Author Topic: Youth Catechesis Question  (Read 4967 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2020, 11:31:26 AM »
Ok.
To everyone here except Pastor Kirchner:
Does anyone know anything about York rite freemasonry? Is it Christian? As I understand it,  the Knights Templar degree is open only to Christians, but before that level a man would have to go through the other degrees of basic freemasonry. And the Knights Templar would be open to all Christians. Wouldn’t this to be a problem for someone concerned about unionism?
Remember. This question is for everyone but Pastor Kirchner, and is a follow-up of my reflection upstream.

P.S. As for “paying” for someone’s progress through the lodge, I could imagine that it could happen.
I am no expert on Freemasonry and much of what I know I got from Wikipedia. Freemasonry is not a centrally organized and uniformly administered organization. Rather, from what I can gather, it is a rather loosely connected movement with considerable independence among the various branches and local groups. For example it may well be that movement upward among the various degrees is facilitated by or even requires the payment of money in some areas, perhaps less so in others.


In any case, within the umbrella of the York Rite (aka American Rite) one subgrouping is the Knights Templar. To participate and advance within the Knights Templar one must be Christian since part of the requirements is to sign a declaration to profess the "Doctrine of the Holy and Undivided Trinity." In Masonic mythology the Knights Templar descended from or was derived from the Crusading Knights Templar.


Would being a Christian in the Knights Templar alongside other Christians of other denominations be "unionism?" That would very much depend on what one considers Freemasonry to be. Is Freemasonry a nonreligious organization that recognizes the value that some members place on religion? Then unionism is not a consideration. [Note: here I am speaking in terms of what I understand the LCMS view of these things.] As LCMS Christians we can associate with and participate in nonreligious organization with people of any Christian, non-Christian, or no religion. Even if the organization recognizes the value of religion.


For example, at one time I was Rotarian for a number of years. As a pastor, I was frequently called upon to open meetings with a prayer or give the table prayer since we typically met for lunch. (LCMS are willing to pray with other Christians.) As I was giving the prayer and it was not a prayer to which I would have religious objections, there was no problem. While the Rotary Club encouraged and promoted good behavior, its "philosophy" did not delve into religious issues. So there was no unionism.


Freemasonry is officially (in as much there is official Masonic teachings) not only religious but promulgates several specific religious teachings. While the Knights Templar are specifically Trinitarian Christian, Freemasonry in general favors no religion over another and holds that worship of any supreme being is as good as any other. It teaches a form of what we would call works righteousness as key to entering a good afterlife and especially in its funerary rites being a good Mason is important. Thus it is at the least Syncretistic.


One does not simply enter the Knights Templar if one chooses when embarking on Freemasonry. One must first become a Mason in which these non-Christian (and I would say anti-Christian) teaching are held. Christian not not simply a style of religion that one prefers, much as one could prefer New England white clam chowder over Rhode Island clear or Manhattan red clam chowder. Or prefer rock music over country. Yet that is what Freemasonry teaches.


While if one considers Freemasonry as primarily a social and charitable organization with a few religious overtones then Christians of various denomination mixing together would not be unionism since they are primarily doing social and charitable stuff, not religious. Even so, a Christian in such a group should personally abstain from participating in any non-Christian prayers. However if it as, as it proclaims itself to be a religious organization with religious beliefs and teachings (even if it claims that however religious it is it is not a religion - logomancy) then concern over unionism would be overshadowed by a concern about syncretism.


While it is always dangerous to guess at other's motivations, I think that some of these concerns figured into Pr. Austin's decision to leave Masonry after DeMolay.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 11:38:04 AM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #46 on: September 16, 2020, 12:56:05 PM »
Pastor Fienen:
Freemasonry is not a centrally organized and uniformly administered organization.
Me:
Actually, it is - or at least used to be in its heyday - more highly organized and hierarchical than the Roman Catholic Church or the U.S. Military.

Pastor Fienen:
Rather, from what I can gather, it is a rather loosely connected movement with considerable independence among the various branches and local groups.
Me:
That's not the Masonry I knew in DeMolay and the Masons and Shriners of Iowa in the 1950s and 1960s.

Pastor Fienen:
In any case, within the umbrella of the York Rite (aka American Rite) one subgrouping is the Knights Templar. To participate and advance within the Knights Templar one must be Christian since part of the requirements is to sign a declaration to profess the "Doctrine of the Holy and Undivided Trinity." .... Would being a Christian in the Knights Templar alongside other Christians of other denominations be "unionism?" That would very much depend on what one considers Freemasonry to be. Is Freemasonry a nonreligious organization that recognizes the value that some members place on religion? Then unionism is not a consideration.
Me:
But Mason ritual requires prayers, acknowledgement of God and prayers that we are good enough to enter heaven.

Pastor Fienen:
For example, at one time I was Rotarian for a number of years. As a pastor, I was frequently called upon to open meetings with a prayer or give the table prayer since we typically met for lunch. (LCMS are willing to pray with other Christians.) As I was giving the prayer and it was not a prayer to which I would have religious objections, there was no problem. While the Rotary Club encouraged and promoted good behavior, its "philosophy" did not delve into religious issues. So there was no unionism.
Me:
Hooray for you and Rotary.

Pastor Fienen:
Freemasonry is officially (in as much there is official Masonic teachings) not only religious but promulgates several specific religious teachings.
Me:
In the "old days" of the 40s and 50s, Freemasonry had as much "specific religious teachings" as any church. Some of my Masonic friends contended that this "didn't really matter," to which, I said "then why have it? Why ask me to make vows in the name of an unknown God?"

Pastor Fienen:
... Freemasonry in general favors no religion over another and holds that worship of any supreme being is as good as any other. It teaches a form of what we would call works righteousness as key to entering a good afterlife and especially in its funerary rites being a good Mason is important. Thus it is at the least Syncretistic.
Me:
And Deistic and vague and avoiding any preference for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Pastor Fienen:
One does not simply enter the Knights Templar if one chooses when embarking on Freemasonry. One must first become a Mason in which these non-Christian (and I would say anti-Christian) teaching are held.
Me:
Yes.

Pastor Fienen:
While if one considers Freemasonry as primarily a social and charitable organization with a few religious overtones then Christians of various denomination mixing together would not be unionism since they are primarily doing social and charitable stuff, not religious. Even so, a Christian in such a group should personally abstain from participating in any non-Christian prayers.
Me:
Some joined for social and status reasons. But one would not be able to "abstain from participating in any non-Christian prayers." And you make your vows orally in chapter or lodge meetings.

Pastor Fienen:
However if it as, as it proclaims itself to be a religious organization with religious beliefs and teachings (even if it claims that however religious it is it is not a religion - logomancy) then concern over unionism would be overshadowed by a concern about syncretism.
Me:
Masonry tried to not proclaim itself as "religious." The LCMS, Roman Catholics and some of the rest of us didn't buy it.

Pastor Fienen:
While it is always dangerous to guess at other's motivations, I think that some of these concerns figured into Pr. Austin's decision to leave Masonry after DeMolay.
Me:
All of them did in various ways. I found the vows, rituals, concepts of God and "plan for getting into heaven," not to mention the often historically-skewed mythology, quite incompatible with what I understood as my Christian faith. (This conversation has reminded me that once I took one of my Presbyterian friends to my Lutheran church where he found the vestments, "ritual" and "liturgy" off-putting and, I think, to him a little silly. Yet this friend, a DeMolay brother, was scrupulous about chapter rituals, square corners when approaching the grand master, capes for the "precentors" and strict memorization of the "creeds" and "vows.")
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

James J Eivan

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #47 on: September 16, 2020, 01:05:23 PM »
Again .. Rev Fienen cites Wikipedia (without an easily located link ... ok) but the response is totally devoid of verifiable sources.   Why is that so difficult?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #48 on: September 16, 2020, 02:10:10 PM »
Pr. Austin, I may well have misunderstood how Freemasonry is organized, there seemed to me to be a great deal of regional and national variations. As I said, I'm no expert. As to the nature of Freemasonry, I think you and I are in basic agreement, may differ on a few details. If anything, I was perhaps too lenient in my assessment.


The question had been asked whether Christians of various denominations practicing Knights Templar Masonry (which is supposed to be a Christian Masonic Order) together could be considered unionism. As you have confirmed that it is even more of a religious rather than secular organization than I suggested and should be considered at least a quasireligion, my answer to that question would be that the question of unionism pales in comparison to the question of syncretism.


Thank you for confirming and expanding my understanding of the nature Freemasonry.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2020, 02:29:01 PM »
You can trust me, James. I’m telling you the truth of what I have learned and experienced over the years. I’m your primary source.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2020, 02:39:19 PM »
LCMS publications on freemasonry going back to the 40s and 50s were very clear.
I can’t understand how a member of the LCMS, let alone a  Pastor, could join the lodge.
I don’t know how large, active, or widespread freemasonry is today, or if anybody cares about it. But  back in those days, it was a force socially and politically. A Number of the founders, notably George Washington, were Masons.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #51 on: September 16, 2020, 02:49:24 PM »
For example, at one time I was Rotarian for a number of years. As a pastor, I was frequently called upon to open meetings with a prayer or give the table prayer since we typically met for lunch. (LCMS are willing to pray with other Christians.) As I was giving the prayer and it was not a prayer to which I would have religious objections, there was no problem. While the Rotary Club encouraged and promoted good behavior, its "philosophy" did not delve into religious issues. So there was no unionism.


Whether it was true, I don't know. I wasn't there; but the story was told when I served in Kansas that when the District President of Kansas (at that time) was to receive an honorary degree at the ELCA's Bethany College in Lindsborg, it was deemed not a (union) worship service if they didn't wear liturgical robes or light candles - and thus he could participate.


Actually, when I was on a synod worship committee, one of our key areas of discussion was: What makes an event a worship service? What are the elements that should be necessary for something to be called "Christian worship"?


We determined some essentials: Invoking the Triune God, scripture readings, prayers.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James J Eivan

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2020, 03:43:09 PM »
You can trust me, James. I’m telling you the truth of what I have learned and experienced over the years. I’m your primary source.

Rev Austin: Your refusal to unconditionally admit to clearly documented errors


My mistake, partly. Biden has been in Wisconsin. I believe Harris was there yesterday.

does little to bolster your trust me claim. Your entitlement claim “what I have learned and experienced over the years” rings rather hollow as well.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #53 on: September 16, 2020, 03:48:32 PM »
@Charles Austin:

In your professional career how many years were spent as a full-time pastor
of a Lutheran parish?   How many years were spent as free-lance journalist?

« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 04:15:22 PM by Dave Likeness »

Charles Austin

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #54 on: September 16, 2020, 05:59:36 PM »
I was a fulltime parish pastor for 22 years and a half-time pastor for 3 years.
And I spent 17 years on staffs of newspapers and news services.
Since college, I have written freelance articles for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and news services.
For 11 years, I was on the staff of the Lutheran Council in the USA, the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Lutheran Church in America, as director of news the three years prior to the ELCA merger.
Anytime I was in staff or secular work, I was attached to a parish as an "affiliated" pastor, meaning that I preached, celebrated, taught, served on committees and provided pastoral care as needed in that parish. In retirement, my pastorates were as an interim, either in a troubled parish or a parish where a long-term pastor had retired or died.
Many people in this small forum know this already.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

Michael Slusser

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2020, 06:40:31 PM »
I was a fulltime parish pastor for 22 years and a half-time pastor for 3 years.
And I spent 17 years on staffs of newspapers and news services.
Since college, I have written freelance articles for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and news services.
For 11 years, I was on the staff of the Lutheran Council in the USA, the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Lutheran Church in America, as director of news the three years prior to the ELCA merger.
Anytime I was in staff or secular work, I was attached to a parish as an "affiliated" pastor, meaning that I preached, celebrated, taught, served on committees and provided pastoral care as needed in that parish. In retirement, my pastorates were as an interim, either in a troubled parish or a parish where a long-term pastor had retired or died.
Many people in this small forum know this already.
Some people have recently arrived or may simply be following their prejudices.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

B Hughes

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #56 on: September 16, 2020, 06:54:44 PM »
I was a fulltime parish pastor for 22 years and a half-time pastor for 3 years.
And I spent 17 years on staffs of newspapers and news services.
Since college, I have written freelance articles for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and news services.
For 11 years, I was on the staff of the Lutheran Council in the USA, the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Lutheran Church in America, as director of news the three years prior to the ELCA merger.
Anytime I was in staff or secular work, I was attached to a parish as an "affiliated" pastor, meaning that I preached, celebrated, taught, served on committees and provided pastoral care as needed in that parish. In retirement, my pastorates were as an interim, either in a troubled parish or a parish where a long-term pastor had retired or died.
Many people in this small forum know this already.
Some people have recently arrived or may simply be following their prejudices.

Peace,
Michael

Some people have been around for years and simply wonder about decades of bullying.

James J Eivan

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2020, 07:07:35 PM »
I was a fulltime parish pastor for 22 years and a half-time pastor for 3 years.
And I spent 17 years on staffs of newspapers and news services.
Since college, I have written freelance articles for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and news services.
For 11 years, I was on the staff of the Lutheran Council in the USA, the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Lutheran Church in America, as director of news the three years prior to the ELCA merger.
Anytime I was in staff or secular work, I was attached to a parish as an "affiliated" pastor, meaning that I preached, celebrated, taught, served on committees and provided pastoral care as needed in that parish. In retirement, my pastorates were as an interim, either in a troubled parish or a parish where a long-term pastor had retired or died.
Many people in this small forum know this already.
Some people have recently arrived or may simply be following their prejudices.

Peace,
Michael
Prejudices ??  Preconceived opinions are are impossible to have in this case ... with the voluminous body of postings, opinions are easily arrived at based on the extensive body of his postings.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #58 on: September 16, 2020, 07:19:02 PM »
Leave me alone, Charles. We are ordered not to interact hereon, so knock it off.

OK, so I will ask: knowing the LCMS position on lodges, am I correct in assuming that you had renounced your membership in the Masons before you joined an LCMS congregation?  Certainly the seminary would not have admitted you as an MDiv student unless you had already done so, right?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Youth Catechesis Question
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2020, 09:13:59 PM »

But Mason ritual requires prayers, acknowledgement of God and prayers that we are good enough to enter heaven.



Aye, there's the rub.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS