There it is. Not exactly a hanging chad, but the round punch-out signifying a vote for Mark Dever for 1st Vice President of the SBC. I am sorry that Mark did not get elected. He is exactly the kind of guy that we need as SBC convention officers. By that, I do not mean his Calvinism (though that doesn’t hurt!). Rather, I am talking about his perspective in realizing that serving as SBC president or vice president is not nearly as important as one’s ministry in a local church. Some guys seem to approach the prospect of having an elected position in the SBC as the final, if not penultimate, chapter of their biographies. If you listen to most of the nomination speeches for these offices, you will hear evidence of my point (the speech to nominate Mark Dever and Wiley Richards notably excepted; you should find the audio or video file to the latter and listen–it was classic!). Mark has a healthy, “minimalist” view of such things. It would be refreshing to see this kind of perspective spread.
I think Mark would have easily won had logistics not interfered. He received more votes than the other 3 candidates on the first ballot and then less than that on the final ballot (the runoff). Why did this happen? Here is my take on it.
The second ballot was not scheduled but was conducted as soon as the results of the first ballot came back. Most messengers went out to get somthing to eat during the break after the afternoon session. The next scheduled business session at 7:20 PM. However, immediately after the “convention baptism” (that’s a whole other story!) at 6:40 PM, the chair called for a second ballot vote on the top two vote getters: Mark and Jimmy Jackson. Mark lost by fewer than 80 votes. I have counted at least 20 people that I know personally who did not get back until 7:15 or so.
The hotels are located several miles from the convention center and though there are several buses that shuttle messengers back and forth, it is hard to arrive at a precisely desired time. In addition, it was raining last night, which further slowed the ebb and flow and traffic.
Of course, all of this is speculation and, ultimately, none of it matters. God in His providence had Jimmy Jackson elected to that office. I don’t know him, but have heard from friends who do that he is a humble, faithful pastor. The fact that Mark received so many votes is, I think, a great indication of the widespread appreciation for his ministry. That is an encouraging sign.