Rowland Springs Baptist Church and the Demonic Cult of Freemasonry: Part Two – Stepping on the Snake

The following article is the second of a three part testimony about my experience with the cult of Freemasonry at my former church, Rowland Spring Baptist Church.  Rowland Springs Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Church in Cartersville, Georgia and is a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Bartow Baptist Association.

The 2017 Cartersville Masonic Lodge Officers, including RSBC Church member Alton Kay as Worshipful Master.  Also pictured are RSBC church members Freddie Gunn and Frankie James.  Not pictured is lodge Chaplain Jim Moore.

Defending the Faith

I knew bringing up the issue of Freemasonry at Rowland Springs wasn’t going to be easy.  Fortunately, I knew just when and where I could get some advice on how to do it.  Every January, the Institute of Christian Apologetics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) holds a week-long conference entitled “Defend the Faith.”  The conference features theologians from across the country, as well as local professors, who have expertise in contrasting Christianity with false religions.  Course credit is offered for students who attend.  I signed up for the 2017 conference in order to fulfill some of my last requirements for graduating from NOBTS with a Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics.  I determined to ask some of my professors about Masonry while there.  I knew that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) had investigated Freemasonry in years past and taken a somewhat lukewarm, if not politically influenced, position on the Lodge in its final report on the matter.  I trusted my professors more than denominational reports and determined to ask them some pointed questions about the Lodge.  If I was more concerned than I needed to be about Freemasonry, I figured they could back me down.  I left the Defend the Faith conference as determined as ever to confront the dangerous cult, not only at my church, but in my denomination as a whole.

Two of the speakers at the conference were counter-cult specialists James Walker and David Henke of the Watchman Fellowship, which is an independent Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult, and the New Age.  One of the staples of that ministry is its Profile Notebook. The publication, which is updated monthly, contains 4-page briefings on new religious movements, the occult, cults, New Age spirituality, and related doctrines and practices – everything from Acupuncture to Zen Buddhism.  The Profile Notebook, which was required reading for my “Cult Theology” course at NOBTS contains a profile on Freemasonry authored by Ron Rhodes.  It was that profile that first got me interested in studying Freemasonry and informed me about its dangerous and blasphemous theology.  During my week in New Orleans, I spent time eating lunch with James and David.  I told them about my situation, that I knew of a Freemason who was a member of my church.  I asked for their advice on how to approach him.  James suggested giving Jim the Freemasonry pages from the Profile Notebook and asking him to mark up anything that he didn’t think was accurate.  It sounded like a pretty good idea to me, so I planned on giving Jim the profile when I got back to Georgia.  James and David warned me, however, that dealing with Masonry at a local church was like dealing with a snake. “Never try to step on it unless you are sure you can crush the head without being bitten,” James told me.  I wouldn’t learn until later just how accurate James warning was.

Two of my professors are on the board of the Watchman Fellowship: Dr. Putman and Dr. Stewart.  They were also speaking at the conference.  When asked during a class session, Dr. Putman agreed with me that Masonry demonstrated tenants of Gnosticism.  Dr. Stewart was more hesitant to offer his opinion on the cult.  He did, however, offer a story from his younger days at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).  While there, he had been tasked with writing articles for a denominationally published book on cults.  Naturally, the subject of Freemasonry came up during his research.  Knowing Baptist historian and chair of the SWBTS history department, H. Leon McBeth, to be a Mason, Dr. Stewart inquired with him about Masonic rituals.  When confronted about the activities of the lodge, McBeth confirmed the details of Stewart’s research but told the young Stewart, “we don’t really believe it.”  Dr. Stewart’s story, as lacking in details as it was, confirmed two things to me.  First, the activities of the Lodge are unbiblical.  Second, it can mean trouble to speak of them in Southern Baptist circles.

Freemasons have had a strong presence in the Southern Baptist Convention.  John T. Christian, a history professor after whom the NOBTS library is named, was a Freemason.   So, too, was William T. Hamilton, who served as NOBTS President (1927-1953), SBC President (1940-1942), and the Head of Evangelism for the Home Mission Board.  The first President of SWBTS, B.H. Carroll, was a Freemason.  In 1991, it was estimated that 14% of SBC pastors and 18% of SBC Deacons were Freemasons with 400-500k Freemasons in SBC membership.  Masonic influence is almost certainly the reason why the SBC’s 1993 statement on Freemasonry so weakly condemns Masonic practice.  Even the influential layperson, Dr. James L. Holly of Texas, who for years pressed the SBC to investigate the cult of Freemason was kicked out of his local church for bringing the matter of Freemasonry to light there.  The Masonic snake bites, and Southern Baptist Theologians tend to tread carefully when discussing the matter.  That’s why I was thankful for the strong, unequivocal condemnation of the Lodge I heard from Dr. Mike Miller, the pastor of Central Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Texas.  Miller is a no-nonsense preaching professor at NOBTS.  During a pulpit polemics breakout session at the Defend The Faith conference, I asked Dr. Miller how he dealt with Freemasonry as a pastor.  “I tell them to leave the lodge or leave the church,” he said.  Miller’s strong biblical stance is befitting of a pastor.  Unfortunately, the timid Joe Ringwalt  is pastor of RSBC.  It was Ringwalt’s support that I would need to combat this evil when I got home.  I would not get it.

Stepping on the Snake

I returned home from the Defend the Faith conference on January 6th ready to confront Freemasonry at RSBC head-on.  Shortly thereafter I was approached by the staff of RSBC about preaching at the church’s monthly Men’s Brotherhood Breakfast on the 15th.  In accepting the invitation, I saw the perfect opportunity to subtly raise the pressing issue of Freemasonry before the men of the church.  I was told I could preach on “whatever I wanted.”  After my topic was determined, Pastor Ringwalt emailed the entire church to following statement

In the morning, we start with Brotherhood Breakfast at 8:30am. Seth Dunn will be bringing a challenging message to our boys and men about living a holy life before God.”

My message was grounded in three sections of scripture: Acts 17, Joshua 7, and 1 Corinthians 10.  Using Acts 17 as a backdrop, I challenged the men of our church to recognize the centers of idolatry all around our county: the LDS Church, the Kingdom Hall, the Islamic Center, and “certain fraternal orders.”  Like the men of Athens, we were surrounded by people who were very religious.  Like the Apostle Paul, we were responsible to evangelize the pagans around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ, contrasting Christianity with the false religions that had taken our neighbors captive.  Before, we could do so, we had to first look inwardly.  I told the story of Achan and the Israelites from Joshua 7 and explained how the entire body suffered defeat because of the secret sins of one man in the camp.  I then transitioned to Paul’s warnings from Israel’s history in 1 Corinthians 10.  We, as the local church, had to first hold ourselves accountable before we could effectively witness to the pagan world.  I distinctly remember looking up during my message, as I was making a point about holiness in the body, and seeing Joe Ringwalt nodding in agreement.

As I expected, Jim Moore attended the breakfast.  When it was over, I took James Walker’s advice and approached Jim.  I presented him with Watchman Fellowship’s Freemasonry profile and asked him if he could review it for me.  I told him that I had studied the Lodge in school but wanted his opinion as a man who had been a member of the lodge of fifty years.  Jim was quick to tell me, a fellow church member, that much of his knowledge of Masonry was secret and could not be revealed to me.  Nevertheless he agreed to look the document over and mark up what wasn’t accurate.  After that I attended Sunday School and the worship service.  On the way out the door, I was stopped by Frankie James.  Heretofore, I had never spoken to Frankie but had seen him around the church.  As is common in many churches, RSBC has a security team that keeps an eye on the parking lot and stands by the doors during the service.  Frankie is one of the men who volunteers to work security there.  Frankie told me that he, too, was a Mason and that it was nothing to worry about, that Masonry was okay.  Jim had obviously shown him the Watchman profile.  The snake was beginning to slither.

RSBC members Randy Reese (a known Mason), Larry Vaughan, and Jeff Baker (a deacon) at a Masonic golf tournament.  The picture was taken by Baptist Mason Tony Ross.

Frankie’s smiling assurances gave me no comfort.  To the contrary, I began to become uneasy about just how many Masons were present at RSBC.  Adam had told me Jim Moore was the only one of which he knew and the only other one I knew of, Fred Gunn Jr, had died the month before.  When I got home, I more closely perused the Cartersville Lodge #63 website.  I clicked on a link entitled “lodge officers” which I had not examined before.  To my great dismay, I saw more than one familiar face.  Not only was Jim Moore listed as Lodge Chaplain but three other church members, Frankie James, Freddie Gunn (Fred’s son), and Alton Kay, were pictured with the Lodge officers was well.  Alton Kay was the current Worshipful Master of the Lodge.  Rowland Springs was a haven, a stronghold of Freemasonry.  The problem was much bigger than one kindly old man.

The next Sunday, I walked into my Sunday School classroom and found the Freemasonry profile I had given Jim on my lectern.  It was nearly completely highlighted.  He left no other markups or notes so I assumed the highlights Jim had made were to indicate what was inaccurate in the profile.  After Sunday School, I found Jim standing near my usual pew in the sanctuary.  When I asked him about his markups, he referred to the profile as “garbage.”  I tried to ask some follow up questions but he insisted that he could not divulge his secret information, he would only repeat his claim that the profile was “garbage.”  The profile included some citations from the work of Albert Mackey, one of the best known Masonic authors of all time.  Mackey is cited authoritatively in Akin’s Lodge Manual with the Georgia Masonic Code.  Jim, a 50-year Mason and Chaplain of a Georgia Masonic Lodge claimed to have never heard of Mackey.  The profile indicated that prayer in the name of Jesus was discouraged in Masonic lodges.  Jim insisted that he did in fact teach about and pray in the name of Jesus in the Lodge.  He made some strange comments about the ordinances of the church and how pastors unjustly restrained the communion to church service and ended our conversation by aggressively telling me that “I needed to drop this cult stuff.”  There was anger in his face.  This was out of character for the man I had heretofore known.  The congenial ambassador of Rowland Springs Baptist had turned cold and aloof.  After that day, Jim would no longer approach my pew to say hello to me and my wife as he had done before; I knew why.  I had touched his idol and he was upset.  I also knew that Jim had lied to me about his assessment of the Watchman Profile.  I also approached a former Masonic Worshipful Master from Wisconsin named Larry Herzog about the accuracy of the profile.  Larry, who had left the Lodge out of Christian conviction, confirmed to me its accuracy.  Jim denied it and became unapproachable.

Chic-fil-A and the Church Basement

Ninety-one days after first approaching Jim about his involvement with Freemasonry, I taught my last Sunday School class at RSBC, on Easter Sunday 2017.  In that short time, I had gone from being someone who was tapped to preach for the men’s ministry and tasked with teaching the church’s doctrinal Sunday School class to being forcibly removed as Sunday School teacher and encouraged to leave the church.  The snake had bitten.  Not long after my conversation with Jim, I was asked by Joe Ringwalt and Adam Burrell to meet them at Chic-Fil-A.  For the first time since I began attending Rowland Springs Joe and Adam expressed their dissatisfaction with me.  According to them, certain unnamed deacons had brought my name up during the last deacons’ meeting.  They expressed concern with my being a Sunday school teacher at RSBC and how it reflected on the church in the community.  This was out of left field.  Only one of the deacons had ever attended my class and none had ever come to me in person with a problem.  I asked why these deacons hadn’t first come to me personally before bringing my name up in a meeting.  Joe agreed with me that the deacons should have come to me first individually but said that since he had heard what they had to say that he felt it was necessary to address their concerns with me.  I was told that my social media activities, blogs and Facebook posts, were embarrassing to the church.  Well before coming to RSBC, I had been a well-known Baptist blogger.  Yet, no one at RSBC, in the months leading up to my joining the church and becoming a Sunday School teacher, had ever expressed a problem with my writing.  Neither did anyone express a problem with my writing, much of which addressed Freemasonry, after I joined the church and became a Sunday School teacher.  Joe and Adam were well aware of my past church involvement and the reason that I was searching for a new fellowship when I came to RSBC.  They were also aware of my opposition to certain denominational causes (such as NAMB) and the Masonic Lodge.  When they were seeking me as a “prospect” to join the church, these stances of mine were not a problem.  Notably, I was voted in as a Sunday School teacher at church conference almost immediately after joining the body.  Now, though, Joe and Adam were very worried about what I might say or write.  Something seemed off to me.  To alleviate their concerns and those of the deacons, I agreed with Joe and Adam that I would write a blog post to all the Christians in our county explaining my motivation for my various blogs and social media posts.

Before lunch was over I told Joe that a bigger concern in our church should be Freemasonry.  I told him about what I had discovered on the Lodge website.  Rather than expressing concern and lament that a cult has so deeply infiltrated a church in his shepherding care, Joe spoke about his employment situation.  Upon hearing what I had to say, Joe’s posture changed.  He leaned down over the table and quietly said, “If I go against Freemasonry, I’ll get fired.”  I knew right then and there that Joe was compromised on the issue and I would get no support from him in standing against the demonic cult that pervaded RSBC.  Joe was a hireling, more concerned with retaining his job than the spiritual health of his church.  Everything about our conversation that day indicated that Joe was more worried about himself than he was with shepherding the church.  Months before, when Joe had visited my house to talk about my joining the church, he acted like he was strongly opposed to the Lodge.  Now, when addressed with a specific and pervasive problem in RSBC, he seemed fearful.  I think Joe was under the impression that I would drop the matter after our conversation, knowing that it was something he wasn’t willing to address.  There was simply no chance of that happening.  Without the support of the pastor, and up against a new and strangely timed opposition from the staff and the deacons, I considered what my next steps would be concerning Jim and the rest of the Masons.

I determined, by the dictates of Holy Scripture, that I would approach the masons of RSBC myself.  In Matthew’s 18:15, Jesus instructs church members to approach those fellow members of their local church who are sin directly and encourage them to repent.  This is not a suggestion, it is a command, one which is reiterated by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:11.  Freemasonry is a demonic cult which requires its members to sin against the Lord by the very requirements of its initiation rite.  If a man is in the Lodge, he is sin.  Every time he invites another man to join the Lodge, he encourages another to sin.  Freemasons lead men away from Christ, not towards him.  I could do nothing less than approach each Freemason at my local church and live within the will of the Lord.  From a church discipline standpoint this was a complicated and difficult situation.  Because Freemasonry is a secret society full of respected, service-minded men, many Christians are under the false impression that the Lodge is an innocent, benevolent, and even good social organization.  Few, like me, study the ins and outs of cults.  If the Masons refused to repent, choosing instead to strike like James Walker’s metaphorical snake, I could not depend on the staff and deacons at RSBC to go with me as “two or three witnesses.”  Nor, if the Masons were to be brought before the body, could I depend on the general knowledge of a church that had tolerated their presence for so long.  As a Sunday School teacher, I could educate people in my class about the Lodge but speaking to a specific matter outside of my curriculum would almost certainly draw the ire of the already suspicious pastor and deacons.  Plus, my Sunday School class constituted a minuscule percentage of the church.  I wasn’t sure how to educate the church or who could go with me as “two or three” but I knew I had a responsibility to urgently call the Masons to repent.

I decided to draft a letter to each individual Mason from RSBC that I had found on the Cartersville #63 website.  While I was planning my letter, the staff and deacons at Rowland Springs were planning to oust me from my teaching position.  There was another lunch meeting at Chic-Fil-A with Joe and Adam.  I was berated for being publicly critical of Southern Baptist causes like NAMB and the Georgia Baptist Convention.  It didn’t seem to matter to Joe than NAMB was currently being sued by a former Baptist state executive and NOBTS professor or that the Georgia Baptist Convention had constructed a sinfully opulent $45M headquarters.  Joe plainly didn’t want the word to get out on these matters of controversy.  It became very apparent to me how Joe had retained his position of RSBC pastor for twenty years when the average tenure of an SBC pastor was nine years.  Joe didn’t make waves.  Joe avoided controversy.  I was reminded of the words of friend and former Rowland Springs church member who warned me about Joe when I first started visiting RSBC:

I grew up at Rowland Springs.  Joe Ringwalt was a very much, don’t step on toes, kind of preacher…Rowland Springs had a lot of “old money” and he worried about making them upset.  There isn’t much discipline that I ever saw, and Joe will rarely step on anyone’s toes with a sermon.

Joe did his best to deal with me quietly.  He asked me to step down from teaching Sunday School.  I told him, “You’ll have to fire me.”  I hated being put in the position to defend myself as a Sunday School teacher.  The members of my class were effusive when describing how I taught.  It was by their suggestion that I was considered the former teacher’s replacement when he moved.  One man even suggested that Joe should have me fill the pulpit upon his first visit to my class.  I had been training in seminary to teach doctrine for years.  Yet Joe and Adam were asking me to quit.  I told them that it didn’t make sense that they would fire their “best Sunday School teacher.”  It was, plainly, dirty politics.  I wasn’t about to let Joe Ringwalt make me a quiet quitter in a Chic-Fil-A booth 30 miles from the church.  The church had voted me in, the church was going to have to vote me out.  At the end of the lunch I asked Joe and Adam if I was in sin.  I told them that I wanted to repent if I was.  Neither of them expressed to me that I was sinning.  They just didn’t like how I was handling myself online.  Again, there was no accusation of sin.

Not long after our second lunch meeting I mailed out my letters to the various RSBC Freemasons.  The letters were similarly worded but tailored to each man.  My letter to Jim, mailed out on April 10th, read as follows:

 Dear Jim,

As you will recall, I recently shared a document on Freemasonry with you.  I passed this document on to you at the suggestion of James Walker.  Mr. Walker is the President of Watchman Fellowship, which is a Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.  Watchman Fellowship published the document on Freemasonry which I shared with you.  It was part of the assigned reading for my recent Cult Theology class at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  The document piqued my interest in researching Freemasonry.  I have come to conclude, along with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and a number of other Christian denominations, that Freemasonry is not compatible with Christianity.  I was disappointed to see that you, a member of Rowland Springs Baptist Church, have been a Mason for over fifty years.

Before I joined RSBC, I asked Joe very directly if there were any Masons in positions of leadership at RSBC.  This question was intended to assess the health the local body. Joe assured me that there were no Masons in leadership.  As I understand it, both you and Alton Kay (your Worshipful Master) are ushers. Although it’s a very visible position, I don’t suppose usher is a position of “leadership.” Nonetheless you and Alton are my fellow church members.  Thus, I am obligated by scripture to take the uncomfortable step of showing you, Jim, your sin.  I ask that you repent of the sin of being involved in Freemasonry and immediately renounce your membership in Lodge #63.

As a faithful Christian, I can do no other thing.  The Lord Jesus said, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”  This is what I hope to do with this letter.  I do not seek to “sharply rebuke an older man,” but rather I appeal to you as a younger man.  Think of your witness and the way you influence others.  I understand that you may be taken aback by my actions.  Perhaps no other church member has ever approached you asking you to renounce Freemasonry.  It could be the case that the other members of our church are, as I was for many years, ignorant of the unbiblical nature of Freemasonry. Having researched the matter myself, I can no longer say that I am unaware.  The Apostle James wrote, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  I am in the position of knowing about the nature of Freemasonry. So are you.  Thus, we both must do the right thing.  There is a sentiment among some that many Freemasons simply see the craft as a harmless fraternal organization and have not fully considered its spiritual claims ramifications.  Though I do not share this sentiment, given that you are the lodge chaplain and a fifty year Mason, I cannot assume that such is the case with you.

As you know, Freemasonry requires that oaths be taken to be initiated into the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees.  These oaths are fairly described as barbaric and involve binding oneself under the penalty of having one’s throat cut “ear to ear” and having one’s “tongue torn out by its roots”.  These oaths violate the command of the Lord Jesus who stated:

“make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”

To even enter the most basic degrees of Freemasonry, one must disobey Christ.  As a fifty year Mason, you have no doubt taken part in many initiation ceremonies.  This is not an acceptable action for a member of the body of Christ.  It is sin.  This oath swearing in itself puts Masonry at odds with Christianity.  That’s to say nothing of the extrabiblical story of the death and resurrection of Hiram Abiff.

The secrecy of Freemasonry is inherently antithetical to Christianity.  The Lord Jesus told his followers that they are “the light of the world.”  Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Freemasons claims to have the “light” of Masonry, yet they keep it secret from outsiders, even members of their own churches.

Freemasonry claims that it “makes good men better.”  This can’t be so.  Scripture teaches that there are no good men.  Jesus Christ said: “There is only One who is good; No one is good except God alone.” Scripture, through the Apostle Paul and the prophet Isaiah, teaches that “there is none righteous, not even one.”  The website of the Cartersville lodge states that “no particular religion or faith is required or excluded” from Freemasonry.  Thus, Freemasonry as an institution teaches lost people that they are good and can get better through Masonry (and outside of faith in Christ).  This both denies the effects of the Edenic fall and the power of the gospel.

If there is any remaining doubt the Freemasonry denies the scripture then consider the words from Akin’s own manual, which was published here in Cartersville, GA:

“As you are now introduced into the first principles of Masonry, I congratulate you on being accepted into this ancient an honorable Order: ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honorable, as tending in every particular, so to render all men who will conformable to its precepts.  No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation.  Nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down that are inculcated in the several Masonic lectures. The greatest and best of man, in all ages, have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory to their dignity to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronize their assemblies.”

The Church of Jesus Christ was raised on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ.  He is the chief cornerstone of the church.  This is the most solid foundation of any institution.  The Bible is God’s Holy word and contains better maxims than any man-based teachings. The statement above from Akin’s manual is antithetical to Christianity and no Christian should be able to say it good conscience.  None should believe it. No prophet or apostle has ever been a Freemason (from time immemorial).  Nor was the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not true, then, that “the greatest and best of man, in all ages” have encouraged and promoted Freemasonry.

Akin’s manual also implies, through its funeral service language, that non-Christians can make it to Heaven through their virtuous living.  This is denial of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

It is also a denial of the clear words of Jesus, no one gets to the Father except through Him.

You said the document that I shared with you was “garbage.”  I do not believe you are correct. I shared it with a former Chaplain and Worshipful Master from Wisconsin named Larry Herzog.  He told me that the document contained truth. (Larry left Freemasonry after coming to Christ.)  I have consulted a number of resources about Masonry, including pastors, seminary professors, former masons, and cult experts.  The verdict is clear.  The Craft is antithetical to Christianity and an affront to both the church universal and local. Jesus Christ said, “nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”  The secret things of Masonry have been brought to light.

Please renounce Freemasonry and repent of your sin.

Sincerely,

G. Seth Dunn

 

My letters did not go over well with the Masons.  Rather than respond to me personally, the Masons went straight to Joe and the deacons.  I soon received an angry call from Joe informing me that the deacons were taking action to remove me as a Sunday School teacher that week.  He also told me that there were 7-8 Masons at RSBC, double the number I had assumed from reading the Lodge website.  Joe refused to tell me their names other than one, a member of the choir named Randy Reese who was, according to Joe, no longer active.   Adam Burrell, who had once remarked to me that “at least 1/3 to 1/4 sitting in church on any given Sunday morning are likely not true believers” was terribly unconcerned about the number of cult members in the church at which he was employed as “Minister of Students and Families”.

 

I was summoned to a midweek evening meeting with the deacons in the church basement.  Only two of the deacons showed up.  I arrived early and was already waiting for them in the church library (a pitiful place, full of books by Don Piper, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, John Hagee, and Beth Moore) as they were walking in.

The two men, Ken Nix and Pat Malin, both mature in age, were joking with one another about how they needed their side arms for the meeting.  Before they walked into the room, it was clear to me that they viewed me not as a brother who needed to be loved but a problem to be dealt with.  When Joe and Adam arrived they handed me a letter which accused me of being prideful and divisive, using my defense of being the best “Sunday School” teacher against me as evidence that I was arrogant.  The letter, signed by every deacon (none of whom had communicated with me personally beforehand) stated that I was to be relieved of teaching Sunday School.  My class was to be broken up and reformed as a new class with Adam as its teacher.  Joe, Adam, and the Deacon Board flouted Matthew 18 and together accused me of sin without one man first coming to privately to do so.  During the meeting, Pat suggested that I leave the church quietly since it didn’t agree with my stance.  Ken, the man who joked about needing a gun to meet with me not thirty minutes before, said I wasn’t loving.  Adam said Freemasonry was a matter of conscience like “meat sacrificed to idols”and that I was doubting the salvation of  “good” men.  Joe proclaimed that Freemasonry wasn’t “a hill to die on”.   When I reminded him of his words at Chick-fil-A, that he said “he would get fired” for going against Masonry, Joe adamantly denied saying it.  Adam, the only other party who had been present at the lunch, reminded Joe that he did indeed make that remark.  Joe, who had moments before denied making the comments at all, then insisted that he was just joking when he said that.  Joe insisted that I apologize to the Masons for my letter and warned me that I could be brought before the church and expelled over the matter.  Since the church body as a whole had voted me to the position of Sunday School teacher, I did not believe that the deacons had the authority to remove me from my class.  At the same time, I could see the unholy writing on the wall.  The church, not being educated on the matter, would be quicker to listen to their pastor of twenty years than they would to me.  They had respected and known the Masonic men for years.  I was relatively new to the church and the deacons were all against me.  Complicating matters was that I was two classes away from graduating seminary and had a three-month-old baby.  I barely had time to prepare my lessons each week as it was and I certainly didn’t want to explain to my seminary, after working seven years towards graduating, that I had been excommunicated and no longer had the endorsement of a local church.

I accepted the actions of the deacons and quietly focused on my two remaining seminary classes.  I had fulfilled my obligation under Matthew 18 to go privately to the Masons.  My conscience was clean and Fred Gunn Jr’s tragic obituary burned less brightly in mind.  Both Joe and I knew, however, that I wasn’t done with Freemasonry.  I was bound and determined to find a way to educate the church about the wickedness of the Lodge.  I had the next eight months to finish my final seminary classes and figure out how.

Part Three of this article is forthcoming…

*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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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Member of the Evangelical Theological Society
Certified Public Accountant

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