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Boy Scouts.

First organized 1908 in Eng. by Robert Stephenson Smyth (1857–1941), 1st Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell. Introduced into US 1910. According to charter granted by Congress 1916, the purpose of the organization is to “promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts,” by emphasizing the Scout Oath or Promise and Law for character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness. Stress is also laid on the effort made by the organization to further love for outdoor life; for this purpose so-called hikes are made, and some time is spent in summer camps. Such outdoor life is also intended to contribute to health and practical educ. The Scout Law, to which obedience must be promised, says that the scout must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Scouts are required to “do a good turn daily.” The scout idea is to instill in the boy love and duty to God, home, and country.

In its initial stages, scouting could be charged with possessing a religious character but refraining from the use of the Christian Gospel for the building up of a God-pleasing character; that is to say, with trying to serve God without a true regeneration of the heart and without being guided by the principles of Holy Scripture. The position on religion was later clarified and modified. The organization does maintain that “no boy can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing his obligation to God. … The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship, and wholesome precepts in the education of the growing boy.” However, while recognizing the religious element in the training of the boy, scouting refrains from giving religious training or even announcing a program of such training but assigns to the church whatever spiritual guidance and religious instruction the boy is to receive. The official stand of the scout movement towards religious and moral training is defined as follows: Whatever scouting has to say about religion refers to “civil righteousness”—termed “character building and citizenship training,” “good citizenship through service.” The oath: “The Boy Scout 'Pledge' is a promise, not an oath in the Scriptural sense of the term. The upraised hand, with three fingers extended, has reference to the threefold pledge, not to the Trinity.” (Scouting in the Lutheran Church, pub. 1943 by Boy Scouts of America.)

“We recognize that there is no Boy Scout authority which supersedes the authority of the local Pastor and the Congregation in any phase of the program affecting the spiritual welfare of Lutheran men and boys in Scouting.” (Elbert Fretwell, chief Scout executive)

Various committees of the Mo. Syn. at different times made reports on their dealings with scout authorities and this led to a resolution approving the committee's report in 1944: “Your Committee believes that the matter of scouting should be left to the individual congregation to decide and that under the circumstances Synod may consider her interests sufficiently protected.” (Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth Regular Convention of the Ev. Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States [St. Louis, 1944] p. 257) TG

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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