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Dan Darling seeks to raise 'Gospel-centered leaders' as director of Land Center for Cultural Engagement

Dan Darling named as director at Land center
Southern Baptist thought leader Daniel M. Darling has been named director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary |

Dan Darling, the newly-named director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said that in his new role, he hopes to help equip the Church to engage in an “increasingly complex and confusing culture.”

“We live in a very divided and divisive age, and yet, an age in which God is calling Christians to share the good news of the Gospel and to speak truth in love,” Darling told The Christian Post. “We hope to help host conversations about important cultural issues and to raise the next generation of Gospel-centered leaders." 

The center, which was established in 2007, is named after Dr. Richard Land, who served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission from 1988 to 2013. He then served as president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, from July 2013 to July of this year, and is now president emeritus. Land is also the executive editor of The Christian Post. 

The center focuses on the “study and research of ethics, public policy, and other cultural and philosophical issues,” according to the seminary.

Land, who was featured in a February 2005 Time magazine edition as one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” told CP he believes Darling is “well-equipped by calling, training, and experience to provide that leadership as director of the Land Center.”  

“Never before has America more needed for Southern Baptists and other people of faith to be challenged and equipped to be the salt and light that our Savior has commanded us to be,” he said. 

He added: “I am delighted and grateful that Southwestern, one of our most historically preeminent seminaries and academic institutions, will be utilizing the Land Center to help meet that pressing need for present and future generations. I look forward with anticipation to watching how our Heavenly Father will bless His church through the ministry of Southwestern and the Land Center.”

Darling, author of The Original Jesus, The Dignity Revolution, The Characters of Christmas, The Characters of Easter, and A Way With Words, will also serve under presidential appointment as assistant professor of faith and culture at Texas Baptist College, Southwestern Seminary’s undergraduate school. His appointments are effective Nov. 1

Darling previously served as the spokesman for the National Religious Broadcasters, a group of some 1,000 members employed in Christian media. He was fired from the role in August after he shared publicly why his Christian beliefs compelled him to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The NRB says it has a policy of remaining neutral on vaccines.

Prior to his role at NRB, Darling served as vice president for communications at the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, as well as in pastoral roles.

His appointment at the seminary comes at a contentious time for the SBC, America's largest Protestant denomination, largely stemming from internal disagreements over how to best respond to sexual abuse allegations at churches, which are autonomous.

The convention’s leadership recently voted to waive attorney-client privilege as part of an investigation into the SBC leadership's handling of sexual abuse claims. The decision prompted at least a dozen SBC leaders to resign, including committee head Ronnie Floyd. 

The denomination has also grappled with disagreements over critical race theory and conflicting views on traditional gender roles.

Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, told CP that Darling’s hiring underscores the seminary’s commitment to “provide the very best theological education for men and women preparing to serve the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

“In a day of moral upheaval and widespread rejection of God’s design for human flourishing, it is our unwavering commitment that the Land Center be a trusted partner in helping Southern Baptist churches and the broader evangelical world to understand the times and to apply effectively Gospel truth in this day,” he said. 

“If there has ever been a time where we need Christian conviction marked by a winsome witness, it is now. I appreciate the tone by which Dan engages these issues, and I believe the future of the Land Center Southwestern Seminary is very bright under his leadership.”

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