The Origin of Autobahn 4

Bridge between US Highway 78 and Autobahn 4

Lloyd Turner and Highway 78

In the early eighties when a British band called Double Check toured the US for Atlantic Bridge, I came across a man named Lloyd Turner. I never met him back then, but he became inspired by the ministry of Double Check and supported them. Twenty years later our paths crossed again when I stumbled upon a book with his name on it as the author: “Highways of Holiness: Preparing the way of the Lord”. The book describes what happened in the region around Highway 78, a four-lane highway between Newark, NJ and Allentown, PA.

Two hundred plus years ago American’s Great Awakening was stirred up in this area by men on horseback who were called Circuit Riders. In particular, the region between Newark and Allentown was heavily and heavenly inspired by these men. On both sides of what today has become Highway 78, these men started churches and preached sermons – sermons that changed people’s lives and created a spiritual hunger in America. Back then the road was not paved, and it took a lot longer than two hours to travel from Newark to Allentown. Lloyd wrote that book in response to a clear inspiration and calling for him to write this history down on paper. But it was more than historic documentation.  He meant for the book to proclaim a clear message:  We need to rewrite this story again in our present time. Newark back then was a city with a strong spiritual foundation, but today, like so many other cities, it is a place of poverty, crime, and illegal drugs.  Can we regain the spiritual fervour of that time again today to regain a foothold in a city where churches today have emptied?

Autobahn 4

On the European side of our common history, there is a road of similar value.  The Autobahn 4 is a highway more than 700 kilometres long – sometimes four lanes sometimes six – that cuts right through the middle of Germany, recalling a historic treasure trove any historian would lick his fingers over. It starts in Antwerp, just twenty minutes from my house in The Netherlands, passes Aachen, the seat of Charlemagne (on the Dutch border), and goes all the way to Görlitz on the Polish border. In a way you could say it links Charlemagne to Zinzendorf with in between Luther, Melanchton, Huss, Boniface and a host of others that walked these paths, passing through the very cradle of Christianity in Central Europe.

I once asked Lloyd if he would help write a similar story about Autobahn 4.  Sadly, just a week ago as I am writing this in January 2021, I received news that Lloyd went on to heaven.  I’m not sure if it was Corona related.  That makes it even more important to get this started. Writing books is not my talent. My interest in this is not so much history but young people. The big question I ask myself all the time is this:  How do I make this historic background interesting and inspiring for young people so they can be reconnected to the faith of their forefathers, to the Christian faith, and ultimately to personal faith in Christ. My goal would be to create a unique youth mission project.  Such a project would be like a book or like a painting.  Someone else can write it up while I bring young people together for a mission with the same name: Autobahn 4.

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