The Southern Baptist Convention's Study of Freemasonry

The Southern Baptist Convention's
Study of Freemasonry

IN EARLY APRIL, 1993, the Interfaith Witness Department of the Home
Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention issued the result of its
nearly year-long "A Study of Freemasonry." The publication includes a
six-page "Report on Freemasonry" issued March 17, 1993. The report
summarizes the 75- page "Study" and concludes membership in Freemasonry is
what Masons and the heretofore autonomous Southern Baptist Churches have
always said it was, "a matter of personal conscience." Masons will
certainly disagree with many of the study/report's conclusions. It
contains several criticisms of Freemasonry, some already considered by the
Craft. The final study is a third version. The first and second versions
were substantively revised due to the pressure of anti-Masonic elements
within the Convention and the Home Mission Board. Because of these
changes, the original author of the first report requested his name be
removed from the study. His subsequent demotion from head of department to
a staff position was, in our opinion, clearly the result of his pursuit of
an objective, fair, and impartial study. Significantly, despite all these
anti-Masonic pressures and resulting changes in text, the final report
vindicates Freemasonry from the charge of being a religion or of being
anti-Christian. In fact, the report advocates Masonic membership by
Christians as an opportunity to witness in Lodge for Christ by their
example of Christian living. The "Study" concludes (pages 70-71): "What
better opportunities [to witness] present themselves than those where they
[Christians] become friends in Freemasonry." Despite its criticisms of
Freemasonry, the length and depth of this new study, plus its overall
positive view of the Craft, make it "must reading" for every Freemason
concerned about Freemasonry's relation to religion. The Southern Baptist
Convention is providing copies at cost ($6.00, plus $1.56 S/H) of the
"Study" with its "Report" to anyone who calls the Home Mission Board's
customer services toll-free number, 1 800 634-2462. Ask for the
"Freemasonry Kit," product number 511-37P. Also, written orders may be
sent to: Home Mission Board Customer Services, 1350 Spring St., NW,
Atlanta, GA  30367-5601. Be informed. Get a copy of this important report
and review it before the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston votes on
Freemasonry, Wednesday, June 16, at 10:25 A.M. Also see "Correction,"
page. 13.