Freemasonry and Christianity

Bro. Gordon Haynes

Grand Lodge of Alberta


Brethren, I would like to take a small portion of your time tonight to talk about the relationship between Christianity and Freemasonry, and particularly to the question whether or not Christianity and Freemasonry are mutually exclusive.

In doing this, I recognize that I am talking to a number of different groups. First, there is the group that will view with amazement the prospect of a Presbyterian clergyman getting up in front of a captive audience and restricting himself to anything less than 45 minutes. This group certainly includes my wife at home, and probably includes those brethren here who attend my church. A second group will be those of other faiths (or no particular faith at all), who will hopefully view this talk with mild interest, but who will wonder what all the fuss is about. To them, I apologize for restricting myself to Christianity, but it is the faith group to which I belong, and it is the one of which I am most knowledgeable.

I think that we should also recognize the effect on Freemasonry if the Christian Church becomes openly hostile.

To focus on that effect, I would ask (with the Master's permission) if you would all please stand up. Now, I would ask all those who attend, or are involved with, a Christian church would sit down. To those who are left standing, just imagine what this lodge would be like if all those who are sitting were no longer here. THAT is the effect of any friction between Christianity and Freemasonry.

But I digress. There are two more groups that I will be speaking to this evening. The first is maybe the larger of the two, and includes most of those that just sat down. This group may be aware of some anti-Masonic feeling in the church, but have not been greatly touched by it themselves. The final group, though, is the one that I truly want to speak to. It may be small may not! It is the group of masons that includes those who have felt pressure from their church, or members of their church, to leave Freemasonry. It includes those who perhaps are asking questions to themselves, wondering if any of those attacks on the lodge is right.

How bad can the problems be?

In 1986 (I believe), the Methodist Church in England said that one could not be a Mason and a Christian. The Church of England debated a similar resolution the following year. The Church of Scotland had a similar debate, and sent the question off to a committee (who, I understand, have yet to report). In 1987, the Presbyterian Record, which is the national church magazine for The Presbyterian Church in Canada, had a series of letters over several months that questioned whether one could be a Mason and an Elder in the church at the same time. I gather that the same debate has been held in other church magazines in Canada and the United States.

In 1987, I was asked to speak on the relationship of Christianity and Freemasonry at the Grand Masonic Day in Vancouver. After I had talked for a few minutes, I opened the time for questions. The results confounded me. Masons got up to tell me that their minister had told them to stop being a Mason, or stop coming to that church. Others who we re elders, or deacons, or wardens in their churches talked about how they had to hide their ties to Masonry around the church. One young Mason even told me how his minister had commanded him to leave the Craft, or risk damnation.

Over the next year, letters continued to come to me telling me of the problems being faced by Masons, including one from the Master of the Lodge of the young Mason I had talked to, telling me that the young man had left Masonry. So having hopefully convinced you that there is a problem of Christian Masons being confronted with a fair amount of anti-Masonic feeling out there, let me look at why this feeling exists. I would like to suggest that much of that feeling comes from the world-view of the Christian Church, and whether it is "inclusive" or "exclusive". To that are three basic areas of irritation.

"Inclusive" vs. "Exclusive"

To begin, let me quote from a summary of a report given to the General Synod of the Church of England (as reported in the Masonic Bulletin of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia):

The report concludes that part of the Royal Arch ritual must be considered blasphemous. [N.B.: A MISINTERPRETATION of the ritual]. It criticizes Freemasonry in general as syncretistic [i.e. attempting to unify or reconcile different religions]; Gnostic [having its own spiritual knowledge]; Palagian [providing salvation through works]; Deist [promoting natural religion, or a religion without divine authority] and indifferent to the claims of Christianity. It insists that Masonic ceremonies involve worship, and complains that Christian references have been removed from familiar prayers.

In response to this report, the United Grand Lodge of England said:

Many such charges have been made against Freemasonry before and can be answered simply. Freemasonry has no theology. It offers no sacraments and it cannot provide a way to salvation. It began in the hands of devout Christians and was adapted by them, not to deny Christianity, but to make Freemasonry as a system of morality acceptable to men of other religions "who must otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance." Freemasonry is not a religion and does not attempt to combine religions. It would cheerfully admit to being indifferent to the claims of Christianity --in the sense of being impartial. Its prayers are but a small part of the ceremonies and are in no sense formal or liturgical worship. (Masonic Bulletin, October 1987, page 14)

Although they seem to be addressing the same topic, in reality the two bodies were not even in the same ballpark. To read the two statements together makes me wonder if they were talking about the same thing, and indeed they were not. They were talking past each other, with each body having their own world view blinding them to the position of the other.

To try to explain this problem, I need you to follow me through a bit of a Gordon Haynes' abridged history of the world, back to the middle and late 1700's. Europe had seen a lot of religious war. The church was facing a lot of change in a short period of time. Many of the brightest of the thinkers of the time had been affected by the Enlighten ment. These conditions caused so-called "free-thinkers" to seek to apply reason to everything -- even their spiritual life. The response, in broad terms, was "Deism".

The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology says of Deism:

"Etymologically this word (from the Latin "deus") is parallel to "theism" (from the Greek "theos"), and would seem simply to indicated belief in the existence of a god or gods. ... Although in the seventeenth century the words were sometimes used interchangeably as the contrary to "atheist", in practice they have come to have separate connotations . "Deism" is now used to refer to belief in the existence of a supreme being who is regarded as the ultimate source of reality and ground of value but as not intervening in natural and historical processes by way of particular providences, revelations and salvific acts. [Theism, meantime, is a belief in the existence of a supreme being who is regarded as the ultimate source of reality and ground of value and intimately and ultimately involved in God's creation and with his people, by way of miraculous events and his incarnation] ... The deists may be said to be those at this time [the late 17th, and 18th Centuries] who apply the principles of the Enlightenment, and especially the canon of reason to religious belief in a critical way in order to establish what it is and what it is not reasonable to believe about God. As a consequence they tend to stress the importance of following reason, the sufficiency of natural religion and the need for toleration. Negatively they are likely to express doubts about belief in mysteries such as the Incarnation and the Trinity, in the reality of immortality, revelations and miraculous interventions, and in the authority of the Bible and of the priesthood." (The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, page 149)

Deist thinkers were everywhere, from the Universities to the pulpits of the church. And so, as Freemasonry sought leadership on putting together its ritual and mythology, it turned to a leadership both within the church, and without, that was predominantly Deist. The qualities brought by this leadership were a search for common ground among people who differed in what they believed (a consequence of many years of sectarian violence), a belief in rational thought (a consequence of the Enlightenment) and a strong attachment to ethical development. At the same time, the search for a mythology turned to the mysticism of pre-Enlightenment time. The result was a combination of rituals influenced by the symbols of medieval and renaissance occultism, and content of a deistic and ethical character. Freemasonry was not alone in its acceptance of some of the beliefs of Deism. Over the years, the Church itself made use of some of the gifts of deism, while not accepting its full implication. After all, Deism: ... established an ideal of liberty and toleration that all right-thinking men might endorse. It promoted an improvement in public morals, and as a corollary of its rejection of revelation, it emphasized the value of scholarship as an aid to a purer religion. The monumental Biblical studies of the 19th Century followed as a direct consequence.

The deist's attempts to reconcile religion with science, as well as with many other intellectual currents, set a precedent for all subsequent reconstructions in religion. (The Westminster Dictionary of Church History, page 262)

In the same way, the church also accepted Freemasonry with its emphasis on ethical conduct. It often cooperated closely with it, and many church leaders were also influential Masons.

This is what I referred to earlier as the "Inclusive" world view. The church, influenced by Liberal theology, appalled by the social condition, and seeing itself led by "The Great Commission" of Christ, started many organizations that sought to improve "mankind" by education and reason. These organizations were open to all, and intended to do the church's work away from the church. The YMCA, the SPCA, the Bible Societies, and the Red Cross are but a few of these organizations. They were not intended to be the church, but they were supported as fellow travelers.

I believe that this was the view of the mainline church for many years regarding freemasonry. I remember preaching in a church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario a few years ago that had the same type of tassel in each corner of the sanctuary as we have here. I also remember being told that being a Mason was a great advantage for becoming the Minster of a particular Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls. The tie between the church and Freemasonry was secure as the Church took the words of Christ seriously, "Whoever is not against me is for me."

In recent years, however, the church has felt under attack in ways that it has not felt since the time of the Enlightenment. Certain elements of the church have found the answer to this attack to be a return to a non-questioning Theism, and a type of "circle the wagons" mentality. Christ's other statement is remembered: "Whoever is not for us is against us," and so fences are set up around the church, defining who is a Christian, and more importantly, who is not. This is an "Exclusive" attitude, and is a direct result of an unease in a changing world. Things that, in the past, would have been accepted as part of the diversity of the faith are now seen as being "anathema" or "cursed".

The battleground chosen by this "exclusive" position had to do with three issues:

  1. The uniqueness of the Christian Message.
  2. The question of Salvation, and whether we, as humans, have any part in that.
  3. Symbolism.

However, the real underlying current that feeds these tensions is how the Church sees itself. As the church responds to the needs of God's world in an inclusive way, it will welcome the ethical and rational grounding of Freemasonry; as it responds in an exclusive way, it will concentrate on what is decidedly not Christian, and renounce Freemasonry.

The Uniqueness of the Christian Message

It is in this context of whether the Christian Church seeks to be tolerant or not of conflicting faiths, that this question of the uniqueness of the Christian messages is raised. After all, I believe strongly in its uniqueness, but that does not mean that I do not respect other faiths, or mean that I want to have no contact with other faiths. To one Christian, the inclusion of other faiths is a sign of strength and tolerance in Masonry; to another, it is a threat to the Christian faith. The uniqueness of Christ is not the question; it is the mindset, or world view, of the observer.


One of the major complaints against Freemasonry is that it teaches that Man can earn salvation through good works. This is tied to the ethical aspect of our craft, and again seems mostly to be a cry that Christ is not given a part in our salvation plan as outlined by Masons. Of course, this idea that mankind can do anything -- even earn its own salvation -- is a central part of New Age theology, which excite Christian critics even more.

Now, an important part of Reformed theology is that we are saved by faith, not by works. But Calvin, whom nobody could claim was a "New Age kind of guy," said that we were "Justified" by Christ, and that then we were engaged in "Sanctification" for all the rest of our lives. This was our working out of our salvation in the world, and meant seeking to be "righteous" -- or, in more modern terms, ethical or moral. As a Christian and a Mason, I have never had any doubts on where my Salvation comes from (It comes from Christ), but I have seen the emphasis on the ethical in Masonry as an aid in my Sanctification. And so, again the question becomes one of whether you see the ethical progressi on in Masonry as man's "self-Justification" or as a part of God's plan of Sanctification. And this, brethren, again starts with your world view.


Critics of Freemasonry often point to the many symbolic parts of our Craft as an indication that it is really another faith on its own. It points to our having Temples and Alters, of the symbol for God in the center of our lodge rooms, of the use of prayers and ritual, of the use of the Sun and Moon in our decorations. Before we reply to these criticisms, we must be aware of the power of these things we use.

One definition of Signs and Symbols is as follows:

Signs are physical objects, events, or human actions which point beyond themselves in such a way as to express some further reality, occurrence, or human conception. They may be linguistic or non-verbal; they may include natural phenomena or human artifacts, activities, gestures, or bodily postures. Verbal signs may include speech or writing.... Symbols are often said to function at a deeper level than signs ... some claim that symbols draw not simply on interpretive conventions, as signs do, but on pre-conscious processes and experiences. At the very least, the symbol is more closely and deeply associated with what it symbolizes, often resting on historical or collective experiences which pre-date conscious recollection.

There is too little time tonight to go through all the problems with signs and symbols. I think that we, as Masons, must recognize that many of the terms that we use have great significance to the Christian Church, and much of their power goes beyond the mere words or actions that are present. It may be that we have been at times a bit too cavalier in the way we have used symbol and allegory, but I have never found the symbolism to be any more misused than at a meeting of Gideons. However, to some our use of symbolism is such that they see us as a totally separate faith, divorced from its Christian roots.


Where does this leave each Christian who is a mason? Well, in reality it means that the final decision has to be a personal one. The young mason I mentioned at the beginning wrote a paper to explain why he left. I disagreed with his reasons, but I note that I wrote at the top of the paper when I received it, "It is an act of personal perception -- it cannot be changed by facts. I must respect his personal choice." In truth, I must conclude with the same words I used in that paper I gave 6 years ago:

Any examination of this relationship should raise questions in the mind of the man who is both a Christian and a Mason. It should require that he examine the ritual of the Lodge to see if any part is indeed in conflict with his faith. It should raise questions about how we use words, and whether we can sometimes offend a believer because of the way we use a particular term. And it should raise questions in both Freemasonry and the Christian Church about how different faiths can relate to one another ... I believe that there is no complete answer about the relationship between Christianity and Freemasonry. The relationship is dynamic. Each time I enter the Lodge as a Christian, I re-examine that relationship, and the questions that come with it, and I re-evaluate if anything I do there interferes with my faith. I suppose if I ever came to the conclusion that there was no healthy relationship between my faith and the Lodge, I would have to leave. But I am still here, because I believe the inclusive tolerance that was brought into Freemasonry in the beginning, and continues today, is right, and the relationship of Christianity with Freemasonry is strong and vital.

Six years ago, I said, " ... if I ever came to the conclusion that there was no healthy relationship between my faith and the Lord, I would have to leave. But I am still here ..." Six more years have passed. Six more years of living as both a Christian and a mason. Six more years, and I am still here. There is a tension between being a Christ ian and being a Mason, but I believe that it is a creative tension that strengthens both.

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Response to Freemasonry And Christianity

Introductory Comments

I have had the privilege of reading the paper by Bro. G. D. Haynes which I found in the reading room. Without any motivation to become involved in false flattery or exaggeration, I suggest that if one can "download" a paper of this quality from M.B.L., the Bulletin Board has justified its existence. Bro. Haynes as a Presbyterian Minister brings focus and clarity to the present conflict between certain segments of the Christian Church and Freemasonry which Freemasonry's leaders have failed to elucidate. No useful clarification comes from reading the writings of those opposed to Freemasonry since in almost every case they are trapped within their own particular philosophical outlook and therefore are unable to critique Freemasonry in a manner which in the thoughtful Freemason's eyes would have validity. Bro. Haynes, in his concise article, brings the doctrinal difficulties between certain factions of the Christian Church and Freemasonry to the surface.

If there is a criticism of the article, [and this is not really a criticism since I recognize that Bro. Haynes was giving a lecture in Lodge and therefore under the usual time constraints] it is that the conciseness of the article makes it difficult for the reader who is unfamiliar with such concepts as "Faith through salvation alone" versus "Faith through good works" to gain a true appreciation of the cogency of Bro. Haynes comments.

The other point which could possible be made is that Bro. Haynes conclusion does not assist Freemasonry in coming to grips with the constant criticism by certain segments of Christianity who are mounting ever more vocal criticism of the Craft. He, as I understand him, suggests that the conclusion as to whether or not Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity is a personal decision. In the final analysis, I am of the opinion that he is quite correct. After all, the Christian Faith is a highly personalized faith and the diversity of Churches attests to that fact.

Having made the foregoing points, I would like to emphasize that the complexity of the subject could not possibly be dealt with in a paper given to the Lodge. The time constraints make this impossible. It is hoped that Reverend Haynes will find the time to extrapolate on the whole issue in a more extensive paper. The subject deserves a entire book and if the paper serves as a preludes to his thoughts we can anticipate a book which is more lucid and more articulate than anything the Grand Lodge of England said during their recent controversy with the Church.

The Importance of the Issue

As indicated by Reverend Haynes, the issue is one of great importance to the Craft because we have so many members who are practicing Christians. Additionally, the issue is important for two other reasons, namely:

[a] this highly vocal group of Christians who are anti- masonic in their outlook are creating an image in the minds of the public about Freemasonry which is very detrimental to the Craft. No doubt it is having a detrimental effect on our ability to attract members of the very kind and quality which we need to attract.

[b] this highly vocal group of Christians who are anti- masonic in their outlook are having [in my opinion] a detrimental effect within our lodges. In an effort to combat their criticisms [particularly their criticism of our symbolism] we are making ad hoc and sometimes ill-conceived changes to a ritual which has heretofore remained largely unchanged for centuries. It is highly questionable as to whether these changes are beneficial or merely detract from the ritual in ways which in years to come will be seen as detrimental rather than beneficial.

These effects have resulted, in my opinion, from the failure of the Craft to have a clear understanding of the doctrinal disputes which exist between Freemasonry and Christianity. Until the leaders of the Craft sit down and understand doctrines such as "Faith through salvation alone" and the dilemma of "exclusiveness vs. inclusiveness" and the difference between "Deists" and "Theists", we will continue to blunder along to our detriment. Answers such as "Masonry has no theology" are, [as Bro. Haynes points out] no answer at all to the Christian objections. They miss the mark.

Coming to Grips

Is seems to me that the first thing that Freemasonry has to do is gain an articulate understanding of some of the landmarks {here I use this in the non-technical sense} that over the years the Craft has developed. Only when we have gained a clear understanding of these doctrines can we hope to deal adequately with the criticisms of that certain segment of Christians who oppose Freemasonry. I do not propose to make an exhaustive list of those doctrines, but the following may be illustrative of the problem.

The Doctrine of Universality

All thoughtful masons are familiar with the concept that Freemasonry is universal in nature. "Our lodges stretch from East to West, from North to South, from the centre of the earth and even as high as the heavens." From this we have developed the vague and uncertain concept that Freemasonry is a universal science and from there we have extrapolated it to the incorrect view that Freemasonry is broad enough to encompass all theological doctrines. The latter part of this proposition, I suggest, will not bear up under scrutiny.

Freemasonry is universal in the sense used during the Enlightenment in that it is intended to be tolerant of all faiths. This, however, is not to say that men of all different theologies should be accepted into Freemasonry. If a man's theology precludes him from tolerating the religion of another man, he is by definition unsuitable building material. We cannot have it both ways. If we are to be true to our ethical principles, we must tolerate the intoleration of others. However, that does not mean that we should ballot in their favour. To do so, serves neither the Petitioner or the Craft. To place a man in the position of taking the Degrees of Freemasonry whose Christianity is "Exclusive" of other faiths puts him into a moral dilemma. We are challenging his faith and in the final analysis putting him in a position whereby he must choose between his Church and the Craft. This we should not be doing and yet I doubt whether our Investigation Committee's ever explore this vital dimension in sufficient depth to be able to report to the lodge. What, I ask, will be his moral dilemma when he is taught in the retrospect "to look beyond the narrow limits of any particular institution, whether civil or religious" if he chooses to think about those words in any depth.

The Use of Symbolism

Secondly, we are taught that Freemasonry is a "system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Thus by definition we have established some boundaries to the philosophical outlook of the Craft. [If there were no such definition of the boundaries of the Craft, we as a group in sociological terms would not be a "group".] By definition then we have chosen to use the tool of symbolism to convey our philosophical notions and to seek answers to those matters which lie beyond the realm of reason. The point here is that we should recognize that there are certain Christians and certain denominations of Christianity who are so literal in their interpretation of the Bible that our particular position would constitute an anathema to their beliefs. Again, we serve neither ourselves or the applicant be glossing over this dichotomy in our views. What, I ask, will be his state of confusion when he is confronted with the many many segments of the ritual which in a literal sense are historically inaccurate or serve no useful purpose if merely taken literally. Again, we must recognize that Freemasonry is not universal in the sense that it can incorporate every possible philosophical outlook. It has a definitive set of beliefs and modus operandi which separate it from some of the other ways of looking at life.

The Understanding of Christian Doctrines

Thirdly, we should gain a clear understanding of this very pervasive dilemma which Freemasonry has when it is confronted by the doctrine of "Salvation through Faith alone". I would defer to Reverend Haynes for an articulate explanation of this central tenet of Christianity. But for the purposes of the reader, my awkward layman's explanation may shed some light. The Mediaeval Church had roused the rath of the Reformers through its practice of allowing people to literally buy their forgiveness for their sins by paying monies as penance for their sins. In the eyes of Luther and other reformers this was at best hypocrisy and at worst commercial fraud. Luther's essential point was that salvation could not be bought. If you move this a step further and remove the element of paying money from the equation, it meant that salvation could not be achieved by doing "good works" if they were not performed and based on a genuine love of God but rather were merely performed on the basis that by doing "good works" you would earn salvation irrespective of what sins lay in your heart. As the theology evolved during the reformation, it was concluded that the sole path to salvation was through faith. In otherwords, without a genuine acceptance of Christ there was no salvation irrespective of all the external good works you may perform in this life. This doctrine brought the criticism that would mean that a person may have faith and would be saved event though he did no good works towards his fellow man. This the critics said was absurd. That is, as long as you believed, you were saved irrespective as to what kind of scoundrel you were to your fellow man. The answer of the reformers was that if you were truly "born again" or had found Christ, good works would follow axiomatically as evidence of your faith. The lack of good works would indicate that you did not have a genuine or true faith in Christ but good works was not the causation for salvation. [Here endeth my lesson in theology]

For the Christian then the emphasis in Freemasonry on "good works" and the continual evolution to perfection by the ever refinement of ethical and moral conduct can be disturbing. What I understand Bro. Haynes to be saying in his lecture is that the ritual can be seen as being in compliance with the doctrine of Salvation through faith if one sees the ethical advancement and the charity as evidence of a man's development of a more and more profound faith in Christ. I am of the view that there is ample grounds within the masonic ritual to support his view on that point. We see in the ritual that we deliberately put the candidate in the north east angle in a position whereby he cannot donate worldly goods and therefore Freemasonry must be talking of some type of internal charity. And we see in the Junior Warden's lecture that portion which speaks of Jacob's ladder where he teaches the candidate that the third and the last rung being "charity, comprehends the whole and the mason who is in possession of this virtue in its most ample sense may be justly deemed to have arrived at the summit of Freemasonry" And we must not forget that the very first question a candidate has to answer is "where were you first made a mason" and the answer is "In the Heart W.M. My first two references to the ritual can surely be legitimately understood by the Christian mason to reflect the Christian viewpoint that the word charity when researched back to its Greek meaning is intended to mean "love" as taught within the orthodox Christian Churches. And surely a Christian mason cannot be faulted for interpreting the very first question a candidate is asked as being intended to exemplify in capsulized form the development of the whole theological doctrine of "Salvation by Faith alone."

It then is my suggestion that there is much in the ritual for the devout Christian to find comfort in ... and in fact there is a solid foundation for certain types of Christians to interpret the entire masonic ritual as a dramatization and re-enforcement of their Christian beliefs. These points should have been directed to the various Christian Churches in England when they were doing their so called investigations into the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity. Instead we chose to tell them that we had no theology. On the other hand I emphasize my view that it is only certain types of Christians who can find Freemasonry compatible and that is Reverend Haynes essential conclusion. My essential point is that Freemasons should recognize that there are doctrinal differences within the Christian community and that some of those Christians are not compatible with the doctrines of Freemasonry. Once we have this clear in our minds we can not only deal with the dilemma in a more intelligent manner but that we will desist in attempting to make "recent innovations" to Freemasonry which produces a loss for Christian and non-Christian mason alike.

"Recent Innovations"

My last comment, no doubt, demands further extrapolation.

The recent dilemma we found ourselves in when some of the Churches in England raised questions about Freemasonry is a case on point. The Grand Lodge did two things:

[a] provide totally meaningless responses which did not hit the mark because someone either did not understand the doctrinal dispute which was going on in the Churches or chose not to respond directly to the criticism; [b] they began to water down and change the penalties in an effort to avoid criticism about the "blood curdling oaths that Freemasons were required to take. It is to this last "solution" which I now direct my attention.

When I joined the Craft as a young man ... the phrase was "under no less a penalty on the violation of any of them .......". This was then changed to be "ever bearing in mind the traditional penalty on the violation of any of them ...... ". The flurry of ill-informed criticism in England brought a further dilution so that now we talk of "ever bearing in mind the symbolic penalty ........... ."

I recall as vividly some 25 years ago the feeling I had at that time when I knelt before the alter. As time passed that had great significance in my life. It became the point in time when you made an unequivocal commitment to righteousness. You had crossed the Rubicon. "There comes a tide in the affairs of men, which taken leads on to fortune." There comes a time in every mans life where he "must put away those childish things." It was the bond which sub-conciously bound masons together in an indivisible commitment to that which was perceived to be "right" and against that which was perceived to be "evil". For the Christian mason, it exemplified the whole concept of damnation and brought it to the forefront of this mind in a manner which no other institution had ever done. There was no ifs, buts, or, ands, it was a question as to whether you could and would make the commitment. Freemasons, unlike those who were not in the Craft, were confronted with a situation in which their "courage was put to the sticking post" and having proceeded through the ceremony they learned a very important thing about themselves. Like a soldier who suffers doubts about how he will perform in battle and who later goes through battle with dignity and courage and does not take flight in fear, the Freemason learned something about the little spark of courage which exists within us all, when put to the test.

That test has now been lost for Christian and non-Christian mason alike. Why has it been lost? The changes were not made because of internal dissension within the Craft. I have yet to hear any extensive criticism among practicing Freemasons of the obligations. They all in their own way had come to understand them as being symbolic. So, in essence we changes OUR RITUAL to accommodate the criticism of a certain brand of Christians who by virtue of their "exclusive" view of Christianity would not be suitable candidates for Freemasonry in any event. Why did this occur???? I suggest it is because the leaders of the Craft lacked both the intellectual skill and the in depth understanding of both Freemasonry and Christianity which is evidenced in Bro. G.D. Haynes brief article. Hopefully we will see a book by this author in the future.