Denton Lotz, who served nearly two decades as general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, died April 23 in Forestdale, Mass. He was 80.
Lotz was born Jan. 18, 1939, in Flushing, N.Y. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, ultimately earning the rank of second lieutenant.
Lotz went on to graduate from Harvard Divinity School and earn a doctorate in theology from the University of Hamburg, Germany.
He was ordained to the gospel ministry at Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C.
In 1970, he married Janice Robinson of Ellisville, Miss. They served 10 years as missionaries with the International Ministries Division of American Baptist Churches.
During that time, he was professor of missions and homiletics at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. At the seminary, he founded the Summer Institute of Theological Education to offer Eastern European pastors short-term intensive theological training.
Lotz joined the BWA staff in 1980 as associate secretary. He later also assumed responsibility as director of the BWA youth department.
After BWA General Secretary Gerhard Claas was killed in an automobile accident in 1988, Lotz was named interim general secretary. The BWA Executive Committee soon voted to appoint him general secretary, and the BWA General Council affirmed the appointment.
During his time as general secretary, Lotz helped launch the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education and the Living Water Initiative to enlist and equip Baptists around the world for evangelism and servant leadership. He served alongside five BWA presidents.
“He leaves a massive footprint in the history of BWA,” said David Coffee, BWA president from 2005 to 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.”
When Lotz retired from his leadership post at BWA in 2007, former President Jimmy Carter said: “As I think of all the BWA has accomplished for Baptists around the world in the past 20 years, I know that your gifted leadership has helped to make it all possible. You have served a great organization with conviction and honor.”
Based on information from the Baptist World Alliance.