October 30, 2002
SPRINGFIELD — Southern Baptists’ belief that the Bible is the perfect Word of God is nothing new, noted Bob Curtis, outgoing president of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
Curtis, in his presidential address at the convention, refuted the claim that Biblical inerrancy is a new wave of theology. Referring to 2 Timothy 3:16, he said that all Scripture is infallible, inspired and inerrant.
"When I talk about inspired, it means God breathed," Curtis said. "Not only that, it is inerrant. That means no errors."
Curtis quoted several historical Baptist leaders who believed the Bible completely. J.M. Frost, first recording secretary of the Sunday School Board, said, "We insist on the absolute inerrancy and sole authority of the word of God."
Said Curtis: "If it was good enough in 1900, who changed? It’s good enough today. God’s Word is inerrant."
Messengers greeted Curtis’s remarks with several rounds of applause.
Speaking on the convention theme "The joy of the Lord is our strength," Curtis said that God strengthens His people through His Scriptures, His sovereignty and His salvation. God is omniscient and omnipotent, Curtis said, which means the concept of open theism cannot be true. He explained that open theism is the belief that God is sometimes surprised by what happens.
"There are no ut-ohs with God," Curtis said. "Friend, if you’ve got a question about open theism, read the Word. It will take care of that."
Through His Son, Jesus Christ, God offers salvation to everyone, Curtis noted, and Missouri Baptists should not be ashamed to tell the good news.
"God doesn’t have to apologize for Jesus and neither do we," he said.
Curtis, pastor of Ballwin Baptist Church, also reflected on his year as president of the convention. He said it felt a little bit like the Screaming Eagle ride at Six Flags Amusement Park near his home. He added it had been a great ride.
"I’m more proud to be a Missouri Baptist than I’ve ever been in my life," he said.
Small congregations should not feel inferior to larger churches in the state, Curtis said, noting that all churches serve a big God. He finished with an encouraging word.
"We’re encountering some evil days, but the joy of the Lord is our strength."