Why the Church and the Lodge Disagree
A Lutheran Perspective
by Pastor Walter P. Snyder
The Rev. Pastor Walter Snyder Web Site
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The Church and the Lodge disagree because of a very fundamental Scriptural truth:
"For by grace are
ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)" The
disagreement of the Church with the Lodge is because of the religion of
the Lodge, which is a false religion. Matthew 15:9 says, In vain
they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
The Lodge is deceptive, false, and a tool of the devil. In dealing with
the Lodge we haven't time to treat of all the teachings of all lodges, or
even of all the teachings and practices of one lodge. But we will deal
with the main points of difference between the Word of God and religious
Lodgery as outlined above. And because Freemasonry is admittedly the
father of the lodge system, to prove our points we will quote from
accepted Masonic sources such as the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry,
written by Albert G. Mackey, past General Grand High Priest, and once
Secretary General of the Supreme Council, 33rd Degree, for Southern
Jurisdiction of U.S. Mackey spent 30 years in study and research in behalf
of Masonry, and then labored 10 years to write his Encyclopedia. Other
Masonic sources will be listed after each quotation. Note that in
disagreements with many Masons, when any of these sources are cited, they
will disavow the author, saying, in effect, "What he says may be what
another lodge in another place says, but that doesn't hold
true with us." Yet the bottom line holds true: The Lodge teaches falsely,
since it claims salvation through human effort.
- The claims of the Lodge:
- It is religious.
- All its applicants must believe in God.
- It believes in Jesus.
- It is based on the Word of God.
- It encourages prayer to God.
- It promises salvation to its members.
- It claims to impart divine truth.
- It is broadminded.
- It is non-sectarian.
- Its religion is not limited to creeds.
- It is uplifting.
- It upholds a high type of ethics.
- It encourages good morals.
- It is a social organization.
- The objections of God's Word:
- It is religious, but not Christian.
- It worships God, but not the Triune God.
- It believes in Jesus, but not Jesus as the only Savior.
- It is based upon the words of many gods, but not upon the Word
- It encourages prayer, but not true prayer which God answers.
- It promises salvation, but it promises this on the basis of
- It claims to impart divine truth, but its popular teachings are
contrary to the Word of God.
- It is broadminded, but not Christ-minded.
- It is non-sectarian, and thus non-Christian.
- Its religion is not limited to creeds, for creeds pin one down
to definite beliefs about a definite God, and thus set boundaries to
one's faith and actions.
- It is uplifting, but its uplifting effect is emotional only, and
is far below that of the Church of God.
- It upholds a high type of ethics, but they are selective, and
none comes as high as those set by the Church.
- It encourages good morals, but it lacks the ability to empower a
man to keep them. Further, its morals are below those set by God as
- It is a social organization, but it is a religious social
organization whose religion is false. The Church is also a social
organization which is religious. The Church is a better social
organization than the Lodge.
- The Church is more uplifting in society than the Lodge.
- The Church is less discriminatory than the Lodge.
- The Church is more lastingly satisfying than the Lodge.
One might ask how it is possible for anyone who is not a member of the
lodges to study them, since only members are supposed to be able to know
what the lodges teach. Every year there are many people, including those
of high degree, who leave the various lodges for conscience' sake. Many of
these, in order to warn others, make available the information they have
received through their membership in the Lodge.
For example, ever since the exposure of the first three degrees of
Masonry by Captain William Morgan--and his subsequent abduction and murder
in 1826 by Mason Richard Howard--men have been steadily leaving this
lodge. Immediately after the murder was exposed, over 1500 lodges
surrendered their charters, and forty-five thousand Masons of the fifty
thousand then in the northern jurisdiction seceded from the Order. Colonel
William L. Stone, Knight Templar and Editor of the New York Commercial
Advertiser, claimed that Howard confessed himself the executioner of
Morgan, making this confession at an encampment of Knights Templar at St.
John's Hall in New York, under the "sealed obligation," and that then
Howard was provided with money and put on board ship for Liverpool,
Now, to back up the statements of the outline:
- THE LODGE IS RELIGIOUS.
Jurisprudence, page 95: "The truth is, that Masonry is undoubtedly a
religious institution." Mackey's Encyclopedia, page 648: "Masonry
is in every sense of the word--and that its least philosophical--an
eminently religious institution ... that it is indebted solely to the
religious element which it contains for its origin, and for its
continued existency, and that without this religious element it would
scarcely be worthy of cultivation by the wise and good."
Lodges are religious, and that is why they have their temples, altars,
holy books, prayers, religious terms, burial rites, and references to
the Great Master or Supreme Architect of the Universe, etc.
However, THE RELIGION OF THE LODGES IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN
RELIGION, for the Christian religion claims that there is salvation only
for the person who believes in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. The
Word of God claims that Jesus Christ, God's only-begotten Son, is the
only Savior. Acts 4:12 says: "For there is none other Name under heaven
given among men whereby we must be saved." No lodge that admits other
than Christian members could say this. They all must deny this, for to
confess the need of Christ as Savior would be to make them
"sectarian"--in other words, Christian.
Proceedings of New Jersey (Masonry), Vol. 23, Part 2, p. 97,
under Penn., we read, "It [Masonry] directs us to divest ourselves of
confined and bigoted notions and it teaches us that humanity is the soul
of religion. We are members of a universal religion, not narrowed
to a sect. Whilst as Christians we worship God through Jesus
Christ, as Parsees, through Zoroaster, as Mohammedans through
Mohammed, as Jews through Moses, we believe that in every
nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is
accepted by Him . . . . We mean to travel to the same
place. We know that the end of the journey is the
same, and we all affectionately hope to meet in the
paradisiacal lodge of the just made perfect." [Emphasis added]
In other words, Masonry would ask its members to get rid of
their narrow and bigoted notions about salvation, such as, for example,
our teaching that Christ is the only Savior. To them, He isn't the only
Savior, as the Word of God teaches. The Word must tell a lie here--so it
can hardly be inspired. Christ is only one of the many saviors, like
Mohammed, Zoroaster, or Moses. So He can hardly be the Only-Begotten Son
of God, or the Savior. He must just be another great teacher. Any
Christian belonging to a lodge can see that in denying
Christ, it is also denying the Father; for in John
2:22-23, we read, "Who is a liar but he that denieth the Father and the
Son? Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; he that
confesseth the Son hath the Father also." And if a man, or an
organization, thus denies the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is
also denied, for the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE LEFT OF CHRISTIANITY IF YOU DENY THAT JESUS IS THE
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, THE ONLY SAVIOR OF
MANKIND? Such denial is what the lodge has to do in order to avoid
becoming a sect--that is, a Christian organization.
the passage quoted above, and there are many like it from Masonic
sources, everyone "that feareth God and worketh
righteousness is accepted by Him." [Emphasis added] That isn't what
the Word of God says. In Ephesians 2:8-9, we read, "For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it
is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." God
does not accept man because man fears God. Even the Devil does that. Nor
does God accept man because he works righteousness. The Bible teaches in
Romans 3:10, "There is none righteous, no, not one." So salvation does
not come as the result of our works, but it is a gift of God to us
undeserving sinners, coming to us through faith in Jesus as our Savior.
Thus the Lodge is religious, but not Christian.
- IT WORSHIPS GOD, that is, it doesn't encourage the admission of
open blasphemers to membership.
The sixth obligation in the
3rd (or Master Mason's) Degree reads: "Furthermore, that I will not
assist in, or be present at the initiating, passing, or raising of a
woman, an old man in dotage, a young man under age, an atheist, a
madman or a fool; I knowing them to be such." So it desires that its
member believe in god, but not in Jesus Christ as true God, or in God
the Father as the Father of Jesus Christ, the only Savior, or in the
Holy Spirit as true God proceeding from the Father and the Son. It
indeed worships god, but not the Triune God.
- IT BELIEVES IN JESUS, but in Jesus as only one of the revealers of
the truth about God. It does not believe in Jesus as the only Savior.
But Jesus never Himself laid claim to being a Great Teacher. He always
claimed to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world. If He is not
the Savior, He is a liar. "Jesus saith unto Him, I am the Way, the
Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. (John
14:6)" And we are plainly told, God was in Christ, reconciling the
world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. (2
Corinthians 5:19)" You can clearly see Who the Word of God teaches
that Jesus is in Acts 16:31; 2 Timothy 3:15; etc. He is either the
Savior, or both He and God's Word are liars.
- THE LODGE CLAIMS TO MAKE USE OF GOD'S WORD. Asahol W. Gage, in
The Builder, Vol. I, p. 235 says, God's Holy Book, His
revelation to us, is the guide in our search for light." But what
is God's Holy Book according to the Lodge? Gage continues, "To
the Jew, the Holy Book is the history of Israel, substantially the Old
Testament. To the Christian it is the Old and New Testaments. To the
Mohammedan it is the Koran; to the Hindu, the Veda. But whatever book
it is, it is the Holy Book of the seeker of light, and that which
he believes to be the Word of God." Is this what the Christian
Church holds? Can a Christian subscribe to this?
- THE LODGE URGES ITS MEMBERS TO PRAYER, but to prayer that can
never be heard, for the Lodge thinks of the use of the Name of Jesus
in prayer as "contrary to the spirit of freemasonry and is in
derogation of its universality which would demand that no phrase or
terms should be used in Masonic service that would arouse sectarian
feelings or wound the religious sensibilities of a Freemason." This
foregoing from Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas, 1907,
p. 84, Decision of Jurisprudence Committee. So pray, but don't use the
Name of Jesus. But a Christian knows that this is precisely the reason
God hears him, not because he deserves to be heard, but because he
comes in Jesus' Name. For reference, see John 14:13-14; 15:16;
16:23-24, 26; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 5:2; 1 Timothy 2:5.
- Thus we see that when IT PROMISES SALVATION, its promises are
deceptive. We see that it offers salvation to all who fear God and
work righteousness, regardless of whether or not they may believe in
Jesus as their Savior. If we are Christians, we know that this is
absolutely false and contrary to Scripture.
- IT CLAIMS TO IMPART DIVINE TRUTH, but the "divine truth" we have
found in the Lodge is contrary to the Word of God. And, if it actually
has other divine truths, why doesn't it allow the world to benefit
from them? It claims to be an uplifting organization. What if the
Church felt that way about the Divine Truth of the Bible? Who would
then hear the saving truths of the Gospel? Only a certain few
initiated men, or, as in the course of some lodges, only a certain few
initiated women? But, of course, no children or cripples!
- THE LODGE PRIDES ITSELF ON BEING BROADMINDED, but they are not
Christ-minded; nor do they claim to be. If they were to claim to be
Christ-minded, then they would confess to be a Christian organization.
This is not their claim, for if they claimed this, how could they ask
men from all religions to partake? Then, if they are not Christ-minded,
we object to their offering salvation to all men who fear God and work
righteousness--as though Christ were irrelevant--as though He had
nothing to do with our being saved--as though any man can be saved
without a firm trust in Him as Savior. It is a downright lie to say so.
This is the doctrine that Satan most likes to have taught to men, as it
lulls them to sleep until too late.
- THE LODGE CLAIMS TO BE UPLIFTING. But no one with all the facts in
hand can say that there is any comparison with the uplifting effects of
the Church of God.
- THE LODGE CLAIMS TO UPHOLD A HIGH TYPE OF ETHICS AND TO ENCOURAGE
GOOD MORALS. But Mackey says on page 502 of his Masonic
Jurisprudence, that "the Moral Law, obedience to which Masonry
requires, is not the law of the Decalogue of Moses (the Ten
Commandments), but rather Lex naturae, or natural law,
discoverable by natural light. No law less universal could have been
appropriately selected for the government of an institution whose
prominent characteristic is its universality." The Lodge cannot bind
its members by the Ten Commandments because these are Jewish and
Christian, in other words, sectarian. They bind themselves only by the
universal laws of nature.
A Christian, however, knows what man
is like by nature--an enemy of God. The laws, morals and ethics of
nature are far below the laws, morals and ethics of God. And that is
the reason that, for example, the vows of the 2nd and 3rd Degrees of
Masonry are as narrow and limited as they are. The ethics of Masonry
are far below the accepted ethics of God, but yet it claims salvation
for the man who lives up to them.
Masonry doesn't even claim
to have a perfect ethic, for another Masonic authority, J. S. M. Ward,
in Free Masonry, Its Aims and Ideals, pages 52-53 says, "...
our moral teaching, though good, is neither so exalted, nor so all
embracing as that of Christ."
- Now for the sake of argument, let us say that they do have
a perfect ethic. To be perfect, a man would have to keep this standard
of morals perfectly, wouldn't he? Can Masonry enable a man to keep a
perfect standard perfectly? It cannot. Christ alone can empower a man
so that he can little by little overcome sin in this life and more and
more reach this goal; but even then, the Christian is never entirely
above falling into sin in this life. The Christian's only hope of
salvation lies in having his sins all forgiven by God because of
Christ's payment for them on the Cross. The Christian knows he can
never obtain a state of perfection by his own strength.
- THE LODGE CLAIMS TO BE A SOCIAL ORGANIZATION. It is one, but so is
the Church. The Church is a better social organization, for it is one of
God. It is used by God as His tool in accomplishing the eternal
salvation of every man, woman and child whom He can convince of their
need for it. Thus the Church claims to be more universal and less
discriminatory than the Lodge, for women, children and the handicapped
are not excluded from the Church. According to 1 Timothy 2:4, God would
have all to be saved.
Masonry actually contains only Three Degrees. They are The Entered
Apprentice, The Fellow-Craft, and The Master Mason. Various rites may be
followed, such as the York Rite or the Scottish Rite. Within these various
rites are then the side degrees which give rise to the terms such as 32nd
Degree Mason. Some variants appear in the wording of the oaths, rituals
and such, but essentially, they are all the same. Space limitations again
prohibit going into detail on each oath, password and ritual, but that you
may see why our Lutheran Church objects to the oath taken by Masons, here
is the oath of the Entered Apprentice Degree:
I, _______________, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of
Almighty God and this Worshipful Lodge, erected to Him and dedicated to
the Holy Saints John, do hereby and hereon most solemnly and sincerely
promise and swear:
- That I will always hail, ever conceal and never reveal any of the
secret arts, parts or points of the hidden mysteries of ancient
Freemasonry, which have been heretofore, may at this time or shall at
any future period be communicated to me as such, to any person or
persons whomsoever, except it be to a true and lawful brother Mason, or
within a regularly constituted lodge of Masons; and neither unto him nor
them until by strict trial, due examination or legal information, I
shall have found him or them as lawfully entitled to the same as I am
- I furthermore solemnly promise and swear that I will not write,
print, paint, stamp, cut, carve, mark or engrave them, or cause the same
to be done, upon anything movable or immovable capable of receiving the
least impression or a word, syllable, letter or character, whereby the
same may become legible or intelligible to myself or to any person under
the whole canopy of heaven, and the secrets of Freemasonry be thereby
unlawfully obtained through my unworthiness.
- To all this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a
firm and steadfast resolution to keep and perform the same, without any
equivocation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind whatever.
BINDING MYSELF UNDER NO LESS A 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, WHERE THE TIDE EBBS AND FLOWS TWICE
IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate
this my solemn oath and obligation as an Entered Apprentice Mason. So
help me God and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the
same. [Emphasis added]
How may a Christian in good conscience make this oath not knowing what
may be revealed to him, or having made it, keep it when he is informed
fully of what the promise is? Or how may a Christian bind himself under
such a penalty when Holy Scripture clearly states that the body is the
Temple of the Holy Spirit?
The password for the Entered Apprentice Degree is BOAZ; for the
Fellow-Craft it is JACHIN; for the Master Mason, it is
MACHABEN and MACHBINNA. The knocks for admission to the
Lodge are as follows: First Degree knocks are three, evenly spaced; Second
Degree has one knock, followed by two; Third Degree has two, followed by
one. The Masons also date their calendars differently, namely by A.L.,
meaning Anno Lucis, or Year of Light. This stands for the date of
creation, which is 4000 B.C., by their reckoning. Thus 2001 A.D. became
If Masonry, or any of the other Lodges, have these wonderful secrets
for better life both now and hereafter, and if it is as all-encompassing
as it claims, why then does it force its members to swear that these
secrets will never be revealed to anyone not a lodge member. Christianity,
which has been directly entrusted by God with the mysteries of God, is not
sworn to secrecy, by rather commanded to "Go ... tell ... preach the
Gospel ... to every creature." No, friends--Lodgery, with all its vaunted
claims, is a fraud. It lures men's souls to eternal destruction. It
preaches a damnable doctrine of works, and it makes Christ's sacrifice of
The three Craft Degrees form the basis of the whole Masonic system;
together with the Royal Arch, they form the whole of Masonry as officially
recognized in England. The other degrees of Masonry are all of later
origin, and it is only in America that these have an aura of
"officialness." Of the "higher degrees," the most popular seem to be Mark
Masonry, Knights Templar, and Rose Croix. The most common rite followed in
this country is the so-called Scottish Rite, which consists of
thirty-three degrees which now follow:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason
- Secret Master
- Perfect Master
- Intimate Secretary
- Provost and Judge
- Intendent of the Buildings
- Elect of the Nine
- Elect of the Fifteen
- Sublime Elect
- Grand Master Architect
- Royal Arch (of Enoch)
- Scotch Knight of Perfection
- Knight of the Sword
- Prince of Jerusalem
- Knight of the East and West
- Knight of the Pelican and Eagle, the Sovereign Prince Rose Croix of
- Grand Pontiff
- Venerable Grand Master
- Patriarch Noachite
- Prince of Libanus
- Chief of the Tabernacle
- Prince of the Tabernacle
- Knight of the Brazen Serpent
- Prince of Mercy
- Commander of the Temple
- Knight of the Sun
- Knight of St. Andrew
- Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Black and White Eagle
- Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander
- Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
- Grand Inspector General
Other ways of grouping Masonry in the United States are as follows:
(These last three supposedly are open only to professing
- Symbolic Degrees
- Entered Apprentice
- Master Mason
- Chapter Masonry (Royal Arch)
- Mark Master
- Most Excellent Master
- Royal Arch
- Council Degrees (Cryptic Degrees)
(This link is to the Missouri York Rite)
- Royal Master
- Select Master
- Super-Excellent Master
- The Commandery
- Knights of the Red Cross
- Knights Templar
(there is also Sovereign Military
Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, a non-Masonic group)
- Knights of Malta
The Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of
the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) is a purely American Degree which is
noted chiefly for our purposes) for three things--a blasphemous oath sworn
upon the Bible and the Koran at the same time, extreme
vulgarity in the ritual, and a highly developed adolescence in nearly all
it does. One must be either a Knight Templar or a 32nd Degree Scottish
Rite Mason to join.
Should you desire further information about the Masons, you are invited
to read Darkness Visible and Christian By Degrees by Walton
Hannah, Lodges Examined by the Bible, by John R. Rice, Standard
Freemasonry Illustrated, by J. Blanchard, and the booklets What's
Behind the Lodge Door? and How To Respond: The Lodge from Concordia Publishing House, House, St.
Louis, Missouri. See also this Masonry Evaluation from
The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod.
See the note below for some of the other fraternals with which orthodox
Christendom finds problems.
For a delightful spoof of lodges, check out The Loyal Order of the
*NOTE: "Lodge" can mean any fraternal organization.
Included among the lodges are the Masons and their related
organizations, including Shriners.
See also that for all the lodge-talk about "equality," a separate
organization, the Ancient Egyptian
Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, exists primarily for people
of African ancestry.
By "lodge," we also mean such groups as the Elks, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Moose International, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Buffalo, the Sons of Herman, Modern Woodmen of America, Knights of Pythias, as well as others.
For the purpose of this section, however, we deal mainly with the Masons
since, in various forms, they constitute largest lodge, and are
representative of almost all lodges in most aspects.
What Do Lutherans Believe? A Study Guide in Christian Teaching for Adults
Supply, Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Copyright © 1992 by Walter W. Snyder and Walter P. Snyder
Available by calling 1-800-236-8724 or order online from Amazon