NOTE: This letter was intended for the members of Rowland Springs Baptist Church. It involved a matter of church discipline. I have since been disfellowshiped from that body.
Dear Church Member,
It is with great and prayerful concern and under the obligations laid out for the church by the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul in scripture that I must bring a matter of grave, unrepentant sin in Rowland Springs Baptist Church to your attention. The following scripture lays out these obligations. They are not only binding upon you and me but upon all Christians.
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18,
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:6-13
In late 2016 and early 2017, while browsing the internet, I discovered (to my great dismay) that four members of Rowland Springs Baptist Church were officers in Cartersville Masonic Lodge #63, including the lodge’s Worshipful Master, Junior Warden, Junior Deacon, and Chaplain. If these offices sound religious in nature to you, you should not be surprised. The Masonic lodge is a religious organization; one that teaches a number of unbiblical principles and one that requires its members to take a number of unbiblical oaths upon their bodies in order join and advance within the organization. Currently, three members of Rowland Springs Baptist Church serve as officers in Lodge #63, including the Senior Warden, Senior Deacon, and Chaplain. According to Brother Joe, there are at least seven members of Rowland Springs Baptist Church who are Freemasons. I am only aware of the four whose names have been published on the Cartersville Lodge website and one more, whom Brother Joe has told me is inactive in the Lodge. Many of you may be unfamiliar with Freemasonry and may thus be somewhat taken aback that I am accusing fellow church members, respected in our congregation, of being unrepentant sinners who are members of an unbiblical religious organization (the Masonic Lodge). I can assure you that I was once as ignorant of Masonry as you may be. However, through my studies, research, and interviews with former Masons, I can tell you with absolute certainty that membership in the Masonic lodge is antithetical to a biblical, Christian walk. It is, plainly, sinful.
2017 Lodge Cartersville Lodge #63 Officers
2018 Lodge Cartersville Lodge #63 Officers
As you can see from the scripture quoted above (Matthew 18), the first step in the process of confronting sin within the local church is to approach the sinning party in private. In January 2017, I presented a talk at the church’s monthly Men’s Breakfast entitled “Four Challenges for Holy Living in a World Full of Idolatry,” which I thought was well received by the church’s men at the time. In the presentation I exhorted the men of our church to (1) recognize the idolatry outside of the church, (2) engage the idolatry outside of the church, (3) examine their own lives for idols, and (4) hold other Christians accountable for holiness. It included the following biblical citations:
Acts 17:16-32, 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, 2 Corinthians 5:9-20, 1 Peter 1:13-16, Joshua 7, Galatians 6:1-2
I felt that such as message was needed given the Masonic membership in our church. Christian holiness is an important issue and unrepentant sin within a local church body must be dealt with accordingly if its gospel witness to a lost and dying world is to be effective. Consider what Brother Joe said in his January 28 sermon – “the greatest hindrance to people coming to Christ can be professing Christians.” Our house must be in order. Before reading the rest of this letter, I encourage you to read the biblical passages cited above, pray, and consider them in light of the importance of addressing sin in the local church. I also encourage you to read the book The Facts on the Masonic Lodge by Jon Ankerberg, John Weldon, and Dillion Burroughs. I sent a copy of this book to the household of every active member of the church. If you do not have one contact me and I will provide one to you.
It was on the day of my talk to the men’s group that I first confronted Jim Moore (Chaplain of Lodge #63) about the Masonic lodge. As our back and forth progressed, Jim became increasingly agitated and unwilling to discuss the Lodge and he was clear that he could not talk about many of the secret things he had sworn an oath not to reveal. In April of 2017, I sent letters to Alton Kay (who was serving as the “Worshipful Master” of the Lodge), Jim Moore (whom I had already approached in person), and Freddie Gunn calling them to repent of their involvement in the Masonic Lodge. (I did not, because of an oversight, send a letter to Frankie James (who also serves as an officer in the Lodge). However, I have seen Frankie carrying material in church that defends the Lodge and I feel confident that he is aware of the content of my letters to his fellow Masonic brothers). The text of the letters I sent is below:
It has come to my attention that you are a member of Cartersville Masonic Lodge #63. I have come to conclude, along with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and a number of other Christian denominations, that Freemasonry is not compatible with Christianity. I was distraught when I learned that you, a member of my own church, were involved in Freemasonry.
I am obligated by scripture to take the uncomfortable step of showing you your sin. I ask that you repent of the sin of being involved in Freemasonry and immediately renounce your membership in Cartersville Masonic Lodge #63.
As a faithful Christian, I can do no other thing. The Lord Jesus said, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” I understand that you may be taken aback by my actions. Perhaps no other church member has ever approached you asking you to renounce Freemasonry. It could be the case that the other members of our church are ignorant of the unbiblical nature of Freemasonry. Having researched the matter myself, I can no longer say that I am unaware. The Apostle James wrote, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I am in the position of knowing about the nature of Freemasonry. So are you. Thus, we both must do the right thing. There is a sentiment among some that many Freemasons simply see the craft as a harmless fraternal organization and have not fully considered its spiritual claims ramifications. I do not share this sentiment. The unbiblical claims are simply too harmful to Christian witness
Freemasonry requires that oaths be taken to be initiated into the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. These oaths are fairly described as barbaric and involve binding oneself under the penalty of having one’s throat cut “ear to ear” and having one’s “tongue torn out by its roots”. These oaths violate the command of the Lord Jesus who stated:
“make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”
To even enter the most basic degrees of Freemasonry, one must disobey Christ. This is not an acceptable action for a member of the body of Christ. It is sin. This oath swearing in itself puts Masonry at odds with Christianity. That’s to say nothing of the extrabiblical story of the death and raising of Hiram Abiff.
The secrecy of Freemasonry is inherently antithetical to Christianity. The Lord Jesus told his followers that they are “the light of the world. “ Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Freemasons claims to have the “light” of Masonry, yet they keep it secret from outsiders, even members of their own churches.
Freemasonry claims that it “makes good men better.” This can’t be so. Scripture teaches that there are no good men. Jesus Christ said: “There is only One who is good; No one is good except God alone.” Scripture, through the Apostle Paul and the prophet Isaiah, teaches that “there is none righteous, not even one.” It is the policy of Freemasonry that no particular religion or faith is required or excluded. Thus, Freemasonry as an institution teaches non-Christians that they are good and can get better through Masonry (and outside of faith in Christ). This both denies the effects of the Edenic fall and power of the gospel.
If there is any remaining doubt the Freemasonry denies the scripture then consider the words from Akin’s Lodge Manual and Masonic Law Digest which are meant to be addressed to new Freemasons:
“As you are now introduced into the first principles of Masonry, I congratulate you on being accepted into this ancient an honorable Order: ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honorable, as tending in every particular, so to render all men who will conformable to its precepts. No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation. Nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down that are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of man, in all ages, have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies.”
The Church of Jesus Christ was raised on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone of the church. This is the most solid foundation of any institution. The Bible is God’s Holy word and contains better maxims than any man-based teachings. The statement above from Akin’s manual is antithetical to Christianity and no Christian should be able to say it good conscience. None should believe it. No prophet or apostle has ever been a Freemason (from time immemorial). Nor was the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not true, then, that “the greatest and best of man, in all ages” have encouraged and promoted Freemasonry.
Akin’s manual also implies, through its funeral service language, that non-Christians can make it to Heaven through their virtuous living. This is denial of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the the Ephesians:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
It is also a denial of the clear words of Jesus, no one gets to the Father except through Him.
The verdict is clear. The Craft is antithetical to Christianity and an affront to our local church. Jesus Christ said, “nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” The secret things of Masonry have been brought to light.
Please renounce Freemasonry and repent of your sin.
Before I wrote these letters, I went to Brother Joe about the issue of Masonry in our church. In addressing my concerns Brother Joe stated, “I would be fired if I went against Freemasonry.” Nevertheless, I felt convicted and compelled by the Holy Spirit to address the issue of Masonic sin in our congregation and thus I later drafted and mailed the letters to Alton, Freddie, and Jim. These letters were not well-received. In fact, because of the stir they caused, I was brought before Brother Joe, Brother Adam, and the Deacon Board and rebuked. I have since apologized to Freddie for not coming to him in person instead of a letter. Nonetheless, my position remains the same. He and his Masonic “worshipful brothers” are sinning against the Lord Jesus Christ by remaining in the Masonic Lodge, which is a temple of false religion (one which is actually designed to mimic King Solomon’s original temple). Brother Joe has stated that Masonry is not “a hill to die on” and Brother Adam has stated that Masonry is a matter of Christian conscience. I believe both of these dear brothers are gravely wrong. It is because of this that I bring this matter before the church as dictated by Matthew 18. Given that I have already approached each of these men private and that the situation can be confirmed by “two or three witnesses” (pictures from the lodge website confirm membership and are available to the public), the situation must be brought before the church. It is not a matter of dispute that Alton, Frankie, Freddie and Jim are (very active, very involved) Freemasons. This is public knowledge. What you as a Christian and church member, having been confronted with this situation, must decide is “Is membership in the Masonic lodge sinful?” As I wrote already, the answer to that question is unequivocally “yes.” However, given that Freemasonry is a secretive brotherhood, one which excludes women (and, historically, blacks) many people simply do not know much about it and are under the impression that is a harmless and charitable civic club, especially since it counts so many respected, church-going men among its membership. For those of you unfamiliar with the tenets of Freemasonry, please allow me to make a short, informed, and biblical case that Freemasonry is, in fact, sinful and idolatrous. This case is not exhaustive but it should be sufficient. Having made such a case, I am confident that you will see that our church should not allow active and unrepentant Freemasons in our midst. I present to you three issues: (1) The Inherent Sinfulness of Freemasonry, (2) Freemasonry’s Denial of the Sinful Nature of Man, and (3) Freemasonry Proclaims a Different Gospel. Additionally, I will provide you with interviews with former Masons and experienced pastors about the wickedness of the lodge. Subsequently, I will provide two biblical polemics against the notation that participation is allowable as a matter of Christian conscience. Lastly, I will provide a biblical analysis of factiousness as the action of this letter will surely perceived negatively by some.
Issue 1: The Inherent Sinfulness of Freemasonry
Are most “Christian” Freemasons actually faithful servants of God who don’t truly understand what Freemasonry is all about? Does participation in Freemasonry become sinful only at the highest levels, where the most secret esoteric knowledge is revealed? Is the average Mason who never progresses past the first few degrees really aware of how wicked the craft actually is? Questions like these can often be pondered by conflicted family members, church members, and pastors who are faced with confronting a professing Christian about his participation in the religion of Freemasonry. No one wants to believe the worst about a fellow professing Christian and, thus, it can be the case that Christians excuse their Masonic familiars with one justification or another. However, this should not be the case. To be a Freemason one must become a Freemason. Because the steps taken to be initiated into the fraternity are inherently sinful, membership in the Masonic lodge itself is inherently sinful. To state the matter simply, one cannot be a Freemason and not be in sin. A simple examination of the first degree of Freemasonry shows this to be plainly true.
Upon his initiation to Freemasonry, a candidate is asked by the Junior Deacon of the Lodge, “Who goes there?” The candidate’s conductor (the Senior Steward of the lodge) is expected to answer as follows:
“A poor blind candidate, who desires to be brought from darkness to light and receive a part of the rights and benefits of this right worshipful lodge, erected to God and dedicated to the Holy Saints John.”
This something no one should be able to say about a Christian man; Christians do not walk in darkness. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). The terrible irony of the Masonic statement above is the declaration that the Masonic lodge is dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist (“the Holy Saints John”), the latter of whom is the very author who recorded Christ’s words about being the light of the world. Of John the Baptist, John the Evangelist wrote, “He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light.” (John 1:7-8). John the Baptist testified about Jesus Christ being the Light of the world. All Christians have fellowship with Jesus, the Light, and thus cannot be walking in Darkness. Yet, the Masonic lodge expects candidates to state that they are “lost in darkness and seeking the light of Freemasonry,” as if there is some source of light that the candidate needs other than Christ Himself. It gets worse from there. The following is the oath taken by candidates entering the first degree of Freemasonry:
“I, ________, of my own free will and accord in presence of Almighty God and this right worshipful Lodge erected to Him and dedicated to the Holy Saints John, do hereby and hereon, do solemnly sincerely promise and swear I will always hail, forever conceal and never reveal any of the secret arts, parts or points of the mysteries of Freemasonry which have been, may now or shall hereafter be communicated to me in Charge as such, to any person in the world, except it be to a true and lawful brother free Mason, or in a legally constituted lodge of ancient free and accepted Masons, and not unto him nor them therein until after due, trial, strict examination or lawful information, I shall have found them legally entitled to receive the same. I, furthermore, promise to swear that I will not write, indite, print, paint, stamp, stain, cut, carve, mark, or engrave the same upon anything moveable or immoveable under the canopy of heaven, whereby the least word, syllable, letter of character thereof may become legible to myself or intelligible to others, and the secrets of Freemasonry be unlawfully obtained, and that through my unworthiness. To all of which I solemnly and sincerely promise and swear to keep and perform the same, without any equivocation, mental reservation or secret evasion of mind in me whatever, binding myself under no less a penalty than having my throat cut ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and with my body buried in the rough sands of the sea, a cable’s length from shore, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in the twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this, my most solemn obligation as an entered apprentice, so help me God and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same.”
This is a bloody oath. Rather than just simply giving his promise to keep the secrets of the lodge, a candidate swears upon a created thing (in this case his own body). In the oath to the first degree, the candidate goes beyond letting his yes be “yes” and his no be “no”. To do so, he must disobey the Lord Jesus Christ, who said,
“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matthew 5:34-37)
The Masonic candidate swears an oath by his head. He directly disobeys Jesus. Jesus said that this kind of oath is “of evil.” To enter even the first degree of Freemasonry, a candidate must disobey Jesus. A Christian simply cannot disobey the Lord Jesus and resolve that his act is anything less than sinful. This is not a matter of liberty or conscience. It is a matter of sin. To enter the first degree of Freemasonry, to become a Mason, a man must sin. To be a Mason is to be in sin. Without extensive research or complex theological argumentation, this is proven. It is an open and shut case. Freemasonry, as demonstrated by the obligations of its first degree, is inherently sinful. To make matters worse, the “Christian” men who take the first degree’s obligation must then entice and facilitate other men to do the same in order to perpetuate their organization. Freemasonry is founded in sin and perpetuated by it.
Masonic apologists, in defense of their various secret oaths, attempt a deceptive defense. “What about military oaths or oaths taken to tell the truth at court in a court of they ask?” The strategy here is apparent. Soldiers are among the most respected members of society and fair courts are essential for ordered society. However, this defense fails upon close examination because it is ultimately an apples to oranges comparison. For example, Military oaths are publicly taken and intended for the public defense of society. They are done in the open. So are oaths taken on the witness stand. Oaths taken in a court of law are taken as promises to reveal, not conceal, the truth to society. Furthermore, the Masonic oath is sworn by something. It is sworn by the body and life of the Mason. His breaking of the oath implies that someone should tortuously kill him. This type of violence (symbolic or not) is sinful and inherently different from the oaths taken by soldiers and public citizens.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states that “a lawful oath, being imposed by awful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken” (XXII, 2)… From the viewpoint of Christian ethics (the Oath for Entered Apprentice to Freemasonry) oath is open to serious criticism on more than one score. The Christian, bound as he is to maintain justice and equity before God and man to the best of his powers, has no right to pledge himself in advance to keep secret something the bearing of which on questions of justice and morals he cannot know. And, aside from the question whether an oath is not too solemn a transaction for a ceremony of such doubtful importance as reception into a mere human organization, it must be said without hesitation that the violence of this oath is plainly contrary to our Lord’s principles of speech as set forth in Matthew 5:34-37.
So what is the Christian to do about the fellow member of his church who is at the same time a professing Mason and a professing Christian? He is to call him to repent. He is to demand that he forsake the lodge, for the tenets of biblical Christianity demand as much. Unrepentant Freemasons must be removed from membership in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any church member or pastor who says otherwise and allows Freemasons to remain in church unchallenged, fails at his sacred duty. This issue, like any issue of sin, is a hill upon which to die.
Issue 2: Freemasonry’s Denial of the Sinful Nature of Man
“…many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity or Southern Baptist doctrine.” The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
By what standard do you call a man “good”? Think about the answer to that question before you continue reading.
Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity. Christians who are familiar with the Craft are well aware of this. For this reason, a great many pastors avoid membership in the Lodge. They know what it is and they want no part of disqualifying themselves from their offices by besmirching their reputations by being associated with Freemasonry. But what about the Freemasons in their congregations? Should they be compelled to renounce Freemasonry or face church discipline? Some pastors say, “No.” One of the common defenses that I’ve heard from the pastors of Christian Freemasons is that the Freemasons in their particular congregations are “good” men who do a lot of “good” things. In a peculiar demonstration of cognitive dissonance, pastors take the position that it is okay for the Freemasons in their own congregations to participate in the Masonic Craft while simultaneously admitting that the Masonic Craft is incompatible with Christian faith and practice to the degree that it would disqualify them from ministry.
By what standard are these judgments about Masonry and Masons made?
Let’s start with thinking about of what makes something good from a moral standpoint. Ultimately, morality is either subjective of objective. Subjective morality can be determined by organizations, societies, or perceived utility. This type of morality is relative. It is different from one man to the next. Objective morality is not. Objective morality is and can only be grounded in the nature of God. God’s nature is revealed in His word, the Holy Bible. So, only by a Biblical standard can we call something objectively morally good. It is by a Biblical standard that Pastors determine that Freemasonry is objectively immoral. Is this the same standard Pastors use to determine that their Masonic church members are good?
It’s impossible to deny that Freemasons engage in service and good works. As a brotherhood, Masonic Lodges fund orphanages, raise money for charity, support children’s hospitals, and engage in community service. As individuals, Freemasons are often visible participants in church service. Freemasons often serve in their churches as ushers, event security, Sunday School teachers, and even Deacons. Freemasons do a lot of good things. But are they good men?
The Lodge says that they are. According to the tenets of Freemasonry, the craft takes good men and makes them better. Whether someone is a Christian or not, Masonic philosophy teaches that the Craft can take him from good to better. The assumption of Masonic Philosophy is that only good men are accepted into the Craft. The assumption is that they can be made better, outside of Christian fellowship and salvation in Jesus Christ. Akin’s Masonic manual states the following:
“No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation. Nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down that are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of men, in all ages, have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies.”
Can Christians agree with the lodge? Biblically, they cannot. The Bible teaches that there are no good men. (It also teaches that the Church is Christ’s organization; surely the Lodge does not equal or surpass it!)
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’” Mark 10:18
“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;” Romans 3:9-10
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
It is here that pastors who enable Freemasonry must equivocate on the meaning of “good”. It’s not that their Masonic church members are good (after all, none of us are), it’s that their church members are relatively good church members. Their Masonic members serve visibly in the church and in the community. They attend and give consistently. They are respected men. And, after all, they don’t really believe in the religious claims of Freemasonry. But do these same men demonstrate in faith and deed that they really believe in the religious claims Christianity? The answer is, “no.”
The very commissions and oaths required to enter Freemasonry demonstrate that to be a Mason one must engage in sin and facilitate others to do the same. Thus, Freemasonry is inherently sinful. These are the words spoken by the Senior Deacon of a Lodge to an initiate to Freemasonry:
“Mr. (name inserted) you are received into Masonry upon the point of a sharp instrument, piercing your naked (left) breast which is to teach you that this is an instrument of torture to your flesh, so should the recollection thereof be to your conscience should you ever reveal any of the secrets of Freemasonry unlawfully.
Aside from the violent nature of this charge, it defies a Christian understanding of the good. If Masonry can make good men better then why wouldn’t Masons share their good philosophy with all who are willing to hear? To share good news is the commission given every Sunday at the end of church services. Church members are exhorted to go out and proclaim the good news to whosever will receive it. Yet Masonry shrouds its philosophy from women, slaves, and those men who are unwilling to take its oaths.
Masonic Christians not only take these oaths but entice others (even other Christians) to do the same. Another disturbing tenet of this oath is that it claims that the Masonic lodge is “erected” to God, dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, and that its blood oaths are taken in His presence. The swearing in ceremony of the Masonic initiate has all the markings of a religious ceremony. Thus, it’s no surprise that Akin’s lodge manual clearly states that Freemasonry is a religious:
“In changing from one degree to another, many Lodges omit too much. The old story is ever new; and the secrecy, beauty, and religion of Freemasonry are impressively suggested by these ceremonies which should not be unnecessarily curtailed.”
Simply put, one’s religion must be Christianity or something else. When a Christian is asked, “Which of these two is your religion?” his answer can never be “both”. That is syncretism. The Biblical record is clear. A jealous and Holy God does not stand for syncretism among His holy people. So why do Pastors allow for Masons to remain in their congregations? A man must sin in order to enter Freemasonry. He must, especially if he is an officer of the Lodge, continually commit sin to grow the lodge by administering sinful blood oaths and presiding over other religious ceremonies.
“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6
By what standard do you call a man “good”?
Issue 3: Freemasonry Proclaims a Different Gospel
“Freemasonry teaches that salvation may be attained by ‘good works’ and not through faith in Christ alone.” The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
If you are a Christian you have probably asked this question to someone at least once in your life:
“If you died today, do you know if God would accept you into Heaven?”
Every Sunday, in churches all across the world, this is a question that preachers ask as they prepare to give a gospel invitation to their audiences. This same question is asked during the rest of the week as God’s people go throughout their cities to evangelize the lost. Faithful Christian evangelists communicate the answer to this question clearly – those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior will perish in Hell. The correct answer to this question is easily supported by the Bible:
“Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.’” Acts 4:8-12
“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’” John 14:5-7
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15
This question is one of eternal consequence. It is perhaps the most important question that can be asked. The Christian answer to it is clear, but how do Freemasons answer this pivotal question? The Masonic answer to this question is apparent from their official policies and funeral rights.
When any Master Mason dies, he is entitled to a Masonic burial. Funeral rites are prescribed by Masonic handbooks and include readings, responses, and prayers. Clearly, Masonic funeral rites (which are led by the “Worshipful Master” of an individual lodge) are religious services. Yet, these services are not particular to any one religion. A specific religious affiliation is not required to be a Freemason. According to Cartersville Masonic Lodge 63 F&M an absolute requirement for becoming a mason is to “have belief in a Supreme Being (of any faith. No particular religion or faith is required or excluded. All are welcome.)” The Cartersville lodge claims that “Masonry is universal in its ideals.”
Any Master Mason is entitled to a Masonic funeral and Christian belief is not required to be a Freemason. Thus, deceased non-Christian Freemasons can (and do) receive Masonic funeral services. According to God’s word, non-Christians suffer for an eternity in Hell. Yet, Masonic funeral rites do not indicate such, in fact, they indicate the opposite.
The funeral ceremony of the Mount Scopus Lodge A.F & A.M. includes the following language:
“My Brethren, the roll of the workmen has been called, and one Master Mason has not answered to his name. He has laid down the working tools of the Craft and with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use. His labors here below have taught him to divest his heart and conscience of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting his mind as a living stone for that spiritual building — that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Strengthened in his labors here by faith in God, and confident of expectation of immortality, he has sought admission to the Celestial Lodge above.”
Clearly, there is an expectation that the dead Freemason (whether or not he accepted the Lord Jesus as his Savior) will reach Heaven, or what the Freemasons call the “Celestial Lodge” of the “Great Architect of the Universe”. Akin’s Lodge Manual, which was published by John W. Akin of Cartersville, GA, includes the following funerary language:
“Most glorious God, Author of all good and Giver of all mercy pour down thy blessings upon us…may we be induced so to regulate our conduct here that when the awful moment shall arrive that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of thy mercy may dispel the gloom of death; and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favor, may we be received into thine everlasting kingdom, and there enjoy, in union with the soul of our departed friends, the just rewards of a pious and virtuous life. Amen!”
From a Christian worldview, this language is profoundly disturbing. A dead non-Christian has no hope of receiving mercy from God. He has no hope of being received into God’s kingdom. His Christian friends will never again unite with him. He is forever under the curse of sin, destined for Hell. To make matters worse, the language of the funeral rite implies that getting to Heaven is the result of living a “pious and virtuous life.” In other words, getting to Heaven is the result of living a good life and doing good works. Scripture clearly and absolutely teaches that good works do not and cannot save.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
The language of the Masonic funeral rite cannot be said or believed by a Christian in good conscience. It is a lie. It contradicts God’s word. This lie is more insidious than the Christian friends of Masons might know. Akin’s manual actually includes alternate funeral language which is to be read when a Masonic funeral service is held at a church. The language designed for readings in front of a body of Christians does not include the language which indicates that works save. Thus, Christians may be unaware of the unbiblical practices of their fellow church members who participate in Freemasonry…because they have been hidden from them.
Freemasons have one answer to the question “If you died today, do you know if God would accept you into Heaven?” at church and another at their lodge. They are double-minded men. Scripture teaches that a “double-minded man is unstable in all his ways, like the surf of the sea and driven and tossed by the wind.” Unchecked, such men are dangerous to the health of a church. If there are Freemasons at your church, scripture makes your duty clear. Members of this secret society must be dealt with according to biblical standards:
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” Ephesians 5:6-12
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2
As a Christian, it is your moral responsibility to call Freemasons to reject freemasonry in repentance. If a Freemason refuses, thereby proving that his loyalty to his lodge is greater than his loyalty to Christ’s church, then he must be treated according to the prescription of 1 Corinthians 6:
“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
This will not be easy…but then again taking up your cross and following Jesus is not supposed to be. The most loving thing to do is call sinners to repentance. The most Holy thing to do is to remove the wicked from the body. Like the Israelites who suffered from the secret sin of Achan, the work of the local church will be hindered by the secret sins of its Masonic members. The more Freemasons that infiltrate a church, the greater influence they have. Freemasonry is not harmless. It has temporal and eternal consequences. It literally teaches a different, works-based gospel than the faith-based gospel taught in the Bible.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8
Because church membership is so prevalent among Freemasons, potential pastors should inform church pulpit committees that they will not countenance Freemasonry under their shepherding. Church members should support their pastors and fellow church members who insist on exercising Biblical fidelity and church discipline in regards to Freemasonry. After reading this you may be saying to yourself, “There have been Freemasons in my church for years. They seem like good men. I’ve never heard any of this before. I didn’t know any of this.”
Well…you know it now. Faithfulness to Christ is paramount.
Issues In Summary
Freemasonry is religious. To be a member of a Masonic Lodge, a man must profess faith in a Supreme Being and the eternality of the soul. Masonic Lodges elect a chaplain and use a sacred text (usually a Bible) as part of the “furniture of the lodge.” Masonic Lodges are intended to mimic Solomon’s temple. When a Master Mason dies, he is entitled to Masonic funeral rites. These rites include a petition for the departed Mason to enter the “Celestial Lodge.” According to Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, Freemasonry is a “mild religion” (p. 512). Christians should ask, “Do the teachings of the Masonic religion agree with the teachings of the Bible?”
The Bible teaches that a man is saved by the grace of God, through faith in the finished work of Christ and not by his own works.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that none may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Freemasonry teaches that a Master Mason can get to Heaven by living a “pious and virtuous life.”
Funeral rite language from Akin’s Lodge Manual with the Georgia Masonic Code (p. 138)
The Nature of Man
The Bible teaches that man is inherently sinful and evil from birth. Without the grace of God, a man is unable to seek righteousness. No one is good but God. Only through Christ can men be empowered to do good works in the eyes of God.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
The Message of Freemasonry is “Making Good Men Better” (Masonic Messenger, April 2014). Freemasons seek to use the tenets of Freemasonry to build their own spiritual temple, to make themselves better through the practice of Freemasonry. Freemasonry teaches that men who don’t know Jesus can make themselves better.
The Bible teaches that people should not mix false religion with the true religion of God. The Ten Commandments require that man have no other gods before Yahweh and that man make no graven images. The officers of a New Testament Church are pastors and deacons. There is one high priest, Jesus, who is mediator between God and men. God is a jealous God. It is not acceptable before God to practice Christianity and another religion. Christ and His church are to be held in the highest esteem.
“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2
Masonry teaches that one may become a high priest by advancing through the degrees of Masonry. Doyle Franklin Williams was a member of the first Baptist Church of Emerson, Georgia where he was a deacon and the Music Director. He was also a member of Emerson Masonic Lodge #738 where he served as the Worshipful Master. He also served as the “High Priest” of Cartersville Royal Arch #144. In Freemasonry, there are hymns of praise to the lodge and Freemasonry is considered the highest institution on Earth. The Lodge is to be held in the highest esteem. Freemasonry encourages syncretism. It even has hymns to open its meetings.
“No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation. Nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down that are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of men, in all ages, have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assembles” Akin’s Lodge Manual With Georgia Masonic Code (p. 137-138)
Testimony of Former Freemason Jay Lloyd
I grew up attending a Southern Baptist Church. Like many of my peers, I could quote scripture and I thought I knew all about Christianity. However, looking back, I can see that my faith really fell into the category of moralistic therapeutic deism. I was not a Christian nor was I spiritually satisfied. I was a teenager in the seventies and one of the big questions of that period was “What’s it all about man?” I thought there was something bigger in life than religion and that all religions were basically the same, kind of like ice cream – just pick your flavor. As I came into adulthood, I was searching for something that was transcendent, something that had a weightier meaning and a greater purpose than what I encountered in my mundane workday life. I came to believe that I could find fulfillment in the Masonic Order.
I come from a long line of Masons. All of my uncles (on both sides), one grandfather, one great grandfather, and one great great grandfather were Freemasons. Since my family members were so involved and since I was searching spiritually, the Craft appealed to me. I had been taught that masons looked after each other in business and personal affairs. That kind of brotherhood was attractive. So, at the age of 24, I asked a friend from work who was a Freemason how I could become one. He submitted my application and I was voted into the Order in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was there that I completed my Entered Apprentice Degree. Before I could progress further, I moved. My Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees were conferred upon me in Jacksonville, Florida at Mandarin Lodge no.343.
In order to be initiated into the degrees of Blue Lodge, I had to swear to keep secret the tenets and rituals of Freemasonry. I swore blood oaths to do so. The swearing of these blood oaths was required. I remember in particular that one oath involved my being hung by the neck where the tide ebbed and flowed twice in 24 hours, my throat being slit from ear to ear, and my body being hung for the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air to devour so there might be no more remembrance of me whatsoever should I divulge the secrets of Freemasonry. I was instructed and given secret words and handshakes at each level. The placement of the thumb moved from the first knuckle to the second and finally the third thru each degree. The only secret word I remember was the master mason word which was “Ma-Ha-Bone.”
The whole order is built around the legend of an ancient extra-biblical character named Hiram Abiff and the building of Solomon’s temple. This supposedly biblical legend gives Masonry perception legitimacy to religious men. I remember going through the degrees and thinking and hoping that the next degree would be the one that would finally satisfy the longing I had to find some kind of real meaning. Disappointment came when I was “raised” from figurative death to the degree of master mason. It was really a big letdown. I was encouraged to go further into the higher degrees of Masonry, through the Shriners, but these degrees were considered more honorary and I was disillusioned by this point anyway
Within two years of joining the Order, my wife gave birth to our second child and my dad died. I remember going fishing with a friend of my dad’s on the day after his funeral. While we were fishing he said, “Hey all that stuff about Heaven and Hell, it don’t matter. It’s how you live your life, that’s what matters.” I agreed with my mouth, but my heart and mind were screaming, “All that matters is heaven and hell!” When my daughter was 6 weeks old, my in-laws came to town and it was time to go to church. I had agreed to raise my family in the church and they held me o my promise. We visited a local church. The congregation sang a song of greeting:
“Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.
Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for sinners to show. What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.
Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for sinners to show. What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.”
Everyone was smiling and greeting one another while I just wanted to cry. That Sunday the preacher preached on the Prodigal Son. I didn’t know if I was prodigal or if I even believed but I knew I needed to; I came to Christ in that service. From that day my life changed. The way I saw things changed. Masonry no longer drew me. About six months after I came to Christ, the Worshipful Master Mandarin Lodge no.343 came to me and asked me why I hadn’t paid my Masonic dues. I told him that I had become a Christian and had found the real meaning of life. He said there was nothing contrary to this in Freemasonry. I said, “Great, I will be at the next meeting and get up and share with all present what had happened to me and the good news of salvation through Christ and Christ alone.” He told me that I would not be allowed to do that. So, I told him that when I could I would gladly come and pay my dues. That was thirty-two years ago and I haven’t heard from him or them since.
When a person gets his meaning and purpose from any source other than Jesus, it is just another form of works righteousness. Freemasonry involves rituals and secrets that give it a pseudo spirituality and meaning which can further harden an unregenerate person’s heart. Many of the people that are Freemasons, in fact I would venture to say a majority, see their affiliation with the Order as giving them merit before their fellow man and most disturbingly before God.
My conclusion on the matter of Freemasonry from Ephesians 5:3-13:
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.””
To any man that claims the name of Jesus and is involved with this cult, I encourage you to separate yourself and repent. I am not judging you; I am judging an activity that I know to be heretical and anti-Christian. It is a false righteousness that is leading many to a sinners Hell because of a reliance on something other than Christ and His sacrifice for you to be right with God. Like all cults, it is full of sincere “good” people. They are sincerely wrong.
I pray my experience will serve to help others to leave the cult and give Christians ammunition to dialogue with friends and loved ones who are trapped in Freemasonry.
Interview with Former Freemason William Guilkey
How long have you been a Christian?
My eyes were opened to the truths of the Gospel in the summer of 2004 (after many years of habitual sin). While I cannot pinpoint the moment in time when the Gospel began to make sense to me, I can say that it seemed to start that summer. I began to come under heavy conviction of my sin and in time found the hope of the Gospel. Nearly 13 years later there is much evidence of repentance and belief in my life, I hate the sins I once embraced, am at war with sin on a daily basis, continually repent when I fail and I’m continuing in Christ. There were some really rocky times in the first several years due to deeply, ingrained patterns of sin but God has faithfully given me ever increasing victory over them. There is much evidence of a change in me thanks to the Lord and it all began in the summer of 2004.
Are you currently an active member of a New Testament Church?
Yes, my wife and I are members of Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Janesville, WI.
Do you have any level of formal theological education?
Yes. I grew up in the Assemblies of God. I was a “false convert” who never truly understood the Gospel as well as a legalist with an air of works righteousness. I have a B.A. in Bible from Central Bible College (1989)
How long were you involved in Freemasonry?
Approximately 6 or so years (with varying degrees of activeness).
What was the name of your lodge?
Bee Hive Lodge #393 in Lawson, MO
In what degrees of Masonry were you proficient?
I received the 3 degrees of the Blue Lodge as well as the degrees in the Scottish Rite (up to degree #32). In Missouri, giving one’s proficiency in the degrees (orally) was no longer required but as a tribute to my grandfather for his 50th year in the Lodge, I orally repeated the 1st degree and was deemed proficient.
Did you hold any leadership positions in Freemasonry?
Yes, I was the Junior Warden one year and the Senior Warden the next year.
Were there any professed Christians in your lodge?
There were several (including at least one Pastor). Most were from the older, liberal, mainline denominations (United Methodist, Presbyterian USA and The Disciples of Christ, which in our small town was merged with the PCUSA Church). There were also a few Southern Baptists.
Were there any non-Christians in your lodge?
Yes, including some with the veneer of “Christian” and some outright secular men.
Why did you leave Freemasonry?
I began to be convicted by the Holy Spirit that Freemasonry was incompatible with Christianity over time. It promotes a universal “gospel” of “salvation by works/Freemasonry” and it requires unbiblical oaths to enter.
Do you believe the blood oaths required to enter Blue Lodge Freemasonry are antithetical to Christian practice?
Yes, per Matthew 5:34-35 for example.
What would you say to someone who said the oaths were merely symbolic and do not violate Christ’s commands regarding oath-swearing?
While the oaths are almost certainly symbolic in our day (since violating them comes with the penalty of death), there is a sense in which they are serious and that has to do more with the “brotherhood of the Lodge” and the secrets contained within its walls. What one is giving oath to essentially is their silence/secrecy and this is expected to be adhered to by the one making the oaths.
What can you tell us about the story of Hiram Abiff and the ritual related to him?
Hiram Abiff is loosely based on a character in the verse 2 Chronicles 2:13 (which is not really clear). In Freemasonry, he is known as the “Grand Master Mason” of King Solomon’s Temple, who outlines the work duties for the other Masons. The candidate for the 3rd Degree plays the character of Hiram Abiff and is escorted around the Lodge and put through various scenarios as the character Hiram Abiff. Hiram Abiff supposedly has the “Master’s word” and the deeper secrets of Freemasonry. Hiram is confronted by some ruffians (Fellowcrafts) who are impatient to receive the word and the secrets of the Master Mason and after refusing to comply with their demands, Hiram is killed with a mallet to the head (which happens to the candidate who is left in the temple under some rubble then later carried to Mount Moriah and laid on the ground as though buried). Later when it is discovered that Hiram Abiff is missing, a panic ensues. Eventually some other Fellowcrafts come to King Solomon and admit that they knew of a plot to kill Hiram (but did not participate). King Solomon orders them to find the ruffians (three were missing when he had a roll call of the Fellowcrafts) under penalty of death if they fail to do so. They found the ruffians when they stopped to rest and one of the searchers grabbed an acacia branch which easily gave way to him (it marked the shallow grave of Hiram Abiff). At that point, they heard the three ruffians mourning about their role in the death and indicting themselves under the penalty of their obligations. They were seized, taken to Solomon and executed according to those penalties (outside the city gate). King Solomon and all of his followers then go to the shallow grave (where Hiram has laid for 15 days according to the story). He asks both an Entered Apprentice (1st degree) and a Fellowcraft (2nd degree) to raise him by their grips but the rotting flesh slips from their hands. King Solomon then proceeds to raise the body by the strong grip of the Master Mason (complete with a certain posture and a word). This works and the candidate is raised to the “sublime degree of Master Mason” (their description). In my case, my Grandfather was inserted for King Solomon and performed my “raising” (of which I am now very ashamed of as I type). There is no question that the Hiram Abiff character is a blasphemous characterization of the resurrection (at the very least in symbolism).
Are non-Christian Freemasons led to believe that they can reach Heaven outside of professing faith in Jesus Christ?
Without question. In the long speech in the second degree, a Fellowcraft is explicitly told that they will be happy at death if “the setting splendors of a virtuous life gild his departing moments with the gentle tints of hope.” Often Freemasonry is described as an organization that exists to “make good men better.” It presupposes the basic goodness of man (at least of those who pass the initial screening of their candidacy).
If the Great Architect of the Universe the same God as the God of the Holy Bible?
It cannot be by definition since Freemasonry only requires a belief in a Supreme Being/God/god and leaves that up to the candidate to determine who/Who/what that is for them. In rural Missouri, people were basically “Christian” in their mindset (not born again mind you but simply meaning that they took their oaths on the Bible but one could have taken it on any “holy book”). The only requirement is that you cannot be a professing atheist. That kind of pluralistic approach cannot be the God of the Holy Bible.
Is there any truth to the notion that Freemasonry teaches belief in Osiris, Hours, or other Egyptian deities?
I do not recall these names in either the Blue Lodge or the Scottish Rite (however, the Scottish Rite was a weekend “marathon” in which degrees 4-32 were given and it was done “theater style” with us watching the proceedings so I have very little recollection of it)
Is the “All Seeing Eye” a representation of God?
Yes, because we are reminded that even if our actions evade the eyes of men, that all of them are seen by the “All-Seeing Eye” who will reward us according to “our merits” (yet another false doctrine, unless by “reward” they mean “judgment”).
In your degrees of Freemasonry did you ever receive teaching about Jabulon, Lucifer, or any other such spirit being?
I do not recall these names in either the Blue Lodge or the Scottish Rite (however, the Scottish Rite was a weekend “marathon” in which degrees 4-32 were given and it was done “theater style” with us watching the proceedings so I have very little recollection of it). Having grown up in the church (even if I was not genuinely converted at the time), I am pretty sure I would have been disturbed if I heard the name of “Lucifer” in any positive context.
Does Scottish Rite (or any other form of Freemasonry) confer a Melchizedek priesthood on adherents?
I was hardly active in the Scottish Rite and the weekend “marathon” of degrees only allows them to confer so many through the ritual. I do not know if this one was acted out for us or not but I have read that it is in the 19th degree. I did not know this before researching for this question so I am not a good source on this answer.
Does Freemasonry contradict the doctrine of Original Sin?
Yes, by stating that Freemasonry serves to “make good men better.” One of the things all Masons say in repeating the ritual is “to improve myself in Freemasonry” and in another place, they ask for “Further light” (implying that they may have some light).
Does Freemasonry teach that salvation can be obtained by performing good works?
Yes, in the lecture portion of the 2nd and 3rd degrees (as outlined in previous questions)
Do Freemasons believe that they possess wisdom or light that cannot be obtained from the Bible or a relationship with Jesus Christ?
In my small town, they would always say “it’s all based on the Bible” but when one hears of the various study clubs and meetings for the more advanced degrees, you hear implications of “deeper” or “esoteric” knowledge. To me, it all sounded like pretentious “gobbled-y gook” to be honest. I never really “got” that part of it all.
How were you treated by other Freemasons after leaving the lodge?
I live in a different state and do not encounter any of the men for the most part but no one has sought me out to discuss it etc. When I resigned, I resigned in writing, with a letter containing the Gospel. They clearly know where I stood and where I stand on the matter. I am however, always open to talk with any of them about the Gospel should a door be opened to me.
Is there anything you would like to say to the “Christian” Masons who are reading this interview?
I would say first of all that I think many, many people go into Freemasonry innocently enough. By that I mean that there are some appealing features to some of the “perks” (for example, where I am from, there were certain jobs that were more attainable for someone who was a member of the Lodge). I know also that many men put almost no effort into learning or practicing anything related to Freemasonry and see it as an opportunity to get together with some guys a few times a month to eat, smoke, drink coffee and tell tall tales. As far as some of the deeper conspiracies that people allege are concerned, I never saw any of that in my small town. If we were somehow trying to overtake the world, we were definitely way behind in our efforts! Our Lodge did some nice public service things (i.e. scholarships, Child Identification Programs to help police in the event of an abduction and chili/ham & bean suppers). That is how most of the “brothers” approached Freemasonry. That being said, it really is a “False Gospel,” with a “False, Pluralistic god” and it gives false assurance to many people. It is the antithesis of the Bible’s teaching about the true nature of man and his need before the Thrice Holy God. Because of that, whether done in “innocence” or “ignorance,” it is a system of idolatry and must be avoided. It violates the First, Second and Third commandments and that alone is enough to flee from this false, religious system. I would encourage you to read the Bible for yourself and to ask the LORD to open your eyes to His holiness and His requirements. If/when He does this, you will likely begin feeling the heavy weight of conviction of sin (because you will then see how much you have offended God). When that happens, cry out to Him for mercy, turn from your sin (including the sin of aligning with the Masonic Lodge) and believe that if you come to Him, He will “in no wise cast you out” (John 6:37) for “Whosoever calleth on the Name of the Lord, shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13)
Testimony of Pastor Stan Gibson of Pacific Baptist Church
Not long after I first became a pastor, a deeply troubling circumstance necessitated that I began to consider the compatibility of Christianity and Freemasonry. Before this incident, I had not given the matter much consideration. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church which was filled with many Freemasons. Despite being surrounded by Masons at my local church, I gave little thought to the Masonic order or its activities until well into my adult life. That would all change as I became responsible for the care of souls. The year was 1998 and I was pastoring a Southern Baptist Church in a rural area about thirty minutes outside of St. Louis, Missouri. For a reason still unknown to me, perhaps Providence, an elderly couple brought to me An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Dr. Albert Mackey. At the time I was unaware that Mackey is considered to be one of the most respected scholars of the Masonic craft and was himself a Master Mason during his life. Upon receiving Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Masonry, I thanked the couple for their gift and placed the book on the desk in my office at the church. I thought little of the gift at the time but its significance was made clear to me when the church custodian came into my office to do his usual cleaning and laid eyes on it.
Upon seeing An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry on my desk, the custodian immediately snatched it up, tucked it under his arm, and said, “Where did you get this book? Why do you have this book? If you have any questions about the Masons, then you can ask me. I’ll take this book for you.” I told him where I got the book and that I was very interested in reading it for; I kindly asked him to place it back on my desk. He begrudgingly put the book back, doing so reluctantly. It was obvious from his demeanor that he was very upset with me. I asked him, “Why does this upset you? It’s obvious you don’t want me to read this book but why?” He simply replied, “If you want to know about the Masons, then ask me.”
“Are you a mason?” I asked the custodian. He went on to inform me that he was not only in Mason, but that he was presently serving as the Worshipful Master in the local lodge…but he didn’t stop there. He went on to tell me that I would be a better pastor if I knew the secrets of the Lodge and that there were things that were left out of the Bible that only initiates to the Lodge knew. He then asked me two amazing questions. The first was, “Don’t you want to be a better pastor?” The second was, “If you do, would you like to become a Mason?” I couldn’t believe what I just heard! I replied to him this saying, “Are you telling me that the Bible is incomplete, and insufficient, and that I need to know what the Masons know to make me complete?”
The custodian’s answer was “yes.”
I then asked him, perhaps prompted by the Holy Spirit Himself, the following question, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” He replied, “He is my Lord.” Again I asked him, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” Again he replied, “He is my Lord.” It was clear that he was not going to answer my question; In fact, he was avoiding it on purpose. I asked the custodian, “If Jesus is not the Lord of the Masonic Lodge, then why would you want to be a part of such foolishness?” Indeed, I continued and asked him, “Does it disturb you as a professing Christian to hold the title of ‘Worshipful Master?’” When I asked this question, the custodian, a 67-year-old man, Chairmen of Deacons at the church, plugged both of his ears and ran to his car, which was parked out front. I followed him outside begging him to stay and to talk with me about the matter. He peeled out of the parking lot and left. Although he left, the matter was far from over.
I called for the other Deacons and me to meet and discuss the matter with him. Only two of the six deacons chose to be a part of this meeting; the rest refused and wanted to be no part of it. By the end of the meeting, the man had resigned as the chairman of deacons. As he stormed out of the meeting, one of the other deacons said to him, “If you refuse to sit and talk about it here, I will have to bring this to the attention of the church.” The matter was brought to the attention of the church during the next business meeting; it was an ugly scene. I was accused of tearing down the church by a congregation who had theretofore held this man in high regard. They wanted to hear nothing of what actually transpired and nothing of what the word of God had to say concerning this matter. Despite the difficulty, the meeting ended with the former Deacon Chair and his wife pulling their church membership.
After the contentious business meeting, a handful of men stayed around to encourage me and pray with me. All of a sudden, we saw a car sliding into the church’s gravel parking lot. A man bolted out of the car and sprinted towards the church. It was the custodian’s forty-year-old son. He charged through the doors of the church, grabbed a hold of my collar, and threw me inside my office. He shut the door behind him and locked it. The enraged son told me that he would “get me back”. He promised to burn my house, the church parsonage, down and even said he didn’t care if my wife and kids were inside of it when he did it. He vowed to me that my attack on the Freemasons would be vindicated and then stormed out of the church.
The men who had previously been praying with me stood outside my office bewildered by what had just transpired. I asked them if I should take the threats seriously. “Yes” was their reply. I immediately hurried to the parsonage next-door. I told my wife and my two small boys to hurry up and pack because we needed to go. My wife kept asking me if the matter was really that serious. I assured her that it was and we quickly piled into our van. I backed out of the driveway into the cold winter’s night and began driving down a very dark country road. Sure enough, headed towards the church was the custodian’s son; he was driving without his headlights turned on. I turned off my own headlines and sped by him, accelerating to put distance between him and us. We reported the incident to the local police but were not taken seriously. We hid for an entire week at a relative’s house.
All of these events caused me to be in desperate, fervent prayer to the Lord. My prayer wasn’t just for protection but for understanding about what the Freemasons truly are. Less than one week later a former mason (whom I did not know at the time) called me out of the blue and offered all of his lodge books to me. Right after that, the widow of a very powerful and influential Freemason called and asked if I would like to have all of his books; she gave me sixty of them. Upon receiving these many books, I diligently studied the Freemasons from their own literature. After exhaustive examination, I have come to the conclusion that Freemasonry is completely incompatible with biblical Christianity.
It must be confronted within the church. I have been faithful to the Lord in this conviction to the point of informally debating a group of Freemasons about Christianity in one of their own lodges. I hope other brothers and sisters in Christ, will, after their own study and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, begin addressing the issue of Freemasonry in their own churches, calling errant brothers to Christ and standing firm against hardheartedness where necessary.
Testimony of James Bell of Southside Baptist Church
In January of 1969, at the ripe age of 23, I left seminary to take my first full-time pastorate. My wife and I moved from Ft. Worth, Texas to Hartsville, Tennessee where I had been called to pastor First Baptist Church. Quite a few FBC members were active in the local Masonic Lodge, Harstville Lodge #113. Many of their wives were active in the Order of the Eastern Star. My wife and I were often invited to monthly potluck dinners at the Lodge, provided, of course, by the Eastern Star ladies. Once we had our fill, they would kindly invite us to leave. Prior to taking my pastorate and being invited to these potlucks, I had no knowledge of the Masonic Lodge. Quite frankly, I had neither interest in nor curiosity about Freemasonry. However, during my six year tenure at FBC three that would change. Three memorable events opened my eyes to the darkness and dangers of Freemasonry.
First, I received a used book from England entitled “Darkness Visible: A Revelation and Interpretation of Freemasonry” I was amazed as I gazed upon a photograph in the book of a candidate prepared for initiation into a Masonic Lodge. He was blindfolded with one pant leg up above the knee. I was stunned as I read the horrible vows that such candidates were expected to make. They were blood oaths. “How could Christians make such vows!?” I exclaimed. Disturbed by what I had seen and read, I took the book to a respected FBC Church member who was a Mason. He looked and listened as I turned to the pages which I had marked. Then, without hesitation, he proclaimed that he knew nothing of such vows and practices…that maybe they did such in England; but definitely not in Hartsville, Tennessee! He stood there, looked his own pastor in the face, and lied. Since that time, I have found dishonesty to be a common practice among Masons. When confronted about the disturbing nature of their craft, Masons lie. When confronted with inside information from former Masons who gave up the craft out of Christian conviction, Masons will accuse the former Masons of being dishonest.
The second event was the first Masonic funeral I attended. I discovered that when a Mason died the Lodge members would show up at the funeral services wearing their white aprons and expect to have the last word at the grave site. As a pastor, this was normally my role. Over time, I noticed that regardless of what a Mason had professed as to Jesus Christ and regardless of how he had lived, his Masonic brothers proclaimed that he was going to have a grand eternity simply because he was a Mason. Needless, to say, this was deeply troubling. I had no ability to stop their proceedings. However, I told families and funeral directors that if I was expected to preach the funeral then the Masonic rituals would have to be done before I concluded at the grave site; I insisted that the Bible have the last word.
A third, heart-breaking, event solidified my stance against Freemasonry. Brother Nat McKinney, pastor at the Riddleton Baptist Church, in Smith County, Tennessee, asked me to preach a “Revival Meeting“… which I did. Before the evening’s services, we visited in several homes. One of those visits was to the home of an 85 year old gentleman who had never professed faith in Christ. He graciously received us into his old, but substantial, house and proceeded to make us feel most welcome. In fairly short order, he gave me permission to share the gospel of Christ with him. He seemed to listen carefully. However, when I asked what his response to what he had heard was, he did not hesitate to reply, “Young man, I believe in God but I am a Mason. I do not need Jesus!” I remember appealing to him; but he was steadfast— Being a Mason was enough to secure his eternity in heaven… he did not need Jesus. That settled it. From that day forward, I have gathered materials, usually written by former Masons, and I have used such materials to help others leave the darkness of the Masonic Lodge. In spite of all Masonic denials, Freemasonry is a false religion which every Christian should flee.
Testimony of Pastor Richard Mann
My name is Richard Mann. I am a native of I am a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. I am member of Pleasant View Baptist Church. I am an ordained Southern Baptist Minster. I am a former member of Queen City Masonic Lodge No. 761. Conviction from the Holy Spirit caused me to leave Freemasonry.
At the time my mother was pregnant with me my parents were struggling financially because my father had been laid off from his job. After a particular shopping trip, my parents passed by a group of Shriners collecting money for their charities (Shriners are an appendant body of Freemasonry). My father drove down the road for about a mile before stopping and remarking to my mother that he felt led to donate to the Shriners; he turned the car around gave the Shriners the last three dollars he and my mom had. “We might someday need help,” he told my mother. That day came very soon. I was born with a major heart defect which required surgery. I spent two months in Vanderbilt hospital receiving treatment. My daddy’s insurance paid very little of our massive medical bill. It just so happened that the Shriners came to the hospital and asked its administrators to pick a family that needed help. The hospital administrators picked my family and the Shriners paid our medical debt in full.
When I grew up, I was ordained as a pastor in a Southern Baptist Church.
One of my very close friends was an older gentleman and Freemason. He began to tell me about the lodge. One thing led to another and I found myself at two different Masonic meetings being examined for membership in the Lodge. I was found worthy to become a Freemason. I am not only a pastor but a born-again Christian indwelled by the Holy Spirit. During every one of these meetings, the Spirit was advising me not to get mixed up in Freemasonry. Unfortunately, Masonry lured me in through my interest in history. Before answering the call to the ministry, I wanted to be a history professor. The history of the Masonic Lodge, or “the Craft” as they call it, intrigued me. I loved the history of the Lodge and was impressed by all the famous people who had been members. Seminary professors and even American Presidents had been Masons and I could be one, too. So, I disregarded the pleading of the Spirit and joined the Masonic Lodge.
Entering my first degree, the “Entered Apprentice” degree, was a strange experience. I found myself in a room with two Masonic brethren. They dressed me in the way an entered apprentice should dress and told me what an Entered Apprentice should say for the initiation ceremony. I memorized all the answers that I was required to know and learned what I was told to learn. I was particularly struck by the part of the ceremony that involved the Bible. I was brought blindfolded (or “hoodwinked” as the Masons say) before an altar. My hand was placed the Holy Bible, the square, and the compass (in the Lodge, these three items are referred to as “the furniture of the lodge”). When the Masons took off my blindfold, I saw my hands placed upon the Bible, the square, and the compass while my knee and leg formed a right triangle. This part of the ceremony was meant to make me understand the significance of the great light and the three lesser lights. The Worshipful Master then led me in my first Masonic blood/death oath. Please bear with me as I try to recall it in writing. It has been a while since I said it and, frankly, I have tried to forget it. I swore that I would not knowingly give out any of the secrets, parts, or points of the Entered Apprentice degree “under no less of penalty than having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by the root and buried in the ground where the tide ebbs and flows in every 24 hours.” All this was done with the outstretched hands of the brothers pointed towards me in the dark.
The Holy Spirit was convicting me the whole time, asking me why I knelt at an altar before for a Worshipful Master when the only man worthy of worship was Jesus Christ. I shrugged it off. I found myself in the same place taking the second degree, “Fellow Craft”. In that degree one has to do more of the work of preparing for the ceremony and take another oath. Again I swore before the Worshipful Master to keep the secrets of the degree, this time “under no less a penalty than to have my body severed in two, my chest torn open, and my entrails placed on the highest point of the temple where the birds of the air would feed on them.” Soon after, I completed the work for the third degree, “Master Mason”. This degree is the big one. Once more, I swore before the Worshipful Master to keep the secrets of the degree, in this case, “under no less of a penalty than having my body severed in half, my entrails burned, and my ashes scattered to the four winds.” I was prepared as a man named “Hiram Abiff,” who is, according to Masonic lore, the architect of Solomon’s temple. I was symbolically killed by three ruffians, played by other Masonic brethren, for refusing to give them the secrets of Masonry. I laid “dead” on the temple floor (all Masonic lodges are intended as replicas Solomon’s temple) until I was symbolically raised by King Solomon, played by the Worshipful Master. This is what it means to be “raised a Master Mason”. I was then taught the secret word, “Mah-Ha-Bone”, and the stance of a Master Mason.
After that, boy, I could do anything in the Lodge and nothing was said or judged because I was a Master Mason. I learned more and more about my secret craft and was told I could go higher in the lodge. One particular branch of Masonry, iscalled Royal Arch Masonry. The highest degree in that branch is “Knight Templar”. I studied that branch. I also studied the Scottish Rite branch, which is only for Masons of the highest (32nd) degree. I will not go into the death/blood oaths of those branches but they have them. To the neglect of my Bible studies, I became proficient in many degrees of Freemasonry as well as the history of the Craft. Eventually, I was asked to give a lecture of the ancient history of Freemasonry. Of course I said yes! I was free to include in the lecture whatever I saw fit with the understanding that the content of my presentation had to be approved by the Worshipful Master before it was taught to the brethren.
For my lecture, I traced the practice of Freemasonry back to Babylon. I noted that technically and historically, Freemasonry and the New Testament Church were not compatible. I demonstrated this by providing scripture that contradicted the claims and practices of Freemasonry. The Worshipful Master told me to destroy my lesson and never speak of it again; although I was of a higher degree that he (he was only a 3rd degree mason), he held the authority over me in the lodge as Master to give this command. Another man ended up giving the history lecture. As part of his lesson he claimed that the result of God confusing the language of mankind at Babel was that some cultures now connected to God through Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus. In other words, he was claiming that there was one God known by different names in different languages and religions. I took great offense at his twisting of scripture and lying to all the men listening to his lecture; I could not stand for it. I could ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit no longer.
God pulled me out of the lodge and gave me a hatred for the Masonic system; not the men in the Lodge but the false doctrine they proclaim. The Lord Jesus said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If you are a Christian and are practicing Freemasonry, please pray and study. Your eyes will be open to the lies of Satan. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit telling you to get out of the Lodge. Contact me and I will give you scripture against the Lodge.
After ending my involvement in Masonry, I felt alone and scared. For the first time I felt God was not moving in my life. I stood one Sunday morning, prayed, and renounced Masonry and all my death/blood oaths. When I finished preaching and left the pulpit, I went out to a water fountain and busted out crying. Yes, you can be a Christian and a mason, but you will do it without the approval of God and against the witness of the Holy Spirit. I beg you to get out of the lodge. Repent of all of it; it’s hard but you can do it.
I am happy to say I am no longer a Freemason!
Testimony of Hebert Glenn Beck – Sunday School Teacher and Deacon of Russellville Baptist Church and Former and Former Grand Commander of the Tennessee Knights Templar
I was a 38-year Mason: Past Master of my Lodge, Past Secretary of My Lodge, Past Grand Commander of the Knights Templar in my State, and Past District Chairman for the Grand Lodge. I could go on and on with awards and other Masonic affiliations. I demitted from my Blue Lodge in 2015 which automatically removed me from all other Masonic related bodies. The most important point in this conversation is to state categorically that I am a born again Christian; Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I believe that Masonry is a cult. I also have a very strong doubt about Masons not going to Heaven.
Freemasonry and the Christian Conscience
On what day of the week to hold church services, going to see rated R-movies, eating or abstaining from pork and shellfish, drinking alcoholic beverages, shopping at Target, getting circumcised, boycotting Disney, dressing casually at church…these are matters of Christian liberty…these are matters of Christian conscience. What about membership and participation in the Masonic Lodge, though? Is Freemasonry a matter of Christian liberty? No; not at all. Calling it a matter of Christian conscience is error. It should be called what it really is: sin.
The seminal biblical example of Christian liberty is found in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. This epistle was written during a time when pagan temple worship was a very visible and common way of life. Judeo-Christian values were obscure and certainly did not influence the prevailing culture and governance of the Roman Empire. Pagan mythologies explained how the world worked and ordered religious exercise. Sacrifices to the gods were a part of everyday life. Out of this darkness, the Lord began drawing people to Himself in the city of Corinth. These early Christians were being drawn from paganism to Christianity. They were being drawn from the pagan temple to the Christian Church.
“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.” 1 Corinthians 8:1-8
Today’s Christians, especially in the Bible belt, are often drawn to the Lord from one part of the church building to another. Kids who have grown up in Sunday School and been taught the Bible from birth come of age in Christian environments and make professions of faith. Nothing about their religious environment changes. They repent of their sins on one Sunday and return to the same place of worship that they were raised in on the next. Since ~54 AD, When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, Christendom has greatly expanded. The Judeo-Christian worldview is no longer obscure and has exerted great influence over the governments of Western society. Science explains how the world works; pagan mythologies have been relegated to the translations exercises of 10th grade Latin classes. Sacrificing animals for religious purposes is completely foreign to today’s Western Christians. They have never seen such practices.
But they have seen a meat market. Every week, Western Christians peruse fresh, USDA-certified beef in their local supermarkets. Friendly butchers provide eye-pleasing, safe, and affordable cuts of meat as often as their customers desire it and in whatever amounts are demanded. Customers know exactly where the meat comes from: farms. Modern industrial farming has made protein-rich meat more affordable than it has ever been. For today’s Western Christians, eating meat is a daily expectation. In the Bible-belt, meat with three vegetables and a cup of sweet tea is a lunchtime staple. It’s such a popular meal that an entire category of eateries known as “meat and three restaurants” has sprung up. Meat is relatively cheap (and vegetables are even easier to come by). Even if today’s society was permeated with pagan practice, few people would sacrifice beef. It’s not costly enough. Sacrifices are supposed to be costly. Meat has become a very affordable commodity.
Meat and three was unheard of in ancient Corinth as a daily lunch for a common man. The ancients were lucky to have clean water, sweetened drinks were a luxury. So, too, was meat. That’s why animals were a source of sacrifice. The gods were to be provided with something of great value. Once an animal’s blood was spilled and the gods were satiated, there was a valuable by-product of the religious enterprise: meat. Ancients were just an enterprising as moderns are; they weren’t going to let this item of value go to waste. So, the meat that had been sacrificed to pagan idols was placed for sale in the meat market. From there, consumers would buy it. Today, Ingles, Kroger, and Publix sell meat from big corporate farms. The ancient Corinthian meat market sold meat from both farms and pagan temples. Pagan temples, unlike farms, are inherently sinful.
Certain gentile Christians, who came from pagan backgrounds, were aghast that their fellow Christians would purchase or consume meat that had been used as an essential component of a pagan religious ceremony. The meat had been sacrificed to false gods. In their minds, it was tainted by pagan worship. Having come out of pagan idolatry, this meat reminded them of their old selves. As new creatures in Christ, they wanted nothing to do with anything remotely connected to paganism. Other Christians, especially those of Jewish background, were not as a concerned. They understood that these pagan idols weren’t real gods. To them, buying or being served meat that could have been used in a pagan ceremony wasn’t an issue. They understood that earth and everything in it belonged to the Lord. They harbored no painful memories of being involved in pagan worship. It was nearly as foreign to them as it is for a modern young boy raised in a Southern Baptist Sunday School program. They knew who God was and they knew who God wasn’t. Meat sacrificed to idols became a source of controversy in an already contentious Corinthian church. The Apostle Paul had to address it. He determined that it was a matter of Christian liberty, but not one to be enjoyed at the expense of the conscience of wounding the conscience of those brothers who were abhorred by it.
“But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 9:-13
Eating meat sacrificed to idols was not equivalent to pagan worship and eating it was okay as long as it didn’t offend other Christians. Going further, Paul was clear that no one was under obligation for making sure that the meat he obtained did not come from a pagan temple.
“Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:25-32
Looking at Paul’s example, some Christians have determined that membership in the Lodge is an equivalent issue of Christian liberty. It may sear the conscience of some Christians to go the Masonic Lodge, swear secret blood oaths, and pray to “The Grand Architect of the Universe”. So, they could never bring themselves to be a Mason. Yes the Masonic lodge is a temple, with a Chaplain, Deacons, and a Worshipful Master. Yes, some people at the Lodge may treat it as their religion. Yes, Freemasonry teaches a works-based salvation. But the Christian members of the Lodge understand who God really is. They don’t really believe the religious tenets of Freemasonry. They believe salvation comes by the grace of God, not works. They agree with the Baptist Faith and Message. So, it’s a matter of Christian Liberty for them to participate in the ceremonies of the Lodge even if their fellow church members couldn’t’ do the same. Wrong; dead wrong.
Paul never said it was acceptable to participate in a pagan worship service. Paul said it was okay to accept the by-product of that worship service. There is a major difference between participating in a pagan ceremony where an animal is sacrificed to a false god and eating meat that went from the pagan temple to the meat market to the dinner table. A modern is example is helpful for understanding this difference.
Imagine a soup kitchen that serves hot meals to the local homeless population. It receives food donations from local churches, local businesses, and the local Masonic lodge. Is a Christian who eats at the soup kitchen obligated to ask if his particular bowl of soup was provided by the Lodge before he eats it? No. Furthermore, a fellow church member who chastises the poor brother for eating soup that could have come from the lodge legalistically denies the Christian liberty of his brother in Christ. There may be some homeless Christians, former Masons, who choose to go hungry rather than possibly eat Masonic soup. That would be a matter of their conscience, just like it would be a matter of liberty for any homeless Christians who choose not to accept meals from the soup kitchen. Eating the soup is not participating in Masonic practices.
But Christian Liberty stops and the front door of the Masonic Temple. A Corinthian Christian committed no sin to consume meat that had been sacrificed at a pagan temple. However, a Corinthian who participated in the ceremony that slaughtered the animal committed idolatry. When a pagan Corinthian became a Christian, his days a practicing religion at the pagan temple had to end. About this Paul was exceedingly clear.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
To draw a parallel from ancient Corinth to modern times, Freemasons aren’t eating meat which was sacrificed to idols; they are sacrificing the bull to the false god (I am speaking metaphorically here. I am not saying Freemasons sacrifice live animals at their temple). Christians who participate in Masonic religious ceremonies commit sin. Numerous examples could be provided to demonstrate this but only one is required. Consider the practice of Masonic funeral rites.
All Master Masons are entitled to a Masonic funeral. Anyone who believes in a Supreme Being is eligible to become a Master Mason. There is no requirement to profess salvation in Christ by grace alone through faith alone. There is no requirement to be a church member. It is a historically and biblically demonstrable fact that there are Master Masons who die and spend an eternity in Hell because they have not received Christ. Despite this, they receive Masonic Funeral rites which proclaim that the reward of their virtuous living is spending an eternity with The Grand Architect of the Universe (God) in the Celestial Lodge (Heaven). The following is the funerary language from Akin’s Lodge Manual with the Georgia Masonic Lodge:
“Most Glorious God, Author of all good and Giver of all mercy, pour down thy blessings upon us and strengthen our solemn engagements with the ties of sincere affection. May the present instance of mortality remind us of our approaching fate; and by drawing our attention towards Thee, the only refuge in time of need, may we be induced so to regulate our conduct here that when the awful moment shall arrive that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of thy mercy may dispel the gloom of death; and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favor, may we be received into thine everlasting kingdom, and there enjoy, in union with the souls of our departed friends, the just rewards of a pious and virtuous life. Amen!”
This language is to be read by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge. (Sadly, it is not uncommon to come across Worshipful Masters who are progressing Christians.) According to this funeral language, which is proclaimed in front of the deceased grieving friends and family members, entering into Heaven is the “just rewards of a pious and virtuous life.” This contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-1
“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:16
Furthermore, it gives false hope to non-Christians (and their grieving loved ones); non-Christians die without hope of ever seeing Heaven or being reconciled with God. Freemasonry teaches a works based gospel. If a Christian Freemason recites the Masonic funerary language, he proclaims a false gospel. If he doesn’t truly believe it, he sins further by telling a lie. If he does truly believe it, he denies the very words of Christ. How can his fellow church members countenance that?
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight” Proverbs 12:22
Is the gospel a matter of Christian liberty? We can look to Paul’s words to the Romans for the answer:
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,
‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.’
So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14
Paul is clearly talking about Christian liberty in this verse, but as in the case of 1 Corinthians 6, he is talking about matters of everyday living (what to eat, what to drink, etc…). Essentially, Paul is addressing the difference between living under grace and living under law. Forcing Christian brothers to adhere to Jewish ceremonial regulations keeps them under law. Under the grace of Christ, they have liberty. There is absolutely no permission in the passage of scripture above for the Christian to participate in Freemasonry. That is what makes defenses of Freemasonry as a matter of Christian using Romans Chapter 14 so insidious. Freemasonry proclaims a works-based gospel, essentially putting adherents under law. This is antithetical to Christianity which proclaims a grace based gospel. So, the question is answered. Participation in Freemasonry is not a matter of Christian liberty.
Is bearing false witness a matter of Christian liberty? No
Is denying the claims of Christ a matter of Christian liberty? No.
Freemasonry does both.
Whether or not the Christian Mason truly believes the dogma of Freemasonry is immaterial. There is absolutely no room for Christian Liberty where Masonry is concerned. Do the same Masons who go to church and tell their pastors that they don’t really believe in the religious claims of Masonry but just go as a social club go to the Lodge and tell their Masonic brothers that they don’t really believe the religious claims of Christianity but just go as a social club? Maybe. But what’s it really matter?
This case has been made. Christian masons participate in idolatry, lying, proclaiming a false gospel, and denying the words of Christ. The Bible demands that their fellow church members hold them accountable.
“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves”. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:11-12
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2
Freemasonry: Idolatry or Encourager of Idolatry
“From this day forth I am going to be a man of God; if that splits the church, then so be it. If the church wants to vote me out, then so be it. When I was 17, I prayed that God would make me a dangerous man for Jesus. I am publicly renewing that prayer today. Pastor, you and I know that one of the things blocking revival in this church . . . is Freemasonry.” James Holly, to the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church.
In the early 1990s, a Texas layman and medical doctor named James L. Holly brought the practice of Freemasonry to forefront of Southern Baptist discourse. For months, Holly had been preparing and disseminating anti-Masonic tracts to Southern Baptist churches across the country. Being firmly convinced that the principles and rituals of Freemasonry made the Craft incompatible with the Christian faith; Holly proposed a resolution recommending a study of Freemasonry at the 1992 Southern Baptist Convention. Much controversy ensued. This was no surprise to Holly, who estimated that the Masonic membership of the Southern Baptist Convention 500,000 and 1,300,000. Southern Baptist polling indicated that 14 percent of pastors and 18 percent of church deacon chairmen interviewed were or had been Masonic lodge members. Over and against the proclamations of Holly, Masons sought to prove that the practice of Freemasonry was not incompatible with a Christian life. In response to the Southern Baptist investigation, Freemasons sought to provide apologetics for their activities. A number of such apologetics were printed in the February 1993 edition of The Northern Light, which heralds itself as “the premier magazine of Scottish Rite Masonry in America. This particular edition of The Northern Light is almost entirely dedicated to refuting the claims of Dr. Holly. Ironically, a Q&A article from this edition entitled “The Conscience and the Craft: Questions on religion and Freemasonry” provides discerning Christians with further evidence that the Masonic and Christian worldviews are incompatible.
Many critics of Freemasonry, such as Holly, contend that Freemasonry is a religion in and of itself and therefore is incompatible with Christianity. By definition, practicing a religion other than Christianity is idolatry and practicing Christianity in conjunction with an additional religion is syncretism. Given that Freemasons build “temples”, pray in their lodges to “The Grand Architect of the Universe”, and engage in spiritual ceremonies such as funeral rites, there is a strong argument for concluding that Freemasonry is a religion. If Freemasonry is a religion, then participation in it is inherently sinful and Christians must not practice it. If Freemasonry is a religion, then it’s just plain idolatry.
But is Freemasonry truly a religion?
Some Freemasons have reached such the conclusion that is is. However, the majority of Masons deny that Freemasonry is a religion. Which Masons have the correct answer to this crucial question? The previously referenced article from The Northern Light provides a simple answer – “It doesn’t matter”. Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity either way. Either Freemasonry is idolatry or it encourages idolatry. Either way, it’s sinful. Consider these words from the article:
“Masons encourage their members to worship in their individual faiths, we most certainly do not oppose any faith.”
A member of any religion may apply for membership in the Masonic lodge. Thus worldwide Masonic membership can include men of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, and Deist faith. Masonry, therefore, not only “encourages” the worship of Christ but false gods such as Allah. All worship that is not Christian worship is counterfeit worship. Freemasonry encourages and does not oppose such worship. Jesus Christ said, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” A Christian can never countenance or encourage false worship. For American Christians, it is one thing to respect the constitutional right of Americans to religious liberty but quite another to encourage a non-Christian to engage in religious activity that is offensive to God. Christians are commissioned to call all men to repent of their sin and submit to the Lordship of Christ. The Christian posture is one opposed to all religions except that of Christ. This is not the posture of the Masonic lodge, which not only peacefully tolerates false religion but encourages its practice. Christian Freemasons, rather than merely passively supporting religious liberty, actively seek membership in an organization that encourages any form of monotheistic religious expression.
The Apostle Paul condemned idolatry in his epistle to the Romans. Paul not only condemned idolaters but those who gave approval to idolatry.
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
Freemasonry is either a religion and is therefore idolatrous, or it is not a religion but encourages the practice of false religions and the worship of false gods. Neither option is acceptable before the true and living God. Christians should, like James Holly, endeavor to purge their churches and denominations of Freemasons. Christian Freemasons should repent of their participation in Freemasonry and remove themselves from the Lodge. James Holly was voted out of his own local church for his biblical stand. Like Holly, Christians who follow his example may be voted out of their own churches for calling Masons to repent. Many Freemasons are respected members of Southern Baptist Churches, even Deacons. Bringing up the Masonic issue may cause division or even a church split. So be it.
Such may be the cost of revival.
“For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.” 1 Corinthians 11:18-19
A Short Analysis of Factiousness
When matters such as this one come up in a church body feelings of nervousness or even fear may arise. Controversy has been known to negatively affect unity in a church body and even result in church splits. Because of this, church members may shy away from addressing disagreeable issues. Conflict is uncomfortable and should be avoided when possible. Matters of preference certainly must not cause division in the body. However, matters of sin must be addressed. The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to speak to such issues in the troubled Corinthian church. He wrote them multiple letters; in one he penned these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
“But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.” 1 Corinthians 1:17-19
Paul was certainly not addressing Freemasonry or membership in some cult of the time. The Corinthian controversies were of a different sort. Yet a principle from the scripture remains – factions among the visible church allow those who are approved to become evident. I want to call to your attention two Greek terms from the scripture above. The first term is “δόκιμος” which is translated “approved”. The term refers to that which passes scrutiny, the genuine article – that which is not counterfeit. The second term I want to call to your attention is “αἵρεσις” which is translated “factions”. It is transliterated as “hairesis”. We get our English word “heresy” from this term. Strong’s Concordance defines this term as “a self-chosen opinion, a religious or philosophical sect, discord or contention.” Ask yourself, given what you know now about the Lodge, “Is this not what Masonry is?” A self-selected philosophy that is at odds with the doctrines of the church of Jesus Christ. We also find the term “hairesis” in Galatians 5:16-21:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is a sobering passage. These desires of the flesh are set against the leading of the Holy Spirit. Included, amongst a group of heinous sins, is “hairesis”- factions. Individual religious sects have no place within the church of Jesus Christ. Masonry is of the flesh and must be resisted. It must be separated from those who are genuine in church body. We should have grave concerns for our Masonic church members. If they will not repent of Masonry what does that say about their relationship with the Holy Spirit? If we will not demand holiness out of one another, living in the fruit of the Spirit and rejecting the deeds of the flesh with their divisions, what does that say about us? Our Masonic church members must be called to repentance, for the good of the church as a whole, and out of concern for their very souls. It’s up to all of us to call upon these men to repent of the sin of Masonry, forsake the Lodge, and be reconciled with the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. As members of His church, the local church at Rowland Springs, it is our responsibility to urge them to repentance and obey the commands of the Lord Jesus if they refuse. Church discipline is an uncomfortable matter but the Lord disciplines those he loves and so does His church.
Allow me to address one last item with you. Proverbs 6 condemns “one who spreads strife among brothers”. This verse is often used as a catch all verse to condemn all controversy in church. One who disagrees with the group, brings an item of trouble to the table, or insists on church discipline against a prominent member of the church can be labeled as a sower of discord. This is a gross misapplication of this scripture. This scripture speaks of “six things which the Lord hates, Yes seven which are an abomination to Him.” These things are presented in a Hebrew poetic structure known as chiasm:
A lying tongue
Hands that shed innocent blood
A heart that devises wicked plans
Feet that run rapidly to evil
A false witness that utters lies
One who spreads strife among brothers.
These six things manifest themselves in the seventh thing, the thing that the Lord hates – a heart that devises wicked plans. A heart that devises wicked plans is the highlight of the condemnation. Wicked plans are carried out by hands that shed innocent blood and feet that run rapidly to evil. The hands and feet proceed from lying tongues and false witnesses. The lying tongue and the false witness proceed from haughty eyes and the one who spreads strife among brethren. These verses portray a level of evil and violence, of dishonestly and guile, that hardly amount to presenting a disagreement or controversy before a church body. Do not be afraid to be labeled a “sower of discord” for standing up for what’s right. A heart that loves the church stands up for the people of the church and the holiness of the church, even when it is unconformable. Sprit-led people put away the deeds of the flesh, do not devise wicked plans, and reject the deeds of the flesh. Following Matthew 18 church discipline isn’t sowing discord at all, it’s loving Jesus and loving the body.
This is what we are called to do. Please prayerfully consider the information here. I have sincerely compared it with love and concern.
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed or any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.