The Berean Expositor
Volume 32 - Page 162 of 246
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The Pulpit of the Opened Book.
"A Pulpit with a Purpose" (Neh. 8: 4).
pp. 165 - 168
Just as the epistles of Paul written during the period covered by the Acts, and the
record of his public ministry which constitutes the bulk of Acts 9: - 28:, must be
taken together and considered as one work, so the written ministry of The Berean
Expositor, and the spoken ministry at "The Chapel of the Opened Book" are one.
Naturally the two phases of ministry differ in the method adopted to make known the
truth, and each appeals to a different circle of hearers, but, apart from the previously
written ministry, the Central Witness would have no existence, even as the doors of the
Chapel of the Opened Book would have remained closed, so far as our witness is
concerned, were it not for the generous fellowship of many readers who can themselves
entertain little or no hope of ever attending its services.
As a means of strengthening the link that binds us all in one unbroken fellowship, we
hope to reproduce in these pages some of the ministry already accomplished at the
London Centre, and, as an introduction to the series, give the following gist of the address
delivered at the inaugural meeting on 30th September, 1943, on "A Pulpit with a Purpose"
(Neh. 8: 4).
As one listens to the account of the experiences of Nehemiah and Ezra in their
endeavour to fulfil the will of the Lord in the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the restoration
of the Temple, and follows the efforts of their successors, one hears an echo of those
experiences right down the centuries, for, while manners and customs change, humanity
remains the same, and from one generation to another the conflict between truth and error
follows much the same course. Those of us who sought to put into effect the will of the
Lord as we understood it, met with many experiences parallel with those of Nehemiah
and Ezra. There were those who "laughed" and "despised" (Neh. 2: 19), and those who
"mocked" and reminded us of our "feebleness" (Neh. 4: 2), and intimidation, if not
reiterated "ten times" (Neh. 4: 12), was nevertheless repeated.  We are never so
susceptible as when the enemy appears conciliatory and invites us to a "conference"
(Neh. 6: 2), and we are peculiarly vulnerable to the insidious attack of the "open letter"
(Neh. 6: 5), besides having to bear the charge of seeking to exercise lordship over the
Lord's heritage (Neh. 6: 6, 7). This is the dark side of the picture, but neither Nehemiah,
Ezra nor ourselves would be true to fact and experience if we did not testify to the bright
and blessed side of the conflict too.
There were those who recognized that the time had come and said, "Let us rise up and
build" (Neh. 2: 18), and there were those, like the nobles of the Tekoites, who, while not
falling into line with their brethren, nevertheless "repaired another piece" (Neh. 3: 27)
and so helped forward the work in unexpected ways. Then there were those who "gave
unto the work" not only in labour and prayer, but in kind (Neh. 7: 70, 71). In either
case, both lines, whether of opposition or help, converge, in the book of Nehemiah, in