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The Life of Elijah Paperback – June 1, 1963
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About the Author
Born in Nottingham, England in 1886, Arthur Walkington Pink was converted to Christ while a spiritualist medium. He briefly attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, in 1810, before taking up his first pastorate at Silverton, Colorado. Little-known to the outside world, he pastored other churches in the United States and Australia before finally returning to his homeland in 1934. Settling in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, there he died almost unnoticed in 1952. By that date, however, the magazine he had started in 1922 Studies in the Scriptures was feeding several of the men who were leading a return to doctrinal Christianity, including Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Douglas Johnson (founder of Inter-Varsity) and, in book form after his death, his writings became very widely read across the world. The Trust publishes his The Sovereignty of God, Gleanings from Paul, Profiting from the Word, The Life of Elijah, and a number of titles which have been translated into Spanish.
[See also Iain H. Murray s biography of Pink The Life of Arthur W. Pink.]
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He has three groups of audience in mind; Christians, ministers of the gospel and non-Christians. Pink not only has the gift of teaching, but also hitting his audience's conscience with clear piercing, though sometimes strong words (e.g., "conscienseless rascal," p.260). There are plenty of lessons of practical theology such as the discipline in the exercises of godliness, faith, humility, humiliation, suffering, grace, submission, courage, the dreadful end of the unrepentant wicked, in addition to the sovereignty of God; the unsearchableness of his judgment and the incomprehensibility of his ways as Rom 11:33 says; something I have come to love so dearly. Drawing from Elijah's sermon on Mount Carmel during the showdown with Ahab and a host of Baal's priests, Pink offers among other things such as prayer in private being the source of power in public (p. 24), a helpful concise counsel of right preaching, that "ministers of Christ should address themselves unto the consciences, the understanding and the affections of their hearers, for only thus can the truth be adequately presented, the principal faculties of man's souls be reached, and a definite decision for the Lord be expected from them. A balance must be preserved between the Law and the Gospel. Conscience must be searched, the mind convinced, the affections warmed, if the will is to be moved unto action. Thus it was with Elijah on Carmel" (p. 142-143). Aware that some of his readers might be unbelievers, Pink also sprinkles the study with the gospel implicitly and explicitly in many places (e.g., p.131, "The fire of God's wrath must fall either on the guilty people or on a sacrificial substitute," p. 84, 136, 242, 269).
I am more than willing to overlook my disagreement with Pink since I was so encouraged, stung, humbled and happy coming out of this blessed study. If there were only one pattern of godliness to follow in the life of Elijah (there are certainly more as Pink summarizes them in ch.34), to me personally it is this, that Elijah was a man of marked elevation of spirit; a man of heavenly-mindedness, where "the affections being set upon the things above." Faith has God for its object. "The more our hearts are occupied with Him whose throne is in heaven, the more our spirits elevated above the earth. The more our minds are engaged with the perfection of Him who is altogether lovely, the less will the things of time and sense have power to attract us. The more we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, the less will the baubles of men charm us" (p.299).
Even as Elijah expressed his self pity at Mt. Horeb, and experienced the tender mercies of the Lord, I found myself not merely reading about Elijah, but felt as though I were actually present at the events described. It seemed I was made privy to the innermost thoughts of Elijah, and the mind of God Himself was revealed to me. Dr. Pink's commentary unlocks the Scripture.
This book not only gives tremendous insight into Elijah's attitudes and behavior as well as to the `ways of the Lord,' but is filled with useful suggestions for every believer and for ministers of the gospel. We are called to greater boldness in speaking out against sin. We are called to greater fervency in prayer, and Pink notes "the motive prompting them [our prayers] and the petition itself must alike be right." (p.158)
Elijah's prophetic ministry, especially as revealed by this volume, is a great antidote to the sentimentality and diluted preaching that is offered up from many pulpits today.