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A. W. Pink

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Martin Marprelate, May 1, 2019.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    There was some discussion about A. W, Pink on another thread. I think it may be helpful to give a short biography and some book recommendations. I no longer have Iain Murray's biography, and these details come either from my memory or other sources.

    Arthur Pink was born in Nottingham UK in 1886, the oldest child in a Christian family. In his teens, however, young Arthur rebelled against that and became enmeshed in Theosophy and quickly began to be a leader. He later confessed, "I was a medium, practising clairvoyance, psychomancy and magical healing." This naturally upset his father, and one day as 22 year-old Arthur brushed past him, he quoted Proverbs 14:12: 'There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death'

    That word of God deeply affected Pink, and immediately changed his life. He was due to speak at a Theosophy meeting two days later, but when he came to speak it was to confess Christ as his Lord and Saviour, to the shock and chagrin of his audience.

    Almost immediately, Pink felt the call to preach, and in 1910, after a rigorous regime of home study for two years, he travelled to America to study at the Moody Institute. He stayed there for just six weeks; the teaching was most elementary. One of his lecturers procured him a pastorate at Silverton, Colorado, and from there, having become convinced of Believers' baptism, he moved to California in 1912 where he pastored the First Baptist Church of Garden Grove, Los Angeles where 37 new converts were quickly brought into membership and Pink married Vera Russell, a Kentucky girl, so they moved to KY to pastor a church in Spartanburg.

    During this time Pink became associated with some of the leaders of the Fundamentalist movement, including Philip Mauro and Harry Ironside. Mark Dever's great-grandfather, Leaman Winstead, was a close friend. During this time he also discovered the Puritans and read them voraciously. In 1919 he noted that he had read 45 books in 3 months! He had also begun to write: The Sovereignty of God and The Divine Inspiration of the Bible.

    In 1920, Pink was asked by an evangelist called Thompson to help him with a tent mission in San Francisco. Ironside was also involved. Between them they preached to between 700 and 1,000 people each night who listened 'with breathless interest throughout. They saw many conversions, giving the lie to the belief that Pink's preaching was never blessed by God.

    In 1922, Pink began his most important work, a monthly magazine called Studies in the Scriptures, with 24 pages of articles and Bible studies to supply each month. Overwork produced a nervous breakdown and depression, and Vera became convinced that Pink's main calling was to write. However, in 1925 a call came to preach in Australia, so off they went.

    In Sydney, Pink was involved again in evangelistic campaigns. Sixty years later, Iain Murray met people there who remembered Pink's ministry to be an outstanding spiritual time. However, he found it hard to discover a congregation that shared his belief in the Doctrines of Grace. Eventually he settled at a church which had 'Gospel Standard' (i.e. Hyper-Calvinist) roots. Pink was assured that evangelistic preaching was acceptable and so accepted a position there. There are those who believe that Pink was 'hyper.' Here's an extract from his preaching to prove otherwise:

    '.....Why not believe in Him for yourself? Why not trust in the precious blood for yourself and why not tonight? Why not tonight, my friend? God is ready. God is ready to save you if you believe on Him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you tonight, "Come, for all things are now ready!"

    [Continued]
     
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  2. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    [Continued]

    Pink saw a large number of conversions in the two years he was at the Belvoir Street Church. However, two smaller churches associated with Belvoir Street had trust deeds which outlawed invitations to the lost. So Pink felt he had to resign, and 40% of the church resigned with him! 26 of them founded a new church with Pink as Pastor and numbers quickly doubled. But Pink felt that he was causing a schism and made the decision to leave, departing for England in 1928.

    In England he again found Bible-believing, evangelistic Calvinist churches very rare. The 'downgrade' warned of by Spurgeon had arrived with a vengeance. At some point his parents died and he and Vera inherited enough money to make them independent. In the light of Pink's continuing depression, they decided to concentrate on producing Studies in the Scriptures.

    In 1940, Pink's house near London was bombed and destroyed by the Luftwaffe. He and Vera nearly lost their lives. Pink may have been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress when he decided to depart for the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, where they remained until Pink's death in 1952. He had found it impossible to worship at any of the churches in Lewis which may have had to do with his mental frailty at this time, but also with the deadness of the churches at that time. The revival that later broke out there came almost at the very time Pink died.

    Most, though not all, of Pink's books may be found here: COLLECTION OF A.W. PINK'S WRITINGS I have by no means read all of them, but here are a few I can recommend.
    The Sovereignty of God. This book has been greatly used by God to bring people to an understanding of the Doctrines of Grace.
    Profiting from the word
    Spiritual Growth
    The Seven sayings of the Saviour from the Cross
    The Holy Spirit (the best book I've read on this subject)
    An Exposition of Hebrews (the commentary I turn to first; full of meat!)
    The Life of David, the Life of Elijah, Gleanings from Elisha. These biographies are extremely helpful.
    The satisfaction of Christ & The Doctrine of Reconciliation. Two really comprehensive books on the cross.
    Gleanings from Paul and A Guide to Fervent Prayer. These are expositions of the prayers contained in the NT letters.
    The Doctrines of Election and Justification.
     
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  3. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for that Martin... We can truly say... You know it was coming... You're in the Pink!... Brother Glen:rolleyes::D

    Btw... I like Pink too!
     
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  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Two other books that I forgot:
    The Divine Covenants. An excellent companion to some of the good stuff coming out of 1689 Federalism.
    Studies in saving faith. A very scary book for supporters of 'Easy Believism. John MacArthur encouraged the re-printing of this book and wrote the foreword.

    When Pink died in 1952, he had been pretty much forgotten. The readership of Studies in the Scriptures .had been decimated by the war and not rebuilt. Christian publishing houses had ceased to be interested in the older theology that Pink offered, and no one was interested in re-printing any of his works. But among his surviving readership at his death were Ernest Riesinger and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The latter discovered Pink in 1942 and found him extremely helpful. "Don't waste time reading Barth or Brunner," he wrote to a young man training for the ministry; "You will get nothing from them to aid you with preaching. Read Pink!"

    In the providence of God, a resurgence of interest in Reformed theology and the Puritans began in the late 1950s and has continued ever since. New publishing houses like Banner of Truth have brought Pink's works to a much wider audience and gave him almost cult status in the '70s and '80s. @John of Japan said that the books of John C. Rice outstripped those of Pink. I have no way of knowing if this is so, but I can say that Rice is totally unknown in Britain. I had never heard of him before coming on this forum, and have never read a review of one of his books or seen one on sale in a Christian bookshop. This is not a criticism of Rice; I'm sure he's excellent and the loss may well be ours, but that is the case. On the other hand, it is small American publishers like Pietan Publications that are re-printing Pink's lesser known works and selling them to this day, all around the world. Truly Pink is one of whom it can be said, 'he, being dead, still speaks.'
     
  5. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Do you know why I like Pink, Martin?... I like his types and shadows... His illustration and comparisons... He keeps you interested in what he says and how he says and applies it according to scripture... He will write something and I will read and say... I never look at it that way before... He brings new light to the OT and the NT... Well I had my say... Just waiting for Kentucky to give his... Now there a Pinkite!... Brother Glen;)
     
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  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I don't know about Britain, but in Japan there were about five of John R. Rice's books translated. I had three of them. He went over there twice for conferences. His tract, "What Must I Do to Be Saved?" had about 3 million printed in Japanese, I believe. All in all, that tract has been printed over 40,000,000 times in about 46 languages, I believe the count is. Many thousands have been saved through it and his books and newspaper.

    Rice's best seller, still in print after about 70 years, is Bible Facts About heaven, with over 700,000 printed. His best seller on prayer has had over 500,000 printed, Prayer: Asking and Receiving. I saw it in Adrian Rogers library when I visited Southwestern, where Rogers' office is duplicated. The "John R. Rice Papers" are in the archives there.

    Hey, I don't begrudge Calvinists liking Pink, though I don't like him. (He's certainly better than Barth and Brunner.) But I will always defend John R. Rice. I had no sooner come onto the BB those years ago when a certain Calvinist (banned not too long ago) started a very nasty thread against him. So there I was, defending my grandfather against those very nasty lies right here on the BB.

    But the truth is, many Calvinists who love seeing souls saved like JRR, like my best friend. Once in Texas he took me to the Pilgrim bookstore (the folks who print Spurgeon), where the proprietor kindly gave me one of the books of sermons, which Pilgrim had asked JRR to write an intro for. JRR helped them sell Spurgeon by constantly printing his sermons in The Sword of the Lord.
     
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  7. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    Brethren, let's dial this discussion back a notch or two. Both Pink and Rice were faithful servants of the Lord. Our Lord used both of them. Mind you in different fields of service. Both men planted and watered, but it was God who gave the increase.
     
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  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I respect Martin and certainly don't mean to rain on his parade. Plus, I note that he placed this thread in "Baptist History," so it would not be appropriate to argue aggressively here like I do on the "Baptist Theology" forum. :Coffee
     
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  9. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Ditto. He was a master of types and allegories found in the scriptures. I've a Pink library collected over the years. His 'Sovereignty of God' was the first I read, it came to me like it was sent by God. 'Gleanings in Genesis' is a superb intro to types. 'Elijah' came to me at just the right time. His books on 'David', 'John', 'Hebrews' and several others I reference often.
     
  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    According to my library program, A. W. Pink has a contribution in Addresses on the Holy Spirit and the Christian Life by I. M. Haldeman. I couldn't say what it is without actually looking at the book. I think the first A. W. Pink book I purchased was The Best of Arthur W. Pink, which included these books: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible; The Attributes of God; The Ten Commandments; Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross. Calvary Baptist Church Book Store in Ashland, Kentucky reprinted The Redeemer's Return in 1970, and it was also one of my early A. W. Pink books. Given his popularity, as I understood it, I was surprised when I read of how he became very much a loner hermit type later in his life.
     
  11. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    He became more reclusive as he got away from Dispensationalism. Perhaps he had regrets over what he now considered as error contained in some of his past works? Shame? Embarrassment? introspection? Soul searching?

    A Critical Assessment of Dispensationalism (eBook) | Monergism

    [add]

    ...anyway, he continued writing for his readers, perhaps his calling was to write, not to pastor.
     
    #11 kyredneck, May 3, 2019
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  12. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    I can only comment on Pink that I know and in all honesty, sorry brethren I've never read Rice... From what I understand he was JOJ's grandfather?... That's interesting... I don't have any famous relatives that I know of... Wait a minute?... There's Adam!... Brother Glen:)
     
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  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    In some of what I’ve read and heard he comes across as a crotchety old man. Bible Interpreters of the Twentieth Century (W. A. Elwell & J. D. Weaver, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999) tells us that in the last twelve years of life “...he lived in virtual isolation, not even attending a local church...On Sundays he spent his time pastoring his flock of faithful readers by writing letters answering their questions concerning the Bible and theology. Would-be visitors who had traveled great distances to Stornoway were discouraged as they were usually turned away, not being allowed to see him. The townspeople knew little about him, except that each day at a certain hour he took a walk through the town.”
    I have no problem with that concept, and he seems to have done a great deal of good with his writing. I don’t believe that every preacher is called or gifted to be a pastor. However, not having any relationship at all to local Christian believers and also being unwilling to receive visitors who knew him from his writing comes across more as someone who just didn’t like people (or possibly thought of himself more highly than he ought to think)!

    Nevertheless, to his own master he stands or falls, and we each have our own personal failings to deal with. God uses us to a great deal in spite of who and what we are, and on the other hand uses what he has made of us.
     
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  14. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Apologies for not replying earlier. I have been away at the Gideons UK Conference.
    I think, not crotchety but sad and depressed, as other Christians like Spurgeon and Brainerd have been. As early as 1919, he was apparently putting too much strain on himself, lost weight, experienced severe headaches and suffered from low blood pressure. His wife described him as ' quite despondent, nervous, irritable and unable to sleep.' (Geoff Thomas, writing in the Banner of Truth mag). No doubt at the end of his life he was in breach of that Scripture which tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. But whatever the cause, I for one stand hugely in is debt for the help I received from his writings.

    One feature of Pink's writing is his forthrightness. You never find yourself asking, "What's he trying to say? Why doesn't he come off the fence?" Since starting this thread I have begun reading again his Doctrine of Election. Pink is very dismissive of those who disagree with him. Lloyd-Jones thought this was a weakness:

    Dr Lloyd-Jones certainly did not believe that discussion of the doctrines of grace should be carried on in an atmosphere of controversy. To present those doctrines in an argumentative way to evangelical Christians of a different understanding, or to make a direct attack on their beliefs and practices, is unlikely to be beneficial. He thought that A.W. Pink had made a mistake at this point and that in doing so he had lost an opportunity to influence numbers who were incapable of suddenly receiving meat in the place of milk. Reflecting on this in later years, he was to say:

    If I had behaved like Pink did, I would have achieved nothing. Nothing at all. I could see that the only hope was to let the weight of the truth convince the people. So I had to be very patient and take a very long term look at things. Otherwise I would have been dismissed and the whole thing would have been finished.
    [Iain Murray: D. Martyn lloyd-Jones, Vol. 2, page 232]

    Maybe there's a lesson there for us all. I will say that Lloyd-Jones made the same criticism of more that one American Fundamentalist.
    Thank you for your kind words. I have the same respect for you :) I would have replied to you on the other thread, but it closed before I could do so.
    I meant no disrespect to your grandfather, who was, I'm sure, a fine servant of the Lord and much used by Him.
     
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  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    No offense taken. And of course we should never compare two servants of the Lord. It appears that I started down that line, and I'm sorry for it. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand" (Rom. 14:4).

    I do appreciate your accounts of Pink's early life and ministry, and the revival lifestyle he lived then. It's an interesting fact of history to me that God has used many Fullerite types for greatness down through the centuries. I just finished reading the biography of Rolfe Barnard, a Calvinist evangelist here in the States--an interesting life.

    I recently visited the grave of Presbyterian (though probably Arminian) evangelist Billy Sunday in Chicago. He was, of course, a mighty evangelist, but I noticed something very sad. There is a big family monument, with Billy and "Ma" Sunday's graves in front of it, with simple stone markers. However, on the right and left side bottoms of the monument were carved the names of two of their three sons, and none of them survived out of their 30's, apparently succumbing to alcoholism in one way or another. How sad to try to win the world, but lose your 3 sons to the very blight you preached against most!
     
  16. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I was just expressing an impression, without any real knowledge of the background or cause. (Just from stuff I remember reading in the past.). That said, it seems fairly obvious that the end result was that he didn't care much for personal interaction with people but was quite comfortable connecting with them through the medium of writing.
    I agree. I think this is a good general realization concerning all the servants of God to whom we are indebted. Perhaps, as people in general, we are too prone to hold one up as a hero and cast another down as a villain, rather than realizing, as they say, that we all have feet of clay.
     
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  17. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps A. Pink had physical reason for the last decade or so for the need of being reclusive.

    Personality change often occurs when certain medical conditions happen. Both heart and stroke may cause both depression and the need for isolation. One feels more vulnerable and more often reluctant to engage in longer conversations, so they turn to writing where the editing, and scrutiny of what is written may provide self revision.

    At times the brain changes chemically, causing more effeminate responses seen such as tears, louder laughter, deeper more frequent depressions, shutting off relationships, introspections that seem outwardly to others as daydreaming, and clinging to more comfortable surroundings rather then venturing out to be vulnerable. Sleep patterns become shifted with sporadic “naps” and wakeful nights. And so forth.

    In this modern age, doctors have more assessment tools and are not nearly as dismissive of elderly personality changes, especially found in those who have had health breakdowns,

    As the subject of his view of eschatology changing has been brought up, that is not altogether wrong. Both covenant and dispensation thinking long needed better Scripture footing and the views modified.

    Perhaps, A. Pink may have agreed with progressive dispensation thinking. It is the best bridge between the extremes of Darby dispensation and the stringent covenant. It accepts that Biblical of both views and dismisses the rest. But that thinking wasn’t offered back then.
     
  18. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Pink is considered a forerunner of the Reformed/Baptist faction that sprang up in the late 1900s. So much so that their historian Tom Chantry even titled the first chapter of his book, on the rise of their movement: "The Pink Wave":

    ChantryNotes • The Pink Wave
     
    #18 Jerome, May 9, 2019
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  19. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    His books are a staple of the ubiquitous bookstall at such churches:

    InternetMonk • May 2 • Stop Me Before I Turn Into A.W. Pink

    "...while his gift of teaching was magnificent (in the opinion of most Calvinists), he couldn’t find a single pastor he could support or a single church he could even attend the last two decades of his life. He withdrew and stayed home, writing those books your reformed Baptist church is selling at the booktable."
     
  20. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    So typical of one who does not have the insight into “why” he became reclusive.

    I don’t know why, but from what I have gathered there is perhaps a case to be made on the medicinal side.

    It has always bothered me how some take occasions to mock a person’s life work who have no insight nor desire to inquire as to why a personality change took place.

    Oh well. We hard hard pressed to escape the judgment of Christ by doing what is pleasing as a faithful servant.
     
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