One of the world's best-known Christian leaders has died at the age of 80. 

Rev. Dr. Denton Lotz passed away on April 23 at his home in Forestdale, Massachusetts.

Lotz attended Harvard Divinity School where he served as President of the Student Government from 1965-1966, according to an online tribute by the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). He earned his sacred theology degree in 1966 as well as being ordained that same year at Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After completing his studies at Harvard, Lotz began his doctoral studies at the University of Hamburg in Germany, earning a Doctor of Theology in 1970.

Lotz married in 1970 and served as a professor of missions and homiletics at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, where he founded the Summer Institute of Theological Education (SITE) – a short-term, intensive theological program for Eastern European pastors and leaders.

Lotz would join the BWA staff in 1980 in the role of associate secretary, with responsibilities including oversight of the Division of Evangelism and Education as well as Relief and Development. He would later be appointed as Director of the BWA Youth Department as well.

Lotz became the General Secretary in 1988 after Claas suddenly passed away in a tragic automobile accident.

Over the course of 29 years, Lotz would serve in the position and would see the Alliance through some of its most difficult years. That includes when the Southern Baptist Convention decided to leave the organization in 2004. According to Baptist News that resulted in the BWA losing about a third of its membership and 20 per cent of its annual budget.

Lotz was an influential Christian leader that counted just as influential people as close friends, including Billy Graham and former U.S. 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 said on the same occasion, “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 honour.”

Rev. Lotz is survived by his loving wife, Janice, their three children, and many grandchildren. A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday, April 26, at 12 p.m. at Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with a reception following. A live-streamed memorial service celebrating his life and legacy will also be hosted by the Baptist World Alliance at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia, USA.