THE LAW AND THE SAINT, A. W. PINK
Rebuttal by Russell Earl Kelly, PhD
February 8, 2017
Pink’s article is an attack on Dispensationalists for teaching what he calls “no law” or “without law.” In fact a great deal of what he says to prove Dispensationalists wrong is agreed by them.
Too often Pink declares conclusions without any attempt to provide contextual proof. For example “ ‘The Law of God’ expresses the mind of the Creator and is binding upon all rational creatures. It is God’s unchanging moral standard for regulating the conduct of all men. In some places the “law of God” may refer to the whole revealed will of God, but in the majority it has reference to the Ten Commandments; and it is in this restricted sense we use the term... This law was impressed upon man’s moral nature from the beginning.”
First, the term “the Law of God” only occurs four times in the O.T. and all four are “the book of the law of God” which includes all of the judgments and statutes (Josh 24:26 and Nehemiah 8:8, 18; 10:28-29). Nehemiah 10:28-29 alone destroys every argument Pink gives that “the law of God” only refers to the Ten Commandments and does not refer to either the law of Moses or the judgments and statutes. Second, no validating texts are offered. Third, “it is God’s unchanging moral standard” is questionable. Pink himself worships on a day not recognized by Israel as the Sabbath given by God. Fourth, the Sabbath endorses slavery by not opposing it. Fifth, “in the majority of cases the law of God refers to the Ten Commandments” must have some validating arguments from God’s Word. Sixth, “This law was impressed upon man’s moral nature from the beginning” is doubtful. If that were true, man would know by nature and conscience to rest one day a week (for worship?). He would also know that slavery was wrong. The fact that he knows sex with animals is wrong (plus scores of other sins found in the judgments and statutes) proves that nature and conscience convict far beyond the Ten Commandments.
In the next paragraph Pink argues that Romans equates “law” with “Ten Commandments” most of the time and even refers to Romans 3:19. This conclusion is absurd. First, only once does Romans quote the Ten Commandments in reference to the law (Rom 13:9) and even then he closes the quotation with Leviticus 19:18 which is not part of the Ten Commandments! Second, it is most likely that “law” in Romans refers to the whole law of commandments, judgments and statutes most of the time. Third, Romans 3:11-18 quotes Isaiah and Psalms and concludes that they are part of “the law” in Romans 3:19. Therefore, Romans 3 proves the opposite of Pink’s statement.
Next, Pink says that “the Law of Moses” is still binding on Israelites and has not been repealed.” God’s Word disagrees: Gal 3:19 “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” Pink’s statement is so different that one wonders how many in his own denomination agree with him here.
Pink’s statements appear in a roller-coaster manner concerning their validity.
YES: “The Law of Christ is God’s moral law.” While this may be true, it is not true the way Pink explains his statement.
NO: “It is the law which Christ was made under (Gal 4:4).” Yet Galatians 4:4-5 does not make that distinction: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Israel was under the jurisdiction of the whole law of commandments, judgments and statutes.
YES: “It is the law which is “in his heart (Ps 40:8).” Yet Hebrews 8:10 refers to the entire New Covenant which is far broader than the Ten Commandments.
NO: “It is the law which Christ came to fulfill” (Mt 5:17).” This is because “these least commandments” in 5:19 includes the commandments, judgments and statutes in 5:21-48.
???: The “Law of God” is now termed “the Law of Christ” as it relates to Christians (Rom 7:25). The problem here is that Pink has previously stated that “the Law of God” only refers to the Ten Commandments. However, the phrase “the Law of God” only occurs four times in the Old Testament and all clearly include the judgments and statutes. The four texts are Joshua 24:26, Nehemiah 8:8, 18 and 10:28-29 --- “in the book of the law of God” and “to do all the commandments, judgments and statutes.” Contextually speaking, “the law of God” in Joshua and Nehemiah is NOT the same as “the law of God” in Romans 7:22, 25 and 8:7 – the only references in the New Testament. Pink does not tell us that “the law of Christ” only occurs once in the New Testament at Galatians 6:2.
Explaining First Corinthians 9:21, Pink says “not without law to God.” … “The apostle was still under obligation to obey the moral law of God.” While the statement is true, it is not true that the moral law is the Ten Commandments. The moral law is much broader in scope.
Next Pink says “The Law of Christ” then is just the moral Law of God” – meaning only the Ten Commandments. However, careful study of the New Testament reveals that the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches every word of Christ as He explained the gospel (John 16:13). The Law of Christ includes every teaching and every command given to the post-Calvary church.
Pink uses the fact that the Ten Commandments were uniquely written by God to argue that they are moral and the rest of the law is not. Yet careful reading of the judgments and statutes forces any logical person to conclude that moral laws not covered by the Ten Commandments are throughout. The judgments in Exodus 21-24 are especially important for declaring this. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” does not allow for variable degrees of inspiration (2 Tim 3:16).
The fact that the Ten Commandments “alone” were “laid up in the ark” does not prove that only the Ten Commandments are moral. Since kings, priests and Levites read from copies of “ the book of the law of God,” of a certainty the “books” also contained the Ten Commandments.
Pink: “Thus it is clear beyond any room for doubt that the Ten Commandments, the moral law of God, were sharply distinguished from ‘the Law of Moses.’”
Again, Pink hides from his readers the fact that the phrase “the Law of God” only occurs four times in the Old Testament and all four clearly include the judgments and statutes. The three texts are Joshua 24:26, Nehemiah 8:8, 18; 10:28-29 --- “in the book of the law of God.” Since Pink certainly took the time to check the phrase out, he is willfully deceiving his readers.
Pink: We are not obligated to keep the other Sabbaths and the Sabbath year because “the moral law alone is binding on Gentiles and Christians.” Again, the fact that “the Law of God” includes all of the judgments and statutes in Joshua 24:26 and Nehemiah 8:8, 18; 10:28-29 proves Pink’s argument wrong.
Pink: “Why, it may be asked, does not the death penalty attached to the desecration of the Sabbath day still apply? Because though that was part of the Mosaic Law, it was not a part of the moral law of God, i.e. it was not inscribed on the two tables of stone; therefore it concerned none but Israelites.”
Pink needs to tell us what the O.T. penalty was for presumptuously sinning against God by breaking any of His moral law. In reality, a law does not exist apart from penalties for violation which are an inseparable part of the law. The judgments included the penalty of DEATH for worshipping other gods, idolatry, abuse of parents, breaking the Sabbath, murder and adultery. Since O.T Israel killed violators of these laws, it proves that the judgments were equal in inspiration and authority. Again, what were the penalties if the judgments did not exist?
“These verses (Romans 2:12-14) really have no direct bearing on our present theme.” In fact, they are very important. In Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-16 Paul teaches that Gentiles “who did not have the law” were still deserving of God’s wrath because they sinned against what God had revealed in nature and conscience. Pink teaches that nature and conscience are based on the Ten Commandments when the opposite is true. Nature and conscience go far beyond the teachings of the Ten Commandments. The judgments of Exodus 21-24 make that very clear.