UTRECHT, Netherlands — (RNS/ENI) Four hundred years after the first Baptist congregation was established, followers have been challenged to continue championing religious liberty.

"We as Baptists must continue to defend religious freedom for all peoples and all religions," said Denton Lotz, the former general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, at a special service held last Thursday (July 30) in Amsterdam to mark the 400th anniversary of the Baptist movement.

The service was held in a Mennonite church in central Amsterdam, a short distance from the site of what is honored as the first Baptist congregation, founded in 1609 by exiles from Britain who had fled religious persecution in England.

"If we fail to take seriously the 21st century and merely continue to defend religious freedom as though we were living under King James I, then we will have become irrelevant and our defense of freedom irrelevant," said Lotz, who served as the BWA's top executive for 19 years until his retirement in 2007.

Read the full article at http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/08/baptists-mark-400th-anniversar.php


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