Quoted from the study:
1886: WM IRVINE BECOMES A FREEMASON, or a member of the Masonic Lodge: In 1937, Irvine wrote a letter stating: “I AM a Mason for over 50 years.”
This means that he became a Mason in the year 1886 (or earlier) at the age of 23 years (or younger), while he was working in the coal mines; the same year his sister Margaret died, and his illegitimate son Archie was born. This means that he was a Mason while he was associated with the Faith Mission, and all during the time he was the leading worker of the Go-Preacher group. He wrote:
"Masonry was introduced by the Jews as a Trade protection society at the building of Solomon's Temple, and prospered in Jerusalem, and spread over the Earth in the scattering of the Jews. I am a Mason for over 50 years, though don't take any stock in it anymore than anything else which marks the old earth conditions." (September 10, 1937 Letter to Berglinds)
The idea that Free Masonry is a "Trade protection society" with roots in the time of Solomon's Temple is disputed by many scholars, but it certainly is the public self-declaration of Masonry nonetheless -- while Masons who declare it publicly know very well that the very first of SECRET Masonic initiation rites is a religious ceremony, containing religious "solemn oaths" that the initiate MUST vow within that ceremony. There is no evidence one way or the other as to whether William Irvine actually took those oaths, but he would not be a Mason unless he did take those oaths. Evidence for William Irvine’s membership and passage of degrees in Freemasonry surfaced in November, 2010 from the records of the lodge that he joined -- see on TTT) So we could assume that in his written declaration of being a member of the Masonic Lodge beginning in 1886 signifies 1886 to be William Irvine's first religious commitment. And in keeping with that commitment, certain aspects of Free Masonry can be seen within the sect founded by William Irvine in 1897 -- such as the SECRECY practiced within 2x2ism right from the get-go.
I will therefore take a look at Freemasonry with regard to Christianity in order to present some idea of what William Irvine's first commitment would entail.
The relationship of Masonry to Christian faith has been controversial for at least 200 years, and over that period the different sides have attempted to defend their positions to the best of their abilities. Therefore, confusion often befalls the layperson who must carefully wade through the arguments on both sides before he or she can hope to resolve the issue responsibly. While this article cannot relieve such laypeople of the task of discerning the matter, its purpose is to provide them with a strong yet concise presentation of the case against Christian involvement with Masonry. (Further documentation and analysis of the claims and arguments of Masonry can be found in Bowing at Strange Altars [an evaluation of the Southern Baptist Study on Masonry] and The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge: A Christian Appraisal, both of which I coauthored with Dr. John Ankerberg. I urge interested readers to secure these volumes for further study in dealing with this issue. This article is primarily excerpted, with some changes, from Bowing at Strange Altars.)
(Christian Research Institute, The Masonic Lodge and the Christian Conscience DM166 by John Weldon)
http://www.equip.org/articles/the-mason  ... onscience/
MASONRY AND SALVATION
It is my contention that the Masonic ritual (i.e., Masonry's ceremonial rites of initiation that all Masons must pass through) of the First, Second, and Third Degrees teach all Masons exactly what God condemns as a false gospel, namely that a person is saved and goes to heaven as a result of his or her personal character and good works. As all Christians know, the Bible places such a teaching under God's curse. Paul said in Galatians 1:8-9: "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that we have preached to you, let him be accursed." The Bible clearly teaches how a man is saved: "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, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9. Cf. John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; Rom. 3:28-4:6; 11:6).
(ibid) emphasis mine
I could go on presenting item after item of the contradiction of Scripture by Freemasonry, but this thread is not a treatise of Freemasonry v Christianity, so let it suffice to present only the disagreement of Freemasonry with the Biblical essential of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
So, William Irvine's first commitment was to a FALSE 'gospel' of human efforts. And that is precisely what is found in the sect that Irvine founded, which SECRETLY has a LONG list of unwritten rules that their 'converts' must meet (to unsettled standards) in order to be considered 'inside the arch' and thereby 'saved.'
It might now become clear to any interested reader how the Eak gospel Irvine received, combined with his ealier membership in Free Masonry influenced him in the creation of a sect that accepted a gospel of Homeless preachers and a human-works salvation, both opposing God's word.
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