ERLC announces launch of new Research Institute, to host ethics course concurrent with annual National Conference

erlc logoNASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention is announcing the the launch of a new Research Institute under the direction of its president, Russell Moore, and the appointment of an array of new scholars and professionals as research fellows.

Among those research fellows are two representatives from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke is a research fellow in the new institute, while Professor of Ethics Jeffrey Riley is a research fellow in Christian ethics.

“The aim of the Research Institute is to be a catalyst to connect the agenda of the gospel to the complex questions of the day — and to do so at the highest levels of academic scholarship for the good of local congregations,” Moore said. “I am thrilled to get to work together with an exceptionally gifted band of scholars and leaders as we seek to be a persuasive, prophetic witness engaging the academy and equipping the church.”

The idea of a Research Institute has a long history within the organization. A previous Research Institute was established by the organization in 1999. This new Research Institute and its fellows will assist the ERLC in its mission by producing a variety of materials to equip Southern Baptists and churches to engage ethical and cultural issues of the day.

The newly named fellows come from all six Southern Baptist seminaries, several Baptist colleges, private and public universities and other prominent institutions such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Center for Law and Justice. A full list of fellows is available at

Barrett Duke, the ERLC vice president for public policy and research, directs the Research Institute. Andrew Walker, the ERLC director of policy studies, serves as the Institute’s associate director.

The Research Institute will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the ERLC National Conference at the Opryland Hotel October 27-29. NOBTS will have the opportunity to enroll in ETHC6303 course, “Current Ethical Issues,” concurrent with the ERLC National Conference. The class, led by Lemke and Riley, will focus on “the Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage.”

Students should register by September 29. In addition to NOBTS tuition, students are required to pay a $99 conference fee, no exceptions allowed. To register and pay for the conference, go to Students must arrange for travel and accommodations. To cut costs, students can coordinate event plans with fellow students through the course on Blackboard. For more information, visit