Book Review: The Sovereignty of God [A. W. Pink]


Throughout the introductory chapter of Pink’s Book, The Sovereignty of God, this question rings loud and clear: Who is regulating the affairs on this earth today? Pink offers us two options, God or the Devil. Written in the early part of the twentieth century, Pink points to the many troubles and crises happening at that time that led people to question whether or not God is in charge. Particularly germane to Pink’s time was World War I, and he would see World War II before he died. 

Pink’s Context and Ours

Arthur Walkington Pink (1886-1952) was educated at Moody Bible Institute. He is known for his stand as a Calvinist, hence he is by God’s providence, the man to pen this book about the sovereignty of God. The introductory chapter, along with the solemn question Pink poses, lays the foundation for what is to unfold in the following chapters. Times are still challenging today as they were in Pink’s day. There are events going on in the world that no doubt lead people to question whether or not God is in control. Many raise the question as to God’s very existence. Is our time any less troublesome than Pink’s? At the moment we are watching an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. Christians in many parts of the world are being put to death for their faith. Due to our foreign policy, we have been engaged in one military conflict after another since Vietnam. Woodrow Wilson wanted to bring democracy to the world via military intervention. Today the so-called War on Terror has proved as fruitful as democratizing the world. Free speech is under attack at every turn. The Constitution has been shredded in the name of compassion. Today in the U.S. we face a thirty-one trillion dollar debt, leading people to wander just how long the dollar will hold up before it collapses totally. And there is no end in sight of the road to entitlements coming out of DC, but primarily coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket. We are a country that sacrifices the unborn to the whims of people who want their freedom without any responsibility. It would be easy for someone to look in on these events and cultural mores and question: who regulates the affairs of the earth today? Pink, however, takes us to scripture to read and hear what it says about the character and attributes of God. In Pink’s presentation, either we live by sight or we live by faith. What does Scripture tell us about the one true sovereign God?

Sight or Faith

Pink tells us that walking by faith signifies certain ways of living. It means our thoughts are formed, our actions regulated, our lives molded by the Holy Scriptures . . . It is from the Word of Truth, and that alone – that we can learn what is God’s relation to this world. Pink stated that the troublesome times of his day were coming to fruition just as the Scriptures predicted. As believers in Christ, we should not be surprised that the world is turning away from God. Believers in Christ are in the world but are not of the world. The world system will continue to grow more and more antagonistic toward the Christian faith. . . . let it be said that the scriptures predicted just what we now see and hear . . . What is needed now as ever before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God.

The Structure of the Book

As stated the introductory chapter lays the ground work for what is to follow in the next twelve chapters. This opening chapter states the major postulate on which the entire book is built. Because God is God – He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that His great concern is the accomplishment of His own pleasure and the promotion of His own glory; that He is the Supreme Being, therefore, Sovereign of the universe. Based on this postulate, Pink contemplates the exercise of God’s sovereignty, first in Creation (Chap. 2). Then he explores how God’s sovereignty relates to God’s Governmental Administration over the works of His hands (Chap. 3). In the next two chapters, Pink explores the difficult and controversial areas of God’s election for salvation (Chap. 4), and the reprobation of the wicked (Chap. 5). Pink then explores what he calls God’s sovereignty in His operation on and within men (Chap. 6). Pink then explores two more difficult areas as he looks to understand God’s sovereignty as it relates to the human will (Chap. 7) and human responsibility (Chap. 8). This is an area where even Calvinists find disagreement. Given God’s sovereign control of all that occurs, what is the relationship of God’s sovereignty to prayer (Chap. 9)? Given the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, what should be the Christian’s attitude toward such teaching (Chap. 10)? The Sovereignty of God is a truth revealed to us in Scripture for the comforting of our hearts, the strengthening of our souls, and the blessing of our lives. The next two chapters deal with difficulties and objections to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty (Chap. 11) and then the practical value of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty (Chap. 12). The book closes with a conclusion that summarizes all that went before along with an exhortation for believers in Christ to seek and attend to sound doctrine (Chap. 13). 

Conclusion: Practical Value of the Doctrine of God’s Sovereignty

Although not a pragmatist, Pink believes that sound doctrine has practical value. The penultimate chapter explores what he considers to be the practical value derived from the doctrine of God’s sovereignty. Pink delineates ten areas for the believer that will be strengthened by a proper and deeper understanding of God’s sovereignty. For purposes of bringing this blog article to a finale, I’ll simply list those ten areas. God’s Sovereignty 1) deepens our veneration of the Divine character; 2) is the solid foundation of all true religion; 3) repudiates the heresy of salvation by works; 4) is deeply humbling to the creature; 5) affords a sense of absolute security; 6) supplies comfort in sorrow; 7) begets a spirit of sweet resignation; 8) evokes a song of praise: 9) guarantees the final triumph of good over evil; 10) provides a resting place for the heart. As stated in the opening of this article, A. W. Pink penned The Sovereignty of God for those who have placed their faith in Christ for their salvation, those who hold to the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. For many Christians today, this will not be considered light reading, nor did Pink intend it to be so written. I urge all believers who look with hope toward the dominion mandate as put forth by R. J. Rushdoony, to not only read this book, but to read and reread it, bringing good and solid study to it. We are called to love God with all our mind. Sound doctrine is not valued that much today in many pulpits. But if we are to love God with all we are, we cannot remain ignorant of good, sound teaching. 

[Pink, A. W., (2018). The Sovereignty of God. (Originally published in 1918). 2018 edition published by All material and quotes in this blog article are taken from the 2018 Kindle edition.]

John V. Jones, Jr., Ph.D./December 14th, 2022