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United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity Paperback – March 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


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 voices 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.

Russell D. Moore, president, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

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 idea: 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

Here is a voice that brings us together, a testimony that encourages, and 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. She invites you into a fruitful conversation about the beautiful unity in 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. This kind of unity does not happen; gospel unity in the church is the gift and work of God's grace by His Spirit, but it also requires a deliberate response and embrace on our part. 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 Ducan, chancellor, Reformed Theological Seminary, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

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, socioeconomic 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 multicultural 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

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, wife of Thabiti Anyabwile, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman

Trillia bleeds unity with conviction and she lives unity in her every day. She loves well, she builds bridges and she will lead us to do the same. She is a voice for deeper reconciliation in our generation.

Jennie Allen, author of Restless: Because You Were Made For More and Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul

Race and ethnicity are tough subjects to handle. Trillia treats them with the gravity that 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 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 Initiatives, the Gospel Coaltion

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 multi-ethnic bride, the church, waits for her Bridgegroom. Grounded in Scripture, Trillia weaves together stories of precious friendship that are all because of the precious blood of Christ. United is a celebration of God's grace in reconcilation 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 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 Metropolitian Baptist Church

Trilla Newbell shares a compelling account of 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 toward realizing this great goal.

Dr. Carl Ellis Jr., assistant professor of practical theology at Redeemer Seminary and associate pastor at New City Fellowship


From the Back Cover

What’s the view from where you worship?


Do you see similarity or variety? While it’s easier to gather with others like ourselves, the beauty and richness of diversity surpasses all we could imagine.


It’s time to capture a glimpse of God’s magnificent creativity. In the pages of United, Trillia Newbell reveals the deeply moving, transforming power of knowing—really knowing—someone who is equal yet unique. As we learn to identify in Christ rather than in our commonalities, we begin to experience the depth and power of gospel unity.


United will inspire, challenge, and encourage you to pursue the joys of a theology of diversity lived out.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802410146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802410146
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
“This is my story–a journey of finding faith in a world in which I am different and discovering relationships that reveal the beauty and importance of diversity in the body of Christ” (Trillia Newbell, United)

Have you ever read a book, and been surprised by how much you needed to read it? I was looking forward to reading Trillia Newbell’s book, United: Captured By God’s Vision for Diversity, because I love Newbell’s gracious, friendly, and gospel-driven writing style. I’ve always enjoyed reading her articles at DesiringGod.org, CBMW, and now the ERLC. For this reason, I new I would enjoy being able to walk through a larger work by her, and indeed, I did.

I was surprised, however, by how much I needed to read her story–how much I needed to know what it is like to be the odd man out. Obviously, I am white. If you look at my profile picture to the right, you can see that I am really, really white (possibly translucent). I was raised in a small country town a little northwest of Houston, Texas and although my parents raised my brother and I to treat all people–regardless of race and ethnicity–equally, my close relationships with people of different races has been fairly limited.

Within the churches I have been a member of since becoming a Christian, two of them have been incredibly “white.” In fact these particular churches, averaged about one, to perhaps two black families within the entire congregation. I think there are a variety of reasons for this–ranging from theological beliefs, to worship and preaching styles–but the reason most certainly wasn’t that there weren’t any black communities near by. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many churches today.
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Format: Paperback
In Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream Speech," he spoke of his longing to see "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." Though he was speaking specifically of children in Alabama, he hoped to see that dream as a reality spread across our nation.

Today, when we look back over the time that has spanned between the Civil Rights Movement and where we are now, a lot has changed. We don't have separate bathrooms or schools. We don't sit in separate places on public transportation. In my own generation, I played with children of all races. My children do as well.

But as far as we've come, there's one place where the barrier separating people by the color of their skin still remains in many places: In our churches.

In United, Trillia looks at the issue of race, ethnicity, our history as a nation, and the church. Sharing her own personal stories and perspective as an African-American raised in the heart of the South, Trillia shares her heart for seeing our churches filled with the diversity of all God's cultures and people groups.

This is God's heart as well.

Trillia returns to the creation account to remind us that we all come from one set of parents. We all have the same Maker and the same Savior. We are family. At our Lord's return, we all join together with our brothers and sisters from across the globe and across the ages in worship, singing praise to our Savior for all eternity.

Why not start now?

In United, Trillia shares her own story of being one of a handful of blacks in a predominantly white church. Part of her story includes God's provision of diversity in the form of two friends.
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I am so glad Trillia said it first:

Talking about race and racial reconciliation can be downright terrifying. No one wants to offend, and in our politically correct society, who would blame you? If you say the wrong thing, ask the wrong question, or call someone by the wrong name, will they be angry? Are you black or African American? Chinese or Asian? Hispanic, Latino, or Mexican? This is an explosive topic, and sometimes it seems that the wisest course of action is to avoid it at all costs. (16)

The truth is I think about race often these days, but I am often not sure how best to think about it, write about it, or dialogue about it. It’s scary because a wrong move could take you miles away from diversity and reconciliation. That is not what I want for myself or my church. Trillia knows this, but she believes that this is still an important conversation to have in the church today. In her new book United she has entered where many of us are fearful to tread and she sheds some light onto the path ahead. United offers the insight and inspiration many of us need to forge ahead in having these important conversations about race and diversity.

United is not merely a call to embrace God’s vision for diversity, as the subtitle suggests. It actually has a much more personal touch. It is Trillia’s own personal story to be “captured by God’s vision for diversity.” The general language of diversity is important, then, because this is not simply a book about black and white relations. As Trillia tells her story she reveals what diversity has looked like in her own life and how God has shaped her understanding of it. As we consider the subject through the lens of her life God can reshape our understanding of it too.
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