Billy Graham: A Personal Statement

On behalf of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz, family member and long time friend of Billy Graham, issues the following personal statement:

The world has lost a great spiritual leader. Christians have lost a great evangelist. What was the basis of his spiritual strength? The strength of Billy Graham was his humility in the face of Christ! I remember when he began to preach in Eastern Europe. A Hungarian bishop who hosted him one day said, "You know the Communists said only bad things about Billy Graham, but now that I have been with him I know that his power comes from his humility before God!" It was an honor to accompany him on many of his trips to Eastern Europe where thousands suffering under communism were encouraged. Many gave their hearts to Christ.

I remember during the Vietnam War when we were in Geneva and some students were protesting. Billy went up to them and in Christian love talked to them and befriended them. He was not ashamed of the Gospel. Whether speaking to kings or queens or peasant farmers he respected all peoples. One of his great contributions to America and the world was his call for racial reconciliation. He was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. Both recognized the power of the Gospel.

Billy Graham was an evangelist for the world, beyond denominationalism. He called men and women to Christ, not to his own tradition. Pope John Paul II was his friend. Once when I brought the pope greetings from Dr. Graham, his eyes lit up and he returned the greetings with thanks. Nevertheless, Dr. Graham was pleased to be part of the Baptist tradition. Since 1950 until 1990 he preached at every Baptist World Alliance congress. In later years, he was distressed at the disunity among Baptists. The call of Christ was a call for unity. At the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) Convention in 1995 in Atlanta, USA, he admonished us all, "Support the Baptist World Alliance!" It was always a joy to count on Dr. Graham's support and encouragement.

Evangelicalism has lost its leader. It seems that we are now fragmented. But the question is not, "Who will be the next Billy Graham?" The question is, "Are Christians worldwide open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives the way Dr. Graham was?" "The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

The Baptist family around the world mourns the loss of this great man who did so much to advance the Kingdom of God here on earth.

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 238 conventions and unions in 124 countries and territories comprising 47 million baptized believers in 169,000 churches.

For additional media inquires, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baptist World Alliance®
©February 27, 2018



BWA Day 2018 in February

The observance of Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Day is on February 3 and 4, depending on whether Baptists worship on Saturday or Sunday.

Worship resources for the observance are available on the BWA website in various languages. They can be downloaded at

The liturgy was prepared by Lina Toth (Andronoviene) of Lithuania, assistant principal and lecturer in Practical Theology at the Scottish Baptist College of the University of the West of Scotland.

A musician, artist and theologian, she has special interest in exploring various aspects of ethics, spirituality and theology of culture.

The BWA Day celebration is aimed at affirming Baptist identity within the worldwide Christian family. Baptists are encouraged to pray for each other and to renew their commitment to cooperate with Baptists globally through the BWA.

BWA Day has been celebrated since 1927 when the BWA Executive Committee, meeting in London, England, asked BWA President Edgar Mullins and General Secretary John Rushbrooke to prepare a "Special Statement" to express clearly the purpose of the BWA. The statement emphasized that the BWA "seeks to express and promote unity and fellowship among the Baptists of the world."

BWA Day is normally observed on the first weekend in February.

Baptist World Alliance®
©January 22, 2018

BWA protests new Bolivian law

The Baptist World Alliance joins other Christian groups and organizations in protesting a new and ambiguous law in Bolivia that could make proselytizing illegal and put those who do so at risk of prosecution and imprisonment.

In a letter to legislators in Bolivia, BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown expressed concerns “that the ambiguity of these laws could lead to unintended restrictions on religious freedom and to the direct persecution of churches and individuals of faith.”

Brown said his concerns were not only for Baptists, “but for all who might find themselves unable to live according to the dictates of their conscience.”

In a translation by Evangelical Focus, a news and opinion website out of Europe, the offending law declares that “Whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalized 7 to 12 years of imprisonment.”

The fear is that the law could ban public preaching and punish the mere act of inviting someone to a Christian or other religious event.

According to Evangelical Focus, the new law collides with the country’s constitution. Article 4 of the Bolivian constitution reads, “The State respects and guarantees the freedom of religion and spiritual beliefs, according to their worldviews. The State is independent of religion.”

In his letter, Brown expressed hope “that freedom of religion and expression will be strengthened” and said Baptists are praying “for the ongoing wellbeing of the country.”

He also made the BWA available to Bolivian government and other authorities for further dialogue on the issue.

Global Baptists are encouraged to join Bolivian Christians who have declared Sunday, January 21, a day of prayer and fasting. They are also urged to make representations to Bolivian diplomatic missions in their respective countries on BWA concerns on the new law.

The BWA has two member organizations in Bolivia, the Baptist Convention of Bolivia and the Bolivian Baptist Union, comprising more than 50,000 members in more than 300 churches.

Both an English and Spanish version of the BWA letter may be downloaded on the BWA website.

Baptist World Alliance®
©January 19, 2018





ABM protesta nueva ley boliviana

La Alianza Bautista Mundial se une a otros grupos y organizaciones cristianas en protesta contra una nueva y ambigua ley en Bolivia que podría convertir el proselitismo en ilegal y poner a quienes lo hacen en riesgo de ser enjuiciados y encarcelados.

En una carta a los legisladores en Bolivia, el Secretario General de la Alianza Bautista Mundial Elijah Brown expresó su preocupación "de que la ambigüedad de estas leyes pueda llevar a restricciones no deseadas  a la libertad religiosa y a la persecución directa de iglesias y personas de fe".

Brown dijo que sus preocupaciones no eran solo para los bautistas, " sino para todos los que puedan verse restringidos de vivir de acuerdo con los dictados de su conciencia”.

En una traducción de Evangelical Focus, un sitio web de noticias y opinión de Europa, la ley ofensiva declara que "Quien recluta, transporta, priva de libertad o aloja personas con el objetivo de reclutarlas para participar en conflictos armados u organizaciones religiosas o de culto será penalizado con 7 a 12 años de prisión”.

El temor es que la ley pueda prohibir la predicación pública y castigar el mero hecho de invitar a alguien a un evento cristiano u otro evento religioso.

Según Evangelical Focus, la nueva ley colisiona con la constitución del país. El artículo 4 de la Constitución boliviana dice: "El Estado respeta y garantiza la libertad de religión y las creencias espirituales, de acuerdo con sus cosmovisiones. El Estado es independiente de la religión”.

En su carta, Brown expresó la esperanza de que " libertad de religión y expresión se fortalezca" y dijo que los bautistas están orando "por el bienestar continuo de Bolivia".

También puso a la Alianza Bautista Mundial a disposición del gobierno boliviano y otras autoridades para un mayor diálogo sobre el tema.

Se alienta a los bautistas en otras partes del mundo a unirse a los cristianos bolivianos que han declarado el domingo 21 de enero un día de oración y ayuno. También se les insta a hacer representaciones a las misiones diplomáticas bolivianas en sus respectivos países sobre las preocupaciones de la Alianza Bautista Mundial sobre la nueva ley.

La Alianza Bautista Mundial tiene dos organizaciones miembro en Bolivia, la Convención Bautista de Bolivia y la Unión Bautista Boliviana, que comprende más de 50,000 miembros en más de 300 iglesias.

Se puede descargar una versión en inglés y otro en español de la carta de la Alianza en el sitio web de la Alianza Bautista Mundial.

Acerca de la Alianza Bautista Mundial
La Alianza Bautista Mundial, fundada en 1905, es una confraternidad de 238 Convenciones y Uniones en 124 países y territorios que comprenden 48 millones de miembros en 169,000 iglesias. Sus prioridades son nutrir la pasión por la misión y el evangelismo; promover el culto, el compañerismo y la unidad; respondiendo a personas necesitadas; defendiendo los derechos humanos y la justicia; y avanzando la reflexión teológica relevante.


Elijah Brown assumes BWA leadership

Elijah Brown, the 9th general secretary in the 112-year history of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), assumed responsibility on January 1.

Brown, the fourth American to lead the global organization for Baptists, was elected during the BWA Annual Gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, last July.

He succeeds Neville Callam, a Jamaican, who retired after being BWA general secretary from 2007-2017.

Prior to coming to the BWA, Brown, 36, was a professor of Religion at East Texas Baptist University in the US and executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a religious freedom advocacy organization.

In his first week, the new BWA leader has emphasized BWA commitment to mission, evangelism and human rights, particularly religious freedom.

Brown has issued an invitation to prayer for Friday, January 5, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. “All are encouraged to pray on that day for the work of the Lord through the Baptist church around the world,” Brown declared.

“In light of pressing human rights challenges facing Baptists around the world and the ongoing need to continue to share the hope of the Gospel, Baptists are encouraged this Friday to pray for the work of the Lord through the Baptist church.”

To participate in the corporate prayer, persons may call +1-712-451-0685, using the access code 335454.

Persons may also call numbers of 61 countries listed on the attached or linked form, using the same access code. If your country is not listed you may use the number above.

Conversations focusing on innovations in evangelism were held with Kowloon International Baptist Church in Hong Kong, which has agreed to sponsor the BWA Evangelism Award, to be given out every five years.

The staff held a special meeting to review the situation in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. Christian villages in northern Nigeria and the nation’s Middle Belt have had repeated attacks, including from Boko Haram and Fulani militants. The country, which has one of the largest Baptist groups globally, faces a worsening famine crisis.

BWA staff will attend meetings with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in Washington, DC; and meet with Knox Thames, special adviser on Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia of the US Department of State.

For further information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Baptist World Alliance®
©January 3, 2018