doctrine and the devil

I used to be involved in the occult.  Specifically Freemasonry.  I have since cut ties with Freemasonry and have been asked if Freemasonry is evil.  I don’t think people that are or were members necessarily are destined for hell, but I do think it is dangerous.  I think it is dangerous for the same reason I think doctrine is dangerous.  I am becoming more and more convinced that God wants us to follow the law outlined in the old testament, and more specifically in the Torah (the first five books attributed to Moses).  When I make this assertion, most will direct me to Galatians, which I have studied in depth.  At the heart of Galatians, I believe, is Paul making a distinction between two different laws.  He confesses, “how extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.”  What are these traditions he refers to?  There is a story that is told in 3 of the gospels.  In Matthew 15, the Pharasees ask Jesus, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?” when the disciples did not wash their hands according to Talmud law.  Jesus answer, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”  He also cites a passage from Isaiah 29:13, “and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.

Kabbalah and the Path to the Dark Side

Before I joined Freemasony, my imagination had been captured by a few books.  Two of those books were very old Kabbalah books that I found in a bookstore that sold banned books.  I was surprised at what I read.  If a student of theology read passages of these books without knowing where they came from, he would likely assume it was commentary.  Why would commentary on the Bible be banned?  To my understanding, that is what the Tulmud started out as.  The Tulmud is often also referred to as the Oral Torah.  The Kabbalistic books I read were in the form of question and answer.  A question is asked and the rabbinic response is then given.  They did not write this commentary down for a long time, it was passed down as an oral tradition.  After the exile to Babylon, the Jews wanted to ensure they were never dispersed by God again. At first these things started out as tradition. And then tradition became closer to a law enforced by rabbis.

Freemasonry and the similarity to Kabbalah and the Tulmud

In regards to Freemasonry, the core degrees cite passages of the Bible.  Also, the degree memory work is in the form of question and answer similar to some older Kabbalah books. Later, stories are depicted that resemble events in the Bible, but are not there.  Or at least, the details given are not there.  And that is the problem.  Freemasonry adds to the word of God.  In many “higher degrees” of Freemasonry, there is much allusion to the Kabbalah and in some cases it is mentioned explicitly.  The Tulmud seems to add to the word of God in much the same way the degrees of Freemasonry do.  In this way both the Tulmud and Freemasonry violate the law.  Which is pretty ironic in the case of the Tulmud.  In fact, I image this was why it wasn’t written down to begin with.  From Deuteronomy 4:2 , “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

Is the church guilty of the same sin?

The bible is full of curious things.  Some things are really straight forward.  Others are anything but straight forward.  I do not think there is anything wrong with speculating as to why the bible says what it says or speculating what some cryptic passages mean, but I think when theologians start claiming to know for a certainty, they are falling victim to the same trap the Pharisees fell.  I think there are some things we all agree on.  And the early creeds were statements to teach what we knew for a certainty.  Everything else is theoretical.  I think it is interesting that before God established David as king, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  I feel we are in the same period.  The time right before the king comes and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.  But soon and very soon we may know the definitive answer.

2 comments

  1. My observations:
    • the words commandment, law and tradition are somewhat neutral terms and like other words, are dependent upon, their context. That is, the words around them help us to understand exactly what that particular word means. As you know, the word law has a variety of meanings. The context helps us to determine which meaning is intended – the 10 Commandments (literally 10 words), the writings of Moses (the entire Pentateuch), the moral law, Israel civil law, Israel’s cultic or religious law (e.g., sacrifices, altars, feast days, etc.)

    • Matthew 15 passage uses 2 words for commandment. Our understanding is expanded by the qualifying words, “… Of God” or “… Of man”. In other contexts, both Greek words are dependent upon modifiers. That is, either word for commandment does not always referred to God’s commandments.

    • The word translated tradition is sometimes used negatively in the Bible but is also used in a positive sense. As the above article shows, it signifies that something transmitted rather than expressly referring to its content. Again, the context determines the meaning. So, Paul agrees with Jesus and saying that the traditions of the Jews are man-made. On the other hand, he tells Christians to maintain his traditions. Since his apostle, he has divine authority to insist on observance.

    • The term doctrine simply means teaching. It to depends on context and modifiers. Thus, the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses would be far different from the doctrines of John and Charles Wesley or Joel Osteen, for that matter. Again, the word doctrine is neither positive nor negative. Biblical doctrine is the teaching of the Bible.

    • Regarding the early creeds of the church, if you look into it, I think you will find that there was a body of doctrine taught by the apostles. These were misunderstood, distorted and polluted by time and corruption. Great debates and controversies ensued before a consensus was agreed on by church leaders. In other words, it was doctrine, heresy, controversy over orthodoxy (accurate biblical teaching – not a denomination), doctrine re-stated as creed.

    • Regarding, “speculation about why the Bible says what it says,” and the meaning of “cryptic passages” of Scripture. First, it is most important to know what God has said. This is doctrine. I regard the Bible as my only rule of faith and practice. That is, it is the chief authority because it is the very word of God. The best way to interpret the Bible is by means of the “literal, grammatical historical approach”. This means that the very words of Scripture are inspired by God. So, we need to pay careful attention to their meaning – the way they are used. Further, the Bible was given gradually in specific circumstances and in real historic situations. This impacts not only the meaning of words, but also helps us to understand the actual words and phrases. For instance, your quote regarding the people of Israel doing their own thing, because they had no king, does occur before the time of King David. However, David was not the first king, Saul was. The Point seems to be that the people needed not only a leader but a godly leader, who was not bent on doing his own thing.

    Obscure or “cryptic” passages are to be interpreted in light of the plain teaching of the Bible. This approach does recognize the use of figurative language as well as symbolism, etc. but does not look for hidden or secret messages in the text. Also, to be remembered is that the Bible points us to Jesus. So it is important that we see how the text leads us to him. You are correct in saying that when the king returns we will have a better understanding. But in the meantime, he has given us his holy word so that we may be certain regarding the things he has revealed. This is the goal of true theology – an accurate, categorized statement of what God has said, and then to praise him for it.

    Anyway, I’ve given you a lot to think about. Hope it’s like giving you a drink from a fire hose.

    Blessings,
    Kip

  2. I should’ve said this first:

    I agree that Freemasonry is dangerous and deceptive. So do I. It does mislead and confuse people. They are in danger of hell fire, but they are not alone. Only those who are fully trusting in the sacrifice of Christ alone have any sure hope of salvation. The heart of Galatians is that Jesus took the penalty of those who deserve it. He took our curse by hang on the tree – he was crucified – paid the penalty for sinners. Only those who trust in His sacrificial death are saved from God’s wrath.

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