Why Mark Dever did not get elected to 1st VP

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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.

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(a true hanging chad, for all you folks who don’t live in Florida; HT: Ken Puls)

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.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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