Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Recommended Reading-The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W.Pink

If we profess to be Christians we ought to believe in the sovereignty of God. It is a wonderful doctrine. God’s sovereignty is absolute. We may not understand this, but we can profit from the study of His sovereignty, and how it works itself out. Arthur Pink’s book, The Sovereignty of God, is an excellent read, and a highly recommended way of studying God’s sovereignty.

The main message I got from this book is simple. If God isn’t sovereign, then what’s the point? There is no point in worshipping, praying to, or meditating on the words of a God who is not sovereign. In fact, if God is not sovereign, there’s not really any point to life. But, God IS sovereign, and therefore there is a point. Although the message is simple, there is more to it. It can be overwhelming. “God is in control”, should not merely be a slogan, but a mindset, and a way of life.

The original version of this book contains a chapter entitled, “God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. (More on the original version later.) We need to realize we can not blame God for our mistakes, troubles, or sin. Scripture affirms that man is responsible for his sin. There is an apparent contradiction between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, but both are taught in God’s inerrant, infallible word. Pink agrees it should not be ignored, but the focus of this book is on God’s sovereignty.

Pink undertakes to define sovereignty as precisely as possible. In the chapter entitled, “God’s Sovereignty Defined”, he writes, “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.” He goes on to write of God as the Most High and quotes Daniel 4:35; Psalm 115:3; 22:28; and I Timothy 6:15 to show more of God’s sovereignty, both declared and displayed. He builds on this start, and contrasts his view with other views that have been put forth, comparing all views to scripture.

Pink takes us through God’s sovereignty in relationship to creation, (A brief chapter showing “For Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created”-Rev 4:11-emphasis by Pink; and also “The LORD hath made all things FOR HIMSELF”-Prov 16:4-again emphasis by Pink). He looks at how God administers His creation sovereignly.

Next he looks at how God is sovereign in salvation. He writes, “Salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:9); but the Lord does not save all. Why not? He does save some; then why not others?” From this point he looks to scripture and goes over the sovereignty of each member of the Trinity in salvation. He shows how they all work together. From here he covers reprobation, basically the opposite of how God works salvation in some. There are various views of reprobation, but they tend to work out the same-just as some are saved, some are not. Again in this too, God is sovereign.

He then addresses God’s sovereignty in action. Does God know all things? Has He ordained them to pass? Is God really governing the world? These questions are addressed. Pink ties this into what God is doing in the lives of His people, and the lives of unbelievers. This leads to discussing the human will.

The highlight of the book for me is the chapter on prayer. If God is completely sovereign, (Incompletely sovereign would be like being a little pregnant), what’s the point of prayer? If God has ordained all things, what’s the point of prayer? Pink outlines several points (for one-it’s commanded), but the bottom line is there’s no point in praying to a God who is NOT sovereign. What can he do? Something, maybe, even if the odds are good. God is SOVEREIGN and therefore can answer all our prayers, but according to His will, not ours. (I have heard it said that prayer changes US, not God.)

Pink takes a look at what our attitude should be towards God’s sovereignty. (Godly fear, implicit obedience, entire resignation, deep thankfulness and joy, and adoring worship.) Next he answers various objections brought forth to God’s sovereignty (They are still around, and we might have some of them ourselves). He also explains the value of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, and wraps up the book by looking at our growth in God’s grace, and our Christian service. The book’s final words are Revelation 19:6, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

One final note- There are two different editions of this book. One is published by Banner of Truth Trust, (A publisher I would normally recommend) and the other by Baker Books. The Banner of Truth edition omits three chapters. (On reprobation, human responsibility, and objections.) Banner of Truth believes Pink changed some of his views in these chapters. This is alluded to in a Preface and more fully outlined in Iain Murray’s Life of Arthur W. Pink. (Another good book.) It is unfortunate the chapters are omitted, even if you disagree with Pink. They help give a fuller view of his beliefs, and definitely can lead to much discussion and study-for those who agree and those who disagree. So I’d have to recommend the Baker Books edition, which reprints the original book. (I have read both versions.) In any case, this is a book which should lead to a great deal of thought, study, prayer, and discussion on a very important doctrine.


Blogger David said...

Wow, I feel so much like John Wayne saying that. Any how. Thanks for your post on Pink's, "The Sovereignty of God." I agree that it is a must read for anyone interested in studying the issue. It is understandable and Biblical. I pray others will find this classic a blessing also.


7:52 PM  

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