“If the Lord can change Saul, then He could change me,” said A.D. Livingston, a trailblazer in every sense of the word.
As I turn my attention back to Trailblazers of the BMA of Arkansas, I was just thinking about one of the most colorful, dedicated and straight-to-the-point preachers I’ve known. I must emphatically say that it was my honor and pleasure to have know Bro. Livingston.
The man who would later be featured in an article in the October 1958 issue of Look Magazine was born in 1918. In 1943, at the age of 25, he was gloriously saved. He answered the ministry call in 1949, at the age of 31. That is when A.D. Livingston set his heart to being an instrument with which the Lord would change many lives.
However, Bro. A.D. was quite a “rounder” before the Lord took hold of him. His young adult life was driven by his thirst for alcohol; but when Christ saved him from his sins, He rescued him from his addiction. The Lord truly changed A.D. Livingston. He told me once that he was a II Cor. 5:17 man: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new!” He also identified with the essence of the song, “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart!’
That change took that young 31-year-old and transformed him from a sot to a servant. He preached for 58 years until his death in June 15, 2008.
I loved to hear him preach. Despite the fact that he had a speech impediment, Bro. Livingston preached the Word as plain as anyone ever has. He told me once how he felt about his lisp. He said, “Bro. Tom, if I didn’t have this lisp, I would think more highly of myself than I should, and that it would have been a bigger hindrance than having a lisp!” Wisdom!
Bro. Livingston was a firm believer that, despite the efforts from some, Baptist churches should not use wine in the Lord’s Supper. He said, “I was a sot! One small taste of alcohol would put me back to being a sot. I am a drunk saved by grace, and I am thankful for that gift.” Wisdom!
Bro. Livingston led in the organization of three churches, one of which was in his hometown of New Edinburg, Ark. He was a full-time evangelist for 14 years, preaching over 700 revival meeting in 14 states. He didn’t keep up with how many conversions resulted from those meetings. “Jesus has kept us with those,” he said with a sly grin, “and His count is what counts!”
I miss him greatly and so do many, many BMA Baptists. I was just thinking, he is going to stand before the Lord one day and he will not hear, “Livingston, you were a horrible sot.” No, I believe he will hear, “Well done, you have been a good, faithful servant.
May those who have come behind the trailblazer also learn that the Lord can change any person — even some from sot to servant.