Book Review: The Life of Arthur W. Pink

The Life of Arthur W. Pink, by Iain H. Murray;

Hardback; 350 pages;

Published by The Banner of Truth Trust.

——————–

This is a much enlarged edition of the 1981 The Life of Arthur W. Pink, well written and beautifully produced.

When we reviewed the original book, we wrote: “This is a book which would have been much better never published.”

Though we have enjoyed reading this new publication, after careful thought our opinion is the same.

Why?

We greatly admire many of Mr. Pink’s works and have read them with much profit. We also believe he was a godly man who sought to walk in the narrow way which leads to heaven. But he could get on with no one, and virtually ended his days as a recluse, meeting with none of God’s people.

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952) lived in England, Australia, the U.S.A., and Scotland.

For a short period he preached, but most of his time was spent editing ‘Search the Scriptures’.

Brought up a Congregationalist, he separated from the American Fundamentalists and the Brethren. Then, after a time with the Strict Baptists, he left them because they did not accept the “free offer.”

Going to Scotland, he felt he could not worship with either the Free Church of Scotland or the Free Presbyterians. To use his own words, he wrote:

“If there are any ‘churches’ which are scriptural in their membership, in their maintenance of discipline, in their preaching, and in all that concerns their public services, we do not know where to find them. We have travelled round the world … but there is no church known to us where we could hold membership.”

Two things seem sad. He lived for a time in Brighton but, when he attended the ministry of J.K. Popham, Iain Murray says that “the air of fatalism chilled him.” But here were two men: one who, after fifty years in the pastorate, was still preaching to hundreds; the other, having concluded a few extremely brief pastorates, unable to hold any, and now giving up preaching.

Then the last twelve years of his life Mr. Pink lived in Stornaway, Isle of Lewis, at the time Kenneth MacRae exercised his God-honouring ministry. Yet it seems incredible the two never even met.

Let us not be misunderstood. A.W. Pink’s personal life was singularly spiritual and free from worldliness; but surely there is something wrong with a man who is always “the only one right”?

Giving Mr. Pink the benefit of the doubt on many things, why, when his faithful followers in Australia separated from a Strict Baptist church to form a church exactly as he himself desired, did he very shortly afterwards leave them, unable to continue?

One point especially we cannot understand Banner of Truth re-printing from the 1981 edition: Mr. Pink’s suspicion of William Huntington because “such large crowds attended his preaching – bad sign”!

Again, we would emphasise that we have found much profit from reading A.W. Pink’s works, as we know many of our readers have. But we feel it would be better for him to be remembered by his fine writings, and to have let his eccentricities and faults lie forgotten in oblivion.

By B.A. Ramsbottom

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