As I shared with you my blogging plans for 2007, one of my goals is to host one interview per month with a leading and influential voice in evangelical and Southern Baptist life.  These interviews are content-geared, covering four particular areas of interest to the programming of Provocations and Pantings: SBC, theology, culture/mission, and religious pluralism.  To start this new year off, I wanted to interview someone who I knew would set the precedent for future interviews as well as contribute to current discussion with clear, critical thought.  While thinking and praying who and how to do this, the first person that came to my mind was Dr. David S. Dockery.

So just who is Dr. David S. Dockery? 

Dockery currently serves as the President of Union University in Jackson, TN, a position he has held for ten years.  During that time, enrollment has increased from 1,975 in 1996 to 3,156 in 2006.  Prior to UU, Dockery served as the Vice President of Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1988-1996).  In addition, Dockery was the General Editor of Broadman and Holman Press (1990-92) which included being the general editor of the New American Commentary.  He is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (B.S.), Grace Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Texas Christian University (M.A.), and University of Texas-Arlington (Ph.D).  He has also ministered in churches in AL, TX, NY, KY, OH, and TN. 

Dr. Dockery has authored and edited 29 books, written over 100 articles and 130 book reviews, and has been a distinguished speaker at various conferences, including the C. S. Lewis Institute, Oxford University, White House Christian Fellowship, and numerous annual meetings for state conventions, local associations, and evangelism conferences across the country.  Most notably, Dr. Dockery is the husband of Lanese Dockery, his bride for over 31 years.  Together they have three sons: Jonathan, Benjamin, and Timothy. 

For the past month or so, it is been a personal privilege of mine to get to know and hear the heart of Dr. Dockery.  He is a man who is careful to have no other agenda than what God has called him to do.  One of the many things I have come to appreciate about Dr. Dockery is that there is not an ounce of duplicity or ulterior motives in this man.  He has a one-track mind and understands that God has called him to a specific task which he is careful to pledge his faithfulness and full attention.  As I have come into dialogue from people all across the SBC, without exception I have heard the respect and admiration for the humble leadership, sound scholarship, and insightful wisdom of Dr. Dockery–a man for our time. 

As you will come to see this week, I have asked Dr. Dockery some hard questions.  To be frank, I think people are little discontent of reading commentary from no-name bloggers like me with little to no credibility attempting to answer these questions, and the time has come for men of his stature to step up and address these issues in a public setting.  Sensing that need and hoping to be an encouragement to the SBC, Dr. Dockery has graciously agreed to participate in this interview which I/we hope God uses for His glory and the edification of His Church. 

Here’s what you can expect.  The interview is broken down in five parts, starting tomorrow and continuing through Friday.  The entire week will be exclusively dedicated to this interview.  The questions will cover everything from higher education to global warming, from alcohol to Calvinism, from worship to blogging.  At the conclusion of the interview (that being Saturday), I will provide a summary post, compiling all five parts as well as sharing a few personal reflections.   I am thankful to God for Dr. Dockery who has taken a considerable amount of time to share his thoughts with us.  He is very kind and gracious man of God, and I pray that this interview reaches far and deep within the heart of our beloved Convention.

Coram deo, 

Timmy Brister