By Lewis Willis
One of the elders asked me to address the question that titles this article. Many people think there is nothing wrong with being in the Masonic Lodge. They think it is nothing more than a fraternal organization which offers pleasant friendships and some opportunities to do good deeds.
When the subject was mentioned to me, I was reminded that approximately 40 years ago there was a significant controversy in the churches of Akron over this question. Many brethren in those days were Masons, and several of them were members here at Brown Street. My brother, Cecil, was preaching here at the time and I have his 13-page sermon outline before me as I write this article. Thankfully, all of the brethren (so far as I know) who were in the Lodge in those days came out and renounced involvement in Masonry. However, as I recall, there were some heated discussions on the subject at the time.
The Fatal Flaw In Masonry
There is a very basic and fundamental error in Masonry that prevents a Christian from being a member of a Lodge. That flaw is: Masonry is a religion! Masonry is as much a religion as is denominationalism. One could as reasonably be a member of the Lord’s Church and the Methodist Church at the same time, as he could be a Christian and a Mason at the same time.
A.G. Mackey (1807-1881) is the author whose works I wish to cite on this point so let me tell you who he is. He was the Mason’s Past General High Priest and Secretary of the Supreme Council, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States. One would suspect he knew what he was talking about, Right? “Albert G. Mackey is universally recognized as one of the greatest Masonic historians that our fraternity has ever produced” (Lawrence R. Taylor, Editor of The Indiana Freemason). The Masonic Textbook says Mackey was a Masonic authority and scholar. He was called “one of the greatest students and most widely followed authorities the Masonic world has known” (Introduction to Freemasonry [Massachusetts] 15). “Mackey is a recognized scholar” (Letter to Cecil Willis, from Andrew J. White, Jr., Grand Secretary of Ohio, 7-14-60).
What Does Mackey Say About The Lodge?
Here is Mackey’s testimony that the Lodge is a religion! He said, “. . . I contend, without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is, in every sense of the word, . . . an eminently religious institution — that it is indebted solely to the religious element which it contains for its origin and for its continued existence, and that without this religious element it would scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good” (Encyclopedia of Freemasonry  727). Mackey continued, “Masonry may rightfully claim to be called a religious institution” (ibid. 728). And if that were not sufficient to establish this authority’s view about the Lodge, he added, “Masonry, then, is, indeed a religious institution; and on this ground mainly, if not alone, should the religious Mason defend it” (ibid. 729). Does the testimony of this Masonic leader prove the point at issue?
Another quotation that states the religious nature of Masonry is worthy of inclusion in this article. “As set forth and defined in the Preamble of the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the purposes of Freemasonry are charitable, benevolent, educational and Religious” (Introduction to Freemasonry for Massachusetts 8).
Note this Masonic prayer: “Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present convention. Grant that this candidate for Freemasonry may dedicate and devote his life to Thy service, and become a true and faithful Brother among us. Endue him with a competency of Thy Divine Wisdom, that by the influence of the pure principles of our order he may be better enabled to display the beauties of Brotherly Love . . . to the honor of Thy Holy Name. Amen” (First degree Lecture, Ohio Monitor, 9). If the Lodge is not a religion, why does it use prayers?
Note this funeral prayer used by the Lodge: “. . . and may we gain entrance into the celestial Lodge above, and in Thy Glorious Presence, amidst ineffable mysteries, enjoy a reunion with the souls of our departed friends, perfect as are the joys of Heaven and durable as Eternity. Amen. So mote it be” (Ohio Monitor, 54). Their belief is being a good Mason will get one into Heaven. The Bible states, however, that being a good Christian is the only thing which will accomplish this glorious result.
The first degree for the Mason is the Entered Apprentice Degree. The Mason solemnly swears that he will live by the rules of the order, saying, “All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear . . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots and buried in the rough sands of the sea at low water mark, . . . should I ever knowingly violate this my solemn obligation of an Entered Apprentice Mason. So help me God, and keep me in the due performance of same” (Handbook of Freemasonry, by Edmond Ronayne, 70). In the next degree, the Fellow Craft Degree, the Mason swears to keep the secrets of the Lodge: “. . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my breast torn open; my heart plucked out and given as a prey to the wild beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air” if he should ever reveal Masonic secrets (ibid. 123). If one of your kids came home and told you he had swore such a barbaric oath to join a club, you would be livid! How could an adult swear something so absurd as this?
Yes, Masonry is a religion which claims its precepts will get its members into Heaven. It engages in worship, as a religion, and requires its members to agree to ridiculous oaths. This is not just an innocent fraternal organization. Can a Christian be a Mason? No! Masonry is a false religion that will cause a Christian to lose his soul (Matt. 15:9). One can no more be a Christian and a Mason than he can be a Christian and a Jew, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, etc. Brethren, don’t be deceived!