Revealed on April 24th, 2019 | by ABCUSA
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/24/19)—On Tuesday, April 23, Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz, Common Secretary Emeritus of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and trustworthy servant of the LORD, died at his residence in Forestdale, Mass., on the age of 80. The Baptist World Alliance calls upon all Baptists to keep in mind and honor his legacy and to pray for his household. American Baptist Churches USA joins with the BWA in remembering and honoring Lotz.
Born in 1939 in Flushing, N.Y., Lotz was the youngest of four sons raised by Rev. and Mrs. John Lotz. He typically credited his heritage for influencing his ministry, stating that he inherited “a German brain from his father and an Italian heart from his mother.”
After graduating from Northpoint High Faculty in 1956, Lotz attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. He then enlisted in the USA Marine Corps, serving from 1961-1963. During a portion of his service, he was stationed internationally in Okinawa, Japan, finally attaining the rank of second lieutenant.
After finishing his army service, he attended Harvard Divinity Faculty where he served as President of the Scholar Government from 1965-1966. He earned his sacred theology degree in 1966 as well as being ordained that very same yr at Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After finishing his research at Harvard, Lotz started his doctoral studies at the University of Hamburg in Germany, earning a Doctor of Theology in 1970.
1970 proved to be an exquisite yr as it was additionally the yr he married Janice Robinson from Ellisville, Mississippi. For the subsequent ten years, they might serve as missionaries with the International Ministries Division of American Baptist Church buildings. Throughout their missionary tenure, Lotz traveled extensively – typically to nations beneath communist control – with a give attention to lecturing, preaching, and serving as a diplomatic representative to authorities officials on questions of spiritual freedom and Baptist life.
During this time, Lotz also served as a professor of missions and homiletics on the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, the place he based the Summer time Institute of Theological Schooling (SITE) – a short-term, intensive theological program for Japanese European pastors and leaders.
Whereas ministering in Europe, he typically traveled alongside Gerhard Class, who was serving at the time as Common Secretary of the European Baptist Federation. When Claas was selected to be the subsequent BWA Basic Secretary, he invited Lotz to be his deputy. Lotz joined the BWA employees in 1980 in the position of associate secretary, with duties together with oversight of the Division of Evangelism and Schooling as well as Aid and Improvement. He would later be appointed as Director of the BWA Youth Department as nicely.
After Claas out of the blue passed away in a tragic vehicle accident in 1988, Lotz was designated as Interim Basic Secretary. Shortly thereafter, the BWA Government Committee voted to completely appoint him, which was affirmed by the BWA Basic Council later that yr.
During almost 20 years of service as Basic Secretary, Rev. Lotz served alongside five BWA presidents and 71 Vice Presidents as well as quite a few fee chairs and employees members. He led preparations for four Baptist World Congresses with a cumulative attendance of 42,000 individuals from more than 100 nations. He oversaw 20 Basic Council conferences as well as 16 Annual Gatherings.
“He leaves a massive footprint in the history of the BWA,” stated Rev. Dr. David Coffey, former Baptist World Alliance President (2005-2010). “He was a missionary theologian, an inspiring preacher and evangelist, a champion for religious liberty, a Baptist ambassador, a Christian statesman, and a brother unrivaled in his prodigious remembering of the names of hundreds of people and places.”
Amongst his many contributions to the BWA, Lotz helped launch the Baptist Worldwide Convention on Theological Schooling (BICTE) in 1991, which was attended by Baptist educators from 52 nations. He was also instrumental in relocating the Baptist World Alliance office to its current facility in Falls Church, Virginia, USA, in 2001. In July 2005 at the BWA Centennial Congress in Birmingham, England, Lotz unveiled the Dwelling Water initiative, a strategic plan designed to enlist and equip local Baptists for evangelism and servant leadership. Since its inception, Dwelling Water events have taken place all over the world from Cuba to Bangladesh with more than 4,500 registered delegates in attendance who have engaged in prayer, targeted Bible research, evangelism, and leadership training.
In addition to his service as BWA Basic Secretary, Rev. Lotz was twice elected President of the International Spiritual Liberty Affiliation (IRLA), a corporation chartered in 1893 to work with authorities and educational establishments to disseminate rules of spiritual liberty and human rights all through the world. The IRLA custom of rotating presidents every two years was damaged with Lotz, who was reelected an unprecedented 4 occasions.
Upon his re-election in 2002, then IRLA Secretary Basic John Graz stated, “We are honored to have someone like Denton whose passion for religious freedom is demonstrated in his daily commitment to defend human rights for people everywhere.” Upon his retirement from the BWA, Graz wrote, “Thank you for your convictions, for your intelligent way of expressing your faith, and the values in which you believe without destroying bridges between yourself and others.”
His dedication to racial reconciliation was the catalyst for the formation of the BWA Particular Fee on Baptists Towards Racism and Ethnic Conflict, which resulted in the Harare Declaration in 1993 and the Decade for Racial Justice. As a result of of his tireless advocacy for human rights and non secular freedom, the BWA named its annual human rights award in his honor, with ten individuals receiving the Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award since 2006.
His tireless effort and commitment have been matched only by his love for individuals and unwavering optimism even within the face of nice problem.
“In whatever country he arrived, he was welcomed as someone who brought hope to Baptists wherever they were and in whatever situation they found themselves,” stated Wendy Ryan, former BWA Communications Director. “There was never a time I traveled with him as part of a BWA team that I did not see him received with great joy.”
His ministry took him around the globe from African villages to the Oval Workplace. His friendships included globally-recognized religion leaders like Rev. Billy Graham as well as leaders of state comparable to former United States President Jimmy Carter. Upon his retirement from the BWA in 2007, Graham wrote, “Your strong leadership and personal faith has been an inspiration and blessing to me.” Carter shared the following, “As I think of all the BWA has accomplished for Baptists around the world in the past twenty years, I know that your gifted leadership has helped to make it all possible. You have served a great organization with conviction and honor.”
After his “retirement,” Lotz continued to journey and preach as well as to serving as Senior Pastor of Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Mass. He additionally remained lively in the life and ministry of the BWA, including providing encouragement to the organization’s latest chief.
“Denton Lotz was one of the most significant Baptist leaders of the second half of the twentieth century. His profound leadership touched countless lives around the world as he championed evangelism, religious freedom, and the ministry of the global Baptist family,” stated Rev. Dr. Elijah Brown, BWA Basic Secretary. “From my first individual meeting with Denton in 2007 until the present, he offered regular and meaningful encouragement and insight. To Janice and all of the Lotz family, I stand with you as does all of the Baptist World Alliance in mourning and in recognition of a life of incredible service. Thank you for sharing Denton with us. While today I feel a keen sense of loss in Denton’s passing, I believe his leadership and legacy will continue to shape and mold the Baptist World Alliance for years to come.”
Rev. Lotz is survived by his loving spouse, Janice, their three youngsters, and lots of grandchildren. A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday, April 26, at 12 p.m. at Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Mass., with a reception following. A live-streamed memorial service celebrating his life and legacy may even be hosted by the Baptist World Alliance at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Va. Details shall be forthcoming.
Those wishing to share a tribute are invited to achieve this by visiting: http://bit.ly/honoringdenton
The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 239 conventions and unions in 125 nations and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches. For greater than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impression the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to individuals in want via assist, aid, and group improvement; defend spiritual freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership improvement.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of probably the most numerous Christian denominations immediately, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, throughout the USA and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission all over the world.