London and Freemasonry have a long connected history. The first meeting of the United Grand Lodge of England took place in a pub next door to St Paul’s Cathedral in 1717, and their headquarters (Freemasons Hall) is now in Covent Garden.
Alongside this, Freemasonry has long held a grip on the legal profession and the Metropolitan Police. And it has a strong presence within the guild system that wields so much power within the City of London.
So a key question is, can Freemasonry and Christianity be compatible? Should we be concerned that Freemasonry has been and continues to be such a part of the Square Mile? And how does its presence affect the spirituality of the city?
There have been a number of studies done on this subject. Here’s my summary of some of the reasons why Freemasonry and Christianity are incompatible, based on a report from the Church of England. Freemasonry is suspect because:
- It requires its members to be secretive (originally about whether they were members, and still now about its rituals and practices).
- It claims to reveal hidden knowledge to its members (about ancient societies, and about the nature of God).
- It promotes a form of salvation by works.
- It requires members to swear oaths with dire penalties for those who break them (including having their tongues ripped out and their bodies dismembered). Jesus warned us not to swear oaths (Matthew 5:34-37), and certainly wouldn’t endorse vengeance or violent punishment on those who break oaths.
- It promotes worship of a syncretistic, false god by the name of Jahbulon (taken from the names Jehovah, Baal and Osiris).
- It uses in its rituals prayers and liturgies from the Christian church, but with the name of Jesus removed or substituted.
- It claims to be a charitable organisation, but an estimated 95% of Masonic charitable giving goes towards supporting other Masons, rather than to the wider public.
So are Christianity and Freemasonry compatible? I don’t think so. And I think we should be concerned about the historic hold and position it has in various London institutions, especially the legal profession and the financial services industries of the Square Mile.
Let’s pray that Freemasonry declines across London, and that Londoners instead turn to Jesus as being the highest truth, and find within the church the companionship and opportunities for knowledge and giving they might seek elsewhere.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly for One Rock, a training organisation developing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.