The Baptist World Alliance, at a meeting of its general council, accepted affiliation of four new Baptist bodies, totaling 55,910 members. This brings to 144 the number of affiliated denominations, with memberships totaling 35.5 million.
The alliance commended, "with thanksgiving to God, a widening degree of openness" in the Soviet Union, allowing printing and importation of Bibles and religious books. Hope was expressed for further guarantees of religious rights.The alliance elected the Rev. Denton Lotz of Washington, D.C., as general secretary, replacing the late Gerhard Class, who died in an automobile accident earlier this year. Lotz, an American Baptist, previously was associate general secretary for evangelism and education.