WASHINGTON (BP)—Trustees of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission have approved three executive staff members to serve alongside the ERLC's newly inaugurated president, Russell D. Moore.

In their annual meeting Wednesday (Sept. 11), trustees voted in support of Phillip Bethancourt as executive vice president, Daniel Patterson as chief of staff and Dan Darling as vice president of communications. Their approval came the day after Moore was inaugurated in Washington, D.C., as the ERLC's eighth president.

The ERLC also announced the appointment of two other new staff members: Joe Carter as director of communications and Trillia Newbell as consultant for women's initiatives.

Bethancourt previously served as associate vice president of enrollment management and student life at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and remains an assistant professor of Christian theology at the Louisville, Ky., school. He holds both master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southern.

Bethancourt "has demonstrated a truly amazing track record for innovation and creativity, along with a deep burden to see the Kingdom of God transform people, families and churches," Moore said.

Patterson formerly was executive assistant to Moore in his capacity as senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary before becoming ERLC president. Patterson also served as assistant editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology at the seminary.

A lifelong Southern Baptist, Patterson "is a convictional leader, with the organizational genius to carry out vision to reality," Moore said.

Bethancourt and Patterson joined the ERLC staff when Moore became president in June but awaited trustee approval to the executive staff.

Darling, a Chicago-area pastor and well-known Christian communicator, has written for Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, HomeLife and Focus on the Family. The author of five books, he also maintains a popular blog among evangelical Christians.

Darling "understands the old-time religion and the new media landscape," Moore said. "He cares about the Kingdom vision God has given us here at the ERLC, and I can't wait to unleash his dynamic skill on our task of articulating old truths to a new day."

Carter has served, and continues to serve, in a variety of communications roles among evangelical Christians. He is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and senior editor at the Action Institute. An author, Carter also is a popular blogger for The Gospel Coalition and has served as web editor for First Things and director of communications for both the Family Research Council and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

Carter has "a long track record of thoughtful engagement with the most crucial issues facing our world and the church," Moore said. "Joe Carter is a man with Gospel in his heart, his gut and his spine."

Darling will work from the ERLC's Nasvhille office while Carter will work out of the Washington office.

Newbell, formerly a freelance journalist with The Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, is a popular writer at various evangelical websites. The author of two books to be published in the next two years, she is lead editor of Karis, the women's channel of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's website. Newbell also contributes to the Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition sites.

Moore described Newbell as "a walking testimony of the power of the Gospel to transform." Since her conversion to Christ as a pro-choice advocate for abortion rights, "God has used her phenomenal writing and journalistic gifts to speak out for the lives of the unborn, for a Christian sexual ethic, and for those who are trafficked, abused and exploited," Moore said.

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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