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John R. Rice

John R. Rice

John R. Rice (1895 - 1980)

Was a Baptist evangelist and pastor and the founding editor of The Sword of the Lord, an influential fundamentalist newspaper. Rice believed that the mission of churches was "not to take care of Christians" but to "win souls," a notion his mostly lower-middle-class church members did not wholeheartedly endorse. When Rice spent more time away from his pulpit to hold revivals elsewhere, a supply pastor and his supporters staged a coup. Rice decided to reenter evangelism. Yet before he did so, he encouraged the church to change its name from Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle to Galilean Baptist Church, thus distinguishing his ministry and that of the church from J. Frank Norris.

In 1934, Rice founded The Sword of the Lord, a bi-weekly publication that grew into an influential fundamentalist Baptist newspaper. At first it was simply the publication of his Dallas church, handed out on the street and delivered door-to-door by Rice's daughters and other Sunday School children. The Sword's circulation grew dramatically. It was thirty thousand in 1940, fifty thousand in 1946, and ninety thousand in 1953, surpassing the circulation of the venerable Moody Monthly. Rice regularly published reports from evangelistic campaigns that became valuable publicity tools for approved revivalists. In 1946, he and other prominent evangelists adopted a code of ethics and a statement of faith to prevent "evangelists from being unduly criticized for commercialism and unethical practices." The same year Bob Jones College conferred on him an honorary Litt. D. degree.

John Richard Rice was born in Cooke County, Texas, on December 11, 1895, the son of William H. and Sallie Elizabeth LaPrade Rice. Educated at Decatur Baptist College and Baylor University, he did graduate work at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago.

Although Dr. Rice served as pastor of Baptist churches in Dallas and Shamrock, Texas, in addition to starting about a dozen others from his successful independent crusades, his primary work was as an evangelist. He had been a friend and peer of Billy and Ma Sunday, Bob Jones Sr., W.B. Riley, Homer Rodeheaver, H.A. Ironside, Robert G. Lee, Harry Rimmer, and other leaders of that era. He himself held huge citywide crusades in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Seattle, and numerous other key metropolitan centers.

Dr. Rice authored more than 200 books and booklets, circulating in excess of 60,000,000 copies before his death--about a dozen of which were translated into at least 35 foreign languages. His sermon booklet, What Must I Do to Be Saved?, had been distributed in over 32,000,000 copies in English alone--8,500,000 in Japanese, and nearly 2,000,000 in Spanish.

In 1934 he launched The Sword of the Lord, which, by the time of his death, had become the largest independent religious weekly in the world, with subscribers in every state of the union, and more than 100 foreign countries. Thousands of preachers read it regularly, and it undoubtedly had the greatest impact on the fundamentalist movement of any publication in the 20th century.

      Rice was a Baptist evangelist and pastor and the founding editor of The Sword of the Lord, an influential fundamentalist newspaper.

      Rice was born in Cooke County, Texas in 1895, the son of William H. and Sallie Elizabeth La Prade Rice, and the oldest of three brothers. The death of John R. Rice's mother when he was was six years old left a lasting mark on the man.

      Rice did not complete his seminary course but in 1923, took a position as the assistant pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Plainview, Texas. The following year he became senior pastor in Shamrock, Texas, an oil boomtown; but in 1926 he left the pastorate for evanglism. Settling in Fort Worth, he became an unofficial associate of the flamboyant and authoritarian fundamentalist J. Frank Norris, pastor of First Baptist Church, who was preparing to leave the Southern Baptist Convention. Rice himself broke with the Southern Baptists in 1927.

      During the next few years, Rice held a series of successful revivals in Texas that were promoted by Norris. Rice made converts during his campaigns and then organized the new Christians into at least a half-dozen churches with the name "Fundamentalist Baptist."

      In July 1932, Rice held an open-air evangelistic campaign in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and hundreds made professions of faith. There Rice organized the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Dallas; but instead of moving on, he pastored the church for more than seven years.

      Rice believed that the mission of churches was "not to take care of Christians" but to "win souls."

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John R. Rice

A Sermon from a Catholic Bible

I hold in my hand the new Confraternity edition of the New Testament which is translated from the Latin Vulgate by Catholic authorities. It has on the title page the following: The NEW TESTAMENT of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Translated from the Latin Vulgate. A Revision of the Challoner-Rheims... Read More
John R. Rice

All Satan's Apples Have Worms

I am speaking tonight on the subject, "All Satan's Apples Have Worms." I do not deny that the Devil has some pretty apples; I just say that all of them are fakes and that after you bite into them, you will find they have worms. All Satan's apples have worms. Luke, chapter 15, is one of the most fami... Read More
John R. Rice

Assurance of Salvation

"They that gladly received his word. . . . " - Acts 2:41. Here are some lessons in the Christian life. Every Christian starts out as a baby Christian. One has to learn after one is saved. One has to grow in grace after being saved. A good example is in the book of Acts, after Pentecost, when they ha... Read More
John R. Rice

Backsliders; Saved or Lost?

Everywhere people want to know whether the backslider is saved or lost. After one has sinned, is he still a child of God? When he has lost the joy of salvation, does he still have the salvation? Well, the answer to this question is that the backslider does not deserve to be saved but deserves to go ... Read More
John R. Rice

Bad Use of Natural Languages at Corinth

There are many good people who are misled on this matter of speaking with tongues. They are very eager people. Often they are good Christians in the sense that they want all God has, and they want to please God. They are spiritually-minded, good people, but often they are rather ignorant of the Bibl... Read More
John R. Rice


A favorite device of the Devil is to have men look to their works for their salvation instead of looking to Christ. He leads some to trust in their morality, some to depend upon lodge membership, some to depend upon confessions to priests; some he leads to trust in baptism. That is a fatal mistake. ... Read More
John R. Rice


Sometimes when people do not want to keep some command of the Lord Jesus they say, "That was for the Jews," or "That was done away with at the closing of the apostolic age." So some people, having been accustomed to a form of baptism or a teaching about it which they could not reconcile to the Scrip... Read More
John R. Rice


Down through the centuries till modern times all Bible students and theologians agreed that baptism was a New Testament practice exclusively, that it went with the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ, and was not a part of the Old Testament ceremonial law. However, those who sprinkled unconv... Read More
John R. Rice


There have been too many sermons on baptism as a part of the doctrines of some denomination. There is too much talk about "Baptist doctrine" or "Methodist doctrine" or "the doctrine of our church." In this Bible study, we are interested solely in what the Bible teaches about baptism. Nothing else ma... Read More
John R. Rice

Baptism: Make Public Your Allegiance to Christ

I am talking on how to be a good Christian, with the understanding that everybody starts as a baby Christian. The Scripture says that "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." And Scripture commands us to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. When people a... Read More
John R. Rice

Bible Foretells Greatest Revivals Yet To Come

Does the Bible justify the pessimism of those who think there will be no more great revivals? Absolutely not. How happy some would be if they could find in the Bible justification for their false alibis and excuses, justification for their powerlessness and fruitlessness. If there were a verse in th... Read More
John R. Rice

Bobbed Hair

1Corinthians 11:3-15 tells us that since the man is the head of the woman, and there is a fundamental difference between men and women, that difference should be symbolized in the ways men and women wear their hair. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of th... Read More
John R. Rice

Christian Giving and Soul Winning

Are you learning to be a good Christian? The Scripture says we should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Scripture says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." When you get saved. You are a baby Christian and you n... Read More
John R. Rice

Convicted Sinners Can Reject Christ

The Scriptures show that enlightened, convicted men do resist God, do thwart the grace of God. Men who could be saved, who are set apart by the blood of Christ, men who are bought, resist the Holy Spirit. God's grace is offered all, but is not irresistible, as Calvin taught. One of the five points o... Read More
John R. Rice

Dear Catholic Friend

After much correspondence, Dr. Rice writes an earnest Catholic man what is wrong with the Roman church. DEAR Catholic Friend: Your letter is before me, and prayerfully I take time to answer it. The truth of God is so holy that I must deal very reverently with it. And the truth has been so perverted ... Read More
John R. Rice

Drinking - What John R. Rice Wrote About It

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” Isaiah 28:1 “The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet.” Isaiah 28:3 “But they also have e... Read More
John R. Rice

Ecumenical Excuses for Unequal Yokes

1. Parable of the Tares: "Leave Them Alone Till Harvest." 2. "But Love the Modernists as Christian Brothers." 3. The Great Success of the Compromise Proves God Is for It. 4. "Fundamentalists Are Jealous, Envious Pharisees." 5. "Touch Not Mine Anointed." 6. Gamaliel's Advice, "If Not of God, It Will ... Read More
John R. Rice

False Doctrines and Claims of Tongues People

Now I come to bring the last message on the tongues movement -- the movement that teaches speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of the fullness of the Spirit or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. First, let me say that many, many people of the tongues movement are good Christian people. They beli... Read More
John R. Rice

False Teaching About The Last Days

Thousands of tracts, magazine articles, sermons and radio messages tell the people, "Jesus is coming soon!" "These last days of this dispensation" and similar phrases are very common in the Christian magazines. "Time is running out!" writes one Christian, who means that in a very short time Jesus is... Read More
John R. Rice

Fullness of the Spirit

This pamphlet is chapter 11 in The Scarlet Sin, a book of sermons taken down word for word as given before great audiences all over America. It was in Seattle in a union campaign with sixty churches that this sermon, "Fullness of the Holy Spirit" was preached by Evangelist John R. Rice. That campaig... Read More

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