Monday, September 16, 2013Download All Stories
Boy Scouts or an alternative? Churches continue to deliberate
NASHVILLE (BP) -- A 6,000-member Southern Baptist church in North Carolina has announced plans to end its 60-year sponsorship of a Boy Scout troop in light of the Scouts' vote in May to admit open homosexuals to membership.
Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., instead will sponsor a troop of the newly formed Trail Life USA, which requires adult leaders to sign a statement of faith and requires both boys and leaders to live by a code of conduct that defines "any sexual activity outside the context of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman" as "sinful" and "inconsistent with the values and principles of the program."
Trail Life USA will accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attraction or gender confusion. It will not, however, receive into membership boys that are openly homosexual or transgendered.
"We've had very strong support from the existing families who were in the Scout program," Donald Mann, the church's associate pastor for stewardship, said, adding, "We've had a lot of support from within the community for what we're doing."
Calvary joined those churches that have ended their sponsorship of Boy Scout troops and opted to support alternative groups for boys like Trail Life USA and Royal Ambassadors, the Southern Baptist missions organization for boys in grades 1-6. The tandem Southern Baptist program Challengers engages young men in grades 7-12 in missions education.
Steve Heartsill, managing editor for RAs at the Woman's Missionary Union in Birmingham, Ala., told BP there are some parallel elements to RAs and Boy Scouts, like an award system, camping and competitions using wooden racecars. However, WMU does not view RAs "as an alternative to anything" and does not take a position on whether churches should continue to sponsor Boy Scout troops, he said.
"With a rich history of 105 years, the purpose of Royal Ambassadors is missions education and involvement," Heartsill said. "RAs is about leading boys to Christ, teaching missions and developing a Christ-like character. As boys are introduced to missional concepts, they learn they have an active part to play in God's plan for their lives and for the world. They come to understand that God can use them now -- even in their youth -- to share His love with others and make a difference."
Teaching biblical sexual morality is not specifically a part of RAs, according to Heartsill, "but Christ-like character and virtues are emphasized." The RA pledge includes a promise "to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body."
When Roswell Street announced its plan to sever ties with the Boy Scouts, Pastor Ernest Easley, who also serves as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, said Southern Baptists "really have an opportunity here to strengthen our RA programs and to get the boys in a program where they're going to be protected, where there's a high moral standard and where they will have an opportunity to learn about camping, missions, evangelism in the local church." Read More
1961 controversy over 'The Message of Genesis' gets Baptist historians' reflectionsKANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- One of the catalysts of the Conservative Resurgence -- the Elliott controversy -- was examined by three Southern Baptist historians in a panel discussion Sept. 10 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Read More
'World Hunger Fund' now 'Global Hunger Relief'NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- When it comes to people in need, big numbers can hide the human faces they represent. Statistics tell us that more than 1 billion people around the world are hungry more often than not, and about 24,000 people -- over half of them young children -- die every day from various conditions that could have been alleviated by basic nutrition. Read More
After porn: A marriage is restoredLAKELAND, Fla. (BP) -- Seven years after Cathy Dyer and her husband were married, pornography erupted as a crisis in their marriage, nearly destroying it.
Dyer recounts her real-life story of "God's ability to turn tragedy into triumph" ... Read More
Protecting your son from pornographyLAKELAND, Fla. (BP) -- The average age of first exposure to Internet pornography for a male is 10 to 11 years old. Nine out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases the pornography website was accessed unintentionally, but it still has a detrimental effect. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: 'Dad, I think I know all the Bible stories now'
Writer and editor Trevin Wax recounts a teachable moment he had with his son on the difference between learning about God and worshipping God. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Teaching your child to worship
As a new school year begins, columnist Diana Davis urges parents to take a fresh look at teaching their children to worship God. Read More
BP Ledger, Sept. 16 edition
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
WORLD News Service (2 items)
Growing 'subterranean dissent' from Darwinism
NEW YORK (WORLD News Service) -- Stephen Meyer, one of the founders of the intelligent design theory, spoke at a Socrates in the C... Read More