Every Christian should have great concern for preserving his or her biblical heritage lest it be lost through neglect and/or accommodation. Through Moses, God told the Israelites to make every home a school with the parents responsibility for continually telling their children about their heritage as God’s chosen people and the great acts performed in their behalf by the gracious God (Deuteronomy 6:6-25). Joshua, too, at the settlement of the Promised Land, warned the people never to forsake the Lord’s ways (Joshua 24). Jesus exhorted His followers to remain in His teaching (John 8:31-32; 15:7). St. Paul warned Timothy about people who would try to remove the truth from Christianity, which he preached, a warning he strongly gave during his final imprisonment in Rome (1 and 2 Timothy). It was a warning he also gave to the pastors of Asia Minor at his tear-filled Miletus farewell (Acts 20:29-31). St. John repeatedly warned his “little children” about those who would corrupt the teachings of the Redeemer (1 John 2:18-26; 3:7).
In short, God’s Word is full of admonishment and warning not to let the teaching/doctrine of Holy Scripture to be lost. In this spirit these words are written as a warning. Our neglect of, ignorance of, or refusal to evaluate what the lodge teaches is to invite its influence upon our lives. Just as eternal vigilance is the price Americans must pay to keep their political freedoms from being removed, so also must we do the same with our spiritual heritage.
The Synod’s Handbook summarizes the rationale for the Synod’s longstanding position on the lodges: “Pastors and laypeople must avoid membership or participation in any organization that in its objectives, ceremonies, or practices is inimical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the faith and life of the Christian church.” It is because tenets and practices of Freemasonry conflict with the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ that our church from its very beginning has held that membership in this organization conflicts with a faithful confession of this Gospel.
Many examples from the official rites and ceremonies of Freemasonry could be cited to illustrate the reasons for the Synod’s position, but the following is one example. The second section of the Entered Apprentice degree reviews what has taken place in the initiation rite and closes with this definition of the Lambskin of White Leathern Apron given to the candidate: “The Lamb has, in all ages, been deemed an emblem of innocence. He, therefore, who wears the Lambskin as the badge of a Freemason, is constantly reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides.” This statement holds out the promise that “purity of life and conduct” is “essentially necessary” for entry into life hereafter with the divine being called the “Supreme Architect.” Such an assertion stands in direct conflict with the apostolic Gospel, and therefore endangers faith. St. Paul affirms in his epistle to the Galatians that “by works of the law shall no one be justified . . . for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Galatians 2:16, 21).