John Richard Rice
John R. Rice was born in Cooke County, Texas, on December 11,
1895, the son of William H. and Sallie Elizabeth LaPrade
Rice. Educated at Decatur Baptist College and Baylor Univer-
sity, he did graduate work at the Southwestern Baptist Theo-
logical Seminary and the University of Chicago.
On September 27, 1921, he was married to Lloys
McClure Cooke. Six daughters were born of that union, all of
whom, with their husbands, labored in full-time Christian
service. Although Dr. Rice served as pastor of Baptist
churches in Dallas and Shamrock, Texas, in addition to start-
ing about a dozen others from his successful independent cru-
sades, his primary work was as an evangelist. He had been a
friend and peer of Billy and Ma Sunday, Bob Jones Sr., W.B.
Riley, Homer Rodeheaver, H.A. Ironside, Robert G. Lee, Harry
Rimmer, and other leaders of that era. He himself held huge
citywide crusades in Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Seattle,
and numerous other key metropolitan centers.
Called by his biographer “the twentieth century’s
mightiest pen,” Dr. Rice authored more than 200 books and
booklets, circulating in excess of 60,000,000 copies before
his death–about a dozen of which were translated into at
least 35 foreign languages. His sermon booklet, What Must I
Do to Be Saved?, had been distributed in over 32,000,000 cop-
ies in English alone–8,500,000 in Japanese, and nearly
2,000,000 in Spanish.
In 1934 he launched The Sword of the Lord, which, by
the time of his death, had become the largest independent re-
ligious weekly in the world, with subscribers in every state
of the union, and more than 100 foreign countries. Thousands
of preachers read it regularly, and it undoubtedly had the
greatest impact on the fundamentalist movement of any publi-
cation in the 20th century.
In 1959 Dr. Rice started the Voice of Revival, a 30-
minute radio broadcast heard on 69 stations in 29 states,
Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands. He died in
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on December 29, 1980.
John Richard Rice