I read Sword of the Lord for YEARS in my independent baptist church. Free copies were available to all church members. Some of the paper was good, bible verses, stories about people being born again, testimonies, nice little quips, but even before I moved away from my fundamentalist church, a lot about this paper started disturbing me. This paper is distributed in many fundamentalist churches, I have seen it distributed elsewhere, and my old pastor used to go to seminars held by them. We would have visiting preachers from their organizations--usually these preachers were the "screamers", the types where if I had a family member visiting on those days, I would turn red with embarrassment not because of any strong Christian messages being preached but because in a small church room, the preacher would literally be yelling, and bursting everyone's eardrums within a short time. I actually started staying away from revival week at my old church because this was such a bad problem. Some would complain and one of these pastors said, "the Holy Spirit wants me to preach that way!", I said someone needs to tell that them, we are not in the middle of a tent in a field where loudness is an asset.
As I read Sword of the Lord all those years, many things started bugging me. Lately I have talked about this a bit here, but there is a lot in the fundamentalist world I am concerned about which is happening but these are trends out there in the independent fundamentalist baptist churches as well. Let me also remind people, a lot of what they seem to support biblical separation, the KJV Bible, I support as well.
I want you to take a look at this sample online Sword of the Lord paper...its from 2008. Tell me what you see...
"THEY CALLED HIM BILL
William Buckley had a great in-
fluence on many lives, including
Ronald Reagan’s. He was brilliant
(if not spiritual) and had a com-
mand of myriad topics. His life
story was often hair-raising.
He once wrote a column about
perfect strangers calling him “Bill.”
(I’ve never been too keen on that,
either.) He had such an amazing
command of words that writers
said, “I hope they have dictionar-
ies in Heaven.” Preachers might
think that through! Others call
him the father of conservatism.
Would that all speakers knew
Bible truth like he knew people
and politics! Words are vital. Jesus
said, “By thy words thou shalt be
justified, and by thy words thou
shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37).
Be careful of your words."
Why would Sword of the Lord, praise a Knights of Malta Catholic like William Buckley?
While the writer admits he is "not spiritual" [kind of an understatement of the year] I noticed things like this in this paper, along with the giant DOMINIONIST message.
This really shines forth in the article entitled "Pray for America! It's Election Year" which has the whole "fight the liberals" message. During the Bush years, the time I was in my last fundie church, I never saw this paper warn about the Patriot Act, or the removal of our freedoms in America, it was boiler-plate Republican party equals God party stuff, and it was bothersome. Obviously no new world order aware types in that bunch.
Pray for America!
It’s an Election Year
Every transition of leadership in
any organization, be it a church, a
school or a government, is a time
for somebody to be on full alert.
In the case of the nation, that
somebody should be all of us. It
appears that a good number of
Christians take an “oh, whatever”
attitude in an election year.
I strongly believe that is totally
unbiblical and practically very
foolish. Our nation needs the in-
volvement and the influence of
Christian people at all levels of its
The article goes on to say Pray and to write Congressmen, and papers, and then adds in the you must vote message...[for who?]
4. It is important that we vote!
Some say, “Oh, but I don’t have a
favorite. I don’t like any of them.”
Well, here’s a thought—vote
against somebody. Try to imagine
This message is very Dominionist, in nature, the whole deception of America as a "Christian nation" runs herd over this one. What heritage in a multi-cultural nation and why should that be magnified over the gospel? Here too you see the false "Christian" origins message pushed.
5. It is important that we mag-
nify our national heritage! We
need to know it, and our children
need to know it. If the heritage
be distorted or ignored, our fu-
ture generations will be clueless
about the foundations on which
the nation was born.
Here you'll see more of what I mean...
But let it never be so that we,
the people of God, failed to be
counted even in the political
arena. If we are intimidated and
silenced, then the liberals, the
abortionists, the homosexuals, the
socialists and others have their
way, and they rule the day.
If we let them run the country
without so much as a whimper
out of us, they will walk over us
and our family roughshod.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of bad liberal agendas being pushed on this country, but one can tell this paper definitely goes with the false right-left paradigms I have discussed on this blog. I haven't seen a recent copy, but doubt this has changed much, one of their recent papers has a picture of 9-11 on the front, doubtful with any accompanying truth.
Here is another quote from the 2008 paper:
"The liberals typically are loud
in their clamor for freedom (for
themselves), but they are quick
to imply restrictions (upon us) once
they are entrusted with power."
What about the restrictions coming from the other side?
One can run through that paper example and see the emphasis on the 'cultural wars' stuff, gay marriage, abortion, etc...as well as other false teachers being advertised--not surprisingly Scofield, but then the majority of baptist churches out there including independents are Pre-Trib.
Many do not know this but Sword of the Lord at it's start had BILLY GRAHAM on it's board. Sorry to say but when I see Graham's influence on anything even if he is later removed, I do not trust it as readily.
In 1954, Graham spoke to the faculty and student body of liberal Union Theological Seminary in New York, repeatedly referring to his ministry as "ecumenical". Presbyterian fundamentalist Carl McIntire picked up on this "compromising" speech in his Christian Beacon, but Rice continued to defend Graham in The Sword of the Lord. Graham used his considerable charm to remain in Rice's good graces for as long as possible, for instance, by inviting the older man to participate in his 1955 Glasgow campaign. At 59, Rice had never even been out of the United States, and his response to Graham's red-carpet treatment in Scotland was more effusive praise.
Nevertheless, by 1956, the religious differences between Rice and Graham could no longer be papered over. Rice decided with some annoyance that Graham had been, at best, disingenuous about his relationship with religious liberals. Graham's 1957 New York City campaign was held in cooperation with the Protestant Council of New York, which was "predominantly nonevangelical and even included out-and-out modernists." Rice began to criticize Graham with increasing severity.
The break with Billy Graham left The Sword reeling. Circulation dropped from over 100,000 in 1956 to 67,000 in 1957. Rice was also refused the use of a conference center in Toccoa Falls, Georgia, where he had held Sword rallies for thirteen years, because its founder, R. G. LeTourneau, had sided with neo-evangelicalism. Even more distressing to Rice was the break with radio preacher Charles E. Fuller, whose namesake seminary quickly moved to the vanguard of the neo-evangelical movement. Fuller, Rice, and Jones had appeared together at a rally only a few years earlier.
See all the connections? Well they did break away from each other, but it makes you wonder about this paper and it's political agendas. Some of the spiritual ones seem to be in error. These ex-fundamentalists are correct about the easy believism they discuss in this article that is portrayed too. Here is the article being discussed...
I definitely agree with them there. What was the chances of this guy shaking the "right" hand just to get rid of this man instead of truly becoming born again? I have discussed the problems of easy believism with Billy Graham, but's something that can occur in other places too. However this paper was full of these examples. I have nothing against witnessing but something definitely is wrong about the above.
Sword of the Lord, politically and otherwise just seemed "off" and did so to me even then. The praise and defenses for George W. Bush was never ending. Their Dominionist and other stances are promoted at a yearly conference. Odd background there, may not mean anything...hmmm, anyhow on the schedule is the School of the prophets, that is another odd name.
This book may be some interesting reading..
My grandfather was John R. Rice, dean of American fundamentalists for decades until his death in 1980, and mentor to many younger Baptist preachers including Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell, as well as founding editor of The Sword of the Lord newspaper.
So yes the founder of this newspaper was a mentor to Billy Graham even though they split up later and friends with Jerry Falwell [who founded the early cultural wars group Moral Majority]
The Sword of the Lord was and still is very Dominionist, they even published Jerry Falwell's book, "Can America Be Saved?"
So that shows you even in the early days, they were advancing the America as "Christian nation" deal and involved in early Dominionism and the "culture wars" that would be soon to follow. Falwell has been mentioned on this blog in many other places, his new world order involvements are endless. He wrote for Sword of the Lord and considered Rice a mentor too, as detailed by his more liberal grandson here.
What does this tell you? Some may think I am overstretching these connections, but all I know is this paper passed out in many fundamentalist churches advances the overall political message and status quo messages. By the way I spoke a few times about it to fellow church members at the time, who thankfully listened but what kind of influence is it having? We see so many caught up now in the Christian "Triumphalism", the false mythical America as a Christian nation stuff, and looking to the political system to solve world problems. If they have infiltrated all the neo-evangelical churches with this garbage why not the fundamentalist ones?
To me the name of this newspaper is "OFF" as well. Think about WHAT is the SWORD OF THE LORD, it is something that speaks of JUDGEMENT, on the wicked, on the evil, to be cast into hell, why would a newspaper for BELIEVERS be named that? Maybe some could make the case for it being a reference to Hebrews 4:12 but it makes one wonder....
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.