Posted On August 23, 2016

Seven Questions about Books, Life, and Ministry with Dan Darling

by | Aug 23, 2016 | Seven Questions about Books, Featured

Let’s start out by telling our readers a little about you. (Current ministry context, family, joys in life, etc.)

I work for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. We represent Southern Baptists in the public square and we equip Southern Baptists to think through moral and ethical issues. I also serve as a teaching and discipleship pastor at Green Hill Church in Mt. Juliet. I write quite a bit, contributing regularly to several publications, including Christianity Today, Homelife, and In Touch.

My family life is full. Angela and I have four beautiful children, Grace (11), Daniel (7), Emma (6), and Lily (4). We homeschool our children, so our house is full of teaching, activities, sports, music, art, and a variety of extracurricular activities. We are in a good season of life, with good rhythms of work, church, school and play.

What are you reading right now?

I’m usually reading two or three books at a time.

I’m about to dive into Evan Thomas’ bio of Robert Kennedy  (on audiobook). I’m also reading Russ Ramsey’s Behold the King of Glory devotionally as well as Mindy Belz, They Say We Are Infidels.  

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

Outside of Scripture, there are very few books I read twice and few movies I watch more than once. I get a thrill of seeing new words on the page. That’s just a unique of who I am. However, I do, at times, love to dip back into Augustine, Calvin, and Spurgeon from time to time just to refresh some of their best stuff.

I’ve also read Tim Keller’s book, A Reason for God more than once, only because it has been so formative to the way I think about evangelism.

What biographies or autobiographies have you read recently?

I just finished Thomas Kidd’s marvelous God of Liberty which gives such a thorough overview of the religious environment around the Revolutionary War. Kidd is such a good historian. He tells the story that is there, not the story he wants to be there.

I also just finished Tom Nettles massive biography of Charles Spurgeon. I came away just inspired by Spurgeon’s wholehearted commitment to faithful gospel fidelity, to Spurgeon’s intricate dance of faithful theology and evangelistic fervor.

I also just wrapped up Richard Nixon’s memoir. I’m always interested in hearing from leaders after they are out of the spotlight when they are in their twilight years. You often get some of the keenest insights and observations.

Grant Wacker’s analysis of Billy Graham’s life and ministry in America’s Pastor was an interesting read that helped me think through 20th-century evangelicalism.

Earlier this summer I read and enjoyed The Boys in the Boat and Jon Meacham’s biography of George HW. Bush. And one that wasn’t a biography, but was incredibly helpful was The Warmth of Other Suns. This book broke my heart in new ways about our country’s tragic history of racism.

Speaking of biographies and such, is there any particular one that has influenced you a great deal in your faith?

That’s a difficult one, only because I devour biographies. I would say, however, that Lyle Dorsett’s biography of D.L. Moody, the various biographies of Billy Graham, and Nettle’s bio of Spurgeon have all served to inspire me to be unashamed to share the gospel. I’m amazed how God used these ordinary men to be a witness to the world in their time.

If you were sitting down with a fellow believer and they asked for your top five book recommendations on Christian living, what would they be?

I’d say:

  • Knowing God – Packer
  • The God Who Is There – DA Carson
  • Jared Wilson – Unparalleled
  • Oswald Sanders – Spiritual Leadership
  • Let the Nations Be Glad – Piper
  • What books have molded how you serve and lead others in the gospel?
  • Ministry in the Image of God – Stephen Seamans
  • The Trestle and the Vine
  • The Deliberate Church – Mark Dever
  • Strangers and Sojourners – Gregg Allison
  • Christ-Centered Worship – Bryan Chappell

Finally, let’s conclude with this question. What are you learning about life and daily following Jesus? 

I’m learning to trust Jesus in all the season of life, to depend not on giftedness or find my identity in what I produce or do for Jesus, but to rest and find my joy in Jesus.

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