An Exhortation to the Wicked – Thomas Vincent

Originally from here.

And now sinners what will you do? Will you dare to go on in that broad way of sin, which before long will open under you, and let you down into the horrible gulf of unquenchable burnings? Can you be contented with a portion in this life, and to receive all your good things here, when fire and brimstone, and everlasting burnings shall be the portion of your cup hereafter? Will any pleasure of the flesh and sin for a season countervail that everlasting pain and misery, which will be the bitter fruit and consequent of them? Let me therefore exhort you without any delay to come out of the broad way of sin. It is the way of hell, and will you proceed any further in it? You that are profane and unclean, you that are swearers, Sabbath-breakers, scoffers of religion, persecutors of God’s people, drunkards, covetous persons, yes, all you that are hypocrites, that are impenitent and unbelieving persons, give me leave to stop you in your course, or rather hearken unto the voice of God in his Word, who calls you to turn from your evil ways, that iniquity may not be your ruin. Come out of the broad way, and get into the narrow way. It has a strait gate, namely the gate of regeneration. This you most pass through; you must become new creatures, get new hearts, and lead new lives. You must walk in the narrow way of mortification, self-denial, new obedience, otherwise you will certainly be numbered among the damned, who will be everlastingly burned in the fire of hell. The passage is difficult, and the way narrow, but both are necessary. It is the passage from death to life, and the way from hell to heaven.

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The Inner Fight – John Boruff

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Rebukes to the “Orphan Spirit” Teaching – John Boruff

A rebuke to Leif Hetland’s Healing the Orphan Spirit doctrine sweeping through charismatic churches. The idea of it being “okay” for pastors to cuss during sermons seems to have come recently from Mark Driscoll, who was defrocked from Mars Hill Church for abuse in 2014 (see references to “Mark the Cussing Pastor” in Donald Miller’s 2003 book called Blue Like Jazz, pp. 133-134). But its nothing new: in the 1985 Signs and Wonders Conference video, “Personal Pilgrimage,” John Wimber used the phrase, “H-ll, I don’t know” (26:37); on another occasion, non-chalantly relating an occasion where a guy said, “I’m never going behind that d–n curtain again” (1:16:34) causing everyone to laugh. This isn’t to say Wimber’s books on miraculous gifts are without value: Power Healing in particular; but it doesn’t mean he’s on the level of George Fox or John Wesley. It also says a lot when P.O.D., the top Christian rock band, the singer Sonny Sandoval used the f-word in their song “I Am” on the Murdered Love album in 2012. O God, send us an evangelical revival! I need it just as much as anyone else!

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Review of Edith Blumhofer’s “The Assemblies of God: A Popular History” – John Boruff

1870 – 1900: Fundamentalists, Spirit Baptism, and Divine Healing

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the writings of Charles Darwin were persuading the liberal churches to abandon beliefs in the supernatural, embrace evolution theory, and criticize the Bible. The majority of Protestants accepted these views, so much so that their churches came to be called “mainline” denominations. Blumhofer - AG Popular HistoryThe fundamentalist movement rose up in protest against this movement, being led by R. A. Torrey, who eventually edited a collection of writings called The Fundamentals (1910-1915). Torrey and his friend D. L. Moody were champions of the early fundamentalist cause; but at the same time, they were influenced by the holiness movement, the Higher Life movement, and the Keswick movement: all of which taught that it is possible to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and have more power to live holy and do ministry. Torrey published The Baptism with the Holy Spirit in 1895. They viewed it the same way that Charles Finney had 25 years earlier in 1870 when he co-authored Asa Mahan’s The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and The Enduement of Power: Spirit baptism was only viewed as an enduement of power for service. No tongues or miraculous gifts were involved in this view. It was primarily centered on experiencing more of the fruit of the Spirit, the ethical side of the Holy Spirit. 

A. B. Simpson founded the Christian & Missionary Alliance in 1887. He too preached about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and living up until 1919, he played an important role in nurturing the fundamentalists and Pentecostals of the early 1900s into these views on the Holy Spirit. In his book The Holy Spirit (1899), the title of chapter 2 was “The Baptism with the Holy Ghost.” Torrey and Moody had more in common with A. B. Simpson than they did with Calvinistic cessationist theologians like B. B. Warfield. Torrey, Moody, and Simpson all believed in Spirit baptism and divine healing; and prayed for healing miracles to happen in their church services. They were cautiously charismatic fundamentalists. Some of the divine healing books of the era were Charles Cullis’ Faith Cures (1879), A. J. Gordon’s The Ministry of Healing (1882), A. B. Simpson’s The Gospel of Healing (1885), and Andrew Murray’s Divine Healing (1900). Moody died in 1899, leaving Torrey as the leader of his church and Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Torrey, after years of praying for healing, eventually published Divine Healing (Moody Press, 1924). This was a major part of the theological background that nurtured the Welsh Revival (1904-1905), the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909), the early Assemblies of God (founded in 1914), and early Pentecostal healing evangelists like Smith Wigglesworth (d. 1947) and F. F. Bosworth (d. 1958). While fundamentalist theology was an evangelical reaction to liberal theology, the divine healing movement was an evangelical reaction to the Christian Science cult, founded in 1879 in Boston. Coincidentally this was the same city that Charles Cullis operated his healing ministry and same year that he published Faith Cures. All of the healing ministers and authors above saw themselves as following in Cullis’ footsteps. For more about the pre-Pentecostal development of Spirit baptism and divine healing, see chs. 4 and 5 in Donald Dayton’s The Theological Roots of Pentecostalism.

1900 – 1916: Speaking in Tongues and the Assemblies of God

Charles Parham, a man of various contradictions and strange beliefs, was an independent healing evangelist during the late 1800s. He believed pretty much the same way that Simpson, Torrey, and Moody did about Spirit baptism and divine healing. But he still felt that some important aspects of miraculous gifts were missing from modern Christian experience. He felt that the experiences in the book of Acts had not been fully restored. He had heard about a man named Frank Sandford who had a religious community in Shiloh, Maine. Parham went there in good faith, not knowing at the time that Sanford was an abusive authoritarian leader. During his visit, however, he saw some people come out of a prayer tower and they were speaking in tongues. Parham was convinced that the only way to recapture the miraculous gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, was to experience this element of speaking in tongues (see Vinson Synan’s The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition, p. 90). He began to set up temporary Bible schools for holiness people who were interested in experiencing some deeper things in God. The first of which was rented at a fine looking mansion called Stone’s Folly in Topeka, Kansas. He called it Bethel Bible College: it operated for no more than one and a half years, from 1900 through 1901.

In December of 1900, he challenged his students to search the Bible for clear and indisputable evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. After personally seeing the people at Shiloh speak in tongues, and after having wondered if there was more to Spirit baptism than merely claiming it by faith as most in the holiness movement were doing, he asked his students to come to him with their findings. He left the school for several days on a trip and came back. They had all reached an agreement: the only real evidence of Spirit baptism that they could find in the Bible that was clear, indisputable, and definite–was the aspect of speaking in tongues: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4); “On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:45-46); “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). From these three Scriptures they established the doctrine of “initial evidence”: later the keystone belief of the Azusa Street Revival, the Assemblies of God, and all Pentecostal denominations. It is the teaching that speaking in tongues is the only clear, indisputable, initial, physical evidence that someone has been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

A. B. Simpson and people in the Christian & Missionary Alliance begged to differ; and so did R. A. Torrey, who later said the Pentecostal revival was “emphatically not of God, and founded by a sodomite,” referring to Parham’s later fall into homosexuality (see Vinson Synan’s In the Latter Days, p. 77). The CMA and Torrey remained theoretically open to speaking in tongues, but believed there were enough moral experiences to prove an experience of Spirit baptism without tongues. Blumhofer says, “Alliance leaders virtually excluded tongues-speaking from their movement: They adopted the position that tongues should neither be sought nor forbidden” (p. 33). To differ with the CMA, might I reply that this idea appears to contradict 1 Corinthians 14:5: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues.” Everyone else in the holiness movement rejected tongues as totally demonic, siding with the view in Alma White’s Demons and Tongues (1910). Agnes Ozman was the first person to speak in tongues at Bethel Bible College. Parham had never spoken in tongues himself, but she asked for him to lay his hands on her and pray to be baptized in the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues, as in Acts 19:6. And it happened to her; then it spread to the other students, and eventually to Parham. It was Parham’s confused, eccentric ministry and eclectic way of thinking that allowed for such religious experimentation. Despite his personal failings and gross imperfections, we can be thankful that he at least played his role in passing the tongues teaching on to the much godlier William J. Seymour, who led the Azusa Street Revival from 1906 to 1909 and really popularized the Pentecostal experience on a global scale. More about that in Frank Bartleman’s How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles (1925).

After the Azusa Street Revival was over, Pentecostal churches were mainly non-denominational and independent, scattered across the United States. Eventually two Pentecostal magazine editors came together, E. N. Bell and J. Roswell Flower, and rallied together a loosely knit Pentecostal alliance which they decided to call the Assemblies of God (AG). In 1914, they got large enough to where they incorporated as a denomination and eventually used Gospel Publishing House as their denominational headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. It was here that they printed the Pentecostal Evangel and their books. The AG became the largest Pentecostal denomination because they accepted William Durham’s teaching of a Baptistic progressive sanctification, empowered by a Pentecostal Spirit baptism, evidenced by speaking in tongues. All of the other Pentecostals believed in a Wesleyan entire sanctification, which kept the rest of the Protestants at a distance. The traditional Protestant view of holiness is gradual and nothing more. The AG’s acceptance of this gradual view of holiness made it easier for other Protestants to become Pentecostals by joining the AG. They also formed their Statement of Fundamental Truths in 1916 to keep the anti-trinitarian “oneness” Pentecostals out of the movement, and preserve orthodox evangelicalism.

1921 – 1948: GPH, Stanley Frodsham, and Smith Wigglesworth

As the AG began to grow, so also did its various ministries and institutions. The first was Gospel Publishing House (GPH), which came to be headed by Stanley Frodsham from 1921 to 1949. Frodsham was already an author of various articles in the British Pentecostal paper Victory, and had been aware of Smith Wigglesworth. He moved to Springfield, Missouri to be the chief editor. In my view, the Assemblies of God lived through its healthiest, most revivalistic times, during the period that Frodsham was editor. He had a sensitivity to the issues of Pentecostal experience. He also wrote the biography Smith Wigglesworth: Apostle of Faith (1948). However, I suspect that this book got him into some trouble with AG leaders, because general superintendent E. S. Williams was not a fan of Wigglesworth, mainly because he would sometimes hit people while praying for them. In 1949, Frodsham left the AG and became involved in the non-denominational Latter Rain Revival. He too felt, that by then, the AG had lost its desire for miraculous gifts. The view of AG leadership at the time might be summarized by this statement on Wigglesworth:

I had heard a thing about his oddities; and I didn’t feel swell about it. So I got three or four of my elders in my car, and we drove up to New York, and heard him one night, and we drove back to Philadelphia. And he’d get over your nose, funny things, and he’d hit ya. (He might hit where you’re hurt if you went down for prayer.) It didn’t appeal to me; but I told (my elders), “You look over here” (look at him hitting people). So after the meeting, they said, “We don’t want it.” They didn’t want him. Yeah. So, I didn’t have any close contact with him. I’ve nothing to say too much in his favor other than he was a kind of an eccentric man. And nothing against him, because he may have had some wonderful things take place…he’s a “legend,” but that’s a bit much, I think (“1979 Interview with E. S. Williams,” 58:40 – 1:01:23).

So, I think its safe to say that the AG leadership distanced themselves from Wigglesworth, because of his eccentric habit of hitting people during his meetings. The fact that he was non-denominational might have had something to do with it too. But there was a love-hate relationship towards him. His books are the most popular AG books. His Ever Increasing Faith (1924) is an AG classic on miraculous gifts. But when the Latter Rain Revival happened, accusing the AG for their anti-charismatic attitude, and for their institutionalism, even Frodsham had to agree–so much so that he left the AG. I won’t defend Wigglesworth’s “hitting prayer” eccentricity. I’ve even heard that he gave up the practice. But look at all of the supernatural ministry that is written about him! I haven’t seen anything like that written about E. S. Williams or any AG superintendent. Were they jealous and skeptical of the miraculous claims of Wigglesworth? Perhaps their jealousy, fear, and suspicion fueled their skepticism and lack of spiritual hunger.

Smith Wigglesworth was clearly the leader in miraculous gifts during that time period; but the top AG leaders didn’t even want to give him a chance to have dialogue and be used more for God’s glory. But it seems that lower level AG leaders did, especially in Great Britain, as he was invited by them to conduct a number of healing meetings. During this period, the AG leaders associated with E. S. Williams started a radio ministry, and some Bible colleges, but I would ask, “What good is that if you can’t even recognize a true prophet like Wigglesworth when you see one?” Ralph Riggs might have had some experience with miraculous gifts, as he seems to show an in-depth knowledge of them in his book The Spirit Himself (1949). He served in various AG leadership capacities, eventually becoming general superintendent from 1953 to 1959. But who knows the name of Riggs outside of AG circles? Pharisees tend to climb the ladder in religious organizations, but prophets always end up on the outside, even though they adhere to the religion claimed by that organization more fanatically and strictly than those who wrote up the Statement of Faith (more on this in Margaret Poloma’s The Assemblies of God at the Crossroads: Charisma and Institutional Dilemmas). I don’t know if Riggs was a Pharisee or a man of God. But Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23). At least Frodsham managed to publish some Wigglesworth books while he was at GPH.

Foreign missions and home missions  began to grow in the late 1920s and 30s as the financial support gradually increased in the AG. But at first, many of the AG missionaries were sent out on faith and lived in total poverty. Home missions, or evangelistic projects in the United States, were focused on church planting, ministry to the deaf and handicapped, Native American reservations, evangelism to the Jewish people in America, prison evangelism, and church planting in Alaska; also, David Wilkerson’s Teen Challenge, the Pentecostal drug rehab program mentioned in The Cross and the Switchblade (1962), was eventually absorbed into AG’s home missions department (pp. 85, 87). During World War II in the 1940s, most of the people in the AG were pacifists, but there was a trend towards soldiers and military chaplains coming from the AG. While many American men had to join the Army, many American women, including those in the AG, had to join the workforce; and this changed the economic landscape in America, and well as the image of a traditional family. With all these changes going on in the natural realm: AG departments, World War II, women joining the workforce, etc: by the time Wigglesworth died in 1947, many of the new converts and young people in the AG had never seen a healing; and the AG was in a period of “declension,” definitely needing a Pentecostal revival. In this same year, a twelve year old AG boy by the name of Elvis Presley was learning about the world in Memphis, Tennessee. Ten years later, he would demoralize America’s youth with his sexually provocative style of rock music.

1948 – 1952: The Latter Rain Revival and the Healing Revival

In the beginning of 1948, a Pentecostal revival began in Canada called the Latter Rain Revival, which was inspired by the word of knowledge and healing ministry of William Branham. There were several attributes about this revival (p. 95):

1. They rejected the AG and all Pentecostal denominations as dead and backslidden.

2. They believed the AG had lost its miraculous gifts, because they had compromised with the world.

3. They rejected the AG’s form of church government–Presbyterian polity–and favored an independent congregationalism.

4. They believed in prophetic ministry through the laying on of hands, impartation of miraculous gifts, and giving words of knowledge. Strangely, to this day the AG rejects the idea that miraculous gifts can be imparted by the laying on of hands (this goes against Acts 19:6, one of the key Pentecostal verses).

5. Sometimes, Latter Rain prophets would have revelations that they considered to have equal or greater authority than the Bible. One of these ideas was the infamous “manifest sons of God” idea: the view that some super-Pentecostals would rise out of the Latter Rain Revival and experience immortality, do miracles greater than the apostles in the book of Acts, and hasten the return of Christ.

6. Sometimes, Latter Rain healers’ emphasis on healing and deliverance stemmed from an arrogant delusion of grandeur, that they were super apostles.

Faced with these challenges, the AG replied with an article denouncing the “New Order of the Latter Rain” in 1949. That same year Stanley Frodsham, the chief editor of Gospel Publishing House, left the AG and joined the Latter Rain Revival. He probably aligned himself with the more sober-minded revivalists. (I think if I were living in those times, then I would probably follow Frodsham’s lead as well. Even today I have seen a lot the same “deadness” problems in Pentecostal denominations; and the “aliveness” of prophetic ministry in non-denominational charismatic churches.) Obviously, there is no excuse for the “manifest sons of God” idea or the grandiose title mongering of the word “apostle,” but all of the other aspects of this revival appeared to be pure. At the same time, the Healing Revival gained national publicity through television broadcasts as William Branham, Oral Roberts, and Jack Coe preached and prayed for thousands of people in their gospel tents. By 1952, however, Branham and Roberts started to preach different heresies and their influence died out. Roberts left us the ungodly legacy of the prosperity gospel, later to be featured nonstop on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Jack Coe died in 1956. The Healing Revival also featured many other Pentecostal evangelists, brought together through Gordon Lindsay’s The Voice of Healing magazine; and Lindsay also put together a 513 page book on miraculous gifts called Commissioned with Power. The Healing Revival, did however, have a positive influence on the Assemblies of God pastors. Many more of them began to pray for the sick in their churches (p. 99).

1920s – 1960s: The AG and Youth Ministries

Youth ministry ideas really had their start in the AG during the late 1920s among California pastors. They would have Pentecostal youth rallies and eventually a Pentecostal youth magazine called The Christ’s Ambassadors Herald. This was pretty much the trend in the ’30s and ’40s as well, with their youth rallies growing in popularity. Speed-the-Light was a sort of YWAM type AG youth missionary endeavor that involved fund raising for AG missionary airplanes and other equipment. (My understanding is that YWAM, or Youth With A Mission, branched off of this in 1960; and became a farther reaching endeavor open to young people from all denominations. The AG’s response to YWAM seems to have been Ambassadors In Mission, or AIM, in 1966 for short-term mission trips.) Campus ministry began in the 1950s under the name of Chi Alpha (originally abbreviated CA and then to XA); and had a magazine called Campus Ambassador. Campus ministries really grew in size during the 1960s. Royal Rangers and Missionettes (comparable to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts involving community service projects), focused on K-12 boys and girls respectively, were developing in the ’60s also; as did Teen Challenge, a youth-oriented drug rehab ministry founded by David Wilkerson, and related in his book The Cross and the Switchblade.

The 1960s: The AG and the Charismatic Movement

In the 1960s, David du Plessis and David Wilkerson, both AG ministers, and both with the name “David,” incidentally enough, played major roles in influencing the charismatic movement in the mainline liberal churches. Du Plessis was especially more cooperative with them and paved the way for charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church. Wilkerson’s influence came through his book The Cross and the Switchblade (1962) and by getting invited to speak at charismatic conferences. Dennis Bennett, the Episcopal priest, also showed that he was influenced by AG theology when he articulated his view on miraculous gifts in The Holy Spirit and You (1971), particularly things related to Wigglesworth. But the AG leaders generally rejected the charismatic movement, because although many claimed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, they stayed in liberal theology, and did not embrace the holiness lifestyle of the AG. The remaining, lingering question to all charismatics was, “So, when are you going to join an AG church?”

The Decline of Pentecostal Revival Experiences in the AG Churches

By the late ’50s, many AG leaders saw that their numbers were dramatically decreasing; and that Pentecostal revival experiences were being replaced by institutionalism, respectability, and spiritual complacency. In my view, this probably had to do with a decrease of holiness-related and evangelistic Gospel preaching, as it always seems to be the reason why evangelical revivals decline and fade away. David Wilkerson, in a number of his sermons, indicated that the AG had become a dead institution, which is why he broke ties with the AG after he founded Times Square Church. I spoke to an AG district superintendent in 2012 when I was once again reconsidering ministry with the denomination. He told me that an AG pastor’s job is to get people saved and an AG evangelists’ job is to get them speaking in tongues; that they keep statistical records of how many people speak in tongues in their churches; and that the more property and the more tongue-speaking there is going on in a church, the better it is–and that these are the marks of success for an AG pastor. Would you believe it if I told you that I decided not to be an AG pastor that day? When any evangelical church stops placing the emphasis on repentance preaching, Hell, and the moral law of God–that church is no longer in a state of revival. That’s my conclusion. And when any Pentecostal church stops placing an emphasis on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, Pentecostal worship, words of knowledge, and praying for divine healing–that church is no longer in a state of revival. Writing in 1985, Blumhofer said of AG membership, “Some are Pentecostals in name only, never having experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit” (p. 143).

For those who are students of revival, I’d have to say that after the 1950s, the charismatic or Pentecostal experiences spread into the Charismatic Movement through Dennis Bennett, Larry Christensen, John Sherrill, and David Wilkerson’s influence–stretching through the 1960s. In the 1970s, you saw the appearance of more non-denominational charismatic churches, with Derek Prince, New Wine Magazine, and the shepherding movement leading the way in all things charismatic. Kathryn Kuhlman’s healing ministry also got a lot of attention on TV during the ’70s. Then in the 1980s, it was John Wimber and the Vineyard churches, headquartered at what is now called the Vineyard Church of Anaheim. (The AG in the ’80s, however, had the sex scandals of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker to deal with.) Mike Bickle (author of Growing in the Prophetic), and what is now called IHOP-KC, used to be a Vineyard church, and has played a big role in bringing words of knowledge back into charismatic churches–this is now called “prophetic ministry” and there are several other names associated with this: Jack Deere (Surprised by the Voice of God), Steve Thompson (You May All Prophesy), Larry Randolph (Spirit Talk), Jim Goll (The Seer), and John Paul Jackson (The Biblical Model of Dream Interpretation). In my view, the last great evangelical revival in the United States was also a Pentecostal one, and an AG one at that: the Brownsville Revival, from 1995 to 2000, led by Steve Hill. The New York Times took notice in 1997 with their article: “In Florida, a Revival That Came but Didn’t Go.” But that same superintendent that I had spoken to before, also told me that the AG leaders shut down that revival for one simple reason: they didn’t like people shaking. Once again, respectability and complacency killed the fires of revival. One can only hope that another revival like the one in Brownsville will hit the AG, and that next time, the leaders won’t let respectability and complacency get the best of them.

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The Light Behind Masonry – Bill Schnoebelen

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Warnings Against Freemasonry: From Charles Finney’s Articles – John Boruff

FINNEY’S ARTICLES:

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Freemasonry Is a False Religion: A Universalistic Rosicrucian Cult – Charles Finney

Originally from here.

Freemason SymbolSome Freemasons claim that Freemasonry is a saving institution, and that it is true religion. Others hold a different opinion, claiming that it is the handmaid of religion, a system of refined morality. Others still are free to admit that it is only a mutual aid or mutual insurance society. This discrepancy of views among them is very striking, as every one knows who has been in the habit of reading sermons, lectures, and orations on Masonry published by themselves. In this article I propose to inquire, first, Do their standard authorities claim that Masonry is identical with true religion? Secondly, Does Freemasonry itself claim to be true religion? and, Thirdly, Are these claims valid?

1. Do their standard authorities claim that Masonry is true religion?

I quote Salem Town. I read his work some forty years ago. The book professes on its title-page to be A System of Speculative Masonry, exhibited in a course of lectures before the Grand Chapter of the State of New York, at their annual meetings in the City of Albany. It was reduced to a regular system by their special request, and recommended to the public by them as a system of Freemasonry. It is also recommended by nine grand officers, in whose presence the lectures were delivered; by another who had examined them; and by “the Hon. DeWitt Clinton, General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of the United States of America, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, etc., etc.”

The book was extensively patronized and subscribed for by Freemasons throughout the country, and has always been considered by the fraternity as a standard authority. From this author I quote as follows:

The principles of Freemasonry have the same coeternal and unshaken foundations, contain and inculcate the same truths in substance, and propose the same ultimate end, as the doctrines of Christianity.”–P. 53. Again he says: “The same system of faith and the same practical duties taught by revelation are contained in and required by the Masonic institution.”–P. 174. “Speculative Masonry combines those great and fundamental principles which constitute the very essence of the Christian system.” –P. 37. “It is no secret that there is not a duty enjoined nor a virtue required in the volume of inspiration but what is found in and taught by Speculative Freemasonry.” “The characteristic principles are such as embrace the whole subject-matter of divine economy.” –P. 31.

Again he says: “As the Word in the first verse of St. John constitutes both the foundation, the subject-matter, and the great ultimate end of the Christian economy, so does the same Word, in all its relations to man, time, and eternity, constitute the very spirit and essence of Speculative Freemasonry.”–P. 155. Again, referring to the promise of the Messiah, he says: “The same precious promise is the great corner-stone in the edifice of Speculative Freemasonry.”–P. 171. Again he says: “The Jewish order of priesthood from Aaron to Zacharias, and even till the coming of Messias, was in confirmation of the great event, which issued in the redemption of man. All pointed to the eternal priesthood of the Son of God, who by his own blood made atonement for sin, and consecrated the way to the Holy of holies. This constitutes the great and ultimate point of Masonic research.”–P. 121.

“That a knowledge of the divine Word, or Logos, should have been the object of so much religious research from time immemorial adds not a little to the honor of Speculative Freemasonry.”–P. 151.

Again he says: “It is a great truth, and weighty as eternity, that the present and everlasting well-being of mankind is solely and ultimately intended.” –P. 170. This he says of Freemasonry. But again he says: “Speculative Masonry, according to present acceptation, has an ultimate reference to that spiritual building erected by virtue in the heart, and summarily implies the arrangement and perfection of those holy and sublime principles by which the soul is fitted for a meet temple of God in a world of immortality.” –P. 63. Does not Freemasonry profess to be a saving religion?

Again he says: “In advancing to the fourth degree, the good man is greatly encouraged to persevere in the ways of well-doing even to the end. He has a name which no man knoweth save him that receiveth it. If, therefore, he be rejected and cast forth among the rubbish of the world, he knows full well that the great Master-builder of the universe, having chosen and prepared him a lively stone in that spiritual building in the heavens, will bring him forth in triumph, while shouting grace, grace to the Divine Redeemer. Then the Freemason is assured of his election and final salvation. Hence, opens the fifth degree, where he discovers his election to, and his glorified station in, the kingdom of his Father.” Then again he is assured of his “election and glorified station in the kingdom of his Father.” If this is not claiming for Freemasonry a saving power what is? Salem Town is the great light in Freemasonry, as the title and history of his work imports. Does he not claim that Freemasonry is a saving religion? To be sure he does, or no words can assert such a claim. “With these views, the sixth degree is conferred, where the riches of divine grace are opened in boundless prospect.” “Then he beholds in the eighth degree, that all the heavenly sojourners will be admitted within the veil of God’s presence, where they will become kings and priests before the throne of his glory forever and ever.”–Pp. 79-81. By the “heavenly sojourners,” he certainly means Freemasons. Observe what he asserts of them: “Then he (the Freemason) beholds in the eighth degree that all the heavenly sojourners will be admitted within the veil of God’s presence, where they will become kings and priests before the throne of his glory forever and ever.” This clenches the claim. “The maxims of wisdom are gradually unfolded, till the whole duty of man is clearly and persuasively exhibited to the mind.”–P. 184.

Again: “Principles and duties which lie at the foundation of the Masonic system, and are solemnly enjoined upon every brother; whoever, therefore, shall conscientiously discharge them in the fear of God fulfills the whole duty of man.”–P. 48. Then he claims for Freemasonry all that is or can be claimed for the law or Gospel of God.

Again he says: “The Divine Being views no moral character in a man with greater complacency than his who in heart strictly conforms to Masonic requirements.” “The more prominent features of a true Masonic character are literally marked with the highest beauties.”–Pp. 33, 185. Then again he represents Masonry as forming as holy a character in man as the Gospel does or can.

Again he says that “every good Mason is of necessity truly and emphatically a Christian.”–P. 37. Then he represents Freemasonry as identical with Christianity. A true Mason must necessarily be a true Christian. That Masonry professes to conduct its disciples to heaven we find affirmed by Town, in the following language. Of the inducements to practice the precepts of Masonry he says: “They are found in that eternal weight of glory, that crown of joy and rejoicing laid up for the faithful in a future world.”–P. 188.

By the faithful here he means faithful Freemasons. This same writer claims that Solomon organized the institution by inspiration from God. On page 187, he says: “So Masonry was transmitted from Enoch, through Noah, Abraham, Moses, and their successors, till Solomon, being inspired of God, established a regular form of administration.” [Edit–what AN OUTRAGEOUS FABRICATION!]

This will suffice for the purpose of showing what is claimed for Masonry by their standard authorities. The same in substance might be quoted from various other standard writers. I have made these quotations from Elder Stearns’ book, not finding in my library a copy of Town. In another place I shall find it convenient to quote sundry others of their standard writers, who, while they claim it to be a religion, do not consider it the Christian religion.

This conducts us to the second inquiry: What does Freemasonry claim for itself?

And here I might quote from almost any of the Masonic degrees to show that this claim is put forth in almost every part of the whole institution. As Town claims for it, so it claims for itself, a power to conduct its disciples to heaven. Any one who will take pains to read Bernard’s Light on Masonry through, will be satisfied that Town claims for the institution no more than it claims for itself.

I beg of all who feel any interest in this subject to get and read Bernard on Masonry; to read it through, and see if Town has not rightly represented the claims of Freemasonry. I deny, observe, that he has rightly represented its principles, and that which it really requires of Masons. That he has misrepresented Masonic law I insist. But in respect to its promises of heaven as a reward for being good Freemasons he has not misrepresented it. It claims to be a saving institution. This certainly will appear to any person who will take the pains to examine its teachings and its claims as revealed in Light on Masonry. Mr. Town has grossly misrepresented Masonic law and morality as we have seen in examining its claims to benevolence, and in scrutinizing their oaths and their profane use of Scripture. But that Mr. Town has not misrepresented the claims of Masonry to be a saving religion has been abundantly shown in these pages by quotations from Light on Masonry. I might quote many pages from the body of Masonry where it teaches the candidates that the observance of Masonic law, principles and usages will secure his salvation. The Gospel professes no more than this, that those who obey it shall be saved. Surely Masonry claims to be a saving religion just as much as the Gospel of Christ does.

Just take the following from the degree of “The Knights of the East and West.” Light on Masonry, first edition, p. 217, already quoted in another place.

In explaining the ceremony of sounding the seventh trumpet, and conducting the candidate to the vacant canopy, we find the following: “This canopy it will be recollected is at the right side of the All Puissant who represents JEHOVAH. The sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the conducting of the candidate to the vacant canopy, is a representation of the end of the world, and the glorification of all true Masons at the right hand of God, having passed through the trials of Freemasonry and washed their robes in their own blood.” If Freemasonry does not claim to be a saving religion how can such a claim be made? The compiler adds: “If this is not Antichrist what is?” But I must beg of the reader to examine the books that reveal Masonry for themselves, since to quote the claims of Masonry on this head further than I have done, would not only be useless and tiresome, but would swell this work too much.

This brings me to the third inquiry: Are the claims that Masonry is a true and saving religion valid?

To this question I reply that it is utterly false; and in this respect Freemasonry is a fatal delusion. From the quotations that I have made from Town, it will be perceived that he represents Freemasonry as identical with Christianity.

Mr. Preston is another of their standard writers. I quote the following note from Stearns on Masonry, p. 28: “Mr. Preston’s book, entitled Illustrations of Masonry, has been extensively patronized by the fraternity as a standard work. The copy before me is the first American, from the tenth London edition.” Mr. Preston says in his book, p. 30: “The universal principles of the art unite in one indissoluble bond of affection men of the most opposite tenets, of the most distant countries, and of the most contradictory opinions.” Again, p. 125, he says: “Our celebrated annotator has taken no notice of Masons having the art of working miracles, and foresaying things to come. But this was certainly not the least important of their doctrines. Hence, astrology was admitted as one of the arts which they taught, and the study of it warmly recommended.” [EDIT–the Freemasons are a pseudo-Christian cult that claimed to have miraculous gifts and dabbled in occult ideas like astrology–I have read that Rosicrucian mysticism (through Elias Ashmole) was part of their mystical views in Salem Kirban’s Satan’s Angel’s Exposed, p. 142.]

“This study became, in the course of time, a regular science.” So here we learn that Masons formerly claimed the power of working miracles. I quote again from Bradley, p. 8. He says: “We leave every member to choose and support those principles of religion and those forms of government which appear consistent to his views.” In the work of Preston, p. 51, we have the following: “As a Mason, you are to study the moral law as contained in the sacred code, the Bible; and in countries where that book is not known, whatever is understood to contain the will or law of God.” O, then, in every country Masons are to embrace the prevalent religion, whatever it may be, and accept whatever is claimed in any country where they may reside, to be the law and will of God. [EDIT–This is TOTAL UNIVERSALISM.] But is this Christianity, or consistent with it? It is well known and admitted that Masonry claims to have descended from the earliest ages, and that the institution has existed in all countries and under all religions; and that the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome, the astrologers and soothsayers, and the great men of all heathen nations have belonged to that fraternity.

It is also well known that at this time there are multitudes of Jews, Mohammedans, and skeptics of every grade belonging to the institution. I do not know that this is denied by any intelligent Mason. Now, if this is so, how can Freemasonry be the true religion, or at all consistent with it? Multitudes of Universalists and Unitarians, and of errorists of every grade, are Freemasons; and yet Freemasonry itself claims to save its disciples, to conduct them to heaven!

The third question proposed for discussion in my last number is: Are the claims of Masonry to be a true and saving institution valid? To this I answer, No. This will appear if we consider, first, that the morality which it inculcates is not the morality of the law and Gospel of God. The law and the Gospel, as I have shown in a former number, lay down the same rule of life. And Christ, in commenting upon the true meaning and spirit of the law, says: “If ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” He requires us to love our enemies, and to pray for them, as truly as for our friends. In short, He requires universal benevolence; whereas Freemasonry requires no such thing. Its oaths, which are its law, simply require its members to be just to each other. I say just, for their boasted benevolence is simply the payment of a debt.

They do, indeed, promise to assist each other in distress, and to help each other’s families, provided they fall into poverty. But on what condition do they promise this? Why, that a certain amount is to be paid into their treasury as a fund for this purpose. But this, surely, is not benevolence, but the simple payment of a debt, on the principle of mutual insurance.

This I have abundantly shown in a former number. Again, the motives presented in Freemasonry to secure the course of action to which they are pledged are by no means consistent with the law or the Gospel of God. In religion, and in true morality, everything depends on the motive or reason for the performance of an action. God accepts nothing that does not proceed from supreme love to Him and equal love to our fellow-men. Not merely to our brother Masons; but to our neighbor–that is, to all mankind. Whatever does not proceed from love and faith is sin, according to the teachings of the Bible. And by love, I say again, is meant the supreme love of God and the equal love of our neighbor.

But Masonry teaches no such morality as this. The motive urged by Masons is, to honor Masonry, to honor the institution, to honor each other. While they are pledged to assist each other in distress; to keep each other’s secrets, even if they be crimes; and to aid each other, whether right or wrong, so far as to extricate them from any difficulty in which they are involved; yet they never present the pure motives of the Gospel. They are pledged not to violate the chastity of a brother Mason’s wife, sister, daughter, or mother; but they are not pledged by Masonry, as the law and Gospel of God require, to abstain from such conduct with any female whatever. But nothing short of universal benevolence, and universal morality, is acceptable to God.

But again: It has been shown that Masonry claims to be a saving institution; that this is claimed for it by the highest Masonic authorities; and that this claim is one set up by itself as well. But an examination of Freemasonry shows that it promises salvation upon entirely other conditions than those revealed in the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel nowhere inculcates the idea that any one can be saved by obedience to the law of God. “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified” is the uniform teaching of the Bible. Much less can any one be saved by conformity to Masonic law, which requires only a partial, and therefore a spurious, morality. The Bible teaches that all unconverted persons are in a state of sin, of total moral depravity, and consequent condemnation by the law of God; and that the conditions of salvation are repentance and a total renunciation of all sin, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Now these are by no means the conditions upon which Freemasonry proposes to save its members. The teachings of Freemasonry upon this subject are summarily this: Obey Masonic law, and live.

Now, surely, whatever promises Heaven to men upon other conditions than those proposed in the Gospel of Christ is a fatal delusion. And this Freemasons can not deny, for they profess to accept the Bible as true. Freemasonry lays no stress at all upon conversion to Christ by the Holy Spirit. It presents no means or motives to secure that result. The idea of being turned from sin to holiness, from a self-pleasing spirit to a supreme love of God, by the preaching of the Gospel, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, is not taught in Freemasonry.

It nowhere recognizes men as being justified by faith in Christ, as being sanctified by faith in Christ, and as being saved as the Gospel recognizes men as being saved.

Indeed, it is salvation by Masonry, and not salvation by the Gospel, that Masonry insists upon. It is another gospel, or presents entirely another method of salvation than that presented in the Gospel. How can it be pretended by those who admit that the Gospel is true that men can be saved by Freemasonry at all? If Freemasons are good men, it is not Freemasonry that has made them so; but the Gospel has made them so, in spite of Freemasonry. If they are anything more than self-righteous, it is because of the teachings of the Gospel; for certainly Freemasonry teaches a very different way of salvation from that which the Gospel reveals. But, again, the prayers recorded in Freemasonry, and used by them in their lodges, are not Christian prayers; that is, they are not prayers offered in THE NAME OF CHRIST.

But the Gospel teaches us that it is fundamental to acceptable prayer that it be offered in the name of Christ. Again, as we have seen in a former number, the teachings of Freemasonry are scandalously false; and their ceremonies are a mockery, and truly shocking to Christian feelings.

Again, Freemasonry is a system of gross hypocrisy. It professes to be a saving institution, and promises salvation to those who keep its oaths and conform to its ancient usages. It also professes to be entirely consistent with the Christian religion. And this it does while it embraces as good and acceptable Masons hundreds of thousands who abhor Christianity, and scoff at the Bible and everything that the Bible regards as sacred. In a Christian nation it professes to receive Christianity as a true religion; in Mohammedan countries it receives the Koran as teaching the true religion; in heathen countries it receives their sacred books as of as much authority as that which is claimed in Christian countries for the Bible. In short, Freemasonry in a pagan country is pagan, in a Mohammedan country it is Mohammedan, and in a Christian country it professes to be Christian; but in this profession it is not only grossly inconsistent, but intensely hypocritical.

Notwithstanding all the boasts that are made in its lower degrees of its being a true religion, if you will examine the matter through to the end, you will find that, as you ascend in the scale of degrees, the mask is gradually thrown off, until we come to the “Philosophical Lodge,” in the degree of the “Knights Adepts of the Eagle or Sun;” in which, as will be seen, no concealment is longer attempted. I will make a short quotation from this degree, as any one may find it in Light on Masonry.–P. 18.

“Requisitions to make a good Mason.–If you ask me what are the requisite qualities that a Mason must be possessed of to come to the center of truth, I answer you that you must crush the head of the serpent, ignorance. You must shake off the yoke of infant prejudice, concerning the mysteries of the reigning religion, which worship has been imaginary and only founded on the spirit of pride, which envies to command and be distinguished, and to be at the head of the vulgar in affecting an exterior purity, which characterizes a false piety joined to a desire of acquiring that which is not its own, and is always the subject of this exterior pride and unalterable source of many disorders; which, being joined to gluttonness, is the daughter of hypocrisy, and employs every matter to satisfy carnal desires, and raises to these predominant passions altars upon which she maintains without ceasing the light of iniquity, and sacrifices continually offerings to luxury, voluptuousness, hatred, envy, and perjury.

“Behold, my dear brother, what you must fight against and destroy before you can come to the knowledge of the true good and sovereign happiness! Behold this monster which you must conquer–a serpent which we detest as an idol that is adored by the idiot and vulgar under the name of religion!” — See Light on Masonry, pp. 270, 271. 8th edition.

Here, then, Masonry stands revealed, after all its previous pretensions to being a true religion, as the unalterable opponent of the reigning or Christian religion. That it claims to be a religion is indisputable; but that it is not the Christian religion is equally evident. Nay, it finally comes out flat-footed, and represents the reigning or Christian religion as a serpent which Masons detest, as an idol which is adored by the idiot and vulgar under the name of religion.

Now let professed Christians who are Freemasons examine this for themselves. Do not turn away from examination of this subject.

And here, before I close this article, I beg to be understood that I have no quarrel with individual Masons. It is with the system that I have to deal. The great mass of the fraternity are utterly deceived, as I was myself. Very few, comparatively, of the fraternity are at all acquainted with what is really taught in the higher degrees as they ascend from one to another. None of them know anything of these degrees any further than they have taken them, unless they have studied them in the books as they are revealed. I can not believe that Christian men will remain connected with this institution, if they will only examine it for themselves and look it through to the end. I know that young Masons, and those who have only taken the lower degrees, will be shocked at what I have just quoted from a higher degree. I was so myself when first I examined the higher degrees. But you will inquire how, and in what sense, are we who have only taken the lower degrees responsible for the oaths and teachings of the higher degrees, which we have not taken. In a future number I shall briefly answer this question. Most Freemasons, and many who have been Masters of lodges of the lower degrees, are really so ignorant of what Masonry as a whole is, that when they are told the simple truth respecting it, they really believe that what you tell them is a lie. I am receiving letters from this class of Freemasons, accusing me of lying and misrepresentation, which accusations I charitably ascribe to ignorance. To such I say, Wait, gentlemen, until you are better informed upon the subject, and you will hold a different opinion.

I have quoted from Salem Town showing that he claims that Solomon established the institution by divine authority–that Town claims for it all that is claimed for Christianity as a saving religion. I might show that others of their standard writers set up the same claim. Now I am unwilling to believe that these writers are hypocrites. It must be that they have been imposed upon as I was. They were ignorant of the origin of Freemasonry. Perhaps this was not strange, especially as regards Mr. Town; for until within the last half century this matter has not been searched to the bottom. But certainly there is now no excuse for the ignorant or dishonest assertions that are so often made by Freemasons. Such pretenses palmed off, as they now often are, upon those whose occupation or other causes forbid their examination of the subject, ought to arouse the righteous indignation of every honest citizen. I say it ought to do so; yes, and it must do so, when we see our dear young men lured by false pretenses in crowds into this snare of Satan. They get drawn in and committed, and, as we see, are afraid to be convinced of their error and become uncandid and will not honestly examine the subject. They will shun the light when it is offered. Can men be saved in this state of mind? [EDIT–see also William Schnoebelen’s Masonry: Beyond the Light (1991) for an exposé of their heretical mystical views.]

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