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Freemasonry 101 Freemasonry 101

The Religion of Freemasonry The Religion of Freemasonry

Essential Masonic Doctrines Essential Masonic Doctrines

The Masonic View of God The Masonic View of God

Prayer in the Masonic Lodge Prayer in the Masonic Lodge

Volume of Sacred Law Volume of Sacred Law

Freemasonry's Plan of Salvation Freemasonry's Plan of Salvation

Separate but Equal Brotherhood Separate but Equal Brotherhood

The Masonic Baptism The Masonic Baptism

The Secrets of Freemasonry The Secrets of Freemasonry

The Temple of God The Temple of God

O.F.F. Home :: Key Issues

Prayer in the Masonic Lodge

As born-again believers, "We recognize that prayer opens our hearts to the surpassing worth of God (Ephesians 1:17), makes us feel the height and depth of Christ's love (Ephesians 3:18), makes us love lost people (I Thessalonians 3:12) and have a passion for righteousness (Philippians 1:11), opens doors for the gospel (Colossians 4:3), brings in workers for God's kingdom (Matthew 9:38) and makes them bold (Ephesians 6:19), protects us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13) and the enemies of the gospel (Romans 15:31), and makes the Word of God run and be glorified (II Thessalonians 3:1)." Piper: The Pleasures of God

But, what is prayer like in the Masonic Lodge? To answer this question, let's begin with illustrating the scene that takes place in the lodge during the ritual of the first degree. The following chart is a diagram of the inside of a Masonic Temple (the term temple and lodge are used interchangeably within Freemasonry). Imagine a group of men entering into this place to be initiated to become Entered Apprentices, or first degree Masons.

Visualize the officers dressed in Aprons and full Masonic regalia located at their various stations throughout the lodge. The Senior Deacon walks to the door of the "ante" or Preparation Room, and after ascertaining that the candidates for initiation are properly prepared and in possession of all the necessary qualifications, he turns to the Worshipful Master to inform him of the same, and the Worshipful Master commands, "Since the candidates are in possession of the necessary qualifications, let them enter this Worshipful lodge, in the name of God, and be received in due and ancient form."

"Hoodwinked" and a bit apprehensive, with a "cable-tow" around their necks while half clothed the candidates enter the lodge from the "ante" Room by way of the inner door. Upon entry, they are immediately greeted by the Senior Deacon who says, "I am commanded to receive you on the point of a sharp instrument piercing your naked left breast, which is to teach you that as this is an instrument of torture to the flesh, so should the recollection thereof be to your mind and conscience, should you ever reveal the secrets of Freemasonry unlawfully!" It's a good thing deacons in a Christian church don't greet first-time visitors in such a fashion.

Anyway, the Senior Deacon then conducts the candidates to the altar at the center of the lodge, where upon it rest a "Volume of Sacred Law" or VSL (not necessarily the Holy Bible, as it could be the Qu'ran, Vedas or other "religious" book), he causes them to kneel and says, "No man should ever enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the aid of Deity." The Worshipful Master is then escorted to the center of the lodge where he stands over the candidate and recites the following prayer:

"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, and become a true and faithful brother among us. Endue him with a competency of Thy Divine Wisdom, that, by the influence of the pure principles of' our Fraternity, he may be better enabled to display the beauties of holiness, to the honor of Thy Holy Name. Amen.

Response from the Craft, - "So mote it be." (Worshipful Master then asks), "In whom do you put your trust?" (Candidates are told to respond) "In God." Page 5, New York Masonic Monitor

Now, let us analysis this for a moment. Notice that even prior to entering the lodge, the Worshipful Master commands that they do so in the name of God. It is then implied to the candidates that they should not embark upon the great and important undertaking of becoming a Mason without the aid of Deity. As for prayer, we know that, in the Bible Jesus gave us a pattern for prayer in Luke 11:2. In this passage Jesus exemplifies that prayer is not only supplication to make known our petitions, but it is also a form of worship, when he said, "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name..."

In the context of this Masonic Prayer notice:

  • One deity is petitioned

  • By one person

  • On behalf of all Masons assembled in the lodge (believers and nonbelievers, Christians and non-Christians alike)

  • God is described, and prayer is for sanctification of the candidate by the principles of Freemasonry

Is this an acceptable form of worship from a Christian perspective? Masons will contend that prayer in the lodge is not any different then prayer during an invocation at a public banquet or the opening of a session in the US Congress where Christians and non-Christians may be assembled.

We will now examine this, first from a broader context, then hone back in on this issue more specifically to demonstrate that prayer in the Masonic lodge violates the First Commandment to place no other God before the God of the Bible, thereby dishonoring Yahweh – the One True Living God. Furthermore, we will show how the Christian Mason offends God by participating in an organization which bears false witness regarding the genuine nature of the one true God.

To illustrate our points, we will use excerpts from a dissertation entitled, "The Church in the Public Square in a Pluralistic Society" by David L. Adams1 for two reasons:

  1. Although the excerpts we are about to present do not address Freemasonry specifically, they serve as an excellent means, from a Christian perspective, for establishing the framework that will lead to a better understanding of the fallacy and implications of prayer as conducted in the Masonic Lodge.

  1. They also serve well to show the striking parallel of the Masonic worldview of worship when juxtaposed to the Christian worldview of worship.

Before proceeding however, note that this information is not intended to put forth any specific Christian denominational view, but rather to stress some very critical doctrinal implications that apply to all denominations that adhere to those doctrines derived from the Bible and confirmed through the ancient ecumenical creeds, as outlined in the O.F.F. Statement of Faith.

Additionally, please note that, parallels and/or implications as to how Adams' premise relate to the problems with the Masonic worldview will be noted in red, and are not part of his dissertation, which will be identified by quotation marks. For our purposes here, we will only be using two of Dr. Adams' arguments, since they are the most relevant to the subject of prayer, rather than using all eight which are contained in his original paper.

First of all Masons argue that because they accept men of all monotheistic faiths, it is appropriate for them to have fellowship and pray together in the lodge. This is particular poignant when you consider the Masonic worldview of God:

Monotheism is the sole dogma of Freemasonry. Belief in one God is required of every initiate, but his conception of the Supreme Being is left to his own interpretation. Freemasonry is not concerned with theological distinctions. This is the basis of our universality.

Grand Lodge of Indiana, Indiana Monitor & Freemason's Guide, 1993 Edition, page 41

This is further illustrated by prominent Masonic author, Allen Roberts:

"You have learned that Freemasonry calls God, 'The Great Architect of the Universe' (G.A.O.T.U). This is the Freemason's special name for God, because he is universal. He belongs to all men regardless of their religious persuasion. All wise men acknowledge His authority. In his private devotions a Mason will pray to Jehovah, Mohammed, Allah, Jesus or the Deity of his choice. In a Masonic Lodge, however, the Mason will find the name of his Deity within the G.A.O.T.U."

Allen E. Roberts, The Craft and Its Symbols, page 6

Unfortunately, what Freemasonry would have its members believe is that not only is there one Supreme Being, but that it is the same god irregardless of the respective beliefs of its members. Is this a biblical worldview of God? Absolutely not!

I would agree with Dr. Adams' introduction that, "it is possible to work in a friendly and cooperative way with persons from all of these religious traditions if one practices three basic virtues:

  1. A genuine desire to contribute to the common good;
  1. A willingness to listen and learn as well as to speak and teach; and
  1. Personal integrity.

That is not to say that the practice of these three virtues leads to agreement on all the issues. It most emphatically does not. It does, however, at least allow individuals of different faith communities to relate together in the public square in a pluralistic society with some reasonable degree of amity even when they disagree on issues of substance. So I commend these three principles to you as at least a proven starting point for an answer to the question of how do individual believers relate to persons of other faiths in the public square in a pluralistic society."

Living within the same communities, working as fellow employees or citizens together in a friendly and cooperative way, and even participating in social fellowship as neighbors is one thing, yet worshiping together in an inappropriate way is something entirely different.

Adams' Thesis A: to the extent that a Civil Religious Event2 is an event involving Christians of different confessions, participation in the event must be governed by the same principles that govern our interaction with other Christian church bodies.

"First, our commitment to the principle of Sola Scriptura

If we genuinely believe that God has revealed His teaching in His Word for the guidance of faith and life in His Church, then we are obligated to seek to find that truth and, having found it, to live by it. At the same time Christ compels us to love and to work for the true unity of the Church. But we cannot achieve the latter at the expense of the former. To do so is to deceive ourselves and to lie to the world."

Freemasonry violates Sola Scriptura by claiming that the "Volume of Sacred Law" is that volume which, by the religion of the country of the confessing Mason is believed to contain the revealed will of the Grand Architect of the universe.

"Second, we believe on the basis of the Scripture that coming together as a community to worship God and receive His gifts in the sacraments is the highest expression of the unity of Christian confession, not an instrument to be used to achieve such unity.

It is commonplace today, both within the liberal ecumenical movement and within more conservative evangelicalism to treat worship as a means to achieve unity rather than as a fruit of unity. Such a view reflects an overly-individualistic understanding of the relationship between the believer and the community of faith as it stands before God in worship. We believe that such an understanding is at odds with both the Scriptural teaching and historic Christian practice regarding worship."

Going back to what takes place during prayer in the Masonic Temple; we established earlier that, prayer is worship by the example of Jesus found in Luke 11:2. And, if coming together as a community to worship God is the highest expression of unity, than corporate prayer is not just a group of people praying together. The essence of corporate prayer is unity. It is better to have only two persons praying together if they are united than to have many people praying together if they are not united.

There are two areas of unity that we want to emphasize: Unity of Spirit and Unity of the Mind. The moment you & I were born again, we became united in one spirit with the Lord. There is a union in the spirit, because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

  • I Corinthians 12:13 - "For by [means of the personal agency of] one [Holy] Spirit we were all, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, baptized [and by baptism united together] into one body, and all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit."

  • I Corinthians 1:10 - "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."

Assume for a moment that Masons who confess to be Christian are truly Born Again believers, although we have shown in the Religion of Freemasonry that a profession of faith does not always correlate with possession of the Holy Spirit. However, if one is really born-again, there is not a question of being one in the spirit. The problem in question is being one in mind with the body of Christ.

Masons who claim to be Christian are, in most cases, utterly na´ve and unfortunately biblically illiterate. As a result, they are easily deceived by what seems to appear, in their minds, to be a Christian veneer reflected in the civil religious aspects of the Masonic lodge. This false perception leads them to believe that Freemasonry complements, rather than conflicts with their religious beliefs.

However, there are others who are fully aware of the biblical incompatibility of Freemasonry, yet succumb to the cultural conditioning toward "tolerance at all cost" in our pluralistic society, even if it is at the expense of their Christian faith. As they give in to the ideology and pervasive trends in America Civil Religion2, they would rather walk in denial in order to please men, instead of accepting the fact that they are in deliberate rebellion against God.

Moreover, in the same way we cannot operate together within the Body of Christ if our minds do not agree on the same doctrines and principles, neither can members of the Masonic Order function in harmony unless corporately, they agree on the same Masonic principles (see Essential Masonic Doctrines).

This is an extremely dangerous predicament to be in for the Christian Mason. How is this so dangerous? Because for the sake of harmony, Christian Masons embrace Masonic principles at the expense of biblical doctrine and, if they allow themselves to exercise this compromise long enough, they ultimately drift into an unconscious state of apostasy due to spiritual blindness. This assumes, of course, that they were truly born-again believers to begin with.

Adams' Thesis B: To the extent that a Civil Religious Event is an event involving participants from non-Christian faith groups, participation in the event must be shaped by the requirements of the First Commandment.

This is the First and most important Commandment:

  • Exodus 20:2-4 - "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 - "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

"I take it as a given that we are all agreed that a Christian who engages in the direct worship of a God other than Yahweh, whether in a private devotions or in a civil religious event, violates the First Commandment. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego understood this clearly (Daniel 3), and I believe that we do also. If any Christian performs such an act in the context of a civil religious event, he is clearly violates the First Commandment.

It is a much more subtle question to ask whether a Christian who worships the true god in the context of those engaged in worshiping other gods also violates the First Commandment. In this respect we often fail to appreciate the full import of the First Commandment by translating the text (Exodus 20:2-4) as, "You shall have no other gods before me." The wording of the Hebrew text is rather more precise. God says that we must not have other gods "before my [i.e. His] face" or "in my [i.e. His] presence." The point here is that Yahweh is not claiming the right to be first in our affections (as "before" can easily be misunderstood to mean), He is prohibiting us from allowing any other god into His presence. Yahweh does not want to be our first god, or to be first in our life; he must be our only god. The First Commandment is a demand for a radical and absolute exclusivity in our relationship with the realm of divine beings."

Therefore, it is clear that when Masons (Christian and non-Christians) gather together in the lodge and pray to their respective gods, Christian Masons are clearly violating the First Commandment by calling on the presence of Yahweh (the God of the Bible, and the only One True Living God) in the midst of unbelievers as they call upon the presence of their false gods.

"We can see the effects of failing to keep this commandment by tolerating other gods in Yahweh's presence in the example of Solomon. I Kings 11 tells us that Solomon was guilty of unfaithfulness in his relationship with Yahweh in the latter years of his life. How did Solomon sin? He began by tolerating the worship of other gods by his foreign wives. Over time his wives influenced him so that he himself turned away from Yahweh and worshipped the false gods. He began by violating the First Commandment indirectly and ended by violating it directly. Indeed, the repeated judgment against the kings of Judah that followed Solomon was not that so many of them worshipped false gods themselves, but that nearly all of them tolerated the worship of false gods by failing to tear down the high places, etc. Their toleration of the worship of other gods in the presence of Yahweh was itself a sin."

Through its ritual Freemasonry reveres King Solomon for his wisdom in building the Temple of Yahweh, yet by establishing its "generic" canopy-god (G.A.O.T.U.) in order to avoid offending any of its non-bible believing members, while praying to it using "generic" canopy-prayers they are, in effect, following Solomon's foolish example for the sake of tolerance.

It stands to reason then, that Christian Masons are sinning as they violate the First Commandment indirectly outside of the lodge, by virtue of their membership in an organization that tolerates the worship of false gods. Ultimately they violate the First Commandment directly whenever they are inside of the lodge participating in Masonic ritual.

"Today our American cultural conditioning toward tolerance flies in the face of God's demand for a radically exclusive relationship with us whenever that cultural conditioning leads us to tolerate the worship of false gods in the presence of Yahweh. As Americans we may (and do) have to tolerate the worship of other gods within civil society; as Christians we violate the First Commandment any time we tolerate or encourage the worship of other gods in the presence of Yahweh.

The only possible conclusion upon reading the Word of God is that the people of God must not be a party to any activity that encourages or promotes the worship of other gods. Thus it is possible to sin against the First Commandment through the toleration of the worship of other gods in the context of the worship of Yahweh. The most common way in which we violate the First Commandment in this regard is to engage in the worship of Yahweh in the context of the worship of other gods in such a way that the worship of the false god and the worship of Yahweh may be confused or mixed. We recognize that a speaker cannot control the way that a hearer interprets his words. Nonetheless, in situations where it is likely that an audience, by virtue of its religiously diverse composition, may equate or confuse the worship of Yahweh with the worship of another god, the speaker has an obligation to articulate the scandal of particularity with unremitting clarity."

Christian Masons violate the First Commandment in this regard as they engage in the worship of Yahweh in the context of the worship of other gods by non-Christian Masons when praying in the lodge. They do so in such a way that the worship of the false gods and the worship of Yahweh is confused or mixed by the concept of Freemasonry's universal "generic" god (G.A.O.T.U.).

"As civil religious events become increasingly polydox3, the Christian pastor or church leader is obligated to do everything within his power to prevent those who may hear his words from thinking that the worship of Yahweh is the same as the worship of other gods. In this respect it is not sufficient to begin with a statement such as, "We Christians believe that ..."or any other form of words that could suggest to the hearer that what the speaker is articulating is simply the "Christian version" of religious truth, and that there may be other equally valid non-Christian perspectives. This is the most common mistake that Christian speakers make when talking about God in the public square. Insofar as the assumption that Christian teaching is but one of many equally valid religious perspectives has become a common view among the non-Christians in American society, we must be especially careful to avoid this type of error, which seems on the surface to be an orthodox expression of faith, but which can easily lead the hearer to a false conclusion.

Also arising in this context is the distinction between praying "with" some group and praying "among" some group. There is clearly a difference between these two. Praying "with" those who believe in other gods (i.e. joining with them as they pray to other gods) is, as we have said, a clear and direct violation of the First Commandment. Praying to the true God in the midst (i.e. "among") those praying to false gods may or may not be a violation of the First Commandment, depending upon how it is done. However, even praying an otherwise orthodox prayer "among" believers in other gods can violate the First Commandment if it is done in such a way as to confuse the worship of Yahweh with the worship of another god. In other words, the distinction between praying "with" and praying "among" is useful, but cannot be the sole determining factor. The determining factor is whether the worship of Yahweh is confused or mixed with the worship of other gods.

Consider a parallel case from the Old Testament: Elijah at Mt. Carmel (I Kings 18). Here at a time of national crisis and within the confines of a single event, the prophets of Baal pray to their god and Elijah prays to Yahweh. Elijah prays "among" the prophets of Baal. He does not sin in this instance because he does not allow the worship of Yahweh to be confused with the worship of Baal, but distinguishes the two by demonstrating that Yahweh alone is the true God, and praying for the defeat of Baal and his prophets.

The only certain way to avoid violating the First Commandment in a polydox civil religious event is to do as Elijah did: distinguish clearly the worship of Yahweh from the worship of all other gods so that there can be no reasonable room for doubt among the hearers that we proclaim that Yahweh alone is God, and that we are restored to him only by the death and resurrection of Yahweh incarnate: Jesus Christ. Any message that lacks this degree of clarity is likely to give the impression that the worship of Yahweh and the worship of other gods is the same thing."

Freemasonry's heretical concept of the universality of God places the Christian Mason directly in a situation that causes him to violate the First Commandment. By virtue of this Masonic concept even praying an otherwise orthodox prayer for example, in Jesus' name, "among" believers in other gods while in the lodge, he violates the First Commandment because such a prayer lacks the degree of clarity among believers of other gods who embrace the same Masonic principle. It is therefore more likely to give the impression that the worship of Jesus and the worship of other gods is the same thing.

"As a practical matter, the Christian pastor or church leader is faced with one of three options when asked to participate in civil religious events in which the public worship of or prayer to other gods is involved: 1) offend the others present by witnessing to the exclusive claims of Yahweh and the Christian faith; 2) offend God by participating in an event in which we bear false witness regarding who the true God is; or 3) decline to participate.

To summarize, then, in relation to polydox civil religious events we may violate the First Commandment in one of two ways: directly when we ourselves engage in the worship of other gods, or indirectly when we allow the worship of Yahweh to be confused or mixed with the worship of other gods. In civic religious services, which are by nature increasingly polytheistic in the modern American context, the Christian pastor will always run the risk of either offending his hearers by proclaiming the scandal of particularity or of violating the First Commandment through contributing by his lack of clarity to the confusion or mixture of the worship of Yahweh with that of other gods."

By definition, the moment Masons gather together in a Masonic Temple for prayer, the lodge suddenly becomes a polydox (activities that involve different faith groups [i.e. Christians, Muslims, and Hindus, etc.] worshiping a variety of gods together) and participating Christians are immediately guilty of violating the First Commandment.

Therefore, the Christian Mason is faced with one of three options when participating in the Masonic Order: 1) offend the other Masons who are believers in other gods by witnessing to the exclusive claims of Yahweh and the Christian faith; 2) continue to offend God, by his participation in the Masonic Order, which bears false witness regarding who the true God is; or 3) refuse to participate, resign from lodge, and renounce the heretical principles of Freemasonry.

1Copyright David L. Adams, 2002. All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced and distributed free of charge for all educational and/or religious non-commercial purposes provided that the text is not altered and that this copyright notice is included. Other permissions may be secured from the author by contacting him by e-mail or by post at Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave. St. Louis, Mo. 63105. This paper was originally prepared for presentation at a meeting of the Council of Presidents and the faculties of the two seminaries of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on 1 March 2002. (back to article)

2The terms American Civil Religion and Civil Religious Events, as defined by Dr. Adams, are fully explained on this website under the Key Issue, The Religion of Freemasonry. (back to article)

3The term polydox, as defined in Adams' dissertation, refers to those activities that involve different faith groups (i.e. Christians, Muslims, and Hindus) worshiping a variety of gods together. (back to article)

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