400 pages, Paperback. Published by John Ritchie Ltd, 40 Beansburn. Kilmarnock, Scotland. ISBN: 978-1-912522-60-6
Few people today under the age of sixty would have had the privilege of hearing the spoken ministry of E. W. Rogers. For that reason alone, this first volume of written ministry compiled by Mervyn Wishart is very welcome. It is, I suppose, a compliment and a mark of respect to our brother, who was called home in 1977, that he was always Mr Rogers when addressed directly, affectionally spoken of as Ebbie by Albert Leckie, and to the rest of us he was referred to simply as E. W.
E. W. was not a tall man, but in his day he ‘walked with giants’, teachers and preachers whose names resonate with an older generation. Harold St. John, J. M. Davies, Willie Trew, Albert Leckie, Harry Bell and David Craig to name but a few. He is particularly remembered for his incisive handling of the scriptures in Bible readings, often with his regular ‘sparring partner’, Albert Leckie. They were two very different characters in personality and disposition, but a formidable and complementary partnership when explaining the scriptures.
I first heard E. W. at the London Convention in the late 1960s. He was the second speaker and, on taking the platform, his opening words were, ‘I am pleased to see that our brother agrees with me on these verses, therefore he must be right!’ There was no doubt an element of ‘tongue in cheek’ on that occasion, but E. W. was not a man to ‘suffer fools gladly’. He was intolerant of any loose or inaccurate approach to the scriptures, and could, at times, appear abrupt or dismissive. Having said that, his ministry and knowledge of the word was consummate.
One of the first books I bought as a young believer was Mr Roger’s outline of the Hebrew Epistle. It is quite brief, by no means verse by verse, but concise, clear and a good overall base from which to work. This new publication under review covers a wide range of subjects from both Old and New Testaments. E. W. would never shy away from perceived difficulties, and several of the chosen topics deal with challenging truths. The chapters on the person and work of Christ are particularly heart-warming and the series of articles on the church very instructive.
E. W. was a regular contributor to a number of magazines including Precious Seed, in which he also took responsibility for the question and answer page for a number of years. Like so many good men whose voices are now silent, the value of their written ministry can still be appreciated, and this book is no exception.