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Book Jacket

0736913432
Trade Paperback
200 pages
Mar 2004
Harvest House Publishers

Fast Facts on the Masonic Lodge

by John Ankerberg & John Weldon

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Excerpt:

Contents

    The Importance of Understanding What Masonry Really Teaches
    A Word to Masons

    SECTION I: INTRODUCTION TO MASONRY
  1. What Is Masonry and How Influential Is It?
  2. What Is the Final Authority for the Teachings Presented in Each Masonic Lodge?
  3. Which Books and Authors Have Been Recommended by the Grand Lodges as Being Authoritative Interpreters for Masonry?
  4. What Are the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and What Other Organizations Are Associated with Masonry?
  5. What Are the Different Levels of Spiritual Enlightenment in Masonry?

    SECTION II: MASONRY AND THE PLAN OF SALVATION
  6. Does the Masonic Lodge Teach Its Members a Nonbiblical Plan of Salvation?
  7. Do the Beginning Degrees of the Masonic Lodge Teach Salvation by Works?
  8. What Is the Biblical Response to Masonic Teaching?
  9. What Do Authoritative Masonic Literature and Former Masons Acknowledge About the Lodge and Salvation?
  10. Do Many Masons Deny that Masonry Teaches Salvation by Works?

    SECTION III: THE RELIGION OF MASONRY
  11. Do Masons Insist that Masonry Is Not a Religion?
  12. By Requiring Its Members to Believe in a Supreme Being, Does Masonry Fit Webster’s Definition of a Religion?
  13. By Requiring Its Members to Obey God, Does Masonry Fit Webster’s Definition of a Religion?
  14. By Requiring Its Members to Worship God as the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, Does Masonry Fit Webster’s Definition of a Religion?
  15. By Requiring Its Members to Express Belief in God in Conduct and Ritual, Does Masonry Fit Webster’s Definition of a Religion?
  16. Do Many Leading Masons Admit that Masonry Is a Religion?
  17. Does Masonry Teach that It Is the One True Religion on Earth?

    SECTION IV: THE BIBLE OF MASONRY
  18. Is the Holy Bible Really the “Great Light in Masonry” and the Rule and Guide for Masonic Faith and Practice?
  19. What Does the Bible Actually Symbolize in Masonry?
  20. What Are Six Distinct Teachings of Masonry About the Bible?
  21. What Did Jesus and the Writers of the Scriptures Teach About the Bible?
  22. Can Christian Masons Believe Both the Bible and Masonic Teachings About the Bible?

    SECTION V: THE GOD OF MASONRY
  23. Does Masonry Teach that Masons of Contrary Religious Persuasions Actually Worship the Same Deity?
  24. Do Masons Teach that the One True God Is the God of Masonry?
  25. Does Masonry Specifically Reject the Christian God?
  26. Is the God of Masonry Unapproachable and Unknowable?
  27. Does Masonry Reject the Christian Concept of God’s Triune Nature?
  28. Do Masons Refer to Their God Using Names of Heathen Gods that Are Condemned in the Bible?
  29. Can Christian Masons Follow the Biblical God and Also Believe Masonic Teachings About Deity?

    SECTION VI: MASONRY AND JESUS CHRIST
  30. Does Masonry Delete the Name of Christ from Its Prayers and Scripture Quotations?
  31. Are Prayers in the Name of Christ Forbidden in the Lodge?
  32. Does Masonry Require that Christians Disobey Jesus Christ by Prohibiting Any Discussion of Him During Lodge Activity?
  33. Does Masonry Bestow Christ’s Divine Titles and Offices upon Unsaved Men in the Lodge?
  34. Does Masonry Deny the Deity of Jesus Christ?
  35. Does Masonry Deny the Role of Christ as Savior and Teach that the Christian Message of Divine Redemption Is a Corruption of Pagan Stories?
  36. What Does the Bible Teach About Jesus Christ, and What Does This Mean for Christian Masons?

    SECTION VII: MASONRY AND CHRISTIANS
  37. Is There Any Harmony Between Masonry and Christianity?
  38. If a Christian Has Sworn Oaths Promising to Uphold the Truths of Masonry, What Should He Do?
    What Does Masonry Truly Offer?
    Appendix A: What Is the Problem of Masonic Brotherhood?
    Appendix B: What Is the Continuing Predicament of the Southern Baptists?
    Appendix C: How Can a Mason Receive a Demit from the Masonic Lodge?
    Appendix D: How Will Masons Respond to This Book?
    Additional Resources
    Bibliography

SECTION I

INTRODUCTION TO MASONRY


As a fraternity, we are always ready to be judged—severely and critically (101:1).

   —Francis G. Paul, Thirty-Third-Degree Sovereign Grand Commander

WHAT IS MASONRY

AND

HOW INFLUENTIAL IS IT?

Masonry (also known as Freemasonry, or “the Lodge”) is a powerful, 2-million-member, centuries-old fraternal order that began in the early eighteenth century. According to most Masonic authorities, modern Masonry (also called speculative Masonry) can be traced to the founding of the first Grand Lodge in London in A.D. 1717 (70,I:131,152; 1:3; 15:12).

The Lodge is also a secret society. To maintain its secrets, Masonry uses symbolism, secret oaths, and secret rituals to instruct new members, who are called initiates. Each new member swears during these secret ceremonies to remain loyal to the Lodge and its teachings. The teachings instruct each new candidate how he is to serve God and his fellow man and tell him of the rewards he can expect. The symbols of Masonry are the actual tools of the old stonecutters and builders, such as the gavel, compass, plumb, square, and level, which are employed to inculcate moral and religious lessons.


Definitions

Let us examine the definition of Masonry as given by Masons themselves. Albert Mackey, in his Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, asserts “All [Masons] unite in declaring it to be a system of morality, by the practice of which its members may advance their spiritual interest, and mount by the theological ladder from the Lodge on earth to the Lodge in heaven” (96,I:269).

Additional authoritative definitions are as follows:

It is a science which is engaged in the search after Divine Truth, and which employs symbolism as its method of instruction (96,I:269).

[Masonry is] that religious and mystical society whose aim is moral perfection on the basis of general equality and fraternity (96,I:269).

Freemasonry, in its broadest and most comprehensive sense, is a system of morality and social ethics, a primitive religion, and a philosophy of life,...incorporating a broad humanitarianism;...it is a religion without a creed, being of no sect but finding truth in all;...it seeks truth but does not define truth (36:234).

A man who becomes a Mason is defined by Masonic authorities as being “one who has been initiated into the mysteries of the fraternity of Freemasonry” (96,I:378).

What we present in this book is an analysis of Masonry itself, as laid out by Masonic authorities recommended to us by half of the Grand Lodges in the United States (see question 2). The Grand Lodge of each state (and the District of Columbia) sets the ritual and the interpretation of that ritual that is to be followed by the members of that state. Although each Grand Lodge is the final authority for each state, a comparison shows little difference overall either in the ritual or in the interpretation of the ritual, though placement of materials may vary (182).

Masonry’s Influence

The influence of Masonry remains considerable despite significant losses in membership over the last few decades, and declining influence and prestige. Membership has declined from four million (in the period from 1952 to 1970) to about 2 to 2.5 million today (1.7 million in the U.S.)—although this may not include a significant membership in the many appendant organizations (183). According to the most recent statistics available (June 2001), Masonry retains about 22,000 lodges in some 70 countries. Of 192 countries in the world, almost 40 percent have Masonic Grand Lodges (184). In addition, there are literally thousands of Masonic Web sites (some 1,700 Masonic and appendant sites are listed at the “E-M@son Link System,” and thousands of Masonic sites are also listed at two other megasites) (187).

In Behind the Lodge Door, Paul A. Fisher, who has a background in military and other intelligence, asserts that Masonry has “enormous influence in the world media” and that it influenced or dominated the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 30 years. The ratio (Masons to non-Masons) was 5 to 4 (1941–46), 8 to 1 (1949–56), 6 to 3 (1957–67), and 5 to 4 (1969–71) (121:1-17, 242-44, 260-68). According to one Lodge history compiled by Paul Bessel, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Leadership Center, from 1789 to 1992 about one-third of the Supreme Court Justices have apparently been Masons. (However, from1992 to the present, for the first time there is apparently not a single Mason sitting on the Court.) (188)

According to Masonic sources, as many as 14 U.S. presidents have been Masons, and 14 vice presidents as well. According to the Senate Congressional Record of September 9, 1987, Masons constituted 41 members of the federal judiciary, 50 percent of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 18 senators, and 76 members of the House of Representatives. Among the famous and influential of the world, the Masonic list reads like a who’s who: Sir Winston Churchill, W.C. Fields, Henry Ford, Norman Vincent Peale, Luther Burbank, Benjamin Franklin, Barry Goldwater, J. Edgar Hoover, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Lindbergh, General Douglas MacArthur, Peter Marshall, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Roy Rogers, all seven of the Ringling Brothers, and too many others to list (189).


SECTION II

WHAT IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY FOR THE TEACHINGS PRESENTED IN EACH MASONIC LODGE?

If anyone is going to investigate the teachings of the Masonic Lodge, who or what is the accepted authority they should listen to? When, on our television program, we asked this question of Mr. Bill Mankin, a thirty-second-degree Mason, he said, “The authoritative source for Masonry is the ritual. The ritual—what happens in the Lodge, what goes on” (1:3,5).

When one examines Masonry and compares the different manuals containing the ritual for each state (these textbooks are called monitors), it is apparent that, at least today, the ritual and the interpretations given are very close. As former Worshipful Master Jack Harris comments, “In other states...the principle and the doctrines [of the ritual] are exactly the same. The wording only varies slightly” (13:29). Therefore, the ritual in the monitors can be considered the authoritative teachings of the Lodge.

But we also wanted to know which authors and books Masons themselves recommend to outsiders as authoritative. In order to answer this question, we sent a letter to each of the 51 Grand Lodges in America. The letter was addressed to the Grand Master of each, asking him to respond to the following question: “As an official Masonic leader, which books and authors do you recommend as being authoritative on the subject of Freemasonry?” Twenty-five of the 51 Grand Lodges in the United States responded.* (Remember, for each state there is no higher authority than its Grand Lodge.)

* Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.


Excerpted from Fast Facts on the Masonic Lodge By John Ankerberg and John Weldon. Copyright © 2004 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.