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Cults and World Religions

Freemasonry



Masonic Lodge
“Masons”

When is a religion not a religion?

When it calls itself something else?

 

By any definition of religion accepted by our critics, we cannot qualify as a religion.
Dr. M.W. Thomas S. Roy
Grand Master fo the Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts

Freemasonry certainly requires a belief in the existence of, and man’s dependence upon, a Supreme Being to whom he is responsible. What can a church add to that except to bring into one fellowship those who have like feelings? . . . That is exactly what the Lodge does.
Henry Wilson Coil
Masonic Encyclopedia
#1 Recommended Book
for reading by Masons 142

The Masonic Lodge is a secret fraternal organization whose teachings and practices constitute a religion. Also known as the Free and Accepted Masons, there are 4.75 million members worldwide. The Masons teach fellowship, religious toleration, and political compromise. Drawing on guild practices of medieval stonemasons, the order&s first Grand Lodge was organized in London (1717). 143

Freemasons are arguably the nation&s oldest fraternal order. Commenced as a stonemason’s trade guild, the order soon became a club for tradesmen, merchants, and a few much-celebrated noblemen. The Masonic lodges moved to the coastal towns of America in the 1730/1740s. These groups were dominated by a mercantile elite, but tradesmen were admitted. The most famous may have been a young printer named Benjamin Franklin who became grand master of Pennsylvania Freemasons in 1734.

During the early 1800s the number of Masonic lodges multiplied rapidly. The order especially appealed to an emerging middle class of lawyers, commercial farmers, and independent tradesmen, many of whom were growing impatient with orthodox religion and established political elites. Partly to attenuate women&s complaints about the secrecy, the cost of membership, and the time members spent away from home, most orders supported creation of ladies& auxiliaries, the Order of the Eastern Star (1869). 144

The Rites and the Rituals

The “Ritual” governs the Lodge and while there is no central authority, a review of the Ritual for each state shows they are substantially identical, with only minor word difference. The Grand Lodge is the governing authority of each state. It runs the entire show through its published Ritual.

Why are they the same? They follow the same general publications and books. Like many other cults, the doctrine comes not from the pulpit or a “bible,” but from the general literature of the “scholars” of the group. In this sense, the Freemasons foreshadow the growth of New Age theology. It is the language of these documents which the Masons speak and teach. Unless it is recognized that the theosophical philosophy of Freemasonry attributes its own definitions to biblical language, one will not understand the author&s meaning. This leads to a great deal of misunderstanding about the meaning and position of the Masons and is the same tactic that has been encountered with many of the cults.

What, then, are the rites?

Every Mason must pass through three levels of the Blue Lodge. The Blue Lodge is the parent lodge of the Masons. There are three degrees of this lodge. 145

A member of the Lodge may effective choose to never move beyond this point. On the other hand, there are two further Rites the candidate may follow. Both proceed to higher degrees of Masonry.

One branch is the Scottish Rite, which advances by numerical degrees. Including the three degrees of the Blue Lodge, there are thirty-two active degrees and a thirty-third honorary degree, although in some lodges, this degree is also active.

The other branch is the York Rite. Here, the candidate moves through the Chapter, Council, and Commandery degrees, with the final degree being Knight Templer.

So, is Freemasonry a religion?

Freemasonry is not Christianity ... it admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom....

An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
Albert G. Mackey, 1921, pp. 618-619

Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instructions in ... the universal, eternal, immutable religion....

Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, pp. 213, 219

[Masonry is] ... the custodian and depository (since Enoch) of the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large....

Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Albert Pike, Washington D.C., 1958, p. 210 146

Most Freemasons insist that the Lodge is not a religion. This is because it does not meet the definition, it does not have a creed, and there is no ritual worship. Further, there are no religious symbols and there is no teaching of salvation. Yet, the writers of Freemasonry are mixed on this issue.

What constitutes a religion?

Well, let us accept the approach used by those Masons who deny the religious aspect of the Lodge – definition, salvation, creed, doctrinal statement, and worship ritual. We will not look at these issues in any detail, but here are the results:

We have already seen that at least some Masonic authors view the Lodge as meeting the definition of a religion. More particular, the Lodge teaches the existence of a Supreme Being, the Great Architect of the Universe.

The Masons and Christianity

Does the teaching of the Masons conflict with Christianity?

The words of many Freemasons might lead the uninformed to believe that they are true brethren in Christ. An example is this statement from a Masonic publication:

God may have other words for other worlds, but His supreme Word for this world, yesterday, today, forever, is Christ! He is the central Figure of the Bible, its crown, its glory, its glow-point of vision and revelation. Take Him away and its light grows dim. He fulfilled the whole Book, its history, its poetry, its prophecy, its ritual, even as He fulfills our deepest yearning and our highest hope. Ages have come and gone, but He abides -- abides because He is real, because he is unexhausted, because He is needed. Little is left today save Christ -- Himself smitten and afflicted, bruised of God and wounded -- but He is all we need. If we hear Him, follow Him, obey Him, we shall walk together in a new world wherein dwelleth righteousness and love -- He is the Word of God (Joseph Fort Newton, "The Great Light in Masonry," Little Masonic Library, Vol. 3, p. 177).

Most of these teachings we have encountered in other cults. They are the standard fare of cults and heresies. The mystical schools of antiquity of found a home in the Masons, especially in some of the higher rites.

 

Food For Thought

Where the roots of America Christian?

There is little doubt that the founders of the American colonies undertook the dangerous trip across the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom. But, to call anyone or anything "Christian," whether an individual or a nation, certain criteria must be met. These criteria are biblical requirements, being born again of the Holy Spirit, ministering in the solely name of Jesus Christ, and accepting the authority of the Bible, or if you will, they are the essential doctrines we have been discussing.

Remember that the Pilgrims founded but a small colony in New England. They did not found the United States. And, keep in mind that among other things, the Mayflower Compact reaffirmed loyalty to the King of England. The Mayflower Pilgrims were still English at heart, they were not founding a new colony.

So, then, to determine if America was founded as a Christian nation, consider the background of those we call the founding fathers. And, as we do this, keep in mind that while Freemasons have noble attitudes and adhere to strict moral codes, one does not have to be a Christian to be a Mason. Reflect on the following list of great names from the American revolution.

Based upon the evidence of Masonic influences in the establishment of this nation, there is a question as to whether or not the criteria necessary to classify the United States as a Christian nation were met. An objective study of the Masonic affiliations of the founding fathers must cause Christians to reevaluate their own political philosophy, although clearly, the governing basis of America are based upon the Judaeo-Christian beliefs.

And what of the modern situation? Well, Norman Vincent Peal is a prelate of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the United States.

Footnotes:
142. Both quotes are taken from John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on The Masonic Lodge, The Anker Series, Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 1989, 12, 13.
143. http://www.otherside.net/masons.htm has an article which argues that King Agrippa (Acts 25:13) created masonry.
144. History has been taken mostly from http://www.mindspring.com/~engineer_my_dna/mormon/masendow.htm
145. http://www.mindspring.com/~engineer_my_dna/mormon/masendow.htm shows amazing similarities between the Mormons and Masons on rituals and secret rites.
146. All three quotes are as found on http://freemasonry.8k.com
147. Ankerberg, The Facts on The Masonic Lodge, 14. Note another similarity to Mormonism is that apparently part of the secret rituals involve the wearing of a lambskin garb as a badge of being a Mason.

 

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