In previous posts I’ve mentioned how my wife and I had joined an independent fundamental Baptist church in 1983 shortly after we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. There was some excellent Bible teaching at that church but there was also waaaaaay too much jingoistic patriotism and harping on U.S. politics. Many IFB pastors were imitating Jerry Falwell back in those days. There was also a lot of rigid judgmentalism when it came to certain pet sins. Our pastor railed against homosexuals so frequently it became unbearable. We left the church in 1991 and I ended up walking away from the Lord for 23 years.
When I returned to the Lord in 2014 (Thank you, God!) I noticed the American Christian landscape had changed dramatically in my absence. Fundamentalism was definitely on the decline but I wasn’t concerned because I wasn’t seeking to attend an IFB church ever again. But even conservative Evangelicalism struggles against the rising tide of doctrine-lite, “seeker” and “purpose-driven” churches. And, of course, the “emergent” churches generally throw doctrine right out the window.
So, while the IFB churches had MANY faults, at least they were pretty good when it came to orthodox Biblical doctrine. Dr. John Rice (1895-1980) was a very influential figure in the IFB movement as the editor of Sword of the Lord weekly newspaper, which had 300,000 subscribers at its peak in the 1970s. I was a subscriber to the Sword for a couple of years when I was a member of the IFB church and I always thought the reprints of Rice’s sermons were the best part of the paper.
The Sword of the Lord Ministries is still publishing and offers a couple of booklets written by Dr. Rice for Roman Catholics; “Dear Catholic Friend” and “Sermon from a Catholic Bible.” In both booklets, Dr. Rice charitably compares Roman Catholicism to God’s Word and challenges the reader to accept Jesus Christ. These low-cost booklets are ideal as gifts for Catholic friends and family. Order from the Sword of the Lord here.