Tuesday, November 22, 2011

John R. Rice and the Sword of the Lord; Part 2

And they cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” -Judges 7:20

Some of the strengths of John R. Rice’s paper, the Sword of the Lord:

1. It emphasized and taught the importance of the Fundamentals of the Faith. It emphasized biblical inspiration and inerrancy, the Trinity, Virgin Birth of Christ, His sinless life, His blood shed on the cross for our salvation, His literal resurrection, the Second Coming, Resurrection, Judgment, Heaven, Hell.

2. It emphasized personal soul-winning, evangelism, revivals, and missions. It taught personal work and how to present the plan of salvation.

3. It presented great Christian preachers, singers, missionaries. Gave their sermons and their life stories. Men like D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, H. A. Ironside, Charles Spurgeon, Sam Jones, Billy Sunday, and Southern Baptists mentioned below. I learned much about such men through the Sword.

4. Gave great sermons from great preachers, past and present.

5. Gave great illustrations to explain and illuminate biblical truth. One of the best things a preacher can do for his preaching is to use good, interesting illustrations, stories, and sometimes humor.

6. While independent Baptist, Rice did not shy from featuring great conservative Southern Baptist preachers like W. A. Criswell, George W. Truett, L. R. Scarborough, B. H. Carroll, E. J. Daniels, Adrian Rogers, Vance Havner, J. Harold Smith, R. G. Lee, Hyman Appelman.  He printed sermons of  both current and past Southern Baptist preachers.

7. While independent Baptist, the Sword had a wide appeal to Southern Baptists and those who were conservative of other denominations. In a sense it was ecumenical, as long as one believed in the Fundamentals of the Faith.

8. Rice knew how to publicize, advertise and get the word out about subscribing to the Sword. He emphasized it in his revivals and Bible Conferences. He emphasized churches subscribing their members. The Sword of the Lord subscription list was over 200,000.

9. It swayed the Southern Baptist Convention in the right direction. The Conservative Resurgence might never have happened without the influence of the Sword of the Lord. While Rice’s advice was to leave the SBC, many conservatives decided to stay and fight for the fundamental doctrines of the faith like biblical inerrancy. Thank God they were successful.

10. John R. Rice never gave in to the new doctrine of King James Only. While he preferred the King James Version, he recognized the historic Christian position was the divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible as originally written, not the inspiration or inerrancy of a particular translation. Rice and R. L. Sumner wrote articles in the Sword against King James Only.

11. The Sword of the Lord presented the importance of a preacher’s family life.

12. The Sword of the Lord presented the importance of having good Christian literature in the home of all believers.

13. The Sword of the Lord emphasized prayer, revival, and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Some of Rice’s best books are Prayer: Asking and Receiving, and The Power of Pentecost. While disagreeing with some charismatic doctrine, he strongly believed in the filling and power of the Holy Spirit.

Read John R. Rice’s books. You will not always agree, but you will be blessed. You will be grounded in the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. You will be moved to tell people about Jesus and His salvation. You may catch a bit of the fire of revival.

John R. Rice’s associate, Evangelist and Editor Dr. R. L. Sumner, is still going strong today. Support and subscribe to his paper, The Biblical Evangelist. Sumner has a number of outstanding books as well. 

John R. Rice’s personal correspondence was given to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary several years ago. I believe this correspondence will eventually go to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Rice once studied.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 22, AD 2011.

Other Articles:
John R. Rice and the Sword of the Lord; Part 1
Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
Deacons - Basic Baptist Doctrines
Books on Calvinism, Predestination
Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad (Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, the book)
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book 

More articles found in lower right margin.


  1. Hey David,

    I used to get the Sword of the Lord when I was in TN... and one afternoon I was going through a difficult season and I was driving home and the presence of the Lord sat down in my car with me and said, "As I was with Moses so will I be with you." I had to stop the car and get out! When I got home, There was a Sword of the Lord in my mailbox and the headline message on the front page was that same statement that God gave me in the car an hour or so earlier, "As I was with Moses, so will I be with you." Never forgotten that one!

    I have posted a question on my site that I would appreciate your input on...

    Is it possible for God in His sovereignty to create man with the responsibility of making choices that would not only determine the quality of his life but his eternal destiny as well? Almost everyone I know, Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike, agree that sanctification is synergistic. Could God have made the conversion process synergistic as well? I am not asking for a theological dissertation on the ramifications or the Scriptural basis for such a possibility, but rather the plausibility of the possibility that God COULD have created man with the responsibility of choosing his own eternal destiny?

    Hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving!


  2. Bob,
    Great story on the Sword of the Lord. It had a profound influence on countless preachers.

    You ask, “Is it possible for God in His sovereignty to create man with the responsibility of making choices that would not only determine the quality of his life but his eternal destiny as well?”
    My answer is, yes.

    I have a post, “Paige Patterson on Calvinism.” I like the way he put it:

    “I just happen to believe that God is sovereign enough that He can make a man totally free if He wishes to do so.” -Dr. Paige Patterson, SWBTS

    I had a great Thanksgiving; hope you did too. We had Chinese food. Good stuff!
    David R. Brumbelow


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