The Sword of the Lord, Really The Scoop Shovel of Revivalism

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Bert Perry's picture

Just look at the title "The Sword of the Lord  ....and of John R. Rice."  Um, a little pretentious maybe?  A title that, well without that reference to Mr. Rice, ought to be reserved for the Holy Scripture?

Dunno what Jim has against birds....

Donn R Arms's picture

Interesting for me on several fronts. First, I owe a great debt to John R Rice as he was God’s messenger who introduced my grandmother to Christ at a tent meeting in Waterloo, Iowa. He had his idiosyncrasies (as we all do) and was a product of his times, but we should honor his work and his memory. Sadly, his paper has been hijacked by a cadre of strange men who dishonor their founder and promote heresy.

Oliver B Greene was another interesting character. While I never met him, for a number of years I worked out of what used to be his office and lived in what used to be his home (and swam in his pool). I know little about what he taught but I do know he was an honorable man who built a far reaching and effective ministry. I would not trust the Sword of the Lord to accurately or honestly reprint his writings. They are well known for “fixing” the sermons of Spurgeon and other men they feature.

Donn R Arms

TylerR's picture

I think the Sword of the Lord is garbage and heresy of the worst sort. It's dangerous, and presents a repentance-less "gospel." Other than that, it's a valuable and important periodical, which deserves to be read by every thinking Christian in the land.  

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Ron Bean's picture

My first exposure to the SOTL was over 40 years ago. At the time I found it interesting how many pictures of preachers there were in the publication. In those days I was a bit of a "nit picker". I recall that in one edition  on the pages with ads for churches there were approximately 110 churches listed and nearly all had pictures of their pastor (some several years old). There were few, if any, references in the ads to Jesus Christ. In addition there always seemed to be an article or two praising some great(?) man. Their apparent man focus was a turn-off then and continues to be so today. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

....to contemplate the claims of a repentance-less "gospel" (per Brandenburg, Tyler) along with SOTL's famous crusades on moral topics--though many of them are not (IMO) clearly specified out in Scripture.  All these moral positions, but no need to repent?  

If there really is no need to repent of sins, then the point of those moral positions taken by SOTL is in effect legalism--I'm OK because I'm not divorced, I don't gamble at the racetrack, etc..  Now I don't think anybody there would confess as much, but I'm having trouble seeing an alternative.  

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“The saving Gospel as to how men are to be saved is once described as ‘repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21).  But usually where one is mentioned as the way to salvation, the other is implied, not mentioned.  Actually saving repentance and saving faith are simply two ways of saying the same thing.  The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, meaning literally a change of mind.  That is, a change of heart attitude.  But the change is from unbelief to faith.  To repent means to turn from sin.  Saving faith means to turn to Christ, relying on Him for salvation.  So one turns from sin in the heart to Christ, and the same saving faith turns from sin and turns to trust Christ.  So to believe on Christ in saving faith and to honestly turn the heart from sin against God, to love and trust Him, is the same thing.  Repentance and faith are different names for, or different aspects of, the same heart turning.” 

-John R. Rice, Filled With the Sprit: The Book of Acts, A Verse-by-Verse Commentary, Sword of the Lord Publishers; 1973.

John R. Rice doesn’t sound like a heretic in his comment above.  And, he wasn’t. 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting that the version Amazon carries has a copyright date of 2000.   That said, one  of the comments notes Rice's comments on translation that "made him fall out of favor among independent Baptists."  So perhaps SOTL is using the book to pay for the KJVO stuff they're spreading, despite it not being KJVO? 

Either that, or it's entirely possible they haven't figured out that Rice was not KJVO.  I personally knew a guy who used both the work of David Sorenson and Chick Tracts to "support" OKJV (totally different than KJVO!) theology, not quite realizing that one argues for the TR, and the other for the Old Latin.  The man was quite impervious to evidence, in my opinion.

Larry Nelson's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

It's worth noting that the version Amazon carries has a copyright date of 2000.   That said, one  of the comments notes Rice's comments on translation that "made him fall out of favor among independent Baptists."  So perhaps SOTL is using the book to pay for the KJVO stuff they're spreading, despite it not being KJVO? 

Either that, or it's entirely possible they haven't figured out that Rice was not KJVO.  I personally knew a guy who used both the work of David Sorenson and Chick Tracts to "support" OKJV (totally different than KJVO!) theology, not quite realizing that one argues for the TR, and the other for the Old Latin.  The man was quite impervious to evidence, in my opinion.

 

.....that neither the "Textual Issue" nor the "Scripture" tabs of their online store list/include the John R. Rice book that is entirely about the Bible, textual issues, and translations:

http://www.swordbooks.com/textualissue.aspx 

http://www.swordbooks.com/scripture.aspx

 

Perhaps they figure it wouldn't fit in very well with all of the KJVO items those tabs do pull up!   Smile

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Sheldon Smith, current editor of the Sword of the Lord knows well that John R. Rice and Robert L. Sumner did not believe in KJV Only.  I think if he had to speak on the issue, he would say something like, KJV Only just adds another layer of protection against theological liberalism.  I disagree, I just think that would be his view.  But I think as much as possible, he just wants to avoid the obvious change he and Curtis Hutson made to the Sword since the death of John R. Rice. 

 

A quote from the founding editor of the Sword: 

“When we say that the Bible is inspired, we do not refer to the translations or copies but to the original autographs, written down under God’s direction.” 

-John R. Rice, Our God-Breathed Book the Bible, Sword of the Lord Publishers; 1969. 

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2013/05/john-r-rice-and-kjv-only.html

David R. Brumbelow

TylerR's picture

David:

I think we can all agree on a few things:

  1. John Rice was a good and godly man.
  2. He had a good and helpful paper; one with a proud place in the history of American Baptist fundamentalism
  3. That paper is not what it once was, and nobody should buy it anymore.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

Here is an example from 2011 where Shelton Smith noted that he did not even consider the NIV a Bible.  No, the current position of SOTL is emphatically NOT that KJVO simply provides another bulwark against theological liberalism.   It is to attack other translations and textual families, and the people who use them.   Those who use arguments like this need to be reminded of Jude 9 and John 13:35.  We are not going to be recognized as His disciples because of our vicious personal attacks, after all. 

Plus, it's no bulwark against theological liberalism, but rather attacks the first fundamental by insisting on the TR to the exclusion of all other manuscripts.  That, along with a rather "loose" interpretation of repentance and faith, and a rather kneejerk conflation of fundamental culture with Biblical truth, is a great reason to run, not walk, if you see a pile of SOTLs in a church you might attend.  It was flaky in Rice's time; it's poison now.

Ron Bean's picture

KJVO was a convenient shibboleth in its early days. If one wanted to know whether a church/school/preacher was "fundamental", one simply asked "What Bible version do they use?"  If they weren't KJVO, they weren't fundamental.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

I use the RSV. So, there!

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Greg Roberts's picture

I guess the John's Gospel is heresy since it doesn't mention the word repentance. There are  some great theologians and preachers like Dr. Charles Ryrie, Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dr.Mike Cocoris who have pointed that out. Dr. Cocoris has a great book on the subject ( Repentance :The most Misunderstood Word in the Bible.

Bert Perry's picture

Greg Roberts wrote:

I guess the John's Gospel is heresy since it doesn't mention the word repentance. There are  some great theologians and preachers like Dr. Charles Ryrie, Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dr.Mike Cocoris who have pointed that out. Dr. Cocoris has a great book on the subject ( Repentance :The most Misunderstood Word in the Bible.

While it is true that John's Gospel does not contain the word "repentance" (either in Greek or English, I believe), it's somewhat saddening that people as eminent as Ryrie et al didn't see the obvious reference to the concept in John 8:11 and elsewhere.  It may not be explicit, but it certainly is implicit in the text. 

TylerR's picture

This is really bad logic. Actually, it's no logic at all. The Apostle John never recorded Jesus specifically mentioning anything against felony home invasion, either - so I suppose we can't be sure what Jesus actually thought about it, right? Like repentance, it must not be important for the Christian life. I also suppose Mark 1:14-15 is irrelevant.

I've also read Chafer's entire soteriology section from his systematic very carefully. He absolutely believed in repentance, but he considered it a component of belief and faith. It is incorrect to say Chafer did not believe repentance was necessary for salvation.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Greg Roberts's picture

Dr Chafer or Dr Ryrie didn't understand repentance as defined by the writer of the original post. There are legitimate views that differ from the view being promoted. Jesus did mention HOME INVASION in Matthew 6 lol its in a reward section.  PEACE

Jim's picture

Putting aside for the moment the definition of repentance ... 

God grants it ... it's a gift:

  • "When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:18)
  • "In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth" (2 Timothy 2:25)

 

Jim's picture

Whether it is in John or not (my case would be that while the term "repentance" is not, the concept certainly is!), repentance, from the perspicuity of Scripture, clearly is part of the Gospel:

  • "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance ..." Matthew 3:8
  • "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." Matthew 9:13
  • "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47)
  • "testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21)
  • "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2 Cor 7:10)
  • "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9)

 

Richard Brunt's picture

Ron, I noticed that too, how pastors pictures where always prominent in their church advertisement in the Sword. I always felt uneasy when a  church had a large colored picture of the pastor on the front of every church bulletin and I have even seen some Baptist churches that have the pastor's picture on the church sign in front of the church and his name in print almost as large as the name of the church.

Richard E Brunt

Larry Nelson's picture

Richard Brunt wrote:

Ron, I noticed that too, how pastors pictures where always prominent in their church advertisement in the Sword. I always felt uneasy when a  church had a large colored picture of the pastor on the front of every church bulletin and I have even seen some Baptist churches that have the pastor's picture on the church sign in front of the church and his name in print almost as large as the name of the church.

Bert Perry's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

Richard Brunt wrote:

 

Ron, I noticed that too, how pastors pictures where always prominent in their church advertisement in the Sword. I always felt uneasy when a  church had a large colored picture of the pastor on the front of every church bulletin and I have even seen some Baptist churches that have the pastor's picture on the church sign in front of the church and his name in print almost as large as the name of the church.

 

 

It's obviously the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.