Many make the mistake of thinking because a thing is common, it is probably harmless. Masonic Temples are everywhere. Are the Masons just another "service organization"? Though their rites are secret, Masons assure others that their practices are totally compatible with Christianity. But there is an injunction to each Mason to practice "his particular religious creed, that revelation of the Deity which is recognized by his religion." What really goes on behind the Temple door? Here is a discerning, detailed response. -- Why this series? This is an age when countless groups and movements, old and new, mark the religious landscape in our culture, leaving many people confused or uncertain in their search for spiritual truth and meaning. Because few people have the time or opportunity to research these movements fully, these books provide essential information and insights for their spiritual journeys. Each book has five sections: - A concise introduction to the group - An overview of the group's theology -- in its own words - Tips for witnessing effectively to members of the group - A bibliography with sources for further study - A comparison chart that shows the essential differences between biblical Christianity and the group -- The writers of these volumes are well qualified to present clear and reliable information and help us discern religious truth from falsehood.
About the Author
Larry A. Nichols is the pastor of Our Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Greenville, Rhode Island. He is coauthor of "Masonic Lodge" in the Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements.
Alan W. Gomes (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate professor of historical theology and chairman of the department of theology at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
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Dedicated to the loving memory of Harold T. Dodge, who was a past Massachusetts District Deputy Grand Master and a 32nd Degree Consistory Order of the Eastern Star. More important, he was a loving father and faithful husband who now rests in Christ.
Masonic Lodge Copyright © 1995 by George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan Publishing House Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Mather, George A. Masonic lodge / George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols, authors. p. cm. - (Zondervan guide to cults & religious movements) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN: 0-310-70421-9 (pbk.) 1. Freemasonry - Controversial literature. I. Nichols, Larry A. II. Title. II. Series: Zondervan guide to cults and religious movements. HS475.M38 1995 366'.1 - dc20 94-29238 CIP
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Edited by Patti Picardi
Interior design by Art Jacobs
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How to Use This Book
The Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements comprises sixteen volumes, treatingmany of the most important groups and belief systems confronting the Christian church today. This series distills the most important facts about each and presents a well-reasoned, cogent Christian response. The authors in this series are highly qualified, well-respected professional Christian apologists with considerable expertise on their topics.
We have designed the structure and layout to help you find the information you need as quickly as possible. All the volumes are written in outline form, which allows us to pack substantial content into a short book. With some exceptions, each book contains, first, an introduction to the cult, movement, or belief system. The introduction gives a brief history of the group, its organizational structure, and vital statistics such as membership. Second, the theology section is arranged by doctrinal topic, such as God, Christ, sin, and salvation. The movement's position is set forth objectively, primarily from its own official writings. The group's teachings are then refuted point by point, followed by an affirmative presentation of what the Bible says about the doctrine. The third section is a discussion of witnessing tips. While each witnessing encounter must be handled individually and sensitively, this section provides some helpful general guidelines, including both dos and don'ts. The fourth section contains annotated bibliographies, listing works by the groups themselves and books written by Christians in response. Fifth, each book has a parallel comparison chart, with direct quotations from the cultic literature in the left column and the biblical refutation on the right. Some of the books conclude with a glossary.
One potential problem with a detailed outline is that it is easy to lose one's place in the overall structure. Therefore, we have provided graphical "signposts" at the top of the odd numbered pages. Functioning like a "you are here" map in a shopping mall, these graphics show your place in the outline, including the sections that come before and after your current position. (Those familiar with modern computer software will note immediately the resemblance to a "drop-down" menu bar, where the second-level choices vary depending on the currently selected main menu item.) In the theology section we have also used "icons" in the margins to make clear at a glance whether the material is being presented from the cultic or Christian viewpoint. For example, in the Mormonism volume the sections presenting the Mormon position are indicated with a picture resembling the angel Moroni in the margin; the biblical view is shown by a drawing of the Bible.
We hope you will find these books useful as you seek "to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).
- Alan W. Gomes, Ph.D. Series Editor
Part I: Introduction
I. Historical Background
A. The Problem of Determining the Origin of Freemasonry
1. The history of the Masonic Lodge (also known as Freemasonry) is not easy to recount.
According to Dr. Alvin Schmidt, one of the world's leading scholars on fraternal organizations, Freemasonry officially began in London, England in 1717 at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern. This conclusion is supported by the consensus of scholars and historians.
2. Despite this scholarly consensus, the origin has been disputed by members of the craft itself, who claim various origins dating back to the creation of humankind.
B. Spurious Masonic Accounts of Their History
1. The Masons claim ancient roots as a way of lending credibility and stature to their organization. a. Some well-known accounts
(1) Freemasonry dates back to the time of Adam and Eve, and the fig leaves (Gen. 3:7) were actually the first Masonic "aprons" (aprons are used in initiatory ceremonies in Freemasonry).
(2) Freemasonry dates back to the time of Solomon who employed stone masons to construct the temple in Jerusalem.
b. Other unsubstantiated claims
(1) Freemasonry is tied to the builders of the Tower of Babel, or the story of Noah, or the account of the life of the biblical Seth.
(2) Masons are the descendants of the Knights Templar. 1 Alvin Schmidt, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Institutions: Fraternal
Table of Contents
How to Use This Book 6
I. Introduction 7
II. Theology 29
III. Witnessing Tips 55
IV. Selected Bibliography 61
V. Parallel Comparison Chart 71