Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 12:07 PM
Subject: A. W. PINK REVISITED [02/27--2006]
OF "MEANS" IN THE NEW BIRTH [02/27--2006]

In a message dated 2/25/2006 10:35:10 PM Central Standard Time, a Baptist Pastor writes:

Very interesting, Brother Bob!   Did Arthur Pink teach "regeneration before faith?" Don't put any time into finding the answer. I simply thought you might know the answer "off the top of your head," as the saying goes.

This Pastor was obviously not on my list a couple of years ago when I gave a few excerpts from Pink on this subject in reply to a Primitive Baptist ("Hardshell") preacher who erroneously alleged that Pink held the same view as Hardshells. It occurred to me that there are probably others who have been added to my list since that time, and they also may find this material of interest.

I find it rather amusing that Hardshells, hyper-Calvinists, hybrid-Calvinists, and others who teach that men are born again before they believe the Gospel, often will snatch snippets from Pink and others, as if to get aid and comfort for their erroneous teachings on what they call "regeneration." It is often the case that one can rake thru the voluminous materials of men such as Pink, John Gill, and C. H. Spurgeon and find a few comments, if isolated from the whole of what they taught, would appear to render meager support to a peculiar idea for which the person contends.

However, this is not a very responsible approach, nor will it be of any persuasive significance to those who are broadly acquainted the writings of these men. How often have I, in public debates with Campbellites, even had to "rescue" Baptist writers who are perverted, distorted, and misappropriated by Campbellite debaters!

For the benefit of anyone who missed these materials from Arthur W. Pink which I sent out in the past, here is that information once again.


Since my email about the Hunt-White Debate, I have had some responses from various ones who express various points of view. I had one email from a Primitive Baptist, or Hardshell preacher, and he gave a few isolated quotes from the likes of Boyce, Spurgeon, Pink, and Owen, alleging that they were in agreement with the Hardshells on the internal, pre-faith work of the Holy Spirit. Here is my reply to this preacher:

Dear Brother:

I think you know very well that all the men you quoted believed in the Holy Spirit's working in conjunction with the necessary use of "MEANS," which Hardshells deny. I challenge you to show that any one of them ever taught that the new birth ever took place, or can take place, apart from the Holy Spirit's use of means.   

None of the men mentioned denied, nor do we deny, that there is a pre-faith work of the Holy Spirit in the lost person, variously described in terms, but no one disassociates this from the use of means.

And even though some writers may be found who may broadly apply the term "regeneration" to include or cover this preliminary pre-faith work of the Spirit, they do not mean that this constats the new birth at that point. By the term "regeneration" they do not mean that this pre-faith work is the new birth, but it is only a partial or preparatory work. Furthermore, they insist that it involves the conjunctive use of means.

, for example, on pages 373-375, makes it clear that in the terms he uses "The Scriptures connect the two under the ONE IDEA of the new birth;" "the whole work of Regeneration and Conversion is included under the one term regeneration," and that the Scriptures "teach the use of the word in regeneration." In fact, Boyce says that "the first step here is to make known to man the gospel" (page 367), which obviously reveals that Boyce places the use of means as preceding the internal work of the Holy Spirit.

PINK also insists on the necessary use of means. Pink wrote:
"This He does by MEANS of the Gospel, by the written word and oral ministry of the Scriptures, for the Word of God is the only instrument He employs or uses (Phil. 2:16), but it only becomes such in the experience of the individual soul by the immediate operation and application of the Spirit of God" (Holy Spirit's Work in Salvation, page 13, Bible Truth Depot, 1953).

In his booklet, The New Birth, he has a section entitled, "The New Birth is effected by the Word of God applied by the Holy Spirit" (page 22). He says "the Scriptures are termed 'The Word of Life,' because they alone are capable of quickening those who are dead in trespasses and sins" (page 23). He goes on to say that "dead souls are born again, but by the Word of the living God" and quotes James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23.

"Believe and preach the Word of God, for by it, and it alone, are dead souls born again" (page 24).

In his booklet, Regeneration or the New Birth, Pink says "the only means or instrument which the Holy Spirit employs" in the new birth is the Word (page 29). In his comments on the raising of Lazarus, which are reproduced in book form in his Commentary on John, Pink says the following on the "voice" of Christ which raised Lazarus: "And, too, it perfectly illustrated the MEANS which God employs in REGENERATION.   Men are raised spiritually, pass from death unto life, by MEANS of the WRITTEN WORD, and by that alone" (page 613).

In his Studies in the Scriptures magazine, the issue of October 1952, he comments on 1 Thess. 1:5:

"It is for the preaching of the GOSPEL to be ACCOMPANIED by the supernatural operation of the SPIRIT, and the efficacious grace of God, so that souls are Divinely QUICKENED, convicted, converted, delivered from the dominion of sin and Satan.   When the WORD is applied by the SPIRIT to a person, it acts like the entrance of a two-edged sword into his inner man, piercing, wounding, slaying his self-complacency and self-righteousness -- as in case of Saul of Tarsus (Romans 7:9, 10)"  (page 233).

This reveals that Pink considered the GOSPEL to be the same message as Christ gave to Saul in Acts 9 "face-to-face." 

In the FINAL issue of his magazine (Dec. 1953), we read about the preaching of the Gospel "to sinners as sinners:"

"The Gospel of salvation is ACCOMPANIED by the Holy Spirit with life and light to elect sinners, and made the power of God unto salvation.  By IT they hear Christ's VOICE,  see His glory, behold how He loved them, receive Him into their hearts,
live by FAITH on the Son of God,"
etc. (page 266). 

So Pink believed that "Christ's VOICE" is when the GOSPEL comes in the power of the Holy Spirit, similar to what Paul wrote in First Thessalonians 1:5.

As for SPURGEON, I need only refer you to his "Warrant of Faith" sermon which was anathematized by the hypers of his day, such as Mr. James Wells. See MTP, sermon #531. In that sermon, Spurgeon said:

"If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate" (Warrant of Faith, #531, page 532).

Such sermons as the above should clearly demonstrate that Spurgeon never meant to imply in any of his sermons that the new birth is accomplished before the creation of faith, nor that means are not involved in the Holy Spirit's work. He indeed taught that there is a pre-faith, preparatory work of the Holy Spirit, but there is no justification for the idea that this constitutes the new birth [or was apart from the use of means].

You also probably know that Spurgeon endorsed the 1689 London Confession, whereas the Hardshells could not live with that Confession and met to revise it in the Fulton Confession in November 1900.

Your effort to patch together quotes from "means" Baptists such as Spurgeon is somewhat comparative to some Campbellites I have known who have tried to use a line or two from Spurgeon in support of something which they think is favorable to their views. -- Bob L. Ross



I happen to have a collection of most of Pink's Studies in the Scriptures magazines from which nearly all of his writings (now in book form) derive. Without being tedious about the matter, let me just say that my own impression of Pink is that none of his comments on the pre-faith work of the Holy Spirit in a lost person indicates that the new birth was a separate and completed experience prior to faith, nor that the new birth ever occurs without the accompaniment of means -- that is, the Word  or Gospel. Any quotes from Pink which might be interpreted otherwise must, I think, disregard what he says in other places in his writings. He was not an "anti-means," "pre-faith regenerationist" such as a Hardshell Baptist, and would not have been welcome in a Hardshell church, for they would not have him, considering his views on the place of the Gospel in the new birth.

Pink died in 1952, at which time Mrs. Vera Pink continued to publish the monthly magazine thru 1953, using materials which her late husband had provided for her. She explained this fact in the issue of September, 1952, which I have before me  (page 215): "Among other things he wanted me to publish in Studies in the Scriptures all the material he was leaving with me before closing down the magazine."

At the time, Mrs. Pink was in the process of publishing Arthur's writings on the Scriptures, and in the October 1952 issue we find the following:

"A word now upon the Spirit's application of the Word unto the heart, and our task is completed. This is described in such a verse as, 'For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance' (1 Thess. 1:5). That is very much more than having the mind informed or the emotions stirred, and something radically different from being deeply impressed by the preacher's oratory, earnestness, etc. It is for the preaching of the Gospel to be accompanied by the supernatural operation of the Spirit, and the efficacious grace of God, so that souls are Divinely quickened, convicted, converted, delivered from sin and Satan. When the Word is applied by the Spirit to a person, it acts like the entrance of a two-edged sword into his inner man, piercing, wounding, slaying his self-righteousness -- as in the case of Saul of Tarsus (Romans 7:9, 10). This is the demonstration of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:4), whereby proof of the Truth by the effects produced in the individual to which it is savingly applied, so that he has 'much assurance' -- i.e. he knows it is God's Word because of the radical and permanent change wrought in him."

Also, in the November 1953 issue, just one month before the final issue in December 1953, Pink's following remarks appear on pages 247, 248:

"'We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13). The mission of the Spirit in the earth is to apply to God's elect the redemption purposed by the Father and purchased by the Son for them. The Holy Spirit is here to make good in the souls of the heirs of glory the fruits of the travail of Christ's soul. This He does by means of the Gospel, by the written and oral ministry of the Scriptures, for the Word of God is the only instrument He employs or uses. The Word of God is 'the word of life' (Phil. 2:16), but it only becomes such in the experience of the individual soul by the immediate operation and application of the Spirit of God. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonian saints, 'For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit' (1 Thess. 1:5). This is not to deny the efficacy of the Word itself, but is to insist that the direct agency of the Spirit on the heart is absolutely necessary in order to the reception of the Word. This is a lamp unto our path: but there must be an opening of the eyes of our understanding by the Spirit before we can see its light."

I think these excerpts from some of Pink's final writings, which were committed to Mrs. Pink to use in bringing the magazine to its conclusion, verify the fact that Pink did not divorce the Spirit's operations from the accompanying Word, or Gospel, in bringing men to faith in Christ. He believed, like our Baptist Confession says, that men are called by His "Word and Spirit. >>1689 Baptist Confession, chapter 10<<.

While he maintained that all the "efficiency" (power) in regeneration is "of the Spirit," he also maintained the necessity of the accompanying Gospel as the Divine instrument in bringing the new birth to pass. -- Bob L. Ross


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