True, I'm Not a Member
C. D. Plum
Yes, and it is also true that I never shall be a member. But I imagine that you are wondering by this time just what is meant by what I am saying, so I'll explain. I've been asked to write an article either for or against Christians being members of lodges, according to what is scriptural about the matter. I told a brother not long since about this request, and he said: "Have you ever been a member of a lodge?" Of course I replied that I never had been. So, he said if I had never been in one I could not know what was in them, therefore could not write against something I knew nothing about. I feel sure however, that this brother thinks a Christian should not be a member of a lodge either, and his gratuitous advice was only a joke.Before I proceed further, please let me state that while I believe Christians are taking grave chances on such membership, I am not going to fall out with them, or quarrel with them, or disfellowship them because they are lodge members. Some of my best friends and supporters in the Lord's work are lodge members. Yet they know exactly my position about the matter. I did not refrain from telling them I felt they were treading on treacherous ground because of this membership, but we have remained staunch friends, and shall continue to work together as Christians.
Knowledge Without Membership
It isn't true that one must be a member of the lodge before he can know whether a Christian can scripturally be a member of one or not. All outsiders (not members of the lodge) need to do to know whether Christian membership in one is all right is to keep their eyes and ears open.
I have seen and heard too much at funerals which I was conducting and in which the lodge had a part, to believe that a lodge is safe for Christians. Oftentimes the party that was dead was not a member of any church, much less the true church, yet the lodge ritual spoke about the departed brother being in the Grand Lodge above, where the other lodge members would some day meet him if they remained true to the teaching of the lodge. All of which means this dead sinner went to heaven, for no other reason than he had been a member of the lodge and had died in full fellowship with the lodge, and that the other lodge members would meet this dead sinner in heaven if they died in full fellowship with the lodge. I've heard this time and time again at funerals. Dear Christians who are lodge members, you know that such teaching is in the ritual of lodges. And you know that such teaching contradicts the word of God. You know that God didn't plant these lodges, and they will, therefore, "be rooted tip" (Matt. 15:13). You know the word of God teaches that a sinner that dies in his sin will be lost (Jno. 8:21). You know that sinners must believe the gospel (Heb. 11:6), repent of their sins (Lk. 13:3), confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32-33), and be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27), or be lost. God's word teaches you this. Yet lodges promise people who do not obey the Lord a place in the Grand Lodge above, which to lodge members is heaven. I ask you in all seriousness, do you believe it is safe for Christians to be members of something that directly contradicts the word of God?
And another thing I have noticed at funerals is that the ritualistic prayers of lodges do not contain the name of Christ in them. This, too, is a violation of the word of God because it declares that "Whatsoever ye do in word deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col. 3:17). In the first place, lodges do not exist by the authority of Jesus, and in the second place the men who established them have so discriminated against him as to not use the name of Christ in them. Of course to drag Christ's name into these worldly institutions would not make them any better; in fact it would be taking his name in vain. Still it remains that people can not get to heaven by failing to recognize Christ as I have observed that the lodges do.
Jesus is the way to God and heaven (Jno. 14:6). But since he is not in the lodges, Christian brothers and sisters how can you be a member of something that promises dead sinners rest without Christ?
Too, I have observed at funerals that often the ones who read the ritualistic prayers of the lodges are either sectarians or alien sinners. My brethren who know God's teaching know that sectarians or alien sinners are not proper subjects to lead in acceptable prayers to God. My dear Christian brethren, knowing such things, how can you ease your conscience as a member of such?
At lodge-conducted funerals it makes no difference whether the dead is an alien sinner, a backsliding Christian in the church of Christ, a faithful member of the church of Christ, or one who professes a false religion, all, alike, are consigned to the Grand Lodge above (Heaven). And all because of lodge membership. Brethren, you know this is false teaching. It is contrary to the word of God. How can you be members of something that gives a false hope, a hope that sets the teaching of God's word aside?
And is it not true that lodge members are obligated to prefer their brethren in the lodge before others? So, Christian lodge members are bound to prefer a sinner lodge member before a Christian that is not a lodge member, if they be true to their lodge allegiance. This, too, is contrary to New Testament teaching, for Christians are taught to "prefer one another," and to put other Christians first (Gal. 6:10; Ro. 12:10). Under these conditions it would be impossible for Christians to keep faithful to Christ and the lodge at the same time.
And is it not also true that for Christians to be lodge members would mean they are doing the very thing they are forbidden to do -- wear the "unequal yoke?" (2 Cor. 6:14) Christian lodge members are bound together with the cords of secrecy and love to unbelieving and unrighteous souls. But Christians are told: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers."
Moreover, lodges sponsor card parties and dancing frolics. Christians know these things are wrong. Sometimes, however, they say we don't approve or attend such functions of the lodge. Even so, you are a part of the thing that does sponsor these things, and your membership in it encourages them to go in the downward way. Yes, your lodge membership bids God-speed to such things and makes you a "partaker of their evil deeds" (2 John 9-11). Such work of the lodge could not be works of righteousness, hence must be un fruitful works of darkness, and Christians must have no fellowship with such (Eph. 5:8-11).
All the charity work a lodge does is done in the name of the lodge. Yet all good deeds done by Christians should be done as members of Christ's church so God will get the glory and Christians get the credit. Christians can glorify God ONLY in the church (Eph. 3:21).
Lodges do not do one good thing that Christians cannot do in the church. Christians are complete in him (Col. 2:10).
Truth Magazine VIII: 3, pp. 16-17, 24 December 1963