FORT WORTH (BP)—Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary announced an abrupt change in academic leadership Dec. 17.
Randy Stinson, who had served as provost and vice president for academic administration since February 2019, announced he could “no longer continue” as provost because of “the recurrence of a years-long struggle with substance abuse.”
David Dockery was appointed interim provost by Southwestern President Adam Greenway, effective immediately. The seminary is also commencing a national search for the institution’s next chief academic officer.
“It has been a great opportunity to serve as provost under Dr. Adam Greenway in the early months of his leadership at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Stinson said in a statement provided to the seminary.
“Regrettably, I can no longer continue in this role due to the recurrence of a years-long struggle with substance abuse that has exacted a progressively burdensome toll on my family and my health. I thought I could fight this battle alone in secret, but I was wrong.”
Stinson added: “As I turn to a new path of disciplined recovery, I express my great appreciation for the seminary community that has stood by us. I also plead for continued prayers on behalf of our family as I seek professional medical treatment and spiritual support consistent with my Christian faith.”
Greenway said the decision was “an unpleasant reality but unavoidable outcome due to the nature of these issues.” Nevertheless, he added, the seminary is “committed to caring for the Stinson family as much as possible. Most importantly, we are confident in God’s grace to see them through this difficult time. I request the Southwestern family to pray for the Stinsons.”
Dockery hailed as ‘statesman of Christian higher education’
Dockery, whom Greenway calls a “statesman of Christian higher education,” 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 serves as special consultant to the president.
“Dr. David Dockery’s return to Seminary Hill last year has been one of God’s greatest blessings to Southwestern Seminary,” Greenway said. “He has been an outstanding contributor in every role I have asked him to fill—indeed, in every way exceeding my already high expectations for him. That he is now willing to accept this new, highly consequential role is further evidence of God’s faithful provision for Southwestern.”
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Greenway called Dockery “the very epitome of a Southwesterner—a minister of the gospel who loves the Lord, serves the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and leads in scholarship.”
“He is a statesman of Christian higher education who is deeply respected across the evangelical world. As interim provost he will help us to continue the Southwestern tradition of the very best in theological education,” Greenway said.
Dockery said it will be a “genuine privilege” to serve “President Greenway, the gifted academic leadership team, and the outstanding Southwestern faculty during this interim period. We will work together to point the Southwestern community toward a shared future characterized by academic excellence, confessional faithfulness, and biblical hopefulness.”
Dockery earned a Master of Divinity degree at Southwestern Seminary in 1981. Earlier this year, Dockery was named editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology, the seminary’s academic journal. His book, The Doctrine of the Bible, was republished this year by Seminary Hill Press, the school’s publishing arm.
A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dockery has had a distinguished career as a theologian and educator. In addition to his degree from Southwestern Seminary, he holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts degree from Texas Christian University and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Arlington. Dockery was named a distinguished alumnus by Southwestern Seminary in 2002.
A former consulting editor for Christianity Today, Dockery has written, edited or contributed to nearly 100 books. He served as the New Testament editor for the 40-volume New American Commentary, as general editor of the 15-volume Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition and is co-editor of the multi-volume Theology for the People of God series.
He has been married to Lanese more than 45 years, and they have three married sons and eight grandchildren.