Daniel Darling announced on Monday, October 25, 2021 that he will join the SBC as Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SBTS) director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement and Texas Baptist College as an assistant professor of faith and culture.
Darling’s Departure from NRB
Darling was previously dismissed as the senior vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), an international association of evangelical communicators that reach over 140 million Americans every month, for promoting the COVID-19 vaccine during MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and in an op-ed for USA Today.
Darling, the pastor of teaching and discipleship at Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, told Joe Scarborough, “I believe in this vaccine because I don’t want to see anyone else die of COVID. Our family has lost too many close friends and relatives to COVID, including an uncle, a beloved church member and our piano teacher.”
NRB leaders gave Darling ultimatum after they said he violated their policy of remaining neutral regarding the COVID-19 vaccine: sign a statement admitting he was insubordinate or be fired. Darling didn’t sign the statement.
In an email sent to Religion News Service, NRB’s CEO Troy Miller praised Darling, saying, “Dan is an excellent communicator and a great friend. I wish him God’s best in all his future endeavors.” While confirming that Darling had been let go, Miller didn’t address whether it was due to his pro-vaccine statements.
Darling responded to his firing in a USA Today article, saying, “While I don’t believe that I violated their policy, I harbor no animosity toward my former employer, who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was an honor to serve Christian communicators who work every day to share the Gospel around the world.”
Darling used the article to share how “deeply grieved” he feels regarding the current division within the Christian community.
“We should see those with whom we disagree not as enemies, but as neighbors,” Darling said. “We should not see them as the sum total of their opinion, but as whole people, made in the image of God.”
Darling Returns to the SBC
In 2013, Darling joined Russell Moore at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). After serving for six years the ERLC’s vice president for communications, Darling accepted a position at the NRB to become their senior vice president of communications in 2019. While Darling was sad to leave what he described as his “incredible and gifted colleagues at ERLC,” Darling said he was “intrigued” by the “opportunity to equip the next generation of Christian communicators” in his new role at the NRB.
Darling will now return to an SBC post as the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SBTS) director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement and Texas Baptist College as an assistant professor of faith and culture.