United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity
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About the Book
On the Last Day every tongue and tribe will be represented in the glorious chorus praising God with one voice. Yet today our churches remain segregated. Can we reflect the beauty of the last day this day? United will inspire, challenge and en-courage readers to pursue the joys of of diversity through stories of the author’s own journey and a theology of diversity lived out.
Civil rights leaders of fifty years ago fought hard to overturn the “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws. America has come a long way since the 60’s. Our public facilities, parks, pools, and educational facilities – once segregated – are now filled with a variety of ethnic groups enjoying the benefits of togetherness. Yet, our churches remain separate but equal. In a time of great progress, why does the church remain relatively unmoved?
Here is a voice that brings us together. Here is a testimony that humbles, encourages, and instructs. Here is an aspiration that is contagious. Trillia Newbell does so many things well at the same time in this book that it is hard to articulate them all. In United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity, Trillia invites you into a fruitful conversation about the beautiful, biblical, gospel-based, Spirit-enabled, unity in and enthusiasm for multiethnic diversity that the church is meant to experience and be and manifest. Her skillfully told and deeply moving stories from the past and present are heartbreakingly real and joy-givingly hopeful. The older I grow, the more I have come to realize that this kind of unity does not just happen (because we are all sinners and we are all different and there is a long painful history to live down). Yes, gospel unity in the church is the gift and work of God’s grace by His Spirit applying the benefits of Christ won in redemption, but it also requires a deliberate response and embrace on our part. And that begins with eyes that have been opened, to both our past failings and present opportunities, and hearts that have been charged with a new longing to see the glorious and blessed unity-in-diversity that the gospel creates in the life of the church. Trillia inspires me here, and evokes in me a holy hope for what can (and should) be. I think she will for you, too.
Ligon Duncan, PhD, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
Meet Trillia Newbell. Warm. Gracious. Clear. Honest. Realistic. Friendly. And eager to see the Lord’s Church united across ethnic lines. In United she has a surprisingly simple but profound iea: Racial unity happens through friendship. By the time you’re finished with this book you’ll think Trillia is an old friend, you’ll be ready to make new friends with people not like you, and you’ll want to stick with it until meaningful diversity in the body of Christ happens – all because of the gospel.
Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman
Jim Crow is dead; Jesus Christ is alive. But, like a zombie, the spirit of Jim Crow keeps walking. The answer is a gospel that is as big as the kingdom of Christ. Trillia Newbell, one of the most powerful young voice in evangelical Christianity, asks us to imagine what it would look like if reconciliation were more than rhetoric and programs but a Christ-shaped vision of an empty tomb that casts out fear, hate, and division.
Russel D. Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Trillia loves Jesus her Savior and loves the church he saved. Out of that love she tells her story and gives her call for unity in God’s diverse family. Diversity is more than a subject for Trillia; it’s what she has learned to live. Her words come with graciousness and grace. They are words that all of us in the church need to hear.
Kathleen B. Nielson, Director of Women’s Initiative, The Gospel Coalition
United is like a picture of a wedding rehearsal dinner. Trillia shows how the table is set for a feast of grace provided by Jesus, while Christ’s multiethnic bride, the church, waits for her Bridegroom. Grounded in Scripture, Trillia weaves together stories of precious friendships that are all because of the precious blood of Christ. United is a celebration of God’s grace in reconciliation where every tribe, tongue, people, and nation are invited.
Gloria Furman, Cross-cultural worker, author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
United is the story of one woman’s encounters with ethnicity. It examines how ethnicity and race intersect with living out the gospel in personal relationships and in the body of Christ. The warm, conversational tone makes this book a great resource to read with another Christian who is interested in exploring the intersection between culture and faith in Christ.
Kristie Anyabwile, Servant of Christ, wife of Thabiti Anyabwile, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman
United encourages a pursuit of unity in the midst of our diversity as believers. Trillia’s personal story of fighting for unity in the body of Christ, points to a greater story of oneness that has been purchased for us by Christ’s blood regardless of our ethnic, socio-economic or cultural makeup. The message of pursuing diversity in the local gathering is timely, challenging and necessary in order to fulfill God’s vision of that glorious multi-cultural worship service when “every tribe and language and people and nation” will be before God’s throne crying out with one voice “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”
Blair Linne, Spoken Word artist and conference speaker
Trillia writes with abundant grace, while firmly and unapologetically calling the church to examine her perception of race in the body of Christ. She asks tough questions, and encourages thoughtful introspection as she offers personal stories, biblical support, and compelling insight into historical and demographic realities. This is a theology of diversity, and it is an important read for anyone who desires to tear down the walls we’ve built up to keep one another at a distance.
Deidra Riggs, Managing editor, The High Calling
Race and ethnicity are tough subjects to handle. Trillia treats them with the gravity they deserve and yet winsomely weaves in her own story of ethnic discoveries and the glories of identity in Christ. As the church continues to wrestle with realizing unity in diversity, Trillia has given us a shot of encouragement with this book. Let’s thank her by reading and sharing her story.
Anthony Carter, Pastor of East Point Church
Trillia Newbell shares a compelling account of two familiar quests — how to balance ethnic identity with identity in Christ and how to achieve spiritual unity with cultural diversity. For anyone desiring to see the church on earth reflect the church in heaven, United gives helpful insights towards realizing this great goal.
Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr. Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Redeemer Seminary and Associate Pastor at New City Fellowship
United is one woman’s attempt to understand issues of race and interpret her own spiritual journey through the lens of Scripture. Trillia’s personal story gave me new insight into the struggles and feelings of my African-American brothers and sisters. Meanwhile, the passion with which she pursues relationships with people unlike herself gave me a renewed hope that churches in America will one day resemble more closely the church in all its multifaceted glory.
Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights, Gospel-Centered Teaching, and Counterfeit Gospels.
Trillia Newbell has written a heartfelt, biblical, and gospel-centered vision of racial unity in the body of Christ. Ultimately, this is Christ’s vision. But Trillia has written a clear and strong witness for true Christian unity. Read this book. Share it with your friends. Pray this vision becomes a reality to the glory of God.
H.B. Charles, Jr. Pastor-Teacher of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church