Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Three
One Hundred Thirty-Sixth Session,
One Hundred Forty-Eighth Year
Houston, Texas, June 15-17, 1993
Prepared by
David W. Atchison, Recording Secretary of the Convention
Distributed by
Morris H. Chapman, President & Chief Executive Officer
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Freemasonry Report

Motion Concerning Freemasonry
In annual session of the Baptist Convention, June 9-11, 1992 the following motion was approved:
The Southern Baptist Convention in annual session June 9-11, 1992, at Indianapolis, Indiana, directs the Interfaith Witness Department of the Home Mission Board to study the compatibility with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine of the organization known variously as the Masonic Lodge, Masonry, Freemasonry, and or Ancient and Accepted Right [sic] of Freemasonry. The study is to encompass any and all branches and or lodges thereof. Furthermore, the convention charges the Home Mission Board with the responsibility of bringing a report with recommendation to the Convention which is to meet in Houston, Texas, June 1993.

We report
That the Interfaith Witness Department of the Home Mission Board (HMB) has completed a study of Freemasonry and its various branches, as directed by the Convention, with special attention given to the compatibility of Freemasonry with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine. The study has been reviewed by the HMB Executive Council (president and vice presidents), by the Board of Directors' Administrative Committee (officers and committee chairmen), and by the Board of Directors of the HMB. The study has now been published as a 75-page document and is available for purchase on a cost-recovery basis from the Home Mission Board.

We conclude
That many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity or Southern Baptist doctrine, including:

1. The prevalent use of offensive concepts, titles, and terms such as Worshipful Master for the leader of a lodge; references to their buildings as mosques, shrines, or temples; and the use of words such as Abaddon and Jah-Bul-On, the so-called secret name of God. To many, these terms are not only offensive but sacrilegious.

2. The use of archaic, offensive rituals and so-called bloody oaths or obligations, among these being that promised by the Entered Apprentice:
All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, . . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the sands of the sea, at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-five hours, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly violate or transgress this my Entered Apprentice obligation.(10)

Or that of the Fellow Craft degree:
All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, . . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my left breast torn open, my heart plucked from thence, and given to the beast of the field and the birds of the air as prey, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly, violate or transgress this my Fellow Craft obligations.(11)

Or that of the Master Mason:
All this I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, . . . binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my body severed in two, . . .my bowels torn from thence and burned to ashes, and these scattered before the four winds of heaven, that no more remembrance might be had among men or Masons of so vile a wretch as I should be, should I, in the least, knowingly or wittingly violate or transgress this my Master Mason obligation. So help me God and keep me steadfast.(12)

Or that of other advanced degrees with required rituals considered by many to be pagan and incompatible with Christian faith and practice.

Even though these oaths, obligations, and rituals may or may not be taken seriously by the initiate, it is inappropriate for a Christian to sincerely promise and swear, with a hand on the Holy Bible, any such promises or oaths, or to participate in any such pagan rituals.

3. The recommended readings, in pursuance of advanced degrees, of religions and philosophies, which are undeniably pagan and/or occultic, such as much of the writings of Albert Pike, Albert Mackey, Manly Hall, Rex Hutchins, W.L. Wilmshurst, and other such authors; along with their works, such as Morals and Dogma, A Bridge to Light, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, and The Meaning of Masonry.

4. The reference to the Bible placed on the altar of the lodge as the furniture of the lodge, comparing it to the square and compass rather than giving it the supreme place in the lodge.(13)

5. The prevalent use of the term A light, which some may understand as a reference to salvation rather than knowledge or truth.

6. The implication that salvation may be attained by one's good works, implicit in the statement found in some Masonic writings that Masonry is continually reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is necessary to obtain admittance into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.(14) Even though many Masons understand that the purity of life and conduct can only be achieved through faith in Jesus Christ, others may be led to believe they can earn salvation by living a pure life with good conduct.

7. The heresy of universalism (the belief all people will eventually be saved), which permeates the writings of many Masonic authors, which is a doctrine inconsistent with New Testament teaching.(15)

8. The refusal of most lodges (although not all) to admit for membership African-Americans.

In light of the fact that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, while others are compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, we therefore recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep convictions regarding the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, membership in a Masonic Order be a matter of personal conscience. Therefore, we exhort Southern Baptists to prayerfully and carefully evaluate Freemasonry in light of the Lordship of Christ, the teachings of the Scripture, and the findings of this report, as led by the Holy Spirit of God.

The Home Mission Board
, (Now known as the NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD) after the vote of the Convention on the Resolution on Freemasonry and its 8 points of criticism, issued a further, "clarifying statement" that further issued a strong statement against Freemasonry and a Southern Baptist's Membership in it.

It reads as follows:

"In light of all questions that have arisen and confusion concerning Freemasonry… in order that there be no misinterpretation, The Board of Directors wish to reiterate the long-standing position of the HMB on the subject of Universalism (The major teaching of Freemasonry – parenthesis mine – see concern number 7 above.): Whether it be the teaching of a religious body, a fraternal order (Freemasonry)… it is unbiblical and heretical and we oppose the embrace or perpetuation of any such teachings.

"It has never been the intention of the HMB to suggest that individual Southern Baptists may feel justified in affiliating with such teaching on the basis of personal conscience. Rather, we would call upon fellow Southern Baptist to never embrace or perpetuate such heresy."

Both of these documents (the Resolution and the Clarifying Statement) can be obtained in their entirety through the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention HERE.


10. Ralph P. Lester, ed. Look to the East: A Ritual of the First Three Degrees of Masonry (Chicago: Ezra A. Cook Publishing, Inc., 1975), p. 96.

11. Ibid., p. 31.

12. Ibid., pp. 154-155.

13. Monitor of the Lodge (Waco: Grand Lodge of Texas, 1982), pp. 30-31. Also see Louisiana Masonic Monitor, pp. 24-26.

14. Louisiana Masonic Monitor, p. 79.

15. Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Washington, D.C.: Prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction, A.A.S.R., U.S.A., 1964), p. 847.