AW Pink is an author with whom I have recently become acquainted. AW Pink is a Calvinist through and through. One of his books is dedicated to the express topic of the “Sovereignty of God”. His writing style is one of interweaving fleeting references into concrete statements such that each paragraph might take several to refute. In contrast, I attempt to make my writings the exact opposite, quoting verses directly, examining context, and then connecting them to other verses in the Bible to make theological points. It is best to be open and honest, sourcing everything said, such that others are able to call you out when you are wrong.
I do not suppose that AW Pink is interested in being wrong. Here is an example of his work:
The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the god-hood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God.
AW Pink starts this paragraph (every line I quote from him is all one big paragraph), with a series of semi falsehoods. In this chapter AW Pink is confronting those who say God is not sovereign. AW Pink, instead of reasoning about this, declares a tautology: “To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God”. AW Pink wishes to win the debate, not by clear reasoning, but by inferring that those who do not accept his definition of “Sovereign” are nothing but pagans. If AW Pink was alive, the question to ask would be: “Hypothetically, let us say the God of the Bible was not sovereign, what then does that make him? A space alien?” Take all the religions that worship false gods, would AW Pink refer to Zeus as a “god”? Sovereignty is not a prerequisite for being God. By stating that it is, AW Pink falls for the fallacy of assuming what he is trying to prove. This is the logical fallacy of Begging the Question.
To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35).
This quote comes from Daniel and is spoken by the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar after God caused him to go insane for 7 years (giving rule to his son, Belshazzar). Naturally, after seven years living like a wide beast, someone might say that God can take away kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar could not stop God, but note, God tells Nebuchadnezzar exactly how to stop God from taking his Kingdom:
Dan 4:27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
And then, on top of that, God tells Nebuchadnezzar how to stop his insanity:
Dan 4:32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”
Although Nebuchadnezzar could not be evil and still stop God from punishing him, God was not acting arbitrarily. Nebuchadnezzar was being punished and was told how he could stop God from punishing him. This verse does not play well into the view of God’s Sovereignty that AW Pink would have his readers believe.
As to people questioning God’s morality, the pagan King Abimelech is a good case study.
To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3).
When God is purposed to do something, he follows through, unless people conform their actions and make God change his mind. This concept is explicit (unlike the concepts AW Pink unwarrantedly declares):
Eze 18:21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
…Eze 18:24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
Jer 18:7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,
Jer 18:8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
Jer 18:9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,
Jer 18:10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
So God changes based on the actions of people and nations (something AW Pink despises). If a nation is evil and God wants to destroy it, who can resist his will? No one. But if God wants people to truly love him and follow his commandments, who can resist his will? In AW Pink’s mind, lawyers are more powerful than God (Pink thinks that whoever has will that wins in a will conflict is more powerful):
Luk 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
Some people can truly reject the will of God: lawyers! I just so happen to think that this characteristic is not necessarily limited only to lawyers.
To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best.
AW Pink just assumes that Governors do the things which he ascribes. God does establish some Kingdoms for various purposes, but to equate that to establishing all kingdoms for specific purposes is the logical Fallacy of Composition. Just because my car’s window is made of glass, does not mean my entire car is made of glass.
As has been shown previously, God can control nations and he often is depicted as doing so in the Old Testament. In every case, God is using nations for purposes related to Israel. One does not see in the Bible accounts of God displacing Inca Kings for various purposes.
And just like the modern use of the world Governor, Governors or Kings do not control all things. They delegate, with occasional intervening. For the most part, they leave their citizens alone (the analogy was written before the age of high tech surveillance, instant communication, and fast transportation). If God controls all nations as how AW Pink describes, it is interesting that he allowed Israel to be defeated (in violation of prophecy) due to the enemy having chariot technology:
Jdg 1:19 So the LORD was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron.
AW Pink finishes his paragraph:
To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible.
None of these descriptive words would be disputed by any critic of AW Pink, only the definitional usage. When the Bible calls God powerful (Potentate), this does not mean he controls everything. See James 1:13.
Calvinists, instead of reason and logic, try to use semantics to win debates. Instead of arguing God controls everything, they say he is “Almighty” and then just define the word to mean God “controls everything”. Instead of saying God is “outside of time”, they claim he is “eternal” and then define “eternal” as “outside of time”. Instead of proving God is “sovereign”, they just define God as sovereign (using their own definitions). Just watching their method of debate, it is clear that Calvinism is a scam of epic proportions.
Next time I want to go farther down this road and consider God’s sovereignty in light of the unredeemable fall of the demons.
A.W. Pink’s SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, loaned to me as a baby Christian by a well-meaning pastor, caused years of maddening, agonizing, near suicide-inducing doubts from which, by the grace of God, I’ve recovered in the past few years.
That is an interesting story. Do you have a link to it in full?
AW Pink is maddening enough just to read without buy-in. His style is atrocious.
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Sorry, I didn’t get an update to your question. I can tell you only that it was awful. I suppose it might have been any number of false teachers but Pink started a major psycho-spiritual landslide inside me. I know I can’t be the only one who has suffered from such.
I will say that I’ve found typical 5 pointers to more or less keep Pink at arm’s length, as today he’d very likely be classed as a hyper-Calvinist (that is, a logically consistent one).