By Evangelist John R. Rice, D. D., Litt. D.,
Editor of The Sword of the Lord
The honest reader will find, I believe, that the breath of Heaven will sweep over his soul as he reads these fervent messages by my beloved brother, Dr. Joe Henry Hankins, imminent and greatly used evangelist. I love the honest, believing simplicity and the holy urgency in them. Every reader will know that these messages are warm from a heart that believes men are lost and weeps over the fact, the heart one who knows that CHRIST died for sinners and will save those who repent and trust Him, and from a heart that rejoices in proclaiming it.
These are the kind of messages that bring results. They have already done so. These sermons were taken down as they were preached in many pulpits. There is the flavor of tears about them, for Dr. Hankins weeps as he preaches and weeps before he preaches. There is the fragrance of salvation, the echoes of rejoicing in Heaven over them, for wonderful things happened when these sermons were preached. Souls were saved, the saints were convicted and moved and changed and blessed. It is a joy to be allowed to say these brief words of introduction to the book which will bless and rejoice so many.
Brother Hankins is one of the greatest preachers in America. When he had been pastor of the First Baptist Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, four years and eight months, I learned that the church had received 1,165 new converts as candidates for baptism in that time, and 1,667 members had been added to the church by letter or statement, a total of .832 additions in the four years and eight months. That meant a total of five new converts each week who had found CHRIST and joined the church for baptism under Dr. Hankins in five years and a total of 118 members every week of that time!
Meantime the church had been so wisely led and so prospered of GOD that the Sunday School attendance was from 1,100 to 1,300 weekly, the church had built a new auditorium seating 2,000 people. And while carrying the heavy administrative and preaching burden of that great church, Dr. Hankins had held outside services in which over 2,000 public professions of faith had taken place, altogether, in addition to those who were saved and joined his own church for baptism! Viewed from the viewpoint of success in the pastorate as a soul winner, a preacher and administrator, Dr. Hankins is a great preacher.
More than four years ago Dr. Hankins, pressed on by the fire in his bones, wooed by his love for CHRIST and for lost sinners, gave up the pastorate and has, since then, been a full-time evangelist. He has had revival campaigns in churches of many denominations. He has now become so well known and in such demand that most of his time is given in union city-wide campaigns. He has had such union campaigns with great blessings in Bellingham, Washington; Altoona, Pennsylvania; Scranton, Pennsylvania; in a number of suburbs of Los Angeles; in Pontiac, Michigan; and is scheduled, when this is written, for a great city-wide campaign in Cleveland, Ohio.
The solid Scriptural background in Dr. Hankins' sermons, the directness of speech, his strong convictions about Heaven and Hell and CHRIST and His Blood, and salvation by faith, make Dr. Hankins a great preacher. He is distinctly a Bible preacher. He is manifestly a Spirit-filled preacher. He is a compassionate, prayerful, brotherly preacher. We pray and believe that many thousands will be blessed by his sermons in this book and trust that the volume will be scattered far and near and put in the hands of saints and sinners, preachers and lay Christians alike.
These sermons were first printed in The Sword of the Lord. A number of them appeared with a decision form and we have letters from several people who have found CHRIST as they read Dr. Hankins' sermons. With the earnest hope that sinners will be saved as they read these messages, a decision blank is attached at the close of the book.
November, 1946Wheaton, Illinois