A Birmingham megachurch pastor predicts a surge in alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America after a decision Thursday by the Boy Scouts to accept openly gay scouts.

The Rev. Harry Reeder III, senior pastor of the 4,100-member Briarwood Presbyterian Church, former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America and outspoken critic of efforts to change Boy Scout policy on homosexuality, said evangelical churches are a bedrock of support for the Boy Scout tradition in Alabama.

That’s now in danger, he said.

“When a church holds to a biblical social ethic of sex only between a man and a woman in monogamous marriage, it cannot support an organization that opposes that,” said. “That would introduce sexual anarchy into the teaching of the church. There will be a significant response from evangelical churches.”

Reeder said evangelical churches have been moving toward other youth development programs and he expects those to accelerate. The Southern Baptist Convention’s Royal Ambassadors program, the Christian Brigade program from England, Pioneer Clubs and the AWANA evangelical parachurch program embraced by several denominations are likely to be viewed as possible alternatives, Reeder said.

“Something that is this much of a deviation from ethical commitments may give birth to something new, a continuing organization that maintains the historic scouting program,” Reeder said.

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10 Responses to Reeder Predicts Surge in Boy Scout Alternative Programs

  1. Greg Molin says:

    “When a church holds to a biblical social ethic of sex only between a man and a woman in monogamous marriage, it cannot support an organization that opposes that…”

    And surely we all agree that when a church holds to a Doctrine of God (WCF Ch. 2), it certainly cannot support an organization that opposes that.

    And that is what the OPC found of the BSA in the 1950’s:

    “It might be too much to say that Scouting IS a religion. But it is clear that Scouting HAS a religion. And at the heart of that religion is the acceptance of a God supposedly recognized by Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, and accepted by them all.” (quote continued in next post)

  2. Greg Molin says:

    (continued quote) “If this conclusion be correct, then it must be said that Scouting teaches a religion that is distinctly unbiblical and unchristian. A God acceptable to Catholics, Protestants, and Jews does not exist. Those who do not honor the Son do not honor the Father. And the Jews do not honor the Son. (John 5:23, I John 2:23, Luke 10: 16). In requiring the boys to promise to do their duty to a God understood to be acceptable to adherents of these three faiths, the Scout movement seems clearly to require submission to a God that does not exist. This is to teach a form of idolatry.”

    For more read D. G. Hart’s “Clash of Orthodoxies” at:


  3. John Musgrave says:

    “[The Church] cannot support an organization that opposes that . . . That would introduce sexual anarchy into the teaching of the church.”
    Wait, are the Boy Scouts of America a ministry of the Church? I’m confused. Not really, but I hope we get the point.
    Having gotten the point above, then are we saying that sinners aren’t welcome in our buildings & that we should except them from the category of “neighbor,” “enemy,” and “persecutor,” whom Jesus tells us to love? The Pharisees excluded these people, too, and treated them with derision. Jesus acted quite differently–He was their friend. His loving them wasn’t equal to approving their sin. Romans 2:4: It is God’s kindness, tolerance and patience leads us to repentance!

    • W. Pat Maddox says:

      I understand tolerance and agree that the Church should welcome the individuals from Scouting. However, we as the church cannot be involved in sponsorship or actively support the position of the Scouts. The churches must represent Christ in action. Christ in fact worked among the sinners but did not condone the sin.

      • John Musgrave says:

        “. . . the church cannot . . . actively support the position of the Scouts.”
        I don’t think that any of our churches are seeking to support the position of the BSA. It seems that the argument being presented here is, rather, this: that churches should close their doors to the Scouts until they start acting like Christians. That’s the approach of the Pharisees. We should recognize this, lest we be as offensive to Jesus as they were.
        “The churches must represent Christ in action.” I agree, but acting as He acted would be to welcome sinners. Welcoming and loving sinners, according to Jesus’ actions, does not condone sin. Or, are we blurring the Church and the Scouts, and saying that the Scouts must represent Christ in action?

    • Mark Cummins says:

      I understand your point, however there is a difference between accepting sinners into the church, which we all are, and accepting their sin as ok. This is what the BSA has done. Jesus accepted everyone with open arms and love, but he also told those that were sinning to go and sin no more. In my opinion, when the BSA accepted openly gay boys into the ranks, they are not saying go and sin no more, they are saying that they are ok with their choice of lifestyle. Jesus never said that and as Christians, we cannot either. Love the sinners, yes, but hate the sin and call it for what it is.

      • Scott Wells says:

        I would encourage readers to actually read what the BSA says on the issue. I think many people would be surprised by the careful nuance of the position the scouts take. They have struck an interesting balance with a careful articulation of “same-sex attraction” or “orientation” (rather than use the politically charged “gay”), recognizing teens may be still be figuring themselves out in our culture or sexual confusion, wanting to have moral influence on those teens, and declaring it no uncertain terms: no sexual activity on the part of any scout-age youth. The points of clarification page at scouting dot org may be enlightening to peruse. It references churches ministering to teens.

      • John Musgrave says:

        “but he also told those that were sinning to go and sin no more . . . when the BSA accepted openly gay boys into the ranks, they are not saying go and sin no more.”
        Think about this: this assumes that the Boy Scouts are Christians, and therefore tasked by God with teaching the Bible and with excommunicating those who aren’t in conformity with it.
        Also, Jesus said “go and sin no more” to nonbelievers AFTER they had come to Him in faith. Are we saying that Boy Scouts are believers who need to be told to sin no more?
        Scripture directs believers to welcome unbelievers with the gospel; then, as believers in the Church, we focus on OUR sanctification. We don’t turn to non-Church persons and say, in essence, “Work on your…

  4. Gordon Frost says:

    Thank you Dr. Reeder for speaking out on behalf of the PCA of which I am a member/Elder Emeritis here in Plantation, FL.
    Years ago I led the Christian Service Brigade, teaching many young men, the way of salvation.
    Please consider the CSB. Thank you, and Gods Blessing.
    Yours because of Jesus:
    Gordon W. Frost

  5. Rich Loudon says:

    I have lead as a Troop Committee Chairman (Admin) and as Scoutmaster (Program), and am in the middle of this discussion as our church is trying to decide how to respond in a God-honoring way. This decision by the BSA directly effects churches serving as the “Charter Organization”. Tens of thousands of churches fill that role supporting hundreds of thousands of scouts:


    The Charter Organization role is formal and well-defined by BSA policy:


    Question: How can our church maintain oversight, appoint leaders, be the final signatory on troop documents AND enforce all BSA policies while at the same time…