Chuck Colson and Hope for the Next Generation
Daniel DarlingDaniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). For five years, Dan served as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including Teen People of the Bible, Crash Course, iFaith, Real, and his latest, Activist Faith. He is a weekly contributor to Out of Ur, the blog of Leadership Journal. His work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Homelife, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. He has guest-posted on leading blogs such as Michael Hyatt, The Gospel Coalition, OnFaith (Washington Post), and others. He is a contributing writer for many publications including Stand Firm, Enrichment Journal and others. Dan’s op-eds have appeared in Washington Posts’ On Faith, CNN.com's Belief Blog, and other newspapers and opinion sites. He is a featured blogger for Crosswalk.com, Churchleaders.com and Believe.com, Covenant Eyes, G92, and others. Publisher's Weekly called his writing style "substantive and punchy." Dan is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on TV and radio outlets across the country, including CNN, 100 Huntley Street, Moody Broadcasting Network, Harvest Television, The Sandy Rios Show, American Family Radio, the Salem Radio Network, and a host of other local and national Christian media. He holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College and is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area. Daniel is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency
- 2012 Apr 26
In January, Russell Moore wrote a provocative column entitled "The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now." It was a terrific column pushing back against some of the hand-wringing among evangelicals about the lack of good leadership for the future. His premise was simple: God may be in the process of raising a leader who is currently lost and enslaved to sin.
I thought of Moore's column as I contemplated the death of Chuck Colson. Here was a man who was not originally on a trajectory to a be a spiritual leader in his generation. He was a political animal. He was lost in his sins. Like Paul, he was not a friend of Christians. And yet God did a work in his life and transformed him into someone whose ministry led millions of the incarcerated to Christ.
I imagine sometime in the 1970s, evangelical leaders wrung their hands at the state of the culture, at the burgeoning crime problem and the filling up of America's prisons. I'm guessing there were books written, conferences held, articles and journals written about the problem. And yet, God did His own work in allowing the horrible circumstances of Watergate, the brokenness of one political hatchet man to bring out a story so incredible in Chuck Colson's life that it can only be explained by the grace and power of God.
This is why a continual, morose, cynical introspection on the future of the Church is really pointless. Because the future of the Church is not in our hands, but in God's hands. Yes, we should examine the methods and practices and ideologies of our institutions. We should work hard to raise up the next generation of Christian leaders in our homes and schools and churches. But we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that tomorrow's great Christian voice has to come from our carefully drawn plans. Because I suspect, somewhere out there, perhaps drunk, perhaps high, perhaps gay, perhaps abusive is a soul God is about to radically save. God is still in the business of meeting the lost on their road to Damascus. And He's not in Heaven wringing His hands about the next generation.