Part Two: PRACTICE
11. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
12. SUNDAY SCHOOLS
14. CLOSE COMMUNION
15. WOMEN AS MINISTERS
16. TITLE OF MINISTERS
19. SECRET ORDERS AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Chapter 11. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
Most religious groups today use instrumental music in their services; with those not using musical instruments being a small minority.
The practice of using musical instruments in church services did not come into existence until about the year 666 A.D. Since the practice was only initiated more than six hundred years after Christ established the true church, it obviously was not a practice instituted by Christ for his church.
Musical instruments were used under the law service. However, nothing in the law service is to be brought into the New Testament Church as established by Christ. This is the reason that we do not offer animal sacrifices and follow similar practices which existed under the ceremonial law service. The rituals and practices of the ceremonial law service were a mere shadow or figure of things to come:
Hebrews 9:9-10 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very images of the things,...
Hebrews 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
If the Old Testament standard were the standard for the church and it's practices, then it would appear that music is an appropriate part of the worship service of the true church. However, the ceremonies and modes of worship under the Old Testament were but shadows of better things to come and are not to be followed in the church which Christ established. Rather than following the Old Testament example and having music in its worship service, the church is instructed to sing as follows:
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord:
Colossians 3:16 ...teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The new testament says that singing in religious worship is to be with melody in the heart, not on a musical instrument!
Singing without musical instruments is technically known as singing "a cappella". The term "a cappella" is a Italian word which means "as in chapel." This provides insight into the historical practice of the early church; as obviously music was not used in church services since singing without music is singing the way it was done in the early church and at the time the Italian phrase "a cappella" came into use.
There is not a single reference in the New Testament to the use of musical instruments in the services of the New Testament Church. Christ established the Church and gave us the pattern to follow, and that patter included no musical instruments. We should not introduce into the Church worship services anything that Christ did not introduce into those services:
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:... .
Since Christ did not put music in the worship service of the new testament church, neither should we!
Chapter 12. SUNDAY SCHOOLS
The modern way of worship is to separate God's children into different groups for services, depending on age, sex, marital status and similar standards. God's word does not direct such a separation. To the contrary God’s word encourages family worship in the home and in the public services.
God's called ministers are God's instruments for public instruction and proclamation of the gospel to his children. It is God's ministers that are instructed to oversee and feed the "flock." God does not instruct us to separate families to be taught by those who have not been called to teach his children:
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
1 Peter 5:1-2 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, ... feed the flock of God which is among you... .
When there is a flock of God's children, and an elder or minister called of God feeding them, then we have what God established as the way of public instruction and worship--the church meeting together being fed by one of his called ministers. Any other means of worship is of man and not of God. God's ministers are to teach all of the Lord's children; and there is not any authority for turning any part of the worship service or public instruction of God's children over to those who are not called to preach the word.
Sunday schools are a relatively new invention. The first Sunday schools were conducted in the Isle of Man about 1703, and in England proper about 1753. The modern Sunday school movement began in England in 1780 when Robert Raikes started a school for neglected and poor children (See Encyclopaedia Britannica, Sunday School).
God has given gifts to ministers, and they are to use those gifts in teaching his children from the Bible. Sunday schools are often taught by men or women who have not been called of God and ordained to preach and teach his word. This fact, coupled with the fact that all of God's children are to be taught together (there is but one gospel and God has but one family) is the basis for the fact that the true church does not have Sunday Schools as they exist in most religions.
This does not mean that the true church does not believe in studying and teaching the Bible. The true church does believe in the study and teaching of the Bible because God's word clearly encourages such practices, but those that are responsible for guiding and instructing the Lord's children in public worship are ministers called of God for such purpose.
Chapter 13. TITHING
The Old Testament clearly teaches tithing, which means the giving of one-tenth.
Num 18:20-21 And the Lord spake unto Aaron,... And behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance... .
Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is Holy unto the Lord.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
There is no question but that the Old Testament method of giving under the law service was of the tithe or one-tenth. However, we must look to the service of the New Testament to determine the proper Biblical method of giving for God's children in the gospel age.
The New Testament way of giving is not a fixed part of percentage as existed under the law service. Rather, New Testament church giving is to be as the Lord has prospered us:
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
Our giving to the Lord's Church as we are instructed under the New Testament is to be done cheerfully and bountifully:
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
The simple fact is that tithing is not prescribed in the New Testament for the New Testament Church; and just as we do not burn sacrifices as was done under the law service, we do not tithe as was done under the law service. In fact, if tithing were the standard, then it would be wrong to give as the Lord has prospered us, since it would be just as far from the standard to give 11% as it would to give 9%.
The widow that gave her two mites put in all her living and the Lord spoke affectionately of her giving. Certainly if tithing were the New Testament standard, the Lord would not have approved of her generosity, but would have corrected her and would not have noted her giving as an example for others. Jesus spoke kindly and affectionately of her giving as follows:
Mark 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
God's children are to give to the New Testament Church as God has prospered them. Such giving is to be with a cheerful attitude. That is the way of giving prescribed by the New Testament, rather than some fixed standard as was prescribed for the law service of the Old Testament.
Chapter 14. CLOSE COMMUNION
The true church does not practice what is called "open communion" which allows anyone desiring to do so to take part in the communion service. Rather, communion within the true church is "close" communion in which only baptized and orderly believers in Christ are allowed to participate.
When Christ instituted the Lord's supper and gave the example for communion, he did not open it to everyone that desired to participate, but rather it was close in that it was limited to the twelve apostles that had walked in fellowship with the Lord. See Luke 22:7-20. Such close communion within the true church is taught throughout the scriptures, including in the following example of the early church at Jerusalem:
Acts 2:41-42 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breacking of bread, and in prayers.
Note the conditions met by those that participated in the fellowship of communion or "breaking of bread":
a. They gladly received and accepted the gospel truths, which would include living according to those truths;
b. They were baptized by those that declared and held to the gospel truths; and
c. They continued in the true doctrine and fellowship of the church.
It was these that participated in the communion service; and that is the same standard that is applied by the true church. Even though a person may have been "baptized" and considers themselves to be a believer, they are entitled to participate in the communion of the true church only if they have been baptized by one teaching the truths held by the true church, and if they have accepted and are walking in accordance with those truths within the fellowship of the true church. Because of these requirements, the true church must not allow participation in communion by everyone who considers themself to be a believer, but who has not been baptized by one holding to the beliefs of the true church. Those who partake of communion are those who accept and follow the true doctrine and beliefs as taught by scriputure, and acknowledge such by following the Lord in baptism.
Communion was never intended to be open to everyone, as is the obvious teaching of the following scriptures:
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Close communion is required in order to maintain church discipline, for if there were no close communion then there would be no form of church discipline simply because any person, regardless of their circumstances, could participate in the communion service. The instruction of the Bible is that discipline is to be maintained, and that includes exclusion from the communion for an erring brother or sister (with the goal being repentance by the one walking in error):
2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
“Close communion” is for those who are walking orderly, and it is closed to those that walk disorderly, with the goal of the goal of recovery of God's children from error. Close communion teaches that there is only one acceptable way, and that is the way as taught by Jesus Christ. In summary, close communion is required for the true church that follows the example of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 15. WOMEN AS MINISTERS
Many religious orders, especially in recent years, have "ordained" and accepted women as "preachers". This practice is not recognized by the Bible, which clearly teaches that God only calls men as ministers of the gospel:
1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
This instruction to women to keep silence in the church deals with teaching as clearly shown by the following verses:
1 Timothy 2:11-12 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Women are just as important in the church and in the worship of God as are men; however, there are diversities of gifts among the Lord's people, and according to God's word he does not give the gift of public ministry and teaching of the gospel to women.
God’s word does not teach that women are inferior to men. Rather scripture teaches love and respect for men and women without distinction, and we should follow that precept and are doing so in not ordaining women as ministers. Even if people could become ministers solely by means of natural abilities or training (which is not the case), it still would not be proper to ordain women to the ministry, because God says that women are not to teach in the church.
Some attack this instruction in the Bible and say that this was simply the assertion of Paul who was, in their words, a "woman hater." Nothing could be further from the truth, as this instruction was from God, and in any event the charge against Paul certainly must be wrong, for would someone that hated women give the following instruction which Paul gave:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself;
Chapter 16. TITLE OF MINISTERS
The title of "reverend" or "father" is frequently used in religions to refer to religious leaders or preachers. The true church that follows Biblical instruction uses the names "preacher," "pastor," "bishop" or "elder" to refer to her ministers simply because such use is in accordance with the instruction of the scriptures.
i. The word "reverend" is used only once in the Bible, and it is used to refer to God and not to a minister:
Psalms 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
There is no authority in the Bible for applying this word (which means "sacred or holy") to any man, but rather it is only used to refer to God.
ii. Christ gave the following instruction about the use of "father" as a title in spiritual matters:
Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Christ says that in spiritual matters we should call no man "father" on earth, for we have only one spiritual father and that is the God of heaven. It is obvious from this instruction why ministers are not called "father." Of course this instruction does not address our referring to our natural parent as “father.”
iii. The ministers of the New Testament church are referred to in the Bible as "elders," "ministers," "preachers," "teachers," "bishops" or "pastors" as shown by the following verses:
Hebrews 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
1 Peter 5:1-2 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, ... : Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;...
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Ephesians 4:8-12 ... and gave gifts unto men. ... and some, apostles and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Chapter 17. BAPTISM
a. Proper Mode of Baptism. The religious world recognizes many modes or methods of what it calls "baptism." However, the scriptures teach only one method of baptism. The word "baptize" means to "immerse"; and that is the Bible mode of baptism. God's word does not authorize baptism by any other means. The following verses clearly declare that baptism is by immersion:
Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:
Mark 1:9-10 ...Jesus...was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Romans 6:4-6 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:... For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, ... .
Baptism, as taught by the above scriptures, is an immersion in water to show forth the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No form or mode of water baptism teaches that lesson as well as the scriptural mode, which is burial under water and being brought forth from the watery grave! Sprinkling pouring or any other means of "baptism" does not teach this and is not consistent with the instruction of scripture.
It should be remembered that baptism is not an ordinance to save us or cleanse us from sin, but rather it is an act of obedience and following the example of Jesus:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ... .
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptist doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Baptism does not put away sin or the filth of the flesh, but it is a figure to teach what Christ has done for his children.
It is the responsibility of every child of God to follow the example of their Lord in baptism.
b. Proper Subject of Baptism Scriptural instruction regarding baptism requires that there be a proper subject or candidate for baptism. A proper subject for baptism must exhibit a change of life by showing a repentance for their sins and a faith in God and his work. This principle was applied by John the Baptist when he told the Pharisees and Sadducees that came to his baptism:
Matthew 3:7-8 O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:... .
A propert subject for baptism should also show forth a belief and faith in God. When Philip preached the gospel to the eunuch, the eunuch ask what hindered him from being baptized? Philip instructed the eunuch:
Acts 8:36-37 ... What doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
c. Proper Administrator of Baptism Just as scriptural baptism requires a proper mode of baptism and a proper subject for baptism, it also requires a proper administrator of the baptism. Scripture is clear that there may be immersion without there being scritpural baptism..A clear example of this is found in Acts 19 which records the circumstances of Paul encountering disciples at Ephesus. They informed Paul that they had been baptized unto John's baptism, but they had not heard whether there "be any Holy Ghost." Acts 19:3. Paul then preached Jesus to them:
Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Obviously, these disciples had been satisfied with their baptism until they were taught better by Paul. Paul taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ, when when they heard this they realized that they had been immersed but that they had not been baptised. Whay was wrong with their baptism? They had been baptised by one that was not a teacher of gospel truth. They had not so much as heard whether there was even a "Holy Ghost." When they were instructed in the gospel truth, they then sought baptism by Paul.
Chapter 18. FOOTWASHING
The practice of the washing of the saints feet is observed by very few of God's children. Since so few observe this practice, is it one that should be abandoned by the true Church? If this practice is not taught in the New Testament, it should be abandoned; on the other hand, if it is taught, it should be practiced and followed regardless of the number that accept or reject footwashing.
God's word instructs his children regarding the subject of footwashing as follows:
John 13:12-15 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
These verses set forth the Lord's teaching on the practice of footwashing and what his children "should do". There are many lessons in the washing of the saints feet, and those lessons can only be learned and enjoyed by those that do what Christ says they ought to do. Without a doubt one of the things that Christ's children ought to do is to follow his example of the washing of feet. The lessons of love and humility that are found in this service cannot be learned any way other than engaging in this practice just as Christ instructed.
Chapter 19. SECRET ORDERS AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
The true church has historically not accepted for membership anyone who is a member of a secret order, unless the order is renounced upon seeking church membership. Similarly, the church has historically excluded from its membership anyone who became a member of a secret order. The secret order most often encountered is the various branches of the Masonic lodge such as the masons, Scottish rites, shriners, eastern star, demolays and rainbow girls. Therefore, this discussion will primarily deal with why a person cannot at the same time belong to the true church and to a masonic order, although most other secret orders and lodges follow the same patterns as the masonic lodges and the same reasoning would apply to them.
a. What is Freemasonry? A necessary background for a correct understanding of this subject is a general knowledge of what freemasonry is and what it teaches. As will be developed below, freemasonry is a religion unto itself, and its religion is contrary to the true doctrine and practices as taught by God's word. Therefore, if anyone can understand why a member of the true Church cannot also be a member of the Catholic Church, the Church of God, the Mormans, or any other religious body, then they should be able to understand why a person cannot at the same time be a member of the true church and the Freemasons! A person simply cannot truly subscribe to two religious beliefs when they are contrary to each other.
The initial inquiry must be whether the teachings and practices of freemasonry are contrary to Bible doctrine. Some of the important points to be considered in this regard are the following:
b. Secrecy. The lodge system is clothed in secrecy. In fact, one of the earliest oaths taken by an initiate into freemasonry includes the following:
"I furthermore promise and swear I will not communicate the grand Masonic word except in the way and manner in which I received it and then only in a low breath. To all of which I solemnly and sincerely promise and swear to keep and perform the same without any equivocation, mental reservation or secret evasion of mind in me whatever, binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my body severed in twain, my bowels taken thence and with my body burned to ashes and those ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven so that there might remain name, trace nor remembrance no more forever of so vile a wretch as I... ."
The Biblical instruction regarding works that are done in secret is as follows:
Ephesians 5:11-12 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
Even considering masonry from a practical matter (as if we knew none of the masonic secrets) its secrecy is inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible. Christ says that his people are to not live secret but rather open lives giving testimony to him:
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Not only is the life of God's children to be open to his praise, but there are things in which God's children are not to participate. How do we know what a member is doing if he is a part of a body that maintains secrecy about its works and activities? Thus, there is a practical problem with a person claiming to be a part of the body of Christ as a member of His church and at the same time being a part of a secret organization. The secret could be "devil worship" or any other thing contrary to sound doctrine or the teaching of God's word. Mason's may say that they are not engaged in "devil worship" or any similar activity; but the church will never know for their activity is secret; and if their activity is good then they should let their light shine before men as the Lord commanded and not keep it secret!
Jesus Christ himself taught by his example that "secrecy" is contrary to religious truth or the gospel:
John 18:19-20 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
God's way is open before men and not secret! Therefore, from a practical standpoint alone, freemasonry regardless of its teachings and other practices is contrary to the Bible because what it does it does in secrecy and not openly as Christ instructed by his example and teaching!
c. Masonry Is A Religion. A general examination of freemasonry discloses that it is in fact a religion and that is its claim according to freemasonry's own widely accepted authorities including the following:
Albert Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: "The religion of Freemasonry is not sectarian. It admits men of every creed within its hospitable bosom, rejecting none and approving none for his peculiar faith. It is not Judaism, though there is nothing in it to offend the Jew; it is not Christianity, but there is nothing in it repugnant to the faith of a Christian. Its religion is that general one of nature and primitive revelation handed down to us from some ancient and patriarchal priesthood--in which all men may agree and in which no men can differ." (Page 641)
Henry Wilson Coil, Masonic Encyclopedia: "Freemasonry has a religious service to commit the body of a deceased brother to the dust whence it came and to speed the liberated spirit back to the great Source of Light. Many Freemasons make this flight with no other guarantee of a safe landing than their belief in the religion of Freemasonry."
"The prevailing Masonic opinion is that the Bible is only a symbol of divine will, law or revelation, and not that its content are divine law, inspired or revealed." (Page 520)
Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma: "It [Masonry] reverences all the great reformers. It sees Moses, Confucius, Zoroaster, Jesus of Nazareth, ... Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent Reformers, if no more: and allows every brother of the Order to assign to each such higher and even Divine Character as his Creed and Truth require." (Page 525).
"Masonry, around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the Brahman, the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster, can assemble as brethren and unite in prayer to the one God who is above all the Baalim, must needs leave it to each of its initiates to look for the foundation of his faith and hope to the written scriptures of his own religion." (Page 226)
The above statements from authorities accepted and approved by freemasonry document that freemasonry's own claim is that it is a religion.
d. Freemasonry Is A Works System of Religion. The religion of freemasonry is a works system which teaches that man earns an eternal home in heaven by his good works. This is evident because it claims to teach its followers that "conduct which is essentially necessary to ...gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge Above."
There is not a single mention of salvation by Jesus Christ or by the grace of God in freemasonry. Therefore, the teaching of freemasonry is contrary to the plain teaching of the Bible that salvation is by grace and not by works:
Ephesians 2:8-9 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.
Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,... Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
e. Evidence From Rituals. The rituals of freemasonry when examined in the light of God's Word further confirm that freemasonry is a religion, and also that it is a false "works system" religion. Portions of the masonic rituals will be discussed below to document this fact!
1. Initiation Introduction. The initiation ritual for a freemason discloses this works system. As part of the initiation process, the candidate is introduced to the "Senior Deacon" as follows:
_________, a poor blind Candidate, who desires to be brought from darkness to light; who wishes to receive a part of the rights and benefits of this right worshipful Lodge erected to God and dedicated to the holy Saints John, as many brothers and fellows have done before him.
One of the masons own leading authorities on freemasonry describes this ritual as follows:
"There he stands, without our portals, on the threshold of his new Masonic life, in darkness, helplessness and ignorance. Having been wandering amid the errors and covered over with the pollution of the outer and profane world, he comes inquiringly to our door seeking the new birth and asking a withdrawal of the veil which conceals divine truth from his uninitiated eyes." Albert Mackey, The Manual of the Lodge, page 20.
Freemasons say that they are the light which reveals divine truth, contrary to what Jesus Christ says about himself being the light:
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus Christ is the source of spiritual light for God's children, not freemasonry:
2 Timothy 1:10 ... Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who have abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2. Initiation Prayer. The initiation prayer for a new mason, which is offered by the Worshipful Master, is as follows:
"Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present convention, and grant that this Candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy service. Endue him with the competency of thy divine wisdom, that by the secrets of our art, he may be better enabled to display the beauties of holiness of thy holy name. Amen."
Notice that it is by the "secrets or our art" that the initiate, who was in darkness but now has the light, can display the beauties of holiness! This is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ that we are to follow him:
John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me;
Also notice, that this prayer is not in the name of Jesus Christ, as his name is not mentioned in freemasonry.
Thus, the teaching of freemasonry is that eternal life can be expected by all men of all religions, if they are masons who remain steadfast to their masonic service! They thus obviously have no need for the benefit of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, for they claim to earn eternal life through their secret masonic arts!
If masonry has a way to eternal life, why should they keep it secret! Why not share it with all about them! The fact is that contrary to their claim they do not have a way to eternal life and have nothing to share.
3. Initiation Lambskin. Upon the completion of the initiation, the new mason is addressed by the Worshipful Master as follows:
"I'd like to present you, Brother _____, with this lambskin, or white leather apron, which is an emblem of innocence and a badge of a Mason... . He therefore who wears a lambskin as a badge of a Mason is continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge Above."
Notice that the mason is taught that it is "purity of life and conduct" by which one gains admission to heaven; contrary to the teaching of the scriptures that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not or yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.
4. Funeral Service. The standard masonic funeral service which is recited by fellow masons states:
"Masonry seeks constantly to build the temple of the soul, and thus to fit us for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. When our brother labored with us in Masonic attire, he wore a white apron, which he was taught was an emblem of innocence and a badge of a Mason. By it, he was constantly reminded of that purity of life and that rectitude of conduct so necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge Above."
Again, as in the other parts of the rituals of freemasonry, at the grave praise is given to the mason for his good life by which he has earned an eternal home; and not one mention is made of the saving work of Jesus Christ. It is masonry which claims to fit one for heaven; thus denying that salvation is by the grace of God and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. A person cannot in honesty hold to the doctrine of salvation by grace and salvation by the works of masonry, because they are contrary to each other:
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Freemasonry teaches that eternal salvation and a heavenly home are earned by the works of the freemason, and not one mention is made in freemasonry of the fact that Jesus taught that we are saved by him alone:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The Bible teaches that we get to heaven by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and not by the "secret art" revealed to one as a mason.
f. Masonry and the Bible. Masons treat the Holy Bible as a mere "symbol" of the will of God, and for this reason they accept any "holy book" on their alter:
"The Bible is used among Masons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed. And therefore, whatever, to any people expresses that will, may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge." Albert Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
Thus, freemasonry denies that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and treats it simply as a "symbol" of God's will along with many other books.
g. Summary. God's obedient children cannot fellowship within the church those who deny Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour; the mason, by his oath and rituals which teach a works system of salvation denies that salvation is solely by Jesus Christ.
There are many good men, sincere in their Christian beliefs, who are also masons and holding to a belief contrary to their Christian beliefs. They should follow the teaching of Jesus and renounce that which is contrary to his Word:
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; ...
To do less than this is a failure to follow the instruction of Jesus Christ!