I'm not exactly plugged into the SBC grapevine, but I first heard talk that Johnny Hunt would be the insider candidate to be the next Convention president about a year ago, so some of the recent scuttlebut isn't a surprise. Last fall, I saw a low-key plea for a Mark Dever presidency here, but I didn't make too much of it.
Last week, Tom Ascol at Founder's blog linked to some informed speculation here that the Johnny Hunt rumors are about to become reality. Almost immediately, more pleas for a Dever candidacy immediately sprung up in the comments section of Ascol's post, in his subsequent post, and on this "unofficial, unserious" blog.
Now, I realize that some readers may have no idea who either of these men are, and sense no real reason to care. I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. Suffice it to say, however, that though they are both theological conservatives and are both considered fundamentalists by their detractors (Dever calls himself one; I don't know about Hunt), they stand in very different strains of SBC tradition.
I don't know if Dever has the slightest interest in being elected. I don't know if he has a chance of winning. (Read Ascol's second post for the best analysis you are likely to encounter.) I also don't know if everyone who would share his emphasis on ecclesiology and his strong stand on the gospel would be willing to risk the thin veneer of SBC unity for the dream of a Dever presidency.
What I do know is this: I heartily agree with Ascol that support for a Dever presidency should be about far more fundamental issues than Calvinism. There should be no doubt that the doctrines of grace are closely related to the gospel, but they are not the primary issues the SBC needs to address. As I see it, a diluted, downgraded gospel; the sufficiency of Scripture; regenerate church membership; three-ring-circus evangelism; and a bucketfull of other issues are at the heart of the reformation and transformation that SBC churches need to weigh seriously.
Aside from my membership in the universal Church, I don't really have a dog in this fight. On the other hand, maybe that membership alone is enough to make one dog worth rooting for (sorry for the analogy, any CHBC friends reading—I couldn't find another one that would work). And maybe a broader platform for Dever's reformational ideas would lead to some spillover among my "unaffiliated Baptist" (i.e. independent) brethren in some places where they are sorely needed. Maybe.
There I go, sounding like an optimist again.