The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. - Psalm 68:11
Our Mission and Purpose
Since 1934 the ministry of the Sword of the Lord has existed to partner with those who are fundamentally and biblically like-minded to promote revival and soul winning within our local churches.
Our greatest desire is to see souls come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Believing the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God, both inspired and preserved in the King James Bible, we promote and preach it unapologetically. We are excited about the Lord Jesus Christ and we proclaim His salvation to everyone, everywhere!
What started with a simple newspaper edited by our founder John R. Rice, has grown into a publishing house of the world's finest Christian literature. In addition to the SWORD OF THE LORD Newspaper that is published every two weeks, we offer many biblically sound books, pamphlets, and tracts. We also offer a large selection of quality King James Bibles, a quarterly church bulletin service, ample church supplies, a full line of bus ministry materials, and much more.
Our Sword of the Lord Conferences feature a revival atmosphere that equip, encourage, and excite the saint of God to serve the Lord with renewed fervency and faithfulness. Each year, thousands of people are personally led to Christ with the help of our Soul Winners' Club program. Thousands of pieces of gospel literature and copies of our SWORD OF THE LORD Newspaper are made available to chaplains working within the prison systems. Missionaries are also sent literature so that the Gospel can be spread to all the ends of the earth. Each day we hear of souls saved and Christians discipled because of the ministry of the Sword of the Lord.
To God be the glory! All of this is possible because of the faithful giving of God's people and generous support from local churches.
Our Leadership Thru the Years
Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) - Founder of the Sword of the Lord (1934-1980)
John R. Rice was born in Cooke County, Texas, December 11, 1895.
Pastor of Baptist churches in Dallas and Shamrock, Texas, Dr. Rice started about a dozen others from his primary work as an evangelist. In the 1930's and 1940's, he held huge citywide crusades in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Seattle and other major Metropolitan centers.
While pastor in Dallas in 1934, he founded THE SWORD OF THE LORD. The first printing, September 28, 1934, ran 5,000 copies which were handed out on the streets of Dallas, Texas. In 1940 the Sword of the Lord was moved to Wheaton, Illinois where it remained for the next 23 years. In 1963 the opportunity came to purchase our present location on Bridge Avenue in downtown Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
For 21 years Dr. Rice was heard weekly on the Voice of Revival—a 30-minute radio broadcast on 69 stations in 29 states, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands.
On Dec. 29, 1980, Dr. Rice graduated to Heaven. He was buried at the Bill Rice Ranch Cemetery (on Route 96) seven miles west of Murfreesboro.
Dr. Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) - President & Editor (1980-1995)
Curtis Hutson was a mail carrier and pastor of a small church in Decatur, Georgia. In 1961 he attended a Sword of the Lord Conference, at which time the Lord set his heart on fire. He then set out to build a great soul-winning church. Forrest Hills Baptist Church grew from 40 to 7,900. In the 1970's the church was recognized as one of the fastest-growing in America and the largest in Georgia.
Dr. Hutson was a pastor for 21 years, then entered full-time evangelism. As many as 625 souls trusted Christ in a single service. In an eight-day meeting, 1,502 salvation decisions were recorded.
In 1978 he became associate editor of THE SWORD OF THE LORD. Upon Dr. Rice's death, Dr. Hutson immediately became President and Editor.
Following a 3-year battle with cancer, Dr. Hutson graduated to Heaven on March 5, 1995 at age 60.
Dr. Shelton Smith - President & Editor Since April 27, 1995
Shortly after the death of Dr. Hutson the Sword of the Lord Board of Directors elected Dr. Shelton Smith to be the 3rd President and Editor.
Dr. Smith testifies often that he is a "product" of THE SWORD OF THE LORD. In 1963 someone sent an anonymous subscription to him. Dr. Smith says, "As a result, Dr. Rice re-tutored, re-trained and re-tooled me. My life and ministry changed. My best education came from the pages of THE SWORD OF THE LORD."
For 17 years Dr. Smith was the pastor of the Church of the Open Door, an independent, fundamental Baptist church in Westminster, Maryland. During those years the church grew from an average of 175 per Sunday to an average of 1650 per Sunday with a membership exceeding 3000. It has been now for a number of years the largest fundamental church in the Northeast.
As editor he travels every week, holding Sword campaigns across North America and around the world.
Dr. Smith has earned 4 academic degrees: Bachelor of Arts (1966), Master of Theology (1972), Doctor of Ministry (1972) and Doctor of Theology (2003).
Our Statement of Faith
27 Articles of Faith Stating in Simple Terms the Basic Concepts of What We Believe About... "the Faith Once Delivered..." (Jude 1:3)
The Holy Scriptures
WE BELIEVE the Bible, the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament, preserved for us in the Masoretic text (Old Testament) Textus Receptus (New Testament) and in the King James Bible, is verbally and plenarily inspired of God. It is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and altogether authentic, accurate and authoritative Word of God, therefore the supreme and final authority in all things (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; Rev. 22:18-19).
WE BELIEVE in one God (monotheism), eternally existing in three Persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit—the Trinity. They are co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and have the same attributes and perfections (I John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; Deut. 6:4; II Cor. 13:14; John 14:10, 26).
WE BELIEVE in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He was supernaturally begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and is truly, totally God and truly, totally man (Matt. 1:20-21; Luke 1:35-36; 2:10-11). He is the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14; 3:16, 18; I John 4:9) and at the same time God the Son; therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ, sinless, omnipotent, omniscient, Saviour of sinners, King of kings, and Lord of lords.
WE BELIEVE in the literal, physical, bodily resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His literal, physical, bodily ascension into Heaven and in His present work there as High Priest, Mediator, and Advocate for us (Heb. 9:24; 10:20-21; I Tim. 2:5-6; I John 2:1, 2).
WE BELIEVE man was created in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also that spiritual death which is the eternal separation from God and an everlasting abode in Hell, that all human beings are henceforth born with a sinful nature and, in the case of those who reach the age of moral responsibility, become sinners by choice and practice, in thought, word, and deed, and that sin creates a debt which no man can pay for himself (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; Gen. 1:26-27; I Cor. 11:7).
WE BELIEVE the Gospel is the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins; that He was buried that He arose alive and triumphant from the grave and in so doing He made the necessary sacrifice for atonement, became the Substitute for our redemption, which thereby paid our sin debt and purchased our salvation for us; and that all who place their faith in full trust in Him are saved by His shed blood (I Cor. 15:3-4; Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 5:9; Acts 4:12).
WE BELIEVE each person claiming Christ as Saviour should promptly make public his/her profession of Christ, that each new Christian should follow the Lord's command for believer's baptism, that such scriptural baptism is always by immersion (after salvation), that baptism does not save but that it is the Lord's prescribed way for us to identify ourselves with Him in open confession, that baptism is a symbolic representation, a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Matt. 10:32-33; 28:18-20; Luke 9:23; Acts 16:30-34; Rom. 10:9-10).
The Holy Spirit
WE BELIEVE that at the precise time of the new birth the believer immediately receives the Holy Spirit and is by Him baptized (placed) into the body of Christ, is forever indwelt by the Holy Spirit as Comforter, Teacher and Guide, and if yielded to Him, is filled by the Spirit and is empowered for service (John 1:32-34; Acts 1:8; Acts 15:8; Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; Eph. 5:18).
WE BELIEVE each believer, at the time he puts his trust in Christ, is born into the family of God and does instantaneously become a son or daughter of the living God, thus is redeemed by the Lord's purchase price paid for us, is henceforth preserved in Christ and, therefore, is forever secure in Christ, possesses everlasting, eternal life and is sealed by the Holy Spirit for eternity (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:38-39; John 5:24; Ephesians 1:13).
WE BELIEVE the Scriptures teach that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His Laws, and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops or pastors (pastor, bishop and elder are three terms for the same office) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the New Testament. I Tim. 3, Titus 1).
WE BELIEVE the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have the opportunity, and the building up and edifying of the saints. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations and that the one and only Head is Christ through the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:41, 42; 8:1; I Cor. 4:17; Acts 2:47; I Cor. 11:2; Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; 15:10; Acts 14:23; 15:22; II Thess. 3:7; Rom. 16:17-20; I Cor. 11:23; Matt. 18:15-20; I Tim. 3; Titus 1).
WE BELIEVE the Lord's Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) is His command to us to get the Gospel to the world; therefore, we carry forth an extensive program of soul-winning evangelism in the homeland and a worldwide missionary program abroad, with the goal of winning people to Christ, baptizing them, and teaching them everything the Lord has commanded us (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
Heaven and Hell
WE BELIEVE Heaven is a real place that is the eternal home of all who by faith claim the salvation of Christ.
WE BELIEVE Hell is a real place that is the eternal home of all who die without Christ as their Saviour.
WE BELIEVE in the literal, physical, bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost (I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:5-6), the everlasting blessedness of the saved (Heaven) (John 14:1-3; Rev. 21-22), and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost (Hell) (Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 20:11-15).
WE BELIEVE Satan is a real being, a personal devil, that he is the enemy of God, the 'father of lies,' the great deceiver of mankind, the instigator of all false systems of religion, and that both he and all his followers will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire (II Cor. 11:13-16; Ephesians 2:2; II Cor. 4:3-4; Rev. 20:2).
WE BELIEVE the Scriptures teach us to give tithes and offerings from our income and resources into the Lord's treasury in the local church and that all of us have a responsibility before God to be faithful every week in our stewardship (Mal. 3:8-10; Matt. 23:23; I Cor. 16:1, 2).
WE BELIEVE that Christians should be separated unto God and separated from the world and that all believers are called into a life of personal separation from all worldly and sinful practices (James 4:4; Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 6:14-18).
WE BELIEVE a Christian should seek to live a life that is clean, holy and above reproach. He should exhibit both attitude and actions so as to be of good report. Practices which are questionable or which may cause another person to stumble or which may mar the testimony of Christ should be avoided altogether. Therefore personal standards of demeanor and deportment are expected (Eph. 2:10; 4:1; 5:1-4; Phil. 1:27; 3:14-21; 4:8-9).
The Lord's Day
WE BELIEVE that Sunday, the first day of the week, is the Lord's Day. It is therefore a sacred and special day. It should be a day of worship of the Lord and service to Him, as well as a day of respite and rest from the ordinary routines of life (John 20:1, 19, 26; I Cor. 16:2; Heb. 10:25).
WE BELIEVE that God created the universe in six literal, twenty-four-hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin (Gen. 1-2; Exo. 20:11).
WE BELIEVE that God has ordained and created all authority, consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective, biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God (Rom.13:1-7; Eph.5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; I Pet. 2:13-14).
WE BELIEVE that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23).
WE BELIEVE that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church (Gen. 3:16; Col. 3:18; I Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5,12).
WE BELIEVE that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage. (Ex. 20:14, Heb. 13:4, I Cor. 7:1-5, Mt. 19:4-6).
WE BELIEVE that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful perversions of God's gift of sex (Gen. 2:24; 19:5, 13; 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1; 6:9; I Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4).
WE BELIEVE that human life begins at conception and the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
The Lord's Supper
WE BELIEVE that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration, by the use of unleavened bread and of the fruit of the vine, of the death of Christ until He comes again and that it is to be preceded always by solemn self-examination (I Cor. 11:23-28).
The Fall of Man
WE BELIEVE the Scriptures teach that man was created in innocence, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression he fell from that holy and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but by choice, being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse (Gen. 1:27; 1:31; Acts 17:26; Gen. 2:16,17; 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12,19; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-18; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Ezek. 18:19, 20; Rom. 1:20; Gal. 3:22).
The Virgin Birth of Christ
WE BELIEVE the Scriptures teach that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God the Son.
The Way of Salvation
WE BELIEVE the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the shed blood and mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Who, according to the will of the Father, assumed our nature, yet without sin, honored the Divine Law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection. He is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Saviour (Eph. 2:5; Matt. 18:11; I John 4:10; I Cor. 3:5-7; Acts 15:11; John 3:16; John 1:1-14; Heb. 4:14; 12:24; Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 2:9, 14; II Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:4,5; Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:9).
WE BELIEVE that the command to get the Gospel to the world is a clear and unmistakable mandate, that this command is therefore, the commission of God to all of us who are saved. (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:13-15).
WE BELIEVE salvation is received when a person honestly sincerely, consciously and deliberately repents (changes their mind about God, Acts 20:21) and places their faith (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour (Acts 20:21, Rom. 10:9-10, Eph. 2:8-9, John 1:12).
WE FURTHER BELIEVE that when we follow Christ appropriately and obediently, we will be a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19).
The Believer's Two Natures
WE BELIEVE every truly regenerated, born again Christian is saved by the grace of God through faith placed in Jesus Christ and is thereby awarded a new and spiritual nature which he did not previously possess.
WE BELIEVE the old nature which we possess from birth is not eradicated but lingers yet within us.
WE BELIEVE it is for this reason that true Christians are not perfect people and they can still sin.
WE BELIEVE the new nature, if nourished properly, should begin to dominate the Christian's life, and the old nature should be less and less prominent.
WE BELIEVE that Christian believers and local, New Testament churches should be guided and governed by the Bible, and consequently, we believe it is imperative that we identify false doctrine and those who perpetrate it, and subsequently, stand separate and apart from them. We welcome all who come to our doors, but we give no place on our platform to honor or to hear the opinions and the views of those who do not hold to "sound doctrine." With this in view we oppose the widespread popular practice of ecumenism (getting theologically diverse groups together for the sake of fellowship, for the cause of evangelism, and for the exercise of their ministries together).
The Second Coming
WE BELIEVE in "that blessed hope," the personal, literal and visible pretribulational, premillennial return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (I Thess. 4:13-18; II Thess. 2:1-3).
WE BELIEVE the second coming will be a two-phased event: first the rapture and then the revelation. The rapture will be followed by a seven-year period of great tribulation on earth (Rev. 4-18). At the end of the Tribulation period, Christ will return to rule and reign on the earth for one thousand grand and glorious years (Rev. 20:4-6).