Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Refuting Antimasonic Heresies

For a while now I've been over at the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry (CARM) forums . I moved over there after I encountered the shunning at Rapture Ready.

The antimasonic bumbling around does not offend me as a Mason, I could care less. Their claiming to be Christian and then teaching heretical doctrines in support of their antimasonic beliefs represents a different matter, that evokes a Christian duty to correct error. The fact that their lies are now so widespread that some Christians I know who even disagree with the antimasons have counseled that Masonic membership is a "stumbling block" issue, so maybe Christians should avoid it.

The problem of responding to these false teachers, for the Christian who is a Freemason, always hangs on the balance between Proverbs 26, verses 4 and 5. Of course, Proverbs is a wisdom book, so it is a set of good guidance for everyone as far as I'm concerned, but I might be a bit biased.

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. (Proverbs 26:4)

IMO, most Freemasons who answer these antimasons who claim to be Christian are pursuing the first verse. These antimasons are laying forth an edited argument using only such evidence they can twist to support their position and then launching into a screed based on emotion. The Masonic counters, although well done, simply point out the errors in their faked up "facts" and then appear to figure that is all they have to do. If people stop, think and research, then this approach will work, but it fails miserably against sound bite theology and factoids, the stock in trade of the antimason who claims to be Christian. Then nothing else remains with this approach but to point and yell, "Liar, Liar!", which boils down to what the antimason does to these kind of rebuttals from Masons. This is answering a fool according to his folly, in the sense of this verse. The best option is to remain silent, as Freemasons have done for centuries, but that allows the antimasons to run around shrieking that they have "won" because no Mason will demean himself to get down in the muck with them. Then the second verse comes into play.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. (Proverbs 26:5)

Remaining silent then has allowed this cottage industry of lies to flourish and I like the way Matthew Henry put it in his commentary on the Bible:
2. Yet, in other cases, a wise man will use his wisdom for the conviction of a fool, when, by taking notice of what he says, there may be hopes of doing good, or at least preventing further, mischief, either to himself or others. “If thou have reason to think that thy silence will be deemed an evidence of the weakness of thy cause, or of thy own weakness, in such a case answer him, and let it be an answer ad hominem - to the man, beat him at his own weapons, and that will be an answer ad rem - to the point, or as good as one. If he offer any thing that looks like an argument, an answer that, and suit thy answer to his case. If he think, because thou dost not answer him, that what he says is unanswerable, then give him an answer, lest he be wise in his own conceit and boast of a victory.
Emphasis added. Wesley's commentary is more concise:
According - So as his folly needs and requires, convincing him strongly, reproving him sharply, and exposing him to just shame.
Emphasis added. That is why I take the approach I do in rebutting and exposing the antimasonic crowd for what they are from a Christian perspective.

As a Christian who is also a Freemason, I'm not making a Masonic apologetic, I'm simply exposing the false Christian doctrines of these antimasons and they lay themselves open to such by claiming to be Christian. It wasn't the way I always did it, but it is the way that I have learned after prayer and reading Scripture, but that is an entire testimony on how the Lord works in His own ways to make all things come together for good. It might be interesting to Christians, but is not so much for others, so I'll put it in another post. So I engage these antimasons who claim to be Christian over at CARM on Christian theological grounds, firmly rooted in Scripture and expose their falsehoods from there instead of disputing philosophical points from the perspective of Freemasonry. CARM merely keeps the forum open and moderated lightly, so unlike places like Rapture Ready so that when the antimasons are shown to be bearing false witness and possibly teaching heretical sounding doctrine, they cannot ban you for because the antimasons aren't the moderators.

In fact, I'm of the opinion that if I ever moderate a Christian forum, I'll make sure there is a "Cults/Groups" forum with a "Freemasonry" subforum. It keeps the antimasons who claim to be Christian corralled in one place and keeps them from disrupting threads in other forums as occurred to me on the Rapture Ready forums.

I started two threads on CARM, the first being Character Counts where the record of various antimasons who claim to be Christian can be exposed, I intend to keep this one up and eventually get to some of the regular Internet antimasons who post there. The second was The cult of antimasonry which came from a discussion of the false accusations of Freemasonry being a cult. It is based on CARM's listing of cult traits on their website and while it "proves" nothing, it does point out the similarities between practices of "Christian" antimasons and the fact that Freemasonry does not have the traits of a cult from a standard listing.

In the end, what do they have? Lately, we see one antimason to use as an example, Skip Sampson, quoting an entire paragraph from the Entered Apprentice (1st degree or EA) lecture, omitting the topic sentence (i.e. - the sentence that explains the rest of the paragraph generally) because that contradicts the claim he is making. He originally quoted it fully and correctly, but his subsequent posts show how he discards everything that doesn't fit his position. After requoting the first sentence and calling him on it, we get his defense in post #11?
Sorry, don't agree. The quote is accurate, in context, and perfectly clear.
So, cutting out parts of quotes, especially the sentence in the paragraph which defines what the paragraph is talking about is "accurate, in context, and perfectly clear" in the "Christian" antimason's worldview. I know what it makes perfectly clear.

When I called Skip Sampson again on his habit of snipping quotes out of context to make up his "proofs" his defense in the same post revealed the way of the antimasonic method:
Nope. It's called putting in quotes that prove the point. I stand by my conclusions.
Other ways to put this are known as (cherry) picking the data to fit the line or more fittingly for this crowd: "Don't confuse me with the facts because my mind is made up!" Unfortunately, it isn't just bad scholarship that is at issue.

Mr. Sampson was hailed as a hero by several of his fellow antimasonic travelers when he showed up to end the more than a month drought of antimasons over at CARM. Skip as his fellow antimasons before him had, showed that from a Christian perspective, he held a number of the same disturbing heretical beliefs and teachings I have found to be common among the "Christian" antimasonic crowd, since my attention was forcibly drawn to their filth.

Skip has managed to deny the inerrancy of Scripture openly twice in his posts, denied Christ, adds a work to grace, claims to be able to determine others heart condition (an ability of God only) and writes as if his (Skip's) authority is the equal of Scripture. These are all heretical teachings to a Christian and destroy the "Christian" antimasonic position.

It doesn't stop his ability to claim his own beliefs, but they become just that, his OWN beliefs, not those of orthodox Christianity like is claimed by the antimasonic mob. It fits the bill I think of beating them with their own weapons and exposing them to just shame quite well. I can only pray that it will convict some of them convincingly so they will cease teaching and believing in these heretical doctrines.

For my Christian brothers who are Masons, take due notice thereof.

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