IRLA Meets to Honor its "Outstanding President"

News June 2007

L to R: Bert Beach, Jan Paulsen, Denton Lotz, Janice Lotz, John Graz.

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA… IRLA leaders met June 7 at an event also co-sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to honor IRLA president Denton Lotz.

Lotz, who is also president of the Baptist World Alliance, has headed the IRLA for the past eight years, and is "an outstanding president," says John Graz, IRLA secretary-general.

"Denton Lotz is a courageous advocate of religious freedom," Graz told those attending the meeting. "He is the world leader of million of Baptists, and as president of the IRLA has been elected four times. He chaired the IRLA World Congresses in Manila and Cape Town. He also chaired the Conference of Secretaries of the Christian World Communions and maintained friendship with all despite spirited discussion. We want to express our thanks for your strong convictions and your intelligent way of sharing your faith."

Adventist world church president Jan Paulsen added his welcome, saying that, "Once you step outside of your own faith community you can make wonderful discoveries-such as people like Denton Lotz. I have appreciated Denton's sharing of deep spiritual values, his loyalty to God, serving God with all his heart. For the past twenty-five years I have been delighted to know him and to share important moments together. Thanks for the friendship and fellowship."

Responding, Lotz spoke of the importance of communication between different faiths, that they should know each other. "The IRLA is a wonderful forum for religious traditions to express themselves. Religious freedom has been a major emphasis for Baptists, beginning in 1609. Now Adventists and the IRLA have become champions of religious freedom in our day."

"Christians need to be working for religious freedom-more Christians being killed today than in the past," he added. "The challenge of the IRLA in the 21st century is greater than ever before. I thank the Adventist church and the IRLA for providing a platform for defending religious freedom and for working together. As Jesus told his disciples, 'Put back your sword'--and we have seen the tragedy of history of religious wars. Today we see the clash of civilizations as religions compete with one another. The IRLA provides an opportunity for fellowship and interchange and better understanding between religious groups."

Lotz continues as president of IRLA until the end of 2007. [IRLA News]