The 50th Anniversary of the Death of Author Pink
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF ARTHUR PINK
"Pink taught me truths that have become a sure foundation for my life, for the absolute supremacy of God is of great practical importance"
by Harold Gibson
When the death of Arthur W Pink took place on the 15th July 1952 few people then could have imagined the extent of the influence he was to have upon the Christian world in the years to follow.
He lived for the last 12 years of his life in the Outer Hebrides. 50 years ago it was remote and Pink’s circle of friends and acquaintances were small in number. Yet in the years to follow his name would be held in high esteem and regard among a multitude of Christians across the world.
There is a difference of opinion among Christians today as to the value of a study of his life. Many regard him as an eccentric while others see a spiritual quality reflected in his life marking him out as a unique servant of God, one who would be used in the service of the kingdom of God long after he had departed this life. His ministry had taken him around the world having preached in Britain, America and Australia, but it is not this aspect of his life that we want to consider, but rather the legacy that he left to the Christian Church.
His later life was given over with all diligence and zeal to the work of editing a magazine called "Studies in Scriptures". The circulation of this monthly magazine seldom exceeded 1,000 copies, yet the articles taken from its pages have led to well over 50 books being published and sold in hundreds of thousands around the world.
The Written Ministry.
Perhaps the best known is "The Sovereignty of God". This book has been in circulation since 1918. The revised British edition has been in circulation since 1961. The opening words of chapter 1 asks ‘Who is regulating affairs on this earth today – God or the Devil?" Countless Christians can pay tribute to this excellent work for sorting out this important doctrine in their Christian life.
Rev. W.J. Grier in his little volume, "The Best Books", published in 1968, speaks of it as "A simple, clear and forthright expression of this great truth." It is without doubt a book that has had a profound influence on many Christians.
Writing in the November 2001 issue of Evangelical Times, Peter Hulland tells how this book changed him and had a lasting effect on his life. He says "Pink taught me truths that have become a sure foundation for my life, for the absolute supremacy of God is of great practical importance". The Banner of Truth report sales of almost 178,000 copies of this book!
Another important work was his "Life of Elijah". This is a book that addresses the needs of the present age. Pink’s expository ministry stood for biblical truth and he applies the word to our contemporary age.
Pink’s writings were doctrinal and devotional. He states in the preface to "The Attributes of God",’The foundation of all true knowledge of God must a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither he trusted, served nor worshiped".
Many other books, including works on Genesis and Exodus, The Sermon on the Mount and a massive work on Hebrews, show something of his ability and authority as a teacher of the Word of God.
The Pastoral Ministry.
Though the door to an active ministry was closed, Pink never lost the pastor’s heart: he was able to carry on a pastoral ministry to a considerable number of people scattered around the world through his correspondence. The readers of "The Studies" became his congregation and he gladly kept in touch with them by letter. In one week alone he speaks of sending no less than 46 letters, all hand written!
Pink sought to give guidance and counsel on many matters that were causing concern and difficulty to the Lord’s people. His letters included topics such as, Reading, Marriage, the Sabbath and Guidance to mention a few. His letters reveal a great depth of spiritual wisdom and he showed a great understanding and compassion for his correspondents as he sought to minister to them in their particular circumstances. He would often close his letters with the words, "Yours by Divine Mercy, Arthur W Pink, your pastor"
An example for us.
The primary lesson that Pink sought to teach was Godly living characterised by a devotion to the Scriptures. His concern in all of his labours was to promote the glory of God and holiness of life. He was aware that while many people read the Bible not all read it for the same purpose. He once wrote the following:
"Some read it to satisfy their literary pride. In certain circIes it has become both the respectable and popular thing to obtain a general acquaintance with the Bible simply because it is regarded as an educational defect to be ignorant of them. But in all this there is no thought of God, no yearning for spiritual edification, and therefore no real benefit to the soul."
Pink was devoted to Scripture and to the serious and profitable study of the Book. It was his joy and delight and, as his days on earth drew to a close it became even more sweet and precious to him. He was taken up totally with the Scriptures and his last words that were heard showed what was on his mind as he entered glory, "The Scriptures explain themselves".
Pink was Serious about Scripture and its authority
He had little time for those given over to a superficial view of the Bible. Only too well aware that he could increase the circulation of the magazine by devoting pages to "the signs of the times" he was to write, ".. ..it is not our aim to tickle the ear, but to search the conscience; not to pander to the sensation-monger, but to feed Christ’s hungry sheep, not to please empty professors, but to make God’s children more and more out of love with themselves".
Pink lived in total dependence upon God. Writing what was to be his last annual letter to his readers he was able to say, ‘As we review this somewhat lengthy ministry, we cannot but marvel at the sovereign and abounding grace of God which has supported and sustained . . . During the whole of these thirty years we have never been in debt a penny, and have paid every bill within forty-eight hours of its reception".
He quoted from Hudson Taylor, ‘God’s work done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies".
He was ever thankful to God for bringing them to live in Lewis where he enjoyed the peace and quiet of island life. He regarded it as a mark of the Lord’s favour as he pursued his studies away from "the madding crowds of the cities".
He loved the Lord’s day and counted it a blessing to be amongst a community that held the Sabbath in reverence, though his inability to formally identify himself with the people of God cannot be understood or defended.
We can look back upon a useful and yet unusual servant of God and give thanks for the sound Christian literature that he has left to the church, for its blessings in these last fifty years and pray that his work and labour may continue to bear fruit for generations yet to come.
1. The Life of A W Pink by lain H Murray, details his life and ministry. The Banner of Truth Trust 1981 (Currently out of print.) 2. Letters of A W Pink During the period 1924-1951, Banner of Truth Trust 1978. 3. The Sovereignty of God, Banner of Truth. 4. Studies in the Scriptures, Banner of Truth.
The Evangelical Presbyterian, July-August 2002, Evangelical Book Shop, 15 College Square East, Belfast, BT1 6DD