For those who would like a foretaste of what the book has to offer, Dr. Belcher has graciously made available both the Table of Contents and the Introduction to the book for your consideration. First, here is the Table of Contents:
Following is the complete text of the Introduction:
Introduction to the Book
Arthur W. Pink—Predestination
by Richard P. Belcher
In a previous work the present writer attempted to set before the public the life of Arthur W. Pink. In many ways that life was a paradox. Pink was a popular preacher and public minister in his early days, but he spent the last seventeen years of his life in virtual seclusion and isolation. So withdrawn was he in those latter days that he died in obscurity with few noticing or caring. His entire life and ministry during those years of seclusion centered on the production of his monthly periodical titled Studies in the Scriptures. This was a magazine he had started in 1922 and that he had maintained on a shoe-string existence with dogged perseverance. At his death it appeared Arthur W. Pink would soon be forgotten, as few had valued his person or his writings.
The paradox was reversed again and completed, when just a few years after his death, he was vaulted to prominence and esteem in a manner never afforded him in his life. That which lifted him to recognition and appreciation was the publication of his writings that previously had only been read by the faithful advocates of his periodical. Now his books (see several bibliographies listed on the Internet) have been printed in great number by several publishing companies. They are found on the shelves of nearly every pastor’s study, and also in the collections of numerous laymen.
This is not to say that every pastor or layman agrees with Pink’s writings. There is a central theme running through his works that was partly responsible for his lack of popularity during his lifetime. That central theme is the doctrine of predestination. A reader does not progress very far into any of his books until he is confronted with references to election or predestination or discussions of these subjects. For example, in what was probably his earliest book, he mentions the subject of predestination on the first page of the introductory chapter. In what was probably his last work, the subject is introduced on the second page of the introductory chapter. In the remainder of those two books and in his other works, the subject surfaces again and again, giving clear evidence that the doctrine of predestination was a key doctrine in the theology of Pink, even perhaps the central and foundational doctrine.
No one will deny the controversial and difficult nature of the subject of predestination. It is a very difficult doctrine to understand or to explain. It is no wonder that men often balk with questioning minds when they read Pink’s works and are faced continually with references to the subject. Often Pink makes passing reference to the doctrine, as he applies a verse or section of Scripture. At other times he goes into a lengthy discussion of the subject, as he expounds a text. Because of the centrality of the doctrine in Pink’s writings, and the numerous references to predestination, it is a common statement by new readers of Pink that they like his writings, but do not agree with his strong view of election and predestination.
When this writer has heard that statement, he has wanted to ask the speaker if he knew exactly what Pink believed on the subject of predestination. In the few instances he has raised this question, he has been assured by the speaker that Pink was some kind of fatalist or hyper-Calvinist. The present writer then wondered if the speaker could define these strong terms which he had pinned on Pink. A correct definition of fatalism clearly excludes Pink from that category, because fatalism is a blatant determinism without an all-wise and righteous God working His will. Pink indisputably recognized an omniscient and righteous God in his doctrine of predestination, so he was not a fatalist!
Hyper-Calvinism is a little more difficult to define in a way that would be satisfactory to all. In fact it would be impossible to define it in a manner that would be acceptable to all. The present writer would define hyper-Calvinism as a view of predestination that would deny or minimize the human responsibility to repent and believe the gospel, because of an inability to do so in light of the doctrine of the total depravity of man. Furthermore, hyper-Calvinism would deny the necessity of a universal offer of the gospel to all men, because it is felt that God will call out the elect in His own time and manner. Thus hyper-Calvinism denies the necessity of our applying the means to accomplish the will of God, because it is felt that the will of God will be accomplished—regardless of human means!
Therefore, we have many questions to ask as we read Pink and seek his view of predestination—not just the ones already mentioned, but even others. To name several, we shall look for answers to the following questions as we study Pink’s writings. Did he deny that all men have a responsibility to repent and believe the gospel? Did he deny our responsibility to offer the gospel to all men? Did his view of predestination make God the author of sin? Did he believe that God’s decree of predestination brought force on the will of the creature? Did he teach a view of predestination that destroyed the contingency of causes? Did he believe in single or double predestination, that is, a predestination of the elect only or a predestination of the elect and the reprobate? Was he committed to the view of infralapsarianism (the decree of God to elect some followed the decree of God to allow the fall of man) or was he supralapsarian (the decree to elect preceded the decree to allow the fall)? Thus, we could continue to ask many questions of Pink’s view of predestination.
The point is that one cannot say he agrees or disagrees with Pink on the subject of predestination until he understands his view. Even then, it may be one will agree with some points of his view and disagree with others. The purpose of this work is to set forth clearly Pink’s convictions on the subject, because the present writer is fearful that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists have at times misunderstood him.
We will deal with Pink’s doctrine of predestination under two main headings. First, we will define his view in a general manner and clarify this definition further by some positive and negative statements. The second main division of this work will deal with Pink’s view of predestination in the areas of election and reprobation. The conclusion will summarize Pink’s doctrine in this area and test it against one of the well-known Baptist confessional standards. One already familiar with that confessional standard will notice terminology and phraseology from these documents throughout this work, even perhaps in the outline, as it unfolds. This is intentional, because in its earliest form these thoughts were expressed in a doctoral dissertation, which compared Pink’s view of predestination with the Westminster Confession of Faith.
It is truly the hope of the writer that his presentation of Pink’s view of predestination will carry the warm and encouraging practicality for the Christian in his daily life, as it did for Pink. He was not a writer and theologian, who coldly set forth a doctrine in a dead and mechanical way. Rather, all he wrote was for the purpose of feeding the people of God. Theology not applied was an abomination to him. He obviously applied this doctrine of predestination to his own life. It was the foundation that enabled him to remain faithful through his many discouragements, especially the apparent failure of his pulpit ministry. This was the doctrine that kept him at his desk writing twelve hours a day, six days a week, even though few at that time cared to read what he wrote. He was convinced he served a sovereign God, and it was his duty to obey Him, even when he could not understand all God was doing in and through his life.
One final word to the reader is necessary before we proceed—a word of caution and warning. We are entering a very difficult subject area, an area which raises many questions and controversies. May we allow the Word of God to speak to us. May we constantly weigh what Pink says on the subject against the Word of God. This would be his desire for us. And if, when our task is finished, we do not agree with Pink, may we not allow our disagreement with him or with one another to divide us in the body of Christ. No one will ever find anyone who will agree with him in every minute detail of theology, especially in the area of predestination.
You can order the book from Richbarry Press, c/o Dr. Richard P. Belcher, 105 River Wood Dr., Fort Mill, SC 29715. The cost of the book is $8.00 plus postage.