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A New Role for Women in Southern Baptist Agency

A New Role for Women in Southern Baptist Agency


Oct 3 2013
Trillia Newbell talks gender, race, and her appointment to the ERLC.

Last month, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission named Christian writer Trillia Newbell to a brand-new position as a consultant for women's initiatives. It's the first time the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy agency has included such an explicit focus on women's involvement with the organization.

Newbell joins several other appointees under new ERLC president Russell Moore, who wants to do more to "address the core concerns of women in the church" as well as issues of racial reconciliation, she said.

In her new role, she works with ERLC communications to involve women and offer women's commentary on relevant issues. Christian blog readers may also recognize her byline from Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, or even here on Her.meneutics.

Why did you decide to take this position, and what excites you the most about it?

Initially, I took the position because of the great respect I have for Dr. Moore. I have always appreciated his "convictional kindness" in the way he shares. He is also simply a brilliant man. I also believe that Christians will continually need to address our core issues as the world's trajectory is increasingly secular. What an honor to have the opportunity to equip the church and think through issues that are pertinent in today's society from a Christian worldview.

Now that I am in the position and have received feedback from women reading, I am more convinced than ever that the organization is a needed resource for the church. I have been especially thankful for the women who are eager to read from other women on these topics. I believe God has a great purpose in this appointment and I am praying that I would serve ERLC and him well.

In the case of the ERLC, why is it important for Southern Baptist leaders to bring women into their work and discussions of policy, ethics, and liberty?

Women, I believe, have a unique perspective on issues specifically as it relates to policy and ethics. Topics on abortion, reproductive health, sex, and children, for example, might be addressed differently from a woman than a male because those topics often uniquely affect women. Also, many ethical issues apply to women in unique ways. Bringing women into the discussion allows these issues to be addressed with this particular focus.

Do you find the designation of "women's issues" helpful?

I think men and women are created equally yet distinct; therefore, I find it fine and even helpful to think through issues as they would relate to women. I will not (and neither will the other women) only write on topics like motherhood and child-rearing. There are some issues that are clearly not solely related to women that we should still be addressing, such as immigration laws, homosexuality, and second amendment issues. I have already addressed other topics such as the March on Washington and abortion. Women have a unique perspective that is God-given, and I'm excited to share from that perspective. I am a woman and not a man, and therefore I experience life slightly differently.

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