SHOULD A CHRISTIAN BE A FREEMASON?
by Jack Fredregill
Published in the "Acts" magazine of Frebruary 1993, a publication
of the General Council of the Churches of God, 7th Day, Meridian,
The order of Freemasonry is one of the most respected secret
societies in the world today. Its members often contribute
freely, both financially and physically, to a wide variety of
local, state and national humanitarian pro jects.
The Shrine is Masonry's highest degree, and Shrine hospitals
are well financed by Masonic members worldwide. Shriners raise
funds to fight cancer, help crippled children and provide
assistance to orphans and widows.
Because of their charity it is difficult for most people to
level any criticism at this international fraternity. Anyone who
has been a recipient of masonic benevolence will quickly rise to
Men of prominence, including American presidents and other
world heads of state have been bestowed the honorary title of
Thirty-third Degree Mason, and it is not uncommon to find church
congregations where most of the male members are Master Masons.
Can a man who is a Christian find Masonry compatible with his
religious beliefs? Perhaps this is a good question to put before
all church-going males who are also Masons. Most members of
modernday lodges, whether they are Christians or not, are
upright, respected members of the community, and such men would
laugh or be offended if someone accused them of being part of a
"Match your 'Churchianity' with the good works we do,
Mister," a Master Mason might scornfully retort to someone
criticizing the Lodge, particularly the Shrine.
Nonetheless, the Order of Freemasonry has some rather
frightful skeletons in its closet, and down through history the
part it has played as a vehicle for occult practices and
political intrigues is a matter of record.
At one time, this author was a Master Mason extremely active
in his home lodge and the state lodges as well. But for all the
good fellowship there were certain things about the fraternity
that always bothered me.
There were no cloak-and-dagger activities nor any subversive
plots afoot such as were once rather common in European lodges,
but there were a lot of subtle allusions to the occult which
seemed not quite right to someone who was not even a very serious
Christian at the time. Some of the many Masonic rituals contained
elements that struck me as inherently superstitious and pagan.
The Masons claim a belief in God, but in reality their outlook
more parallels the philosophy of today's New Age movement rather
than the traditional Christian view of Deity. Bear in mind,
though, that most Master Masons know little more about their
lodge than what is obtained from the various rituals and
recitations they absorb by rote and repetition. To most Masons
the Lodge is a place of fellowship where men try to conduct their
lives according to a set of high ideals and standards. They
rarely look more deeply into the fraternity than this.
Masonic belief in God borders the lines of Gnosticism more than
it does Christianity of even Judaism, although Old Testament
symbolism plays a key part in Masonic ritual. In order to gain
entrance into the Lodge, you must profess a token belief in a
Supreme Being; however, that Being can be whatever you perceive
it to be. It is believed by serious Masonic scholars that in the
final analysis all religions and all gods are one.
To accept the tenets of Masonry one must accept a doctrine
which is a homogenous mixture of Eastern mysticism, the Jewish
Cabala (or Kaballah), Pythagorian symbolism, humanism and a
smattering of Rosicrucianism thrown in for good measure.
BRIEF HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY
Masonic authorities do not themselves totally agree as to
their origins, and there are no less than twelve different
sources from which (according to the experts) Masonry evolved:
(1) From the Patriarchs (2) From the Mysteries of the pagans (3)
From the Crusades (4) From the construction of Solomon's Temple
(5) From the Knights Templar (5) From the Roman Collegia of
Artificers (7) From the operative masons of the Middle Ages (8)
From the Rosicrucians of the Sixteenth century (9) From Oliver
Cromwell (10) From Prince Charles Stuart for political purposes
(11) From Sir Christopher Wren at the building of St.Paul's
Cathedral (12) From Dr.Desaguliers and his friends in 1717 (Royal
The universal lodges make a distinction between operative
and speculative Masonry, and most modern members are
practitioners of the latter. Well-known Freema son the Count
Goblet d' Alviella has said...
... Speculative Masonry is the legitimate offspring of a fruitful
union between the professional guild of medieval Masons and a
secret group of philosophical Adepts, the first having furnished
form and the second the spirit.
There were groups of Masons who formed themselves into
guilds in very ancient times, perhaps even in Egypt and Greece.
Historically, we know for sure that such guilds were functioning
in Western Europe from the time of the Christian Era. According
to some Masonic writers, the inspirations for such guilds and
many of the traditions employed came to European tradesmen from
The Masonic Cyclopedia tells that operative Masonry began
with the Roman Collegia of Architects. Since Rome did once occupy
Britain, this theory could very well be accurate. England
established an official Order of Freemasonry in 1717.
The York Charter establishes the presence of Masonic guilds in
England as early as 926 A.D., but France also had its
Compagnonages and Germany its Steinmetzen. According to the
French, theirs was the true forerunner to the modern Lodge, and
the Germans insist theirs was the original Order.
The Abbe Grandidier, writing from Strasbourg in 1778,
...This much vaunted Society of Freemasons (in Britain and
France) is nothing but a servile imitation of an ancient and
useful conferie of real Masons whose headquarters was formerly
Strasbourg and of which the constitution was confirmed by the
Emperor Maximilian in 1498 (Essai sur las Secte des Illumines, by
Marguis de Luchet, 1792 edition).
This Maximilian is not to be confused with Napoleon III's
puppet emperor who ruled Mexico in the early 1860s.
According to scant evidence it would of
seem that operative guilds organized in Scotland and England were
also chartered and presided over by powerful noblemen. In spite
of endorsement and approval by such men of prominence, lodges
were suppressed by an Act of Parliament under Henry VI. Later,
Queen Elizabeth sent an armed force to break up the annual Grand
Lodge at York. The lodges, it seems were held to be suspect
because of their secrecy.
By the seventeenth century, much ritual of an occult nature
had become an integral part of the Lodge. And, since members were
no longer required to be operative members of the craft, many
intellectuals and dabblers in arcane speculation entered the
Order, largely attracted by the prestige and the cloak of secrecy
Masonry enjoyed. In 1717 Speculative or Freemasonry was
established on an organized basis, complete with ritual, rules
At what point in time did a marriage actually take place
between the occult and a guild of working craftsmen? We know that
the establishment of speculative Masonry did certainly open doors
to notorious occultists such as Joseph Frank, Cagliostro, Jacob
Falk and others, although we cannot say that occultism entered
the fraternity solely with them.
Certain Masonic writers indeed ascribe to Freemasonry
precisely the same genealogy as that of the early Cabala,
declaring that it descended from Adam and the first patriarchs of
the human race, and thence through groups of Wise Men amongst the
Egyptians, Chaldeans, Persians and Greeks (The Historical
Landmarks of Freemasonry, Rev. G. Oliver, 1845).
At the opening of a Masonic Temple in 1794, the Rev.William
Dodd said in his opening speech that Masonry could trace its
beginnings from "the astronomers on the plains of Chaldea, the
wise and mystic kings and priests of Egypt, the sages of Greece
and philosophers of Rome."
It is asserted by many that the Knights Templar acquired
much doctrine of the Cabala from their rivals the "Assassins"
while they were in Jerusalem during the Crusades. They supposedly
brought such teachings back with them to England and France and
later introduced them into the Masonic Lodges.
THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON
The degrees of the Masonic Lodge leading an Entered
Apprentice to the coveted status of Master Mason are based upon a
reenactment of the building of King Solomon's Temple and the
cold-blooded murder of the builder's alleged architect, Hiram
Abiff. Solomon employed the services of Hiram, a widow's son of
the tribe of Naphtali, who was sent to the monarch by Hiram, King
Now, the workmen at the building site were divided into
three classes: Entered Apprentices, Fellow Craft and Master
Masons. Each group was paid wages according to their skills and,
quite naturally, the Master Mason received the highest wage.
Before the Temple is completed, fifteen Fellow Craft resolve to
waylay HitAbiff at the door of the building and force him to give
them the secrets of Master Mason. Just before Hiram makes his
appearance, all but three of the workers drew back. However, this
remaining trio resolve to carry out the diabolical plan. After
Hiram refuses their demands, the three kill him with blows upon
Fearing their crime might be discovered, the three ruffians
bury Hiram's body on Mount Moriah and mark the spot with a sprig
of acacia. The body is later discovered and ordered exhumed by
King Solomon. The entire drama from the murder to the "raising"
of Hiram Abiff comprises the Third Degree of Masonry and ushers
the candidate into what is known as "Blue Lodge."
The whole story is thought by many to be the survival of
some exoteric doctrine of a pagan cult, for nowhere in the pages
of the Bible or elsewhere does such a story occur. This myth
bears strong resemblance to the Egyptian story of the murder of
Osiris and the quest for his body by Isis. The Masonic
lamentations around Hiram's grave are not unlike the mourning
rites for Osiris once conducted by pagan cultures.
THE CABALA--ONCE AGAIN
Whatever the origin of the myth of Hiram Abiff, the
application given to it in Masonry is strictly Judaic in nature,
and "...the pillars of the Temple Jachin and Boaz, which play so
important a part of Craft Masonry, are symbols which occur in the
Jewish Cabala, where they are described as two of the ten
sephiroth" (Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, Nesta
To infer that much of Masonic teaching comes from Cabalistic
philosophy is in no way speculation. Masonry does not deny this,
and often it even boasts of such a fact.
The Kabalistic (of Cabalistic) doctrine, which was also the
dogma of the Magi (plural for magician) and Hermes (Trimegistus)
is contained in the Sepher Yetsairah, the Sohar and the Talmud
... the orthodox traditions were carried from Chaldea by Abraham.
They reigned in Egypt in the time of Joseph, together with the
knowledge of the true God. Moses carried orthodoxy out of Egypt,
and in the Secret Traditions of the Kabalah we find a theology
entire, perfect, unique ... those who accept it as a rule may
give their will a sovereign power that will make them the masters
of all inferior things and of all errant spirits; that is to say,
will make them the arbiters and kings of the world" (Morals and
Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Freemasonry, Albert
Some who believe that Masonry returned to France with the
Templars say that Cabalistic doctrine was incorporated by them
into the Grand Lodge under Grand Master Jacques de Molay during
the early 1300s.
When the Templars were persecuted and de Molay burned at the
stake, it is told that a Pierre d'Aumont and seven other Knights
escaped to Scotland disguised as working masons. The refugees
found sanctuary on the Island of Mull.
On St.John's Day in 1307, the Templar band held a meeting of
a newly formed Masonic chapter, thus laying the foundation for
the 32 degrees of the famed Scottish Rite. These Templar Masons
were given protection by Robert Bruce, and they fought under his
standard at Bannockburn against King Edward II who had suppressed
Masonry in England. So great was the fame and influence of the
Templars that their philosophies easily were merged with guilds
of operative Scottish Masons. The Templars patterned their
fraternity to a great extent after the Assassins against whom
they had fought during the Crusades. The Masonic degrees, Entered
Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason parallel the degrees of
entrance required of Assassins.
KNIGHTS of THE ROSY CROSS AND THE VEHM-GERICHTE
It is said that the ruler Charlemagne established the dread
Tribunals, the Vehmgerichtes, in 772 to establish law and order
amid the anarchy and lawlessness then widespread in Germany. The
Tribunals became so powerful that even emperors feared them. The
rulers were forced to become initiates into the "Holy Vehm" for
their own self-protection. During the twelfth century, eastern
Germany became known as the "Red Land" because of the blood that
flowed as the result of so many executions.
In 1371 a group of Knights Templar arrived at Germany to
seek entrance into the Tribunals. The Templars, so goes the
story, introduced many terrorist techniques of their own into the
Vehm, methods they initially had learned from the Assassins.
When a candidate was about to be entrusted with the Secrets of
the Vehm, he was bound by a terrible oath not to reveal what he
would learn. He was given a password and secret handshake.
Traitors violating their oath met a very grim end. They were
taken away with their eyes bandaged and their hands tied behind
their backs to the site of their execution. Their tongues were
torn out through the backs of their necks, and they were hung
head down as a prey for the wild fowl of the air.
Grisly though this sounds, Masonic lodges of today still pledge
their candidates to strict secrecy "under penalty of having my
throat cut from ear to ear and my tongue tom out-my body buried
in the rough sands of the sea at low water mark" or of "having my
heart plucked out and given to the wild birds of the air for a
The Vehm was often called the "RoseCroix," a name derived
from the Templars. Owing to the scarlet crosses on their tunics,
the Templars often called themselves "Knights of the Rosy Cross"
of "Rose Croix," If Templar influence in the Vehm was as
extensive as reported, the German group's use of the identical
name could hardly be viewed as a coincidence.
One of the most enigmatic figures of history, Cagliostro has
been alternatively praised or condemned depending upon who wrote
about him. He was said to be both a magician par excellence and
one of history's more notorious charlatans. A movie, Black Magic
starring Orson Welles, glamorized his colorful life.
We could devote an entire article, perhaps even a book, to
the life of Cagliostro alone. Since we are dealing with
Freemasonry here instead, we will but briefly
touch upon Cagliostro and his influence of the Order.
Legend has it that Cagliostro was initiated into the Order
of Stricte Observance, a cult greatly controlled by a remnant of
Templars who still held political sway during the eighteenth
century. The magus Cagliostro was also supposedly involved with
Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati and a clever scheme to subvert
Masonry, transforming it into an underground organization for the
promotion of revolution and the overthrow of existing European
The winds of revolution were blowing at gale force in France
at the time, and Weishaupt saw what he felt was an opportunity to
seize control of a major European nation. Cagliostro was hired
and given ample finances to succeed in subverting and gaining
control of the Continental Freemasons. Writing to members of the
order in London, Cagliostro informed them that the time had come
to rebuild the Temple of the Eternal. As a part of this, he
attempted to revive the worship of Isis and introduced a new rite
called the "Egyptian" inu the Lodge. The three letters on his
seal were L.P.D., standing for the words Liha Pebibus Desture, or
"Tread Under Foot the Lilies (of France)."
Still other political intrigues have employed certain wings
of Masonry as their vehicle throughout history. Unfortunately, we
do not have time or space to explore them all.
Most Master Masons, though, were probably unaware of such
intrigues and never were a part of them. The conspirators simply
took advantage of lodge secrecy to plot their actions without
being detected. Then, as now, rank-and-file lodge members saw
Masonry as nothing more than a harmless fraternity where they
could "get out with the boys" a few nights during the month. It
would be ridiculous to accuse all Master Masons of subversive
But the men who sat in on the "secret degrees" conducted
after regular Lodge ceremonies closed were unprincipled
opportunists who felt ordained to exercise their control over
whom they considered to be "lesser men." Masonry, like numerous
other organizations, has often been subverted to promote
Adolf Hitler was a member of the Thule Society which to some
Extent had Masonic roots, and Karl Marx was a mouthpiece for the
League of the Just (later the Communist League) which was an
outgrowth of Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati.
Perhaps Masonry has been given a bum rap. Perhaps through
its history it has been nothing more than a host for a variety of
parasites. Still in all, dear Christian reader, I would think
because of this you might wish to exercise a certain amount of
care before petitioning for admission into the Masonic Blue Lodge
and any of the higher degrees. Even if your participation is
innocent, you will have to compromise with the Word of God on
many things in order to remain a member in good standing. Jesus
said that we could not serve two masters, and that is in fact
what you will be doing if you try to be both a Mason and a
Jesus never promoted anything that was be be "a secret" - His
followers were to go out and proclaim the Knigdom of God and
salvation to the whole world - loud, clear, explainable. We are
not to be ahsamed of the Gospel of Christ. No secret societies
have any part in the FREE and OPEN work of the Lord. Despite the
Mason's outward works of charity, they are a closed and deceived
group of people. God's people are to share the true KNOWLEDGE of
God and Christ - they do not belong to "secret societies."