Tom Ascol's Founders blog talks about the planned debate between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson over the Doctrines of Grace. Ascol makes two great points. The first is that it matters less who "wins the debate" than the fact that the SBC is willing to grapple publicly with these issues. Second, young Southern Baptists will be on this debate like stink on a monkey (my words, not his) because they are more interested in theology than denominational programs and politics. I expect this to be a fierce clash of views in the context of a mutual desire for unity within the Convention. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this debate will be how successful they are in encouraging denominational unity in the face of a stark clash of ideas (and whether that unity is, in fact, a good thing).
Thoughtful independent Baptists are ahead of the game in that they had this conversation several years ago in the context of the Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary. I found Tim Jordan, Dave Burggraff, Dave Doran, Jeff Straub, and others' willingness to discuss these theoological issues openly, directly, and irenically quite refreshing as I listened to the recordings a few days later. I expect that those recordings of the sessions are still available from the seminary.