By Pastor Pierce Dodson
This article reveals something of the true nature of Freemasonry. You will see it, not in the abstract, but in the concrete. Its true nature is not readily apparent as many fine people do belong to this organization, and of course it is involved in various charitable activities which also give it an appearance of being an upstanding organization. But there is a saying that you can't judge a book by its "cover" (how appropriate a word in this case), and Freemasonry must be understood not by its cover but by the philosophy, teachings, and spiritual forces which lie behind it.
What I have to say is not meant as an attack on the men who belong to the lodge. I am not an anti-mason, but I am against Masonry, a philosophical system which is opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I truly love the men of the lodge, and I exhort them to break with an organization which has deceived them.
My attitude toward the Masons can be found in Paul's words in II Timothy 2:24-26: "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
In Greek mythology the Trojan horse was the means by which the Greeks successfully brought their army into the city of Troy. It was an act of subterfuge. The Greeks hid their soldiers in a hollow wooden horse and then left it on the shores outside the city of Troy.
The people of Troy took the horse inside, not knowing what was in it; and it became the means to their destruction. The Greeks later emerged from the horse and took the city captive. Interestingly, the people of Troy would not listen to some warnings which were given to them. They thus paid a high price for their ignorance and unwillingness to heed the warnings.
Keep in mind the above story because it has application to the issue of . Freemasonry is Satan's Trojan horse, and it is in the Church of our day, and all too often people won't listen to the warnings which are being sounded. Hopefully every will take seriously the warnings being sounded because this really is a deadly issue (See Deadly Deception by Jim Shaw and Tom McKinney.)
I was born and raised in a Southern Baptist home where I was converted to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of nine. Some years after receiving a call to the ministry, I attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I graduated with a master of divinity degree in theology, but there were things I was to learn later that I did not get in preacher school. God has his own school of instruction and preparation, and often much is learned about His ways in the laboratory of life. Also He has a rather unusual special classroom, the furnace of fire, which is also very useful to Him. The Holy Spirit is always the tutor and the textbook is always the Word of God, the Bible.
Before finishing seminary I became pastor of a church in Kentucky. While at this church, I served on the state executive committee for a three year term; and during the last year or two of my tenure at the church, our church used radio in a rather creative fashion to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the community. Also the church was very supportive of missions during my almost fourteen year ministry at this church. Missions were and still are a great passion of mine.
After such a long ministry at this one church, I accepted a call to a church in my home state of Tennessee. It was to be some homecoming! I did not know what was in store for me. However, God did and He doesn't make any mistakes. Unknown to me He had been preparing me for what lay ahead. Soon after going to this new field, I was to step into what I have described as the twilight zone. I haven't really come out yet. You'll soon see what I mean!
I took a prominent county seat church in a small town, and things started off very well. However, I do remember that before accepting the church there was an occasion as my wife and I drove into town that I made some comment that I hoped that the church was not full of Masons. How prophetic, it was!
After leaving Kentucky, I came down to the new field of ministry without my family. For almost a week I lived in a motel, but an interesting and prophetic event of sorts occurred the day my family arrived to join me in Tennessee. A man and his wife came to my office at the church late in the afternoon and shared with me the account of how their daughter was being harassed at school by a couple of Satanists. Now that's some way to get started in your counseling ministry! It was that same week that I heard the story of a stabbing which had occurred in that community prior to my coming where someone into the occult or outright Satanism had been involved. What was going on in this place? I would find out soon enough.
Some weeks after starting at the church, I was in my office; and I had just about finished putting my rather large library on the shelves when I began a conversation with two ladies about the subject of Freemasonry. I was now aware that a number of my deacons belonged to the Masonic order. To those who don't know any better, that's no big deal; but to those who are informed about this issue and really understand it, it's something to be concerned about. Sad to say, but Christians of our day, including most preachers, are not very knowledgeable about this topic, and consequently the Church has suffered for its lack of knowledge and discernment (Hosea 4:3).
One of the ladies in the office that day commented that her husband was a Mason, but she did not get angry with me over what I said about the subject. The other lady eventually read a book about Freemasonry so she came to learn even more about the subject. Both of them seemed to take the conversation in stride, and I don't think I really gave a lot of thought about the possible ramifications of that conversation. If women only knew the real esoteric meaning behind the Masonic symbol of the square and compass, they probably could do more to lead men out of the lodge than preachers ever could.
Some weeks following that conversation with the ladies, the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. I attended that meeting as I had done for years. At one of the sessions, I was shocked when a motion was made on the floor of the convention for a study to be done on Freemasonry. There were others present from my church who heard the motion. None of us knew how that issue was about to explode in our faces. Certainly I did not know what was just ahead.
Right after my return to the church field from the convention, I learned that the cat was out of the bag. My conversation in the church office was now known to others. The lady who was married to a Mason and a part of the conversation weeks earlier in the office had told her husband what I had said. However, in all fairness to her, she did not do so maliciously nor did she probably ever in her wildest nightmares imagine what would eventually transpire. If I am not mistaken, the husband and wife were sitting around talking one night when he told her that he felt I would be opposed to the lodge. Supposedly, he noticed a funny look come over her face, and he then pulled out of her what I had said about Masonry.
How did he reach such a conclusion? I am not certain, but either he got such an idea from some veiled reference I had made in regard to Freemasonry or from a sermon which countered the theology of Masonry. Actually I never preached a sermon on the subject of Freemasonry in that church, nor did I even make one direct reference to it by name, only some veiled references. But I had preached a two-part message on the exclusive nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing how that stood in stark contrast to the inclusive nature of Freemasonry. Possibly this man had understood enough of the teachings of Freemasonry to realize that what I was saying contradicted the theology of Freemasonry. Most Masons never pick up that contradiction. In fact few do! But the two systems of thought are as far apart as the east and the west, and they cannot be reconciled. One is a broad road and one a narrow road, and they don't lead to the same destination.
Now let's get back to the story. The Mason who learned of my feelings about Masonry did not first call me. Had he done so maybe things would have gone differently, but who, but God, knows. Instead he called a lodge brother who was a deacon in the church. From that point things went down hill and fast. I lasted about thirty days after that time. My total time on the job was four months. That was quite different from my previous pastorate, but the church where I stayed so long was not controlled by the spirit of Freemasonry. And that can make a world of difference. My story is evidence of that.
There was a regularly scheduled deacons' meeting the next week after I came back from Atlanta. It came before I fully realized the seriousness of what was going on, but I did have a sense of foreboding that night just prior to that deacons' meeting. I didn't know if I had a premonition of something bad about to happen or if I was just paranoid. I soon found out!
The deacons' meeting did not go very well. I felt I was treated rudely by one of the Masons and it was evident to me that he was angry. He knew my feelings about Masonry, and I was one of the few people present who knew what the burr was in his saddle. Somehow we managed to get through that meeting, but I was really upset. The fat was in the fire!
The following night I received an angry phone call from this man who began the conversation by loudly proclaiming that he had heard that I had called Masonry a cult. And to my discredit, I reciprocated and loudly affirmed that I did and it was. Fortunately, we both calmed down after that fiery beginning and both of us prayed before we hung up. But things were now set on a collision course.
Over the ensuing days, realizing that I might have a gigantic problem on my hands, I decided that as a new pastor without a solid base of support, I had better take some steps to educate some people. If the issue became a public one I wanted to have some support. I began to distribute some literature clandestinely, but I wasn't as discreet as I should have been as to whom I gave the literature. It later backfired.
At some point in all this scenario, something came to my attention which really drove home the serious import of what I was involved with. Some of my Southern Baptist brethren will have a problem with the following account but I don't. Someone revealed to me that some years earlier she had had a vision. That got my attention! Baptists just don't have visions unless maybe they had a chili supper the night before. This person was a respected member of the church and knew the church very well.
This person claimed to have seen in this vision, Satan holding the church in his grip. The vision was compared to the Sherwin Williams paint logo where the can of paint is turned upside down on the globe, and the spreading paint seems to be gripping the globe. Was this a revelation from God? Did the Freemasonry connection help explain the vision? The answer to both questions is in my opinion yes.
By the time I heard about the vision, I knew that about one third of my eighteen deacons were Masons. I did not know until later that possibly another two to three dozen others in the church belonged to the lodge or its women's auxiliary, the Eastern Star. Those numbers constituted a nice group when you consider that the church had maybe about three hundred active members.
But Satan's presence and power were manifested in ways other than what happened in that church. In the town on main street, there was a liquor store called Lucifer's Liquors. I have never seen a liquor store more aptly named. So Satan was being advertised with a "neon" sign on main street in this town. Of course, if folks had known all the other activity that the devil had going on there, they could have put some similar signs up other places as well.
Also, had I driven to the cemetery before I went to interview at that church, I would have been enlightened. For there in the cemetery is a special section called the Masonic Gardens, and there is laid out a miniature lodge hall in that special area of the cemetery. It has a marble altar with a marble Bible on it and the lodge chairs placed as they would be found in a lodge. Maybe I better check the local cemetery before I consider any other church in the future.
However, it would probably be fair to say that Satan holds more than a church in that town in his grip. His influence is pervasive throughout the entire area, and it will be anywhere that Freemasonry is as strong as it is there. [Note: See Dr. Peter Wagner's Breaking Strongholds In Your City].
The next event in my saga was that a piece of literature, a John Ankerberg booklet, was given to the wrong person who in turn brought it to one of the Mason deacons. Then I got a phone call on a Sunday afternoon and was told there was to be a deacons' meeting after the Sunday night service, and the caller asked if I knew about it. I responded that I had not been told about it, but that I had a suspicion that Freemasonry might just be behind this clandestine meeting. It was apparent that I, the pastor, was not welcome.
Interestingly, we were scheduled to have the Lord's Supper that Sunday night. Fortunately, one of the deacons had enough moxie to stand up to one of the Masonic deacons and ask how the deacons could take the Lord's Supper and then turn around and have a secret meeting behind the pastor's back. That was a pretty good question! Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised since Satan had set an earlier precedent of doing someone in following the observance of the Lord's Supper. Deju Vue!
At any rate, secret meetings are not exactly out of the ordinary for Masons. This meeting was probably meant to roast me in absentia, but when the objection was raised, I was issued a last minute invitation just before the service that night. After the service which included taking communion, I went upstairs to a room where the deacons and I sat down. Keep in mind there were deacons who did not even know what the meeting was about, but the Masons knew. You might say that it was their meeting.
We were all seated around the room against the walls, but once the show got going and the literature I had distributed was produced, I got up when confronted by a Masonic deacon and took a seat in the middle of the room facing the deacons.
One of the first things I did was to tell how other preachers like Finney, Moody, and others before me had opposed Masonry. That didn't go over very well with one of the Masons and he tried to shut me up. However, he probably wasn't prepared for the way a non-mason deacon told him to be quiet and let me speak. The meeting was quite a tense one. Near the end I was asked if I could work with them (the Masons), and I responded that I could probably give an answer, but I would prefer to wait and answer at a later time. I closed the meeting with prayer. The meeting was comparable to nine rounds with Mike Tyson. Afterwards, one deacon remarked to some of his peers that he would give up being a deacon before he would give up his lodge membership. Does that say something about where his loyalty lay? That's what Jesus meant when he said a man could not serve two masters.
Tensions continued to build, and apparently there was some talk going on in town about the trouble at church. A prominent community figure later told me that he had remarked to his wife that things were about to explode at the church. On the Wednesday following the deacons' meeting, I was informed by a non-mason deacon that he had received a visit that day. Possibly he was being checked out to see where he stood in regard to me. He and I speculated that some effort to oust me might be in the works, but we did not know for sure. He did share with me how that area had seen some violence in days past, and of course you know how encouraging that was to me. Things were heating up!
That Wednesday night I was to speak on a subject that was part of a series I had been doing. Of all things I was to speak on the subject of standing alone. Talk about the providential hand of God it was evident to those with eyes to see. Actually I had some suspicion that an effort could even be made to remove me that night, but that was not to be the case. In fact as I looked out over the congregation that night, I realized that my opponents were not ready to act yet. I stuck to my planned topic though I knew how nervous I was. I got through the service and there were no incidents that night. But the bomb was still ticking!
The following Sunday morning a Mason deacon took me by the arm and escorted me into the church office, closing the door behind us. He wanted to know if I had reached a decision yet about being able to work with the Masons. I knew the utter incompatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity, especially among the church leadership, but that is not very widely understood in our day. I felt that basically these Masons had two options: renounce Freemasonry or step down as a deacon in the church. In response to his question I said, "The issue here is truth". His response was quite revealing to those who understand the philosophy of Freemasonry. He said that what was true for me was not necessarily true for him. Had I been talking to New Ager, Shirley McLaine, the comment would have been expected, but this was a Baptist deacon who also apparently had ingested the deadly, false philosophy of Freemasonry.
That afternoon I struggled with my dilemma. I felt intense pressure, and probably the enemy was beating up on me really big time. At first I thought that I would try and last thirty days and see if something could be worked out. My wife and I had just bought our first house and we have two, young children. We had not even paid the first house payment. In addition there were guests in our home from my former church in Kentucky and they were blown away by all that was going on. But it was again providential that they were there to be with us, and the dramatic weekend before another Kentucky couple had been down. Thank God for friends!
I very quickly discarded the thirty day idea, and then gave some consideration to a two week trial. But right or wrong, I then decided I would go ahead and resign that very night. I was not going through this agony any longer. So I made a call and told the deacon chairman that I would like a meeting before church with the deacons, but I did not say what was on my mind. When I met with them later, no one tried to stop me from resigning, not even my supporters. It was that kind of climate.
There was to be a special program at church that night, but I don't think I exactly knew what the youth were doing, except that it was a musical. Guess what it was? It was a musical drama entitled "The Big Picture" and it was based on Romans 8:28. The theme was that you don't understand your trials when you're going through them, but you have to wait to see the big picture later. I was about to go through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, and there could not have been a program more appropriate to the occasion.
Again God's providential hand could be seen. He really was in control! I sat in the pew that night with my wife. A former Mason who had been a deputy in another town came to be with me, and a preacher friend's wife came to be with my wife. The youth finished their program and then I got up. There were visitors there, including a group from another nearby state. I read most of what I said from a prepared text. I resigned without anger or animosity and never once mentioned Freemasonry. I stated that there was a situation in the church which made it impossible for me to fulfill my calling to the ministry of the Gospel and my calling as pastor of that church.
About fifteen months had elapsed between the former pastor's leaving and my coming, and now I was resigning after four months. There were people in shock; some cried and many came to the front to speak with me. I sought to be gracious and somehow got through it all. What a night, I shall never forget it! I stayed up until three or four o'clock the next morning with friends, but never really went to bed.
I would insert at this juncture what a blessing it was that God gave us some special friends during those days. Friendships forged in the flames are the strongest, and I am grateful for Christian friends who stood with us. We also got much support from our former church members back in Kentucky, and they really were a great blessing.
Our house then went back on the market before the first payment was made. However, God came through and took good care of us. Remarkably, I'm probably one of the few preachers on record who was paid longer not to be the pastor of a church than he was to be the pastor. That came about because a non-mason deacon recommended that the church pay my salary for the next six months if necessary. Praise God! He really did prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (This arrangement was reached only after I was gone and was not arranged before I left. I left cold turkey.)
This is probably a good place to share another very fascinating story which has God's fingerprints all over it. Within a few weeks of my resignation from the church, one Sunday my family and I visited a church in a nearby, large city. The visiting preacher announced his main text for the morning service and began to read from Genesis 50:19-21, "And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly to them."
I knew it was no accident that we were there to hear such a message though honestly I came with the intention of talking after the service with the guest speaker. But God wanted to say something first!
But it gets wilder. We drove down into Georgia that afternoon and visited with a pastor whose church had successfully dealt with the Freemasonry issue, even to the point of removing a Masonic cornerstone from the church building. That's what you call cleaning house. But after that visit, we headed back to the city where we had been that morning, and were we in for a surprise.
The preacher at the church we visited that night was a friend of mine who did not know we were going to be present that night. He did see us and spoke to us shortly before the service, however. Then when he got up to preach, he announced that he was doing something out of the ordinary in that he had changed his sermon from what he had planned to preach (apparently he had done so that afternoon). He then announced his text was Genesis 50:19-20. Now that's what I call making your point! God wanted my wife and me to understand that He had a purpose in all that was taking place and that He would provide for us. Believe me, he has and is still doing so! He is faithful, trust Him. He'll meet you in the furnace!
Since the house did not sell right away, we were forced to stay in that small town. We didn't just run away. We maintained a residence there for another year and a half. I think God may have allowed that so that our presence was a constant reminder of what had been done at that church. God wasn't going to let it be easily swept under the carpet. But that church's rebellious spirit or at least some of its members' rebellious spirit against God ordained leadership is not an isolated problem; it is to some extent found in many of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Some Southern Baptists don't understand authority as God has established it. The same spirit of rebellion rampant in our nation is tragically at work among the people of God and Freemasonry is its ally.
I might add that in time a new church was formed as some people just did not feel that they could stay in the church which had allowed me to leave. Today that church has a new building at a great location. It has adopted by-laws which prohibit members who belong to secret societies from holding office in the church. That is the least a church should do! Personally, I would hold that no one be admitted to church membership who holds membership in a lodge, but that's not politically correct thinking in this Laodicean age. Is it?
About six months after I had stepped down, I received a phone call. The money from the church was about to run out. God surely is never late, but often He cuts it awfully close. The caller was the chairman of a pulpit committee back in middle Tennessee, and he wondered if I could fill in and do some preaching. Of course, I accepted. Again, God was taking care of us as He had promised in those two sermons.
Later, I was installed as that church's interim pastor without the church even voting on me. I was the choice of their pulpit committee to hold that position. The committee all knew about the issue which had cost me my previous church and that was no problem to them. After about five months into my ministry there, I agreed to allow the committee to submit my name before the church as a candidate for its pastor. But hold on, here we go again!
There were some folks in this church who had ties back to the area where my last church had been. This link brought some word to the people where I was now serving. However, I had already told all the pulpit committee and later others, as well, about my experience. Let's face it. I hadn't run off with another woman or embezzled from the church, but some who did have not been treated like I have been.
But with all the hoopla over Masonry surrounding me, the deacons in this church wanted to meet with me and talk with me about this matter. I agreed to do so. At the meeting, not only did I share my position, I showed them a video tape, From Darkness To Light, by Jeremiah Films. I also answered some questions. None of their deacons was a Mason, but one was sympathetic to some Freemason friends, and he told them what had transpired in the meeting. I don't think the Masons cared too much for the film, but their numbers were much smaller in this church. Nevertheless, that didn't stop them from causing a stink.
It was like the replaying of a bad movie. Word got out that the church was going to vote on a date to call the preacher, and the Masons came out to cut me off at the pass. I still think it was a colossal tactical blunder on the Masons' part, but they decided they were going to take a shot at me at that time, instead of just waiting for the actual vote on me which was to come later.
The Masons had all their number present on that Wednesday night when only a date was to be set for my trial sermon. Some of them never came on Wednesday nights, but this time they were there. In fact, one of their number had not been to church in ages, Sundays or Wednesdays, and some people did not realize he was even a member of that church. One member later remarked to me, "Well, the Lord couldn't get him to church but the lodge sure did."
At a certain point while the moderator was presiding, the Masons all got up out of their seats and headed to the front. One of them pointed his finger at me and called me a trouble maker. I'm sure that many times the Lord Jesus was viewed as a trouble maker, and Elijah was called the same thing by Ahab. And look at Paul, almost everywhere he went things were stirred up. But that's just not kosher today. Many churches had just rather be dead. They wouldn't dare allow a disturbance even if the cause of Christ would be served.
Now back to the O.K. Corral, I mean church. There in front of everyone, this same man challenged me to meet with all the Masons, a meeting they had tried once before to arrange; but they had failed to get their way. Before everyone, I let him know that I would meet with the Masons but that the deacons and pulpit committee would also be present. That wasn't what they wanted. They wanted a meeting only on their terms (sound familiar), and you can bet it would have been used to try to intimidate me. They never got their meeting. Of course the atmosphere was tense. You could cut it with a knife. Fortunately, none of my family was present to see, hear, or feel the shameful affair. It was ugly!
There was such a foreboding presence there that night that a lady came up to me afterwards and asked me if I could be in any danger. I replied that I could be. The history of Freemasonry has had its share of violence in spite of its denials, and I feel that as this issue comes more out into the open, violence could occur again. It's the nature of the beast! Generally when challenged, Masonry will show its true colors. Masonry can tout its hospitals and charities, but when you really begin to expose it to the light, often the real god of the lodge comes out from behind the mask and shows himself. I know. I have seen it happen twice!
In the days following that Wednesday night service, where I believe the Masons shot themselves in the foot, the Masons worked to discredit me. But when push came to shove, they were still unable to get enough votes to keep me from receiving a call to be pastor of the church. They did get a lot of no votes; however, many people were just intimidated by the whole mess. Thus, some voted no, not so much because they were opposed to me, but because they thought it was for the good of the church. Of course, I was bothered by the fact that the vote was not a really good one, and there were other negative factors to consider, also. I struggled over what to do and finally decided to decline the call of the church.
The very next day after I announced my decision to the church, one of the Masons had my name taken off the church sign, thinking I was gone. But I had only declined the call of pastor; I was still the interim pastor. The Masons had to live with me for another two to three months. So, I stayed around until the church called a full-time pastor and then I stepped down.
I left the church in November, 1992. I have not chosen to take a pastorate since that time. To some extent I am banned by the Baptists, though not altogether, a pariah among my own people, branded by this issue in which my position is the correct one, the Christian one. All I have been through is a high price to pay and keep paying, but I don't regret what I've been through. Misunderstood, yes; mistreated, yes; but mistaken, no; not on an issue where I know that I know I am right! I thank God for the privilege of suffering for His name's sake. And very likely there will be more to come.
As I conclude my story, I want the reader to understand that the issue of Freemasonry cannot be fully understood apart from the subject of spiritual warfare. Freemasonry is one of the schemes of the enemy, his Trojan horse, and it is a good one. However, the enemy is not the Mason himself; it is Satan (Lucifer), "the angel of light", and his demonic host who assist him. Christians are to love all men, but we are to expose the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11), defend the faith (Jude 2), and call all men to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Those are my objectives!
In conclusion, read the following words spoken by Adrian Rogers because they explain my attitude about truth, whether it relates to Freemasonry or something else, "It is better to be divided by truth than united in error; it is better to speak truth that hurts and then heals than to speak a lie; it is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie; it is better to stand alone with truth than to be wrong with the multitude."
The Southern Baptist Convention possibly has as many, or even more, than one million Masons holding membership in its churches. That is a staggering and shocking figure, but the tragedy is compounded when you realize that thousands are ministers and/or deacons. Sad to say, but the group now in control of the Southern Baptist Convention has thus far failed to deal with this issue in a proper manner. The present position of the convention is to leave this issue to the individual's conscience.
But the problem with this position is that the Bible, and not our conscience, should be our ultimate guide. There are many fine preachers in this group, and hopefully in the future the S.B.C. will redemptively deal with this issue. Love would seem to demand that the truth be told. Jesus said, "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
However, it should be understood that this problem is not just a Southern Baptist one as there are Masons in other religious bodies as well. It is an issue which should concern all Christians who are serious about revival in the churches of America and a spiritual awakening in our land. May God lead us in the days ahead to do what is pleasing to Him.
Freemasonry: The Trojan Horse In the Church