Thursday, June 16, 2011

Freemasonry and the Church of England

His Grace received a flurry of requests a few weeks ago to share his thoughts on the relationship between Freemasonry and the Church of England. They came in the context of the decision to appoint the the Rev Jonathan Baker, Principal of Pusey House in Oxford, to the (‘flying’) Bishopric of Ebbsfleet. The appointment was made despite the Archbishop of Canterbury knowing he was ‘an active and senior mason’.

Dr Williams has previously made it known that he believes Freemasonry to be 'incompatible’ with Christianity, doubtless owing to its reverence for some unspecified ‘supreme being’ and the need for its adherents to participate in certain cultic rituals and swear secret oaths. He has consequently refused to promote masons to senior positions with the Church, though lay involvement appears to have presented no problems. This is curious: surely if Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity, masons should not be in the Church at all, let alone arranging the flowers.

Curiously, just after the appointment, Fr Baker defended his continuing membership of the Masons to The Sunday Telegraph, insisting that it was ‘compatible with his new role as a bishop’. Yet just a week later, he had changed his mind and recanted renounced announced that he was leaving the Masons ‘to concentrate on being a bishop’. He said: “I have concluded that, because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears, I am resigning my membership of Freemasonry.” This, again, is curious: if there was nothing incompatible between Freemasonry and being the principal of and Anglo-Catholic college, why should it be incompatible with the office of bishop? Is not membership of a male-only cult rather contiguous with being a ‘flying’ bishop to oversee clergy opposed to women priests? The Archbishop of Canterbury was evidently content for the appointment to proceed while Fr Baker was still a mason, so his anxieties have manifestly eased over the years.

His Grace really was not going to delve into this, but he has received a letter from an Anglican (‘down under’) who also happens to be a third degree or Master Mason in the Blue Lodge. Hitherto, the joint affiliation has presented him with no problems. But the Diocesan Synod in Sydney has recently decreed that all Anglican Freemasons must withdraw from their Lodges or sever all connections with the Anglican Church. He wrote:

To His Grace Rt Rev Thomas Cranmer
Archbishop of Canterbury

Your Grace,

I trust that the pain of the fires did not trouble you for too long. I am reading your thoughts again, albeit from the grave.

I therefore wish to hear your views and advice on a matter of some importance to me, and of relevance to the current Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion. Last Sunday I was discussing with a church warden a proposed development to land adjacent to my parish church. A new church building is to be built between the old one (built in 1840) and the church hall (1910). Adjacent to the hall is the Masonic temple (1926). All of the buildings were commissioned by the founding family of this particular town. As a 5th generation freemason, I light-heartedly suggested that the Lodge could participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony. I was told in very clear terms that this Diocese proscribes Freemasonry, holding it to be "irreconcilably incompatible with Christianity" and the Church is to have nothing whatsoever to do with Masonic lodges, nor to permit any Masonic activity on Church land, while Anglican schools in the Diocese are to sever all links with Masonic organisations of any kind (charitable or not). This was the result of a resolution in 2003, the text of which appears below (I know it's old news now, but it has a renewed relevance in relation to the Bishop of Ebbsfleet):
RESOLUTION 25/03 – FREEMASONRY
Synod, noting the 1988 Report to Synod entitled “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 religious 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 may 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, nor allow the name of the school to be used in association with 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 the Lodge.
(The Rev Bill Winthrop - 20.10.03)
Below is the media statement in response the next day from the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory:
MEDIA STATEMENT by M.W. Bro. Tony Lauer, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, Australia

“SYDNEY SYNOD RESOLUTION THAT ANGLICAL FREEMASONS WITHDRAW FROM THE FREEMASONS – OR – FROM ATTENDING THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IS MISCONCEIVED, DISCRIMINATORY AND A BETRAYAL OF ITS FOLLOWERS,” says Tony Lauer, Grand Master of NSW & ACT Freemasons.

A resolution proposed by the Reverend William Winthrop of Lithgow that all Anglican Freemasons withdraw from their Lodges OR sever all connections with the Anglican Church, was passed last night by the Diocesan Synod in Sydney.
“ The resolution is pure discrimination, smacks of bigotry and religious fundamentalism and is a betrayal of all Freemasons who practice the Anglican Faith,” says Tony Lauer, Grand Master of the NSW & ACT Freemasons, “especially since a great percentage of Freemasons throughout the State are Anglicans.”
“Furthermore, this a one man vendetta on the part of Reverend Winthrop, over a local issue and very petty situation – that received widespread publicity - which occurred in Lithgow last year.”
“This resulted in all local Freemasons being publicly not welcomed at the local Anglican Church,” says Mr Lauer.
“The stance taken is based on total ignorance and is a misrepresentation of what Freemasonry is all about,” says Mr Lauer.
“First and foremost, Freemasonry is tolerant and respectful of all religions and admits all men of good character who have a commitment to self improvement and to serve their community. Our one requirement is that they have a belief in God as the ‘supreme being’. We do not question their other beliefs,” continued Mr Lauer.
“We accept members of all faiths as Freemasons, as long as they have this belief, hence many of our Lodge members work within their communities with men of many faiths including Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Catholics and Muslims,” added Mr Lauer.
“I would like to point out to Reverend Winthrop and the Synod, that many high-ranking ministers of religion, including Anglicans, have been – and are – Freemasons,” said Mr Lauer.
“I ask Mr Winthrop and the Diocese, whether these men are now to be considered not to be Christians because they are Freemasons,” said Mr Lauer.
“Freemasonry teaches tolerance, equality, compassion and brotherly love. If Reverend Winthrop’s and the Synod’s interpretation of ‘Christianity’ disagrees with these teachings, does this mean that the Sydney Anglican Church does not believe in the basic principles of compassion, brotherly love and above all – truth?” challenges Mr Lauer.
“Over the last 200 years Freemasons have played a significant role in shaping the fabric of Australian Society, and have been prominent in all areas of Australia’s proud history including politics, commerce, sports, the armed services.”
“In fact since Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of New South Wales in 1809, each State has had one or more Governors who were Freemasons.”
“Three of Australia’s Governors General have been Freemasons as have 10 out of 25 Prime Ministers, since Federation.”
“Are these distinguished Australians now to be branded as ‘non-Christians’ by the Anglican Church,” asked Mr Lauer.
Mr Lauer added that “ I would also like to point out that Freemasons in this state alone each year distribute more that $1,000.000 to non-Masonic worthy causes, community initiatives and charitable organisations – irrespective of their connection to any Church Group.”
“ The world, as we have come to know it today, is undergoing very alarming, uncertain and chaotic times, fuelled mainly by religious fundamentalism.”
“Surely, is this civilised society the church’s role is to teach, love, compassion, unity and tolerance of one’s fellow man, and not to promote division, hatred, alienation and downright bigotry,” concluded Mr Lauer.
The issue apparently came about as one of vengeance, as a Masonic funereal rite had been performed in a particular parish, without the rector's knowledge. Quite a coincidence that the rector concerned was the mover of the resolution at synod.

(The 1988 discussion paper referred to in the resolution is attached to this email).

On hearing this, I was quite shocked. Of course, I knew that Rome had long-since proscribed Freemasonry, especially the continental variety that was radically anti-clerical. In the case of the Roman Catholics, for a period of about 20 years during the reign of the last Bishop of Rome, there was a perception of ambiguity, while local priests were left to decide what to do about Freemasonry until the Head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, aka the inquisition, a certain Joseph Ratzinger, clarified that there was no parish discretion allowed and that Masons were held to be in a state of grave sin, unable to take communion until resignation from the Lodge. I digress, because I was used to hearing this from the Vatican, along with innumerable conspiracy theories about links to Templars, world domination etc. But I had always believed that, firstly, English and Scottish Freemasonry did not have any such revolutionary or anti-clerical character as it has been portrayed in Europe, and secondly, that with membership including royalty, senior clergy, and all manner of men of good character from Sir Winston Churchill to Sir Isaac Newton to Sir Christopher Wren, to the poorest honest men in our community, that Freemasonry had been and continues to be one of the shining lights in our civilisation.

Far from leading to any deviation from Christian thought, Freemasonry teaches members to pursue their religion with utmost vigour, exhorting men to read their Bibles and to lead their lives by the book of their respective religion.

(It is acknowledged that Freemasonry, along with the West in general, is certainly having to deal with the arrival of adherents to a certain religious background that Masons of old would never have imagined would join their ranks; one that at its heart is antithetical to the foundations of our system of morality, but that the fraternity of Freemasonry may have a moderating, perhaps one day reforming, influence on adherents to that particular faith system, in so much as we judge a man on his merits and qualities as a man, not his religious background - this is a personal view).

Indeed, the founding family of the church mentioned at the beginning of this email were all Freemasons! It goes without saying that Freemasons have a long history when it comes to building churches.

I then telephoned the Synod office today and asked if the encouragement ‘to demonstrate [my] commitment to Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God as the sole way of salvation, by withdrawing from the Lodge’ constituted a threat of excommunication if I did not resign. I was informed that the Anglican Church does not excommunicate people in the way that Rome does. I was not set at ease. Rather, I feel I cannot return to my church without feeling unwelcome.

I then wrote to my parish priest, asking the same question. Since there is a divergence of modes of worship in the Diocese, from Evangelical to Anglo-Catholic (complete with devotions to Mary of Walsingham), whether there was any parish discretion in any matter relating to Freemasons. Perhaps the reason for the lack of response is that he is seeking guidance from the Bishop's office.

Since becoming a Freemason on the death of my last grandfather, I have read far more Scripture and religious literature than I did before I joined. Among such literature was a collection of articles of religion, based on Your Grace's writings, most relevant among which relates to the ‘Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation’. Indeed, while one may use other forms of devotion as aids to worship, they are not required. Likewise, Freemasonry has augmented the depth of understanding which I have derived from Holy Writ (as we refer to it). But it is still a secular organisation. It preaches no salvific doctrine (nor any other religious doctrine in fact). It does not preach salvation by works - the Diocese's chief criticism. If it vanished tomorrow, it would not have the slightest impact on the nature of grace and salvation. But it is not harmful to one's understanding of grace. It is not idolatry. It is no more anti-Christian than a Remembrance Day service or any other civic service. Ironically, these days in this particular Diocese, the only time one may hear the beautiful hymns of our childhood (such as ‘Abide with Me’, or ‘I vow to thee, my country’, is at such a civic-religious service. We had ‘I vow to thee..’ and ‘Jerusalem’ at our own wedding, but only because we requested it). Any other day it would be insipid, overhead projector rubbish from the 1970s.

So I would hear Your Grace's opinion on the proper relationship between Freemasonry and the Church, acknowledging that the craft was still mainly an operative stonemasons' guild during your reign as Archbishop of Canterbury, although one with a sacred mission, building churches and cathedrals of stone, whereas now they build cathedrals of men's mind and character. Of course, the relevance relates to your successor the Rt Rev Rowan Williams' views on Freemasons, during his tenure as Bishop of Monmouth and subsequent comments following the resignation from the Lodge of the new Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

If I do not receive satisfactory responses from my local church, ongoing attendance will be most difficult, if I am not to perjure myself with regards to one organisation or the other. I shall have to venture outside my Diocese to worship, the nearest town in the neighbouring diocese being ninety minutes' travel.

I thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Your humble communicant,

(name withheld to preserve anonymity)


His Grace was touched that this gentleman was eager to hear His Grace’s opinion on the proper relationship between Freemasonry and the Church. His Grace responded that he would be delighted to give it, but would put the matter to his loyal communicants, among whom is often found manifest wisdom, intelligence and discernment. Over to you.

152 Comments:

Blogger Pete said...

What a lot of hot air!

16 June 2011 at 08:53  
Anonymous Lesley said...

I wouldn't let my daughter marry one.

16 June 2011 at 09:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many of these people who have an issue with Masonry have actually been Masons? I'm one and it's completely harmless. If I thought for a second it was in any way immoral or anti-Christian I would depart immediately. English Masonry is not the same as Continental Masonry (which in fairness has traditionally been anti-clerical and politicised).

16 June 2011 at 09:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should also mention that George VI, former supreme governor of the Church of England, was an active Mason.

16 June 2011 at 09:31  
Anonymous MrJ said...

The dilemma of Abp Rowan vis-a'-vis the appointment of the Revd Mr Baker is one thing, that of the Freemason writing from Australia is another.

The one is mainly about ecclesiastical law and authority and of pastoral care and responsibility attaching to the office of Primate, the other the conscience of an individual in relation to those who may be affected by his conduct, such as his family, friends and neighbours or others for whom he has a responsibility.

It may be that one who has a heartfelt desire for "the beautiful hymns of our childhood" instead of "insipid, overhead projector rubbish from the 1970s" is being led to another congregation, if need be "in the neighbouring diocese being ninety minutes' travel".

16 June 2011 at 09:48  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Perhaps someone ought to point out to Beardy that socialism is also incompatible with Christianity. Maybe he should resign right now...

16 June 2011 at 10:03  
Anonymous Andy said...

I am delighted to see this topic finally reach YG's page. As a dedicated born again evangelical and active master mason I'm obviously very keen to hear the debate.

In my experience of Freemasonry from the inside I can certainly say that there is nothing in it which is incompatible with my faith with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a fantastic charitable organisation supporting masonic and non-masonic charities alike. However most importantly, it instils in its members the importance of devotion to ones own religion (whatever that may be). I am proud to be a Christian Freemason, however there is still a lot of mis-representation as to what masonry is really all about and so many Christians are unwilling to make their membership of the craft public. Freemasonry is not a cult, the rituals do not have religious significance, rather are modes of teaching us about ourselves (based on bible stories as it happens!), it does not require blood oaths, rather obligations to hold to the tenets of the organisation (much the same as the obligation I made when I joined a respectable London gentleman's club, or which anyone may make when being sworn into a public office.

I would strongly urge those who believe Freemasonry to be incompatible with Christianity to seek out a Christian mason and put them on the spot, don't believe all the excessive spin and lies on the internet!

16 June 2011 at 10:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who are interested, I would recommend the booklet published in the "Viewpoint Series" entitled "The Christian and Freemasonry" by F.G. Hanson and K.N. Shelley. This provides a concise outline of the relevant issues, and is written by a Christian who was once a mason.

As to the "there's no harm in it" claims, I beg to differ. Perhaps at the lower degrees one might be able to conclude that it is simply a "gentlemen's club" of a benevolent order.
However, prayers are offered (despite not being a religious ritual), but not in Christ's name. The rituals bear a resemblance to Anglican ritual, but Jesus' name is not present in any. I can understand, however, that gentlemen acquainted with CofE liturgy would perhaps be lulled by the similarities.

To the Masons, what is the veiled name on the altar? Have any of you attained the Royal Arch Degree, at which this is revealed?
I am assuming that as this is a secret ritual, you would not be able to reveal it, but it is certainly not the name of the Lord of the Bible. However, it is described as the "Sacred and Mysterious Name of the True and Living God Most High".

It is not a case of personal vendetta (that is definitely a case of "excessive spin and lies") that makes people concerned about this issue. Rather it is a genuine love and care for congregation members - a concern that they are being ever-so-subtly fooled into a different worship, and committing themselves to a more binding allegiance than the allegiance of the believer to Jesus Christ.

16 June 2011 at 10:32  
OpenID scottspeig said...

Indeed YG, it is hard to comment about freemasonry as I do not have a vast (indeed, I have no) knowledge of the craft.

I will just put my opinion in though based on my interpretation of scripture for others to ponder.

As long as there is no anti-biblical activities involved, then I would suggest that it is no different than a chess club. However, the church should not promote these places since they are not designed to uphold truth (for how can it when it has incompatible religions together) and can encourage false hope for eternity?

Rather, a freemason may have to ask which master they serve, for you cannot serve two. Of course, there may not be so this would be a mute point.

16 June 2011 at 10:41  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I have no views on the subject, but do wonder what would be the effect on congregation numbers, and church finance if every Freemason withdrew from the Anglican church. Whilst I cannot be sure which members of the congregation at my Parish Church are Freemasons, I have reason to believe that they are some of the church's most active lay members, and if they, and their families, withdrew,there would be significant gaps in areas ranging from the Sunday school, youth groups and the PCC.

16 June 2011 at 10:49  
Blogger Kris said...

I personally know the individual and church involved in the issue mentioned by the "concerned" individual above, and I would like to clear up some inaccuracies.

Firstly, there was no "vengeance" on the part of the clergyman involved. Neither was there a "personal vendetta" or personal "bigotry" as the masons have slanderously asserted.

The funeral mentioned (which occurred in the absence of a rector) was a catalyst for research, prayer and action. Concerns were raised by former masons, who knew of the ban that had existed for decades on masonic rituals in that church. The clergyman researched the relevant documents, spoke to and heard from former masons on their experiences and opinions, and came to the conclusion that a Christian practising the masonic rituals was allying themselves to something which they didn't necessarily understand, and which at its heart was not compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this conviction he was vilified in local and state media, and even received violent threats. He even continues to be vilified six years later, as you can see.

As Scott mentioned above, you cannot serve two masters. If you have to leave town to keep being a mason, I would respectfully beg leave to wonder where your true allegiance lies.

16 June 2011 at 11:04  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Look lads. Stay away from Freemasonry. If you have been involved in anything like it – you would do well to read ‘Blessings and Cursings’ by Derek Prince.

Don't bring down a curse upon your family.

16 June 2011 at 11:14  
Anonymous Andy said...

@Anonymous - Having never attained the Royal Arch degree I couldn't comment on what name is given to God in that degree. However, what I would suppose from my knowledge of masonry is that it is a name to which a man of any faith can identify. Masonry is not a doctrinal or dogmatic religion, and therefore (to me anyway) there is no issue with me standing beside a Muslim or Jew and us both praying to our understanding of God using a particular name. The most common one in Masonry of course being The Great Architect of the Universe. This is just a descriptor to which any religious man can identify, and not a dogmatic statement. The act of praying together in a masonic lodge is no different to a Remembrance Day service when men and women of different faiths gather to pray to their God (irrespective of whether or not you believe their God to be a false God!).

Indeed, even as his grace commented on Monday in reference to Mr Blair, "And no civilised person could possibly disagree with the second sentence: where the Christian lives next door to the Muslim, and neither has a hope of converting the other to his respective worldview, the task is to learn what is necessary and manifest the respect due to all people in order that both may coexist in peaceful society." Masonry provides one such opportunity for us to live together in peace and harmony.

16 June 2011 at 11:15  
Blogger rosscoe_peco said...

In my experience the problem that many people have with freemasonry stems from the fact that the craft does not raise one religion over another and encourages its members to be tolerant and respectful of each others beliefs- it is the fact that freemasonry doesn't take sides and raise Catholicism over Anglicanism or Islam over Judaism (or any combination of the above) that seems to rub up the more militant members of some religious bodies who do not believe that adherents of their religion should ever mix with members of other religions on an equal footing without attempting to convert the heathen!

16 June 2011 at 11:21  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

There is nothing incompatible with Freemasonry and the CoE - indeed quite the opposite.

The Masons honour the Monarch, royal family and the rule of law. It espouses loyalty to ones nation and trust in fellowship of the Craft. Yes it has its quirky rituals and degrees of progression which teaches respect for the person rather than status. As for being a secret society of the black arts - how can this accusation be justified when any one can walk into any bookshop and purchase books on Masonic Ritual whether you are a Mason or not. There are even tours of Grand Lodge available to the general public with time for questions and answers which are freely conducted. What irks most detractors is the fact that access is by invitation only - not unlike many golf clubs or any of London's exclusive Gentlemen's Clubs but more equitable.

'The rank is but the guinea stamp
The man himself the gold' is the riposte delivered to every new 'apprentice'after his initiation ceremony. The entire performance is structured to inculcate a sense of continuity and a fostering of mutual respect that I feel is decidedly lacking in society in general.

Masonry has been a stalwart of British culture for centuries and has moved far from being the preserve of an elite band of political manipulators as some people would still have you believe. So what if the Duke of Kent is head honcho surely that only adds to the expression of national alegiance and allows the regular masons to

Sadly this is less obvious in the world outside where Z List 'celebs' are granted acres of newspaper columns if they so much as pass wind.

16 June 2011 at 11:32  
Blogger moorlandhunter said...

I’ve been a Mason for 16 years and during that time in my own Lodge and the many I have visited nothing has anything been done or taken place that is counter to any belief in God or Jesus Christ. I became a Mason because my father’s dying wish was for me to try being a Mason for six months as I had refused to join for so long even though he had been a Mason for many years and had enjoyed it so much. To my regret, I was never in Lodge with my Dad as he died before I could be initiated.

At first I sat in Lodge wondering what I had got myself into, but after six months I found, much to my surprise, I enjoyed the Masons so much that I have only missed one of my Lodges meetings in all that time. I enjoy a good meal after a ceremony, a chat and laugh with the lads, home by 10.30pm and nothing has taken place that is contrary to anything other than would take place in a Golf Club dinner.
To say Masonry is about Devil worship, secret funding and plots to take over the world via the New World Order is pure bunkum and if you ever see, men from all backgrounds of life walking home after a meeting you would realise just how silly and childish this discrimination against Freemasonry is. The solemn oath of a Freemason is to do nothing that is counter to the laws of any land you happen to be in, to obey all laws and not be concerned with political plots. If Freemasons were so powerful and able to change things then I would be a millionaire having got their by no effort at all apart from level pulling by my lodge members, but I am not, far from it, I am a nonentity in the world stage and able to nothing to register favours apart from asking the nice young lady who serves me coffee in a cafe if I could have some more sugar for my tea.
I may also like to add that UK Freemasonry is the second largest donor of money to good causes next to the National Lottery. Not bad for so-called nasty devil worshiping people who donate so much money on a voluntary basis with a chance of winning, at best a bottle of wine in the Lodge raffle.
Oh and by the way, why the AB of Canterbury is so against Masonry yet dresses up and takes part in a Druid ceremony. Given the history of Druidry, all that human sacrifice in years gone by, why does ABC support it so much?

16 June 2011 at 11:36  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

(accidentally deleted from post)..

... associate socially with other like minded people from many levels in society but meet as equals when engaged in the charitable functioning of the Craft.

16 June 2011 at 11:48  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
I feel that the issue is a complex one. But there can be no doubt that Masonry is not an open social society that anyone is free to join. Entry is restricted & if the applicant is succesful a secret series of initiation rites are followed, with oaths sworn to never reveal the 'secrets' of the craft.
This is contrary to Jesus' teaching to "Let your yes be yes, & your no be no" rather than taking oaths.
Any group that has hidden or secret teachings can rightly be described as 'occult' as the word means hidden or secret.
By its own admission Masonry is Synchretistic, which denies by implication the uniqueness of Jesus as the only way to salvation, (I believe that the 'sacred' name of the 'Grand Architect' is a combination of three deities in masonry).
One feels therefore that any man considering joining the Masonic brotherhood should bear these things in mind if he is serious about his commitment to Christ. To me it's not a question to be decided by denominational rules, although the shepherds of these congregations have a duty to warn of dangers that they perceive to be spiritually harmful or dangerous. I regret that often the lack of the gospel & sound teaching in our churches has led to a situation of many followers finding it hard to discern truth from error. Perhaps Pauls warning that we should be careful because "The devil himself appears as an Angel of light" would be of help to those who rush in to the Lodges in the hope of socially bettering their position.
In conclusion "All have sinned & come short of the glory of God", but some sins sre more obvious than others & many have sinned unwittingly in the belief that a 'Mens club' couldn't possibly be in error. But the enemy is subtle.

16 June 2011 at 11:51  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (New and Revised Edition (1929)) by Albert G. Mackey. He is one of Masonry’s most learned and famous men being a Thirty-Second Degree Mason.

‘I contend without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word except one, and philosophical, an eminently religious institution – that is indebted solely to the religious element which is its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation and the good…’

‘If Masonry were simply a Christian institution, the Jew and the Moslem, Brahman and the Bhuddist, would not conscientiously partake of its illumination; but its universality is its boast. In its language, citizens of every faith may converse; at its altar men of all religions may kneel; to its creed, disciples of every faith may submit.’

In other words, all religions are the same – except for Masonry which presides over them all. This is the same approach that the secular humanist takes and which is supported by the Equality Act 2010 (UK).

Masons offer prayers to a god. They call him: Great Architect of the Universe.

In the Encyclopaedia Mackey says (p.619): ‘There is nothing in Masonry to offend a Jew.’ That being the case there is nothing in Masonry that confesses Jesus Christ as the true God:

30 I and my Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 10:30-33

16 June 2011 at 11:59  
Anonymous Hans Wildebeest said...

I don't believe a committed Christian can participate in the rituals and take the kind of binding oaths the rites of Freemasonry demand.

We are dealing here with the spiritual realm. These rites and oaths are not boys' games - they have spiritual and psychological effects and consequences.

16 June 2011 at 12:02  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Is there any evidence to support the statement "What irks most detractors is the fact that access is by invitation only" (11:32) ?

It is often said, and has been here today, that praying together in a masonic lodge is no different to a Remembrance Day service. That shows slackness in the discriminatory department or wilful dissembling. But the distinction is too obvious to anyone who cares about the question to give it due consideration.

Why then is it proposed, and who is thought to be persuaded? It is the sort of thing that may raise a suspicion that in some respects Freemasonry may, like so many other beliefs and practices (including academic disciplines) not be completely honest with itself.

Similarly, the process for "electing" a diocesan Bishop in England could be said to raise such a suspicion.

16 June 2011 at 12:03  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

Preacher -

Utter Bollocks.

16 June 2011 at 12:04  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

British born master freemason Ebenezer Sibly, who I might add learned certain craft from the monastic astrologer Primum Mobile of Placidus de Titus, wrote in cosmic terms.

"A question of importance to our welfare cannot start from our mind but in a point of time when the planets and signs governing the persons birth, act upon the very subject that engages his thoughts and attention. Hence the birth of a question, like the nativity of a child, carries the story of the whole matter in hand upon its forehead"

Which leaves me to say YG, do Christians believe in a link between the stars and the nativity of a child or do Masons believe.

16 June 2011 at 12:09  
Anonymous T. Keningley said...

The fact that it is not permitted to discuss religion in the meetings, and that all religions are held to be equal and all are encouraged to practice their own religion as much as possible (including Islam and Hinduism) means that this organisation:

a) Limits a Christian's witness
b) Advises believers of untrue religions to follow their religion more and more.

I do not think that this can be considered a helpful thing for a Christian to endorse, although it may not necessarily be sinful in and of itself.

16 June 2011 at 12:10  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

MrJ

What evidence would you like - I can offer my own experience of course where I was invited by a friend and introduced to a friend of his. They became my sponsor and seconder and attested to my good character. My name was balloted by the Lodge members who were each given a small white ball and a small black ball. Each member deposits a ball into a retainer which if when opened, contains even one black ball the candidate is rejected. No questions - no appeal.

16 June 2011 at 12:15  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Thank you Pisophoclese for responding in a less peremptory manner than to Preacher.

I failed to make clear that my question was about the claim that it "is the fact that access is by invitation only" which "irks most detractors."

Other comments here show otherwise.

16 June 2011 at 12:24  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace, when your communicant was a mere pup he worked in the offices of an August City Establishment, sharing a desk with a bachelor scion of the founding family. Much older than your communicant, the scion was clearly a member of a masonic guild, a subject about which your communicant knew nothing at all. The scion was somewhat shy about discussion of the rituals with the fellow masons who rang to discuss 'degrees' and other arcanities. Some of these elaborately coded conversations were conducted with the scion's head below his desk. Your communicant was uncertain whether this contortion was a precursor to the ritual itself, or merely an attempt to gain greater privacy. In any event it all seemed very strange indeed and manifestly in breach of the City motto 'Domine dirige nos'.

It seems likely that your communicant has received masonic handshakes at various times in his chequered career, but appears to have failed this recognition test on each occasion. No invitation to join has ever been offered, and for this your communicant is grateful. Parading around a temple with the left breast exposed to prove masculinity is hardly the way of the Lord.

As other communicants have suggested, a choice is inevitable. If Your Grace's correspondent was formerly a member of the NSW Police Service where masonry seems particularly well-entrenched, his dilemma may assume additional piquancy.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Lauer

16 June 2011 at 12:35  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

I was once recruited by a Mason. He knew my concerns, and so he gave me a little pamphlet on the subject explaining Freemasonry, and said all the same things written here. "Free Masonry is not a religion, etc, etc." My response was to go through his pamphlet and point out all the religious implications and religious doctrines in his own material. It presents itself as a form of vague Deism with its primary purpose being soul-craft. One cannot escape the clear implications of works righteousness in its teachings.

The man who gave me that pamphlet died young of cancer, and I was a pallbearer at his funeral. The man attended a liberal church, and so the pastor allowed a Masonic funeral service to be attached. It was positively pagan in its symbolism. Laural wreathes, and pillars, and the body laid out in full masonic garb. There was even a mangled reading from Scripture where a pronouncement of judgment was misidentified as a pronouncement of redemption. I was stunned a (nominally) Christian pastor would allow such an event in his church.

I will never forget that funeral. It was a sad conclusion to a man's life, devoid as it was of any real hope.

carl

16 June 2011 at 12:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T Keningley: Albert Mackey is widely regarded to be nuts.

Secondly, they do not regard all religions as being equal or the same. They regard em as one's own business. Freemasonry does not exhort brethren to pantheism.

Freemasonry is not syncretistic, as synchretism denotes combining aspects of different religions into one religion. Freemasonry is not a religion. I personally have found that the depth and significance of the philosophy of freemasonry doesn't even hold a candle to that of bibical teaching. I gain my sense of spiritual fulfilment after reading Holy Writ and worshipping with fellow Christians in a church. Masonic ritual is a bonus. As an Anglican I subscribe to the 39 articles, most significantly among which being the one about "the sufficiency of Holy Scripture for salvation".

Might I add that much of the ritual of the first two degrees have their origin in the rites of operative masons, the very same who built Westminster Abbey. Building a church or cathedral is a sacred act, hence the religious nature of the plays and rituals of freemasonry, as opposed to the morality plays of all the other guilds (who used to travel the country giving such plays for the purpose of moral instruction). It is considered by many that the requirement that masons be free men of mature age, sound judgment and strict morals, may have its origin in this aspect of masonry.

16 June 2011 at 13:02  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

CJ

I will never forget that funeral. It was a sad conclusion to a man's life, devoid as it was of any real hope.

By what right do you assume to judge the value of this man's life based on his association with Masonry? He obviously saw no conflict between the church of his favour and his freemasonry why should you?

To lose a life prematurely is indeed a sad occasion - and raises in me many questions about the motives of a benevolent Supreme Being.

The fact that his was a'liberal' church seems more important to your opinion than his Masonic pursuits. He sounds like a thoroughly decent and tolerant chap as I am sure you are yourself but - How different is it than say the funeral of a motorcyclist being conducted with Harley-Davidson paraphernalia and a cash helmet on the coffin or for that matter a football fan who has his ashes scattered on the pitch.

Surely the important issue is that the wishes (presumably) of the deceased were respected and thereby he engaged one more time with the living bearing witness to his memory at the service.

I call that a win-win.

16 June 2011 at 13:18  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Balderdash, tosh and piffle!

Of all the things wrong with the C-of-E, the Masons are the least of problems; indeed, they are no problem at all.

''Incompatible'' my arse!

Better a Mason than a bunch of bum-bandits, dykes, commmies and tepid, simpering 'do-gooders' who cannot bring themselves to sing ''Jerusalem''!

16 June 2011 at 13:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bluedog: No need to have a go at Mr Lauer, whoever he may be. Play the ball and all that.

And what do communicants here thinks about the Christian only degrees of Malta and the Temple (they demand that members be prepared to defend Christianity, and they must affirm their faith in the trinity, or so I am led to believe)?

16 June 2011 at 13:30  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘Freemasonry is not syncretistic, as synchretism denotes combining aspects of different religions into one religion. Freemasonry is not a religion.’


CHARGE TO BE READ AT OPENING THE LODGE:

‘Wherefore, brethren, lay aside all malice, and guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious, to whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men but chosen of God, and precious; ye also as living stones, be ye built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices acceptable to God… (The passages of Scripture here selected are peculiarly appropriate to this degree… The passages are taken, with slight but necessary modifications, from the second chapter of the First Epistle Peter…)’

(Dr Mackey (p. 271))

Do you see what the members of the Craft have done?

Do you see whose name they have excised?

‘Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’

First Book of Peter 2:5

Masonry is saying that it is acceptable to approach God and offer service to Him without coming through Jesus Christ.

That is the high insolent answer of the Craft to the ultimatum of Christ:

‘No man cometh to the Father but by Me.’

John 14:6



Leave her my people! Come out of her!

16 June 2011 at 13:32  
Anonymous BUSHIDO said...

BUSHIDO
My, what self, righteousness we display, which shows a strong spirit. Who was it who recited the beatitude
"blessed are the poor in spirit. If you are unsure of the meaning, read Meister Eckhart.
Also, to quote the Tao Te Ching: "The
god that can be named is not the eternal God". No doubt many will know better!

16 June 2011 at 13:35  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

Pisophoclese

By what right do you assume to judge the value of this man's life based on his association with Masonry?

I didn't judge his life. I judged his funeral, and harshly. And my judgment is right. I judged the funeral because it was chock full with pagan symbolism. There was no Christian component in the Masonic service. There was no Cross. There was no Redemption. There was no Gospel. There was the proclamation of God receiving a man for a life well-lived. That's a lie.

The fact that his was a'liberal' church seems more important to your opinion than his Masonic pursuits.

The liberal nature of the church is what allowed the Masonic service to occur. I guarantee you that no church I have ever attended would allow such a thing. No sound church should allow such a thing. It won't have any room for rituals which are offered to an unknown god.

How different is it than say the funeral of a motorcyclist being conducted with Harley-Davidson paraphernalia and a cash helmet on the coffin or for that matter a football fan who has his ashes scattered on the pitch.

The difference is found in the overt religious presentation of Freemasonry, and its overt attempts to improve the soul of man. This is what disturbs the Christian. It is the works-righteousness aspects of Freemasonry and the fact that its rituals are all written around some deity called [insert diety's name here].

carl

16 June 2011 at 13:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mozart was a Mason so can it be all bad?

The condemnation from Sydney should be contextualised. The Anglicanism that is practised in the Australian diocese of Sydney is very special indeed. That diocese tried to punish the rest of the Australian church for ordaining women by hatching plans to permit "lay presidency" at the Holy Communion = the laity saying the Prayer of Consecration at the Lord's Supper.

They used to say that the secret ceremonies of the Lodge were a false substitute for the ritual lost at the reformation. I wonder.

How do these Masons find the time for work, church, recreation and their families and their secret Lodge commitments. Surely their time could be better spent on activities that were more 'life-affirming'?

16 June 2011 at 13:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding "lay presidency", I believe they did repeal the ordnances arising out of the Act of Uniformity relating to the restriction to priests only giving communion.

16 June 2011 at 13:46  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Anonymous @ 13.30 said, 'Bluedog: No need to have a go at Mr Lauer, whoever he may be. Play the ball and all that.'

Well bless my soul. Is all I did was provide an opportunity for communicants to discover that the top cop was also the top mason in New South Wales. So if His Grace's corresponding communicant is a high ranking mason, as it seems, and if he is/was also a member of the NSWPS, one can imagine that the dilemma is acute. Loyalties are greatly stretched.

What part of that is a criticism of Mr Lauer?

16 June 2011 at 13:49  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

CJ

You have it your way - you are disrespecting the man as far as I can tell.

...its overt attempts to improve the soul of man

I never heard anything to do with improving a man's soul - being a good citizen and engaging in charitable work through donations of time and/or money - guilty as charged.

The response from the men of the Church is what one would expect of an organisation obsessed with temporal power.

16 June 2011 at 14:00  
Anonymous Philip said...

The Sydney Synod is right. Rev Baker should not have been appointed, certainly if he had not renounced and left Freemasonry. Because, as HG says, Freemasonry involves "reverence for some unspecified ‘supreme being’ and the need for its adherents to participate in certain cultic rituals and swear secret oaths.". And if this supreme being is in fact revealed (apparently as one gets further up the hierachy more is revealed), a composite 'god' including Jehovah and Baal, and if it is finally revealed as Satan-worship, then obviously Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity.

16 June 2011 at 14:05  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Writing of the ‘working tools’ of the ‘Entered Apprentice’, Mackey says; “The Common Gavel is an instrument made use of by the operative masons to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder’s use; but we as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life; thereby fitting our minds as living stones for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands’ eternal in the heavens.’ (The Ritualist p.39)

Upon the authority of God’s Word you can never get rid of your sins and vices with the ‘common gavel’ of Masonry. You can never fit yourselves for ‘the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’

There is just one thing that can take away sins and make you fit to enter the blessed house – the blood of Jesus Christ. ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood… to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Rev. 1 5-6)

16 June 2011 at 14:09  
Anonymous Paleo said...

"Masonry accepts men of any religion as long as the person believes in a deity. However, even the devil believes in God and trembles before Him.The Christian Faith is an exclusive Faith. Christianity was revealed by God to man and is not a system worked out by man himself. God came into the world in Christ Jesus in order to lift man up to Him. For a true Christian, Christ means everything! A true Christian will never deny Christ! A Christian is saved through the Blood of Christ, There is no salvation except in the name of Christ. Any worship which excludes Christ is unchristian" from http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/thefaith/borichevsky/masonry.cfm

16 June 2011 at 14:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as the Royal Arch degree, Scottish Rite degree, 423rd degree, etc.

There are only three degrees in Freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

On becoming a Master Mason, there are certain groups inside the Masons one can then choose to join or be invited to join, but these aren't new, secret levels of Freemasonry. They might rather be likened to the TRG, Cornerstone Group or Conservative Way Forward within the Tory party: internal clubs for people sharing certain views or personal development goals.

16 June 2011 at 14:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D Singh, would you judge Christianity by the weirdest nutcase you could find? That is what atheists do, they go for the low hanging fruit; you have gone after an individual who is neither representative of British freemasonry nor alive to defend his views.

16 June 2011 at 14:15  
Blogger D. Singh said...

You say, “If Masonry is such a terrible institution, why don’t other men condemn it?”

They have done so.

John Adams condemned it. Also John Quincy Adams, James Madison, Millard Filmore, Daniel Webster, Charles Summer. Of the great evangelists, Finney condemned it. Moody condemned it. Torrey condemned it.

And by God’s grace, here be good Christian men that condemn it.

16 June 2011 at 14:17  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

1 Corinthians 13:13 - And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

Although not a Mason myself I have been in close contact with many and the most sinister comment I have heard is that some join for career advancement. That was many, many years ago. Other than that, charity has always been the key.

Resolution 25/03(b) affirms that Freemasonry teaches and upholds a system of false religious and spiritual beliefs that are contrary to biblical Christianity. - Really! So why does the church tolerate Islam which demands total submission to their Muslim God while rejecting Masonic charity?

16 June 2011 at 14:25  
Blogger Gerv said...

"Freemasonry teaches members to pursue their religion with utmost vigour, exhorting men to read their Bibles and to lead their lives by the book of their respective religion."

And that is precisely the problem. Freemasonry is pluralist. Pluralism and Christianity are incompatible. One cannot believe at one and the same time that a) it is good to encourage all men to live by the book of their respective religion, and b) the only way to God is through Jesus Christ.

Those who defend Freemasonry here: do you believe a) or b)?

16 June 2011 at 14:32  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘Also, to quote the Tao Te Ching: "The god that can be named is not the eternal God". No doubt many will know better!’

Many do: the Jews.

All denominations of Judaism teach that the four letter name of God, YHVH, is forbidden to be uttered except by the High Priest, in the Temple. Since the Temple in Jerusalem is no longer extant, this name is never pronounced in religious rituals by Jews. Orthodox Jews never pronounce it for any reason. Some non-Orthodox Jews are willing to pronounce it, but for educational purposes only, and never in causal conversation or in prayer. Instead of pronouncing YHVH during prayer, Jews say "Adonai".

16 June 2011 at 14:52  
Blogger Willie said...

Pisophoclese is on the ball. I am a Mason and enjoy it greatly. As a member of the C of E, I find no contradictions or conflicts with my faith. I was most concerned about this before joining as many of the books such as the Brotherhood are quite worrying to the uninitiated. However I find that masonry really does make one thoughtful about the areas that the latter day C of E doesn't bother with any more; such as moral development.
Those that find it difficult to support a left wing social engineering sort of Church that becomes less tolerant find some satisfaction in masonry, not as a substitue for, but a complement to, Christianity.
Was Michael Fisher in his time incapable of thought on this matter? I do not think so.
It seems that the C of E today wants to be the Labour Party at prayer.To be a socialist it requires you to hate a part of society, usually the rich or advantaged. I find this incompatable with Christianity. It certainly is not the case with Masonry.

16 June 2011 at 14:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerv, the problem is that the language of the ritual is archaic, from a period when the only religions really under consideration were Chrisianity and Judaism, and for most of that, Christianity alone. So the recommendation to live one's life by one's respective group has become a difficult one, if you include the Koran, as Islam is pretty much the only major religion around that preaches overt intolerance, hostility, violence and enslavement regarding other faiths as an article of faith (rather than an innovation at variance with faith, such as the inquisition). To a point I therefore agree that this has complicated matters as it has in western secular society at large, where undemocratic bigoted misogynists are now part of society and in large part resist assimilation to the majority culture.

This has to be worked out in freemasonry, justvas it must in those churches who would cast aside some of their fundamental beliefs so as to look more tolerant. I have come across a number of Freemasons who erroneously tend to religious equivalence, echoing the politically correct platitudes they would utter outside the lodge. They earn a sharp rebuke from me. I point out that while we check our prejudices at the door when we enter the lodge, it doesn't mean that we are exhorted to accept the validity of anyone else's religion, nor does it mean that we can't pick them (our prejudices) up again on the way out of lodge! Just as we can't use every example of a Christian as representative of the whole of one's denomination (I have met some pretty shallow, superstitious Christians), we can't take as representative every single mason's individual interpretation of freemasonry (not that you, Gerv, did, but some others here have).

Perhaps the tendency of some masons to misinterpret tolerance as acceptance might explain the rising popularity of some of the appending bodies (Masonic orders of Malta, Templars, Constantine etc) which only admit Christians professing belief in the Trinity.

16 June 2011 at 15:13  
Anonymous Heath Black said...

I think the goat chasing ceremony with a dagger might not be sympatico with Christian ethics.

Reverend William Winthrop of Lithgow ( of see Lithgow and die fame)is probably familiar with this
aspect and that is the reason he raised the issue.

16 June 2011 at 15:22  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘It seems that the C of E today wants to be the Labour Party at prayer. To be a socialist it requires you to hate a part of society, usually the rich or advantaged. I find this incompatible with Christianity.’

It certainly is incompatible with Christianity.

Some do not know what Christianity is. And they remain untaught. Because they do not know what Christianity is about they see nothing wrong with Masonry.

If there is to be any blame, it belongs to those who have failed to teach the truth.

For our priests, curates, rectors, bishops – their day of reckoning approaches. They will be held to account for their failure to discharge the great responsibility God placed upon their shoulders.

I am a member of the Church of England.

16 June 2011 at 15:34  
Anonymous Pisophoclese said...

You know - re-reading some of the comments from people who think of themselves as Christian with a capital C, I feel that I understand something of the mood of what it must have been like for those non-conformists sent fleeing for their lives in the 17C.

There is such intolerance for any dissent from the entrenched dogma of those who think they are superior in intellect and understanding of what the Christian spirit really is; it borders on paranoia - the same paranoia that cruelly murdered hundreds in the most barbaric of manners.

They weren't burning the devil out of the victims they tied at the stake - they were terrifying an entire population in to submission. They were no less guilty of terrorism than the fanatical Islamists who are currently engaged in wreaking their own particular brand of terror all around the world.

Freemasonry was a way of maintaining ones faith and belief in a 'God' without expressing whether one was aligned with any one of a number of variations of ways in which to worship: It was born out of repression

If anything Freemasonry has done more to protect men from religious zealots than they would prefer. If a man reached the same 'God' through other means than hypocritically following the most aggressive of peer pressure, then it has done Christianity a great favour.

Many of the founding fathers of the US were Masons whose forefathers had fled the oppression of Anglican England for the sanctuary of North America - reading these pitchfork and firebrand comments, I'm not surprised.

And they wonder why Freemasonry keeps its 'secrets'

16 June 2011 at 15:45  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Much of it seems to be built around a fairy tale personage, Hiram Abiff, involved in building Solomon's Temple. This is pure fiction, and yet it is presented as truth by the Masons.

16 June 2011 at 15:47  
Blogger Edward Green said...

"Nature produced common property.
Robbery made private property." St.Ambrose

I don't think Christian Socialism is a problem, although I suspect that it tends towards semi-feudal Distributism http://bit.ly/iJES3B as One-Nation Toryism does.

As for the Masons, well my late Grandfather (a Lay Reader) was a fine Christian and a Mason, as are a number of my closest friends. But the very nature of the organisation makes it hard for me to make an open assessment.

Unlike for the example the WI - banned from one local village hall for being a subversive leftist organisation back in the day.

16 June 2011 at 15:48  
Blogger MFH said...

TG your successor says freemasonry is incompatibly with Christianity, - as is idolatry, pride, theft, covertness, adultery and homosexuality.
how much does he speak out against these?
The CoE( the majority- not all) abandoned Christianity long time ago.

16 June 2011 at 15:51  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

If Freemasonry is as innocuous and Christian-friendly as its adherents seem to suggest in these comments, I can only wonder how such an institution - which is a closed shop to those who are pro fanum - can square (pardon the pun!) with the Gospel of free grace, which is freely open to all who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? It seems like an oxymoron.

Freemasonry describes itself as a 'society with secrets' rather than a secret society, and although Christians are exhorted by Christ to practise their works of charity in a discreet fashion (in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves), I struggle to see how professing Christian masons can comfortably hide behind the secrecy of an organisation which has more of the hallmarks of an ancient mystery religion than an open body; the degrees of Freemasonry bring the candidate into more esoteric knowledge not made freely available to those in the lower ranks.

While not denying the substantial contributions that Freemasons make to charity - and the good works they do - how can we be sure that there aren't also 'unfruitful works of darkness' associated with the craft? We're not permitted to know. To the outsider Christian it looks very works-centred - which undermines the theology of free grace. David W. M. Vaughan's autobiographical 'Diary Of A Freed Mason' describes his descent into spiritualism as he progressed through the degrees - until he came to Christ and renounced it all. Not a ringing endorsement, is it?

Furthermore, how can a syncretistic body which encourages religious observance in its adherents irrespective of their faith be remotely helpful to those who profess the exclusiveness of the Christian faith? What have light and darkness in common?

I'm an Anglican evangelical, and the church I attend has been unambiguous in its opposition to Freemasonry - and has encouraged prayerful repentance in those who have been affected by it.

16 June 2011 at 16:05  
Anonymous Paul said...

I have been a Freemason for 30 years and I am a Christian as well. My being a Mason does not inhibit me as a Christian. There is nothing in Freemasonry that I find in conflict with my belief as a Christian.

16 June 2011 at 16:16  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The cuneiform sign for God was a ★ thus the Betsy Ross flag of America and the thirteen stars and sripes all form part of masonic occultation.

Betsy being decended from the Hebridean Clan Ross of Ross Shire, Scotland.

Free will has a date with destiny, lets hope the stars are not ill fated.

16 June 2011 at 17:03  
Blogger Kilsally said...

I wonder what the position on Orange Lodges is since there are a great many Anglican Ministers who are members / chaplains - many will be preaching at Twelfth of July platforms in the coming weeks. There is a paper called `THE ORANGE ORDER: An Evangelical Perspective -ORANGEISM COMPARED WITH FREEMASONRY
- SOME EVANGELICAL OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED ` produced by REV. IAN MEREDITH B.A., M.Th. Grand Chaplain Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland & REV. BRIAN KENNAWAY M.A. Deputy Grand Chaplain Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland (at the time it was written) over here:- http://orange-order.co.uk/index.php?/topic/685-is-the-orange-order-connected-to-he-freemasons/ . The other side of the story on Freemason Lodges and Orange Lodges can be found on the Evangelical Truth website:- http://www.evangelicaltruth.com/

16 June 2011 at 17:20  
Anonymous John Punshon said...

Many Anglicans are active in organisations devoted not to making converts but to interfaith 'dialogue'. Why Anglicans participating in these bodies should be free of the sort of strictures levelled against the Freemasons, I really cannot understand!

16 June 2011 at 17:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the son of a 32nd degree mason. I am also a Christian who strongly believes one cannot be a Christian and a Freemason. Swearing allegiance to a triune god - jah-bal-on, as they do in their lodge meetings, is incompatible with belonging to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Many years ago, I was involved in producing a video, (which is apparently available on YouTube now) called From Darkness to Light - the title is what Masons claim they are doing when they swear their blood-curdling oaths upon joining Freemasonry.

Third degree/Master Masons are intentionally mislead as to what Freemasonry is really about. Read the works of Albert Pike to get an idea of how warped and perverted Freemasonry truly is - or watch the aforementioned video. Just remember that it was produced almost 20 years ago and it looks like it. :-)

16 June 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger English Viking said...

Whilst it is a good thing that certain C of E clerics seek to take a stand against the idolatry and demonism of Freemasonry in particular and secret societies in general, it should not be number one on the list of concerns.

That the current ABC is a chief druid should be a major concern; that the Church hierarchy is riddled with homos, lezzers and those who appear implacably opposed to the message of the Gospel means that these things should figure far higher on that list.

Do not be yolked with unbelievers.

16 June 2011 at 18:42  
Anonymous carl jacobs said...

Pisophoclese wrote:

I feel that I understand something of the mood of what it must have been like for those non-conformists sent fleeing for their lives in the 17C.

So we have come to the point where telling someone "You are wrong" is the same as saying "I am going to kill you for being wrong." Has the mere act of challenging another man's worldview now become a threat to civil peace? It would seem the proclamation of the Christian Gospel must be outlawed lest someone be confroneted with it and find himself offended.

Tolerance has been redefined as the abnegation of particular Truth. It now means "I accept that your truth is true for you, and I admit I have no authority to make any statements about your truth." Unfortunately, no Christian can agree to those terms. We do have authority to judge, and we are supposed to uphold the particular truth of the Christian faith to the exclusion of all others. We aren't looking for men to find the same 'God' by other means because God cannot be found by any other means. There is One God made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ. There are not many gods. Neither is there one god who is manifested in all the religions of man. There is One Way. There is One Name by which men may be saved. Not two. Not three. Not many. One.

carl

16 June 2011 at 18:49  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Anonymous @ 18:36 - the clip shows so-called experts wildly contradicting each other.

16 June 2011 at 18:49  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Masonary is completely inconsistent with Christianity and I'm really surprised at how many people think otherwise.

The oath is to a 'supreme being' and therefore contradicts the First Commandment. It is a 'secret society' and so who really knows what individual lodges actually do. And belief in a 'supreme being' is surely a direct rejection of the God revealed in the Bible?

Fine, participate in charities and hold social events - but swear allegiance to the organisation and secrecy about its rituals, signs and pracrices and to do so through a 'supreme being'? No, no, no. Go join the Rotary Club or the 100 Club!

Yet again the Roman Catholic Church gives clear, uncompromising and direct leadership on this. Their opposition to this 'world religion' based on no Holy Scripture is well founded indeed.

The Police have to declare membership of Masonry in Scotland. In my view all Masons in public office and in Church positions should be obliged to declare same.

16 June 2011 at 18:50  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I'd rather trust a Mason than a Jesuit ...

16 June 2011 at 18:54  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Second Church Estates Commissioner Tony Baldry, Grand Arch of the Masonic Order, criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury.

How can a Worshipper of Jahbulon criticise the Archbishop of Canterbury ?

Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee were both Freemasons, Prince Philip is a Mason but Prince Charles refused.

How can worshippers of a Deity antithetical to the Jewish God and Christian Messiah be acceptable in the Church of England ?

16 June 2011 at 18:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ oswin. Nice try. The video has helped to get 100s if not thousands of men out of Freemasonry. Watch it again as I hope it will help you.

As much as Masons will state otherwise it is neither relationally nor intellectually possible for one to be both a Christian and a (fully knowledgeable) Freemason.

16 June 2011 at 19:00  
Blogger Gerv said...

Anonymous wrote: "I point out that while we check our prejudices at the door when we enter the lodge, it doesn't mean that we are exhorted to accept the validity of anyone else's religion, nor does it mean that we can't pick them (our prejudices) up again on the way out of lodge!"

Is Jesus Lord inside your lodge building? If so, why are you leaving the idea ("prejudice"?) that he is the only way to God at the door, even if you are picking it up on the way out?

If Jesus is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all. You need to proclaim Jesus as your Lord at Lodge meetings as well as outside them.

16 June 2011 at 19:20  
Anonymous Pistopholcese said...

As much as Masons will state otherwise it is neither relationally nor intellectually possible for one to be both a Christian and a (fully knowledgeable) Freemason.

Anon
You are simply making wild statements and I am wondering just where you are getting your information or is it merely the wisdom of your own imagination you are sharing here. You certainly don't appear to be willing to supply any evidence or cite any references.

I left Freemasonry totally freely and without rancour - no Lodges as far as I am aware hold anyone against their will FFS.

Anyway invent yourself a handle if you wish to become enlightened.

CJ
So we have come to the point where telling someone "You are wrong" is the same as saying "I am going to kill you for being wrong.

Well your Church's history is full of stuff such as this.

By telling someone they are wrong over anything, assumes that the accuser is in possession of an absolute truth; You may believe such and such to be true, that is your entitlement in a free society - but that's all it is. It is not your right to contradict without supportive evidence or to seek to impose your belief upon anyone who happens to disagree with your belief.

This totalitarian imposition was exactly my reason for making the point about the persecution of 17C Non-Conformists by the Establishment.

16 June 2011 at 19:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of rubbish talked here. Essentially I think it can be broken down into 1) people who think, despite protestations to the contrary, freemasonry is really a religion after all 2) people who complain that, in taking no position on the validity of individual religions freemasonry more subtly undermines Christianity, by preventing its advocation. Those claiming the first like to cite totally suspect authors like Pyke (someone few UK masons have ever heard of) - rather than making their claims on any current basis. I would add my voice to those Freeemasons who specifically state this is not the case.

The second argument is also bogus: my employer would almost certainly sack me were I to start telling Jewish members of staff about the error of their ways. It does not make working for them incompatible with Christianity, nor should it. Tolerance is not incompatible with anglicanism - I can't really see the ABC advocating that particular stance.

which is a closed shop to those who are pro fanum - can square (pardon the pun!) with the Gospel of free grace, which is freely open to all who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Again, this argument is only relevant if Freemasonry were a religion - it is not! Extending this argument would make golf clubs, private members clubs etc etc incompatible.

For myself, I have never found freemasonry incompatible with my Christianity, but I would say that, wouldn't I. It has given me great pleasure, allowed me to take part in helping Charity, and allowed me to have a really good time.

16 June 2011 at 20:01  
Anonymous Anony Moose said...

@ Pistopholcese, I'm sorry if made it difficult for you to follow my two previous comments as Anonymous @ 19:00 & 18:36 - odd as the 2nd references the first via Oswin. However, perhaps my "handle" will help.

As stated, I'm both the son of 32nd degree Mason (a Shriner), and was involved in the production of a video on Freemasonry many years ago. I'm hardly making wild assumptions about FM. And forgive the rudeness, but your own ignorance is rather telling.

16 June 2011 at 20:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And belief in a 'supreme being' is surely a direct rejection of the God revealed in the Bible?"

Some lodges require members to be Christians. Those that do not are suitable for both Christians and non-Christians who can interpret the Great Architect as God, Allah or whoever else they worship. Even lodges that don't specify a particular religion often use the Bible as the Book of Sacred Law.

16 June 2011 at 20:09  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I have looked at freemasonry sometimes and seen socialism , altruism and even denial of christ . I can see that the old testament has more meaning ,than the new testament . I once asked a master mason what happens to people who entice spiritual things ,they should not ,his response was resolute that it should be stamped out as quickly as possible .
I have read masonic thought on making light and also why it does not dicuss religion , it is trying to avoid evil , indeed it is this curious necessity to avoid evil within ones self that is universally appealing and tries to reach to an idealogical place of what we should be ,before being blemished with all the spurious things that man may teach. The concept of the great archtect is undeniable to any faith , hence faith is no barrier.It cannot and never does criticise any faith as it considers there is somthing more universal which should be understood.
I have never a mason that has no faith , and yet I have never met an evangelical christian mason who makes a case for the christian faith by theologically critcsing others , as this is a sort of ignorance of ones brother , as god also made the people that you disagree with/or hate . It is very harsh with such contentions pointing out "we all die" , in that sense masonic degrees are supposed to teach you to be more carefull about what errors may be in your own mind.
It is self improvement or perhaps judgement of your own ignorance before god.
Freemasonary , in part seems to be benign to christ, to put it bluntly either christ is the salvation of mankind or he isnt (or not above above or beneath other faiths).
The only problem I have had is the question of "if where/what one draws your morality from is important " , which the universal architect answer doesnt quite explain , as all faiths are post eden and the suggestion of the serpent , and some have other beginnings.
This difficulty is somthing that some masons can be concious of and yet the problem of us all being effectively born free (and clutterd up later) I found a maddening proposition , yet very powerful, but rather at odds with our modern way of living which has no call to religion ,indeed we mostly see religion is declining.
The implied redcutionism of masonry , is very challenging , you are certainly not at church , but isnt the bible a store of the failings of certain thoughts ? so what happens to masonic constitution when the bible is no longer read worshipped and observed ? , ahh but that would be discussing religion wouldnt it !
It is possible for perfect systems of morality to be disconnected from the universal archtect .There is both the design and the humility of creation in any approach to god , I am not angry at the masons trying to live to work this out , but I would think not all solutions are darkness and light , once the light event has happened.
Curse and blessing may be lesson , we suffer for christ , but if the tariff does not provise the lesson then you may wonder what sort of society we live in , if we are losing both our fear and concept of god , then whatever is replacing it is subject to masonic belief .How can it be a system of morality without censure of anything that promotes unstable foundations .
If society is becomming ignorant , who should we blame ? if the masons do control the world , then if it fails they will have got it wrong , which is the interesting question/answer that the return of jesus may pose.
I rather wish they were a little more encouraging , but that seems to a modern dilemma of popular culture informing that the rule of law has no meaning to the happines of desires ,which is one of my critcisms of nudge theory .
The spirit when invoked by our earnest repentence in jesus christs name is quite different to an eternity of firm hammer blows , somthing I think jesus christ came to earth to pose as a question for us to try and sort ,and then work to fullfill.

16 June 2011 at 20:25  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Is there a conflict between Freemasonry and Christianity? If it is accepted that of the two Christianity is paramount, then what guidance is to be taken from the New Testament?

Among things about the Church of England that may perplex devout members of the laity is finding that members of the royal family from the 18c. to this day, have been and are Freemasons (including the late king, George VI).

It is difficult to see that a person who failed to accept the importance of the distinction between the intent of Freemasonry and the intent of the Christianity witnessed by the books of the "New Testament" would be able properly to undertake a commitment to serve as a pastor or minister, clergyman or priest.

Is there nothing more to Freemasonry than a club membership?

But as English Viking has remarked, this should not be number one on the list of present concerns.

16 June 2011 at 20:46  
Blogger len said...

The First Commandment reads:

'And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' (Exodus 20:1-3)

Masons worship a 'supreme being', however they do not define who this' supreme being' is,a least not at the lower levels of Masonry.
Of course if Masons were worshipping the God of Abraham , Isaac, and Jacob there would be no reason to hide this fact.
All false religions have their roots in Babylon and are directly opposed to Biblical Christianity.

16 June 2011 at 20:51  
Anonymous Pistopholcese said...

Mr Moose

Thank you for sharing. I take it that the inside knowledge passed on to you by your father says more about him than you. Ignorant I undoubtedly am as regards the 32 degree - at least my integrity is still intact.

16 June 2011 at 20:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather and father were freemasons (poor working class Northumbrian folk). They were also devoted Methodists. I was frogmarched to church every Sunday until the age of 14. Regardless of Church teaching on Sunday (that's left a love for RVW and Tallis)what has stayed with me more are the lessons from the other 6 days a week. They are the universal values of brotherly love; the Masonic value system in terms of how to lead my life and to treat others (indeed I believe if all the world were of a Masonic mindset we'd have far fewer wars and conflicts).

I am not a Freemason nor do I know any members of The Brotherhood.

16 June 2011 at 21:28  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Anglicans are getting cosy with druidry and wiccans, so why not freemasonry, even Islam on an esoteric level has something to offer.

What could happen, that has not already happened. At worst they are an outfit of Commercial interests based on pagan esoteric ideas and have instituted wars, using planetary influences to gain advantage.

On the other hand they believe in as above so below and as without so within, therefore free will can still be a guiding principal as to where we go next.

Do not fear the dark, go into the dark and let your light shine.

16 June 2011 at 21:33  
Anonymous Anony Moose said...

Dear Pistopholcese,

My father, long dead did not reveal the secrets of the evil of Freemasonry to me. Two years of research from a team of six did however. And had my father chosen to reveal the extreme nonsense of FM to me, I would have held him in much higher regard.

There's a great scene in Princess Bride where Kevin Kline's character says, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." When it comes to "integrity", I think that just might apply to you.

A man of integrity would recognize the perversion and evil of FM and shout it from the housetops - to keep other gullible men out of it.

Please don't attempt to hide by your supposed integrity.

16 June 2011 at 23:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently saw people protesting against Freemasonry and handing out leaflets at the welcome meeting for the new General of the Salvation Army - a particularly confusing occasion for such a protest, given that the new General is female!

16 June 2011 at 23:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iñigo Montoya was not played by Kevin Kline in 'The Princess Bride' ;-)

17 June 2011 at 00:12  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Oswin said...
"I'd rather trust a Mason than a Jesuit ..."

How would you know the person you would trust is a Mason?

The Society of Jesus is a much misunderstood and maligned religious order.

If only the Congregationalists had left Christianity in China to the Jesuits, for example, that country would in all probability be a Christian country today.

17 June 2011 at 00:27  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Anony Moose said...
"As stated, I'm both the son of 32nd degree Mason (a Shriner), and was involved in the production of a video on Freemasonry many years ago."

Are you able/willing to say what leading FM's actually believe about the 'Supreme Being' and the direction history is taking?

17 June 2011 at 00:44  
Blogger Don said...

Coming from a family whose Masonic roots ran deeper than their Anglican/Episcopal ones, I'm inclined to agree with Dr. Williams on this one, for reasons I detail here.

Having said that, I think that there are more serious forms of syncretism floating around the Anglican Communion that rate more diligent attention than Freemasonry.

17 June 2011 at 00:58  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I might add , that a church that is niave to the ways evil can hold a society , is no longer capable to fight it and may become a welcome mat.

I do not think anyone should underestimate the power of evil which is why , the individual redemption and salvation is where the heveanly battles are won and lost , I have not seen any outer society concept yet produce the same quality as individual salvation.

I may agree with english viking in that respect , the intents of christianity , do not necessarily mean mere warm gushy praise ,I somehow do not think god would be so unkind to his children/people as to deny teaching a stance against evil.

Are we standing against evil? Are we built to not only withstand but to battle it ?

has "Fight the good fight with all thy might" been replaced with "wind beneath my wings" , which is fine if want people to be less able to discerne good and bad and be spun unto.

Who knows what problems we are creating by dumbing down and changing our small and big mental choices ,to warm ,unspecific happiness .

17 June 2011 at 01:03  
Anonymous Anony Moose said...

I always thought Mandy Patinkin & Kevin Kline were the same person. Has anyone ever seen them both in the same room at the same time? :-)

17 June 2011 at 01:18  
Anonymous Anony Moose said...

Mr.Dodo,
I confess that FM has not been much on my radar since the 90"s. As to a supreme being, they worship their triune god, Jahbulon - apparently based on Jahweh, Baal and Osiris - the Egyptian Sun God if I remember correctly.

I'm convinced that many people who get involved with FM do it for the connections - never rising above the 3rd Degree, Master Mason (as laid out in the Scottish Rite). Swearing the blood curdling oaths is simply the silly initiation into a men's club.

But there is much about FM that becomes rather disgusting as one advances through the degrees.

17 June 2011 at 01:27  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Anonymous @ 19:00 - I wasn't trying anything, merely stating that the 'experts'shown on the clip contradicted each other alarmingly ... didn't you notice?


How did the clip help thousands of Americans to leave the Masons; were they shackled in some dungeon; as in some evil cult???

All a tad extreme I feel.

17 June 2011 at 01:43  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I am not a Mason; I have had ivitations thereof, but I'm not a 'joiner of clubs' and besides, the ad-hoc nature of my 'free-time' does not allow for even the minimum of attendance.

However, I do know many Masons, most of whom are better Christians than per the average. They serve a good dinner too.

17 June 2011 at 01:58  
Anonymous Stoner said...

Your Grace appears to have best summed up Freemasonry as a “male-only cult” with “reverence for some unspecified ‘supreme being’ and the need for its adherents to participate in certain cultic rituals and swear secret oaths.” Wise words indeed. As others have alluded to, Freemasonry is probably one of the more benign competing groups that the CoE is having to deal with; Rome, by contrast, has been unambiguous.

17 June 2011 at 06:59  
Blogger len said...

Oswin,(01:58)

"Esau ... for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." Hebrews 12:16

17 June 2011 at 07:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“…..whereas now they (“the craft”) build cathedrals of men's mind and character.” What naive (and conceited) nonsense!

Your Grace, your correspondent, it would seem, has a much greater allegiance to this cult (not surprising, given the particular appeal that rituals, in general, appear to hold for him) than to The Church- which might help to resolve his dilemma “….with regards to one organisation or the other.”

An excellent observation earlier on this thread is worth restating: “You cannot serve two masters. If you have to leave town to keep being a mason, I would respectfully beg leave to wonder where your true allegiance lies.”

17 June 2011 at 08:11  
Anonymous Ric said...

Ahem.
Rowan Williams is a Druid.
Druidism is polytheistic.
Freemasonry is monotheistic.
Which is less compatible with Christianity?

17 June 2011 at 09:48  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

I notice the columns in the picture are corinthian, ionic and doric, three ages of Greek masonry.

I believe the Irish claim decent from the Milesians of the doric era, their philosophical influence was based on a monotheistic principle in the cosmic arche.

Heraclitus logos was seen to be a foreshadow the Word of God made flesh, in early christianity the logos, word and tao of the east were all seen to have the same meaning as the way which Christ taught.

There is only one way.

17 June 2011 at 10:03  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The ordinary freemason may be a truly good bloke,good works, charity etc,but like most organisations those on the ground floor have no idea where those higher up the pecking order intend to lead them,or even if they are telling the follower the truth,any truth,if we read about adam weishaupt and the bavarian illuminati,who encouraged its infiltration into all orders of freemasonry to subvert it into its nwo,these are stalins "usefull idiots"and after two hundred years of actively entrenching themselves in positions of power,they now have thier stranglehold complete,much like "common purpose"has twisted the nature and purpose of local government for thier own political ends,the revolutionaries in 1789 were not the mob,but illuminati and masons,and English freemasonry was infected in the same manner as the european variety,read nesta webster and you will find that this is by no means a modern problem,only now we do not call them illuminat,we call them,bilderburgers,club of rome,1001 club,cfr,riia,and the 300,and thier intentions are clearly demonstrated on American banknotes.

17 June 2011 at 10:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Englishman, I do love a good conspiracy theory! You should write a best selling novel and sell the movie rights. Check with Dan Brown on what to do.

17 June 2011 at 10:15  
Anonymous Poo said...

Never have I been so relieved to be both female and atheist - barred from both of the institutions mentioned in the original post.

If you're wondering what on earth I'm doing here, then, it was just to say that the original correspondent is/was not a member of the NSW Police.

17 June 2011 at 11:11  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Pisophoclese.
Thank you for your obviously erudite & well thought out response to my posting.
I feel that you have been
answered well by many of
sufficient knowledge & integrity
to make further debate between
us uneccesary.

Anony Moose.
Clear concise evaluation.
Thank you for your insight &
participation.
I hope that many posters here
will benefit from your experience
& wisdom.

17 June 2011 at 11:59  
Blogger D. Singh said...

One thing I've got to admire about these Masons is that they came and debated with us like gentlemen.

Thank you.

17 June 2011 at 12:19  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Englishman, has there been a struggle within masonry between the Geulph and Ghibillines.

The communist overthrow of Russia was about taking down a Ghibilline styled Monarchy in a third Rome.

The Vatican does not like Monarchs being above the Pope.

17 June 2011 at 12:28  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr D. Singh,

Having read through this thread, His Grace concurs with your assessment, and has tweeted as much.

17 June 2011 at 12:39  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Ric said...

Rowan Williams is a Druid.
Druidism is polytheistic.


Before you post any more tripe like this I suggest that you do a bit of research into The National Eisteddfod of Wales and the Gorsedd. You will find that Dr Williams is a member of a purely artistic and cultural organisation that has bugger-all to do with polytheism.

17 June 2011 at 12:48  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

“If Christianity had been checked in its growth by some deadly disease, the world would have become Mithraic.” Joseph Renan

I always did wonder about the Liberty Cap and its involvement in revolutions and how it ties up with the God El or Varuna.

17 June 2011 at 12:53  
Anonymous Original correspondent said...

Mr D Singh, YG,

May I return the compliment. The tone of this debate has been most dignified. It is clear that, although we disagree, you have the good faith to do so with the best interests of your opponents at heart.

Good day to you Sirs and may God bless you all (in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ).

17 June 2011 at 13:00  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

D. Singh said...
"One thing I've got to admire about these Masons is that they came and debated with us like gentlemen."

Still kept their secrets though didn't they? I'm none the wiser about their belief system or intention. Hard to debate with someone who doesn't tell you what they believe or are up to at the highest levels of their organisation.

I'm not into conspiracy theories but I would love to know the international agenda of the Masons.

The Church of Rome is and will remain their nemesis!

17 June 2011 at 13:17  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Dodo

‘Still kept their secrets though didn't they? I'm none the wiser about their belief system or intention. Hard to debate with someone who doesn't tell you what they believe or are up to at the highest levels of their organisation.’

You can study their beliefs through published works. Once your studies are complete – you can debate with them. After all many of them, it seems to me, clearly have a reasonable degree of knowledge about Christianity – and we mustn’t forget that many of them are our brothers.

As to secrecy; well nearly all private associations have secrets.

17 June 2011 at 13:52  
Blogger Kilsally said...

Anonymous said: "The second argument is also bogus: my employer would almost certainly sack me were I to start telling Jewish members of staff about the error of their ways. It does not make working for them incompatible with Christianity, nor should it. " erm sorry but the bible says that`s exactly what you should be doing. Mark 16:15 "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." If you can`t preach the gospel in your workplace or in your Lodge then you probably ought not to be there and if you are not prepared to preach the gospel in those circumstances then you have to ask why you are not burdened for other peoples souls?

Matthew 5:10
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

John 15:19 "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Matthew 10:22
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

As an Orangeman I have a good idea of what goes on in a Masonic Lodge (it being called at times Protestant Freemasonry), the difference being the Bible and Gospel are centre place whereas from my reading and the reason I did not join the Masons when asked was that you cannot preach the gospel in a Lodge, you must leave each person to their own devices keeping it simply to believing in a supreme being which is innocuous enough to many and if you believe there are many ways to salvation then that is fine but as a Christian we are taught that Jesus Saves not religion, rituals, good works or deeds and that no man of himself or any thing that he does can attain salvation.

17 June 2011 at 14:04  
Anonymous Philby said...

A masonic funeral tribute is only ever carried out upon request (through his family) of the deceased brother. His dying wish to be remembered by his lodge. It should not be carried out in a place of worship, but is usually performed at the graveside. It is humble and dignified and allows the Lodge to show those who he loved that he was loved by freemasonry. Those who laud the craft as some evil, don;t understand and most are regretful that they never took the opportunity to be a part.

17 June 2011 at 14:47  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Windsor Tripehound, what an intereting name, any connection to the Win-de-Sieur Gorsedd?

Britains true seat of power.

17 June 2011 at 15:47  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

D Singh said ...
"You can study their beliefs through published works. Once your studies are complete – you can debate with them.... As to secrecy; well nearly all private associations have secrets."

Er, no you cannot! Their real beliefs and aspirations are secret and a lot of information that is available is bogus.

Ask about the 'Supreme Architect' and just what this 'being' is attempting to build and how men are to help, and you hit a brick wall. Most Masons don't know and those who do will not say!

Freemasonry stands in opposition to the Christian God. Any organisation that opposes God only have it's roots in one place.

17 June 2011 at 16:13  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"The chief mystery is, that any mystery should have been allowed to settle on so remarkable a monument, in a country on which all the muses have kept their eyes now for eighteen hundred years.

We are not yet too late to learn much more than is known of this structure. Some diligent Fellows or Lanyard will arrive, stone by stone, at the whole of history, by exhaustive British sense and perseverance, so whimsical in its choice of objects, which leaves its own Stonehenge or Choir Gaur to the rabbits, whilst it opens pyramids, and uncovers Ninevah.

Stonehenge, in virtue of the simplicity of its plan, and its good preservation, is as if new and recent; and, a thousand years hence, men will think this age for the accurate history it will eliminate." Ralph Waldo Emerson

What could masons possibly have that our own British heritage does not.

17 June 2011 at 16:24  
Anonymous InspectorBaynes said...

I am a married father, attorney, conservative, Freemason, and vestryman of my Episcopal Parish.

This church now seeks to openly subvert my conservative values, it's leaders chastise me for being conservative and now doom me to the fire for being a Freemason.

The church that people with my background built has completely abandoned us.

17 June 2011 at 16:36  
Anonymous Andy said...

I just thought I'd comment again, this time specifically on the point that has been raised about praying to a Masonic god. As a Bible believing born again evangelical Christian I can honestly say that every prayer I have ever prayed in a Masonic lodge has been to my heavenly Father through my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. I can also say that every prayer I have prayed at an open council meeting, or a remembrance day service, or at any ecumenical event has been to my Heavenly Father through my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It just so happens that at none of the above events I have said the name of Jesus aloud. Does that mean I have rejected Him? If so then there may be a few specks in all our eyes to which we should attend.

There is no Masonic God - GAOTU or anything else. It is a word or name that can be used by all to pray.

Masonry does not teach any form of salvation - it exhorts its members to study their own holy writ for themselves. I don't evangelise inside every lodge meeting for the very same reason that I don't evangelise during a committee meeting of my Conservative Party Branch - it's not appropriate or relevant to do so at that time. When I meet my Masonic brethren outside of a meeting (on our own time), of course I will tell him the good news of the Gospel just like I would if I met my Conservative branch committee colleagues for a pint.

I urge my anti-Masonic Christian brethren again, find a Christian Mason, talk to them... You will be surprised at how much they will tell you! The only secrets of Masonry are the modes of recognition - everything else can be learnt by any layman by asking!

17 June 2011 at 18:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up until the recent civil war, some Liberian masonic temples were, reputedly, connected with the human sacrifices common in that country.

Anon 2

17 June 2011 at 18:29  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

The Mason's with their ungodly 'oaths', 'prayers', false 'names' for God and their quasi-religious 'rituals' directly break the First Commandment.

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
you shall have no other gods before me."

How can a Christian participate in an organisation that seeks to seperate God from His moral law? It aims to raise human effort and secularism above Christ. It is a 'religion' dedicated to man bereft of God - that's why the God you worship doesn't matter.

Fundamentally it is demonic in nature and intention and why there is a long historical association between Masonry and Satanism.

17 June 2011 at 19:28  
Anonymous Anon 2 said...

Clarification: Anon 2 @ 18:29 is not the Anon 2 who has posted here before. Today's contribution is from someone different or new.

17 June 2011 at 19:29  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo,(19:28)

Well said!

17 June 2011 at 19:38  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

len

I seriously believe that whilst Islam is a clear and tangible threat to Christianity, the insidious nature of Masonic ideas is far greater.

Islam will or will not pose a physical threat to the West and we will or will not defeat it.

The 'unsectarian' (in truth anti-christian), naturalistic character of Masonry is an indirect, subtle attack on the minds, hearts and souls of man. The religious indiferentism and disregard for any orhodoxy and the false idea of seeing each as valid, is a threat to our Christian culture and to the one, true faith.

A Mason is obliged to obey 'moral law' as the 'true' first sons of Noah did. They are to adhere to a 'religion' on which all agree - to be good men of honour and honesty by whatever names are given to the religions.

This is the promotion of a universal religion of humanity, removing artificial divisions of religions or persuasions, of national and social prejudices, a bond of union among men. A law of universal love and tolerance.

All very humanist and liberal; very modern and open-minded; reason and deduction; geometric patterns and order in all things; moral axioms and propositions to determine ways of behaving and liberty of conscience. In this Christ is a virtuous and wise man, a teacher. Man can determine 'right' and 'wrong' through reason without reference to particular religions.

Recognise any or all of the above? Rebellion against revealed Truth and a reliance on man to become honourable. Very 'modern' ideas and behind much 'progress' since the 17th and 18th centuries, yet at the same time as old as sin itself.

17 June 2011 at 22:54  
Blogger Phil Taylor said...

Anyone wishing to form a view on Freemasonry would do well to read The Brotherhood (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Brotherhood-ebook/dp/B003Z6QGBI/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308354979&sr=1-3), a very well researched book which includes well documented situations where masons have shown themselves to be more than just a society looking to help men better themselves.

18 June 2011 at 00:59  
Anonymous A Mason said...

If you want to read an entertaining conspiracy theory about Freemasons and Templars, then try Robinson's "Born in Blood", the premise of which is that there was no stone masons guild and that the disbanded Templars formed the order as a cover to protect their members and later to protect all dissidents from the Catholic church, so betrayed were they when Pope Clement colluded with Philip the Fair (fair hair, that is) to disband them on trumped up heresy charges and take all their wealth. Makes great if repetitious reading, but scant basis and a large dose of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" errors of logic.

There have been some recent excavations around Kilwinning, the former medieval commercial hub of Scotland, to show that the location of the earliest lodges coincides with the largest concentration of Templar properties, so apart from building their edifices, it is unlikely that there would have been any more than a relationship akin to tradesmen walking through your house while renovating. As for Templars at Bannockburn, as combat-trained knights they would have been called up as vassals to the (excommunicated) King Robert the Bruce to fight England, but not in Templar livery, and not as veterans of crusades, since Acre had fallen some 20 years earlier, with the loss of just about every Templar and Hospitaller in the city.

Circumstance like this, so long ago that it is impossible to prove anything much, make great writing and greater movies, but are no more relevant to modern freemasons today as burnings of heretics are relevant to modern Christians today (except as metaphorical civic deaths for violations of politically correct theology).

There is some contradictory argument being raised by a number of people here, Mr Dodo in particular. His brand of logic asserts that only the insiders know the hidden secrets, but then only the "higher levels". Appendant bodies beyond third degree are not higher. The senior rank is Master Mason, or third degree. These other bodies developed elaborate, often expensively costumed, rituals during the romantic era of the early C19. It's basically good men having fun, dressing up. But Dodo's logic asserts that "lower" echelons are as Stalin's useful idiots, and only the "senior" levels know the truth, but Mr Dodo here has all the answers. Not tainted by having any actual knowledge, his integrity is intact, free from brainwashing. To wit, only one who has nothing to do with them can know anything about them!

Secrets aren't unchristian, otherwise MI5/6 or Army intelligence would be unchristian, as would the official secrets act. The irony is that you can find out all the secrets, which are really limited to signs tokens and words (the handshakes, etc), with about 2 minutes of googling. The point is that a mason needs to demonstrate his integrity by showing he can keep a secret. I don't know if you know the signs, tokens and words, but I am not going to tell you.

The word "mystery", in Elizabethan times, simply meant trade-craft, now more commonly referred to as trade secrets. For masons it was euclidean geometry. Guilds were as much about protecting monopolies on labour as anything else (monopolies, apart from tyranny, contributing to the economic backwardness of the middle ages), so if knowledge of how to build soaring well-lit cathedral walls that last 1000 years could be restricted, then all the better for the masons to earn economic profits from such knowledge asymmetry. Structural safety standards are a positive externality from such protectionism.

It's really not that complicated. Regarding the world domination thing, dream on. As a Jewish surgeon colleague of mine once remarked, "If we own everything and control the banks, Hollywood and the largest world superpower, etc, etc, WHERE'S MY SHARE?! I'm still waiting for the cheque!"

18 June 2011 at 02:01  
Anonymous A Mason said...

I just posted a comment. It went up, then vanished. Must have been a Vatican plot.

Or aliens.

18 June 2011 at 02:10  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

I am surprized at those who refuse to see a conspiracy,as has been said before,what do all of you incredibly intelligent people think is going on ,when the 150wealthiest people on this planet,get together in secret ,protected by the heaviest security,and refuse to explain what the purpose was or what they were discussing,citing chatam house rules,do we also believe that major companies do not fix prices amongst themselves,destroy competition from those not a member of thier price fixing cartel.It seems certain to me that the attendees at bilderburg conferences are not there to play cards and have a few drinks.

18 June 2011 at 08:13  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo ,
A man who thinks he cannot be deceived probably already is.
I believe the closer a lie is to the truth, or mixed with truth, intertwined with truth, is far more dangerous than a clumsily conceived lie.To see a lie that one has accepted as truth is perhaps the hardest thing and takes a lot of courage and self examination.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpWDUt89t2g -

(Popes and the Papacy, John MaCarthur)

18 June 2011 at 09:06  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

A Mason said ...

You missed my central point Mr A Mason.

I don't hold with conspiracies theories or see proof for the existance of an 'Illuminati' seeking a new world order, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility. It's the power of the idea of Masonry that is so perverted.

My greatest concern with Masonry is the underlying ideology which is ungodly and humanistic. The promotion of a universal 'religion' of humanity and brotherhood with no divisions of creed or race. All following a universal 'moral' code of love, tolerance and honour.

Man can determine 'right' and 'wrong' through reason without reference to particular religions or following any authority.

All very fine, humanist and liberal. However, for a Christian a direct contradiction of the Bible. Indeed, it's just what Lucifer whispered to Eve!

18 June 2011 at 10:50  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

len said ...

Agree with the sentiment - not where its directed!

Once again a simplistic misrepresentation of Roman Catholicism. The Papal system as anti-Christ? I don't think so! Isn't it time to move on from the Reformation and into the 21st century?

No, the real spirit of the anti-Christ exists outside the Roman Catholic Church.

18 June 2011 at 11:12  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Thank you len (09:06), that was informative. But is not the (canonical) Bible, including the Epistles and Apocalypse/ Revelation, witness to this: that the condition of earthly man is at best to see through a glass darkly, and yet to live with courage and hope (in the faith of the Risen and Ascended One)?

Could it be truly said that John Macarthur, or any other preacher or apologist of any denomination or none, is himself wholly free from error? Those who are not of or near his persuasion (nor Roman Catholic) may regard some but not all of what he speaks of in that YouTube video "POPE AND THE PAPACY" as fair comment, by reference to the witness of the Bible.

There may be other and greater objections to the papacy as an institution, or to another church (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Congregationlist, Baptist and so on), which Mr Macarthur has not thought of or would reject.

18 June 2011 at 11:27  
Anonymous Jack Flash said...

Mr Dodo.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I would be interested to learn of your opinion of Romes involvement in the Roberto Calvi affair. When there were alleged cover ups of Masonic links between the Vatican and Banco Ambrosiano, with many high profile members of the clergy involved in a Masonic lodge known as P4.
IMO the truth has never been revealed about the death of the unfortunate Mr Calvi, and I would be interested to hear your opinion.
We all must be aware in these days of trying to sift out the truth from the P.R and the outright lies, and please do not think that I am singling out the Roman Catholic Church for criticism. I am sure that when all is revealed on judgement day, their will be a lot of surprises all around.


Jack.

18 June 2011 at 11:48  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo,
One thing has become apparent to me and you have probably illustrated this to me better than any other .
One cannot compromise with evil!.
This is not to infer that you personally are evil but you are thoroughly identified with a system that is.
Evil if you compromise with it will eventually master you.This is the story illustrated in the Bible so many times.
All that are on the side of Truth ,Biblical Truth, must oppose all that you stand for.
Saul was supposed to thoroughly destroy the Amalekites but Saul disobeyed God and salvaged what in Saul`s estimation was 'good' for God.
The Amalekites rose up again and eventually it was an Amelekite who killed Saul and the Amelekites have been the enemy of God`s people and purposes ever since.(2 Samuel 1 8-10)
Any' good' that is in the Catholic church is tainted with evil and will corrupt all that are within the Catholic religious system..

18 June 2011 at 12:24  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

len

I was hopeful we were reaching some sort of peaceful co-existance on here!

I agree one cannot compromise with evil.

I've always regarded much of the protestant critique of Catholicism at the time of Luther et al as grounded in legitimate concerns (much to the chagrine of many of my Jesuit teachers - but not the one teaching 'Divinity'). However, and this is why I stay within the Church, these criticisms could and should have been resolved within the Christian family.

Today, to take the opposite position to you, I see much corruption in the Gospel message through the various protestant sects. They spread dissent and confusion and stir up conflict.

It is 'protestantism' that is tainted with evil and corrupts.

18 June 2011 at 12:55  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Jack Flash

I really do not know the full facts about the Calvi situation to comment. Does anyone?

However, in general terms, would I be surprised if senior Vatican officials were involved with Masonry? No. Would I be shocked that senior Roman Catholics at the Vatican might be corrupt? No.

I do not view the Roman Catholic Church through rose tinted glasses. Its history, past and recent, demonstrates than men, all men, are capable of grave sin. This doesn't disturb me as a Roman Catholic or shake my faith in the teachings of the Church. Afterall, it's what the Bible tells us.

Yes, I agree, on the Day of Judgement all will be revealed. For my part, I try to concentrate on the account I will be asked to give of my life.

18 June 2011 at 13:45  
Blogger len said...

Mr Dodo,
If you see contending for the faith as stirring up dissent then I am guilty as charged.
But I will never compromise the truth.
Some Protestants are corrupt I do not deny this, it sickens me to see what some churches are preaching as 'the Gospel'.
However I see the Catholic Church as the' Mother' with many lesser 'daughters'.The Heretical Church is exactly that whether it calls itself Catholic or Protestant I make no distinctions.

18 June 2011 at 15:24  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Mr. Dodo @ 22:54

''I seriously believe that whilst Islam is a clear and tangible threat to Christianity, the insidious nature of Masonic ideas is far greater''.

Barking, absolutely barking!

18 June 2011 at 16:23  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Oswin

Woof, woof ...

Some elaboration of your comment would be helpful.

Do you accept the underlying ideology of Masonry? The promotion of a universal 'religion' of humanity and brotherhood with no creed? All following a universal 'moral' code of love, tolerance and honour? Man determining 'right' and 'wrong' through reason? No need for God and certainly no need for Christ?

As I've said earlier - Isn't this what Lucifer whispered to Eve!

If this is 'barking' then I'm happy to be 'A Fool for Christ'!

Woof, woof ...

18 June 2011 at 16:45  
Anonymous Oswin said...

No elaboration is required, you've said enough to preclude further comment. You are beyond sanity.

18 June 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Oswin said ...
"You are beyond sanity."

Thank you!

18 June 2011 at 22:17  
Anonymous Jack Flash said...

Mr Dodo.
Thank you for answering honestly.
WV hydrati. thank the Lord it wasn't illuminati, or perhaps its their version of the SBS?

Jack.

19 June 2011 at 13:35  
Blogger Pericles said...

Your Grace,

A few observations. Masons do not worship in Lodge, most of the evening resembles an archaic parish council meeting, concerned with allocation of funds & Lodge administration. We sing an opening ode & the National Anthem before the closing ode. All flat & off key I might add.

In Royal Arch Masonry (a stand alone mainstream Degree, being defined as part of "pure ancient Masonry”), Jehovah is the name used for the Most High. It is not pronounced, out of respect for the Name, save by using the three syllables. There is no Baal about it!

The Volume of the Sacred Law happens to be a CoE Bible in my Lodge. Don’t quote me on this, but I suppose the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible would be used, were all the Brethren of a Lodge of the Jewish faith. It would be their choice.

Protocol required that as king, George Vl should resign his Masonic affiliations, however a new position of Past Grand Master was created , which he immediately accepted, declaring, “Today, the pinnacle of my Masonic life has been reached.”
Page 54, “Freemasonry Today” Number 14. £3-50, at United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).

Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Take the First Degree working tools, for example. The Gavel would be used by an operative mason to roughly shape stone blocks. The Chisel would be used to more finely smooth & prepare the stone, but, as we are unlikely to be working masons, it’s an allegory that we peculiarly apply to ourselves, so that we strive to improve ourselves & be more moral individuals. Thus, the chisel points out to us the advantages of education, by which means alone, we are rendered fit members of regularly organised society.

We use the 24 inch gauge to measure our day, part to be spent in prayer to Almighty God, part in labour & refreshment & part in serving a friend or brother in time of need, without detriment to ourselves and connections.

Continued.

19 June 2011 at 17:54  
Blogger Pericles said...

Albert Mackey’s writings are online & are interesting to read for historical reasons, as is “The Ritualist”, but in Lodge of Emulation, I haven’t heard them used as such.

The ritual to be used in UGLE and in Lodges under that constitution were produced by the Lodge of Reconciliation, formed following the union of the Antients and Moderns Grand Lodges in 1813, approved and confirmed by Grand Lodge in June 1816. This has formed the basis of Emulation Working since its inception in 1823, although other rituals continue to be used in many other Lodges, around the globe.

I do not think that a 32nd Degree Shriner necessarily represents English Freemasonry. (Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonic_bodies

It has been the policy of the committee of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement to preserve the ritual as nearly as possible in the form in which it was approved by Grand Lodge, allowing only those changes approved by Grand Lodge to become established practice. The ritual, however, takes its name from the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, not the other way around.

The most notable changes were made in 1964, when an alternative form of reference to the ancient penalties was approved and again in 1986 when a resolution from United Grand Lodge of England decreed that the so called ‘blood oaths’, or symbolic penalties, were to be removed from the obligations taken by candidates for the three degrees or installation as a master. (Wikipedia)

AFAIK, it’s quite possible for non Masons to buy a red ritual book from the regalia shops opposite Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street, but usually these are presented, duly inscribed by his proposer, to a Master Mason at the ceremony of his Raising, so why spend the money?

There are free tours of the UGLE building and it is worth an hour’s sightseeing. As it happens, a free man & of the full age of 21 years, so long as they express a belief in a Supreme Being (just another symbol to express what each individual believes in their heart), that person now just has to ask to become a Freemason. Of course, here are financial & time commitments, so those too need to be considered, as there can be as many five invitation a week to attend as guests at other Lodges!

Finally, I recently attended the funerals of two Past Masters of my Lodge. This is the Eulogy that was read at the crematoriums.

“My Brethren, the roll of the workmen has been called, and one Master Mason, has not answered to his name.

He has laid down the working tools of the Craft and with them, he has left that mortal part, for which he no longer has use.

His labours here below, have taught him to divest his heart and conscience of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting his mind as a living stone for that spiritual building, that House, made not with hands, yet eternal in the Heavens.

Strengthened in his labours here; by faith in the Most High & confident in expectation of Immortality, he has sought admission to the Celestial Lodge above.”

That is symbolism & it works well enough for me.

S & F,

A Middlesex Freemason

19 June 2011 at 17:55  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Pericles

All very interesting and sounds very uplifting but the 'ritual' 'symbolism' and 'oaths' all represents human effort alone without assistance from some undefined 'Supreme Being' 'Creator' or Grand Architect'.

You also ommit that Masons are opposed to any dogma or creed, trusting in self development and self improvement. As such it is an anti-religious secular religion.

19 June 2011 at 20:04  
Blogger Pericles said...

Mr Dodo,

I am pretty sure "secular religion" is an oxymoron

Go to Great Queen Street and view the ten Temples within. In their different styles, I think they stand tall & match some of St. Paul's magnificence. Also, ask questions of those who work there and voice your concerns to them.

I am not aware of Masonic opposition to the various faiths and beliefs of those who are also Freemasons. I have met Muslim , Jewish & Hindu Freemasons & we all get along famously.

We do not discuss politics or religion at the festive board, but who knows what men may speak of in private! An acknowledgement of a Supreme Being (a symbol) does not in my opinion, mean that human endeavour & achievement demands supernatural intervention. History teaches us that over the millions of years of human evolution, your ancestors & mine will have prayed to & worshipped many gods, at many times. Such beliefs have inspired humans to great things & dastardly deeds.

Now most worship only One and I do not pray or worship at all. I acknowledge there is something higher, but until I die I am not really going to find out, am I? So until then, I do the best I can for family & friends. BTW, I calculate the life I have left in days of opportunity, say 3000 or so. How do you measure your life’s worth?

S & F,

A Middlesex Mason

19 June 2011 at 22:07  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Okay - Masonry is an anti-religious 'worldview'. An organisation that holds no creed or faith as Truth. As you acknowledge you yourself are an agnostic. This is compatable with Masonry but Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism are not.

We won't get into the whole issue of God's intervention in history or the evolution debate. Suffice it to say I believe in a personal God who does guide history and that events have a teleological end point.

I measure my life's worth in opportunities too - to know, love and serve God, to love my family and to help my community as best I can.

20 June 2011 at 00:18  
Anonymous Petronius said...

I have read all the way through this comment thread, and have tried to recall all that I have heard/read about Masonry in the past, and my instinctive reactions to it. Also, remembering that as a Christian, the Holy Spirit enables us to spiritually discern what is good from what is evil, no matter how veiled or 'disguised as truth' an evil thing may appear to be,
...I would say that Mr Dodo's views most closely echo my own. I view Freemasonry as ultimately demonic in nature, and as such, something we Christians should actively avoid any sort of involvement with.

20 June 2011 at 01:49  
Blogger Pericles said...

When a Master Mason is eventually installed as Master of his Lodge, he is presented with the Collar & Jewel of his Office by the previous Master, who is giving up the Chair of King Solomon.

This is the highest honour the Lodge has in its power to confer on any of its members. The Jewel appended to the Collar is a Square; a tool used by operative masons to set out the shape & mass of rough stone For Freemasons, the symbol represents the effort to inculcate the purest principles of piety & virtue. Masonically speaking, it should be the guide of all our actions.

Mr Dodo & Petronius, you both being outside Freemasonry, are in a similar position as historians would be, trying to understand the mindsets & interactions of ancient peoples by studying their archaeological remnants. It’s possible, but it is also accepted that the histories of wars are generally written by the victors.

Try to view Freemasonry in this context. Consider building stone in a quarry, awaiting the attentions of junior, senior & Master Masons, They select what looks like suitable material & begin the process of roughly hewing out the required shapes. Not all stone is equal, some shatters at first strike & is discarded. Then, the masons, with skill & time, chisel & shape the rough stones to smooth ashlars, which interlock together & form the building, just --- upright & perfect.

But, at each stage of the process there are losses, perhaps a hidden flaw within the stone might only come to light at the final polishing. A skilled master mason may direct that the stone be reworked to another shape, to be inserted elsewhere within the structure and still contribute to the whole. Even the waste stone in the quarry may take its place in the foundations or as packing for supporting the five recognised orders of columns, Ionic, Doric, Corinthian & Tuscan & Composite.

These are lessons we apply to our morals. We strive to be just, to be upright in behaviour & to live our lives as fit members of regularly organised society.

S & F,

A Middlesex Mason

20 June 2011 at 11:42  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Pericles

All fine and dandy and I'm sure most of you are jolly fine fellows too.

However, that's not my point.

Your worldview appears to be essentially 'anti-God' in the sense that human moral development seems to rest in an individuals hands.

Or does the 'Great Architect' choose the stone, chisell it and carve? And through who? Who decides what to reject? Who designs the structure that is being so carefully built and what 'blue print' do you have to determine the final building?

Behind your mysteries, symbols and allegory is a path for individual progress and for societal development that is 'anti-christian' and I believe all Christians ought to reject it.

21 June 2011 at 00:42  
Blogger Pericles said...

Mr Dodo,

Yet the men we welcome into Freemasonry are from all walks of life & of many religious beliefs. You yourself are welcome to ask to join. Who or what Supreme Being our brothers acknowledge, is locked away in a safe repository in an act of Fidelity…


My "world view" is politicians would have much higher moral principles of truth & honesty if they were Freemasons, because knowledge is not wisdom, but wisdom does require knowledge.

There are presently some 6.9 billion humans on the planet. I read that human live births number 106 billion, since the dawn of the human race.

http://www.prb.org/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx

Human moral development has given us enlightened self interest, which has enabled us to co-operate with one another & increase our numbers. All kinds of organised societies have come & gone, from then until now. The future is the future.

The GA gives us no instructions. Men as masons chose the stone and work it to their own satisfaction as teams or individuals. That’s our task. What we have built is open to interpretation. I have visited cathedrals & admired the craftsmanship & vision that drove them to be built. We can guess at what they believed in their hearts, but these men also built castles, barns, houses, bridges & palaces.

When you wrote the words “my worldview appears to be essentially 'anti-God”, you inadvertently expressed your own view that my concept of a Supreme Being, which takes no part in human activity & progress, is not an acceptable explanation to you.

Well, there’s nothing much I can do about that. The GA does not shape & smooth us. That’s our task. Some do it well; others would not know a maul unless they sat on it. Ouch!


The Great Architect created this present 13.8 billion years old universe & even perhaps myriads of universes that preceded this one & possibly there are some others to come?

Trying to make sense of the vastness of this Grand Design using languages developed by the earliest humans to describe their position in relation to where water, shelter & food might be obtained; IMO, these languages struggle to cope with the exigencies of Natural Philosophy.

Hence all the confusions that exist can arise between individuals who may self assign shades of meanings to the words they use. An illustration would be the word “robust”.

A robust decision is one that is considered as immune to uncertainty as is possible & looks good to all constituents long after it is made, but to me "robust data" means some bunch of ruthless, lying , cheating, conniving, loathsome, scum sucking bastards are trying to tax me & mine to death for breathing! “Robust” is a weasel word. What out for it!

Naturally, this difficulty with words is why we do not discuss politics or religion at the festive board.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robustness

S & F,

A Masonic Mason

21 June 2011 at 11:12  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Pericles

Thank you for your honesty but I suspect there is more you might reveal depending on the extent of your knowledge.

When you refer to physical buildings you could replace this term with societal structures, could you not?

There is an affinity between your idea of the 'Supreme Being' and ancient eastern religions such as some branches of Hinduism. From my research I am acquainted with the history of 'lodges' that have dabbled in magic and the occult and the association of some with kabbalism, astrology and other escoteric practices. For them shaping the world has a different meaning, believing by these methods they can control forces.

I'm sure the vast majority of Masons are decent, God fearing people who outside of the 'craft' worship as Christians.

You are clearly an agnostic who believes in an impersonal 'Supreme Being' who kicked started the universe and has left us to it. According to my faith this is not only anti-God it is the very spirit of anti-Christ.

21 June 2011 at 23:57  
Blogger Pericles said...

Mr Dodo,

Consider the origins of Freemasonry. The references to buildings are allegories. The majority of stone workers were unlettered at the beginning of the 12th century Romanesque period. It would have been much the same in the 13th c. when Early English Gothic evolved; in the 14th c. it was Decorated Gothic & Perpendicular Gothic in the 15th c.

The operative mason's lodges were concerned with the practicalities & logistics of construction; many sites lasted for four or five generations. Who does what, where & when, labour & refreshment, all matters that needed excellent organisation…?

Apprentice masons received food, shelter & their early training from their masters, but eventually they became journeymen fellow craftsmen in order to further their knowledge. There weren’t any diplomas awarded & as it is the hope of reward that sweetens labour, the fellow craftsman had to prove himself.

Who was his master? What had been his tasks? The regularity of his initiation, repeated trials & approbations. The candidate would demonstrate a willingness at all times, to undergo an examination, when properly called upon, to prove his status & worthiness.

The majority of buildings that were constructed by these time honoured methods are still with us. A Freemason applies these lessons to his morals.

What do you mean by “societal structures”? Wikipedia gives us “Social structure”, a term used in the social sciences to refer to patterned social arrangements which form the society as a whole, and which determine, to some varying degree, the actions of the individuals socialized into that structure.”
All well & good, but it continues with worrying uncertainties that I underline.

“The meaning of "social structure" differs between various fields of sociology. On the macro scale, it can refer to the system of socioeconomic stratification (e.g., the class structure), social institutions, or other patterned relations between large social groups. On the meso scale, it can refer to the structure of social network ties between individuals or organizations. On the micro scale, it can refer to the way norms shape the behaviour of actors within the social system.

These meanings are not always kept separate. For example, recent scholarship by John Levi Martin has theorized that certain macro-scale structures are the emergent properties of micro-scale cultural institutions (this meaning of "structure" resembles that used by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss). Marxist sociology also has a history of mixing different meanings of social structure, though it has done so by simply treating the cultural aspects of social structure as epiphenomena of its economic ones.

What would be the result, were an operative mason to try to construct a building where the meanings of words like foundation trench, lime mortar, freestone, Gothic arch, orders of columns & flying buttresses, were open to other interpretations?

The terms are unchanged for these reasons & Freemasons understand them. As we attend out Lodges of Instruction, we begin to perceive the lessons we can apply to our personal lives.

Continued.

22 June 2011 at 10:29  
Blogger Pericles said...

Some months ago, I was privileged to take part in the ceremony of my son’s Raising to Master Master. Below is part of the address that I gave to my son & Brother & on that evening, the love we shared for one another communicated itself to everyone else in the Lodge.

“ Be careful to perform your allotted task, while it is yet day. Continue to listen to the voice of Nature, which bears witness that even in this perishable frame, resides a vital & immortal principle, which inspires a holy confidence that the Lord of Life will enable us to trample the King of Terrors beneath our feet & lift our eyes to that bright Morning Star whose rising brings peace & salvation to the faithful & obedient of the human race.”

A little later, I greeted him thus:

“ Hand to hand, I greet you as a Brother, foot to foot, I will support you in all your laudable undertakings, knee to knee, the posture of my daily supplications shall remind me of your wants, breast to breast, your lawful secrets when entrusted to me as such, I will keep as my own & hand over back, I will support your character in your absence, as in your presence.”

Those words are reason enough why Freemasons base their morals upon the symbol of K. S. T., rather than upon the quicksands displayed in the thoughts of social scientists.

To paraphrase your writing, “According to my faith, being an agnostic, is not only anti-God it is the very spirit of anti-Christ.”

Well that’s something you’ll just have to live with. However, I am not sure I am clearly an agnostic as you suggest. Rather, I subscribe to the axiom that if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. That refers to the lines I wrote in an earlier post.

“I acknowledge there is something higher, but until I die I am not really going to find out, am I? So, until then, I do the best I can for family & friends.”

S & F,

A Middlesex Mason

22 June 2011 at 10:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am both a born again Christian and a freemason of 25yrs standing. Indeed I DO know the rituals and the secrets of the 3 Craft and Royal Arch degrees.

Yes, I can hand on heart, say the very words of reassurance given at the earliest opportunity to every candidate immediately prior his initiation: "..There is nothing incompatible with your civil, moral or religious beliefs".

It must be remembered that the rituals are essentially the acting out of plays based heavily upon scripture. They have time-relevance before the birth of our Lord. How therefore, can His name feature in that ritual?

Some like to quote 2 John 1:9-11. That's fine, but there is no doctrine in Freemasonry! It is about the improvement of man and encourages allegiance to one's faith. As a Christian, I have no problem with that.

For the record: The secret word in the Royal Arch Degree certainly is not at variance with Christian values.

11 July 2011 at 18:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question to all those who advocate Freemasonry and see nothing wrong with it.

Why, everywhere we look today, on buildings, roundabouts, the media,certain currency notes etc everyone is being bombarded with cleverly masked masonic symbolism?

From what I have read, no-one has questioned why the Gaming industry, the Hollywood films etc are filled with hidden masonic imagery.

If Freemasonry is what it "says on the on tin" why are each of us subjected to images supplanted everywhere today of masonic symbolism? If Freemasonry is to be taken as just some other "harmless" eccentricity or religion/cult, why is this the only Group, that has such power as to embed masonic symbols masked in logos, films, gaming, advertising, etc etc.? No other religion does this and "hide" it in full view.

If those who are Masons cannot see the infiltration of it's symbolism everywhere today, then perhaps they should take time out to play such games as Call of Duty just for starters, or indulge in watching a few Hollywood movies or scan the channels on their media box and look at the Channels with the all seeing eye. If you can't find them, then you havn't taken the time to "open your eyes"

No it's impossible to accept Freemasonry is harmless when it's symbols are embedded and cleverly masked everywhere today within Media, buildings, games, logos etc.

Sit yourselves down and watch Hologram Man or the Matrix, or the Imaginarium of Dr P, or try a game of Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto to understand the sinister content within them accompanied with masonic symbols embedded throughout. The masonic symbols are cleverly disguised throughout the images. Granted you would miss them at 1st, 2nd and maybe 3rd glance. But with a trained eye, one can see them everywhere.

These are the same symbols and imagery Freemasonry promotes globally.


The Holy Bible, is God's word with Jesus written within it.

Why enslave oneself to degrees of Masonic Order, unless it is to achieve ascending power recognition and self glorification of oneself within a denomination who recognises this? This is not God's way and nor did God keep himself secret, sending us Jesus as the way the truth and ...the light. No darkness/secrets.

4 August 2011 at 21:11  

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