Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

My Bible study had a long discussion on Masons. None of us knew much about Masons except for one person. He told us that they were a secret society that taught that there were others ways to heaven besides believing in Jesus. He thought that Masons accepted all gods of all religions and that Masons swore an oath to a “Supreme Being” instead of recognizing Jesus Christ as the sole Lord and Savior of mankind. Was he right? And if so, can Masons be Christians? Please help.

Ryan

Dear Ryan,

Once upon a time the question, “Can a Mason be a Christian?” was a big deal in our church. One of our counselors had written an article for the church paper on the perceived fallacies of Masonry. One thing led to another, and before long the issue became, “How can we allow a practicing Mason to be a member or a leader in our church?”

A small firestorm erupted among those who were Masons.

I was shocked to discover that we had Masons seeded throughout the church. I was stunned when one of our long-term church members told me that four of our founding church deacons were Masons. Two were still on the deacon board.

It was time to learn about Masonry. As I began my research, I discovered that compared to Christianity, there were a number of things that bothered me.

It bothers me that Masonry perpetuates the worship of the G.A.O.T.U. [Great Architect Of The Universe], as the one true God instead of recognizing the God of the Bible as the only true God (Exodus 20:1-3). Masons recognize a “Supreme Being” which includes the gods of all religions from Taoism to Hinduism to Islam and to everything in between. According to Masonry, different religions all acknowledge the same god, only they call him by different names.

It bothers me that while Christians view the Bible as the Word of God and ultimate source of authority and Truth (2 Timothy 3:161 Thessalonians 2:13), Masons view the Bible as just one of many sacred books in which truth can be found -- like the Koran or the Bhagavad-guitá.

It bothers me that Jesus is just one of many equally revered prophets.

It bothers me that while Christians believe that all men and women are born in sin and need a savior (Romans 3:236:23; and John 1:12 and John 3:16), Masons teach that man is not sinful, just imperfect, and that he can improve his standing before God by living a good life while performing good works for the community and being merciful to others.

In other words, it bothers me that in Christianity, salvation can be gained only by placing faith in Jesus and in His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection to forgive all sins (John 1:12 and 3:16), while Masons teach that salvation can be gained by man’s good works.