Discerning Reader Editorial Review
Reviewed 05/21/2010 by John Bird.
Recommended. The definitive biography of one of the most influential Evangelical authors of the twentieth century.
Few noticed when Arthur Pink died in July of 1952; only a handful was present when he was laid to rest. In his life, he had written, besides many books, over 2,000 articles for his periodical, Studies in the Scriptures, which was published every month from 1922 to 1953. Pink also handwrote over 20,000 personal letters. And he preached in several countries, on several continents, and in churches of nearly every protestant denomination. Despite all of this, few knew him. But Pink did not care to be known. As long as he helped others know Jesus Christ, he was satisfied.
Who was Arthur Pink? Iain Murray calls him "one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century." Within two decades of his death, people couldn't get enough of his writings. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, late pastor of Westminster Chapel (whose biography Murray gives us in two excellent volumes), gave a fellow preacher the following advice: "Don't waste your time reading Barth and Brunner. You will get nothing from them to aid you with preaching. Read Pink."
Pink's influence is reason enough for a biography, but Murray adds that "The life of Pink tells us much that is for the glory of God. No Christian can know him without appreciation and profit." It has been with much profit that this reviewer has read The Life of Arthur W Pink three times since the revised edition was published in 2004, and it wouldn't be a waste to read it three more times.
Murray takes us through the life of Pink, from his birth in Nottingham (yes, near Sherwood Forest) to his last days in Stornoway. The author gives special attention to Pink's writings and studies, but no aspect of his Christian life is ignored. We feel, after reading this work, that we do know Arthur Pink. And whether we share all of his convictions or not, we can't help but be sympathetic, inspired, and humbled.
Murray has gone to great pains to give us this balanced picture of Arthur Pink. Besides his published writings, Murray has made use of innumerable personal letters both to and from Pink, and he has spent hours interviewing those who knew him. Murray's expert knowledge of Church history, especially that of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, gives him great insight into the theological and ecclesiastical issues that surrounded Pink. And though he has a deep respect for his protagonist, he doesn't hesitate to discuss his weaknesses.
No doubt Pink was, and is, controversial. He was too blunt in his speech and writing. He sometimes seemed unfriendly. He spent much of his time in isolation. And he was very often misunderstood—a "hyper-Calvinist" to some, a legalistic "free-willer" to others; too reformed for the Baptists, and too Baptist for the Presbyterians. He was, like all of us, a sinner, as he would be the first to point out. But he was also a saint—a saint who cared deeply about the glory of God, and a saint who was used greatly for the glory of God.
Some of the most edifying books I have read have been Iain Murray's biographies. I'm especially grateful for this one, which has enabled me to know the man whose writings I have benefited from for years. If you enjoy reading about the lives of men and women who have been greatly used by God, you will love this book.