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.
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.