A Call to Distinctively Lutheran Scouting
Today the news became official, the Boy Scouts have fallen in line with the step of a world gone mad. The group has adopted a policy which allows openly gay boys to join (but in compromise they did not allow openly gay men to become scout leaders [you could probably hold your breath for how long that ruling will last]). This has caused the American Heritage Girls to dissolve their working relationship with the Boy Scouts immediately following the decision.
There are some things which may be learned here. First, as James 4:4 says, friendship with the world is enmity with God. We need to understand that anytime we get involved in a “faith-based”, “parachurch” or modestly religious secular organization that they will eventually end up falling away from the true God. This is maybe the writing that the WELS has seen on the wall. In our efforts to get involved and do “more”, we have looked for partners or agencies which have the infrastructure already built that we can tag along with. This has again proven to be a bad idea (remember all of our collaboration with the ELCA on stuff?). Maybe it’s time to consider a Lutheran solution and be satisfied with a smaller footprint on the face of the earth (but also being better stewards of the children given to us).
Another thing we need to learn is that a generic confession of belief in “God” in such organizations IS NOT THE SAME GOD THAT WE WORSHIP. No matter how you cut it, the Trinity is not confessed by generic statements of belief or vows to “god” (or even “God”). It is time to get very specific about the God that we worship (remember the Second Commandment everyone?). We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost [for more of that go to church this Sunday and confess the Athanasian Creed]. To water down the confession of who God is profanes the name of God among us.
Even more that that, following the pattern of our great creeds, we worship Jesus. Although many of the current groups started by a rigorous confession of Christ, they have in the name of tolerance and all other sorts of things given that up to a more generic god, or at least a Jesus who is palatable to the world.
Now, Lutherans can learn from this and move on. First, the WELS/ELS can teach something about this and help – they have the Lutheran Pioneers. Another Lutheran scouting group which could be resurrected could be the Lutheran Rangers/Rangerettes, which only shut down its national offices a short while ago and still has troops in a couple LCMS congregations in Wisconsin. Perhaps the Office of National Mission could work with those congregations (and the WELS/ELS) to prepare and offer a genuinely Lutheran alternative to the scouting groups now following after the darkness of the world.
You will note in this article I have not suggested that we should stay with the Boy Scouts. They have chosen their god and now to remain faithful to Christ, Lutherans should flee from the organization. Yes, it is painful, yes it will take away resources and there may even be members of LCMS congregations who will side with the Boy Scouts. The plain fact of the matter is that those worldly concerns do not change the Second Commandment and what it says (not to mention the Sixth Commandment). We are Lutherans, we can do it our way for the sake of our boys and girls. Let them learn scouting, but under the one true God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.