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Freemasonry: Good, Bad, Indifferent

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Jul 25, 2017.

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  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    In another thread Bro. James brought up the topic of Freemasonry. Rather than respond to it there, I decided to create a new thread. I didn't notice that it has been discussed much on this site. If it has, I apologize.

    According to this site, if accurate, some fairly prominent Baptists were Masons. In general, when the Baptists in the U.S. split over missionary societies, seminaries, church auxiliaries and such like, the side in favor of these viewed Freemasonry as a thing indifferent, while the opposing side generally viewed Freemasonry as incompatible with the work of the church (and have fairly consistently maintained that position). Perhaps in recent years that view has begun to change among missionary Baptists. In 1993 the SBC passed a resolution on Freemasonry, that (among other things) concluded "That many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity or Southern Baptist doctrine." (See also A Closer Look at Freemasonry)

    What do you think of Freemasonry? Is it a Christian organization that is fitting for Baptists to be members of? Is it a benign philosophy whose basic principles are compatible with Christianity? Is it a false religion that infiltrates Christian churches? You may have other ideas; these are just some questions to get the ball rolling.
     
    #1 rlvaughn, Jul 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  2. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Christians have no business entangling themselves in a secret society that practices universalism.
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I’ll go with bad, but not for the reasons Bro. James suggests.

    This was a hot topic about a decade (or more?) ago within the SBC and I’ve read blog after blog. What I’ve determined is that those who view Freemasonry as paramount to worshipping a pagan god are just as delusional as those Freemasons who trace their fraternity to antiquity.

    I say this for several reasons:

    First, it is a fact that several of the charges against Freemasonry are nothing more than urban legend. This would include the myth that freemasons worship a pagan deity named Baphomet (a contribution to the myth by Leo Taxil, usually represented by Eliphas Levi’s imagery of a Sabbatic Goat ) or that they , as a fraternity, worship a god period. You can toss Albert Pike in the mix of false charges as well (although I think the guy was a nut).

    Second, most freemasons gather and have a meaningless business meeting (which is secrete…i.e., confidential), eat sandwiches, and go home. They do provide a service through their charities, but this is something that I believe should be accomplished (for the Christian) through the church.

    My experience

    I had to write a paper as an undergrad majoring in business. I was taking a world religions course and had to choose a religion that was not my own. I chose Freemasonry and started to work. When I turned in the topic it was declined because the professor did not consider freemasonry a religion (I wrote on the Catholic church instead).

    But I found the topic interesting and the more I read the more I realized that the anti-masons were using invented charges and the freemasons seemed to be inflating what they did. In a way, the freemasons were taking advantage of the “mystery” while claiming to be a greater organization than they were. Anyway, I joined a lodge to see.

    I completed the three degrees (which are really the highest in ranking one can obtain as the York Rite and Scottish Rite are dependent on the “Blue Lodge” and they “meet on the level”… i.e., everyone is equal once they finish the 3rd degree).

    I then went through the Scottish Rite and later the York rite (Royal Arch Masonry, Cryptic Masonry, Knights Templar). Later I presided over a lodge and conferred degrees (I’d be a “Past Master”).

    My Conclusion

    The problem with Freemasonry is not that it is a false religion (it is not, except perhaps as secular humanism is a religion and then only how it is taken individualistically). But it is gnostic in nature. It pretends to have a secret knowledge (which is really hidden only in false charges and rumors).

    The fraternity plays with dark imagery. In just about any degree the candidate takes an oath not to reveal the “secrets” of the lodge on a severe penalty. The wording is one of death (specific ways of execution) but if one looks closer (as one should) the “blood oath” is really one of being expelled which is thought of as “no less a penalty” than such and such a death. In a York Rite degree the candidate is in a room looking at a skull, a candle, and an hour glass (contemplating mortality). In another the candidate drinks wine out of a replica of a skull.

    The biggest problem is that freemasonry, at its core, is secular humanism. It seeks to unify man for the benefit of mankind not under God but under the humanity. The only reason belief in a supreme being is required is that man must have the belief that he is accountable to some higher power to be trusted. I’ve seen people substitute the fraternity for Christianity, and I’ve seen church members active in the fraternity but dead in church.

    I'd caution people about joining the Masons, but I wouldn't consider them less a Christian if they did. I am not so sure that those who preach in the pulpit, but unknowingly preach falsely, against freemasonry do not do more damage to people's faith than the fraternity has ever done. I say this because there are always things people will substitute for discipleship, but there has always been one message the church is to proclaim to the world.

    I have not been a member for quite some time, but if you have any questions please feel free to PM me. I don't get into this type of "discussion" in an open forum anymore because there really are books and books of conspiracy theories and "old wives tales" that people have bought into (on both sides of the issue). What I know is from experience, but it is not something I'll waste my time arguing.
     
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  4. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    They'll sure take Masonic $$$ though:

    Scholarships - The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

    "Grand Lodge of Missouri Scholarships
    Grand Lodge Office
    6033 Masonic Drive, Suite B

    Columbia, MO 65202
    Phone: 573-474-8561
    Deadline: March 31
    Description: For students graduating from high school in Missouri and attending Boyce College. Click here for application and additional information."
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    We had an active church a town over (SBC) that had a pastor who “learned” quite a bit and started a sermon series campaigning against Freemasonry. The problem, of course, is that there were several members who belonged to the fraternity and others who were familiar with it (ex-masons and family members of masons).

    This was the most active and largest church in the city (a small town, this wasn’t a very large church but it wasn’t a small one either). When all was said and done the pastor was asked to resign and they split into two dead churches. The pastor’s congregation built a church but it wasn’t long before sermons turned to the Fraternal Order of Police (because they have very similar oaths and swear to keep their secrets under the same penalty….which, I admit, may be a bit troubling as we are talking about those who enforce our laws). Several of my friends (who worked at the Sheriffs Dept) left and ultimately that pastor left town (I don’t know what he’s doing now….probably campaigning against Lord of the Rings and open toe shoes).

    My point is that churches really need to be careful when they decide to take a stand against these types of things. This pastor was gullible and from what I have heard (from both sides) what he preached from the pulpit was misinformation and conspiracy theory. I am confident he thought he was doing the right thing, but the result was that an active and godly church died and was replaced by two very dead and very ungodly churches.
     
  6. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    My experiences with Freemasons:

    1. A very influential high school teacher was a Mason. Seemed like a benign organization, but nobody in the Mennonite church was a Mason.

    2. Military Masons, where some units (but not the company I was in) had Masons flashing a ring to bypass official channels or avoid a buttchewing. But as I got older, I had a few close friends who were Masons.

    3. Watched a faction rip a church apart over a pastor. Masons (and female deacons) seemed to be the prime movers in the event, and it was enough that I realized I didn't want anything to do with them.
     
  7. JohnDeereFan

    JohnDeereFan Well-Known Member
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    Honestly, not sure how I feel about it. I'm not all that thrilled about some of their ceremonial things, but neither do I think Christians need to be all hair on fire upset about it, as I've seen some Christians.
     
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  8. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    One cannot be a Mason and be a member of our church.
     
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  9. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Each church should determine these things. Even if their view is influenced by fake news it is still their view and it affects the church. I remember a pastor telling me that he believed the passage about deacons in Tim. concerned polygamy instead of divorce, but that it was proper to respect the voice of the congregation on such matters.

    Technically, one can't be a member of our church if they engage in the sell of alcohol. I don't know if this is enforced.

    While I disagree that the church should exclude people because they are a member of the Freemasons (unless, perhaps, it includes other fraternities that also take such oaths....e.g., the FOP, Elks,....Water Buffaloes :Laugh....), I respect that type of church for taking the command to be a holy people seriously. For me, I think that this is ultimately a matter of Christian liberty.
     
  10. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    SIL's a mason - I'm rather ignorant about the group (and prefer to keep it that way ;))

    A church I attended decades ago included a clause in their constitution that members could not be members of secret societies.

    I haven't seen that in more recently developed church constitutions.

    I wonder if that was a reaction of times past that isn't much of a problem today.

    Rob
     
  11. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    Has anyone ever read the introduction in the Free Masonary Version of the Bible? I have. I had three deacons who were Masons in a congregation I pastored. The free masonary edition of the Bible was the Bible placed in our teenage youth Sunday School room. If the introduction to the Masonary Bible is a misrepresentation of Masons, then the Mason's are responsible for the misinformation. Either it is an official lie or it is the truth and either way it paints them in a very bad way. However, the introduction in the Masonary edition of the Bible is an explanation given by Masons as to what and who they are. However, I have found that Mason's are experts at passing the buck. If one of their official representative written works says something they don't like they down play that person, and at the same time boast of the same person and written work when it suits their needs.

    In that introduction it states that Masonary is a superior light to Christianity and that Christ is but one of many prophets in many religions. In Moslem countries Allah and his prophet Muhammed are acceptable substitutes for belief in "a" god. Masonary requires belief in "a" god.

    Has anyone performed a joint funeral with Masons? I have. They remained silent when I led a song for the congregation to sing. When their leader took to the pulpit he preached a universal salvation no hell sermon. Must they confess belief in a god? Yes. Do they hold RELIGIOUS funeral services? Yes! They are a religious order and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Has anyone read the wording of the oaths they must take. I have. No Christian should ever utter such oaths.

    Do words mean anything? Apparently not to some on this forum, but they mean a lot to me and Masonary uses words in their oaths and in their introduction to the OFFICIAL edition of the Masonic Bible that are incompatible with God's Word and being a Christian (even though genuine Christians are among them).

    They remind me of LDS and the prophetic writings of LDS. They are "prophets" but if something they said gets them in trouble, then it is just one man's word and not the official position of the LDS church. That is precisely how Mason's operate concerning their writers. I don't trust any Mason that has been in leadership - none! Why? Because they have drunk the koolaide too long and too much!

    Should New Testament churches exclude members who are part of Masonary? After they are fully instructed in the matters listed above and they don't remove themselves from this ungodly "gnostic" religious organization - then absolutely!
     
    #11 The Biblicist, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  12. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Interesting. I have also read the introduction (it was a KJV) but the one I read was not at all like that. I wonder if it's because each state has its own fraternity (there isn't a national group but a bunch of fraternities that recognize each other).

    I agree that Freemansonry makes their degrees "dark", and this is one thing I have against the organization. We are not (as Christians) to seek darkness but to seek light. The oaths are about the same as the oath for the FOP (which is why I mentioned them) except that they include things like not sharing the secrets of the lodge under "no less a penalty" of some extreme execution (i.e., throat cut ear from ear, tongue torn out, ect.), which in that same degree is explained to be expulsion (which is to be considered "no less a penalty than..."). The FOB just has them swear not to reveal their secrets under the penalty of expulsion (same thing, different language).
     
  13. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I have never been in a church that would allow it.
     
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  14. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    This was a KJV and in the state of Mississippi. It was a very lengthy and full explanation of the history of Masonary and its major tenets. I did not simply read that introduction, but researched the history of Masonary from sources "recommended" by Masonary publications. The same general history and much more details I found to be much the same. The information was too well written and formal to be just a product of the local fraternity. Would a local fraternity right in the middle of the BIBLE BELT consisting of so many professing Christians make such outrageous lies if they are lies????

    To claim they are not a "religious" organization is ridiculous. They demand belief in a "god" and perform funerals. There are masonary lodges among Moslems where the Koran takes the place of the Bible and Allah takes the place of God.
     
  15. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    When we looked at our church constitution (my last church) it said the same thing (not to engage in the sell or production of alcohol). But I know several grocery store owners who are prominent members (and teaching Sunday School) who do sell alcohol in their stores.

    At my current church we have the same standard, but I am not really sure where they draw the line on Christian liberty (I don't think we would exercise church discipline if someone had a glass of wine at dinner, for example).
     
  16. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Mississippi is a weird state, I guess.

    But yes, you are right that, being secular, the principle of freemasonry is uniting men regardless of religion. They do require a belief in some type of supreme being (the idea that men must believe they are accountable to something or someone]. Where you are wrong is that Freemasonry has no god nor religious dogma (in terms of worship). They are a very humanistic organization.
     
  17. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Typically Christain liberty is drawn at the point where the individual becomes a reproach. Since the masons teach another gospel it is not possible to be compatible with them.
     
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  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I didn't realize they taught "another gospel".

    I can tell you that when I was in the organization that I didn't teach nor hold another gospel (nor did they hold the true gospel either). I think that this is why so many who are masons get offended (what is said in the pulpit often does not match with what they have experienced). This is why that church I mentioned was torn apart. The pastor was a good man, but he was also gullible when it came to "old wives tales". The Freemasons (and many other such groups) have become their own worst enemy because they like to obscure things in archaic language. They can't come back from the image they embraced in the past. That, coupled with gullible pastors who think they teach religion and worship a god, makes for an unhealthy environment.

    As I said earlier, I believe this is a matter of Christian liberty - which is something the believer sets aside for their brothers and sisters in Christ. And this is why a Christian should not be a mason - not because they teach "another gospel" but for the sake of the church.

    I like the bylaws that @Deacon mentioned - Christians have no business being a part of "secret organizations".
     
  19. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist Well-Known Member
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    The "recommended" writers for Masonic history must be equally as "weird." Your response is typical of those who have drank the koolaide.

    They unite people on the basis of religion - a belief in God. If they were "secular" their would be no required confession in "a" god a that is not part of the "secular" order but is part of a religious order. If they were "secular" they would not perform religious ceremonies with a religious script. It was in the state of Montana where I had a joint service with the Mason's not Mississippi - is Montana a "weird" state too? Maybe it was your particular "framterity" that is "weird" and different from the normal, from the position of its celebrated historians?????

    Anyway, I am glad you are out of it and don't recommend it for Christians any more!
     
    #19 The Biblicist, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  20. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    As I mentioned at the start, there are some un-Christlike brothers who make the topic difficult to truly discuss due to the unfortunate combination of gullibility and gossip. Thank you for that demonstration, brother.

    This is why this thread will get nowhere. Those who don't know read such and such and those with first hand knowledge drank the koolaide. We just end up with this type of logical fallacy even when you and I are on the same side of the issue.

    I went white water rafting last weekend (my first time). They had this rock called "idiot rock" because of the idiots who jumped off it into the river. You are on that rock, brother. We, as Christians, do not need to get into conspiracy stupidity in order to address these things.

    You were wrong in your implication towards me. I told you my experience and pointed out where common myth differed. I do not advocate Freemasonry, not am I a member. But, unlike some, I will not forfeit my integrity as I speak of why I believe Christians should not be masons.
     
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