Tom Roberts

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Associate Editorial

Masonry Is A Religion

I've seen an amazing thing among members of the church of Christ who are Masons. They, among all other members of the Masonic Lodge, are unique in that they alone contend that Masonry is not a religious institution. In discussing this lodge with people in the denominational world, they usually attempt to defend it and their membership in it by the fact that they regard it as "religious." But my brethren in the same lodge will try to deny that it is religious at all.

Obviously the reason why "Christians" will do this when sectarians will not is that most of us understand the unique nature of the Lord's church. We know that the church is sufficient and complete so far as our religious needs are concerned and that a Christian, as a member of the Lord's church, has no need of any other religious institution. In fact, due to the peculiar nature of the church, we stand in a complete relationship with Christ, truth and hope of heaven — lacking nothing. To suggest that the Masonic Lodge (or any other institution) can add anything to our knowledge of truth, relationship with Christ or hope of heaven is to mock the very nature of the church of Christ

Texas "Grand Master" Admits Much

In 1973 the tax-exempt status of the Masonic Lodges in the state of Texas came under fire. In fact, the lodge in Amarillo lost its tax exempt status under a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court. At that time, the Ft. Worth Star Telegram interviewed the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Dr. Duncan Howard of Waco, who took issue with the ruling on the basis that the "full scope" of Masonry was not taken into consideration in the ruling. One of the points that he felt was not taken into consideration was the religious character of the Lodge. According to the Star Telegram, he affirmed that Masonry is religious in a non-sectarian sense since it (Masonry) is based exclusively on the Bible.

How much plainer can it be? There were other reasons why Dr. Howard felt that Masonry should be tax exempt, but our interest is in the statement about its religious nature. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Masons themselves regard Masonry as a religion. This agrees with accepted sources of information such as Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Morals and Dogma. These official sources, as well as Masonic leaders, teach that Masonry is eminently religious in nature. They regard the lodge as capable of adding truth, light and wisdom to the child of God that he cannot find in his relationship to Christ in the church. Further, those who are members of the lodge, whether members of the Lord's church or not, are offered promises of redemption into the "Grand Lodge above" (heaven). They are taught fellowship in the lodge with those who deny the Lordship of Jesus and those who worship idols. Vain and empty swearings and oaths are required to be a member of the lodge. And one must violate the teachings of Jesus in order to use the titles of respect within the lodge: "master," "grand master," "worshipful master," etc. (see Matthew 23:10).

Christians Cannot Be Masons

My brother, you cannot maintain membership in the lodge and be in a right standing with your Lord. You can just as well be a member of a full-fledged denomination as you can the Masonic Lodge. One would be ridiculous indeed to attempt to hold membership in the Baptist, Methodist or Catholic church and at the same time claim membership in the church of Christ. Yet, with all seriousness, members of the church are known to attempt to hold membership in the lodge while claiming to be a Christian. It is not possible. And I look with trepidation at any eldership which will allow any member under its "pastoral care" to continue indefinitely in such a position. At the best, these brethren in the lodges are misled and ignorant of the scriptures. Others evidently hold membership in them for business reasons, denying truth for the dollar. And some flagrantly hold membership in them in spite of all teaching of truth and admonitions. Such ought to be withdrawn from so that they be taught the error of their ways and their souls saved in the day of judgment. We do these brethren no service when we ignore their condition and permit them to be at ease in error. In the words of Paul, quoting Isaiah, "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord..." (2 Corinthians 6:17).