Presumptuous Pink

“The fact of man’s responsibility is almost universally acknowledged. It is inherent in man’s moral nature. It is not only taught in Scripture but witnessed to by the natural conscience. The basis or ground of human responsibility is human ability. What is implied by this general term ‘ability’ must now be defined. Perhaps a concrete example will be more easily grasped by the average reader than an abstract argument. Suppose a man owed me $100 and could find plenty of money for his own pleasures but none for me, yet pleaded that he was unable to pay me. What would I say? I would say that the only ability that was lacking was an honest heart. But would it not be an unfair construction of my words if a friend of my dishonest debtor should say I had stated that an honest heart was that which constituted the ability to pay the debt? No; I would reply: the ability of my debtor lies in the power of his hand to write me a check, and this he has, but what is lacking is an honest principle. It is his power to write me a check which makes him responsible to do so, and the fact that he lacks an honest heart does not destroy his accountability.

Now, in like manner, the sinner while altogether lacking in moral and spiritual ability does, nevertheless, possess natural ability, and this it is which renders him accountable unto God. Men have the same natural faculties to love God with as they have to hate Him with, the same hearts to believe with as to disbelieve, and it is their failure to love and believe which constitutes their guilt. An idiot or an infant is not personally responsible to God, because lacking in natural ability. But the normal man who is endowed with rationality, who is gifted with a conscience that is capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, who is able to weigh eternal issues IS a responsible being, and it is because he does possess these very faculties that he will yet have to ‘give an account of himself to God’ (Rom. 14:12)” (A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God; bold emphasis mine–CD).

Scripture states:

“How then may they call on One into whom they have not believed? And how may they believe One of whom they have not heard? And how may they hear without preaching? And how may they preach if they are not sent? Even as it has been written, How beautiful the feet of those preaching the gospel of peace, of those preaching the gospel of good things. But not all obeyed the gospel, for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? Then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God” (Romans 10:14-17).

A.W. Pink completely obliterates Paul’s argument in Romans 10:14-17 by smashing the links in its logically rhetorical chain. Pink (in effect) contorts Paul’s beautifully sound conclusion into a grotesque non sequitur with this pernicious and detestable caveat: “Then faith is [ORDINARILY] of hearing, and hearing [IS ORDINARILY] through the Word of God.”

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