UPDATE: Resolution 6 has been passed by the messengers in Houston. This post is based on my expectations, please read this post for more details on the actual resolution that passed on June 12.
I was optimistic when I read this article at Baptist Press; I am certainly not alone in my convictions. But the further I read the more I realized while not alone those of us that are Southern Baptist and believe in supporting the Scouts are certainly a minority. The first portion (can’t say half) of the article relates A.J. Smith’s defense of the Boy Scout’s policy change, and explains how sponsoring organizations, churches in particular, can outline behavioral rules and expectations of members. He talks about fishers of men and how we much engage in the society, mirroring some of my own ideas.
But then the next 60% or more of the BP article explains why the church must end its involvement with the Scouts, even detailing the ways that Smith and others are wrong. And I will keep coming back to my original argument: If you feel the Boy Scouts have lost their moral compass then cutting ties with the organization isn’t going to help them any. Good Christian men and fathers need to be leaders of troupes and examples of moral standards. Christian scouts need to stay in the organization and be examples for others, not join a Christian scouting group made up of other kids that all believe the same way they do already. Roger Oldham is quoted as saying “The Boy Scouts have planted the seeds of their own demise.” Like Jonah sitting high above Nineveh waiting for wrath, many will be disappointed if the Scouts do not self destruct.
Holiness is not the path to Jesus; Jesus is the path to holiness. Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, spoke to women in public places, healed the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, made time for children and chose a rather motley crew of disciples. People came to him with problems (physical and spiritual) and were healed rather than people that had made themselves righteous first and were then acceptable to him. 16 million Southern Baptists have a certain amount of gravitas when it comes to how the general public view church and religion. I think we already cast the impression, often unintentionally, that you can’t come to church (or to God) with problems. The Apostle Paul is clear that not only will keeping the Law not make us righteous but it is a burden we cannot bear. I don’t know if it’s legalistic, pharisetical or homophobic, but I can’t see the Gospel in what the SBC is about to do. We can’t be the salt of the earth or light of the world if we isolate ourselves from everyone not “Christian enough” to suit our taste. Some have recommended starting or expanding the local church’s RA group to provide a Christian alternative to scouting. How old do you have to be to not see the golden age of RA’s and GA’s has passed?
The literal fishermen Jesus called spent a lot of time on their boats, in the water, surrounded by fish. They were covered in a watery, slimy, fishy mesh. They wreaked. We can’t be fishers of men while staying as far away from the water as possible. Our culture is changing. When federal legislation or decision by the Supreme Court make same-sex marriage (marriage equality) the law of the land, will church members be told not to pay their taxes? “The Boy Scouts have planted the seeds of their own demise.” The United States started down that road a long time ago. All nations of the world will come to demise when Christ returns to establish his reign and in the meantime we are citizens of God’s Kingdom left in this world to spread the Gospel and share Christ… with those that would otherwise be condemned.