New Baptist Identity: Baptists are for Mission and Cooperation
P r a g u e - The 100th-anniversary congress of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), which took place in Birmingham, England at the end of July, has strengthened Baptist identity everywhere. That is the conviction of Dr. Denton Lotz (Falls Church; Virginia), General-Secretary of the Alliance. He states further that US-Baptists in particular have been known for their opposition to unwelcome social developments. But the anniversary congress has brought a change in paradigms. Society, he claims, is now aware that Baptists are also for something: for mission, human rights and global cooperation. At the European Baptist Federation (EBF) council sessions taking place in Prague from 22-25 September he stated: „It is now known that we are a missionary movement with more than 100 million followers. We are growing rapidly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.“
Underdeveloped countries had noted with appreciation that even 700 unregistered visitors in Birmingham from their countries had found a bed in a hotel and had their travel costs covered. Lotz also underscored the necessity of comprehensive theological education for Baptist pastors. Not every new spiritual trend contributes to Baptist identity. Lotz distanced himself from the superficial texts of oft modern, frequently charismatic worship songs known as "Seven-Eleven-Worship“ - the seven-word text of a song is repeated 11 times. A reaction to this movement is now apparent in the USA. Protestant intellectuals are increasingly protesting against such church services and are transferring to the Roman Catholic church.
Lotz also stressed the importance of comprehensive humanitarian aid as a form of mission work. The World Alliance for ex. cannot hold a missions conference in Africa entitled „Living Water“ without at the same time insuring that additional wells for drinking water are dug.