"In view of the prevalence throughout our land of doctrines which are subversive of the Christian faith; and in view of the indifference manifested by many Christian people to the doctrines and principles of the teachers, sects, and organizations which seek their adherence and support; and in view of the fact that through the acceptance of religious and other teachings which contradict the Gospel of Christ, the faith of Christians is endangered; we declare:
"I. That we solemnly warn all our pastors and the members of our congregations against all teachers, sects, and organizations of any kind whose doctrines and principles contradict the truths set forth in Section D, III, of this Declaration, or which limit their adherents or members in a free confession of their Christian faith.
"II. That we warn them especially against all teachers, sects, and societies whose doctrines and principles deny the reality of sin, the personality of God, the full and complete Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his redemption of this world by His sufferings and death, and the truth and authority of the Holy Scriptures; as well as against all teachers, sects, and societies which teach that men can be saved from sin, or can become righteous before God, by their own works or by any other means than the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ. We believe
1Ekklesia, No. 48, December 4, 1933, tr. Rev. Fr. Krivoshein, Orthodox priest at Oxford, quoted in Walton Hannah, Darkness Visible (London: Augustine Press, 1955), pp. 73-74.
that such organizations are not only not Christian, but are anti-Christian and destructive of true Christian faith and life.
III. That inasmuch as these and other false and dangerous doctrines are widely spread, not only by the activity of individual teachers, but also by the dissemination of literature and through the agency of societies and other organizations, calling themselves by various names which often times conceal the real nature of the doctrines and principles for which they stand; we therefore lay it upon the consciences of the pastors and of the members of all our congregations to scrutinize with the utmost care societies of every sort which seek their adherence and support in all cases of conflict or possible contradiction between these principles and doctrines and those set forth in Holy Scripture and in the Confessions of the Church. In the application of this principle the Church should always appeal to a conscience which it is her sacred duty to enlighten, patiently and persistently, from the Word of God."1
The position of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod regarding the Lodge Question is stated in detail in the By-Laws to its Constitution, in which the following pertinent paragraphs are to be found:
"Synod is firmly opposed to lodges or societies of an unchristian or anti-Christian character.
"It is the solemn, sacred and God-given duty of every pastor properly to instruct his people on the sinfulness of such lodges as deny the Holy Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Vicarious Atonements, and other Scriptural doctrines, and to induce his congreations to take action against all members who after thorough instruction refuse to leave such a lodge.
"It is the duty of every fellow Christian, fellow pastor, and especially of the officials of the Synod, to admonish all pastors who neglect their duty in this respect; and if Christian admonition has been administered in the spirit of Matthew 18 without the proper results, the officials of Synod shall bring such cases to the attention of the respective District for further action.
"Synod instructs its officers to exercise vigilant care and urges all pastors and congregations to admonish such congregations and pastors as permit the 'lodge evil' to exist in their churches without counter-testimony and decisive action. If after due investigation it becomes evident that such congregations and pastors refuse to change their attitude and practice, they shall be suspended and eventually expelled from Synod.
"Synod earnestly requests the various Districts to carry out these provisions and faithfully to assist their congregations in eradicating the 'lodge evil.'
"It is, and shall be, the practice of the congregations of Synod not to administer Holy Communion to members of such lodges, nor to admit such persons to communicant membership, since Holy Communion expresses an exclusive spiritual re
1 "Washington Declaration" (Declaration of Principles Concerning the Church and its External Relationships, (Washington, D.C., October 26, 1920), Section E, I-III, quoted in William Meyer, "A Conspiracy of Silence" (Chicago: National Christian Association, n.d.), pp. 6-7; vid. etiam The Constitution of the United Lutheran Church in America, Art. VII, Sec. 6.
lationship of the communicant to his Lord and to his brethren. (Matt. 10:32; I Cor. 10:16, 17; and I Cor. 11:25).
"A pastor will sometimes encounter exceptional cases in which he is called upon to administer Holy Communion to a person who is still outwardly connected with such a lodge.
"Such exceptional cases, however, are normally limited to those instances in which the individual involved has renounced, to his pastor and/or the church council, the unchristian or anti-Christian teaching of the lodge of which he is a member. In such cases the pastor shall consult with his brethren in the ministry or with the officials of Synod as the case may require.
"Furthermore, in such exceptional cases the pastor should earnestly beware of procrastination and of giving offense, both to the members of the congregation and to the brethren in general.
"Finally, the pastor should put forth continuous effort to bring the individual to an early decision in this matter so that he may be fully won for Christ, and become or remain a communicant member of the congregation, as the case may be."1
The position of the American Lutheran Church (since 1930) and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (since 1952) regarding the Lodge Question is clearly set forth in the Minneapolis Theses, in which the following pertinent paragraphs may be read:
"These Synods agree that all such organizations or societies, secret or open, as are either avowedly religious or practice the forms of religion without confessing as a matter of principle the Triune God or Jesus Christ as the Son of God come into the flesh and our Savior from sin, or teach, instead of the Gospel, salvation by human works or morality, are anti-Christian and destructive of the best interests of the Church and the individual soul, and that, therefore, the Church of Christ and its congregations can have no fellowship with them.
"They agree that a Lutheran Synod should not tolerate pastors who have affiliated themselves with any anti-Christian society. And they admonish their pastors and congregations to testify against the sin of lodgery and to put forth earnest efforts publicly and privately to enlighten and persuade persons who are members of antiChristian societies, to sever their connection with such organizations."2
The position of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church regarding the Lodge Question is made extremely clear in its Constitution, in which the following pertinent paragraph appears:
"The greatest care shall be exercised in order that no person lacking the proper qualifications be ordained to the ministry or retained in that office. It is especially
*Handbook of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1957), By-Laws to the Constitution of the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synbod, Paragraph 14.03.
2"Minneapolis Theses" (These adopted by the representatives of the Ohio, Iowa, and Buffalo Synods at Minneapolis, November 18, 1925), Thesis V., quoted in "Lufheranism and Lodgery" (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, n.d.), p. 5; vid. etiam The Constitution of the American Lutheran Church, Art. II, Sec. 4, p. 4,
(continued on next page)
stipulated that no person who belongs to or joins any secret organization or society of unbelievers shall be received or retained in the ministerial office."1
The position of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Wisconsin and other States regarding the Lodge Question is made explicit in the following statement:
"As lodges and similar organizations have in general a deistic religion, are anti-Christian in character, and teach synergism in its crassest form, we consider it a contradiction in itself to try to be a member of the Lutheran Church and a member of such a society at the same time. Joining such an organization is an act which severs the true fellowship with the Lutheran Church. The simple command of the Lord: Flee from idolatry! covers the situation nicely."
Freemasonry & Protestantism
Noteworthy is the fact that it is generally less well-known that certain Protestant Communions have also condemned Freemasonry, and in each it has been Grand Lodge—and not Grand Orient—Masonry which has been severely censured. Among them are to be found:
(a) Presbyterians: the 'Original Secession' in Scotland repudiated Freemasonry as early as 1757; in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland abstention from Masonry is a condition of membership—even as it is in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (and has been since 1927); the Committee on Secret Societies of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of America condemned Freemasonry in a Report to the General Assembly of that body at Rochester, N.Y., in 194t, basically on the grounds that it fosters religious indifferentism; and the United Presbyterian Church of North America banned Masons from church membership until 1925, at which time the matter was declared a matter of individual conscience.
(b) Methodists: English Methodists passed a resolution against Freemasonry at the Bradford Conference in 1927; and in the United States both the Free
1The Constitution of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chap. IV, Art. II, Sec. II, 1928 Edition, quoted in "Lutheranism and Lodgery" (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, n.d.), p. 3.
Statement issued by Prof. Winfred Schaller, April 25, 1951, and reaffirmed by Rev. Theodore Sauer, Secretary, November 27,1956, quoted in 'Lutheranism and Lodgery" (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, n.d.), pp. 6-7. 3Vid. Walton Hannah, Darkness Visible (London: Augustine Press, 1955), Chapter X, pp. 67-78; vid. etiam William J. Whalen, Christianity and American Freemasonry (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1959), Chapter XII, pp. 147162. These works give a more detailed treatment than is possible in a treatise such as mine, quoting in many instances the positions of the various denominations mentioned in this section—and others, too—in regard to the lodge question.
Methodist Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church forbid membership in secret societies.
(c) Baptists: the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (Dr. R.T. Ketcham, National Representative) opposes membership in secret societies—its pastors and most of its members being free from connections with such organizations.
(d) Reformed: the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa (Cape Synod) appointed a commission to study Freemasonry, and this commission reported against the Craft in November, 1940, urging that all Masons who were members of the Dutch Reformed Church leave their Lodges, and ruling that in the future all Freemasons be prohibited from holding church offices; lodge membership was one of the major points of dispute causing the Christian Reformed Church to separate from the parent Reformed Church in America in 1857; this denomination, in spite of its uncompromising Calvinism and its unrelenting hostility to all secret organizations, has grown more rapidly than its parent body!
(e) Others: the Assemblies of God (and most of the Holiness and the Pentecostal sects), the Church of the Nazarene, the Seventh Day Adventist, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Church of the Brethren, the Quakers, the Mennonites, the Churches of Christ, and the Salvation Army are all committed in some degree or another to an anti-lodge position.
A point of interest which must be mentioned before closing this section is that the major Protestant denominations which support their own parochial school systems head the list in their opposition to the lodge: these include the following: the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Christian Reformed, and the Seventh Day Adventist!
Freemasonry & Unitarianism
Is it actually possible for a Mason to maintain in all honesty that he can be a confessionally consistent member of the Christian Church—and simultaneously hold membership in the Lodge? In order to supply an embarrassingly convincing answer to this particular question, it is only necessary to quote extensively from a pamphlet entitled, "The Relation of the Liberal Churches and the Fraternal Orders," written some fifty years ago by a Unitarian minister, Elijah Alfred Coil, who saw the unmistakably inherent inconsistency of leading such an antithetically dual spiritual life, and noted:
"It is becoming more and more clear to me, as the facts relating to the subject are brought out, that the fraternities, and the churches called liberal, have been working along parallel lines for years; but, because the one put the chief emphasis upon the fatherhood of God and therefore emphasized theology, while the other put the chief emphasis upon the brotherhood of Man and therefore emphasized sociology, they have not realized that they were occupying practically the same ground. They have not therefore always supplemented each other's work as they should have done. Evidences of a better understanding are now appearing, and there is promise that real cooperation will ensue.
"The more I learn of the origin, history, and liturgies of the great fraternities of today, the more amazed I become that the kinship between them and the liberal churches was not clearly discerned a half century ago. Also, the more I learn of the fundamental principles of the great fraternities, the more interested do I become in the fact that many people who denounce the churches called liberal enthusiastically endorse, as fraternity men, the very principles for which those churches stand. I have often thought, in recent years, that I should like to organize a Sunday school class, and use as a textbook the monitors of our leading fraternal orders, and show the members of those organizations the logic of the principles to which they, in their lodges, are pledged. Nearly all of those monitors have, as their very heart, the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Man, immortality, and salvation by character, principles very familiar to every Unitarian Sunday school scholar who has been properly taught the fundamentals of our faith.
"That the fundamental difference in the principles embodied in the historic creeds of Christendom and those of our modern secret orders has not been clearly thought out is indicated by the fact that many pledged themselves to both. There are lodge men who, in the churches, subscribe to the doctrine that 'We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, by faith and not for our own works or deservings,' and enthusiastically join in the singing of hymns in which that idea is embodied. Then in their lodge meetings they just as enthusiastically assent to the following declaration; "Although our thoughts, words, and actions may be hidden from the eyes of men, yet that All-Seeing Eye whom the sun, moon, and stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits.' A little child, once its attention is called to the matter, ought to be able to see that it is impossible to harmonize the creed statements here quoted, with the declaration taken from the monitor of one of our greatest and most effective secret orders, and found, in substance, in the liturgies of nearly all the others. If 'We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ by faith and not for our own works or deservings' then it cannot possibly be true that the All-Seeing Eye 'Pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits.' One of these declarations excludes the other. Men cannot consistently subscribe to both. They do, however, subscribe to both, and are thereby led into inconsistencies which they do not discern The fact that they do this does not indicate that they are deliberately inconsistent but rather that they subordinate reason to sentiment and emotion on such occasions. That confusion and weakness are resulting from the course many are now pursuing in this pledging themselves to one set of principles in their churches, and to another set in their lodges, is so apparent that all who see conditions as they really are should count it a privilege to help clear the atmosphere and bring about a more consistent course."1
1Elijah Alfred Coil, "The Relation of the Liberal Churches and the Fraternal (continued on next page)
:...Fraternity men, interested in the welfare of their children, should be informed that in the liberal churches their children will be trained in principles which they will not practically have to deny should they become members of the lodge. This is something of far greater importance than it may at first seem."1
"Now I am ready to make my appeal to you. I want you to realize that to neglect the moral and spiritual training of the young, or to teach them principles so out of harmony with the general trend of thought that they are almost sure to be held indifferently or given up entirely in later life, is to invite moral and religious calamity. Study those ages in which long established forms of religious faith have broken down and you will get the force of what I am now saying. I have been devoting much time to an investigation of the subject, and I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that the liberal churches, from their beginning, have been developing in thought and sentiment, along the same lines as those followed by most of our great modern fraternities. They have championed and advocated the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, immortality, and salvation by character, and these are the very principles for which nearly all the great fraternities stand. Taught these principles in childhood, as they should be taught them in the Sunday schools and churches, people will not have to unlearn or deny them should they choose to identify themselves with almost any one of present day fraternities, as those brought up in 'Orthodox' Sunday schools and churches have to unlearn, deny, or ignore much that has been taught them if they become members of a lodge If we really believe in the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Man, immortality, and salvation by character, then we should do something more in our church than fill a pew occasionally and make our annual contribution to its financial support. We should come fully to realize the great need of a complete understanding and harmonious endeavor on the part of all institutions that are striving to work out, along the same lines, a nobler destiny for mankind. The liberal churches and many of our great fraternities have, as I have shown you, a common basis We should lose no opportunity to let those fraternity people, whose faith in the dogmatic and ceremonial form of religion is breaking down, know that there is a church in which they can find a home, and in whose Sunday schools their children can be taught principles which they, as fraternity people, have already enthusiastically approved."2
Wherever and whenever the Christian Church has expressed itself after careful study, it has stated that Freemasonry as a religious system is a real enemy of orthodox Christianity.3 Since the mid-eighteenth century
Orders" (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1929), pp. 9-12. lIbid., p. 15. 2Ibid., pp. 17-19.
3Walton Hannah takes important notice of this in Darkness Visible (London: Augustine Press, 1955), p. 78, where he points out the following: "One startling fact emerges, which should make the Christian mason more than a little thoughtful. No Church that has seriously investigated the religious teachings and (continued on next page)
Christian opposition to Freemasonry has been stated clearly in numerous official statements, resolutions, and canons, Freemasonry is particularly dangerous because, in spite of its anti-Christian teachings, it presents an ostensibly friendly appearance and supports numerous praiseworthy works of charity and mercy which outwardly serve man well. It presents special difficulties in individual cases on the parish level because sincere and well-meaning Christian people have affiliated with the group on the basis of faulty and incomplete information and under pressure from powerful forces and motives. Christian testimony in relation to Freemasonry is also complicated by the undeniable difficulty always present in making it clear that we oppose, not the people in the group, but false and godless doctrines which will lead man to hell. Lodge testimony is often the highest office of love and concern for the individual.
"The church, whatever the pressures and difficulties, is bound to take and keep her position with Christ and His holy Word. To do less is to undermine the very foundation of faith and endanger blood-bought souls of men. Silence and compromise will lead only to confusion and terrible offense to the faithful. Christ Himself encourages us here. 'Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess before My Father which is in heaven' (Matt. 10:32). The Christian must speak up for Christ. This must always be done tactfully and patiently and evangelically. Yet there is an irreducible and unescapable element of offense in His Cross which His own dare not sidestep. In facing up to Freemasonry we must make it clear that this is the issue."1
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."2
"He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."3
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."4
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."5
implications of Freemasonry has ever yet failed to condemn it."
1Theodore F. Nickel and James G. Manz, "A Christian View of Freemasonry" (St.
Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1957), pp. 28-29.
2St. Matthew 6:24
3St. Matthew 12:30
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Publications, Inc., 1928. Combined Statistics and Consolidated Chart of Fraternal Societies. Indianapolis: The
Fraternal Monitor, 1963. Deraul, Arkon. A History of Secret Societies. New York: The Citadel Press, 1962. de Poncins, Vicomte Leon. The Secret Powers Behind Revolution. Palmdale, CA: Omni
Publications, 1965. Dickson, Moses. Court of the Heroines of Jerico (Ritual Heroines of Jerico). Chicago: Ezra
A. Cook Publications, 1951. Dilling, Elizabeth. The Plot Against Christianity. Lincoln, NE: The Elizabeth Dilling
Foundation, 1964. Duncan, Malcom C. Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor. New York: David McKay Co.,
Inc., Third Edition, n.d. Ecce Orienti or Rites and Ceremonies of the Essenes. New York: Redding & Co., 1925. Graebner, Theodore. A Handbook on Organizations. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing
House, 1957. Handbook of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House,
1957. Hannah, Walton. Christian By Degrees. London: Augustine Press, 1954.
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H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S. New York: Allen Publishing Co., 1950. King Solomon and His Followers. New York: Allen Publishing Co., 1953. Knights of Columbus Illustrated. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1947. Leuker, Edwin L. (ed.) Lutheran Cyclopedia. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1954. Levi, Eliphas. The History of Magic (Tr. Arthur Edward Waite). London: Rider & Company, 1957. Mackey, Albert G. (Revised) Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. 3 vols. Chicago: The Masonic
_. (Mackey's) Masonic Ritualist. New York: Clark & Maynard Co., 1869.
Macoy, Robert. Masonic Burial Services. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1954.
_. The Amaranth. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, n.d.
Morris, Robert. Webb's Monitor of Freemasonry (The Freemason's Monitor). Cincinnati: J.
Sherer Co., 1860. The Mystic Shrine: An Illustrated Ritual of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine.
Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1950. Pierson, A.T.C. Traditions, Origins and Early History of Freemasonry. New York: Macoy,
Sickels, & Pierson Co., 1865. The Protocols and World Revolution. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1920. Revised Knights of Pythias Illustrated. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1945. Revised Knight Templarism Illustrated. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1952. Revised Odd-Fellowship Ilustrated. Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publications, 1951. Robison, John. Proofs of a Conspiracy... Waco, TX: Owen Publishing Co., 1964.
* Marks books available from Ichthys Books, P.O. Box 64, St. Marys, KS 66536.
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