The Holy Spirit by A. W. Pink

A. W. Pink lived from 1886 to 1952 and wrote numerous books including The Holy Spirit. It has been critiqued and reviewed by numerous people and therefore warrants no extensive review from me at this time. A few comments will suffice.

Of a positive nature, Pink expounds on many marvelous truths related to the Holy Spirit. He devotes 32 chapters, each detailing one aspect of the Holy Spirit, such as deity and personality, or some ministry directed to mankind, such as indwelling, transforming and convicting. Chapters average about five pages and therefore lend themselves to daily reading of a meatier level than common devotional works. There is much to appreciate in most of these chapters.

Depending on one’s theological convictions, Pink’s covenantal and strong Reformed views will either irritate or please. He clearly equates the church with Israel (p. 20), believing that God abandoned Israel prior to the crucifixion (p. 37). He thinks the Old Testament saints were indwelt in the same way by the Holy Spirit as New Testament believers (p. 24). And he strongly defends regeneration as taking place prior to justification or faith (pp. 54-57, 86, 117). I would disagree with Pink in all of these matters.

I believe that Pink attempts to develop many positions that are biblically indefensible. For example, his view on the leading (pp. 110-115) and sealing (pp. 131-134) of the Holy Spirit miss the mark widely, as does his understanding of Romans 8:26 (pp. 141-152). His attempt to defend praying directly to the Holy Spirit (pp. 181-185) is admittedly based on reason, not Scripture. He makes confusing comments concerning eternal security (see p. 164) and affirms things that supposedly take place at the moment of conversion that the Bible does not teach (p. 71).

While Pink goes astray in these areas, it is usually because of one of three things. First, his misguided typology reads meaning into things that simply are not there. Secondly, his habit of ripping verses out of context to prove what these texts were never intended to prove, is common throughout. Mostly he does this by using Old Testament scriptures, often from the Song of Solomon that have a totally different meaning in context, to support a theological view concerning the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. This is a dangerous procedure at best. And finally, much of what he teaches is based on his own views and authority. He is so convinced of the correctness of his positions that everyone else is marginalized or, worse strongly criticized. His caustic spirit manifests itself often, perhaps most clearly in this comment about critiques of his views by dispensationalists.

We have purposely added Scripture to Scripture because the spiritual meanings of these passages are commonly unperceived today, when carnal dispensationalists insist on the ignoring of all figures, and the interpreting of everything “literally.” (p. 171)

The writing of A. W. Pink has been appreciated by many for decades, and are still read with profit. However, to be of value the reader will have to carefully distinguish between what emerges from, and can be supported by, Scripture and what is merely asserted by Pink or based on logic or is taken out of context to give a “spiritual” meaning never intended by the author.

The Holy Spirit by A. W. Pink (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970), 193 pp. paper 14.99

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chape