The Sovereignty of God, Banner of Truth Edition

When folks ask which book I recommend when studying the points of grace I normally suggest Pink’s work in general and “The Sovereignty of God” in particular. A few years ago it was brought to my attention that some publishers have changed Pink’s work, removing elements he tried to strengthen and republishing the work. After doing some research I found the classic work published in full by Pure Gold Classic and pictured to the right.

The following explains in some detail what the Banner of Truth edition had taken out.

Originally posted on the Puritan Board: Pink’s “Sovereignty of God” development

Quote:

When “The Sovereignty of God” was first published in 1918 it immediately provoked responses both from those opposed to the Doctrines of Grace (which was not surprising) and more surprisingly from those who while holding to election found the discussion of reprobation to be heretical. The book also amounted to a denial God’s love for the reprobate which was also seen by many to be dangerous error.

Pink wrote the first edition in 1918, a second edition followed in 1921 and a third edition in 1929. I. C. Herendon published a fourth edition (an edition that appears to have been published without any agreement of input by Pink) in 1949 and subsequent printings were allocated new edition status but without a fresh “Foreward” i.e. the 1953 edition was dated 1953. There were substantial differences between the first and second editions and smaller changes were made to the third edition. I do not believe that subsequent editions were altered by Pink.

“The Sovereignty of God was republished in 1961 by The Banner of Truth and it is this very strange edition that has been the subject of much debate and argument ever since. Strangely this edition states that the book was first published in 1928 and the publishers preface stated that “it was unanimously agreed that the contemporary value of the book could be increased by certain minor revisions and abridgements”.

What was not acknowledged was that these “minor revisions and abridgements” amounted to removing a third of the book and altering what was left to completely alter its theological perspective in a way that even Iain Murray (of Banner of Truth) accepts was not a view that Pink ever held. It is not just a question of omitting offending chapters, those chapters that are included are censored of any suggestion that God’s love is not universal with whole paragraphs being omitted. The chapters on reprobation were omitted as Murray argues (without any real evidence, and indeed in the face of evidence to the contrary) that Pink changed his convictions in respect of reprobation.

Murray defends the Banner of Truth edition in the final chapter of the second edition of “The Life of Arthur W Pink” and in this chapter he makes the quite startling admission that in respect of the 1929 third edition “How far Pink changed the book in 1929 we cannot tell, for …. no copies of the editions of 1918 or 1921 have been made available to us to make a comparison”. If the development of Pink’s thought is to be considered it appears to me to be necessary to examine to contents of these editions before any proper judgement can be made on how Pink’s thought did develop.

To this end I have obtained copies of original first, second, fourth and fifth editions (1918, 1921, 1949 and 1953) and have a reprint of the third edition. The table of contents are as follows, hopefully these details will be of interest:

First edition

Foreword
Introduction
Chapter 1. — The Sovereignty of God Defined
Chapter 2. — The Sovereignty of God in Creation
Chapter 3. — The Sovereignty of God in Administration
Chapter 4. — The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Chapter 5. — The Sovereignty of God in Operation
Chapter 6. — God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will
Chapter 7. — God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
Chapter 9. — God’s Sovereignty and Prayer
Chapter 8. — Our Attitude Toward God’s Sovereignty
Chapter 9. — Difficulties and Objections
Chapter 10. — The Value of This Doctrine
Chapter 11. — Conclusion
Appendix- Reprobation

Second Edition

Foreword to the First Edition
Foreword to the Second Edition
Introduction
Chapter 1. — The Sovereignty of God Defined
Chapter 2. — The Sovereignty of God in Creation
Chapter 3. — The Sovereignty of God in Administration
Chapter 4. — The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Chapter 5. — The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation
Chapter 6. — The Sovereignty of God in Operation
Chapter 7. — God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will
Chapter 8. — God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
Chapter 9. — God’s Sovereignty and Prayer
Chapter 10. — Our Attitude Toward God’s Sovereignty
Chapter 11. — Difficulties and Objections
Chapter 12. — The Value of This Doctrine
Conclusion — Conclusion
Appendix A, The Will of God
Appendix B, The Case of Adam
Appendix C, The Meaning of “Kosmos” in John 3:16…

Third Edition

Foreword to the First Edition
Foreword to the Second Edition
Foreword to the Third Edition
Foreword to the Fourth Edition
Introduction
Chapter 1. — The Sovereignty of God Defined
Chapter 2. — The Sovereignty of God in Creation
Chapter 3. — The Sovereignty of God in Administration
Chapter 4. — The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Chapter 5. — The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation
Chapter 6. — The Sovereignty of God in Operation
Chapter 7. — God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will
Chapter 8. — God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
Chapter 9. — God’s Sovereignty and Prayer
Chapter 10. — Our Attitude Toward God’s Sovereignty
Chapter 11. — Difficulties and Objections
Chapter 12. — The Value of This Doctrine
Conclusion — Conclusion
Appendix A, The Will of God
Appendix B, The Case of Adam
Appendix C, The Meaning of “Kosmos” in John 3:16…
Appendix D, 1 John 2:2

Banner of Truth Edition

Introduction
Sovereignty of God Defined and the Present Day
The Sovereignty of God Defined
The Sovereignty of God in Creation
The Sovereignty of God in Administration
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
The Sovereignty of God in Operation
God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will
God’s Sovereignty and Prayer
Our Attitude Toward God’s Sovereignty
The Value of This Doctrine
Conclusion

9 thoughts on “The Sovereignty of God, Banner of Truth Edition

  1. Notice that the table of contents for the 3rd ed. Includes the foreword to the 4th ed.! It would seem that the listing from the Puritan Board left out the TOC for the 3rd ed., and labeled it as the 4th. In any case, if someone does not have an edition with at least 4 forewords, 12 chapters, and 4 appendices, then they either have a collector’s item, or an unethical revision.

  2. JM –

    Do you know if Pink added the additional appendices to the later editions or if the editors added them. Which edition is the ‘Pure Gold’ publication based on?

    Andrew

    • From what I can tell…it looks like Pink added the four appendix in the back. As the editions came out Pink revised them to improve upon the points of grace so it makes sense considering their content. It seems the philosophy of the Pure Gold collection is to retain as much of the original material as possible while update the English. The Baker edition looks to be pretty complete as well so maybe it’s a reprint of an earlier Baker edition? I don’t know.

  3. Pingback: The Sovereignty of God, Banner of Truth Edition (pt. 2) | Feileadh Mor

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