Thursday, April 17, 2014

700 years ago: The execution of Jacques de Molay

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
II Corinthians 6:14-17

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11

On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay, believed to be 70 years of age, was burned at the stake upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in Paris, along with Preceptor of Normandy Geoffroi de Charney. Mr. De Molay was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the most powerful of Roman Catholic military orders from 1292-1307, when the order was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V, who was under the threat of military action by King Philip IV. Mr. De Molay and other leading Knights Templar were arrested and accused of various crimes, to which they confessed after torture. Messrs. De Molay and De Charney were executed after retracting their confessions. Mr. De Molay's last words included a declaration that those who had condemned them to death would soon be hit by calamity; King Philip IV and Pope Clement V were both dead before the end of the year.

The Freemasonic youth organization DeMolay International, also known as the Order of DeMolay, founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1919 by Frank S. Land, was named in honour of Jacques de Molay. According to its website:

What is DeMolay International?

DeMolay is an organization dedicated to preparing young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives. Basing its approach on timeless principles and practical, hands-on experience, DeMolay opens doors for young men aged 12 to 21 by developing the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills so vitally needed in society today. DeMolay combines this serious mission with a fun approach that builds important bonds of friendship among members in more than 1,000 chapters worldwide.
The female equivalents of DeMolay International are Job's Daughters International, founded in Omaha in 1920 by Ethel T. Wead Mick; and International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (IORG), founded in McAlester, Oklahoma in 1922 as a result of a speech there by Rev. Mark Sexson, a Freemason.

The DeMolay Hall of Fame includes politicians Bill Clinton, Mark Hatfield, Mel Carnahan, Carl Albert, Henry Jackson, and Jim Wright; astronauts Frank Borman, Vance Brand, and Edgar Mitchell; sports figures Pete Rose, Fran Tarkenton, Harmon Killebrew, and Tom Osborne; and media and entertainment figures Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Paul Harvey. Other famous DeMolay alumni include astronaut Neil Armstrong; basketball player and politician Bill Bradley; baseball player and manager Alvin Dark; football player Terry Bradshaw; and even rock music legend Vince Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper.

One might wonder what DeMolay's idea of "personal responsibility" is, given the presence of Bill Clinton and Pete Rose in their Hall of Fame (Mr. Rose, of course, is ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame because he doesn't meet its entry standards of integrity and character--however low those standards may be in their application in the case of some who have been inducted in years past). It's worth noting that both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Rose were honoured by DeMolay before their biggest scandals came to light. One might think that, in light of what's happened since these two were inducted, that DeMolay might consider rescinding their Hall of Fame membership, or at least not boasting about it, but there they are, publicly mentioned among the honourees.

Some of the men mentioned above profess to be Christians, and maybe some of them are (although I recognize a couple of Mormons in that list), but in view of DeMolay's relationship with Freemasonry--which worships a false god and proclaims a false gospel of salvation by works--real Christians should disassociate themselves from the organization in obedience to II Corinthians 6:14-17.

The fact that DeMolay International is a Freemasonic organization, and that the Bible forbids being unequally yoked with unbelievers, hasn't prevented evangelist Billy Graham from praising the order:

...there are thoughtful, concerned young people--who seek to correct the errors in moral navigation that have been made by their elders, intelligently and responsibly. There are the young people upon which the hope of America's future rests and DeMolays are part of this group...May God richly bless all DeMolays as they continue their good work. Forrest D. Haggard, The Clergy and the Craft, 1970, p. 127.

When I was in high school and was a young and ignorant Christian, I was invited by a professing Christian friend to join DeMolay. I didn't pursue the opportunity--not because I had keen Christian discernment (although I thought DeMolay was a strange name for a society), but more because of apathy and because I'm not much of a joiner (it might also have been an unconscious holdover from my days in Cub Scouts, when I quit after two years because we never did anything interesting). Looking back, I think it was a case of God using my indifference to joining DeMolay to protect me from the deception of that society and its parent organization.

There are a number of excellent critiques of Freemasonry from a Christian perspective. A couple that this blogger has found useful are The Facts on the Masonic Lodge (1989) and The Secret Teachings of the Masonic Lodge: A Christian Perspective (1990) by John Ankerberg & John Weldon.

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