Sunday, February 18, 2007

Question of the Day

Regular Methoblogospheric commentor Keith Taylor has requested this Question of the Day:

Is Freemasonry compatible with Christian teaching? Is it proper for Christians to be Freemasons?

He writes:

I ask this very seriously. I am not a mason, but my own grandfather was a 33rd degree mason. I used to think of such esoteric or secretive organizations such as the Shrine, or the Masons, or other secret organizations as harmless, social clubs. I know they do many good works. But as I have become more serious in my Christian walk, I have begun to wonder about this. There was a time when I would have wanted to be a mason, but since I have become older and much more serious in the Christian faith, I have completely lost that desire.

I know that there are many Freemasons and Order of the Easter Star members in United Methodist Churches all across the nation. I know that many are sincere in their Christian faith. As I think back in my life, some of the men who where Christian role models to me, wore Masonic rings. But are we not admonished by the Bible to remain open, non-secretive, to walk in the light, not in secretive societies and organizations? Do masons not take secret oaths and swear allegiance to their lodges to the point of death if they betray their oaths and secrets? They hold their meetings in secret. They meet in windowless buildings or chapter rooms. They refer to ancient pagan gods and goddess rituals in their secrete rites and ceremonies. They exclude membership based on things such as faith, economic status, ethnic background, and/or gender. How can such be compatible with the Christian faith? And if that is the case, then are Greek esoteric or secretive organizations compatible with Christian teaching as well?

So, while I know there are many members of such organizations in the Christian Church and the UMC specifically, are their membership oaths, their secretive meetings and actions, their extra biblical beliefs and rituals, contrary to Christian faith and behavior?



John Meunier said...

I'd have to know a lot more about the Freemasons and Eastern Star than I know to comment. My grandparents were both members.

Is it possible to be a NASCAR fanatic and be a Christian?

John said...

Is it possible to be a NASCAR fanatic and be a Christian?

If it's good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.

Art said...

I'm not a Mason but my father-in-law was and my wife is a member of the OES. As far as I can tell, there is no conflict - Freemasonry is compatible with Christianity and any other monotheistic religion.

Wabi-Sabi said...

That's a good question. I don't know enough to comment conclusively either.

My maternal grandfather was a high degree Mason and one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth.

I believe Granddad was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Alexandria, Virginia, where George Washington was a member 200 years earlier.

Also, Rev. Johnson a prominent Methodist Elder for whom "Johnson Memorial UMC" is named, (the Church my wife currently serves) died in an accident that occurred during a Masonic Initiation ritual. Reportedly he was walking on a wire or a rope and fell hitting the wire and broke his neck.

Despite dying under these unusual circumstances, he was regarded as such a significant Christian leader that they named the church after him.

Clearly, many strong Christians are Masons, but whether there's a conflict, I'm not sure.

William Timothy said...

I'm kind of agnostic about the question, but isn't that the way that it is? The only way we can answer the question is to trust the Freemasons who always say "yes Freemasonry is compatible with Christianity." Seems like kind of a self-interested source doesn't it?

My grandfather was a mason, don't know how "high" he was, but I remember being surprised and a bit shocked at the ritual that was done at his funeral. It was my first knowledge that he was a mason (but I was only 12). I think at some point my father became one, but I think he only went long enough to be initiated. I only asked him about it once and he just said, "Do you want to become one?" and I said, "Not really, just curious".

It's hard enough sometimes to get motivated to go to church meetings, why would I want to add to my commitments?

Tim Sisk

Brother Marty said...

This question opens a can of worms of sorts. Those in the "conspiracy theory" camp have tons of internet places that put secretive societies at odds with Christianity. While I'm not in those does cause one to wonder.
Personally, every Mason I've ever met has been a person of public and private integrity.
With that said, I wonder if there is any conflict at all. I was a member of an astronomy club that held concepts contrary to a literal translation of the bible. Does that mean I can't also be Christian? While it wasn't a secret society, it still held an enlightened view of the world in which we live.
Personally, no problem with membership in secret societies. Frankly, of what I know of the Masons, their "secrets" go to the issue of making better people of the membership. Nothing more...nothing less. But they do throw in some mumbo jumbo!

Steve said...

Actually, the only discrimination practiced by Masonry is that, in the U.S.A., you must believe in a Supreme Being to join. There are lodges that accept women; There are fully integrated lodges all over the world; economic status isn't a requirement, in fact, one purpose of Freemasonry is to allow men who would otherwise not socialize to "meet on the level."
This is an over simplification. There are different groups that have different policies, and no one group or person speaks for Freemasonry. It's up to the individual to practice his form of Freemasonry, and to find the group of people that match his/her desires.
Please judge by the fruits produced. What evil do you know of that Freemasons are secretly practicing? Helping kids in hospitals? Providing scholarships? Promoting liberty and equality on a world wide basis?
Best thing to do is not judge by what you read, but find a Freemason and ask him to show you around the lodge and meet a few people. Go to a large Masonic Hall in your area. I recommend Googling your town or area and finding out what's there. Google "Freemason, Washington D.C." or where ever you are. Visit. Talk

lssaunde said...

I am not entirely comfortable with Freemasonry; however, I have not found it to be harmful. I minister in a community in which most of the other churchs refuse membership to those who are Masons, so the UM church I serve has a few Masons. In fact, we have picked up one family simply because other churchs have turned the father away, and the whole family (three generations) is an amazing asset in their involvement here. Still, my greater hope in ministering to Masons is that their deepst alleigiance would be to Jesus Christ, not their semi-Gnostic "secret knowledge."

Brett Royal said...

I recently attended the funeral of my great uncle, and I found out at the funeral that he was very involved in the Masons. The Baptist preacher of the very small town in far Southwest Oklahoma said some very nice things, and talked about how Blaine accepted Christ as his saviour as a young boy, and about how he servered his Church and community. After he was finished, another man stood up. He began to talk about Blaine, and then went on a long rabbit hunt about the Masons, and what they stand for. I learned the Blaine was a long time member. He spoke about how the Mason's are not a religion, but far from it. He then began to use terms such as "celebrating the brotherhood of man under God" and some other phrases that I don't remember now, but sounded very cultish to me. There was a lot of symbolism, as one by one each masonic member took an evergreen leaf and placed it in his casket. There was a big presentation as the envelope containing the role placed in the casket. It creeped me out a little bit.
As the speaker was talking, and I heard a phrase that sounded strange, I would look at the Baptist preacher, who was sitting behind the speaker on the stage, to see if he had any reactions. He had pretty much a blank stare the whole time, and I think he wanted to role his eyes, but was afraid because someone might see him.

Keith Taylor said...

Thank all for the comments.

For those of you who are Masons or have close family memebers who are Masonic or OES members, I have a couple of questions.

In the Masonic Lodge, who is Jesus Christ?

Who is "The Great Architect of the Universe" (G.A.O.T.U)?

Are they one and the same?

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