning Christ and not concerning sinners …”47 Far from being good news, the Gospel stands in certain condemnation of sinners who are not elect, “Moreover, the preaching of the Gospel to the non-elect is made an admirable test of their characters. It exhibits the inveteracy of their sin: it demonstrates that their hearts are at enmity against God: it justifies the declaration of Christ that ‘men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil’ (John 3:19).”48

Further still, according to Arthur Pink, those whom God foreknew from eternity past were never truly separated from God by their sins:49

However, difficult it be for us to grasp, it is important we should recognize that God’s eternal decree gave the elect a super-creation subsistence before Him, so that they were capable of being loved and of receiving a grant of grace. In other words, in God’s eternal thoughts and foreviews, the elect were conceived and contemplated by Him in the Divine mind as real entities in a state of pure creaturehood, above and beyond any consideration of the fall. Even then they were “Blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ” and “accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:3, 6). … Such were “sons” before God sends forth the Holy Spirit into their hearts (Gal. 4:6); they were “children” while “scattered abroad” before Christ died for them (John 11:51, 52); they were “children” from all eternity and decreed to be so unto all eternity. They did not lose their sonship by the fall, neither by any corruption derived from that fall in their nature. “Children” they continued, though sinful children, and as such, justly exposed to wrath. Nevertheless, this relationship could not be revoked by any after-acts in time: united to Christ from all eternity, they were always one with Him.

Pink wrote, “To this we may add, the name ‘sheep’ is synonymous with ‘elect,’ for such are ‘sheep’ before they believe, yea before they are born (see John 10:16) …”50 For this reason, the elect have always been saved. Their salvation depends not upon repentance and faith in the effectual ministry of Jesus Christ, but rather upon God’s love for them and His having chosen and foreordained them unto salvation from eternity past, “The everlasting love of the Triune God is the origin of the Church’s union to Christ, election being the first and fundamental act of that love toward its members, that election giving them a subsistence in their Head: ‘According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4).”51

It is because of such deviancies from sound doctrine that many have repudiated Arthur Pink. One example may be that of Arno C. Gaebelein, editor ofOur Hope magazine, co-developer of the dispensational movement, close assistant to Cyrus I. Scofield on his work The Scofield Reference Bible, and one of the most respected Bible teachers in his time. In response to a subscriber’s question, “Do you think Mr. Pink’s book THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD is Scriptural?” Gaebelein wrote:52

Mr. Pink used to be a contributor to our magazine. His articles on GLEANINGS IN GENESIS are good, and we printed them in book form. But when he began to teach his frightful doctrines which make the God of love a monster we broke fellowship with him. The book you read is totally unscriptural, It is akin to blasphemy. It presents God as a being of injustice and maligns His holy character. The book denies that our blessed Lord died for the ungodly. According to Pink’s perversions He died for the elect only. You are not the only [one] who has been led into darkness by this book. Whoever the publisher is and whoever stands behind the circulation of such a monstrous thing has a grave responsibility. It is just this kind of teaching that makes atheists.

In his effort to emphasize certain aspects of God’s divine nature, Arthur Pink negated and maligned other attributes of God. It is worthwhile to recall the words of Aiden W. Tozer in his book Knowledge of the Holy:53

God being who He is, cannot cease to be what He is, and being what He is, he cannot act out of character with Himself. … I think it might be demonstrated that almost every heresy that has afflicted the church through the years has arisen from believing about God things that are not true, or from overemphasizing certain true things so as to obscure other things equally true. To magnify any attribute to the exclusion of another is to head straight for one of the dismal swamps of theology; and yet we are all constantly tempted to do just that.

For instance, the Bible teaches that God is love, some have interpreted this in such a way as virtually to deny that He is just, which the Bible also teaches. Others press the Biblical doctrine of God’s goodness so far that it is made to contradict his holiness. Or they make His compassion cancel out His truth. Still others understand the sovereignty of God in a way that destroys or at least greatly diminishes His goodness and love.

We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God’s self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable. Blindness in part must surely fall upon any of us presumptuous enough to attempt such a thing. And it is wholly uncalled for. We need not fear to let the truth stand as it is written. There is no conflict among the divine attributes. God’s being is unitary. He cannot divide Himself and act at a given time from one of His attributes while the rest remain inactive. All that God is must accord with all that God does. Justice must be present in mercy, and love in judgment. And so with all the divine attributes. … Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and His promises be honoured. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come.

Certainly Arthur Pink began his ministry admirably, and he remained a devoted minister to the end of his life. Nevertheless, his latter ministry stood in defiance of his former work. Upon rejecting Dispensationalism, Arthur Pink descended ever deeper into a hyper-Calvinist system of theology which stood in stark contrast to the plain teaching of Scripture. As such, sound doctrine was replaced with the logic of Calvinism, producing in Arthur Pink a staunch opponent to the doctrine of free grace and all who preached it, such as Dwight L. Moody, Clive S. Lewis, Aiden W. Tozer, and even Charles Spurgeon, to whom some have likened Arthur Pink.54 Nevertheless, “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.”55




1. “Arthur W. Pink.”
2. Rishel, “The Impact of A.W. Pink.”
3. “Arthur W. Pink.”
4. Westminster Theological Journal , vol. 69, 479, Source: “A. W. Pink Collection (40 vols.).”
5. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, cover jacket.
6. “A. W. Pink: Evangelist and Biblical Scholar.”
7. Hawley, “Arthur Pink on Dispensationalism and Free Grace Theology.”
8. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, 110.
9. Pink, Redeemer’s Return, 246.
10. Ibid, 303.
11. Ibid, 57–58.
12. Pink, A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures: 1934 – 1935 Volume 7of 17, 156–157.
13. Pink, Gleanings in Genesis, 110.
14. Hawley, “Arthur Pink on Dispensationalism and Free Grace Theology.”
15. Pink, The Attributes of God, 5.
16. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 297.
17. Pink, Gleanings in Exodus, 78.
18. Pink, The Attributes of God, 5.
19. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 53.
20. Ibid, 297.
21. Pink, Gleanings in Joshua, 73.
22. Pink, Gleanings from Paul, 153.
23. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 147.
24. Pink, Doctrine of Total Depravity.
25. Pink, The Attributes of God, 5–6.
26. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 305.
27. Pink, Doctrine of Total Depravity.
28. Pink, The Attributes of God, 8.
29. MacKay, “A Critique of the Teachings of Arthur W. Pink.”
30. Pink, The Attributes of God, 5.
31. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 147.
32. Pink, The Attributes of God, 5.
33. Pink, Gleanings in Exodus, 78.
34. Pink, The Attributes of God, 8.
35. Ibid, 12.
36. Ibid, 8.
37. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 110.
38. Ibid, 246.
39. Ibid, 248–249.
40. Ibid, 248.
41. Ibid, 100.
42. Ibid, 100–101.
43. Pink, A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures: 1930 – 1931, Vol. 5 of 17, 158.
44. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 72–73.
45. Ibid, 251.
46. Douty, Did Christ Die Only for the Elect?: A Treatise on the Extent of Christ’s Atonement, 14–15.
47. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 257.
48. Ibid, 258.
49. Pink, Spiritual Union and Communion, 55–56.
50. Pink, A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures: 1930 – 1931, Vol. 5 of 17, 158.
51. Pink, Spiritual Union and Communion, 55.
52. MacKay, “A Critique of the Teachings of Arthur W. Pink.”
53. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, 85–87.
54. Westminster Theological Journal , vol. 69, 479, Source: “A. W. Pink Collection (40 vols.).”
55. “Arthur W. Pink.”


Works Cited

1. “A. W. Pink Collection (40 vols.).” Logos. Accessed November 13, 2015. https://www.logos.com/product/8095/a-w-pink-collection.
2. “A. W. Pink: Evangelist and Biblical Scholar.” Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pink.
3. “Arthur W. Pink.” Theopedia. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.theopedia.com/arthur-w-pink.
4. Douty, Norma. Did Christ Die Only for the Elect?: A Treatise on the Extent of Christ’s Atonement. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998.
5. Hawley, Grant. “Arthur Pink on Dispensationalism and Free Grace Theology.” Grace in Focus magazine, July – August, 2011. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://faithalone.org/magazine/y2011/11D2.html.
6. MacKay, Harold. “A Critique of the Teachings of Arthur W. Pink.” Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.brethrenonline.org/articles/PINK.HTM.
7. Pink, Arthur. A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures: 1930 – 1931, Volume 5 of 17, 158. Lafayette: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 2001.
8. Pink, Arthur. A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures: 1934 – 1935 Volume 7 of 17, 156 – 157. Lafayette, Sovereign Grace Publishers, 2001.
9. Pink, Arthur. Doctrine of Total Depravity. Lulu Press, 2013.
10. Pink, Arthur. Gleanings from Paul. Lulu Press, 2013.
11. Pink, Arthur. Gleanings in Exodus. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981.
12. Pink, Arthur. Gleanings in Genesis. Chicago: Moody Press, 1922.
13. Pink, Arthur. Gleanings in Joshua. Chicago: Moody Press, 1964.
14. Pink, Arthur. Redeemer’s Return. Swengel: Bible Truth Depot, 1918. Original from Columbia University, Digitized July 10, 2009.
15. Pink, Arthur. Spiritual Union and Communion. Lafayette: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 2002.
16. Pink, Arthur. The Attributes of God.
17. Pink, Arthur. The Sovereignty of God. Lafayette: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 2002.
18. Pink, Arthur. The Sovereignty of God. The Banner of Truth Trust, 1961.
19. Rishel, Joel. “The Impact of A.W. Pink.” Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.biblebaptistelmont.org/BBC/library/pink.html.
20. Tozer, Aiden. The Knowledge of the Holy. Fig, 1965.

 

Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015