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Christian denouncements on Freemasonry ..

Salvation Army Methodist Free Presbyterian Scotland
Roman Catholic Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Scotland  
Australian Anglican Orthodox Presbyterian Presbyterian Church, Ireland
My letter to a Mason

 

Salvation Army

In 1925, General Booth addressed a letter to every officer in the Salvation Army in which he said.. “No language of mine could be too strong in condemning and officer’s affiliation with any society which shuts Him (Christ) outside its temples; and which in its religious ceremonies gives neither Him nor His Name any place.. the place where Jesus Christ is not allowed is no place for any Salvation officer”


Methodist

In 1927 the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in England unanimously adopted a resolution that the claims which have been put forward by freemasons both in writing and in speech are wholly incompatible with Christianity.


Free Presbyterian, Scotland

In the same year the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland arrived at the same conclusion.


Roman Catholic

Nine different Popes, after studying freemasonry, have seriously forbidden membership of freemasonry upon threat of excommunication.



The Orthodox Presbyterian Church USA produced a lengthy report which concluded..

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 anti-Christian.

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.  (click here for full report)


Church of Scotland

On a personal note, when I was first handed, and then read, a copy of this report to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, I was moved almost to tears. Scotland has always been a bastion of Freemasonry and the Church of Scotland has always been a bastion within that bastion. You will then understand that I never ever expected that one of the strongest denunciations of Freemasonry's incompatibility with the Church would come from within this source.  But come it has. Written with equal measures of grace and truth, it is a courageous document following two years of detailed research and meetings with Freemasonry leaders at a high national level.  

The crux of the report takes the form of an open 'Letter to members of the Church of Scotland within Freemasonry'  

To do this letter  justice I reproduce the introduction before it entitled 'The Church and Freemasonry'  and then following the letter, I reproduce Appendix one 'Christian orders within Freemasonry' and also Appendix 2 'The use of the Bible in Freemasonry'  

I am reminded of the scripture in 1st Kings 19:18 (& Romans 11:4 )  "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

 

The Church of Scotland report on Freemasonry to the General Assembly 1989

 

1.The Church and Freemasonry

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 wrong.

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 statements.

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.

A 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 prayers!

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.

APPENDIX 1

"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 Christian degrees.

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 exegeses.

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, p.5)

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 Degree, p.6)

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 named.

 

APPENDIX II

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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 Hebrew.

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.

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Australian Synod (Anglican) 2003

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 biblical Christianity.

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 Lodge.

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Orthodox Presbyterian

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 deities.

Christianity recognizes but one Saviour, Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. Masonry recognizes many saviours.

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 itself.

CONCLUSION

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 anti-Christian.

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

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Presbyterian Church, Ireland

"Specifically Masonic hymns, known as odes or poems, make no mention of Christ. Printed prayers used for the opening and closing of lodges and the raising of candidates to certain higher degrees also omit the Name of Jesus Christ. The Christian however, should be free to speak of Christ and use His Name in every place and any place. Any restriction on using the Name of Jesus must be viewed with concern and alarm. When the first Christians were forbidden to use the Name of Jesus they replied "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" Acts 4v20

Extract from an explanatory leaflet on 'Freemasonry' approved by the General Assembly in June 1995

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COPY OF REPLY SENT TO AN ENGLISH FREEMASON WHO COMPLAINED THAT I WAS TEACHING THAT FREEMASONRY WAS INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY

November 24, 2003

Dear Mr. ******

Ellel Pierrepont kindly forwarded your letter to me.  Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write.

You write that you felt that I was not fully aware of Masonry’s aims and principles and that there are some points I may not be aware of.

I would not teach on Freemasonry if I was unaware of its aims and principles.  I have diligently studied Freemasonry worldwide for more than a decade. My bookshelves carry a substantial portion of writings tapes and press cuttings on Freemasonry. I have authored a major web site of Freemasonry for five years and for several years I ran an online forum solely on Freemasonry, where all and sundry could write and ask any question on the subject.  My father was a Mason.  After debate with one high ranking Freemason he freely acknowledged that indeed I knew more about the Masonic order than he did.  I trust that answers that point.

The leaflets you sent draw attention to Masonic morality.

Stephen Knight’s book ‘The Brotherhood’ was the book that initially turned the spotlight on Freemasonry in Britain.  Much of the book dealt with the many claims of a lack of morality within Masonry.  Indeed so disturbed has the nation become since then that Police, Judiciary, armed forces and even Universities are dealing with Freemasonry in a new way, either demanding that Mason’s reveal that they are Masons or forbidding Masons to hold meetings on their premises.

But Freemasonry is not just a system of morality. And here is where the spiritual dangers appear.

You meet in a ‘temple’ (a sacred place)  You ask for ‘God’s’ help without declaring who this God is.  You sing hymns to the ‘Spirit Divine’.  You say prayers. You have chaplains. You have the Bible. You have an altar.  You speak of the celestial lodge above.  You speak of the ‘profane’ being in darkness outside your temples.  New entrants must agree that they are  ‘A poor Candidate in a state of darkness’.  They must be attired in pauper’s clothing.  They must be hoodwinked.  Light is within the Masonic system and darkness outside.

Yet the Name of Jesus Christ is never allowed with your temples because God can be whoever you want him to be.

Jesus does not take this matter lightly. In John 5:23 he declared ‘All men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father’

He went to say ‘if you deny Me I will deny you before My Father’

In 1st John 4:3 the Apostle writes ‘every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God’

In the midst of all your Masonic hymns and prayers and rituals is God honored by the honoring of His Son?

We both know the answer to that. Having the Bible there but ignoring Jesus is sheer blasphemy.  Jesus said clearly, ‘You study the scriptures because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very scriptures speak about Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me in order to have life’.

Each degree ritual ends with the candidate kneeling before the altar (usually kneeling upon a five pointed star and on a black and white floor) and kissing the Bible through a square and compass with the words ‘so mote it be’

I also teach the church on matters of the occult.  So mote it be’ is only used by one other group of people and that is witches. 

Indeed the degree ritual for entering Freemasonry and those for entering a witchcraft coven have an almost identical framework right down to presenting working tools of the degree. 

A quick look at any witchcraft site on the web will show you that witches speak their spells and then release them with the words ‘so mote it be’   The same sites will show you that the five pointed star has always been the main symbol of witchcraft and satanism, and that witches release their spells from within the star within the circle as it ‘keeps them safe’

Masons in the blue degrees are told that the square and compass are to ‘square our actions etc’ but the real meaning is again from a pagan background

In explaining the deeper meaning of symbols in the teaching of the 32nd degree Albert Pike hearkens back to the sculpted images of the ancients. Unpacking the hermetic symbol of Azoth, 33rd degree Pike says on Pages 850, 851 of 'Morals and Dogma'..

'Upon it you see a triangle upon a square, both of these contained within a circle, and above this, standing upon a dragon, a human body, with two arms only, but two heads, one male and the other female. By the side of the male head is the Sun, and by that of the female head, the Moon, the crescent within the circle of the full moon. And the hand on the male side holds a compass, and that on the female side, a square.. The hermaphroditic figure is the symbol of the double nature anciently assigned to the deity, as generator and producer, as Brahm and Maya among the Aryans, Osiris and Isis among the Egyptians. As the Sun was male, so the moon was female; and Isis was both the sister and wife of Osiris. the compass therefore, is the Hermetic symbol of the creative deity, and the square of the productive Earth or Universe'

 

 

Freemasonry’s love affair with Egypt is unbounded and the obelisk and all seeing eye are drawn from this background..  The obelisk Freemasonry's Freemasonry's love affair with Egypt is unbounded and the obelisk and the all seeing eye are drawn from this background. The obelisk was erected to the sacred sun god 're' or 'ra'. 

The all seeing eye was the eye of osiris.  This symbol is used - at times with minor variations - in Nazism, on dollar bills, in New Age, the Orange Order and in many occult based groups. 

England’s Aleister Crowley – the most influential satanist of all time – used this symbol on the cover of his book ‘Magick’

Degrees are universally sealed with curses. 

For instance the penalty in the very first degree for revealing Masonic secrets to the profane (outsiders) includes the words ". . . having my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by the root, and buried in the sand of the sea at low water or a cable's length from the shore where the tide regularly ebbs and flows twice in 24 hours

In England continued exposure almost certainly caused Grand Lodge to cloud this serious issue.  In 1964 Grand Lodge changed the wording so that the candidate was told to be ‘ever bearing in mind the ancient penalty’. Then in 1986 the ceremony was altered so that the candidate no longer takes the oath himself; instead the Lodge Master recites them in a different part of the ceremony’.

The teaching of Jesus and the Apostles is quite clear on the matter of oaths.  In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said ‘I say to you, do not swear at all. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one’

James wrote (5:12) ‘But above all my brethren do not swear, either by heaven or earth, or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Ritual yokes or ‘locks’ people together. All Freemasons go through the same spiritually based rituals, which yokes all together into a much-acclaimed worldwide brotherhood. A great number of warlocks and satanists have been Freemasons in Britain and elsewhere. (Aleister Crowley, Dr. Wynn Westcott, Arthur Edward Waite, Manly P. Hall, Alex Sanders, George Pickingill to name nut a few) They worshiped their ‘god’ at the Masonic altar and said prayers to their ‘god’ and sang hymns to their ‘god’. 

You thus become yoked together with those at home and abroad, past and present, who give no credence whatsoever to the Father of Jesus Christ. 

In Britain it is only the Bible on the altar.  Go further abroad, to say, Singapore, and there you will see five ‘holy books’ on the altar to represent each candidate’s ‘God’   Masonry regards the Bible – the Word of God’- as merely lodge furniture.  As just ‘one of the Great Lights’   

As Jesus is The Word become flesh how do you think God regards this?

In the Masonic Record, June 1926 in an article by Bro. T.H.R entitled "What are our landmarks?" we read.. "The second landmark is the Volume of Sacred Law open in the Lodge.   But the Bible is not more than one of the Great Lights, and never has been, for the reason that Masons are not required to believe its teachings ..The stern fact is that we are constantly admitting Hindus, Chinese, Mohammedans, Parsees and Jews, not one of whom believes in the Bible, and this forces the conclusion that masonry regards the Bible only as a symbol

The Oxford University Press publishes a special edition of the Bible for presentation to Masonic candidates containing a declaration that "the Bible itself is a symbol - that is, a part taken for the whole"  In the same edition, Dr. Fort Newton explains that, "the whole includes God's revelation through the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, etc"

Freemasonry is therefore much much more that a system of morality.  This is the deadly deception. Freemasonry impresses by word, by ritual and by practice that God can be whoever you want him to be and that God’s Word is equal in authority to the holy book of other gods. I am sure that you know God’s mind on these issues. 

“You shall have no other Gods before Me”  Exodus 20:3

“You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me”,  Exodus 20 : 5

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

According to the myth mimed in the Holy Royal Arch a crypt is found in the foundations of the ruined temple in which is discovered the 'omnific word', the lost name of God.  That name is 'JAH- BUL - ON a trinity of names made up from Yahweh - The God of the Hebrews, baal - the Canaanite deity and osiris - the Egyptian god of the underworld..  The name is regarded as being so sacred that no Royal Arch Mason may say it aloud by himself but must have two other Royal Arch Masons present with each saying one part of this trinity.

In 1989 it was announced that JAHBULON would soon be dropped from England 's Royal Arch Ritual.   ‘Grand Scribe Ezra’ Higham denied this was in response to recent Christian condemnations.  Journalists later visiting Freemason’s Hall overheard chortles that junking JAHBULON had invalidated the book “Inside the Brotherhood’ even before it was published. However on March 4th Clifford Longley (The Times religious affairs correspondent) wrote that by replacing JAHBULON with JHVH - meaning Jahweh, the Jew’s Holy Name for God -Masonry may be falling in ‘deeper waters than the Grand Lodge has yet realised.. While to invoke a false God is idolatry, to invoke the Name of the True God falsely is blasphemy’. Now non masons assumed that, it JAHBULON was no longer in the ritual, Mason’s could at least utter this ‘sacred and mysterious name’ of God without having their heads cut off. Yet when England’s fraternal front man was challenged to say it on radio he refused saying “because I’ve promised not to

Can you honestly picture the Apostle John applying for Masonic membership, donning pauper’s clothing, being hoodwinked, having a cable tow rope to be put around his neck and then being announced as  'John, a poor candidate in a state of darkness'

The moment the hoodwink goes on it becomes a spiritual hoodwink that veils the truth. Indeed the Pocket Encyclopaedia of Masonic Symbols states, 'Blindfolding a candidate in any rite is not for practical but spiritual reasons. The temporary blinding is a symbol of present darkness, which will be displaced by light when and if the initiate succeeds in penetrating the mysteries before him.

Freemasonry declares that it is not a secret society but a society with secrets.  This is a bit like saying ‘I am a farmer who keeps cattle but I am not a cattle farmer.  It is double speak.  The encyclopaedia Britannica declared (any may still do – I haven’t checked recently) that Freemasonry is the world’s largest secret society.  That was written by a leading Freemason of the day at the Britannica’s request.   Now that so many Masons have left and written books on what went on behind closed doors Masonry has adopted a different stance.  Only because of continued exposure and not because of a change of heart.

You might like to read the sample of Masonic declarations that I have put together.  Written by Masons who have reached the top of the Masonic ladder.  

I also enclose a copy of a 32nd degree lecture.

All major Christian denominations that I am aware of have at some stage diligently examined the claims of Freemasonry and on EVERY occasion they have stated in that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity.   As an example I attach the fairly recent full statement from the Church of Scotland.  

I would then ask whose voice will you listen to on this matter?

This is only a tiny portion of the argument against Freemasonry being totally incompatible with Christianity.  I have taken time to answer at some length because I sense that you are sincere.  Being sincere does not count for anything.  Muslims and witches are sincere.  A Christian is one called to be in full agreement with God on all matters. 

Finally, and then I must close, I notice you refer to Jesus as Saviour and friend.  All I know who are born again of the Spirit of God declare Jesus Christ as their Lord.  He is Saviour only where He is Lord.  It may have just been an oversight on your part but I take the time to draw your attention to it.

'If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved'. (Romans 10:9)

Can you freely confess with your mouth, within your own lodge and in all lodges, that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour? 

Can you freely confess that there is One God, The father of your Lord Jesus Christ, and that there is but one way to God, through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ?

Can you freely proclaim the finished work of Calvary within your lodge?

Yours sincerely,

 

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