Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

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Many Southern Baptists have decided to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of American since the Boy Scouts have officially welcomed openly homosexual scouts beginning 2014. Cutting ties over homosexuality is understandable, but ignores the larger, overlooked gospel issue of pluralism.

Southern Baptists (I am one) passed a resolution in 1992 supporting the Boy Scouts for their “refusal to allow homosexuals as Scout leaders and its commitment to maintain references to God within its oath and literature.” As far as I know, these are still the Boy Scouts’ positions. Of course, they folded on allowing openly gay scouts (not leaders) and many object this move based on their Christian faith and the Scout Oath. The Oath stresses the scout’s duty to God and calls on him to be “morally straight.”

But does the Scout Oath actually promote Christianity and condemn homosexuality? Let’s look!

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Christians can affirm this Oath within their worldview, but so can those of others religions. But how does the Boy Scout Handbook  explain what the Oath means about God and about being morally straight?

to God…

Your family and religious leaders teach you about God and the ways you can serve. You do your duty to God by following the wisdom of those teachings every day and by respecting and defending the rights of others to practice their own beliefs.

This statement does not represent a Christian perspective, but that of American religious freedom. The Boy Scouts have many non-Christian faith-based organizations, the largest being Mormonism.  Jews and Muslims also have chartered organizations. Scouts may earn religious emblems for just about any religion from Baha’i to Buddhist to Unity Churches to Zoroastrianism.

In the Scout world religious pluralism is celebrated where god is not necessarily God. And the Christian gospel does not mix with other religions. However, there is commonality on many moral issues. What about being morally straight? The Handbook states:

and morally straight.

Your relationships with others should be honest and open. Respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.

Depending on one’s worldview, there is not explicit condemnation of homosexuality in this statement. One may have a religious belief that accepts homosexuality while another may condemn it. It seems that to be morally straight, as the Oath states, would forbid anyone from acting out sexually. While the Boy Scouts may accept openly gay scouts, this does not mean they encourage open sexual activity in any form.

However, the Oath is written for wider personal interpretation. Many Christians would hold that homosexual attraction is not sin unless acted upon. As well, heterosexual attractions should also not be acted upon sexually outside of marriage.

Even the “morally straight” section of the Oath shines light on the problem of religious pluralism as it points back to “your religious beliefs.” The Boy Scout pluralism problem has been there all along for Baptists ( and all Christians). When religious pluralism is ignored for moral concerns over open acceptance of homosexuality the gospel is trumped by law.

What I mean is – the gospel issue of mixing religions was not enough to cause an uproar, but a particular moral disagreement had to happen before the armor of God was readied.  The fight is spiritual in the soul and is fought with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Laws are good and necessary, but only the gospel changes hearts.

I’m not a fan of constantly having the homosexual agenda pushed in every aspect of American life.  I’m also not a fan of Christians overlooking religious pluralism in various settings until the something like the homosexual agenda surfaces. Those who find their identity in Islam, Judaism, or Mormonism are no more right with God than those whose identity is in unrepentant, practicing homosexuality.

Finally, I understand a church and/or Christian parents may separate from the Boy Scouts over the issue of accepting homosexual scouts. However, Christians must learn to live in a world with unbelievers, some of whom have alternative lifestyles, because that is the world in which we live.

Unbelievers come in all religions and sexualities so we Christians should seek to apply the gospel in all situations hostile to the gospel since that is where it is most needed. We should be urgent to apply the gospel whether in a comfortable morality couched in religious pluralism or in whatever uncomfortable immorality that arises.

Here I blog…

Mark

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tagged as , , , , in Baptist,Christianity,Culture,Gospel,morality,politics,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 willadair June 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Well said.

2 LarryFarlow June 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Very true. The god of Scouting has never been the God of the Bible.

3 Mark Lamprecht June 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

willadair LarryFarlow  Thanks, brothers!

4 julie June 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I guess I would focus on two phrases in the morally straight portion of the oath: ‘clean in your speech and actions’ and ‘a life of virtue’. There is no way that the disgusting sin of homosexuality could ever be considered clean or virtuous. It is the exact antithesis of both. However, in our society words have lost meaning. So what is the purpose of oaths if the words contained within them are devoid of meaning?

5 SethDunn June 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Good observations.

6 Mark Lamprecht June 12, 2013 at 8:02 am

SethDunn Thanks, bro.

7 Mark Lamprecht June 12, 2013 at 8:04 am

@julie I understand your position, but those outside the Christian worldview may not understand in the same way. Not to mention that all sins are unclean and disgusting to God.

8 stvplyr July 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

UNLESS THE FATHER DRAWS HIM
John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
What is the meaning of John 6:44?
1. Does it mean only a few, who have been selected by the Father, will be saved? No, it does not.2. Does it mean that men only respond to the gospel because of irresistible grace? No, it does not.
WHO ARE THOSE THAT THE FATHER DRAWS?
John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
The Father draws all who hear and learn. The Father does not force anyone to hear or learn. Men have free-will. God does not impute faith into a few so they will believe and be saved. Faith does not come by injection.
HOW DO MEN HEAR AND LEARN?
Romans 10:13-14 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
Men need to hear the gospel before they can learn and believe. The Father draws men by the gospel.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Faith comes from hearing the gospel. Faith does not come because the Father selected a chosen few, before the world began, to be saved. All who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are the chosen and that includes whoever accepts God’s terms for pardon. Faith does not come because of irresistible grace.
God the Father draws men to Jesus with the gospel.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,
IT IS THE GOSPEL THAT DRAWS MEN TO JESUS!
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE IS NOT THE METHOD THAT THE FATHER USES TO DRAW MEN TO JESUS.
Romans 10:21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Israel as a nation reject the gospel. How would that be possible if irresistible grace were in play? Israel turned away from God.
Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
Jerusalem was unwilling to be drawn to Jesus by believing the gospel. They had a choice.
John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
The Jews had the opportunity to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they were unwilling. There was no irresistible grace in play. The Father draws all who are willing to believe the gospel.
John 6:40 This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
IF YOU ARE READING THIS BLOG YOU ARE ONE OF THE “EVERYONE” WHO HAS A CHANCE TO BE BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
MEN REJECT GOD.
GOD DOES NOT REJECT MEN DUE TO NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.
THE FATHER DRAWS MEN TO JESUS THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. MEN ARE NOT DRAWN TO JESUS BECAUSE THEY WERE PRESELECTED FOR SALVATION!
YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>>>steve finnell a christian view

9 Jim De Arras October 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

sliding down the slippery slope, eh, Mark? 🙁

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