The Sword of the Lord

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The Sword of the Lord is a bi-weekly publication published in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It is owned and operated by Sword of the Lord Ministries which also publishes books, pamphlets, and tracts, from a fundamentalist, Independent Baptist point of view.

The Sword was founded in 1934 by John R. Rice (1895-1980) who served as its editor until his death. Curtis Hutson then took over as editor until his passing. Shelton Smith then became its current editor.

The name of the ministry and publication is taken from a phrase in Judges 7:20: "And they cried, The Sword of the LORD, and of Gideon." The verse is featured in the banner, as is the newspaper's stated purpose:[1]

"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."

Because of its Independent Baptist stance, it is highly anti-Calvinist and will not publish sermons by Calvinist preachers; although an exception has been made for the noted nineteenth-century Calvinist Charles Spurgeon due to his Gospel preaching, Spurgeon's sermons have been edited to remove Calvinist-leaning passages.[2]

It is also a proponent of the King James only movement, though not to the extreme of some supporters such as the late Peter Ruckman.[3]


  1. The Sword of the Lord (2015-02-27). Retrieved on 2015-12-19.
  2. In 1950, John R. Rice wrote of his editing practices, "If there are paragraphs which are not acceptable doctrinally, I indicate that they are to be left out." The Sword of the Lord, (September 22, 1950), p. 1. A scholarly study by Howard Moore discovered that Rice had deleted passages in many sermons, including those of Charles Finney, Talmage, and even Jonathan Edwards', "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." But, said Moore, "No other ancient worthy seems to have suffered as much from Rice's editorial Charles H. Spurgeon." Howard Edgar Moore, "The Emergence of Moderate Fundamentalism: John R. Rice and 'The Sword of the Lord,'" Ph.D. dissertation, George Washington University, 1990, 502-10.
  3. Under Rice, though the Sword supported the King James Version, it did not hold to the KJV-only viewpoint; Rice believed that to be a distraction when other matters such as theological liberalism were more important. After his passing, though, it adopted the KJV-only viewpoint it holds.

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