SWANWICK, England (BP)–An organization to support “Baptist missionaries from the two-thirds world” was among several proposals voiced by the general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, Denton Lotz, during a “Summit on Baptist Mission in the 21st Century” May 5-9 in Swanwick, England.
The BWA-sponsored meeting was attended by Baptist leaders from 60 countries, according to a BWA news release.
A 24-point “Mission in the 21st Century” statement was issued at the conclusion of the meeting, touching on a wide range of concerns, such as global missions; human needs stemming from war, secularism; drugs and other vices; and the lack of women attendees at the meeting.
Among Lotz’s proposals, as reported by the BWA:
— the formation of an International Baptist Missions Society to send and support Baptist missionaries “from the two-thirds world who feel called by God to missionary work beyond their own borders but lack financial resources,” as phrased in the BWA news release.
— the establishment of at least one major Baptist university on every continent, which Lotz said would “challenge and equip students intellectually, lay and ordained, and to confront secular and pagan worldviews with the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own contextual and cultural settings.”
— a Baptist world journal of missiology to identify and present missionary challenges and successes.
— a Baptist Congress on World Mission every 30 months between the BWA Congress held every five years.
Lotz expressed thanksgiving for the Baptist missionary visionaries and initiatives of the past 200 years, such as William Carey, various Baptist missions organizations and modern-day evangelist Billy Graham. Lotz credited Graham “for awakening churches to the tasks of world evangelization” and “for the prophetic [Graham-sponsored] congresses on world evangelism in Berlin, Lausanne and Amsterdam which have been a major impetus in our day for world evangelization and a force for unity among Baptists and those committed to world evangelization.”
The “Mission in the 21st Century” statement makes no specific reference to Lotz’s proposals.
On the missions challenge of the 21st century, the document states, “We recognize that models of mission used in the past will not be wholly adequate for the new era that has dawned with the startling speed of modern technology. Notions of sending and receiving are unhelpful if we assume that it is the role of some simply to send and others simply to receive. Mission is ‘from everywhere to everywhere’ but such movement requires resourcing and too often resources are held in the hands of the few. We plead for a global, as well as a local, interpretation of Acts 4:32 (‘All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had’). In this way strategic partnerships can energize the mission of the whole church. Issues of mutual trust, responsibility and accountability will need to be addressed with respect and understanding.”
The document also noted: “We have affirmed our unswerving commitment to the historic truths revealed in Scripture. It is our conviction that God has acted decisively and supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Mission of God, Missio Dei, is laid forth from Genesis to Revelation and in this cosmic drama we recognize that:
“God the Father yearns for us to participate (Luke 15:20).
“God the Son both invites and commands us to participate (Matthew 28:19).
“God the Holy Spirit empowers us to participate (Acts 1:8).
“Thus called, invited, commanded and empowered, we offer our lives once more to the task of making Jesus known in word and deed. This we affirm is the task of all disciples of Christ.”
The full “Mission in the 21st Century” statement is posted at the BWA website, www.bwanet.com.