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Denton Lotz initiates review of BWA’s 21st century direction

WASHINGTON (BP)-Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, asked Baptist leaders to recommend their “brightest and best.”
The recommended individuals will form an ad hoc committee on the BWA’s direction at the start of the 21st century, Lotz said during the BWA executive committee meeting, March 2-5 in Washington.
As he looked around the room of Baptist leaders from every continent, Lotz voiced a measure of satisfaction with the international makeup he saw but said he still believes the BWA must become more representative of the world.
“From an all-white men’s club, we have become more international and reflect that,” Lotz said to the executive committee, “but the BWA must become more than an extended NATO alliance. We must truly be international and find ways of engaging leaders from all six continents in the deliberations as to the future mission of the church and the BWA’s role in fulfilling that mission.”
Whatever structural changes the BWA goes through, its role as “a catalyst for change” in Baptist life will stay the same, Lotz stated.
In an editorial in the BWA News, the monthly newsletter sent to its 191 member bodies, which Lotz said received “widespread reaction,” the BWA leader called for, among various areas of exploration, a: radical reformation; re-examination of where the Baptist movement is heading; new look at denominational structures; concern for new leadership; search for unity beyond theological divisions; and recommitment to the spiritual dimension of life that leaders will need if they are indeed to lead in the next century.
Lotz reported leaders of BWA regional work in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America met with the BWA staff directors for their annual retreat in January and agreed the BWA must continue, among other things, to be: — a catalyst for mission and evangelism; — an advocate for religious freedom and human rights; — a place for unity and togetherness, collaboration and cooperation; — a movement for reconciliation; — a place to promote Baptist identity; — a worldwide forum for ideas; — a place “to express an authentic and global Baptist view on ideas” and, where possible, give credibility to Baptists wherever they are and whatever their size; and — a place “to entrust, empower, encourage, enable and help Baptists participate in ministry and service and provide fellowship that goes beyond the superficial to a depth of Christian caring and commitment to each other.”

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  • Wendy Ryan