David S. Dockery

David S. Dockery

Distinguished Professor of Theology
Executive Editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology
Director of the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology




  • B.S., University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary
  • M.Div., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • M.A., Texas Christian University
  • Ph.D., University of Texas System
  • Additional Study: Drew University
  • Honorary Degrees: D.Litt., Union University
  • D.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

David S. Dockery has served as the 10th President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary since September 27, 2022. He also serves as distinguished Professor of Theology, Executive Editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology, and Director of the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology. He is regarded as one of the most recognized leaders and senior statesmen in the world of Christian higher education.



Prior to his service at Southwestern, Dockery served as the 15th President of Union University for nearly two decades during which time the enrollment more than doubled, the net assets of the institution more than tripled, the budget quadrupled, and Union vaulted to a place of national leadership in Christian higher education. Union experienced 16 straight years of enrollment increases, while seeing the number of donors to the institution nearly triple. Much of this took place in response to the strategic implementation of four distinctive and far-reaching institutional plans, which included the major development and renovation of the campus while surpassing the goal of a $100 million comprehensive campaign.

Dockery also helped to guide Union’s response and recovery in 2008 to an EF-4 tornado, one of the largest natural disasters ever to hit an American university campus. Following his years of service as President and University Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition, Dockery was named President Emeritus. He also served for more than five years as the 15th President of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School before the institution named him honorary Chancellor and Professor of Christianity and Culture. He previously served as the Chief Academic Officer at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also held a tenured faculty position in theology and New Testament. He has also served as a visiting or affiliate faculty member at a number of institutions.

Dockery has served as President of the Evangelical Theological Society and as Board Chair for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. In addition, he has served as Chair of the Consortium for Global Education and the Christian College Consortium. He is the only person to ever serve in this combination of leadership positions. Dockery currently serves as President of the International Alliance for Christian Education.



Having authored or edited more than 40 volumes and contributed to more than 80 other books, Dockery has earned acclaim for his works in the areas of Christian education, Baptist studies, and biblical interpretation. A representative number of titles authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited is listed below:

  • Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Higher Education (B&H)
  • Special Revelation and Scripture (with Malcolm Yarnell; B&H)
  • A Handbook of Theology (co-edited with Danny Akin and Nathan Finn; B&H)
  • Theology, Church, and Ministry: A Handbook of Theological Education (B&H)
  • Christian Higher Education: Faith, Teaching, and Learning in the Evangelical Tradition (co-edited with Chris Morgan; Crossway)
  • Biblical Interpretation Then and Now (Baker)
  • What Does It Mean to Be a Thoughtful Christian? (Lexham)
  • Christian Leadership Essentials: A Handbook for Managing Christian Organizations (editor; B&H)
  • Christian Worldview Handbook (co-edited with Trevin Wax; Holman)
  • The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking (with Timothy George; Crossway)
  • New Testament Criticism and Interpretation (co-edited with David A. Black; Zondervan)
  • Confident Witness: Evangelism and Apologetics for the 21st Century (editor; Crossway)
  • Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal (B&H)
  • Theologians of the Baptist Tradition (co-edited with Timothy George; B&H)
  • Southern Baptist Identity (editor; Crossway)
  • The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture (co-edited with Malcolm Yarnell; Seminary Hill Press)
  • Southern Baptists and American Evangelicals (editor; B&H)
  • Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism (editor; B&H)
  • Christian Scripture: An Evangelical Perspective on Inspiration, Authority, and Interpretation (B&H)
  • Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (co-edited with David A. Black; B&H)
  • Foundations for Biblical Interpretation (co-edited with Robert Sloan and Ken Mathews; B&H)
  • The Challenge of Postmodernism: An Evangelical Engagement (editor; Baker)
  • New Dimensions in Evangelical Thought (editor; InterVarsity)
  • Beyond the Impasse: Scripture, Interpretation, and Theology in Baptist Life (co-edited with Rob James; B&H)
  • Best of A. T. Robertson (B&H)
  • Holman Concise Bible Commentary (editor; Holman)
  • Holman Guide to Biblical Interpretation (co-authored with George Guthrie; Holman)
  • Created in the Image of God: Applications and Implications for Our Cultural Confusion (editor; Forefront)
  • Philippians: Joyful Unity in the Gospel (editor; Seminary Hill Press)
  • Among others

Dockery has written two Winter Bible Study volumes and two Annual Doctrine Study books for the Southern Baptist Convention. He has written the Foreword for more than 30 volumes and provided endorsements for about 300 others.

In addition, Dockery has contributed to several major reference works, including the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP), Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IVP),Holman Bible Dictionary (Holman), Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Baker), Dictionary of Old Testament Theology (Zondervan), Dictionary of New Testament (IVP), Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States (Roman & Littlefield), Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (Blackwell), Christian Standard Study Bible (Holman), Systematic Theology Study Bible (Crossway), Oxford Handbook of Baptist Studies (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), among several others.

Dockery served as the General Editor for the first six volumes of the 45-volume New American Commentary series (B&H) before assuming the role as New Testament editor for the remainder of the series. He also served as general editor of the 15-volume Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series (Crossway), as consulting editor for the CSB Commentary series (B&H), and as co-editor of the multi-volume Theology for the People of God series (B&H). He also served as general editor of the Holman Bible Handbook and as co-general editor for the Worldview Study Bible (Holman).

Dockery has been named the general editor of the forthcoming New English Translation Study Bible (Thomas Nelson). He has authored more than 100 articles along with more than 100 reviews for various periodicals, as well as for widely distributed publications such as Christianity Today, Decision Magazine, Touchstone, and Boks & Culture. He has served as editor, consulting editor, or member of the editorial board for such periodicals as the Southwestern Journal of Theology, Christianity Today, Review and Expositor, Christian Higher Education Journal, Criswell Theological Review, Integration: A Journal of Faith and Learning, and Renewing Minds, among several others.



Dockery has spoken on more than 80 campuses across the country and around the world, including Wheaton College, Grove City College, Baylor University, Samford University, Torch Trinity University (S. Korea), Melbourne School of Theology (Australia), Uganda Christian University, Singapore Baptist Seminary, Qingdao University (China), Moscow Bible Institute (Russia), and others.

He has also spoken at dozens of educational and denominational gatherings including a plenary session of the Southern Baptist Convention and more than a dozen Baptist state conventions. In addition, he has spoken at numerous associational gatherings and in hundreds of congregations (large, small, urban, suburban, and rural). He has served churches in Brooklyn, NY (pastor), Birmingham, AL (minister to students ), and Dallas, TX (associate pastor), as well as serving as interim pastor for several congregations in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas.

A sampling of the places Dockery has given a major lectureship, keynote presentation, or plenary address include:

  • Evangelical Theological Society (the 2018 presidential address in addition to a plenary session presentation in a previous year)
  • The Hester Lectures of the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (twice)
  • Society for Professors of Christian Education (twice)
  • Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents
  • National Association of Christian Librarians
  • American Academy of Ministry
  • University Educators for Global Engagement
  • Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
  • The Consortium for Global Education
  • The Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Wheaton Theology Conference
  • The Institute for the Study of Protestantism and American Culture
  • The Trilogy Conference, Society for African Learning and Thought (Nigeria)
  • The Norton Lectures; the McCall Lectures; and a Founders’ Day Lecture at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Torrey Lectures and Contemporary Issues Lectures, Biola University/Talbot Seminary
  • Christ and Culture Lectures and the School of Ministry Lectures, California Baptist University
  • Day-Higginbotham Lectures, Southwestern Seminary (twice)
  • Page Lectures, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Pinson Lectures, Houston Christian University
  • Gallup Lectures, Dallas Baptist University
  • The Bishop Tucker Public Lectures, Uganda Christian University
  • Hobbs Lectures, Oklahoma Baptist University (twice)
  • Strategic Priorities Lectures, Colorado Christian University
  • Dimension Lectures, Gardner-Webb University
  • Spell Lectures, Mississippi College
  • Caskey Lectures, Louisiana Christian University
  • Staley Lectures and Lens Lectures, Charleston Southern University
  • Whiteside Lectures, Erskine College and Seminary
  • Henderson-Powell Distinguished Scholar Lectures, Mid-America Baptist Seminary
  • Falwell Library Scholar Lectures, Liberty University
  • Powell Lectures, Baptist College of Florida
  • Strauss Lectures, Lincoln Christian University
  • Faith and Thought Lectures, University of Northwestern (St Paul, MN)
  • Daniel Tan Lectures, Christian Witness Theological Seminary
  • Hamrick Lectures, First Baptist Church, Charleston, SC
  • Nachtigall Lectures, Tabor University
  • Founders’ Day Lecture and Dockery Lectures, Union University
  • Presidential Inaugural Addresses or Presidential Inaugural Charges for Dondi Costin at Liberty University, Evans Whitaker at Anderson University (SC), Gene Fant at North Greenville University, Heath Thomas at Oklahoma Baptist University, Drew Flamm at Grace College and Seminary, Charles Fowler at Carson-Newman University, Felix Theonugraha at Western Theological Seminary, Anthony Allen at Hannibal-LaGrange University, Stan Norman at Williams Baptist University, Barbara McMilin at Blue Mountain Christian University, Jason Allen at Midwestern Baptist Seminary, among others, as well as the installation of Ed Stetzer as Dean, Talbot Theological Seminary/Biola University
  • Trustee Lectures at Biola University, Oklahoma Christian University, Azusa Pacific University, and Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Commencement Addresses at Dallas Theological Seminary, Beeson Divinity School, Lee University, Criswell College, Gateway Baptist Seminary, Canadian Baptist Seminary, University of Mobile, Welch College, Azusa Pacific University, Uganda Christian University, among others
  • Convocation Addresses at Beeson Divinity School, Dordt University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Houston Christian University
  • Faculty Lectures at Grove City College, Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, Biola University, Dallas Theological Seminary, Southern Seminary, Southeastern Seminary, Gateway Seminary, Louisiana Christian University, East Texas Baptist University, among others

He has delivered other major presentations at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, Cedarville University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Grace College and Seminary, Blue Mountain Christian University, Campbellsville University, Brewton-Parker College, The White House Christian Fellowship, C. S. Lewis Oxbridge Summer Institute, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities, among others. Dockery has also provided administrative and board consultations for various organizations, colleges, and seminaries.



In addition to his leadership roles with the Boards of the Evangelical Theological Society, the International Alliance for Christian Education, the Consortium for Global Education, the Christian College Consortium, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Dockery has served on governing boards at:

  • Christianity Today International
  • Touchstone
  • Prison Fellowship (where he held the Carl Henry Chair)
  • Colson Center for Christian Worldview
  • The International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities
  • The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association
  • Manhattan Declaration (chair)

Service on numerous local boards, foundations, and advisory boards, along with various committees, and civic clubs. Rotary Club International named Dockery a Paul Harris Fellow.

His involvement in Baptist life has been significant at every level, having served on key denominational committees and organizations, including his role as chair of the Calvinism Study Committee, and his service on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Team, the Name Change Study Committee, the Intercultural Education Summit (chair),the Resolutions Committee,  in addition to a variety of other denominational service opportunities.

He also served on the Theological Heritage Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. He has served as a Senior Fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Land Center at Southwestern Seminary, and the Center for Baptist Renewal at Oklahoma Baptist University. Dockery has also served on key committees with the Association for Theological Schools as well as a commissioner with the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools.



Named a distinguished alumnus by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Alumnus of the Year by Grace Theological Seminary, the Hobbs Denominational Service Award by Oklahoma Baptist University, the Holman Christian Standard Service Award by LifeWay Christian Resources, the Evangelical Scholarship Award by Southeastern Seminary, the Denominational Service Award by Midwestern Seminary, the Land Distinguished Service Award by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the John R. Dellenback Global Leadership Award by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the M. E. Dodd Distinguished Service Award by Union University. Dockery was also named to the Bicentennial Hall of Honor at Union University.

Southwestern Seminary recognized him by establishing the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology in his honor. The annual faculty award for teaching excellence at Southwestern Seminary is named for David and Lanese Dockery. Union University established the David and Lanese Dockery Lectures in Baptist Thought and Heritage as well as the David and Lanese Dockery Scholarship. Union also granted him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree while Trinity Evangelical Divinity School provided him with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.  Oklahoma Baptist University established the David S. Dockery and Timothy George Center for Baptist Renewal.

In the community, Dockery received the Man of the Year Award in Jackson, TN; he was also the recipient of other significant recognitions from the community including the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Red Cross of West Tennessee. Recognized as an advocate for racial reconciliation in his roles at Southern Seminary, Union University, and at Trinity, Dockery was granted the William D. Smart Award for Racial Reconciliation by the West Tennessee NAACP. He was also listed among “The 400” influential people in Fort Worth, TX by Fort Worth Inc.

Dockery has been interviewed or quoted by a variety of media outlets including NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, The Tennessean, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, Louisville Courier-Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Birmingham News, Detroit Free Press, USA Today, Associated Press, Religion News Service, Chronicle of Higher Education, Baptist Press, Baptist News Global, Christianity Today, WORLD Magazine, Christian Post, among others as well as a number of radio networks. Extended interviews have taken place with Christianity Today, WORLD, Evangelicals Now, Christian Post, Didaktikos, Outreach, Between Two Worlds, The Gospel Coalition, the Jackson Sun, Ministry Watch, the Christian Science Monitor, among others.



Dockery has invested significant effort in the work of leadership development and mentoring opportunities. Numerous Christian college, seminary, and organizational presidents and administrators point to Dockery as one their key mentors, including John Senyonyi (President/Vice Chancellor, Uganda Christian University), Charles Fowler (President, Carson-Newman University), Gene Fant (President, North Greenville University), Jason Allen (President, Midwestern Seminary), Evans Whitaker (President, Anderson University), Stan Norman (Williams Baptist University), Barbara McMillin (President, Blue Mountain Christian University), Felix Theonugraha (President, Western Theological Seminary), David Hoag (President, Warner University), Dondi Costin (Liberty University), Chris Mathews (Provost, Crown College), Nathan Finn (former Provost, North Greenville University), Carla Sanderson (Provost, Chamberlain College), Rich Grimm (Executive Vice President, North Greenville University), Hunter Baker (Provost, North Greenville University), Michael Wilder (Provost, Charleston Southern University), Michael Bryant (Vice President, Charleston Southern University), as well as others. He also served as the doctoral supervisor for Kevin Ezell (President, North American Mission Board) and Ben Mandrell (President, LifeWay Christian Resources).



Dockery’s approach to leadership has been the subject of several articles and presentations as well as two doctoral dissertations at Southeastern Seminary, one by Tanner Hickman and another by Andy Pettigrew.

A number of colleagues presented Dockery with a book of essays in his honor in 2014 with the title, Convictional Civility: Engaging the Culture in the 21st Century. Essays in Honor of David S. Dockery. He was one of 100 Baptist theologians profiled in the massive study written by James Leo Garrett Jr., Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study. Nathan Finn included a chapter on Dockery’s work titled “Baptist by Tradition, Evangelical by Conviction: David Dockery’s Contribution to Christian Higher Education” in the volume Baptists, Gospel, and Culture. Sarah Zylstra wrote a piece about Dockery for The Gospel Coalition called “Man in the Middle.” Blake McKinney made a presentation at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, titled “Baptists and Evangelicals Together: How David Dockery Helped Southern Baptists Become Evangelicals.” Other articles about Dockery have appeared in the Southwestern News, the Unionite, the Trinity Magazine, the Jackson Sun, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others.

A native of Alabama, Dockery holds degrees from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (B.S.; he previously attended the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa), Grace Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Texas Christian University (M.A.), and the University of Texas system (Ph.D.), as well as additional study at Drew University. He has been married to Lanese for more than 48 years. They have three married sons (Jon and Sarah, Ben and Julie, and Tim and Andrea) 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. Dockery was baptized and ordained at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, where he and Lanese also were married. They are currently members at First Baptist Church, Benbrook, TX.

Meet David S. Dockery

When David S. Dockery (‘81) describes what his career aspirations were as an eight-year-old boy growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, his entire face lights up.

“I always wanted to be a sports journalist,” recalls Dockery, the tenth president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “I grew up loving sports – any kind, every kind..."

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