First Person Apologetics: Pastor Stan and the Freemasons
The following is the personal testimony of Pastor Stan Gibson:
Not long after I first became a pastor, a deeply troubling circumstance necessitated that I began to consider the compatibility of Christianity and Freemasonry. Before this incident, I had not given the matter much consideration. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church which was filled with many Freemasons. Despite being surrounded by Masons at my local church, I gave little thought to the Masonic order or its activities until well into my adult life. That would all change as I became responsible for the care of souls. The year was 1998 and I was pastoring a Southern Baptist Church in a rural area about thirty minutes outside of St. Louis, Missouri. For a reason still unknown to me, perhaps Providence, an elderly couple brought to me An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Dr. Albert Mackey. At the time I was unaware that Mackey is considered to be one of the most respected scholars of the Masonic craft and was himself a Master Mason during his life. Upon receiving Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Masonry, I thanked the couple for their gift and placed the book on the desk in my office at the church. I thought little of the gift at the time but its significance was made clear to me when the church custodian came into my office to do his usual cleaning and laid eyes on it.
Upon seeing An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry on my desk, the custodian immediately snatched it up, tucked it under his arm, and said, “Where did you get this book? Why do you have this book? If you have any questions about the Masons, then you can ask me. I’ll take this book for you.” I told him where I got the book and that I was very interested in reading it for; I kindly asked him to place it back on my desk. He begrudgingly put the book back, doing so reluctantly. It was obvious from his demeanor that he was very upset with me. I asked him, “Why does this upset you? It’s obvious you don’t want me to read this book but why?” He simply replied, “If you want to know about the Masons, then ask me.”
“Are you a mason?” I asked the custodian. He went on to inform me that he was not only in Mason, but that he was presently serving as the Worshipful Master in the local lodge…but he didn’t stop there. He went on to tell me that I would be a better pastor if I knew the secrets of the Lodge and that there were things that were left out of the Bible that only initiates to the Lodge knew. He then asked me two amazing questions. The first was, “Don’t you want to be a better pastor?” The second was, “If you do, would you like to become a Mason?” I couldn’t believe what I just heard! I replied to him this saying, “Are you telling me that the Bible is incomplete, and insufficient, and that I need to know what the Masons know to make me complete?”
The custodian’s answer was “yes.”
I then asked him, perhaps prompted by the Holy Spirit Himself, the following question, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” He replied, “He is my Lord.” Again I asked him, “Is Jesus the only Lord, and is he the Lord over the Masonic Lodge?” Again he replied, “He is my Lord.” It was clear that he was not going to answer my question; In fact, he was avoiding it on purpose. I asked the custodian, “If Jesus is not the Lord of the Masonic Lodge, then why would you want to be a part of such foolishness?” Indeed, I continued and asked him, “Does it disturb you as a professing Christian to hold the title of ‘Worshipful Master?’” When I asked this question, the custodian, a 67-year-old man, Chairmen of Deacons at the church, plugged both of his ears and ran to his car, which was parked out front. I followed him outside begging him to stay and to talk with me about the matter. He peeled out of the parking lot and left. Although he left, the matter was far from over.
I called for the other Deacons and me to meet and discuss the matter with him. Only two of the six deacons chose to be a part of this meeting; the rest refused and wanted to be no part of it. By the end of the meeting, the man had resigned as the chairman of deacons. As he stormed out of the meeting, one of the other deacons said to him, “If you refuse to sit and talk about it here, I will have to bring this to the attention of the church.” The matter was brought to the attention of the church during the next business meeting; it was an ugly scene. I was accused of tearing down the church by a congregation who had theretofore held this man in high regard. They wanted to hear nothing of what actually transpired and nothing of what the word of God had to say concerning this matter. Despite the difficulty, the meeting ended with the former Deacon Chair and his wife pulling their church membership.
After the contentious business meeting, a handful of men stayed around to encourage me and pray with me. All of a sudden, we saw a car sliding into the church’s gravel parking lot. A man bolted out of the car and sprinted towards the church. It was the custodian’s forty-year-old son. He charged through the doors of the church, grabbed a hold of my collar, and threw me inside my office. He shut the door behind him and locked it. The enraged son told me that he would “get me back”. He promised to burn my house, the church parsonage, down and even said he didn’t care if my wife and kids were inside of it when he did it. He vowed to me that my attack on the Freemasons would be vindicated and then stormed out of the church.
The men who had previously been praying with me stood outside my office bewildered by what had just transpired. I asked them if I should take the threats seriously. “Yes” was their reply. I immediately hurried to the parsonage next-door. I told my wife and my two small boys to hurry up and pack because we needed to go. My wife kept asking me if the matter was really that serious. I assured her that it was and we quickly piled into our van. I backed out of the driveway into the cold winter’s night and began driving down a very dark country road. Sure enough, headed towards the church was the custodian’s son; he was driving without his headlights turned on. I turned off my own headlines and sped by him, accelerating to put distance between him and us. We reported the incident to the local police but were not taken seriously. We hid for an entire week at a relative’s house.
All of these events caused me to be in desperate, fervent prayer to the Lord. My prayer wasn’t just for protection but for understanding about what the Freemasons truly are. Less than one week later a former mason (whom I did not know at the time) called me out of the blue and offered all of his lodge books to me. Right after that, the widow of a very powerful and influential Freemason called and asked if I would like to have all of his books; she gave me sixty of them. Upon receiving these many books, I diligently studied the Freemasons from their own literature. After exhaustive examination, I have come to the conclusion that Freemasonry is completely incompatible with biblical Christianity.
It must be confronted within the church. I have been faithful to the Lord in this conviction to the point of informally debating a group of Freemasons about Christianity in one of their own lodges. I hope other brothers and sisters in Christ, will, after their own study and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, begin addressing the issue of Freemasonry in their own churches, calling errant brothers to Christ and standing firm against hardheartedness where necessary.
Stan Gibson is the Pastor of Pacific Baptist Church in Pacific Missouri.
(Edited by: Seth Dunn)
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**Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
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