Blurbs for "The Sword of the Lord"
"John R Rice was, arguably, the leading voice of Fundamentalism in the 20th century. Andrew Himes gives a poignant account of Rice's life and ministry from an insider's perspective. One doesn't have to agree with every point Himes makes to appreciate what an important work this book is."~ Ken Keathley, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"Part history, part memoir, part sociology. Himes has created a fascinating book that allows you to see American fundamentalism from within the belly of it. It is not pretentious or passive aggressive or cynical... but it is honest. Himes realizes that some of the most unhealthy voices in fundamentalist history are still humans. We have no right to demonize but every right to deconstruct. The Sword of the Lord is an invitation, not to judge those who judge, but to allow their contradictions and hypocrisies to allow us to see our own a little better. " ~ Shane Claiborne, author of Follow Me to Freedom, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, and Jesus for President
"In The Sword of the Lord, Andrew Himes offers a fascinating glimpse of fundamentalism's development by chronicling the family history of his grandfather, John R. Rice. Himes' work opens a window into the mindset of a devout Christian family seeking to remain faithful to historic Christian convictions within a world that was rapidly changing." ~ Trevin Wax, author of Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope and Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals
"A remarkable book...about a man and a movement we must understand if we want to understand America. A brilliant mix of social analysis and high drama (in which people like Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones, Jr., play supporting roles), the book will make you wince sometimes and at other times open your eyes, gifting you with the hard-won insight that allowed its author to recount this personal and historical tale." ~ Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, and The Courage to Teach
"Whether or not you identify with Andrew Himes' journey away from a strong fundamentalist background into extremely diverse political and social passions, you will be moved by the candor and tenderness of his analysis of the influences that shaped him. This is a story within a story painted on a larger canvass of America's origins and beliefs that relentlessly shaped the history of all of us...ultimately a story of forgiveness and hope." ~ Jessie Rice Sandberg, daughter of John R. Rice, Chattanooga Police Department chaplain, women's ministries at Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga, author of The Sum of My Happiness
"Fundamentalism is hard to understand from the outside. It's actually not that easy to understand from the inside either. That's why Andrew Himes' work is so important. As a former insider, he knows how to help both outsiders and insiders better understand this movement that shapes individuals, families, and even nations today." - Brian D. McLaren, author, activist, speaker
"A grandson's poignant and finely-tuned memoir of John R. Rice, one of America's most influential fundamentalist leaders, this is also an arresting spiritual coming-of-age story, set against a backdrop of fundamentalism's victories and defeats over the course of the last century. America's great hypocrisy--our resolute racism underneath our rhetoric of egalitarianism--turns out to be the dark heart of fundamentalism as well in this revealing family history of our national folk religion." ~ Michael S. Hamilton, Associate Professor and Chair, Dept. of History, Seattle Pacific University
"I learned an awful lot about the history of fundamentalism and some of the individuals associated with it, and recommend the book to all." ~ Paul Harvey, Professor of History, University of Colorado, blogmeister at Religion in American History, author of Freedom's Coming: Religious Cultures and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era, etc.
"In The Sword of the Lord, Himes masterfully weaves his own family story and the larger themes of Baptist fundamentalist history together into a fascinating tale full of blood and thunder. It is a book both enjoyable in its storytelling and challenging in its humanity." ~ Darrell Dow, writer and humorist, stufffundieslike.com
"You'll get a tremendous look at American history, religious history and the history of the Rice family. You'll understand the firm stance of religious zeal and how it can divide people. You will also start to soften, in your heart, for the lost, and greatly appreciate a pure Christian faith." ~ Sharon White, author of The Legacy of Home
"I read The Sword of the Lord with rapt attention and emotion. The author and I come from very similar (religious) and yet very different (Vietnam War) backgrounds. I could not put the book down. You won't be able to either!" ~ Tim Lee, evangelist, Tim Lee Ministries
"Himes generally takes a dim view of fundamentalism, though it seems he tries to be fair and kind. The book helps the reader understand how other people view fundamentalism, even when the reader would disagree theologically." ~ Norm Olson, editor-in-chief, The Baptist Bulletin (magazine of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a fundamentalist denomination)
"Andrew Himes transitions gracefully between an engaging history of fundamentalism and gripping stories of the collateral damage left in the wake of today's fundamentalism. His book helped me better speak with those who are still part of fundamentalism and help those who have left damaged by it." ~ Joy Bennett, author of Joy in this Journey, contributor to Deeper Story
"It is not often that one witnesses the birth of a classic. Andrew Himes has provided a unique, unstintingly researched and timeless look at the multi-layered manner in which white Christian fundamentalist beliefs shaped American behaviors, interactions, dysfunctions and compassion. He is remarkable not just for his clarity but for his honesty, even about the ugly face of faith, and for his capacity to forgive himself and others, a challenging application of Christianity." ~ Lora-Ellen McKinney, author of Total Praise: An Orientation to Black Baptist Belief and Worship
"Among progressive Christians it is common to demonize those who are more conservative than we are. By telling the personal stories of fundamentalists rather than merely refuting fundamentalism, Himes shows us the humanity in those we may disagree with, and contributes to the healing of the Church. This is an important book." ~ David Nilsen, author of The Screaming Kettle
"If you like to say that you are NOT a fundamentalist, but unsure how it became so powerful, The Sword of the Lord is a must-read. This book is a legitimate, historical and academic account of not just a fundamentalist upbringing but growing up in practically the royal family of fundamentalism." ~ Tim Ghali, pastor at Grace Chapel, author of Black Coffee Reflections
"You could read this book for its well-crafted stories or to understand an often ignored (and more often misunderstood) strain of American religious history. You could even read as prodding to make peace with your own past. But whatever the reason, you should read the story Himes tells." ~ Winn Collier, columnist, author of Holy Curiosity, pastor All Souls Charlottesville
"The Sword of the Lord was a breath of fresh air. Himes' treatment of the subject kept me turning pages all the way to the end. He represented fundamentalism, his family, and the issues surrounding both with great dignity and near-forensic clarity." ~ Scott Postma, Las Vegas writer & church planter
"Fundamentalism is the house John R. Rice built. Read Andrew's book and see how it happened!" ~ John Rice Himes, Baptist missionary and Bible translator (and brother of the author) - Hokkaido, Japan
"A wonderful new book about fundamentalism that I highly recommend to you...gripping, vivid, insightful. Himes’ book alternates between vignettes of the lives of his ancestors and their fundamentalist friends and associates and mini-essays about American and especially Southern evangelical Christianity. It also contains chapters about Himes’ own life without being his autobiography." ~ Roger E. Olson, Professor of Theology, Truett Seminary, Baylor University, co-chair of the Evangelical Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion.
"Valuable, honest look at the racism that sometimes characterized certain expressions of Fundamentalism. [Himes] argues that such expressions still exist in some quarters of Fundamentalism, providing helpful reflection for those who would distance themselves from it...especially important in understanding 'the uneasy conscience' that has sometimes described the movement." ~ Jonathan Rehfeldt, professor at Maranatha Baptist Bible College and Baptist World Missions appointee to Uruguay.
"A riveting read and helpful contribution to the literature related to John R. Rice. As one who has combed through Rice’s personal correspondence, read countless editorials and books the evangelist authored, digested several dissertations and theses, and forced myself through a couple of hagiographical biographies of the famed fundamentalist, I can attest that there are anecdotes about Rice and his family in this book that aren’t available in other sources. ~ Nathan Finn, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina; blog author, Christian Faith and Tradition