1.The Church and
The Panel on Doctrine was instructed by the General Assembly of 1987 to
respond to the following Overture from the Presbytery of Aberdeen:
"Whereas the Methodist Conference 1985 adopted the Report
presented by its Faith and Order Committee, entitled Guidance to
Methodists on Freemasonry, and
Whereas this Report included, inter alia, the following statement:
`Consequently our guidance to the Methodist people is that Methodists
should not become Freemasons (Report section 22); AND
Whereas other Christian churches have affirmed the incompatibility of
Christianity and Freemasonry;
It is humbly overtured by the Reverend the Presbytery of Aberdeen to
the Venerable the General Assembly to instruct the Panel on Doctrine to
examine the theological issues involved in Church members being also
Freemasons; to consider the compatibility or otherwise of Freemasonry with
Christianity; and in particular to determine whether the rituals and the
teachings of Freemasonry are consistent with the Church of Scotland’s
belief in the gospel of the sovereign grace and love of God, wherein
through Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Incarnate, Crucified and
Risen, He freely offers to all men, upon repentance and faith, the
forgiveness of sins, renewal of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life, and to
report to a future General Assembly.
Or to do otherwise as to Your Venerable Court may seem good."
As a supplementary deliverance to that, whereby the General Assembly
agreed to transmit this Overture to the Panel on Doctrine, the Panel was
instructed to consult with the Grand Lodge of Scotland during the course
of its deliberations.
The Panel on Doctrine established a Working Party under the
Convenership of the Reverend Dr. A. Stewart Todd. The membership of the
Working Party comprised the Reverend A. H. Symington, Secretary; the
Reverend Dr. D. M. Murray, the Reverend D. M. Beckett, the Reverend
Professor R. Davidson, the Reverend C.R. Williamson and Miss E. Scott.
The Working Party has met regularly over two years, and as the Assembly
will recognise has been involved in an immense task of seeking, sifting
and studying information at its disposal. It is grateful to all those who
wrote offering many insights based on personal experience, and in
particular to ministers and members of the Church who voluntarily
presented submissions for study. It is also grateful to every Church
tradition in Scotland and beyond to which it wrote, for the courteous
response it received, and for the help advanced.
Much reading was done, and although the Working Party recognises that
the traditions of English Freemasonry are not altogether the same as those
of Scottish Freemasonry, nonetheless it found the reports both to the
Church of England General Synod and to the Methodist Conference of great
help. Perhaps it is this difference of masonic tradition precluded the
Grand Lodge in Scotland from being able to offer the Working Party any
specific reasons as to where these reports were misguided, or simply
After a period of study and of sharing the fruits of that study, the
Working Party communicated with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and
acknowledges the positive approach that came from the office-bearers.
Particular thanks should be extended to Mr. Arthur Hazel, the Grand
Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland of Ancient, Free and Accepted
Masons. A certain amount of reading material was presented to the Working
Party directly from Grand Lodge, and after studying this material, and in
the light of the submission and other material,, a list of questions was
prepared by the Working Party, and sent to the Grand Lodge for the Working
Party`s clarification, and also to form the basis of questioning that
members of the Working Party conducted in meeting with the Grand Lodge.
The frank answering of these questions was much appreciated and, in
particular, the positive statements made in them concerning the position
of Freemasonry vis-à-vis the role and status of parish ministers. The
advice in the Report which is directed towards ministers comes from these
In September 1988, the Working Party, feeling that sufficient
preparatory steps had been taken to render a meeting with Grand Lodge
meaningful, accepted an invitation to attend a meeting at Freemasons`
Hall, Edinburgh. The members were warmly received by J. M. Marcus Humphrey
of Dinnet, Grand Master Mason, the Right Honourable the Earl of Elgin and
Kincardine, past Grand Master Mason, the Reverend Ian U. Macdonald, senior
Grand Chaplain, the Reverend J. Morrow, Junior Grand Chaplain, nine other
named representatives, and some unnamed representatives. The meeting was
very helpful, and the Working Party welcomed the advice to contact other
branches of Freemasonry, including those which have specific Christian
connotations. In that respect , further meetings were held with the
Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, and with the Supreme Council
33 Degrees A & A S Rite for Scotland. In these meetings too, the
Working Party acknowledges the willingness of the representatives of
Freemasonry to enter into discussion, and thanks all those who contributed
to its wider understanding.
It must be emphasised that the Panel's Working Party sought at all
times to derive as much information from members of Grand Lodge as
possible, and also to recognise that in Freemasonry there are many valued
members and ministers of the Church. The remit, however, was clearly
before the Working Party in terms of theological and doctrinal emphasis,
and in the Report it is faithfulness to the remit which the Working Party
attempts to honour.
We did, however, feel that since we were considering specifically the
position of fellow-Christians within Freemasonry our Report, as well as
being analytical, should also exhibit pastoral concern and we therefore
decided to express that concern by casting the bulk of our material in the
form of a letter.
LETTER TO MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND WITHIN FREEMASONRY.
We on the Panel write this letter to you as to friends, as to fellow
members of the body of Christ. We write with great earnestness. We shall
endeavour to express ourselves with clarity. We are led by your
spokesmen to believe that you are numerous and that you are likely to be
bewildered and hurt if we make any adverse comment on Freemasonry. We
should like to make it clear to you that our concern as a Panel on
Doctrine has not been to carry out an investigation of all aspects of
Freemasonry in Scotland, or to pass judgement on the moral character of
its members. The submission which came with the Overture to the Assembly
from the Presbytery of Aberdeen spoke of the fine people who are
involved in Freemasonry, including many Church members, and of the work
they do in caring for others and supporting charitable causes. In our
meetings with representatives of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the
Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland we were made aware of the
ways in which you helped not only your own members but the wider
community of which you are part. We are not concerned to criticise the
conduct of Freemasons; on the contrary we commend your charitable work.
We do, however, have very real theological difficulties.
You have told us in your reply to our queries that Freemasonry
"although of a religious character, is not itself a
religion.": you may think therefore that there is no theology in
Freemasonry itself and that any theology there is is the input of the
individual person, in your case Christian, in others the input of
another faith. When pressed further one of your spokesmen compared
Freemasonry to the Scout movement. But you have a chaplain and he says
prayers and we are able to read your prayers for they are available in
print, and in your prayers you address God and you give him titles;
"Almighty Father" and "Supreme Ruler of the
Universe". You speak of his "honour" and
"glory" and of his "Holy Name". You attribute to him
"Divine Wisdom" and you speak of his "aid" and his
"enabling" a candidate "assisted by the secrets" of
Freemasonry, the better to display the "beauties of true
godliness." (The Standard Ritual of Scottish Freemasonry, p.7)
Then you have a theology; these words that you use in your prayer
constitute in themselves a theology – a knowledge of God. They are not
vacuous words, empty of meaning until you make your mental Christian
input or the Muslim makes his mental Muslim input. Not at all! They are
a neat compilation of intelligent and consequential ideas. Complemented
as they are by your exhortations and by what you describe as your
"charades" your prayers are all to clear: our complaint is not
just that the name of Jesus is suppressed in them, our complaint is also
that he doesn’t seem to be required! To what purpose was his life and
victorious death, to what end his resurrection and exaltation and his
return in the power of the Holy Spirit if the Supreme Being, (who can be
not the Christian God but the God of some other faith) in co-operation
with Freemasonry can enable a man to display the beauties of true
godliness? Beloved in Christ this is unworthy of you. This is deism: it
had a vogue two centuries ago: it is long since discredited in Christian
circles. Of course we should chide other Christians who fall into the
same theological trap sometimes but they don't always write and publish
It is argued that many fine Christian men are also freemasons. This
we would not seek to deny and would be happy to confirm. We were
received with courtesy by your representatives, many of whom are
ministers and elders of the Kirk. Likewise all of us on the Panel know
of faithful Church members and elders who are also freemasons. Again we
are not concerned with making judgements on the moral worth of
particular freemasons. We are solely concerned with doctrinal matters
and with how the teachings of Freemasonry relate to the Christian faith.
We want to be positive rather than negative, to set forth the great
truths of the gospel and then to ask you to assess your Freemasonry in
the light of the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We refer therefore to the Bible. As you well know the Church of
Scotland "acknowledges the word of God, which is contained in the
scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, to be the supreme rule of
faith and life" (B.C.O. 1979, p.121). It follows that doctrinal
matters can never be determined by an appeal to an individual's moral
worth or Christian profession. That someone whom we respect and admire
holds certain views – for example those of Freemasonry – does not
mean that these beliefs must for that reason be true or worthwhile. They
must be examined and assessed on different grounds altogether, to see
whether or not they are consistent with the word of God as contained in
the scriptures. Any other way of dealing with doctrinal matters would be
inconsistent with our nature as a Reformed Church.
Of course we commend your concern for moral values and your zeal in
inculcating them in your brethren and companions in lodge and chapter.
Of course your prayers and homilies demonstrate the seriousness of your
intent. Nevertheless we cannot but be disturbed by a system of morality
which claims to have validity for Christians apart from the gospel of
Christ. Freemasonry is defined as "a system of morality, veiled in
allegory and illustrated by symbols" (The Applicant, p.1).
Freemasonry claims to assist you to lead the moral life: that is its
raison d`etre. Yet the name of Christ is not mentioned in your rituals
and teachings since masons are required to believe only in "the
Supreme Being". Men of other religions who believe in God can also
be admitted. Indeed you indicate that the morality taught by your
organisation is no different from the morality known by people in
general. Your representatives explained it like this: "the system
of morality to be found in Freemasonry does not add in any way to the
knowledge of how the public at large should live, what is written in our
rituals is simply on paper what must be in the heart and mind of any
mature adult who tries to regulate his life to a high moral
standard." And the same point is made in The Applicant: "the
system of morality to which we have referred as Freemasonry is that
which every Freemason is bound to profess and practise. If it includes
principles with which he was familiar before his entrance into
Freemasonry, he will nevertheless find these presented in new was and in
forms different from those with which he was previously familiar. If he
finds in Masonic teachings nothing startlingly new, he must remember
that, in some respects at least, there is `nothing new under the sun`
and that the essence of morality is to be found in the utter simplicity
(though not the case) of its requirements" (p.1). Yet in answer to
one of our questions one of your spokesmen has said: "the Bible
plays a most important role in Freemasonry: it is the basis of our
teachings". Then we have to say to you that any system of morality
claiming to be Bible-based but shunning all mention of Christ is bound
to be, for the Christian, seriously deficient. The Bible witnesses above
all to Jesus Christ our Lord, the unique revelation of God, in whom
alone we can share in the life which is acceptable to God.
How can you suppress the name of Jesus Christ when the most
distinctive feature of Christianity is that it is good news that
deserves to be published abroad, good news that cannot and must not be
kept silent? The good news is that with Jesus Christ in his life a man
shall be able to grow up into moral and spiritual maturity; the good
news is that with Christ in our societies the world can inch its way
forward towards something more like God's kingdom; the good news is that
the beauty of true godliness which you earnestly seek has been seen
incomparably in Jesus Christ, in the nobilities of his heart, which nobilities
are in the gift of his Holy Spirit to be shared by all who will receive
him. Fellow Christians, it is unworthy of you to suppress this gospel.
It is unworthy of you to be so selective in your use of the Bible.
We have read your history. We have some impression of your traditions
and how they arose. We are intrigued by the craft background and by the
links which you claim to have with important events in Scottish history.
We admire the quality of your fellowship and the loyalty you can
command. We note that it is exported to all parts of the world. We know
your charitable works. None of these things justifies what we see as
deviation from the mainstream of Christian doctrine as held by our own
Church and by the world Church.
Since last we met with you there has appeared a book entitled The
First Freemasons: the subtitle is "Scotland's Early Lodges and
Their Members"; the author is David Stevenson. In that book he
writes on p.10 "Scotland's early Freemasons, it would appear,
probably kept specifically religious practices out of their lodges . .
." If that is true then we can understand perhaps why the Church in
those days did not feel it had to write to Freemasons such a letter as
we are writing now. If you merely presented homiletic material on moral
questions in a colourful and dramatic way we could scarcely complain.
But you pray! Your thoughts on morality are gathered up in prayer to God
and in your words of prayer, from which we quoted above, you endeavour
to hallow his name and you speak of his honour and glory. This is surely
a specifically religious practice.
Now Christians may on occasion address prayers to Jesus Christ or
they may address prayers to the Holy Spirit but the normal Christian
prayer is prayer addressed to God the Father, a specific God, Creator,
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ not
an abstraction of whatever "Supreme Being" conjures up in the
mind of each worshipper. Such prayer is addressed to God "through
Jesus Christ our Lord". That phrase is no throw-away, liturgical
jingle. It goes to the heart of our Christian understanding of worship
and specifically of prayer. Let us just stay with the idea of hallowing
God`s name. It is a phrase that is very familiar to us from the Lord`s
Prayer. But let us ask a radical question: "Who hallows God`s
name?" Presumably only God can hallow his name. You and we are as
inadequate for the task of hallowing God`s name as we are for the task
of causing God`s kingdom to come or of ensuring that his will is done.
In Ezekiel God promises that he will "sanctify his great name"
(36:23). In John`s gospel Jesus prays "Father glorify thy
name" – sanctifying the name of God, glorifying it and hallowing
it are synonymous – and the answering voice from heaven replies,
"I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again" (12:28f).
The hallowing of God`s name is pre-eminently God`s action and we do it
in response to God`s action. Jesus is the one man who can truly hallow
God`s name (and Jesus is the Son of God), in the same way as Jesus is
the one man in and with whom the kingdom of God has come and in, and by
whom alone the will of God is perfectly done. Therefore all our worship
is through Jesus Christ our Lord, he being the one true worshipper, he
being the risen and exalted one, a man at the right hand of God, making
intercession for us. It is in Jesus Christ that we have "boldness
and access" (Ephesians 3:2). It is because we have in Jesus Christ
a "great high priest that has passed into the heavens" that we
may "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace . . ." (Hebrews 4:14,16). Again we appeal to
you to consider: is it not unworthy of you to spurn this mediation and
pass by the true high priest?
Other Christian churches have been worried about the element of
secrecy in your organisation: you tell us that the emphasis is not so
much on secrecy as on privacy. We see no reason why we should not
respect your privacy. If indeed there are no significant secrets now in
Freemasonry either for your brothers and companions, for your candidates
or for us your friends then the secrecy motif which still features in
some of your rites must be mainly symbolic. It would symbolise, we may
suppose, the degree of seriousness with which you regard the subject of
the so-called secret. Then we must tell you that in our opinion it is a
wholly inappropriate symbol. If Jesus Christ is the Word and the Wisdom
of God and the light of the world then you don't hide the light. And if
you think there is some other, more profound wisdom somewhere available
then we must label you Gnostics and remind you that whenever in history
gnosticism has reared its head the Church has always denounced it.
The name gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning
knowledge: it is a name given to a complex religious movement which in
its Christian form dates from the second century.
At the heart of gnosticism there was usually belief in a special
knowledge handed down by a secret tradition from an ancient source. The
systems of teaching range from genuine speculation to wild amalgams of
mythology and magic with only a minimal admixture of Christianity.
Your spokesmen have said you would be bewildered by criticism from
the Church. We find ourselves equally bewildered by your reticence about
Our Lord, as we have said. Your spokesmen offered some justification for
this by saying that limitation to belief in a Supreme Being permits
inter-faith contacts. Now it might be right for a Christian in certain
circumstances to be party to the use of some minimalist formula and
attendant devotions, as a preliminary to a subsequent witness to Christ
and to God`s almighty act of salvation through Christ, salvation of all
men and of their world and of their universe. In inter-faith dialogue it
is important that the participants be open and frank about their
different perspectives and beliefs and that these differences should not
be ignored and suppressed. But this stage cannot be reached in
Freemasonry because discussion of religion in your gatherings, we
understand, is not permitted! Then you seem to suggest that your
"brotherhood" and "companionship" extended to those
of other faiths are more promising things than Christianity, for the
sake of which greater good, on the subject of Christ the Lord, the light
of men, you will be silent. Certainly as the Church we have fragmented
the brotherhood we have in Christ most lamentably and the quality of
fellowship we display for those of other faiths is very poor, but we do
not believe that there is any foundation for the brotherhood of man
other than the one that is laid – Jesus Christ. Not to confess Christ
before men is again unworthy of you as Christians.
In the light of the foregoing we invite you to reconsider your
involvement in Freemasonry.
"CHRISTIAN" ORDERS OF FREEMASONRY
The Working Party in its discussions with Grand Lodge, when questioning
the absence of any Christian content in the working of craft masonry, was
referred to degrees within the masonic system which are avowedly
Christian. A Grand Chaplain expressed the opinion that craft masonry was
like an open door which invited members to progress further into the
A meeting was arranged with representatives of the
Supreme Council for Scotland of the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite.
The origins of this working are to be found in
eighteenth-century France. After its repression there, it was preserved in
the United States. The Council members claimed that Scottish Rite masonry
is a system of Christian morality as distinct from the universal morality
offered by the Grand Lodge.
The Working Party studied the booklets The Eighteen
Degree – An Exegesis and The Thirtieth Degree – An Exegesis which
explained in general terms the purpose and meaning of the Working of the
A. & A.S.R. The following paragraphs include quotations from these
The degrees following on from craft masonry take the
candidate through the exile and restoration of the Jews to the completion
of the second Temple. The Seventeenth Degree "is concerned with the
dawn of the Christian era, and, after destruction by the Romans of the
second Temple, with the promise of the Spiritual Temple of Universal
Humanity designed by `The Master`, and it inculcates a symbolism based on
the apocalyptic vision of St. John. In it the Candidate, who is an
oriental pilgrim, seeks the Perfect Light, and is baptised by fire and
water before breaking the seals of the Book of Life and placing it on the
emblems of the Craft." (Eighteen Degree, p.3)
"The symbolism of the Eighteenth Degree begins
with the destruction of this Spiritual Temple when the Headstone of the
Corner had been rudely torn from the foundations of the Temple and thrown
among its ruins, and the Mystic Rose of Sharon had been nailed to a Cross.
In the words of the lecture the Candidate, who is descended from the
Princes and Rules in Israel, finds that `in an instant human masonry was
destroyed, the Veil of the Temple was rent in twain, darkness covered the
earth, the Blazing Star disappeared and the Word was lost."
(Eighteenth Degree, p.3)
In the course of the degree working "the Candidate is
now led by the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity) to
the Calvary Chamber and his own symbolic death to be re-born, with the
assistance of the Word, from death-in-sin to eternal life. Still veiled
and carrying the embodiment of the three virtues, the Candidate now goes
on a triumphal journey. In the gloriously lighted Chapter Room he has
revealed to him that through these virtues he may come closer to God and
the Word and the veil is stripped from his eyes." (Eighteenth Degree,
In this degree the candidate is promoted from
speculative masonry to become a Ne Plus Ulstra Mason of
Heredom, a Knight of the Eagle and Pelican and a
Sovereign Prince Rose Croix. The ceremony concludes with a symbolic meal
which, the booklet is at pains to point out, is an agage and not a eucharist.
Preparation for the Thirtieth Degree includes "reflection"
during which the candidate "is taught the need for courage and
resolution to overcome the changing fortunes of life, and in particular to
overcome the fear of death." To that end the principles of a
"philosopher" are committed to him. The list of these
principles, "magnanimity, moral rectitude, resignation in
adversity", etc., includes only one oblique reference to God, viz:
"To adore and worship the Supreme Being."
Nevertheless, they are claimed to be the "high religious and moral
qualities which are the hallmarks of one who is prepared to engage himself
in the study which investigates the cause of all existence – the search
for the truth which lies behind all human experience." (Thirtieth
The candidate for the Thirtieth Degree "is taught that only by
overcoming the fear of death, in lending no credence whatever to
superstition and by denying self-interest, can he attain to man`s crowning
achievement which is the dedication of his life to the Glory of Almighty
God and the advancement of His Kingdom among men. This solemn vow of
dedication is sealed by an offering of incense upon the altar."
(Thirtieth Degree, p.7).
At the conclusion of the Thirtieth Degree working and having
symbolically ascended and descended a ladder representing moral tenets and
"the material labours in the study and practice of the Arts and
Sciences", the candidate is created a Grand Elect Knight Kadosh,
"obliged to eradicate from his own nature the vices of cruelty,
fanaticism, superstition and greed." He is exhorted "to equip
himself with the qualities demonstrated in the mysterious ladder so that
he may be able "boldly to withstand the evils of fanaticism and
superstition, wheresoever and in whatsoever guise they may be found,
knowing that the Lord of Truth Himself will be with him in that hour to
guide him in all that is true.`". (Thirtieth Degree, p.10).
Quoting Ephesians 6: 12-18, the Booklet concludes, "Thus armed a
Grand Elect Knight Kadosh need fear no enemy of the soul and he may hope,
after life`s conflict is over, to find a place at the footstool of the
Throne on High". (Thirtieth Degree, p.120.
If it had expected to find in the A. & A.S.R. a masonic system
where at last the mists of fable had cleared away to reveal a clear and
unambiguous allegiance to orthodox Christian doctrine, the Working Party
was disappointed. What the members heard and read of the institution rang
true to its origin in the deism of the French Enlightenment period. Two
facets in particular gave the Working Party cause for concern.
First, it appears that the central facts of the gospel – the
incarnation, the cross, the resurrection, Pentecost – are removed from
the historical reality emphasised in the creeds of the Church. They are
theorised and emasculated so that they fit the masonic system as a
mysterious journey towards moral perfection. The impression is that the
gospel has been allegorised and reduced to a system of morality, and that
the candidate`s progress is a travesty of the Christian`s relationship in
baptism and faith with the once-for-all completed atonement by Christ.
Second, while there are oblique and distorted references to the gospel
facts, it appears that it is the candidate himself who journeys from
darkness to light, from death-to-self to resurrection, somehow making
atonement for himself. This leaves the Working Party suspecting that the
so-called "Christian" degrees of Freemasonry are less than aptly
THE USE OF THE BIBLE IN FREEMASONRY
By Professor Robert Davidson
If it be true that "the Bible plays an important role in
Freemasonry; it is the basis of our teaching", as has been claimed,
then it is important to look at the ways in which the Bible is used in
masonic rituals. It is indeed perhaps one of the attractions of
Freemasonry for Christians that so much of its ritual claims to have roots
in the Bible, particularly in the traditions concerning Solomon and the
Temple. A detailed analysis of the use of biblical material in masonic
documents would require a lengthy dissertation. Two things, however, are
immediately evident and disturbing.
- In many cases what masquerades as "biblical" is no more
than legend lacking any firm basis in the Bible. To take but one
example – Hiram of Tyre is mentioned in 1 Kings ch. 7 as the master
craftsman in bronze who worked on Solomon`s Temple. In II Chronicles,
ch.4, v. 16, he is referred to as Huram-Abi. Round this slender base
there has grown extensive legendary material concerning Hiram Abiff
and his "unshakeable fidelity and noble death." This is
supposed to influence the Masons` attitude towards death. There may
here be links with post-biblical Jewish legend which transported Hiram
to Paradise as a reward for his work on the Temple, but there is no
hint of this in the Bible itself. It is hard to escape the conclusion
that the Hiram legend is but a pale parody of the biblical Christian
attitude towards death based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Parody indeed is the word which immediately springs to mind concerning
much of the so-called biblical material in masonic documents. How can
there be a true use of the biblical material when there is a
conspicuous lack of any reference whatsoever in Craft Masonic rituals
or in prayers to Jesus Christ, who from the Christian standpoint is
the centre of the entire biblical revelation?
- To those who are unfamiliar with the original languages, the use
made of what purport to be Hebrew and other Ancient Near-Eastern words
must seem impressive and doubtless the use of Hebrew letters scattered
across the documents adds to the sense of mystery. Much of it,
however, is linguistic nonsense which anyone with a minimum knowledge
of Hebrew can immediately recognise as such. For example, the
explanation of the mysterious compound name JA-BUL-ON in Lecture 3 of
the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland as being the name of
God in three (or four) different languages is totally unjustified.
JA is not Chaldean for "I am", nor is it the
Hebrew for "I shall be".
BUL is not the Syriac word for "Lord" or
"Powerful" nor is it a compound word made up
of the preposition "in" or "on"
plus "Heaven" or "On High".
Nor is "ON" an Egyptian word meaning "Father".
To conclude, therefore, that this name means "I am and shall be
Lord in Heaven on High, the Powerful, the Father of all" is wholly
misleading. Furthermore, when Hebrew letters are scattered round the
divine triangle the explanations given to them are such that their
inaccuracy should be evident to anyone with an elementary knowledge of
Over and over again the way in which biblical material is used points
to a type of mystery cult or Gnosticism wholly different from faith in
the God revealed in the Bible who "did not speak in secret"
(Isaiah, 45: 19), who made known to his people, Israel, his true nature
and rightful demands and who in Jesus dwelt "among us full of grace
and truth" (John 1:14). Any use of biblical material which conceals
these fundamental evangelical insights is unbiblical.
return to top
Australian Synod (Anglican)
Synod, noting the 1988 report to Synod entitles 'Freemasonry
Examined' and subsequent resolution 9/88 of that Synod -
(a) affirms that Freemasonry and Christianity are
fundamentally and irreconcilably incompatible and
(b) affirms that Freemasonry teaches and upholds a
system of false religions and spiritual beliefs that are contrary to
Synod encourages ministers and other Christians to take
every opportunity to reach out in love to all Freemasons and share with them
the gospel of Christ.
Synod encourages all Christians who are members of a Masonic
Lodge to demonstrate their commitment to Jesus Christ as the Divine Son of
God and as the sole way of salvation, by withdrawing from the Lodge.
Synod encourages ministers not to participate in, nor allow
in their church buildings, any religious services or activities that uphold,
condone, promote or encourage adherence to Freemasonry.
Synod requests the Councils of all Anglican Schools to
consider any association that their school might have with any Masonic
Lodge, and to withdraw from any such association.
Synod further requests that Anglican Schools neither
participate in any activity that may uphold, condone, promote or encourage
adherence to Freemasonry, nor give publicity to any such activity.
Synod requests Standing Committee to undertake the
preparation, production and distribution of a clear and unambiguous booklet
suitable for wide distribution, examining the key rites, teachings and
beliefs of Freemasonry and explaining why they differ from Biblical
Christianity, and explaining why it is wrong for a Christian to belong to a
return to top
|There is a Christian universalism. God has
His elect in every age and every nation. Ever since the fall
of man the Son of God has been gathering the elect into His
church by His Word and Spirit. In Christ Jesus there is
neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, for
all are one in Him (Galatians 3:28). John saw the four
living creatures and the four and twenty elders fall down
before the Lamb and he heard them sing: "Thou wast slain,
and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every
tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation 5:9).
Masonry also lays claim to universalism, but its
universalism differs radically from that of Christianity in
that it denies Christian particularism and exclusivism.
Christianity claims to have the only true book, the
Bible. Masonry places this book on a par with the sacred
books of other religions.
Christianity lays claim to the only true God, the God of
the Bible, and denounces all other Gods as idols. Masonry
recognizes the Gods of all religions.
Christianity describes God as the Father of Jesus Christ
and of those who through faith in Him have received the
right to be called the sons of God. The God of Masonry is
the universal father of all mankind.
Christianity holds that only the worship of the God who
has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture is true worship.
Masonry honors as true worship the worship of numerous other
Christianity recognizes but one Saviour, Jesus Christ,
the only Mediator between God and man. Masonry recognizes
Christianity acknowledges but one way of salvation, that
of grace through faith. Masonry rejects this way and
substitutes for it salvation by works and character.
Christianity teaches the brotherhood of those who believe
in Christ, the communion of saints, the church universal,
the one body of Christ. Masonry teaches the brotherhood of
Masons and the universal brotherhood of man.
Christianity glories in being the one truly universal
religion. Masonry would rob Christianity of this glory and
appropriate it to itself.
Christianity maintains that it is the only true religion.
Masonry denies this claim and boasts of being Religion
The committee finds that the evidence presented
concerning the religion of Masonry permits but one
conclusion. Although a number of the objections commonly
brought against Masonry seem to the committee not to be
weighty, yet it is driven to the conclusion that Masonry is
a religious institution and as such is definitely
Far be it from the committee to assert that there are no
Christians among the members of the Masonic fraternity. Just
as a great many who trust for eternal life solely in the
merits of Christ continue as members of churches that have
denied the faith, so undoubtedly many sincere Christians,
uninformed, or even misinformed, concerning the true
character of Freemasonry, hold membership in it without
compunction of conscience. But that in no way alters the
fact that membership in the Masonic fraternity is
inconsistent with Christianity
From a report into Freemasonry
return to top