Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JBTM 6:1 (Spring 2009) p. 190
Dockery, David. Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Proposal. Nashville: B&H Publishing,
David Dockery’s book Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal is a much-needed treatise on the issues of Southern Baptist identity. For the past few decades, Southern Baptists have questioned their identity for various reasons. Dockery has written this excellent work as a reminder of why we need to cooperate as Southern Baptists. Dockery is a well-known Southern Baptist educator, having previously served as a seminary professor and currently as the president of Union University in Jackson, TN.
Dockery writes six chapters covering what he believes to be the primary issues challenging the Convention: cooperative missions, understanding the Gospel, worship, education, theology, and leadership. Dockery’s methodology is as follows. With each chapter, Dockery gives a helpful historical overview that examines the various streams of influence into the contemporary SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) regarding the issue of the chapter. I believe Dockery is generally fair in his treatment of the various traditions that have influenced SBC life. He then gives an overview of the contemporary scene of SBC life in each of the six chapters. For example, in the chapter on worship, he examines the various influences of worship in the early SBC including the Sandy Creek and Charleston traditions. He then gives an excellent treatment of contemporary models of worship, from traditional to seeker-sensitive. At the end of each chapter Dockery proposes what he believes are the basic principles for renewal on which all Southern Baptist can agree.
Dockery begins the book by examining those things that brought Southern Baptists together from the beginning: belief in the inspiration of Scripture, a commitment to global missions, and a spirit of cooperation. Under girding all these issues was a confessional and orthodox faith that helped to guard against heresy. Dockery examines the core doctrines that have been a part of Southern Baptist life, especially relating to soteriological and Christological issues. Dockery cannot help but address the Calvinism/Arminianism debate that is currently rising in the SBC. Dockery’s exposition of Southern Baptist doctrine shows that he certainly believes that God is the initiator in salvation, but He works wonderfully and mysteriously with the human will. For some Dockery’s position may be too Calvinistic; for others, it may be too Arminian. Neverhtheless, I believe Dockery presents an exposition that all Southern Baptists can support. He states, “As Southern Baptists we reject hyperCalvinism, Pelagianism, consistent Arminianism…while concentrating on...
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