There is no single universal
definition of Masonry accepted by all Masons because the practice means different and sometimes contrary things to individual Masons. Masonry, for some of its members, has largely become a social club, while for others Masonry dominates their life and work as a religion they trust in for their salvation. This point is well stated by leading Masonic authority Henry Wilson Coil, in his A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry
. Here he discusses the contradictory nature of Masonry:
Nobody knows what Freemasonry is, or, if that statement be deemed too strong, at least no one has been able to demonstrate that he knows the answer to the question. What one [Mason, or Masonic authority] asserts another of apparent equal ability doubts or denies.... Nor is this divergence of opinion due to ignorance or lack of investigation, for conflicts arise principally among the most zealous and erudite of Masonic students. The Fraternity has no central authority to declare its creed and no censor of books to check aberrations. Anyone, either within or without the Society, may speak of write about it what he wills, and many have taken advantage of that liberty. (1)
Purpose: The uniting of men in fellowship under the principal themes of the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the immortality of the soul. For many Masons Masonry is a religious quest for spiritual enlightenment; however, ultimately, in the higher degrees the purpose is to conform the world to Masonic beliefs.
Founder: No single individual. Masonry gradually evolved into its present form, known as "speculative" Masonry. This distinguishes it from the "operative" or "working" Masonry of the medieval stone masons. Operative Masonry slower assimilated the mysticism and occultism of numerous religions and philosophies of the Middle Ages to become what is known as modern speculative Masonry. Most scholars trace modern Masonry to the time when four lodges merge in London in 1717 to form the first Grand Lodge.
Incompatible with Christianity
Though Freemasons claim otherwise, Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible:
By taking the Masonic oaths
, the Mason is swearing to uphold Masonry and its teachings. Swearing to uphold Masonic oaths is sinful, unscriptural and should not be part of the Christian's life for the following reasons.
- They make a Christian man swear by God to doctrines which God has pronounced false and sinful. For example, Masonry teaches a universalist doctrine of "the Fatherhood of God" (John 8:42)
- The Christian man is made to swear his acceptance of the lie that salvation, the reward of Heaven, can be gained by main's good works (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- The Christian man swears to accept and promote the Masonic lie that Jesus is just one of many equally revered prohets in the world. He does this when agreeing that all religions can lead a man to God (Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:16-18)
- The Christian man swears he will remain silent in the Lodge and not talk of Christ when God commands every Christian to be a witness (Matthew 28:19)
- The Christian man swears that he is approaching the Lodge while he is in spiritual ignorance and moral darkness, when the Bible says that Christians are children of light and are indwelt by the Light of the world (John 8:12; Ephesians 5:8)
- By taking the Masonic oath, the Christian is guilty of taking the name of the Lord is vain, because he has sworn unlawfully to things God has forbidden him to swear to. God says He will not leave such a person unpunished (Exodus 20:7)
- The Christian falsely swears that the God of the Bible is equally present in all religions (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
- The Christian falsely swears to the teaching that true worship can be offered in to Lodge to God without the mediatorship of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14)
- By swearing the Masonic oath, Christians are perpetuating a false gospel to other Lodge members who look only to the gospel of Masonry to get them to Heaven (Galatians 1:6-8)
- The Christian's spirit, mind and body are the temple of the Holy Spirit, "bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). By taking the Masonic obligations he could be agreeing to allow the polution of his mind and spirit by pagan religion or even occult practices.
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- Henry Wilson Coil, A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry (Richmond, VA: Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., 1973), p. 234. (Back to text)