FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Baptist theologian and Christian higher education leader David S. Dockery has been appointed to the faculty of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as professor of theology, President Adam W. Greenway announced Aug. 27 during fall convocation.
Dockery, who most recently was president and chancellor of Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, also will serve as the inaugural theologian-in-residence for the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission as well as special consultant to the president.
Greenway, in a seminary news release, said of Dockery, “His decades of service as professor, academic administrator, institutional president, writing theologian and Baptist statesman have given him a breadth and depth of experience few individuals can match.
“The opportunity to have Dr. Dockery not only in the classroom but as theologian-in-residence at the B.H. Carroll Center solidifies our commitment to articulating and advocating a robust vision for Baptist identity in the 21st century,” Greenway said.
“On a personal note,” he added, “having Dr. Dockery serve as special consultant to the president allows me the privilege of drawing from his vast and varied experience in Christian higher education as I seek to lead Southwestern Seminary to be all that God would have us to be.”
Among his degrees, Dockery holds an M.Div. from Southwestern and was named a distinguished alumnus in 2002.
“My years as a student at Southwestern Seminary were formative for me in so many ways,” Dockery said in the seminary news release. “What a blessing it was to have had the privilege to get to know and to learn from professors like James Leo Garrett, Curtis Vaughan, Tommy Lea, Russ Bush, Robert Sloan, Roy Fish, Tom Nettles, Cal Guy, Bill Tolar and others. During that time, I came to admire and appreciate the best of the Southwestern tradition and to better understand our Baptist and evangelical heritage.”
Serving as theologian-in-residence for the new B.H. Carroll Center, Dockery continued, “will provide opportunities to help this generation of students learn to appreciate the best of the Southwestern tradition and to be prepared to serve more faithfully in our 21st-century context with a greater understanding of what it means to be a Baptist-evangelical and an evangelical-Baptist.”
“I am deeply thankful to Dr. Adam Greenway for his invitation to serve my alma mater in this way,” he said. “I join with many alums and friends of the seminary who are ever hopeful regarding Southwestern’s future.”
Southwestern Provost Randy L. Stinson said Dockery is “one of the premier Southern Baptist scholars of this century. His comprehensive understanding of Baptist life, the academy and broader evangelicalism is unparalleled. In this new role, he will be a central part of our efforts to increase our academic excellence.”
In the early 1990s, Dockery served as vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he was part of the theological recovery of the seminary, serving as a tenured faculty member in theology and New Testament.
In 1995, Dockery was elected president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Under his leadership, enrollment more than doubled, net assets more than tripled and Union sprang to a place of national leadership in Christian higher education.
In 2014, he was installed as Trinity’s 15th president and served in that role five years, then transitioned to the role of chancellor. At Trinity, he brought guidance to an institution that had previously experienced more than a decade of enrollment decline and various institutional challenges. He led processes to strengthen the Trinity board and enhance denominational relationships. New academic programs were introduced and four new academic centers were established.
Dockery has authored, edited or contributed to nearly 100 books, including “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal” and “Theologians of the Baptist Tradition.” As an author, he is best known for his works in the area of Baptist studies, biblical interpretation and Christian higher education. He served as the New Testament editor for the 40-volume New American Commentary Series, as general editor of the 15-volume Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition Series and is co-editor of the forthcoming multi-volume Theology for the People of God series.
A past president of the Evangelical Theological Society and a consulting editor for Christianity Today, he has served as chair of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Consortium for Global Education and, more recently, the Christian College Consortium.
A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dockery holds degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington (Ph.D.), Grace Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Texas Christian University (M.A.) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (B.S.).
Dockery has received numerous awards, including the Land Distinguished Service Award from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Holman Christian Standard Service Award from LifeWay Christian Resources and the John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
He and his wife Lanese have been married for more than 40 years. They have three married sons and eight grandchildren.