Friday, May 18, 2007

The James Lloyd Story: An Introspective - Part 1

One week after James Lloyd’s 'true baptism' (October 8, 1978), Douglas Arthur approached the minister's son and persuaded him to become a minister. Four years later, the Boston movement leadership commissioned them to start the first church planting outside the borders of the United States. They were responsible for the planting of the South London Church of Christ.

James' father had been a Baptist preacher for 25 years. Reading the 1990's multi-authored edition of "Shining Like Stars", he states: Mom was one of the most Christlike women I'd ever known. When James was only eleven years old his father baptised him the first time infront of his congregation. James grew up a Southern Baptist. As a minister's son he had been forced to attend every service in his father's church. Yet I knew hardly anything about the Bible. He knew that the church of his father would not be his own. It was not my spiritual home. However, not content with the church of my father - he sought religion. James declared in his own storyI had to explore other churches, other congregations, and other expressions of the Christian faith. Here, James prayed with the Methodists, sang with the Presbyterians, hallelujahed wih the Nazarenes, and shouted "Lawdy, Lawdy" with the spirit-filled of other churches.

However, his search intensified when that pistol was shoved up my nostril and James near death experience shook his confidence about his salvation. He felt he wasn't ready to die. Nor was he at peace with himself or with God. On the other hand, relatively unscathed James figured God gave him a second chance. James sincerely felt called by God.

James Lloyd search finally came to an end when he walked aided with his girlfriend into a Church of Christ congregation after being in many places of worship and attending several churches more than once. My search was over. I was home. I had found true Christianity!

However, this spiritual group was labeled according to James Lloyd by many as conservative, and even fundamentalist, the Church of Christ had been around for many years and had congregations throughout the world. But there was a dynamic new group of "radicals" affiliated with the Church of Christ. Headquarters in Gainesville, Florida, and calling themselves the "Campus Ministry", this group sent out ministry teams to begin congregations near college campuses all throughout the United States.

James, at first, did not know where this new found teachings of this so-called true Christianity would lead him. He hurry home each evening in anticipation of studying the Bible four to five hours, fervently highlighting and underlying scriptures. Reading the Bible, from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation. Taking copious notes. Sermon notes...personal notes...questions...scrawled down the side and middle columns and across the top and bottom of every page in his Bible. Seated on the front row, focusing intently, taking notes, and hanging on every word the minister preached.

It was at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where James struck up a friendship with Douglas Arthur. I studied the Bible with Douglas Arthur, relate James in "Shining Like Stars", in 1978. As we studied, we drew close to God. I enjoyed Douglas' company and our Bible studies immensely until one night it all hit me. My mom and dad were, according to the scriptures, lost. This was extremely difficult for me, as Dad had been a Baptist preacher for 25 years, and Mom was one of the most Christlike women I'd ever known. I remember going to Douglas Arthur's home one night exclaiming, "I cannot accept that my parents are lost! I have no problem seeing my own lostness, but not my parents'." After much study, prayer, and discussion, this situation was finally resolved. But I had already violated the first principle. 1. Accept the Truth Sometimes we say in our speech "My relatives are lost," but have enormous difficulty accepting that fact in our hearts. It is crucial that we accept the harsh reality of their condition if we expect to have the urgency to help them."

After James had accepted the harsh reality of the teachings of the Church of Christ, concerning his parents condition... he was truly baptized (not-rebaptized) on October 8, 1978. Despite the fact that his dad had been a Baptist preacher for 25 years and his Mom was one of the most Christlike women he had ever known... they were in his mind according to the scriptures, lost. This effectively meant, if they would die they will go to hell!

James set out to reverse this spiritual condition for his family. He consistently prayed that [his] family would become Christians. He also recruited other people to pray for [his] family. He believed in this cause. His parents spiritual condition could be altered. They too needed to see their lostness. They too needed to be truly baptized. They too, needed to accept the harsh reality for their parents condition!

Perhaps the driving force behind Lloyd's motives to save his family was helped along by Douglas Arthur one week after his Church of Christ immersion. About a week after my baptism, Douglas told me he would be moving to Boston to train under a powerfully effective minister. After asking me if I'd be willing to move to Massachusetts with him, he persuaded, "It'll be the chance of a lifetime. We can both become ministers!"

At that time, James didn't give it a second thought.

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