“It would be foolish for us to expect that this work will meet with general approval. The trend of modern theology – if theology it can be called – is ever toward the Deification of the creature rather than the glorification of the Creator, and the leaven of present-day Rationalism is rapidly permeating the whole of Christendom. The malevolent effects of Darwinianism are more far reaching than most are aware. Many of those among our religious leaders who are still regarded as orthodox would, we fear, be found to be very heterodox if they were weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary. Even those who are clear, intellectually, upon other truth, are rarely sound in doctrine. Few, very few, today, really believe in the complete ruin and total depravity of man. Those who speak of man’s “free will,” and insist upon his inherent power to either accept or reject the Savior, do but voice their ignorance of the real condition of Adam’s fallen children…and there are fewer still who really believe in the absolute Sovereignty of God. — Introduction, Authur W. Pink, June 1918.
This title and quote is a prophecy (not labeled as such) from one of my favorites books, not because I was entertained, but because it set me right upon scripture. Every morsel of this book is nourishment to the soul, though it may be at times a difficult chew to take in. This subject is a worthy pursuit for anyone. Pink endeavors to reference scripture with every premise and assertion, because he says, “…we desire that the faith of our readers should stand not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” His insight over one hundred years ago is fulfilled with great precision today. He wasn’t offering it as prophecy, but scripture identifies it as the work of the Spirit. (John 16: 13).
I have just seen a movie and several posts referencing the existence of man’s free will, as though it was necessary to sound theology. Rather than discuss this conclusion of human rationalism we can see in scripture that God is sovereign, while man is not. This book explains and defines the Sovereignty of God over creation, in administration, in salvation, in reprobation, in operation, as to human will, human responsibility, and in regard to prayer.
In my estimation it is a very well written book, easy to read and follow, while dealing with very deep and difficult matters in a clear and understandable fashion. Mr. Pink does not shy away from arguments and scriptures that those who hold to free will rely upon. He includes a chapter on “Difficulties and Objections” and four appendices to address specific objections in great detail. As I read I did not feel that there was any strain to make a point or revert to some obscure construct or rationalization of scripture, rather the statements naturally flowed from the scriptures presented – attesting to its validity.
Shortly after my first reading, I asked my pastor whether he believed in predestination or free will and he replied, “both”. It might have been a politically convenient answer, but it left me adrift. It is often explained that predestination is God’s perspective, while free-will was from man’s perspective. Until I understood the Sovereignty of God, predestination was a thorny quagmire unfit for conversation. The solution to understanding these and many more foundations of biblical truth is to secure a proper understanding of God’s Sovereignty and that from scripture. I no longer wrestle with predestination or free will because the truth is a light of understanding and God’s Sovereignty is easily seen in scripture.
Finally, what I appreciated most about this book is its inherent encouragement. There is great comfort in knowing that God is sovereign over all, that we are not the master of our own fate, and God is good and loving. We are responsible, but not for our salvation, it is a free gift of God’s grace. It is far easier to accept the biblical message with humility and faith upon God’s work rather than trusting to human reasoning, even where that reasoning is constructed with scriptural interpretation. I highly and heartily recommend this book to you. Used copies are quite cheap online; I have the fourth edition. Eat the fish and spit out the bones. (John 16: 12).