According to The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California:
Freemasonry is a Brotherhood of Men under the Fatherhood of God, charged with the mission of identifying good men and giving them the opportunities and resources to become better men. Masonry is not a religion by the definitions most people use.
It should be noted at the outset that while the exact wordings for most of the teachings of Freemasonry will vary from Lodge to Lodge- the meaning is essentially the same in each of them.
In a pamphlet published by the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Wyoming entitled Freemasonry A Way Of Life we read:
Though religious in character, Masonry is not a religion, nor a substitute for one. It fosters belief in a Supreme Being-this being a prerequisite for [attaining] membership…emphasizing a firm belief in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul…
As you can see, despite the claims of Masonry officials that Freemasonry is not a religion, what you have just read is actually the very definition of a religious creed.
Whenever one attempts to understand what an organization teaches it is imperative that he go to those who speak with authority within it. In Freemasonry the highest authority is the Grand Lodge of each state, and virtually all Masons point to the ritual as the heart of Masonry. Larry Kunk, co-founder of the Christian apologetic ministry Ephesians 5:11-which primarily handles the subject of Freemasonry-notes:
The primary authoritative Masonic teaching method is ritual…Masonic ritual is always performed behind closed doors…Only those who have proven themselves to be Masons and those who are being initiated into the degrees of Freemasonry are allowed entrance.
The California Lodges, Free and Accepted Masons Homepage further informs us:
There are three degrees in Masonry, other appendant (sic) bodies confer additional degrees, like the York Rite which confers nine additional degrees, and the Scottish Rite, which goes up to the 32nd degree (or the honorary 33rd). The 33rd Degree is an honorary degree, given to those who have done a lot for Masonry or Humanity. However in symbolic Masonry (or Blue Lodge Masonry) proper, there are only three degrees – Entered Apprentice (First Degree), Fellowcraft (Second Degree), and Master Mason (Third Degree).
Those who reach the 32nd Degree of Scottish Rite Masonry can then join The Order Of The Mystic Shriners.
A man must be 21 or older to be a Mason, but other groups associated with Freemasonry include the Order of DeMolay for boys, as well as the Order of Job’s Daughters and the Order of Rainbow for girls.
As a man who did considerable research on the Masonic Lodge, Dr. Alva McClain, founder of Grace Theological Seminary, knows well whatt he is talking about as he tells us:
[perhaps] the highest and most authentic Masonic authority [is] The Encyclopedia of Masonry by Albert G. Mackey, one of Masonry’s most learned and famous men…Besides being a 33rd Degree Mason, he held many high offices in the organization…[including] “Past General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of the United States.”
When Freemasonry is examined carefully it becomes obvious to the objective investigator that it is indeed a religion. And no less an authority on the subject than Dr. Mackey agrees with this assessment. A prolific author and faithful Mason who spent most of his life researching the subject of Freemasonry Mackey writes in his encyclopedia: “I contend without any sort of hesitation, that Masonry is , in every sense of the word except one, and that its least philosophical, an eminently religious institution.”
Despite protests to the contrary, Freemasonry is definately a religion, albeit an extremely liberal one. In fact, it would have an affinity to Deism. With a close look at the degrees of Freemasonry a basic theology emerges: There is a Supreme Being Who created the Universe, revealed His moral law, and to Whom we must give an account. The Masonic Lodge teaches that it has a deeper truth concerning God that only the “initiated” in Freemasonry can really understand. In theological circles this is known as esotericism (secret), and has its roots in the gnosticism of the 1st century. Gnosis means “knowledge” in the Greek language, and the gnostics essentially believed that only they had the “secret, hidden” knowledge about God. Books of the Bible like Colossians and 1 John are mostly devoted to correcting the false teachings of the different types of gnostics early believers in Christ were encountering.
Freemasonry further makes the claim that only they know the “true” pathway to God, the Master Mason, and that all other religions in their “darkness” may eventually lead to God. This can be seen even from the initial Ritual of the Entered Apprentice which all Masons must go through. Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon of The Ankerberg Theological Institute observe:
Masonry teaches that all non-Masons are living in spiritual darkness and that only the Lodge leads men into spiritual light. Mackey himself refers to the candidate: “There he stands without [outside] 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 pollutions of the outer and profane world, he comes inquiringly to our door, seeking the new birth, and asking [for] a withdrawal of the veil which conceals divine truth from his uninitiated sight.”
That many individual Masons will argue their ritual is symbolic is irrelevant, the question remains: How can a Christian allow himself to be used in this way-symbolic or not? Jesus said, I am the Light of the world (John 8:12). A Christian has already been called out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9) and does not need the pagan teachings of Freemasonry which Dr. Walter Martin, a foremost authority in the field of Comparative Religion called “metaphysical satanism.” For a Christian to swear secret oaths to unite himself with his “brothers” in the Masonic Lodge-many of whom out rightly deny that Jesus is God incarnate and the only Savior of lost mankind-is to disobey Him Who said: I tell you, Do not swear [oaths] at all (see-Matthew 5:33-35), and it sets an extremely poor example at the very least. The professed Christian needs to come to the realization that this only encourages others that Freemasonry is somehow compatible with biblical Christianity, and to be joined together with unbelievers like this is a clear violation of Scripture (see-2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Can any possibly imagine the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth Himself going through these rituals? Those who would dare call themselves Christian and then turns to Freemasonry for the “light” of its secret teachings would do well to remember what their Lord and Master said in John 18:20, I have spoken openly to the world…I have said nothing in secret. The Gospel is for all mankind and most certainly is not to be “hidden” from anyone.
Dr. McClain was right when he said: “Christianity is the only true religion. Masonry has a religion. If it is Christianity, it is true. If it is not Christianity, then it is false.” And Dr. Mackey, writing in The Encyclopedia of Masonry, is honest enough to admit: “The religion of Freemasonry is not Christian.”
Although I don’t agree with everything he taught in the end, though spoken about Freemasonry over one hundred years ago, the following words by evangelist D.L. Moody still ring true today:
I do not see how any Christian, most of all a Christian minister, can go to these secret Lodges with unbelievers. They say they can have more influence for good, but I say they can have more influence for good by staying out of them and then reproving their evil deeds (see-Ephesians 5:11). You can never reform anything by unequally yoking yourself with ungodly men…Do not let down the standard to suit men who love their secret Lodges or have some darling sin they will not give up.
Indeed, the Masonic Lodge is no place for the Christian.