HOVE AND STORNOWAY

In March 1936 the Pinks moved to Hove and enjoyed four years on the south coast of England. They worshipped in the Gospel Standard Church, Galeed, and heard some sermons from the aged pastor J.K.Popham but the church held to the articles that had caused the end of his Sydney ministry and though aspects of Popham’s ministry appealed to him he discerned a certain fatalism which chilled him. Sundays thereafter were spent in correspondence.

Once war was declared, Hove was a prime target for the bombing. In ten days of September 1940 there were 28 air-raid warnings which meant going downstairs and resting on a camp bed. They slept with their clothes on. One bomb killed fifty people, and so they resolved to make what was their last move, travelling to the Hebrides, an island of the north west coast of Scotland where they lived until their deaths. They arrived in mid-October 1940 at the Manse of Wallace B. Nicholson the Free Presbyterian minister in North Uist. They moved to a flat in Lewis Street in Stornoway and remained in that street for the next 12 years in fact until Arthur Pink died. The community was overwhelmingly Gaelic speaking with many having no spoken English. The two confessional congregations in Stornoway, the Free Church and the Free Presbyterian, had small afternoon services in English. They attended the Free Church for three months but it was unused to strangers, and there was no provision made for welcoming such people as the Pinks. The commitment to no idle chatter after the service was over meant that people went out quietly and straight home, even though they might have been deeply touched by the sermon. The Pinks thought the atmosphere was chilly and stopped attending church. Attempts were made for Kenneth MacRae, the minister, and Arthur Pink to meet but they could not find a suitable time, and perhaps the attempt was half-hearted in both cases, Mr. MacRae had never heard of Pink nor of his magazine and later came to regret that he had not been more diligent in visiting the stranger who had been visiting his church. He often went to see Mrs. Pink after the death of her husband. So for the last years of their lives the Pinks did not attend church. Arthur no longer made friends as he did when he had been a younger man and he did not encourage people to visit them though two men travelled far on different occasions to knock on the door of 28 Lewis Street and were allowed in. But in the magazine such visits were not welcomed Pink believing that more could be accomplished by letter than by a personal visit.

So there in Scotland he died quite painfully of a form of anaemia, refusing to take any drug that would dull his mind and prevent him doing his work. On July 15, 1952, he passed away into the full joy of the words he loved to quote–

He and I in one bright glory endless bliss shall share;
Mine, to be for ever with him, His that I am there.

Two days later a small group of friends gathered for the brief funeral service. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Sandwick Burial Ground. A brick marks where his body lies. Some talk of setting up a simple stone memorial. Studies in the Scripture continued to be published until the end of 1953. It is interesting to observe that twenty months later the first edition of the Banner of Truth Magazine appeared, a publication which held dear to all the major convictions of Pink and of his subscribers.

CONCLUSIONS

Iain Murray comes to three conclusions about Pink’s books.

1. His writings and teaching was self-consciously written with the authority of a man called by God to teach his word. His business was to speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority (Titus 2:15).

2. The clarity of his method of teaching was focused on one great aim of bringing people to definite conclusions concerning the truth. The presentation of the message was always aimed at instructing people in what was true.

3. His teaching was not ended in the clear explanation of the meaning of a passage. The principles learned needed to be applied to our daily walk in order to convict and stimulate, comfort and strengthen (Murray, pp.285&286).

Iain concludes splendidly thus: “It is on the practical and devotional side that Pink really comes into his own, and that he is almost uniformly uplifting, stimulating and often inspiring. Here he needs to lean on none. He speaks what he has ‘seen and heard’ when he takes up such subjects as prayer and self-denial, communion with Christ and growth in grace. His grasp of the ways of God in conversion and in spiritual experience is masterly and reveals a gift which has been exceedingly rare among preachers and writers of our times. He has sound counsel for the spiritual infant and for the mature Christian. As a spiritual physician who knows the heart in all its multiplicity of need he talks like one of the Puritans. He is able to walk, and to assist others to walk through that Valley, which says Bunyan, ‘is as dark as pitch’, where there is ‘on the right hand a very deep ditch’ and on the left ‘a very dangerous quag, into which, if ever a good man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on.’ This pastoral ability and discernment is surely Pink’s foremost strength as a teacher” (Murray, p.296).

– Geoff Thomas