Documents of Synod:
Study Papers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (1965 to 1982)


146th GS MINUTES, MAY 14, 1968, pp. 66 - 69.

FREEMASONRY
Overture 1d: from California Presbytery:


Fathers and Brethren: 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. In light of these and other similar Scriptures which prescribe religious fellowship with systems of belief antithetical to historical Christianity we offer the following considerations pertaining to the Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons and other orders of a similar nature:

1) Whereas the Bible forbids joining in wicked oaths (Lev. 5: 1-5). Masonry from the 1° to the 33° abounds with oaths which are for a Christian primae facie wicked. For instance ..upon this sacred book by the sincerity of a Moslems oath, I hereby register this irrevocable vow subscribing myself bound thereto. . . In willful violation whereof may I incur the fearful penalty of having my eyeballs pierced to the center with a three edged blade, my feet flayed. . .and may Allah, the God of Arab Moslem, and Mohammedan, the God of our fathers support me to the entire fulfillment of the same."

2) Whereas the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith (it is the gift of God, not of works), Masonry's first three degrees which are basic to the order contain these teachings: a) the common gavel. . .for the more common purpose of divesting our hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands eternal in the heavens (p. 79 Ronayne); b) the Lambskin... is thereby reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides (p. 83 Ronayne); c) the all seeing eye.. . whom the Sun, moon and stars obey. . .and will reward us according to our merits." (p. 231, Ronayne). Walter Hannah in his book (Christian by Degrees) comments on the Knights of the Rose Croix 18° (considered to be a Christian degree by many Masons), "The rose and the cross are called 'symbols of hidden truth known only to the perfect Mason. The emphasis seems to be on the initiate's impersonation of Christ achieving his own salvation through enlightenment. The initiate gives his age as thirty-three; he travels for thirty-three days in seven concentric circles representing the seven periods of the world's existence. He passes through the blackness of death to his resurrection in the redroom, and ascends the ladder to glory and perfection, the first day of the week being the hour of the perfect Mason. The symbolic achievement of salvation by the initiate is attended without any acknowledgement or confession of sin, and any cry of contrition, or any need of the divine forgiveness.' 'Good position and high moral character are indispensable requisites for admission as a member of the Ancient and Accepted Rite'." (Hannah, pp. 141-142).

3) Whereas the Bible teaches the falsity of the Fatherhood of God-brotherhood of man doctrine, Masonry makes it its touchstone. According to the California Freemason (summer, 1967, p. 123), "Masonry has only a simple dogma, the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Men ...it offers men of various religious affiliations the opportunity to meet as brothers." Says J.F. Newton, "if one were asked to define Masonry in a single sentence, it would be to say, 'Masonry is a realization of God by the practice of brotherhood'." (Christ or the Lodge, OPC Report, p. 20 cf. bibliography). Adding to the above the fact that Masonry has a published ritual based on the Solomonic Temple (Ronayne, pp. 84-90), and a distinctively non-Christian burial service, we find in Free-Masonry the constituent elements of what must be termed a religion, and a religion other than historical Christianity.

Therefore the Presbytery of California respectfully overtures the 146th General Synod to amend the Church Membership requirements (Form of Government) to make it explicit that:

1. Those desiring membership in the RPCES must relinquish and/or must not accept membership in non-Christian religious organizations.

2. Membership in a Masonic order constitutes membership in a non-Christian religious organization.

Bibliography

Christ or the Lodge (Philadelphia, PA: Great Commission Publications)
Ronayne, Edmond, Handbook of Freemasonry (Ezra A. Cook Pub., 1956)
Hannah, Walter, Christian by Degrees (Britons Publishing Co., 1964)
Mackey, Albert G., Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

Magazines and Newsletters
California Freemason (Covina, CA: Masonic Home for Children)
The Pennsylvania Freemason (Elizabethtown, PA: Masonic Homes)
Reformed Presbyterian Reporter December, 1967, (Walker, IA).

Reply to Overture 1d (California Presbytery) re the Form of Government:

The committee finds that the requirements for church membership as given in the Form of Government, Chapter II, Section 2, p. 5, and the standards as a whole, provide sufficient safeguard to enable sessions to exercise discretion in such matters since we feel there are also problems in other areas which may be disturbing in our particular churches.

The committee refers Synod to the Plan of Union (adopted in 1965), point 2, paragraph a, 'The Christian Life and Testimony," and to the Larger Catechism question No. 99, answer 6.

It was moved and seconded to adopt the committee's reply. A substitute was moved and seconded, as follows: That the committee's recommendation be not followed in this case, and this Synod affirm:

1. That Freemasonry be recognized by Synod as incorporating tenets and practices contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

2. That this Synod express its strongest recommendation therefore

a. against the election of any further elders into this denomination who elect to enter or continue in Freemasonry;

b. for the resignation of such elders as elect to become Freemasons subsequent to their election as elders; and

c. for Pastors to warn and instruct all intending church members concerning the deviationist doctrines of Freemasonry.

It was moved, seconded and carried to continue the discussion in private (or executive) session.

It was moved and seconded that this overture(1d) be committed to a special committee appointed by the Moderator for study and report to the 147th General Synod. This motion was carried. Rev. Rob Donaldson requested that his negative vote and protest be recorded. It was moved, seconded and carried that the executive session be concluded and Synod proceed to other business.

 

Reply to Overture 1d (California Presbytery) re the Form of Government:

The Committee finds that the requirements for church membership as given in the Form of Government, Chapter II, Section 2, p. 5, and the standards as a whole, provide sufficient safeguard to enable sessions to exercise discretion in such matters since we feel there are also problems in other areas which may be disturbing in our particular churches.

The Committee refers Synod to the Plan of Union (adopted in 1965), point 2, paragraph a, "The Christian Life and Testimony," and to the Larger Catechism question No. 99, answer 6.

It was moved and seconded to adopt the Committee's reply. A substitute was moved and seconded, as follows: That the committee's recommendation be not followed in this case, and this Synod affirm:

1. That Freemasonry be recognized by Synod as incorporating tenets and practices contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
2. That this Synod express its strongest recommendation therefore
a. against the election of any further elders into this denomination who elect to enter or continue in Freemasonry;
b. for the resignation of such elders as elect to become Freemasons subsequent to their election as elders; and
c. for Pastors to warn and instruct all intending church members concerning the deviationist doctrines of Freemasonry.

It was moved, seconded and carried to continue the discussion in private (or executive) session.

It was moved and seconded that this overture (1d) be committed to a special committee appointed by the Moderator for study and report to the 147th General Synod. This motion was carried. Rev. Rob Donaldson requested that his negative vote and protest be recorded. It was moved, seconded and carried that the executive session be concluded and Synod proceed to other business.

[Documents of Synod, pages 252-255.]

Back to the Table of Contents of Documents of Synod