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Booklets by IFB Preacher John R. Rice

john r rice and jack hyles
John R Rice. editor of The Sword of the Lord and Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana

The late John R. Rice, editor of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) newspaper titled The Sword of Lord, is revered as a demigod by IFB preachers and churches.  Rice and a cadre of Sword of the Lord affiliated preachers would travel across the country holding pastor’s conferences. These conferences were used to inspire the troops to do big things for God — build big churches, win lots of souls, and collect large amounts of money. In the 1970s and 1980s, many of the largest churches in America were IFB congregations. Rice’s newspaper and publications were widely read by IFB preachers and their congregations. Rice’s Puritanical, Fundamentalist view of the world made a huge impact on several generations of Christians.

Rice died in 1980. Curtis Hutson took over the Rice empire, but never achieved the success of his mentor. Shelton Smith is currently the newapaper’s editor. Today, the Sword of the Lord — much like most IFB churches — is a shell of what it was during its heyday.  According to Wikipedia, as of September 2012, the Sword of the Lord newspaper has a biweekly circulation of 100,000.  The Sword of the Lord masthead states:

An Independent Christian Publication, Standing for the Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, the Deity of Christ, His Blood Atonement, Salvation by Faith, New Testament Soul Winning and the Premillennial Return of Christ; Opposing Modernism (Liberalism), Worldliness and Formalism.

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  1. Avatar

    “I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”

    Pity nobody told Lori Alexander!

  2. Avatar
    Bob Felton

    For a few years I operated a used bookstore directly across the street from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Wake Forest, NC, and Rice’s books were popular. They would go right back out as fast as they came in; I sold some books a half-dozen times.

    So one day I decided to read one of his books, which began with this hypothetical: A man takes his son, and one of his son’s friends, fishing. His son is ‘saved,’ the friend is not. The boat tips, and the man can save only one of the boys. What should he do?

    Answer: Rescue the friend and let his son drown, because his son will go to Heaven and the friend may yet be ‘saved.’

    I threw that book away, and the rest of Rice’s books, and refused to accept any of his books in trade after that. It seems naive of me, now, but until then I’d had no idea that there is a deeply unnatural Dark Side in Christian thought; I thought my Devout customers were just pleasant people with some eccentric ideas.

    Once I realized how degrading and unnatural a lot of Christian thought actually is, however, I can’t sit in a church WITHOUT hearing it. Except for unavoidable weddings and funerals, I haven’t set foot in a church of any variety for more than 15-years.

    John Rice opened my eyes, allright, though probably not in the way he intended.

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Bruce Gerencser