“If we are willing to put aside our own agendas and to see the kingdom of God as bigger than the Southern Baptist Convention and larger than the networks of the ‘card carrying’ Evangelical world, we can mutually benefit from and learn from one another, so that we can work together in the Gospel,” said David S. Dockery, president of Trinity International University and former president of Union University from 1996-2014.
Dockery held the second half of his Dockery Lecture Series on Monday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Grant Events Center to teach students, faculty and guests how to view the relationship between Evangelicals and Southern Baptists in a different light.
The Dockery Lecture Series is an annual event dedicated to former president and first lady, David and Lanese Dockery, that emphasizes the importance of Baptist thought and heritage.
Dockery began the series Monday afternoon with the question, “why do Southern Baptists need the Evangelical community?” He then concluded the series Monday night with the question, “why does the Evangelical community need Southern Baptists?”
Before Dockery started to answer either of these questions, he explained the history and identity of the Evangelicals and the Southern Baptists. In order to accurately do that, however, he had to eliminate the misleading stereotypes of both parties.
Throughout the lecture, Dockery emphasized how both groups are essential in this interchangeable relationship in order to further build the Kingdom of God.
“We must see each other as co-laborers together in the Gospel,” Dockery said. “We must look for commonalities rather than rivalries.”
Despite the differences in the two conventions, both the Southern Baptists and Evangelicals have much to learn not only from each other but also from every other denomination that is grounded in Jesus Christ.
Cierra Walker, a freshman family studies and sociology major, said Dockery’s lectures taught her that she can be more open minded about certain concepts and traditions and find things within her denomination that make us more similar than different.
“Certainly, we have much to learn from one another,” Dockery said as he closed his last lecture of the series. “We’ll trust the Lord for His help and guidance for the days to come. As someone who thinks of himself as a Baptist Evangelical, an Evangelical Baptist, I invite others to join us on this shared Kingdom journey.”