When asked where religion came into Scouting, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).
This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.
A Scout is…Obedient
A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly manner.
The seventh point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is obedient.” According to Merriam-Webster.com, the word obedient means, “submissive to the restraint or command of authority : willing to obey.” When a Scout is obedient, he submits to those in authority over him. A key component of the Boy Scout program is for Scouts to learn not only to be obedient to authority, but to learn to be a good leader when given authority over others.
The virtue of obedience is found throughout the Bible. In the book of Genesis, God gave the first man, Adam, a single command: Do not eat the fruit of one specific tree. Adam failed to be obedient to God’s one command, and it plunged humanity into centuries of sin, death, and suffering.
In Genesis 22, after Abraham offered to sacrifice his Son Isaac to God, and God told him not to, God told Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” The author of the book of Hebrews tells us, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”
In many places in the Law of Moses, the Israelites are commanded to obey God’s Law. For example:
9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:9-10).
A Scout is encouraged to obey his parents. The apostle Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1), and “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).
There are times when a Scout is called on to make a choice between obeying unfair rules or laws, or doing what is right. In such instances, the Scout is encourages to do what is right, and to work to have unjust rules or laws changed. In Daniel, chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego chose to obey God rather than King Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown into a fiery furnace as a result. In chapter 6 of Daniel, Daniel refused to obey an unjust law; He was thrown into a lion’s den as a result. Because of their obedience to God, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, and Daniel were all saved, completely unharmed.
A Scout is called to be obedient to his parents, his troop leaders, his school leaders, and to the laws of his community, state, and country. A Christian is called to be obedient to those in authority, unless doing so would cause them to be disobedient to God. The virtue of obedience is yet another example of how the values of Scouting were derived from the values of the Bible.