John R. Rice

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John R. Rice (D.D.) (December 11, 1895 - December 29, 1980) was a Baptist evangelist, Pastor and founder and editor of the Sword of the Lord. He was an extremely influential figure in Fundamentalist Christianity. Rice is best known as founder, editor, and publisher of The Sword of the Lord newspaper, and author of the book Prayer: Asking and Receiving. He has also written several hymns, including a hymn on prayer entitled "Ask, Seek, and Knock."

Early Life and Education

John R. Rice was born in Cooke County, Texas December 11, 1895, the son of William H. and Sallie Elizabeth La Prade Rice. He was the oldest of three siblings. He was converted at age 12.

Rice briefly attended Decatur Baptist College, served in the Army, and graduated from Baylor University in 1920. He did graduate work at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as University of Chicago.

He is a Doctor of Divinity.[1]

He took on his first pastorate at First Baptist Church Shamrock, Texas, and later pastored in Dallas Texas. However became a full-time itinerant evangelist in 1926. He collaborated with J. Frank Norris on an early radio program. Reacting against modernism, Rice broke with the Southern Baptist Convention in 1927.

Sword of the Lord

In 1932 he founded the Fundamentalist Baptist Church in Dallas. In 1934, he founded The Sword of the Lord, a bi-weekly publication that has grown into the foremost Fundamentalist newsletter in the world. It vigorously exposed the evils of a liberalism, Catholicism, Communism, the civil rights movement, and various other vices, including dancing, alcohol, smoking, and motion pictures.

In 1939 he left Dallas for Wheaton, Illinois in 1940, which became the base for The Sword and for his full-time evangelism. He attacked Billy Graham for cooperating with liberal ministers in his evangelistic crusades.

Rice moved finally in 1963, at the invitation of his brother Bill Rice, to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, helping out at the Bill Rice Ranch.

John and Bill worked as co-editors of The Sword until 1978, when Bill died. That same year, John Rice asked Curtis Hutson to move to Murfreesboro and help him as co-editor of the Sword. Hutson succeeded Rice two years later.

John R Rice continued diligently editing The Sword until his death on December 29, 1980.

John R. Rice had a great impact on the world through his early pastoral work, his enormous effort in evangelism, and through his prolific pen by which he earned the nick name "The 20th Century's Mightiest Pen".

Further reading

  • Sumner, Robert L. A Man Sent from God: A Biography of Dr. John R. Rice (1959).




The Rice Reference Bible Nashville: Thomas Nelson (1975)


  1. Definite Praying by Dr. Robert Hymers

External links