Bible Answers Home
and the Christian
Joe R. Price
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION I: HISTORY AND ANTIQUITY OF FREEMASONRY
SECTION II: THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF FREEMASONRY
SECTION III: THE DEFINITION OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS STATED OBJECTIVES
SECTION IV: SOME OF THE SYMBOLISM OF FREEMASONRY
SECTION V: MASONIC PRACTICES AND BELIEFS WHICH CONTRADICT THE BIBLE
SECTION VI: THE CHRISTIAN WHO IS A MASON
Freemasonry and the Christian
Joe R. Price
(This material was first published in 1983 when it ran as a series of articles in Gospel Themes, the monthly publication of the Olsen Park church of Christ, Amarillo, TX. Slight modifications in grammar, spelling and style have been made here. jrp)
This material is intended to provide enlightenment on a subject which has been shrouded in mystery, secrecy, speculation and assertions for many, many years. Freemasonry has held a kind of mysterious intrigue to untold numbers. To others, it is nothing more than a social fraternity designed to offer and extend benevolence to mankind. If this is the complete extent of Freemasonry, then these articles would not be written. If the Masonic Lodge is only a social organization, there would no more harm come from being a Mason than would come from being in the Lion's Club, Rotary Club or any other civic or social organization. However, it is our sincere and studied conclusion that Freemasonry is both religious and a religion, carrying serious consequences for those involved therein. To see the magnitude of the situation, consider that in 1970, it was estimated by Emmett McLoughlin in the introduction to A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, p. xxxiv, that there were four million members of the Blue Lodges (the first three degrees of Freemasonry) in the United States alone.
In this series of articles we will be examining Freemasonry from several standpoints. First, we will consider some of its history, and its attempted ties to ancient times. Then, the organizational arrangement of the Lodge will occupy some space; its membership requirements and the obtainable degrees in Freemasonry. Thirdly, we want to take a close look at Masonic definitions of Freemasonry and their stated objectives, along with some of the symbolism used in the rites of Masonry. As far as I know, very little material is currently available which deals with these three areas of Masonry. We hope to provide some needed information on these aspects of our topic. Following this, we must consider the practices and beliefs of Freemasonry which contradict the Bible, the word of God, and therefore make it incompatible with Christianity. Finally, we intend to consider some of the rationale used to justify Masonry by Christians, as well as the consequences of a Christian being a Mason.
Everybody loves a secret! For many, the attraction of Masonry is its secrecy. Masons are taught to believe that the non-Mason cannot know the true meaning of Masonry. Many Masons will tell us that one cannot know about Masonry until he becomes a member of the Masonic Lodge. The Mason who tells you this is either ignorant of the facts or deliberately lying. We prefer to choose ignorance as the source of such statements.
"Freemasonry alone has no secret doctrine. Its philosophy is open to the world. Its modes of recognition by which it secures identification, and its rites and ceremonies which are its method of instruction, alone are secret. All men may know the tenets of the Masonic creed." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Mackey, One Volume edition, p. 799)
You can learn about Masonry by obtaining and studying the books and publications which have the approval of Freemasonry. Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge is the "official manual or monitor of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A. A. & A. M., and its subordinate Lodges...," (p. v) and will be quoted in this work. Morals And Dogma of the Ancient And Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry was written by Albert Pike, a thirty-third degree Mason. It was "prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and published by its authority." (Morals and Dogma, title page) It too will be used to prove the official positions of Freemasonry. Albert G, Mackey, also a thirty-third degree Mason, and probably the greatest Freemason scholar of all time, authored the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Lightfoot freely quotes from Mackey's Encyclopedia, thus showing its credibility as an authoritative voice of Masonry. Indeed, its "modes or recognition by which it secures identifications and its rites and ceremonies, which are its method of instruction" are also in print and available to the non-Mason. Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor contains the rites and ceremonies of the first seven degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry. Although Masons are told their secret works are not in print and available to the non-Mason, such simply is not the case!
Correct conclusions about Freemasonry can be drawn from investigating these and other sources. We have no desire to misrepresent Masonry, and have nothing to gain by doing so. The conclusions drawn herein are available for all to see in the standard works of Freemasonry.
SECTION I: HISTORY AND ANTIQUITY OF FREEMASONRY
While a study of the history of Freemasonry may not seem to have much practical benefits at first glance, such a study will enhance one's knowledge of certain assertions made by some Masons concerning its origin and antiquity. Knowledge of its history becomes invaluable in correcting the attempts which are made to historically connect Freemasonry with king Solomon, Moses, or even more ancient times.
The historical material available on Freemasonry reveals that its documented, historically factual existence in its present form cannot be traced beyond the late 17th or early 18th centuries. To begin considering this material, we must begin with the year 1717. In London, England, in February of 1717, four struggling Lodges met to form the Grand Lodge of England. This formation is termed by Masonic scholars and historians as a "revival of Freemasonry" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol. 2, p. 854). This claim of revival was itself attacked by some Masonic writers of the 19th century. W. P. Buchan, a frequent writer in the London Freemason (1871-1872), attacked the antiquity of Freemasonry by refusing to extend its existence prior to 1717. He stated that "our system of degrees, words, grips, signs, etc., was not in existence until about 1717 A. D." (Ibid.). While we cannot conclusively say that Freemasonry began in 1717, we may say, as do their own scholars, that it underwent a renaissance at that time which gave birth to modern Freemasonry.
To look at Freemasonry prior to 1717 is to be bewildered by seemingly unrelated statements as to the source and antiquity of the Order. Freemasonry attempts to connect itself to the dawn of antiquity, while at the same time admitting that evidence to support this claim is lacking. Albert Pike said,
"It (Freemasonry, jrp) sits apart from all sects and creeds, in its own calm and simple dignity, the same under every government. It is still that which it was in the cradle of the human race, when no human foot had trodden the soil of Assyria and Egypt, and no colonies had crossed the Himalayas into Southern India, Media, or Etrusia." (Morals and Dogma, Pike, p. 153)
In reference to the Temple of Solomon as the birthplace of Freemasonry, E. R. Johnston (thirty-second degree) has said,
"This is a point still open for discussion. On it I express no fixed opinion. The historical materials upon which to base an opinion are too scanty." (Masonry Defined, Johnston, p. 227, emp., jrp)
For a Mason to declare that Masonry is "as old as the Bible" or "as old as man" is to speak without the security of firm, historical documents to verify the claim.
When considering the history of Masonry, we can be sure that the organization of Freemasonry has been obtained from the building guilds of the Middle Ages. There were, at that time, "Operative Masons" -- men who used the tools and implements of Masonry as their livelihood. These men who operated in the realm of architecture and masonry formed themselves into gilds or orders, which included Apprentices, Fellows and Operative Masters. From these operative masons was devised, through the course of time, what has come to be known as "Speculative Masonry," which is Masonry in its present form. Speculative Masonry (which we will discuss in greater detail in future issues) uses the tools and implements of Operative Masonry in a symbolic way to speculate and theorize about deity, the universe, science, humanity, morality and the immortality of the soul. Speculative Masonry is devoted to "the construction of spiritual temples, and in this respect a development from the Operative Architects of the tenth and succeeding centuries." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol. 1, p. 87). Albert Mackey, the prince of Masonic scholars, says that at one time he believed the place of the organization of Freemasonry was at the building of Solomon's Temple. However, he than says
"Many years of subsequent research have led me greatly to modify the views I had previously held. Although I do not rank myself among those modern iconoclasts who refuse credence to every document whose authenticity, if admitted, would give to the order a birth anterior to the beginning of the last century, I confess that I cannot find any incontrovertible evidence that would trace Freemasonry, as now organized, beyond the Building Corporations of the Middle Ages." (Ibid., emp., jrp)
For Masons today to insist that Masonry has been in existence for thousands of years is to deny every recognized source on the subject! Do not let the advocate of Freemasonry get away with making such an unsubstantiated assertion!
Concerning the antiquity of Freemasonry, E. R. Johnston has candidly presented his studied belief on the subject:
"The theory, then, that I advance upon the subject of the antiquity of Freemasonry is this: I maintain that, in its present peculiar organization, it is the successor, with certainty, of the Building Corporations of the Middle Ages, and through them, with less certainty but with great probability, of the Roman College of Artificers. Its connection with the Temple of Solomon, as its birthplace, may have been accidental -- a mere arbitrary selection by its inventors -- and bears therefore, only an allegorical meaning..." (Masonry Defined, Johnston, p. 226, (emp., jrp)
Masonry is not the product of one man's inventive planning and execution. It is a conglomeration of many human philosophies which have been gathered throughout the centuries and applied to the tools of operative Masonry through the use of symbolism. Its ancient rites, forms, symbols and ceremonies are freely admitted (in fact, boastfully acknowledged) to have been borrowed from ancient systems of religion and philosophy.
"Masonry propagates no creed except its own most simple and Sublime One; that universal religion, taught by Nature and by Reason. Its Lodges are neither Jewish, Moslem, nor Christian Temples. It reiterates the Precepts of morality of all religions. It venerates the character and commends the teachings of the great and good of all ages and of all countries. It extracts the good and not the evil, the truth, and not the error, from all creeds and acknowledges that there is much which is good and true in all." (Morals and Dogma, Pike, p. 718, emp., jrp)
The apostle Paul said, "Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2:8). Since Masonry has been conclusively shown to be an organization of human origin, which speculates on such things as deity, the universe, science, humanity, morality and immortality through the use of all the ancient religions and philosophies, surely it falls into the category of human philosophy which is "after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (cf. 1 Cor. 1:19-21). To get caught up in practicing and defending Freemasonry amounts to letting others "make spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit."
SECTION II: THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF FREEMASONRY
Much can be learned about an institution by looking at its organizational structure. This can be said of divine and human organizations. We can learn many valuable truths about the Lord's church through a careful study of its organization and structure. Time is certainly not wasted on studies about the headship of the church, the qualifications and work of elders, the deacons of the New Testament church, the role of evangelists, etc. The Lord gave His church a particular organization whereby it could accomplish its divine purposes. Similar value exists for studying the organizational structure of Freemasonry.
To understand something about what goes on in Masonry, one needs to have some knowledge of its organizational structure. Once this is understood, we can have a better perception of the different rites which are conferred upon the initiate of Freemasonry, its degrees and symbolism. The membership requirements necessary to becoming a Freemason give us a great deal of insight into the nature and intent of Masonry.
The Organization of Lodges
A look at the organization of lodges naturally breaks down into two basic areas. First. the local Lodges which may be found in practically every city and town across America. These Lodges consist of and practice the first three degrees of Freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. They are sometimes called the Blue Lodge or the Symbolic Lodge. The second area of organization is the Grand Lodge, which exercises authority over the Blue Lodges of a particular region. We will take a closer look at the Blue Lodge, which confers and practices the three basic degrees of Freemasonry.
When Masons meet in regular session, their place of meeting is called a Lodge. This term is also used to refer to those Masons who have thus assembled.
"A Lodge is understood to be the room or place in which a regularly constituted body of Freemasons assembles or work and the transaction of business connected with the Institution. The term is also used to designate the collection of Masons thus assembled, just as we use the word "church" to signify the building in which a congregation of worshipers meet, as well as the congregation itself." (Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor, insert at close of Part 1)
Why do such Lodges exist? What is their purpose and reason for existence? The meetings which occur in Mason Lodges are for purposes much more involved than simply "getting together" to socialize and "have a good time." Edmund Ronayne, himself a Late Past Master of Keystone Lodge, No. 639, Chicago, Ill., tells us the reason that a Lodge exists at a particular location is "...for the purpose of practicing the mysteries and inculcating the doctrines and principles of Freemasonry." (Ronayne's Handbook of Freemasonry, p. 1, emp., jrp) Duncan has said "A Lodge is defined to be an assembly of Masons, just, perfect and regular, who together meet to expatiate ("to speak or write at length", Webster, jrp) on the beauties and mysteries of the Order, and to add new material to the sacred work." (Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor, insert at close of Part 1). We will discuss these "doctrines and principles," these "beauties and mysteries of the Order" as we proceed with this study. Let it be clearly understood at this point that every local Lodge of Freemasonry participates in the doctrines of Freemasonry, and therefore every Mason who is a member of a local Lodge affiliates himself with these doctrines.
Consider some things which occur during the opening of a Lodge, so that it may "practice the mysteries and inculcate the doctrines and principles of Freemasonry." Lightfoot sets forth the following:
"7. It is a lesson, which every Mason is taught at one of the earliest points of his initiation, that he should commence no important undertaking without first invoking the blessings of Deity -- hence the next step in the progress of the opening ceremonies is to address a prayer to the Supreme Architect of the Universe. This prayer, although offered by the Master, is to be participated in by every brother, and, at its conclusion, the audible response of "So mote it be" should be made by all present.
"8. The Lodge is then declared, in the name of God and the Holy Saints John, duly opened.
"A Lodge is said to be opened in the name of God and the Holy Saints John as a declaration of the sacred purpose of our meeting; of our profound reverence for that Divine Being whose name and attributes should be the constant theme of our contemplation, and of our respect for those ancient patrons whom the traditions of Masonry have so intimately connected with the history of the Institution." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 2, emp., jrp)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the things which occur in the Lodge claim to have the endorsement of God! In their opening prayer (Ibid., pp. 3-4) they declare the Lodge to be opened "in the name of God and the Holy Saints John"! They claim authority from God for the existence of and the things taught and practiced in the Lodge! Where is this authority? God's authority is revealed in His word, the Bible, and nowhere is any authority ever given in God's word to practice the doctrines and principles of human philosophies which are in opposition to His will! And yet, Masonry claims heavenly authority for its principles and teachings, and attempt to reverence God through them. The Bible says glory is shown to God "in the church," not in the lodge (Eph. 3:21)! They even dedicate their Lodges to the "Holy Saints John" ("St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist," Ibid., p. 29)! Surely, "this people honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." (Matt. 15:8-9) What is even more frightening is how a Christian, a child of God, could participate in such vain things which are totally without the authority of God! May those involved in such things see the evil and damning consequences of their association with the Masonic Lodge, and renounce their involvement in it now, before it is everlastingly too late!
Let us now consider the Grand Lodges. A Grand Lodge is defined as "the dogmatic and administrative authority of Ancient Craft Masonry, or the three Symbolic Degrees" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol.1, p. 416). It is thus defined as the ruling body over Masonry. A Grand Lodge may be organized by
"three or more legally constituted Lodges, working in any State, Territory, or other independent political division, where no Grand Lodge already exists, may meet in Convention, adopt by-laws, elect officers, and organize a Grand Lodge." (Ibid.)
There is a Grand Lodge in each of the 50 states in the United States. The Grand Lodge of Texas is located in Waco, Texas. These Grand Lodges are independent of one another so far as their exact methods of government and other expediencies which do not violate the "ancient landmarks" of Freemasonry. In this respect, then, Grand Lodges are autonomous of one another.
Once a Grand Lodge exists in a state, it has the authority to recognize the existence of Blue Lodges. "No Lodge is recognized at the present day unless it has emanated from a Grand Lodge, and works in obedience to the regulations of its parent." (Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor, insert at close of Part 1) Indeed, the authority which the Grand Lodge wields is despotic, and is so stated by Masonic scholars.
"A Grand Lodge is invested with power and authority over all the Craft within its Jurisdiction. It is the Supreme Court of Appeal in all Masonic cases, and to its decrees implicit obedience must be paid by every Lodge and every Freemason situated within its control. The government of Grand Lodges is, therefore, completely despotic, but of course a benevolent despotism. While a Grand Lodge exists, its edicts must be respected and obeyed without examination by its subordinate Lodges." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol. 1, p. 416)
Although its government is said to be a "benevolent despotism," this statement of the Grand Lodge's absolute authority is revealing and shocking. Consider with me for a moment the situation of a Christian who is a Mason (unfortunately, there are some!). In the Blue Lodge, he is to render "implicit obedience" to the judgments and decisions of the Grand Lodge. For example, if the Grand Lodge sanctions lying (or "mental reservation") to mislead and conceal the doctrines of Masonry (and it does - see Morals and Dogma, pp. 104-105, 819), the Christian who is a Mason is to implicitly obey and submit to such deceptive conduct! The inspired apostles said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). But notice further, the edicts of the Grand Lodge are to be respected and obeyed "without examination by its subordinate Lodges." That does not sound too "benevolent" to me! The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." The Christian cannot do that if he is a member of the Masonic Lodge!
In fact, if a Christian who is a Mason should become the Master of a Blue Lodge, he is required, at the time of his installation, to make the following declaration:
"You agree to hold in veneration the original rules and patrons of the Order of Freemasonry, and their regular successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their stations; and to submit to the awards and resolutions of your Brethren in general Lodge convened, in every case consistent with the Constitution of the Order. You promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his officers when duly installed, and strictly to conform to every edict of the Grand Lodge." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol. 1, p. 416; emp., jrp).
So, regardless of the validity of their resolutions in reference to divine truth, or of the consequences they may have upon his influence, initiate gives his word to "strictly" obey the Grand Lodge. If that were not enough, notice in the declaration the agreement to venerate the rules and patrons of Freemasonry, and to "pay homage" to the Grand Master! Such are blasphemous words to the Christian, and clearly shows that Masonry approves the worship and adoration of men. If it does not, why does it use such words?!
Before closing this section of the organization of Lodges, consider this stated rule from the Book of Constitutions concerning the work, position and authority of the Grand Lodge:
"The fourth Rule reads: 'The Grand Lodge possesses the supreme superintending authority, and also has the inherent powers of enacting laws and regulations for the government of the Craft, and of altering, repeating, and abrogating them, always taking care that the Ancient Landmarks of the Order by preserved.'" (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., vol. 1, p. 417).
The Rites and Degrees of Freemasonry
Freemasonry purports to be the bearer of ancient truths dealing with man's relationship to deity and immortality. It persuades its members of their need to embark upon a search for the greater light (knowledge) which Masonry provides. To do this, the Mason is encouraged to advance in the organization through a series of degrees, each intended to provide the initiate with more of the "Masonic Light." To understand this progression in the Masonic Lodge it becomes necessary for us to consider the structure of their degrees so we will be better equipped to investigate the symbolism and doctrines of the Lodge. To this end we now turn our attention to the rites and degrees of Freemasonry.
A "rite" is defined as
"1. a solemn, ceremonial act or observance in accordance with prescribed rule, as in a religion. 2. any formal, customary observance or procedure; as, the rites of courtship. 3. a) a particular system of ceremonial procedure; ritual. b) (often R-), liturgy; esp., any of the forms of the Eucharistic service." (Webster's New World Dictionary)
The "Rites" of Freemasonry consist of degrees, in which the ceremonies and formal observances of Freemasonry are taught and conducted. There are two major Rites which classify the degrees of Freemasonry, the York Rite and the Scottish Rite.
The York Rite is said to be "the oldest of all the Rites, and consisted originally of only three Degrees: 1. Entered Apprentice; 2. Fellow Craft; 3. Master Mason." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, p.1132) Of this classification of Degrees Mackey said,
"The York Rite was that Rite which was most probably organized or modified at the Revival in 1717, and practiced for fifty years by the Constitutional Grand Lodge of England. It consisted of only the three Symbolic Degrees, the last one, or the Master's, containing within itself the secrets now transferred to the Royal Arch." (Ibid.)
When these "secrets" of the Royal Arch were transferred out of the third degree and made a separate degree in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the York Rite lost its identity. "The Rite in its purity does not now exist anywhere" (Ibid.). This Rite is still referred to among Masons, being also described by some as the American Rite, due to the Americanized form the Rite took in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It seems, however, that the identity of the York Rite has been swallowed up by the much more prevalent Rite of Masonry, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The Scottish Rite is one of the youngest Masonic Rites, having been established not earlier than 1801 (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, p.916). And yet, for the past 150 years it has been the "most popular and the most extensively diffused" of all the Masonic Rites. (Ibid.) I am sure that almost everyone who reads this article, whether or not they have had any previous knowledge of Masonry, has heard of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Under this name the Masonic Lodge maintains a system of children's hospitals. Perhaps you have seen this name used in other connections as well, all of which serve to indicate the prevalence of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in our society.
The Degrees of the Scottish Rite
The Scottish Rite consists of thirty-three degrees which are divided into various sections. These sections are under the control of their appropriate Jurisdiction. There are two Jurisdictions in the United States, the Northern and Southern. While some of the names of the degrees are slightly different, depending upon which Jurisdiction is being referenced, both are basically the same and contain the same symbols and teachings. Here is a list of the degrees of the Scottish Rite as they are arranged in the Southern Jurisdiction. (My sources for this list are Blue Lodge And Chapter Masonry, Ronayne, p. iii; Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, p. 916; Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor.)
I. SYMBOLIC LODGE
1. Entered Apprentice
2. Fellow Craft
3. Master Mason
II. LODGE OF PERFECTION
4. Secret Master or Mark Master
5. Perfect Master or Past Master
6. Intimate Secretary or Most Excellent Master
7. Provost and Judge or Royal Arch Degree
8. Intendant of the Building
9. Elu, or Elected Knight of the Nine
10. Illustrious Elect, or Elu, of the Fifteen
11. Sublime Knight Elect, or Elu, of the Twelve
12. Grand Master Architect
13. Knight of the Ninth Arch, or Royal Arch of Solomon
14. Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason, Or Perfect Elu
III. CHAPTER OF ROSE CROIX
15. Knight of the East
16. Prince of Jerusalem
17. Knight of the East and West
18. Prince Rose Croix
IV. COUNCIL OF KADOSH
19. Grand Pontiff
20. Grand Master of Symbolic Lodges
21. Noachite, or Prussian Knight
22. Knight of the Royal Ax, or Prince of Libanus
23. Chief of the Tabernacle
24. Prince of the Tabernacle
25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent
26. Prince of Mercy
27. Knight Commander of the Temple
28. Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept
29. Grand Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew
30. Knight Kadosh
V. CONSISTORY OF SUBLIME PRINCES OR MASTERS, OF THE ROYAL SECRET
31. Inspector Inquisitor Commander
32. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
VI. SUPREME COUNCIL
33. Sovereign Grand Inspector-General
As was stated earlier, these degrees have been organized so as to bring the neophyte of the Order through a progression of grades in his quest for "light." And yet, many Masons who have had these higher degrees conferred upon them are manifestly ignorant of what Masonry stands for and teaches! Men who are 32nd degree Masons have admitted to this author they did not study the material given to them by the Lodge to study in order to receive this "greater light of Masonry!" In reality, this is not much different from the multitude of people who are members of human religious denominations who have no concept of what their denomination believes and practices. If you are a Mason or know Masons and have an influence over them, we encourage you to find out what you (they) are associated with, and get out (or, encourage them to get out)! An association with error will not be justified in the day of judgment by an appeal to ignorance ("But, I didn't know...!") The information is available -- use it and find out what Masonry is really all about!
Membership Requirements of Freemasonry
Every candidate who wishes to enter the Masonic Lodge must meet certain qualifications. These requirements are of two kinds according to Mackey in his Encyclopedia, Internal and External. "The internal qualifications are those which lie within his own bosom, the external are those which refer to his outward and apparent fitness." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, pp.824-825) While these qualifications are interesting, they are not the only necessary qualifications one must meet to become a Mason. One must also have two religious beliefs before he can be initiated into the Masonic Lodge. These two beliefs constitute the religious doctrines of Masonry, and without them, a man cannot become a Mason.
The Internal Qualifications needed for the applicant to become a Mason are:
1. He must come of his own free will; 2. He must not be influenced by mercenary motives; 3. A favorable opinion of the Institution must have prompted him to become a Mason; 4. He must resolve to cheerfully conform to the established usages and customs of the Fraternity. (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, p. 825).
While these qualifications should be present in the initiate, this is not always the case. Mercenary motives have been admitted on occasion as the reason for entering and remaining in Masonry. The financial benefits which can be garnered from being a Mason, through the support of his fellow Masons in the business community, carry great sway with more than a few Masons. But consider the fourth qualification stated above. One must commit himself to conform to "usages and customs" which he would, at the time of commitment, have no knowledge of. Can you imagine a Christian resolving to conform to things which may or may not conflict with Christianity before he can personally investigate them! The Bible teaches that "evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33), and yet the Christian who would become a Mason must take man's word on the validity of Masonry rather than personally knowing beforehand what he is committing himself to (1 Cor. 15:33). The believer is not to be "unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14), but that is exactly what occurs in the Masonic Lodge when a Christian becomes a Mason. He is at the mercy of the Masons when he makes such a foolish commitment. No Christian should ever put himself in such a compromising position. And, those who have should immediately get out of it!
The External Qualifications, which deal with a man's outward and apparent fitness to be a Mason, are divided into five areas:
1. Moral - He must lead a virtuous life;
2. Physical - The candidate must be a man, not a woman; of mature age; must be in possession of all his limbs, not maimed or dismembered;
3. Mental - Able to comprehend the character of the Institution and partake in its responsibilities;
4. Political - This relates to the condition of the candidate in society -- he must be free born, not a slave;
5. Religious - Must believe in the existence of God as a superintending and protecting power, and he must believe in a future life -- the immortality of the soul (Ibid.).
These requirements are fairly self-explanatory, yet cause one to reflect on the implications of several of them. If Freemasonry possesses the "Light" which man needs to build spiritual temples fit for the future life, then why exclude women? Do not they have as much right to this "Light" as men? And why exclude a man simply because he might have an arm or a leg missing? Is he thus incapable of erecting his own "spiritual temple"? Does not he also have a soul which needs fitting for the next life? And why exclude slaves? Will not they also experience a future existence? The discriminatory nature of Masonry slaps one in the face when he considers these qualifications!
On the other hand, Christ has provided a course of life dedicated to erecting "spiritual temples" unto God in which all can participate (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Pet. 2:5). "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28; cf. Acts 10:34-35). Why would any Christian want to be yoked to such a discriminatory organization?
But let us also consider the religious doctrines one must have to become a Mason: Belief in a superintending God and belief in the immortality of the soul. Notice they do not say you must believe in Jehovah, the God of the Bible, as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. You must simply believe in a superintending God, whatever or whoever one might believe he is. This god is described by Masonry as the Great Architect of the Universe (G. A. O. T. U.). To the Hindu this superintending god is Brahman. To the Moslem, he is Allah. Whatever identity men's religions place upon the Supreme Being is fine with Masonry, as long as one believes in the existence of such a god. In conjunction with this view of deity, one must believe in the immortality of the soul. The whole concept of Freemasonry is that of preparing man for a future life. Without believing in a future life, one cannot become a Mason. These two requirements should forever cease the quibbling over whether or not Masonry is religious. It most definitely is religious, else it would not require religious beliefs in order to become a member! A Christian may not be a member of two religious organizations. Jesus Christ has built His church, having shed His own blood to purchase it (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not Freemasonry (1 Tim. 3:15). To seek divine truth, instruction and guidance in a human organization is vanity and in opposition to the divine will of God (Acts 4:12; l Cor.3:11). "Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it..." (Psa. 127:1). My dear friend, the Lord God definitely did not build Freemasonry.
While these evidences show beyond all doubt that Freemasonry is religious, some will continue to quibble that it is not a religion. We now turn our attention to addressing that aspect of Freemasonry.
SECTION III: THE DEFINITION OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS STATED OBJECTIVES
Masonic writers are fond of quoting a brief, although not all together complete statement, when defining Freemasonry. We are told that Freemasonry is
"a science of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols Freemasonry is a science - a philosophy - a system of doctrines which is taught, in a manner peculiar to itself, by allegories and symbols." (The Symbolism of Freemasonry, Albert Mackey, p.10).
As Mackey continues to elaborate on this definition he defines very clearly for us the philosophy and objectives of Masonry:
"Now, then, I contend that the philosophy of Freemasonry is engaged in the contemplation of the divine and human character; of GOD as one eternal, self-existent being, in contradiction to the mythology of the ancient peoples..; of MAN as an immortal being, preparing in the present life for an eternal future...
"These two doctrines, then, of the unity of God and immortality of the soul, constitute the philosophy of Freemasonry. When we wish to define it succinctly, we say that it is an ancient system of philosophy which teaches these two dogmas." (The Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey, pp. 11-12).
Here we have perhaps the greatest Masonic scholar of all time defining Freemasonry as "an ancient system of philosophy which teaches these two dogmas (the nature of Deity and man's immortality, jrp)." Its objective is to "engage in the contemplation of the divine and human character." This is what Masonry is. It is not first and foremost a social organization. It is a religious organization designed to speculate upon the subjects of deity and man's immortality. And, lest we forget, this speculative, religious organization originated with man, not God!
The "official manual or monitor of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A. F. & A. M.," records what the Entered Apprentice is told as he enters the Lodge for the first time:
"Freemasonry. . .rests upon the indestructible foundation of the Father-hood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul Freemasonry is, in one of its major aspects, a beautiful and profound system of morality, veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols. Its grand purposes are, to diffuse light; to banish ignorance; to promote peace and happiness among mankind; to relieve distress; to protect the widows and orphans of our brethren; to inculcate a wider knowledge concerning the existence of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and of the arts and sciences connected with His Divine laws. In fine, the design is to make its members wiser, freer, better and consequently happier men." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 8).
These objectives of Masonry sound admirable and worthy to those who desire integrity, morality and a reverence for God to prevail upon the earth. And they are worthy objectives. The only problem is, these same objectives are to be sought and obtained, not by means of a human organization by a process of symbols and allegories, but as members of a divine organization, the Lord's church, as one comes to understand, believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Freemasonry is in direct competition with the objectives of Christianity in many respects. No man can serve two masters, and if we are not with Christ we are against Him (Matt. 6:24; 12:30). The Mason cannot have it both ways. Christianity is authorized to perpetuate the very objectives Masonry claims to achieve. Consider the objectives which are stated to the Entered Apprentice from the previous quotation, and see that the same can be said of Christians in the Lord's church:
1. The diffusion of light, John 8:12; Philippians 2:15-16
2. To banish ignorance, John 8:31-32; Ephesians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4
3. Promote peace and happiness among mankind, Romans 12:17-18
4. Relieve distress, Galatians 6:10; Mark 14:7
5. Protect the widows and orphans of our brethren, Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 5:16; James 1:27
6. Inculcate knowledge of God and His divine laws, Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 17:22-31
7. Make members free, better and happier, John 8:32-36; Romans 6:17-18; Matthew 5:3-12
Why settle for a human imitation of the real thing? We must do God's will in God's way. We cannot add to the church a human institution, place within it worthy objectives and then claim its validity upon that basis. If God has not authorized it, it is wrong, no matter how good it looks to man! Friend, Masonry has not been authorized by the God of heaven and earth!
In defining Freemasonry it is necessary to understand the basis upon which it uses symbolism and allegories to inculcate its "science of morality" and "system of doctrines." This basis is found in using the tools and implements of architecture and building principles to signify and teach its particular doctrines. Masonry uses the tools of Operative Masonry as symbols to teach and instruct its members in Speculative Masonry. The Operative Mason, for example, used the square and compass, the twenty-four inch gauge and gavel, the plumb line, the trestle-board, the level and the trowel as he worked on stone and erected buildings of stone and mortar. Speculative Masonry assigns symbolic meanings to these "tools of the trade" and thereby instructs its members on how to erect their own spiritual temples. The man entering the Fellow Craft degree of Masonry is told, for instance:
"We work in Speculative Masonry, but our ancient brethren wrought in both Operative and Speculative. They worked at the building of King Solomon's Temple, and many other sacred and important edifices.
"By Operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength and beauty,...
"By Speculative Masonry we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practice charity. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity, which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, pp. 40-41; emp., jrp).
There you have it from their own book. Speculative Masonry is "interwoven with religion" and obligates one to worship Deity through their means! But the Bible says, "unto him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus unto all generations " (Eph. 3:21). When man worships God, it must be "in spirit and truth" (Jno. 4:24). That is, it must be authorized by God as well as coming forth from a right heart. Speculative Masonry is without divine authority, therefore, those who practice it are worshipping God in vain (Matt. 15:8-9).
Lest someone should still think Masonry is not a distinct, religious philosophy, please consider this definition of Speculative Masonry from their own, authorized book:
"Speculative Masonry may be briefly defined as the scientific application and the moral consecration of the rules and principles, the language, the implements and materials, of Operative Masonry to the veneration of God and purification of the heart; and the inculcation of the Dogmas of a religious philosophy." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 204; emp., jrp).
Speculative Masonry is designed to venerate God and purify the heart! A plainer, more direct definition cannot be requested nor obtained! Every one who is a Freemason is a member of an organization designed for the express purpose of worshipping God and purifying the heart -- the exact purposes achieved in the Lord's church! (Eph. 5:25-27; Jno. 4:23-24; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:8-14; Jas. 4:7-10; et al.)
Should a Christian (or for that matter, anyone) be a member of and give his support to a human organization which claims the same objectives as the Lord's church? Of course not. Consider the propriety of the apostle's words when he said:
"I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in-to the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other that that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." (Gal. 1:6-8)
Freemasonry is clearly a religious philosophy which has been devised by man. Therefore, it must be rejected as an addition to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Is Freemasonry a Religion?
Vigorous attempts are made by Masons and the supporters of Masonry to prove that it is not a religion We intend to approach this subject from three standpoints: First, we must arrive at an accurate definition of religion. Then, we will compare Freemasonry to it and see whether Masonry is a religion. Secondly, we will examine statements from some of Freemasonry's greatest scholars concerning Masonic claims that it is a religion. And thirdly, we will consider some marks of religion borne by Freemasonry.
A. Religion Defined, And Freemasonry Compared
Defining religion is not an easy task due to the many interpretations men have affixed to it. However, through the years man has been able to give some rather specific definitions to the word. Webster, for instance, defines religion as
"1. belief in and worship of God or gods 2. a specific system of belief or worship, etc., built around God, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, etc." (Webster's New World Dictionary)
The authors Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, in their Handbook of Today's Religions, define religion as
" that aspect of one's experience in which he attempts to live harmoniously with the power or powers he believes are controlling the world." (Understanding Non-Christian Religions, p. 10).
John B. Noss (Man's Religions) is quoted by McDowell and Stewart as offering some of the implications of religious belief:
"All religions imply in one way or another that man does not, and cannot stand alone, that he is vitally related with and even dependent on powers in nature and society external to himself. Dimly or clearly, he knows that he is not an independent center of force capable of standing apart from the world Religions, as a general rule, relate men closely with the power or powers at work in nature and society " (Ibid.)
Does Masonry fit these accepted definitions of religion? We believe the evidence unquestionably shows that it does. For example, Webster says religion involves a belief in and worship of God or gods. For one to be a Mason, he is required to believe in a Supreme Being. Only a religion requires a religious belief! Freemasonry is arranged for the "veneration of God" (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 204). Thus, Masonic rituals are intended to venerate (worship) God - the very thing a religion does!
Webster also says a religion contains a specific system of belief, code of ethics or philosophy of life which is built around God. In Mackey's Symbolism of Freemasonry, pp. 10-12, it is made very clear that Freemasonry contains a philosophy which engages in the contemplation of the divine character (God) and of the human character (Man); namely, "the unity of God and the immortality of the soul." So again, Masonry fits the bill as being a religion.
McDowell and Stewart have defined religion to mean the involvement of oneself in trying to "live harmoniously with the power or powers he believes are controlling the world." The G. A. O. T. U. (Great Architect of the Universe) of Masonry is viewed as a superintending God (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, p. 825). The charge given the Entered Apprentice reveals the Masonic desire to live in harmony with this G. A. O. T. U.:
"There are three great duties which, as a Mason, you are charged to inculcate -- to God, your neighbor, and yourself. To God, in never mentioning his name but with that reverential awe, which is due from a creature to his Creator; to implore His aid in all your laudable undertakings, and to esteem Him as the chief good...." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 33; emp., jrp).
The Mason cannot logically deny that the very purpose of teaching the Masonic symbols and secrets are to enable one to live in harmony with the Supreme Being! Remember, Masons are being taught how to erect "spiritual temples"!
Mr. Noss says a religion tries to relate man to the controlling power of the universe. Lightfoot says
"In the first degree, we (Masons, jrp) are taught the duties we owe to God, our neighbor and ourselves." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge p. 59).
Masonry relates man to God by instilling within him certain duties and responsibilities he has toward God (see above, Lightfoot, p. 33).
So then, Masonry meets the criteria of "religion" in every respect. Beyond any reasonable doubt, Freemasonry is a religion. All of the argument, rationalization and denial in the world will not change the facts of the matter. If you are a Mason, you are a member of a religious organization which is teaching you and expecting you to follow a religious philosophy!
B. Masonry Claims To Be A Religion
So as to make it abundantly clear that we are not trying to force upon Freemasonry the label of a religion, but that their own learned men readily acknowledge this to be the case, we now turn our attention to some Masonic statements concerning the "religion of Freemasonry."
Albert G. Mackey made it abundantly clear that it is futile for Masons to try to prove that Freemasonry is not a religion. He based this statement on the very nature and purposes of the Order:
"There has been a needless expenditure of ingenuity and talent, by a large number of Masonic orators and essayists, in the endeavor to prove that Freemasonry is not a religion On the contrary, we contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Freemasonry is, in every sense of the word, except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution -- that it is indebted solely to the religious element it contains for its origin as well as its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good
"The tendency of all true Freemasonry is toward religion. If it make any progress, its progress is to that holy end. Look at its ancient landmarks, its sublime ceremonies, its profound symbols and allegories -- all inculcating religious doctrine, commanding religious observance, and teaching religious truth, and who can deny that it is eminently a religious Institution?
"...It points its disciples to the path of righteousness as the handmaid of religion, it may, and often does, act as the porch that introduces its votaries into the temple of divine truth. Freemasonry, then, is indeed a religious institution, and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Freemason defend it." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, pp. 846-848)
This well-informed man of Masonry says one is wasting his time in trying to prove Masonry is not a religion! From the foregoing purposes of the Order which we have presented, it is obvious that Masonry is not just religious, it is also a religion. And their own scholars agree that it is!
The Bible says the word of God is "a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path" (Psa. 119:105). God's word directs us into righteousness, not Freemasonry! What is more, Freemasonry is said to introduce one into the temple of divine truth. The Christian who has joined the Masonic Lodge has a real dilemma! He believes Christ and His word introduces him (and all mankind) into divine truth (Jno. 14:6; 8:12, 31-32). Yet, he belongs to a religious organization which claims to do exactly the same thing!
" Masonry proves something more to its disciples than a mere social society or a charitable association. It becomes a "lamp to our feet," whose spiritual light shines on the darkness of the deathbed, and dissipates the gloomy shadows of the grave." (Symbolism of Freemasonry, Pike, p. 262)
What options exist for the Christian who is a Mason? He can chose to renounce Masonry as the false religion that it is, repent of his involvement therein, and be forgiven by the Lord. Or, he can choose to remain in man's religion, thereby compromising the religion of Christ, forfeiting his fellowship with God as well as eternal salvation (2 John 9). We implore every Christian who is a Mason to "come out from among them, and be separate!"
In Morals and Dogma, which was authored by Albert Pike, and "prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and published by its authority" (Morals and Dogma of the Ancient Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Title page), we are given further insight into the religion of Freemasonry. Remember that this book
"contains the Lectures of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in that (Southern, jrp) jurisdiction, and is specially intended to be read and studied by the Brethren of that obedience, in connection with the Rituals of the Degrees. It is hoped and expected that each will furnish himself with a copy, and make himself familiar with it;..." (Ibid., p. iii).
In this book, which fairly represents the position of Freemasonry, we are told that
"Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to relieve each others wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures." (Morals and Dogma, pp. 213-214).
What more can be said? Masonry claims to be a religion which is teaching the true religion of the ancient patriarchs! In Ephesians 2:19-22, the gospel of Christ describes His church as the "holy temple of the Lord." The New Testament church is God's "temple," not the Masonic Lodge. When will we learn that we cannot be a member of two religions and have God's blessings? (2 Cor. 6:14-16; 2 John 9)
Masonry is a religion because it contains religious doctrines.
"The Religious Doctrines of Masonry are very simple and self-evident; they are designated by no perplexities of sectarian theology, but stand out in the broad light, intelligible and acceptable by all minds having a belief in God, and in the Immortality of the Soul. He who denies these tenets can be no Mason, for the religious doctrines of the Institution significantly embrace them in every part of its ritual ....The Old Charges prescribe that a Mason, while left to his particular opinions, must be of that 'religion in which all men agree, that is to say, the religion which teaches the existence of God and an eternal life.'" (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 205; emp., jrp).
What else contains religious doctrines except a religion? These previous statements put the Christian who is a Mason in an untenable position. Masonry leaves him to his "own particular opinions" of religion beyond these two doctrines - the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Yet, the gospel teaches the Christian not to act upon opinions but faith in religious matters. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). But, if he is also a Mason, he must view his own faith as merely opinion, and insist that others do the same! These conclusions cannot be logically denied nor harmoniously defended. Freemasonry, by its own admission, is a religion.
C. The Marks Of Religion
In considering the religion of Freemasonry, we must determine whether it is the true religion or a false religion. If it is the true religion, all objections should cease, and all men (males, that is) should become Masons, If it is a false religion, its heresies must be exposed to warn men of its eternal dangers. As in every other religious matters, the Bible, the word of God, will be our standard of examining the marks of religion which Masonry bears.
The first mark of religion which Masonry has is that of religious worship. We are told in the lecture of the 26th Degree, that
"Masonry is a worship; but one in which all civilized men can unite." (Morals and Dogma, p. 526).
In the lecture of the 14th Degree, a statement concerning the relation of the Scottish Rite to worship is made:
"That Rite raises a corner of the veil, even in the Degree of Apprentice (the first degree, jrp); for it there declares that Masonry is a worship." (Morals and Dogma, p. 219)
Jesus said, "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men," (Mark 7:6-7). If one thing shows the sinfulness of Freemasonry, it is this. It offers worship, but it is certainly not the true worship revealed in the New Testament (Jno. 4:23-24; Eph. 3:21).
Another mark of religion which Masonry has is a Redeemer. We are introduced to the Masonic Redeemer by Albert Pike:
"KHURIM, therefore, improperly called Hiram, is KHUR-OM, the same as Herra, Hermes, and Heracles, the 'Heracles Tyrius Invictus,' the personification of Light and the Son, the Mediator, Redeemer, and Savior." (Morals and Dogma, p. 79)
This Hiram is introduced to the Mason in the third degree as Hiram Abif, supposedly the same Hiram who oversaw the building of the Solomonic temple (1 Kgs. 7:13-14). We are told that this Hiram Abif (a purely mythical character) was a Master Mason who possessed the secrets of a Master Mason. He is the most important character in Freemasonry, and is used in the Master Mason degree (the third degree) to teach the lesson of the immortality of the soul. A counterpart to Lightfoot's Manual says:
"and in a Mediator or Redeemer, by whom the Evil principle was to be I overcome and the Supreme Deity reconciled to His creatures. The Hindus called him Krishna; the Chinese, Kiountse; the Persians, Sosiosch; the Chaldeans, Dhouvani; the Egyptians, Horus; Plato, Love; the Scandinavians, Balder; the Christians, Jesus; Masons, Hiram." (Kentucky Monitor, p. xv).
Whether the Mason likes it or not, Freemasonry has a Redeemer, and it is not the Lord Jesus Christ! It is a mythical Master Mason who is the principle character of a concocted legend! Surely we can see that Freemasonry is a false religion devised and propagated by man and not God.
A third mark of religion which is found in Masonry is a creed.
"For this is the Masonic Creed: BELIEVE in God's Infinite Benevolence, Wisdom, and Justice: HOPE, for the final triumph of GOOD overt Evil, and for Perfect Harmony as the result of all the concords and discords of the Universe: and be CHARITABLE as God is, toward the unfaith, the errors, the follies, and the faults of men: for all make one great brotherhood." (Morals and Dogma, p. 531)
This "Masonic Creed" is very interesting. Notice its strong similarity to 1 Corinthians 13:13, which says "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (KJV) The Lord's people have always contended that if a creed contains more than the Bible, it is too much; if it contains less than the Bible, it is not enough; and if it contains the same as the Bible, it is not necessary. The Bible says faith, hope and charity are to exist in the life of every Christian. This Masonic Creed is an unwarranted attempt to teach something the Bible already teaches. Why seek to learn and practice God's truth in Freemasonry, when they can and should be learned and practiced in the Lord's church? Masonry again shows itself to be a religion originated by man, not God.
The religion of Freemasonry is ecumenical. Masonry is no doubt one of the most tolerant religions in the world. The Mason is urged
"To respect all forms of worship, to tolerate all political and religious opinions; not to blame, and still less to condemn the religions of others: not to seek to make converts; but to be content if they have the religion of Socrates; a veneration for the Creator, the religion of good works, and grateful acknowledgement of God's blessings " (Morals and Dogma, p. 333).
The Bible says "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). The Christian who remains a Mason must ignore and violate this commandment of God. How then can such a person claim to be loving Jesus Christ, who said, "if you love Me, keep my commandments" (Jno. 14:15)?!
"Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols?…Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord..." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)
The Christian who is a Mason has apparently found a place where the believer and the unbeliever can be yoked together in fellowship -- the Masonic Lodge! Who can believe it? And yet, that is the position the Christian puts himself into when he enters the Masonic Lodge.
The ecumenical basis of Masonry rests upon its foundational doctrines of the existence of a Supreme Being and the immortality of man. On the basis of these two doctrines, Freemasonry offers fellowship with all forms of faith:
"But the religion of Freemasonry is not sectarian. It admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none and approving none for his peculiar faith. It is not Judaism, though there is nothing in it to offend a Jew; it is not Christianity, but there is nothing repugnant to the faith of a Christian. Its religion is that general one of nature and primitive revelation - handed down to us from some ancient and Patriarchal Priesthood - in which all men may agree and in which no men can differ." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 2, pp. 847-848)
Masonry teaches its members to believe that if a person believes in a Supreme Being (not necessary the God of the Bible -- the G. A. O. T. U.), if he believes in human immortality, and if he will purify his heart through moral living, that person will be saved. This is the essence of its ecumenical nature. Consider what is said at the closing of the third degree by the Master:
"Master: Brethren - Before I declare the Lodge closed, let us unite in humbly acknowledging our dependence on the Most High. May His right hand be as a shield and buckles to us against the assaults of our enemies; and, at the final day, may each and every one of us be raised, through the merits of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to the celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Grand Master forever presides - forever reigns. Amen." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 5)
The Mason expects to be saved in heaven following the resurrection due to the life he has lived as a Mason! If he does not, he is not being true to what Masonry teaches. At the Masonic burial service this prayer can be heard:
" Bless our beloved Fraternity throughout the world; may we live and emulate the example of our beloved brother; and, finally, may we in this world attain a knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come, life everlasting. Amen." (Ibid., p. 99).
Statements such as these could be multiplied over and over from Masonic manuals and books. Freemasonry teaches the good Mason will be saved because he was a good Mason!
The Bible says we purify our souls when we obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). Jesus Christ said we must do the will of God in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21-23). It takes more to enter heaven than just believing in God, the immortality of the soul and living a moral life. (Consider Cornelius, a good, moral man who feared God, and yet he was lost in sin and needed the gospel in order to be saved, Acts 10:1-2, 22; 11:14).
Masonry is a false religion which deceives men into believing their souls are safe just because they adhere to Masonic doctrine. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Freemasonry uses the Bible, and hence marks itself as a religious organization practicing religion. The Bible is styled as a part of the "Furniture of the Lodge." It is placed on an altar in the middle of the Lodge hall, representing the will of God. (We will present more on how the Bible is viewed by Freemasonry later in this material.) Its importance to the Lodge is described in Lightfoot's Manual:
"The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses are said to constitute the furniture of the lodge. They are, respectively, dedicated to God; to the Master of the Lodge; and to the Craft. The Holy Bible is properly called a greater light of Masonry, for from the center of the Lodge it pours forth from east to west and north to south its effulgent rays and divine truth." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 186)
The Bible is a piece of furniture in the Lodge! Surely that is not what God intends His word to be (Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). If the Bible truly is a "greater light" for Masonry, the organization would have to disband, because the Bible neither hints at the existence of, nor gives divine approval for, Freemasonry and its symbolic rituals. Masonry gives to the Bible a function God never intended for it to have, and the Christian cannot be a partaker in such perversion!
Is Masonry a religion? Most certainly. It contains the elements which form a religion, it claims to be a religion, and it bears the marks of a religion. We have also shown that it is not the true religion. It has not been authorized by God nor delivered to man through His Son Jesus Christ. It is the product of human wisdom, pure and simple, and those who put their trust in it are without blessings of God. Christians who affiliate themselves with the Masonic Lodge are partaking in the unfruitful works of darkness and are giving their support to a false religion (Eph. 5:11; 2 John 9-11).
SECTION IV: SOME OF THE SYMBOLISM OF FREEMASONRY
The symbols of Masonry are far too numerous for us to discuss them all in this short series of articles. We will, however, consider some of the more basic symbols used in Masonry. For further reading on the symbolism of Masonry, I recommend Mackey's Symbolism of Freemasonry, which can be purchased from Ezra A. Cook Publishers, LTD., 7056 W. Higgins Ave., Chicago, IL 60656; (312) 939-7360.
As we have already seen, Speculative Masonry uses the tools and implements of Operative Masonry in a symbolic way to instruct its members on how to erect spiritual temples (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 1, p. 87). The symbolism of Masonry is the very core of the institution. Without it, Masonry would not exist.
"Withdraw from Freemasonry its symbolism, and you take from the body its soul, leaving behind nothing but a lifeless mass of effete matter fitted only for a rapid decay." (Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey, p. 72)
While Masonry claims to not "expound the truths concealed in her emblems" (Lightfoot's Manual, p. xii), her symbols are set forth with great pride, leaving little doubt as to their intended meanings. For instance, Mackey states in Symbolism of Freemasonry that "all the ceremonies in the first degree of masonry are symbolic of an internal purification." (p. 43; emp., jrp) We are therefore justified in expecting to find the tools of Operative Masonry being used in Speculative Masonry to possess meanings which bear upon the idea of internal purification and the erection of spiritual temples.
As we begin to look at Freemasonry's symbolism, we must understand what the Mason himself and the Lodge symbolize.
"As each individual mason has been supposed to be the symbol of a spiritual temple, -- 'a temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens' -- the lodge or collected assemblage of these masons, is adopted as a symbol of the world." (Ibid., p. 101; emp., jrp)
In this symbolism, we see the Mason erecting his spiritual temple in this world as he is a member of the lodge. The body of a Christian is described as a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:19), but nowhere are we told to develop ourselves or this temple in the Masonic Lodge!
Masonry would have us believe that "speculative Masonry dates its origin from the building of King Solomon's temple by Jewish and Tyrian artisans" (Ibid., p. 85), and therefore much of their symbolism is taken from the tools which would be used to build a physical temple (please note the Masonic symbolism between a physical temple like Solomon's and the spiritual temple Masons are erecting within themselves).
"This spiritualizing of the temple of Solomon is the first, the most prominent and most pervading of all the symbolic instructions of Freemasonry. It is the link that binds the operative and speculative divisions of the order. It is this which gives it its religious character." (Ibid., p. 86; emp., jrp)
So then, let us look briefly at some of the temple symbolism which gives Freemasonry its "religious character."
The twenty-four inch gauge and the common gavel: These tools were used in the rock quarries to measure stones and shape them for use in the building under construction. To the Mason, these tools
"...teach him to measure, not stones, but time; : not to smooth and polish the marble for the builder's use, but to purify and cleanse his heart from every vice and imperfection that would render it unfit for; a place in the spiritual temple of his body...therefore, the twenty-four inch gauge in a symbol of time well-employed; the common gavel, of the purification of the heart." (Ibid., p. 92)
Christians must be "redeeming the time" by "cleansing ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit," but that does not authorize the Masonic Lodge as the organization through which these things are to be practiced and advanced (Eph. 5:16; 2 Cor. 7:1).
The square: The square is used in operative Masonry to adjust the joints of the stones as they are cut and erected, so that the building will be square. In Masonry, the square
"is a symbol denoting morality. It teaches us to apply the unerring principles of moral science to every action of our lives, to see that all the motives and results of our conduct shall coincide with the dictates of divine justice, and that all our thoughts, words, and deeds shall harmoniously conspire, to produce a smooth, unbroken life of virtue." (Ibid., p. 95)
Jesus says the "unerring principles" we should follow are those found in His word, not in science and explained through the symbols of Freemasonry. (Jno. 8:12, 31-32)
The plumb: One who erects walls uses a plumb-line to aid in building it perpendicular to the foundation. In Masonry, the plumb
"...is a symbol of rectitude of conduct, and inculcates that integrity of life and undeviating course of moral uprightness which can alone distinguish the good and just man." (Ibid.)
The gospel teaches moral conduct, and the standard for such conduct must always and only be the divinely revealed will of God (1 Pet. 2:11-12; Amos 7:7-9; Josh. 1:7).
The level: The stone Mason uses a level to make sure all of the stones are of equal height and width as he builds the structure he is working on. In Speculative Masonry, the level
"is a symbol of equality of station that great moral and physical equality which affects the whole human race as the children of one common Father..." (Ibid., pp. 95-96)
The gospel speaks of an equality of believers, but it is found in Christ, not the Masonic Lodge (Gal. 3:26-29; Col. 3:10-11). Once again, Freemasonry infringes upon the Lord and His truth.
The trowel: This is the tool used to apply the cement which holds the stones together in the building which is being erected. In Freemasonry then, the trowel is
"...the symbol of brotherly love -- that cement whose object is to unite our mystic association in one sacred and harmonious band of brethren." (Ibid., p. 97)
Why learn brotherly love from the trowel of Masonry, when the gospel teaches Christians to "put on love, which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14). One does not need Freemasonry to learn and practice brotherly love.
Besides the temple symbolism of Masonry, there are other devices used to teach the doctrines of the order. We will now consider two or three of these symbols and their meanings.
Light and Darkness: In Masonry, light is symbolic of "truth and knowledge," while darkness is synonymous with "falsehood and ignorance" (Ibid., p. 149). The candidate who is ready for initiation into the Lodge is blindfolded, thereby represented as
"one immersed in intellectual darkness, groping in the search for that divine, light and truth which are the objects of a Mason's labor." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 151)
The non-Mason is in the dark! He needs the light only Freemasonry can provide! Imagine a Christian (a child of light, Eph. 5:8) entering the Masonic Lodge and being told he is in darkness and ignorant of divine truth. Surely a Christian must not participate in such a blatant contradiction of the word of God. The Lord's church is "the pillar and ground of the truth," not the Masonic Lodge. (1 Tim. 3:15)
The Rite of Discalceation: This is the removal of one's shoes as a token of respect and reverence whenever one is on, or approaches, holy ground (cf. Exo. 3:5).
"The rite of discalceation is, therefore, a symbol of reverence. It signifies, in the language of symbolism, that the spot which is about to be approached in this humble and reverential manner is consecrated to some holy purpose
"And into the Master Mason's lodge -- this holy of holies of the masonic temple, where the solemn truths of death and immortality are inculcated - the aspirant, on entering, should purify his heart from every contamination " (Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey, pp. 128-129)
The Lodge is to be looked upon as holy ground - set apart and special for a divine purpose. 1 Corinthians 3:17 tells us the temple of God (the church) is holy, but nowhere does God tell us the Masonic Lodge is holy in His sight!
The Lamb-skin Apron: This is a white apron, which Lightfoot's Manual, p. 161, says "must be made of lamb-skin," and is "one of the most important symbols of his (the Mason's, jrp) profession." The apron is worn as an "honorary badge of distinction" (Ibid., p. 160), and is emblematic of innocence and purity (Ibid., p. 161). In the ritual of the first degree, the Mason is taught that
"by the Lamb-skin the Mason is reminded of that purity of heart and uprightness of conduct, so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe forever presides." (Ibid.)
Jesus forbade doing righteousness to be seen by men as a "badge of distinction" (Matt. 6:1-18; 23:5-12). The Christian who overcomes in this life shall be clothed in the whiteness of purity in the next (Rev. 3:4-5). Purity and innocence is this life is not to be worn, it is to be lived!
The symbolism of Freemasonry is interpreted by Freemasons in such a way that it clearly shows the religious and moral aspects of the organization. Its symbolism should cause the Christian who is a Mason to get out of Masonry, while causing those who are not in it to stay out of it.
SECTION V: MASONIC PRACTICES AND BELIEFS WHICH CONTRADICT THE BIBLE
This study would surely be incomplete if we did not look at some of the Masonic practices and doctrines which are in opposition to the Bible. Much of this opposition has been previously noted as we have looked at the definition, religious nature and symbolism of Masonry. And yet, we must look at some specific areas of contradiction to prove that Masonry and Christianity do not mix. They are opposed to each other, no matter how long and loud one tries to deny it. The evidence about to be given should be enough for every truth loving person to end his relationship and/or sympathy with the Masonic Lodge.
No Better Foundation
Freemasonry asserts in the ceremony of the Entered Apprentice (the first degree) that the teachings and rules found in Masonry are second to none.
" No institution was ever raised on a better principle or more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down, than are inculcated in every Masonic degree." (Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, p. 33; emp., jrp)
Such are blasphemous words against the Lord and His truth. The institution which is superior to every other one is the church of our Lord, not the Masonic Lodge! It was purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). It was built upon the foundation that Jesus is "the Christ, the son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16-18). The church has been built upon the perfect foundation of Christ. It is the superior institution, not the Masonic Lodge. A Christian must not compromise himself and the truth of God by being a member of, or supporting any organization which makes such a claim.
The Bible: A Symbol of the Will of God
A most alarming position held by the Masonic Lodge is its view of the Bible. That book which Christians hold forth as the divinely inspired, complete revelation of God's will to man, is delegated to a position of inferiority and mere symbolism by the Masonic Lodge.
"The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed. Therefore, whatever to any people expresses that will may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge. Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the altar, and Turkish Freemasons make use of the Koran. Whether it be the Gospels to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman, or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea - that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man." (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 1, p. 133; emp., jrp)
The Bible is not a symbol of God's will, it is God's will. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The Bible is the inspired, "God-breathed" word of truth, and demands respect as such. It is capable of fully and completely directing mankind into righteousness and goodness, yet Freemasonry says it is just a symbol and nothing more. It may be replaced by the Vedas, the Koran, or any other book some man might look to as God's word and will. Can a Christian stand by and be a part of an organization which has such an attitude toward God's holy, inspired and all-sufficient word? May it never be! The Bible says
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16)
The gospel is God's power to save because it reveals the truth to man. To be saved "every one" must believe the gospel of Christ, not the Koran, the Vedas or some other man-made book.
Neither is the Bible to be used as a piece of furniture as it is used in the Masonic Lodge. It is not an ornament to be set upon a mantle or an altar as if such a display makes those who display it righteous. The inspired writer James said, "be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves" (Jas. 1:22). Masons are being deluded into thinking they are following the will of God just because the Bible (in American lodges, at least) is placed upon an altar and bowed down before. How sad indeed that such a misguided use of the Bible has deceived the souls of millions - even the souls of some Christians. Satan has his ministers at work in the Masonic Lodge, appearing to be "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). They have reduced the Bible to object-worship and symbolism. May they yet see the error of their way and turn back to the God of truth.
The Masonic View of Jesus
If anything should convince the investigator of Freemasonry that it violates the truth of God, its teaching and position on Jesus of Nazareth should do so. With the apparent emphasis Freemasonry puts on truth, righteousness and purification, one might be led to believe that surely it holds the Lord Jesus Christ in an honored place. But not so. Masonry looks upon Jesus as just one among many great moral reformers. Masonry
"reverences all the great reformers. It sees in Moses, the Lawgiver of the Jews, in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the Arabian Iconoclast, Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent Reformers, if no more " (Morals and Dogma, p. 525)
Masonry put Jesus in the category of Moses, although the Bible says we must hear Jesus instead of Moses (Matt. 17:5; Acts 3:22-23). In Matthew 1:23, before Jesus was born, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him the child would be called Immanuel, which means "God with us." Masonry denies this truth.
As if to soften the blow of such an ungodly position toward Jesus, Albert Pike goes on to say:
"Divine or human, inspired or only a reformed Essene, it must be agreed that His teachings are far nobler, far purer, far less alloyed with error and imperfection, far less of the earth earthly, than those of Socrates, Plato, Seneca, or Mahomet, or any other of the great moralists and Reformers of the world." (Ibid., p. 719)
This scholar of Freemasonry, in his book which is given to Masons to learn more about Masonry, cannot seem to make up his mind about whether Jesus was divine or human, so he concludes that his teachings have less error in them than those of other men (Col. 2:9). The Bible says
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word God And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us " (John 1:1, 14) "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17) "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." (Acts 2:36)
Which testimony will we accept: the Bible's, or the Masonic Lodge's? Why would a Christian want to have any part in an organization which takes such an official stand? We know there are Masons who do not agree with this teaching of the Lodge, yet they continue to be Masons. One cannot have it both ways. If you are a Mason who believes Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, then renounce your involvement in the Masonic Lodge for the safety of your soul. No man can serve two masters.
Cannot Know the Truth
Whether the Mason will admit it or not, the institution Freemasonry is rests upon the view that truth is relative. The only absolute truth Masonry recognizes is the existence of a Great Architect of the Universe (although Masonry does not admit that He is the God of the Bible) and the immortality of the soul. Between these very broad boundaries, Masonry's view of truth is that of entire relativity.
"What is truth to me is not truth to another
" No man can say that he hath as sure possession of the truth as of a chattel. When men entertain opinions diametrically opposed to each other, and each is honest, who shall decide which hath the Truth; and how can either say with certainty that he hath it? We know not what is the truth. That we ourselves believe and feel absolutely certain that our own belief is true, is in reality not the slightest proof of the fact, seem it never so certain and incapable of doubt to us. No man is responsible for the rightness of his faith; but only for the uprightness of it." (Morals and Dogma, pp. 165-166)
This noted Masonic writer makes the mistake so many others make. They confuse human opinion and divine truth. Certainly, just because one believes something does not make it true (Prov. 12:15). But, that does not mean truth is relative. There is a standard of truth we can know and by which we can live (Jno. 17:17). Our faith in Christ and His word of truth rests upon solid evidence (Heb. 11:1; Jno. 20:30-31). We can know that we have the truth (Jno. 7:16-17; Prov. 23:23). And, every other belief and doctrine can be measured by the standard of divine truth to determine whether it is true or false (Psa. 119:104; 1 Ths. 5:21-22). Divine truth, the inspired word of God, is the absolute standard which judges us all (Jno. 12:48; Rev. 20:12).
Masons Alone Are Saved
Freemasonry contains elements suggesting that only the enlightened Mason, who is erecting a spiritual temple within himself, shall be saved in eternity. Consider the following:
"The religious faith thus taught by Masonry is indispensable to the attainment of the great ends of life; and must therefore have been designed to be a part of it...If we could cut off from any soul all the principles taught by Masonry, the faith in a God, in immortality, in virtue, in essential rectitude, that soul would sink into sin, misery, darkness, and ruin." (Morals and Dogma, p. 196; emp., jrp)
Since supposedly one cannot know what Masonry teaches without being a Mason (which is false), one must be a Mason to know its great truths and thereby escape sin, misery, darkness and ruin! Of the Mason involved in his labor, Pike says:
"Let him who toils complain not, nor feel humiliated! Let him look up, and see his fellow-workmen there, in God's Eternity; they alone surviving there. Even in the weak human memory they long survive, as Saints, as Heroes, and as God's: they alone survive, and people the unmeasured solitudes of Time." (Ibid., p. 343; emp., jrp)
Thus, Masonry endorses the position that whether one be Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, only those who are Masons will survive in "God's Eternity." However, the gospel teaches that those who "know not God," and those who "obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus" shall be eternally lost (2 Ths. 1:8-9). To "know God" one must "keep his commandments" (1 Jno. 2:3). One who is not a Christian -- bought by the blood of Christ - is lost, whether a Mason or not (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:3-6). Masonry deceives the hearts of men and gives them a false hope of eternal life.
Use of Religious Titles
One obvious error of Masonry is its use of religious titles in its ceremonies. The head of the Blue Lodge is designated as the "Worshipful Master." No Mason will deny this. In defense of such a practice, one Mason told me that "Worshipful Master" is just an Old English title of respect. My friends, certainly it is a title of respect, but that does not make its use legitimate. "Reverend" is also a "title of respect," but the Bible says only God's name is "reverend" (Psalms 111:9). To use such in reference to men is a sin. Jesus said, "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even the Christ." (Matt. 23:10)
To use such a title (which is clearly religious in nature, and places men in a position to be unduly honored) is blasphemous because it attributes divine distinction to a man. Why would anyone, especially a Christian, want to defend such an ungodly practice? In this practice, Freemasonry is clearly opposed to the Bible.
Taught to Tolerate All Forms of Religion
The "Grand Masters" (20th degree) of the Lodge are charged to teach their "Brethren"
"To respect all forms of worship, to tolerate all political and religious opinions; not to blame, and still less to condemn the religion of others; but to be content if they have the religion of Socrates; a veneration for the Creator, the religion of good works, and grateful acknowledgement of God's blessings " (Morals and Dogma, p. 333)
Such instruction flies in the face of the teachings of Christ and the duties of faithful Christians. Jesus taught that God accepts one who worships Him "in spirit and truth." How can a Christian have respect for false worship and false worshipers? The Christian is to teach the gospel to a lost and dying world (Mark 16:15-1; Acts 8:4; 2 Tim. 2:2). Yet, Masonry says tolerate all religious opinions (that would include false doctrine) and do not seek to make converts to your own particular religion (cf. Acts 17:2-4; Gal. 2:4-5; Phil. 1:7, 17; Jude 3). How blatantly opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ! How could a Christian be a member of such a truth-denying organization? Why would he want to be?
Masonry Teaches a False Plan of Salvation
Some Masons have told me that if it could be proved that Freemasonry has a plan of salvation they would acknowledge it to be a religion. Well, the evidence is in, and Masonry is found guilty of propagating a false formula of salvation. In Morals and Dogma, pp. 638-642, the "Christian interpretations of the Blue Degrees" are given. Herein is taught what the degrees of Freemasonry mean to the Mason who believes in Jesus as the Christ. In this instruction we are told:
"Notwithstanding the death of the Redeemer, man can be saved only by faith, repentance and reformation." (Morals and Dogma, p. 639)
This coincides with general Masonic teaching, that one must believe in a Supreme Being, change his outlook on life and erect a spiritual temple. Masonry basically teaches the same formula of salvation many other religious organizations teach, namely, faith only. But, the Bible plan of salvation is: Faith in Jesus as the Christ (Jno. 8:23-24), Repentance of sins (Acts 17:30), Confession of one's faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), and water baptism for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then, once saved from past sins, the Christian is to live a faithful life in Christ (Rom. 6:17-18; 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:7-8). The poof is clear and cannot be successfully refuted. Freemasonry teaches one can be saved in a way different from what the Bible teaches.
Such contradictions of Bible truth could be multiplied. This evidence has been presented to show clear and undeniable proof that Freemasonry conflicts with the word of God in both its beliefs and its practices. To those Christians who are members of the Masonic Lodge, I ask you to give prayerful consideration to this evidence against the backdrop of divine truth, and reject Masonry for the safety of your own soul. (1 Ths. 5:21-22; 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Cor. 6:17-7:1)
SECTION VI: THE CHRISTIAN WHO IS A MASON
In these series of articles we have offered a brief discussion of Freemasonry's origin, its organizational structure, how it defines itself, as well as some of its symbolism, practices and beliefs which contradict the Bible. Every area of study has shown Masonry's incompatibility with New Testament Christianity. It is a human, religious organization which teaches the philosophies of ancient pagans on topics such as the universe, morality, deity and immortality. It should be very clear by now that since "no man can serve two masters" one cannot be a servant of Christ and a servant of Freemasonry (Matt. 6:24). However, this conclusion is not clear to all. People who are very dear to me personally as well as brethren in the Lord continue to affiliate themselves with the Masonic Lodge. Some Christians, seeing the errors and evil influences of Masonry, have severed their association with the Lodge. We thank God for these and pray that others will follow their worthy example.
As we have discussed Freemasonry with Christians who are Masons we have heard a number of arguments used in its defense. We will now examine those defenses to see whether they are a valid used of God's word, reason and logic. We will use God's word as our standard as we make this examination (1 Ths. 5:21-22; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6). We will then consider the consequences of a Christian being a Mason. Finally, we will discuss the options available to the Christian who is a Mason.
The Rationale Used to Defend Freemasonry
The first major defense we have encountered of a Christian's participation in Freemasonry, when Masonic authorities are used to expose its conflicting beliefs and practices (such books as Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge, Morals and Dogma, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, etc., is the reply, "That is just Lightfoot's (or Pike's, or Mackey's, etc.) opinion. I do not accept what they say."
If the writing of Lightfoot, Pike or Mackey had no official endorsement from the Masonic Lodge, their words would indeed only represent their opinions. However, they do have these endorsements and therefore, what they wrote can be regarded as the official position of the Masonic Lodge. For example, consider Lightfoot's Manual:
"This is to certify that 'Lightfoot's Manual of the Lodge' was approved and adopted as the official manual or monitor of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A. F. & A. M., and its subordinate Lodges, by a resolution adopted December 5, 1934." (Lightfoot's Manual, p. v)
In Part I of this material we saw that the Mason is to implicitly obey every decree made by the Grand Lodge (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 3 vol. ed., Vol. 1, p. 416). So, the Mason must acknowledge Lightfoot as authoritative, or be in disobedience to the Grand Lodge, since Lightfoot's Manual officially sets forth Masonry for the Masonic Lodge!
The same can be said for Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike. It ceased to be "Pike's opinion" when the book was
"Prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and published by its authority." (Morals and Dogma, title page)
These are friends of Freemasonry, not its enemies. Their scholarship has been approved by Freemasonry as fairly setting forth what the Order is and is about. When their writings were adopted by the Lodge, it ceased being just their opinion. Such an argument is simply an attempt to side step the real and incontrovertible issue: Freemasonry is a religious organization promoting a religion among men.
A second defense of a Christian's involvement in Masonry which is usually used when discussing the religious aspects of the Order is the statement, "It is not a religion to me." The intended implication is that since "it is not a religion to me" then it is not a religion at all! But such reasoning ignores the evidence. It is as if one who is caught in a lie responds by saying, "Lying is not wrong to me," therefore lying is not wrong! Imagine standing before Almighty God on the day of judgment and saying, "It wasn't sin to me!" in an attempt to excuse one's sinful conduct! Such an appeal makes man the standard of authority. Simply because something is not sin to me, does not mean it is not sin (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; 28:26; Jer. 10:23). Just because some Masons choose to not see Masonry as the religion that it is, does not remove the evidence which shows it to be a religion. The facts of the matter cannot be glossed over by such this emotional, self-centered and self-serving response.
A third defense of the Masonic Lodge we have heard is that it does good, and that its members do the things Christians ought to be doing. I know of no one who would deny that the Masonic Lodge, especially in realms of medical care and benevolent activities, does much good throughout society. But this in no way establishes the validity or scripturalness of an organization in the sight of God. The Catholic Church does many "good things," yet we cannot conclude from such good deeds that the Catholic Church has the approval of God!
It is sad but true that there are Christians who do not live as Christians ought to live. Such also occurred in New Testament times and it continues to occur today (Acts 5:1-11; 8:18-21; 1 Cor. 5; 1 Tim. 1:8-20; 2 Tim. 4:10). But this is no justification for a Christian to join an organization which has an unscriptural view of the Bible and of Christ, which uses religious titles, which teaches compromise with and toleration for all religions of men, and which has a false formula for salvation! One sin does not justify another. Shall we do evil that good may come? No, the end does not justify the means (Rom. 3:8). The Mason in the Lord's church who is repulsed by the unholy lives other Christians are living should first remove the beam out of his eye so that he may then help his fellow-Christian remove the speck out of his eye (Matt. 7:3-5). The beam of Freemasonry is obscuring his vision. This defense tries to justify one's own sin on the basis of someone else's sin. Such an effort will not meet with God's approval (Rom. 2:1-11).
A fourth defense of Masonry is that "there are a lot of good people in the Lodge." Again, no one denies there are good, moral people in the Lodge. But moral goodness does not, in and of itself, save the sinner from his sin (Acts 10:1-2, 22, 47-48; 11:14). Nor does a person's moral goodness mean that the whatever religion he participates in is thus sanctioned by God. There are "good people" in Mormonism, in the Baptist Church and in Catholicism, but that does not make what they are involved in approved in the sight of God (Matt. 7:21-23). The story of Cornelius in Acts 10 and 11 teaches us that a good, moral person can be lost. They can even be deceived by a human organization like the Masonic Lodge, which holds forth morality to the world while being based on error and opposition to the truth of the word of God (2 Cor. 11:3-4). Do not base your eternal destiny on the moral goodness of others or yourself. When others are involved in religious error we must not join hands with them in their sin. We are told to "abstain from every form of evil" (1 Ths. 5:22). Freemasonry, because of its religious errors, certainly falls into that category. All the moral goodness in the world will not change that fact.
A fifth defense of Freemasonry is that "it's a matter of judgment with me, I see nothing wrong with it, and I can be a Mason if I want to be." Such a statement is not only selfish, but also shows a lack of knowledge concerning expediencies and judgment as taught in God's word.
For a thing to be expedient it must first be lawful before God (1 Cor. 10:23). Masonry is not lawful before God, therefore, it is not a liberty granted us by the Lord. But, for the sake of argument, let us say that it is. Then, and only then could one ask the next question is, "Is it expedient for me to exercise my liberty to be a Mason?" In other words, "Is it the best thing to do under the circumstances?" The apostle Paul knew that food does not commend a person to God (1 Cor. 8:8). According to this Masonic logic, Paul could have said, "I can eat meat if I want to, and what you think about eating meat does not matter to me one bit." Instead, he shows us the proper use of human liberties and their expediency when he said he would give up eating meat if it caused a brother to stumble (1 Cor. 8:9-13). So it should be with Masonry - if it were a liberty granted by God. There are brethren who are caused to stumble by Christians being Masons. If Masonry really is a matter of liberty and personal judgment, as some Christian who are Masons have said, then should he not give it up upon that basis alone? Are, does the Mason want to be a stumbling-block to his brethren? (1 Cor. 10:31-33)
Yet, the truth of the matter is membership in the Masonic Lodge is not a matter of liberty in the sight of God. Freemasonry violates the word and will of Christ Jesus in both doctrine and practice. Those who choose to remain in the Mason Lodge are choosing to have fellowship with religious error in direct violation of Christ's word (2 Jno. 9-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:7-14).
There are other defenses of Masonry given on occasion, but these seem to be the major ones. Not one Bible passage is offered in defense of Freemasonry. The defense which has never been used is this: "Masonry is right because it is authorized in the New Testament, and its beliefs and practices conform with divine truth!" This defense will not be used because it cannot be legitimately sustained. Why then attempt to use the sophistry of men to defend it? It is indefensible. Why not rather give up Freemasonry because of its obvious violations of the truth of God?
Consequences of a Christian Being a Mason
Being a member of the Masonic Lodge has some very direct effects upon oneself, one's soul and on others. We now turn our attention to these effects and consequences.
1. The Christian who is a Mason is a member of two religions, the religion of Christ and the religion of Freemasonry. (See Section III of this series for the religious aspects of Freemasonry.)
Jesus said that no man can serve two masters and "He that is not with me is against me" (Matt. 6:24; 12:30). The Christian's allegiance cannot be divided! Christ's religion is found in the New Testament. To be associated with any other religion is a violation of divine truth (Matt. 17:5; Acts 3:22-23; Gal. 1:6-10; Rev. 22:18-19; Col. 3:17). Human religions are doomed to destruction because they did originated with man, not God. We call upon every Christian who is a Mason to "prove the spirits" of Freemasonry and see its opposition to Christianity (1 Jno. 4:1-6).
2. The Christian who is a Mason is unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion bath light with darkness?"
The Christian is dominated and controlled by unbelievers if he is a member of the Masonic Lodge. As a Mason he must submit to every error expounded and practiced by the Lodge. He has no say in the matter. The Masonic Lodge is not the place where righteousness can have fellowship with iniquity, nor where light can have communion with the darkness of sin. The Christian who is a Mason is in violation of this passage and needs to repent of his sin.
3. Because the Christian who is a Mason belongs to a religious organization of human origin, and because of his compromise with error, such a one has gone beyond the gospel of Christ and is out of fellowship pith God. "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9)
The Masonic beliefs and practices which contradict the Bible cause its membership to "transgress" (v. 9, KJV) or go beyond the gospel, thereby causing them to forfeit fellowship with God. One must come to see the soul-damaging effect of participating in anything which violates scripture. Such association and participation involves the Christian in sin! Even a Christian who is an inactive member of the Lodge is still lending his name and influence to error. Why risk your soul for a human organization? Why not rather cease all involvement with sin and regain fellowship with the Father and the Son?
4. The reproach brought upon the Lord's church due to Christians being Masons should cause every God-fearing Christian to give up Masonry once and for all. Yet, in some cases, it seems one loves the Masonic Lodge more than they do the Lord's church! When one denies the evidence of Freemasonry's error and continues to participate in the Lodge he dishonors the Son of God (Matt. 15:7-8; John 5:23)! And the lost, who should be taught the distinctive nature of the Lord's church, are instead comforted by this Christian's involvement in a false religious organization (Acts 2:47; Eph. 1:21-23). How can he teach them to leave their religious error when he is doing the same thing?!
Is Christ first in your life (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20)? If so, you will not want to do anything which would be a detriment to His cause. History has shown that Freemasonry is a detriment to the cause of Christ and His church. It is not those who oppose this system of error who cause the Lord's church to be reproached. Rather, it is those who cling to sin and this human organization above peace, love and unity based upon truth (Eph. 4:1-6). Remember, "where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also" (Matt. 6:21). If your heart is truly with the Lord, get out of Masonry and thus end the reproach brought upon the Lord's body.
5. Another consequence of a Christian being a Mason is that some who are not Masons will not investigate the evidence against Freemasonry while continuing to sympathize with those who are in it. Thus, others are choosing to sympathize with sinful error. This must not be done: "If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive. him not into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works." (2 Jno. 10-11)
One who encourages and gives approval to the Mason in his Masonry is a partaker (is having fellowship) in sin! This is soul-effecting business! One who does not know what Masonry is all about should find out and not blindly uphold the hands of those involved in this harmful system of error. Truly, a little leaven left unattended will leaven the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6)! You see, Masonry not only effects those who are directly involved in it, it also effects those who are not in the Lodge.
Our Plea to the Christian Who is a Mason
God will hold us accountable for the choices we make in this life (2 Cor. 5:10). To the Christian who is a Mason we sincerely say, examine the evidence we have presented with an open mind and with love for the truth of God. Accept and cling to the truth, for the truth shall make you free (Prov. 23:23; Jno. 8:32; 17:17).
Such an examination of Freemasonry can only lead you to completely sever your involvement with the Lodge by denouncing it as a false religion which will cause the eternal loss of your soul. Do not choose to simply "demit" (one who does this is still in good standing with the Lodge and may return at any time). Like the ancient Ephesians, but publicly denounce Masonry for its opposition to the word of Christ and repudiate your involvement in it (Acts 19:18-19). For the safety of, your soul, we plead with you to repent of your association with this false religious organization.
Rest assured, when you repent of your involvement in Masonry, some may speak evil
of you (1 Pet. 4:4). But the Lord shall surely grant you His blessed forgiveness (1 Jno.
1:9). God will be glorified by your courageous stand for truth, the Lord's church will be
strengthened by your worthy example, and your
Christian influence will, without restraint, shine upon the world (Matt. 5:16).
As we conclude this study, please remember the inspired wisdom of Solomon:
"This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will, bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Eccl. 12:13-14)
-Bible - American Standard Version
-Buchan, W. P. - "London Freemason" (1871-72)
-Duncan, Malcolm C. - Masonic Ritual and Monitor
-Johnston, E. R. - Masonry Defined
-Lightfoot, Jewel P. - Manual of the Lodge
-Mackey, Albert - Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, One Volume edition
- Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Three Volume edition
-McDonald, Robert L. - Masonry and the Christian
-McDowell, Josh & Stewart, Don - Understanding Non-Christian Religions
-McLoughlin, Emmett - A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
-Noss, John B. - Man's Religions
-Pike, Albert - Morals And Dogma of the Ancient And Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
- Symbolism of Freemasonry
-Ronayne, Edmund - Handbook of Freemasonry
- Blue Lodge and Chapter Masonry
_________ - The Kentucky Monitor
_________ - Webster's New World Dictionary