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Southwestern Seminary Announces Replacement For Adam Greenway

With all the exciting news going on in the Southern Baptist Convention, one story that seemed to have been missed was the announcement that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced its replacement of Adam Greenway, the ousted president. The new president of SWBTS will be David Dockery. He will be the seminary’s 10th president.

Here is how SWBTS describes Dockery:

Dockery, who earned the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Seminary in 1981, joined the seminary faculty in 2019 when he was named distinguished professor of theology and theologian-in-residence for the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission. He also served as special consultant to the president. Later, he was named editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology, the seminary’s historic academic journal. From December 2020 to February 2022, he also served as interim provost at Southwestern. Additionally, he serves as the inaugural director of the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology, which was named in his honor by the board of trustees at their spring 2022 meeting.

After a lengthy career in Christian higher educational leadership at Trinity International University, Union University, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 2019 Dockery was invited to assist with the founding of the International Alliance for Christian Education. He has also served as president of the Evangelical Theological Society and board chair of Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Christian College Consortium, and Consortium for Global Education.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dockery has had a distinguished career as a theologian and educator. In addition to his degree from Southwestern Seminary, he holds degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (B.S.), Grace Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Texas Christian University (M.A.), and the University of Texas at Arlington (Ph.D.). Dockery was named a distinguished alumnus by Southwestern Seminary in 2002.

In 1995, Dockery was elected president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Under his transformational leadership, enrollment more than doubled, net assets more than tripled, and Union sprang to a place of national leadership in Christian higher education. In September 2022, he was among the first honorees to be inducted into the university’s hall of honor.

In 2014, he was installed as Trinity’s 15th president and served in that role for 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 significant enrollment decline and an array of 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 is a sought-after speaker and lecturer and former consulting editor for Christianity Today, and has authored, edited, or contributed to nearly 100 books, including Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society Through Christian Higher EducationSouthern Baptist Consensus and Renewal, and Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. As an author, he is best known for his works in the areas 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 multi-volume Theology for the People of God series. He is general editor of the forthcoming New English Translation Study Bible.

Dockery has received numerous awards, including the Herschel H. Hobbs Distinguished Service Award from Oklahoma Baptist University, M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award from Union University, Holman Christian Standard Service Award from Lifeway Christian Resources, the Land Distinguished Service Award from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Dockery has spoken on more than 80 campuses. He served churches in Brooklyn, New York; Birmingham, Alabama; and Dallas as well as serving as interim pastor for several congregations in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas.

He has been married to Lanese for more than 47 years, and they have three married sons and eight grandchildren. Their travels have taken them to the various regions of the United States and Canada, as well as to Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.

Hawkins, who retired in March 2022 as the president and CEO of GuideStone after leading the Southern Baptist entity for 25 years, is a two-time alumnus of Southwestern Seminary, holding the Master of Divinity (1974) and Doctor of Philosophy (2020) degrees from the institution. Additionally, the Fort Worth native holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Christian University and honorary doctorates from Liberty University, Dallas Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, and Criswell College. Hawkins received the distinguished alumni award from Southwestern Seminary in 2000.

Immediately prior to assuming the presidency at GuideStone, Hawkins was the senior pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas, leading the downtown Dallas church from 1993-1997. Hawkins also served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1978-1993), First Baptist Church of Ada, Oklahoma (1974-1978), and First Baptist Church of Hobart, Oklahoma (1972-1974).

Hawkins has authored more than 40 books, including the 2021 B&H Academic release, In the Name of God, which details the relationship between George W. Truett, who pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas (1897-1944), and J. Frank Norris, who pastored the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth (1909-1952). Hawkins is also the author of the best-selling “Code Series” books, with the proceeds and royalties benefitting Mission:Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone started under Hawkins’s tenure that assists retired ministers and their widows who are in need.

This is a very long resume of serving the Southern Baptist Convention. One could say that he’s a company man. The two most glaring red flags on his resume here would be working with Christianity today and being an Adam Greenway hire.

SWBTS had the opportunity to reinstate Paige Patterson which following his vindication in court could have reversed the enrollment trend at SWBTS. It most certainly would have reversed the financial situation, as the ousting of Patterson was what caused the seminary’s woes.

In any case Dockery will continue to be a major player in the SBC.

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