Glittering Follies (superficially attractive foolishness)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Masonic Lodge - Church of Christ Articles


My respect for friends and relatives who are Masons does not diminish my abhorrence for their Lodge.  It is evil because it duplicates the sin of Absalom when he “stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2 Samuel 15:6).  Masonry will turn a Christian’s heart away from God.  The Masonic Temple is the Temple of Baal, and at its altar many unsuspecting men vow their lives to a pagan god!
Now, to the world, Masonry claims it is not a religion, but to the Master Mason, Masonry claims it is a religion.  The Masonic Home Journal says that publications such as: the Kentucky Monitor, Morals and Dogma, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and King Solomon’s Temple all fairly represent Masonic teachings.  In addition, the Grand Secretary of most lodges feels these books to be the standard and recommended books for Masons.  In the Kentucky Monitor pg. 28, “…as Masons we are taught that no man should ever enter upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessing of Deity. This is because Masonry is a religious institution…”  Again they write, “Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion.” (Morals and Dogma, p. 213)
But, Masonry claims much more than this.  They claim that: It contains all truth because they, “unfold the beauties of God’s Eternal Truth.” (Kentucky Monitor p. 11).  They claim to give light and truth.  “There you stood without our portals, on the threshold of this new Masonic life, in darkness, helpless, and ignorance. Having been wandering amid the errors and covered over with the pollutions of the outer and profane world, you came inquiringly to our doors, seeking the new birth, and asking a withdrawal of the veil which concealed the divine truth from you uninitiated sight.” (Kentucky Monitor p.26).  They claim that Masonry is from divine origin.  “…King Solomon, inspired by Deity, conceived that grand idea, which culminated in speculative Masonry, a system which, entering into abstruse investigations of the soul, reminds us of a higher and better life, and eternity beyond the grave; a profound Science that takes from the operative Art its technical terms, its implements and it rules, clothes them in symbolism and teaches the speculative Mason their spiritual use.” (Kentucky Monitor, pp. 94-95). They claim a Savior other than Jesus, that is, Hiram Abiff (1 Ki. 7:13-14).  All believed in a future life, to be attained by purification and trials; in a state of successive states of reward and punishment; and in a Mediator or Redeemer by whom the Evil Principle was to be overcome and Supreme Deity reconciled to His creatures. The belief was general that He was to be born of a virgin and suffer a painful death. The Hindus called him Krishna; the Chinese, Kiountse; the Persians, Sosiosch; the Chaldeans, Dhouvanai; the Egyptians, Horus; Plato, Love; the Scandinavians, Balder; the Christians, Jesus; Masons, Hiram.” (Kentucky Monitor, pp. xiv, xv).
Now, in addition to these things, they have their own baptism, their own fraternal supper and their own prayers (King Solomon’s Temple, Indiana Edition).  Furthermore, Masonry teaches fellowship with all religions.  “Everything in Masonry has reference to God, implies God, speaks of God, points and leads to God. Not a degree, not a symbol, not an obligation, not a lecture, not a change but finds it meaning and derives its beauty from God, the Great Architect, in whose Temple all Masons are working men. Every Lodge is erected to God and labors in His name, seeking to make His will the design upon its Trestle-Board.” (Religion of Masonry pg. 59).
Thus, I find it hard for a Mason to be a Christian, especially since the following statements are true concerning Masonry: It does not pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).  It causes one to not have God (2 John 9).  It is not authorized by Christ (Col. 3:17).   It cannot be done by faith (2 Cor. 5:7; Rom. 10:17).  It is going beyond what’s written (1 Cor. 4:6).  It is not as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11).  It is not according to the pattern (Heb. 8:5).  It does not pertain to the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11).  It is not of righteousness (Rom.1:16-17;10:1-3).  It is of “no such commandment” (Acts15:24).  It is of men (Matt.15:9;Col.2:8).  It is another gospel (Gal.1:6-9).  It is adding to the Word of God (Rev.22:18;Deut.4:2).
Now, I am aware of the fact that some in the world will reply that they don’t believe that Masonry is divine.  But, my answer is the same as before.  Even though they don’t believe it is divine, they are associating with a group that claims it to be divine.  Thus, a denial of a certain error does not free one from all responsibility in the matter.
I mean, Masons go so far as to tolerate all religious opinions and are not allowed to blame or condemn a false religion of others.  So, how can a Christian show one the error of his ways?  And, with their temples that they offer to God and their new birth, I think they have not read where it tells us that we are complete in Jesus (Col. 2:10) and that there is no Savior, but Jesus.  Masons further teach that when he is given a lambskin apron and told that no greater honor can ever be given to him, I submit that being a Christian is the greatest honor.  Thus, I find it hard for one to serve as a Mason and serve God just as I find it equally hard for one to claim to serve God as a Catholic and as a Christian.
But, should they serve in the church?  Unfortunately, many Christians have joined their number and while Christian Mason will affirm that Masonry is still not a religion and anyone who says otherwise, doesn’t know what they are talking about.  But, quoting from their own reputable leaders and authorities (Albert Mackey 33 degree, Albert Pike 33 degree and the supreme council of the 33 degree for the southern jurisdiction, they all point and say that Mason Lodge is a religion.? Therefore, as Amos pointed out, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3).?  Jesus pointed out, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters ?abroad.” (Matthew 12:30).  Therefore, according to the Scriptures, I do not see how one who is a Mason serve God faithfully in the church?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dear Christian Mason – A Resource for Addressing Masonry in Your Local Church

by ·

Unfortunately, Masonic membership in autonomous evangelical churches is widespread.  The sin of Masonic association often goes unnoticed or unconsidered in many local churches.  For those Christians who are convicted by the Holy Spirit to address the sin of Freemasonry in their churches, the following letter is provided as a resource.  It can be tailored and addressed to members of the Masonic religion who are members of any local church.
Dear (Name of Mason),
It has come to my attention that you are a member of (Name of Masonic Lodge). I have come to conclude, along with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and a number of other Christian denominations, that Freemasonry is not compatible with Christianity. I was distraught when I learned that you, a member of my own church, were involved in Freemasonry.
I am obligated by scripture to take the uncomfortable step of showing you, (Name of Mason), your sin. I ask that you repent of the sin of being involved in Freemasonry and immediately renounce your membership in (Name of Masonic Lodge).
As a faithful Christian, I can do no other thing. The Lord Jesus said, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” I understand that you may be taken aback by my actions. Perhaps no other church member has ever approached you asking you to renounce Freemasonry. It could be the case that the other members of our church are,ignorant of the unbiblical nature of Freemasonry. Having researched the matter myself, I can no longer say that I am unaware. The Apostle James wrote, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” I am in the position of knowing about the nature of Freemasonry. So are you. Thus, we both must do the right thing. There is a sentiment among some that many Freemasons simply see the craft as a harmless fraternal organization and have not fully considered its spiritual claims ramifications. I do not share this sentiment. The unbiblical claims are simply too harmful to Christian witness
Freemasonry requires that oaths be taken to be initiated into the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. These oaths are fairly described as barbaric and involve binding oneself under the penalty of having one’s throat cut “ear to ear” and having one’s “tongue torn out by its roots”. These oaths violate the command of the Lord Jesus who stated:
“make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”
To even enter the most basic degrees of Freemasonry, one must disobey Christ. This is not an acceptable action for a member of the body of Christ. It is sin. This oath swearing in itself puts Masonry at odds with Christianity. That’s to say nothing of the extrabiblical story of the death and raising of Hiram Abiff.
The secrecy of Freemasonry is inherently antithetical to Christianity. The Lord Jesus told his followers that they are “the light of the world. “ Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Freemasons claims to have the “light” of Masonry, yet they keep it secret from outsiders, even members of their own churches.
Freemasonry claims that it “makes good men better.” This can’t be so. Scripture teaches that there are no good men. Jesus Christ said: “There is only One who is good; No one is good except God alone.” Scripture, through the Apostle Paul and the prophet Isaiah, teaches that “there is none righteous, not even one.” It is the policy of Freemasonry that no particular religion or faith is required or excluded. Thus, Freemasonry as an institution teaches non-Chrisitans that they are good and can get better through Masonry (and outside of faith in Christ). This both denies the effects of the Edenic fall and power of the gospel.
If there is any remaining doubt the Freemasonry denies the scripture then consider the words from Akin’s Lodge Manual and Masonic Law Digest which are meant to be addressed to new Freemasons:
“As you are now introduced into the first principles of Masonry, I congratulate you on being accepted into this ancient an honorable Order: ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honorable, as tending in every particular, so to render all men who will conformable to its precepts. No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation. Nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down that are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of man, in all ages, have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies.”
The Church of Jesus Christ was raised on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone of the church. This is the most solid foundation of any institution. The Bible is God’s Holy word and contains better maxims than any man-based teachings. The statement above from Akin’s manual is antithetical to Christianity and no Christian should be able to say it good conscience. None should believe it. No prophet or apostle has ever been a Freemason (from time immemorial). Nor was the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not true, then, that “the greatest and best of man, in all ages” have encouraged and promoted Freemasonry.
Akin’s manual also implies, through its funeral service language, that non Christians can make it to Heaven through their virtuous living. This is denial of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the the Ephesians:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
It is also a denial of the clear words of Jesus, no one gets to the Father except through Him.
The verdict is clear. The Craft is antithetical to Christianity and an affront to our local church. Jesus Christ said, “nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” The secret things of Masonry have been brought to light.
Please renounce Freemasonry and repent of your sin.
(Your Name)

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Harvest Church

Secret Societies

The nature of secret societies is completely contrary to Christian belief. The Bible
is an open book inviting all who will, to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus
Christ (Rev. 22:17). Anyone inquiring into membership in the family of God can
investigate, ask questions, read the inspired handbook (the Bible), and make a
decision for Christ fully knowing what the cost and consequences of the action will

In stark contrast, a secret society welcomes only a restricted number into
membership, into the secret oaths and ceremonies, and into the activities of the
society. Members of secret orders often compare their organization with the
fellowship of believers in a local church. But a secret society is quite different from
a church in that it is elitist in nature rather than inclusive. Unlike a church it does
not extend its fellowship to any and all persons desiring to identify with the
organization, its principles and practices.

For the following four reasons Harvest Church is opposed to it’s membership
belonging to secret orders and societies:

1. The activities of secret orders demand time and energy that divert the
servant of the Lord from efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.

2. The binding loyalty to fellow members of the secret society—many of
whom are not fellow believers in Jesus Christ and His saving work—is an
unworthy joining together of believers with unbelievers.

3. The spirit, philosophy, and general influence of secret orders channel
activities toward improving only the natural part of humankind instead of
changing the heart of the spiritual being.

4. Commitment to secret orders and their teachings leads one to a wrong
emphasis on salvation through good works and improving society.

Secret societies are in conflict with the teachings of Holy Scripture. A Christian
must never affiliate with any organization that 1) yokes together believers with
unbelievers in unholy alliances (2 Cor. 6:14-18); 2) requires a pledge to
unscriptural oaths which are sealed by using the name of God improperly or in
vain (Ex. 20:7, Lev. 5:4-6, Matt. 5:34-37, James 5:12); 3) represents itself as
providing teaching in harmony with the Bible when in fact it does not (2 Peter
3:16); 4) represents itself as being religious and offers a false hope of salvation
through works, yet dishonors the only true God and our Savior the Lord Jesus
Christ (John 17:3, 1 Tim. 2:3-6, Col. 2:8-10, Eph. 2:8,9).

The Christian should "be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody"
(Rom. 12:17). Secretively meeting behind closed doors in a "lodge" where
activities are carried on behind a cloak of secrecy, in favor of fellow members,
usually for economic, social, or political advantage hardly describes doing what is
right in the eyes of everybody. "Come out from them and be separate, says the
Lord" (2 Cor. 6:17). This is God’s advice for Christians and is certainly applicable
in regard to secret societies.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Christian Perspective on Greek Organizations

A Christian Perspective on Greek Organizations Part I
In the United States, many college students are intrigued with joining fraternities and sororities. Often, the secretive nature of these organizations may arouse curiosity or lend it the façade of exclusivity.
But what is the reality of life as a “fraternity brother” or “sorority sister,” and what are the spiritual consequences one encounters?
Although the exact types of temptations may not exist in each country, every student faces the same pressure to join activities that may lead us away from God. Two of our church’s working youths, who were once fraternity and sorority members in college, share their insights in hopes that their experiences will help brothers and sisters make more informed decisions when considering which extracurricular activities to participate in.
Here, a brother shares his experience; a sister will share her perspective in the next issue.

What is a fraternity?

A fraternity is an organization where members focus on common interests, typically long lasting friendships, academic support, social networking, and community service. Along with sororities, they are also referred to as Greek organizations.

Why do people join fraternities?

The impression many people have is that college should be a time to party and enjoy their freedom. Greek organizations promise their members the most fun-filled college experience possible through meeting hundreds of people at parties each week, and many people are drawn to such claims. They want to explore beyond the boundaries that existed when living with their parents.
People may also believe that joining a fraternity or sorority allows them to become part of a family away from their family. While students relish their newfound independence from their families, they also seek acceptance by developing meaningful long lasting friendships with fellow students. Fraternities and sororities often describe the bond between its members as family, calling their members brothers and sisters.

Why did you want to join a Greek organization?

I wanted to join a Greek organization to meet people with the same goals. Also, joining a fraternity seemed to give me the perfect opportunity to network with those who had succeeded in the challenges that I was about to encounter in college. The fraternity members seemed extremely successful and in all honesty, it felt as if I would be joining an elite group of students.

How did you first hear about your fraternity?

My first exposure to the fraternity was through people I met in my classes. Through mutual friends, I became acquainted with members of the fraternity who seemed very intelligent and nice, which was contrary to the image of a stereotypical fraternity member that I had in my mind.
The fraternity was also very reputable across the country and well-respected by other organizations. What struck me was that the members attributed a large part of their individual success to the fraternity. In addition to their friendliness and enthusiasm, I felt I couldn’t go wrong enjoying my college life with people who would help me to build up my academic career at my university as well as pave the way for my professional career in the future.

What are rush and pledge like?

Through rush, I quickly became acquainted with each fraternity member. In terms of the stereotypical perception of fraternity functions, during rush there weren’t as many instances of excessive alcohol consumption or inappropriate activities as I had imagined.
Many of the events illuminated each member’s passion about the things that he did for the organization and his ultimate goals after graduation. Each seemed so well rounded, goal-oriented, and driven. The graduating members all seemed to pursue graduate studies at top-notch universities around the world. I felt like I could really benefit from being around them.
I received a phone call from the fraternity on the last day of my local church’s spiritual convocation. I was accepted as a pledge and asked if I was willing to accept. I was absolutely ecstatic that they had accepted me. Thinking that pledging the fraternity would not negatively affect my spirituality or my life in general, I immediately accepted the pledge invitation.

What happened during your pledgeship?

Besides the frequent social events, pledges had to attend two meetings every week, each lasting from one and a half to three hours. We were given time-consuming tasks to complete, such as planning social events for the fraternity, performing community service, and organizing professional development events. There were also events that occurred on the weekends, such as mandatory scavenger hunts and community service functions that lasted the whole day.
On top of this, during the first meeting, I was elected pledge class president, which placed additional pressure on me to lead my pledge class and dedicate twice as much time to my fraternity as my fellow pledgemates.
Although it crossed my mind that I was not managing my time well, I firmly believed that I would be able to balance the collective responsibilities of school, fraternity, family, friends, and spirituality without compromising any of them. However, I quickly realized that all of my free time was being dedicated to the fraternity. I even rationalized that this was such an important chapter of my life that my other responsibilities would have to accommodate my fraternity responsibilities. This was a reflection of my priorities being reshuffled at that time, with the fraternity being the most important aspect of my life.
Not surprisingly, my spirituality quickly took a backseat to my fraternity duties. Although I still attended Sabbath services on Saturday, I had a difficult time attending Friday evening services, weekly Bible studies, and campus fellowship. There was no chance that I could juggle God, family and friends, a part-time job, schoolwork, and fraternity without any of those responsibilities being ignored or mishandled.

What expectations did the organization have of you? How did they affect your other commitments?

Once you’re in a Greek organization, no events are optional. You must dedicate your time to attending events to represent your sorority or fraternity and your pledge class. It’s an endless commitment that encompasses the rest of your college career once you decide to join.
The fraternity took up an average of ten hours per week for me, which included only the mandatory events and not the “voluntary” events that I was expected to attend. Prior to rushing my fraternity, I made the determination that after crossing over, I would not compromise my Sabbath attendance for fraternity events.
Sabbath worship was an integral part of my faith and because of all the stereotypical negative activities associated with fraternities, I was very sensitive to any activities that clearly compromised my faith. All the community service events were held during the day on Saturdays. A few times, I volunteered for the earliest possible time slot on Saturday mornings, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. In order to make it to Sabbath services, I would rush from volunteering to church, arriving late and with an unsettled heart.
When the events could not accommodate my Sabbath worship, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. While I was able to decline events that directly conflicted with Sabbath worship, doing so was an arduous process. I would need to explain and justify to my pledge parents why I was not giving the fraternity my full dedication. The fraternity was not receptive to its pledge class president being absent from Saturday fraternity events.
Due to my repeated absence from fraternity events during Sabbath services, I was forced to attend all other fraternity events outside that timeframe. I was able to get away with making brief appearances at parties and other social events on Friday and Saturday nights. However, the burden of having to adjust my entire schedule around fraternity events was difficult to bear.
Review sessions with teaching assistants and classmates, meetings for group work, and other academic events would frequently come in conflict with fraternity events. Not surprisingly, my grades went down.
With the burdens continually increasing and the “fun” diminishing, I began to question the true value of the fraternity in my life. Due to the seemingly endless cycle between my classes, fraternity events, part-time job, familial responsibilities, church, schoolwork, and even more fraternity events, I didn’t have even a moment to think deeper about whether this fast-paced lifestyle fit in with the real priorities in my life.

Did you feel any regret after you joined?

I enjoyed pledging and crossing-over into the fraternity because everything was new and fresh to me.  After two semesters of involvement with the fraternity, that excitement disappeared. After I officially crossed and became a “brother,” I had expected that the time commitment and participation requirements would diminish, but no relief was in sight.
What was once fun became a terrible burden. I regretted placing too high a value on being a part of the fraternity. It didn’t seem worth all the trouble and effort after becoming a member of the fraternity. Much of the benefits advertised to me were hollow.
I regret not being able to explore my university and all it had to offer. I missed out on a number of activities and organizations that I would have joined had I not committed myself to the fraternity. There are plenty of organizations that would have enabled me to pursue the same “benefits”—such as networking, job placement, and academic support—offered by a Greek organization without requiring the same commitment level.
There just isn’t enough time in a given week for a pledge to fulfill his duties of spiritual cultivation, school, and the Greek organization, let alone the optional or leisure activities that he may wish to pursue as part of the “college experience.”

Is it possible to remain pure and holy? What challenges did you face?

By participating in fraternity social events, I unnecessarily subjected myself to temptation simply by allowing myself to be put in an environment conducive to sin. Although I remained firm in abstaining from the alcohol and sexual immorality that my fraternity brothers often indulged in, there was still a strong temptation to become curious about those activities.
I was certainly putting myself at tremendous spiritual risk with the dangerous combination of poor time management, bad spiritual cultivation habits, and subjection to temptation. Despite remaining firm in abstinence, exposing my eyes to activities unwholesome to Christians defiled the purity of my heart.
The plain truth is, being in a sorority or fraternity consumes all aspects of your life, especially your spirituality. It created a vicious cycle where I would have less free time and less time to think about and draw nearer to God. I lost focus in all that I did.
I found myself drifting away from God and from one of the purposes of my college life: Instead of utilizing the golden opportunity that God gave me during college to participate in my campus fellowship and the evangelical opportunities on campus, I was devoting far too much time to what I perceived to be of value. 
Rather than developing a solid bond of spiritual friendship with my fellow brothers and sisters, I found myself often making excuses for why I was unable to attend any of the campus fellowship events. The campus fellowship would have provided me with a renewed mind and spirit through the study of God’s word, the sharing, and praise sessions. Such peace and joy cannot be found in any other campus organization except the campus fellowship. The spiritual bond with brothers and sisters would have been very helpful when facing struggles in my college life.

What are your concluding thoughts about your experience?

Based on what I went through, I believe that college does provide students with the opportunity to truly experience the world. But it is also a journey of faith that can bring spiritual growth. We get to choose what kind of a college experience we have. It is important to reflect: Is my college experience full of eating and drinking or things of righteousness, peace, and joy? (Rom 14:17-19).
If the possibility of pledging a fraternity or sorority has reached your mind, take a moment to ponder and understand who you are, what God’s will is for you, and what your ultimate goals on earth are.
Consider these questions:
         Why do I want to join a Greek organization? Is the Greek organization truly the appropriate channel for me to devote myself to?
         Will subjecting myself to impure environments and worldly influences be beneficial to my spirituality?
         Do I have commitments which already take up a majority of my time? Are there other campus organizations, part-time jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, or church roles that I wish to pursue? Is adding a substantial time commitment detrimental to my existing responsibilities? 
For many brothers and sisters entering college, much effort has been placed upon building up their spirituality. We have studied the Bible for years, we have prayed so hard for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Elder John encourages us to not lose these things we have worked so hard for (2 Jn 8).
God wants us to be able to receive the full reward. At the end of our college experience, we want to be able to receive our diplomas knowing that we’ve “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).
May all the praise and glory be onto our Father in Heaven.

Greek Life Terminology

Crossover, or “crossing-over,” refers to the special ceremony a Greek organization holds for new members (or pledges) to become initiated members of the chapter.
Pledge: Upon receiving an offer to join a particular Greek organization and you commit to it, you become a “pledge.” As a pledge, you are not a full member, but more of a probationary member.  Pledges learn about the history and purpose of the organization, and perform community service.  Some pledges do not complete the pledgeship and do not join the organization, while those who complete it crossover. 
Pledge Parents: older “brothers” or “sisters” who take you under their wings to guide you as a new member.
Rush: the name given to the somewhat involved recruitment process that anyone interested in joining the Greek system goes through in order to find the right affiliation for them. Rush occurs during the beginning of the semester or school year where fraternities and sororities recruit other students to participate in parties or events to draw people to want to join. Rush can be considered an open invitation to all who wish to know more about each organization.