There is a sad misconception within some mainstream churches, as well as in some much smaller ecclesial societies, that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christian belief and practice. Some even state very publicly that it is impossible to be a Christian and a Freemason. Let me state from the outset that I and many other Christians, both lay and ordained, have found that the one compliments and sustains the other. The Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth, are totally in keeping with Christian teaching, as is the charitable giving exercised by all Freemasons – many hundreds of thousands of pounds are given on a regular basis by lodges to many different charitable causes. You name it, Freemasons support it very generously indeed.
Some claim that there is an outright denial of Sacred Scripture within Masonry – a total misrepresentation! The Scriptures are hailed as one of the ‘Great Lights of Freemasonry’, and an open Bible sits in pride of place within every single Lodge. As Masonry is open to all men (admittedly men only, although there are some women’s Masonic Orders) who have a belief in a Supreme Being, whatever their faith, God is referred to as ‘The Great Architect of the Universe’, and where there is a multi-faith membership within a Lodge, the Sacred Torah, the Holy Qu’ran, or the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, might share a place with the Holy Bible, individually and collectively referred to as ‘The Volume(s) of Sacred Law’.
Anyone who has difficulty accepting the Masonic description of God need simply refer to the Psalms where many references can be found to the Creator, for example “laying the earth’s foundations”, and there are constant references in Masonic ritual to God’s supreme love and care, as well as to our duty to Him.
The first question a candidate for Masonry is asked as he enters into the ceremony of initiation is “in whom do you place your trust?” Unless the candidate freely answers, “in God”, then his entry into Masonry cannot proceed. As the initiated Mason progresses, if he wishes to, through some of the higher degrees of Masonry, he must profess faith in the Holy Trinity, and in Christ as ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’. Seems quite Christian to me!
Some people are under the impression that part of the promises made by Masons on their initiation take the form of ‘Blood-oaths’. This is a total fallacy. In Masonic legend, there were indeed some pretty gory penalties, but I can promise that never in my Masonic career have I pledged to allow myself to be disembowelled, to have my throat cut, my tongue ripped out, or to have any other body parts forcibly removed, if I betray Masonic secrets. The ‘ancient penalties’ are alluded to during Masonic ritual, but they are certainly not part of any oath or obligation.
Which brings me very nicely to the much-hackneyed claim that Freemasonry is a ‘secret society’. This is utter nonsense. The fact that we are Masons is never something that we would ever want to conceal – far from it. Any Freemason will proudly wear a lapel badge that proclaims his membership, perhaps the famous ‘Square and Compasses’, or perhaps a ‘Forget me not’ badge, which became a symbol of the oppression of German Masons during the Holocaust, when many thousands of our brethren were killed by the Nazi regime. Yes, we have our secrets – but they are the signs and tokens of recognition uniquely kept between Masons and they are no more sinister than keeping one’s banking PIN a closely guarded secret.
As a Christian, I have found that Freemasonry affirms my Christian life, and especially my ministry as a priest. It provides support, friendship, affirmation, and encouragement that would be envied by any ecclesial body, and I defy anybody who is not a Freemason, and who condemns Freemasonry as ‘Unchristian’, to prove themselves worthy to criticise. I am proud to be a Christian, proud to be a Freemason, and especially proud to be a Christian Freemason.
Written by Fr Paul (A Christian Freemason)
Re-posted with Permission