Where is Little Johnny now?

An examination of Masonic charity

 

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New Life

John and Mary were so happy on that beautiful spring morning. The small peach and nectarine trees that had been planted during a particularly harsh winter were beginning to blossom, signaling that this would be the year of their "first fruits". The mulberry tree in the backyard was showing signs of new life. There was an emergence of small buds that would soon become beautiful, dark-green leaves, spreading like a large canopy over the picnic table that sat beneath the tree. John and Mary had often sat at that table, making plans for the future, especially after hearing the good news from their family doctor last September. "Mr. Smith, the queasiness your wife has been experiencing in the mornings is quite natural, because, you see, your wife is carrying a new life inside her. The family you have dreamed of is about to become a reality. Mrs. Smith is going to deliver your first-born in about 7 months. Congratulations."

So, on that beautiful spring morning, signs of new life were everywhere, and now, Mary was feeling the first pangs that told them it was time to call Dr. Jones and tell him they were on their way to the hospital.

Not long after being taken into the delivery room, the labor pains were soon forgotten as Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who would be named after his very proud father. After pacing up and down in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity, the anxious father was summoned to the hospital room where his wife lay in bed resting, with a small bundle of joy by her side. As "dad" walked into the room, Mary said, "Come meet your new son. Here he is – ‘Little Johnny’."

Something is wrong

Months pass by, which normally would have been joyous times, but something was wrong. Dr. Jones told them that "Little Johnny’s" body was not developing normally, and there were other signs indicating that serious medical problems were forthcoming. Unfortunately, time served to prove that Dr. Jones’ diagnoses were all too accurate.

The pastor offers hope

But the pastor where John & Mary attend church offered them hope. They have always enjoyed their pastor’s reassuring messages of love, yet he has never spoken of John 14:6. There is no recollection of ever hearing him speak on Ephesians 2:8-9, either. His sermons were almost always about being a good person; about doing good things for others. Their pastor is a member of the local Masonic lodge. He proudly wears a Masonic ring, and boasts of the "fraternity’s" many good works. He often speaks highly of the accomplishments of the organization, particularly in the area of medicine – burn care units and crippled children’s hospitals. And now, he tells them there is hope; that his Masonic brothers can help them – can help "Little Johnny". "If it is at all possible", he reassures them, "’Little Johnny’ will be able to walk."

"Little Johnny" is taken to a Shriners’ crippled children’s facility. His major problem is that he lives in an afflicted body that cannot move from one place to another under its own power. But his various physical problems are soon dealt with, and the surgeries and treatments his body undergoes are successful in making the necessary corrections so that physically, he leaves the hospital with a beautifully functioning body that has been transformed by the "good works" performed on it. After months of therapy, not only can Johnny walk; Johnny can run!

He grows into a mature adult, feeling gratitude for the good works performed at that Shriners’ medical facility. He feels indebted, but not to God. It was God who guided the hands of the surgeons on that particular day many years ago - perhaps because of the prayers of Christian family members and their many prayer partners. Or perhaps the surgeon who operated on him that morning was a Christian employee of the hospital who had spent time in earnest prayer to God, prior to entering the operating room. But the indebtedness Johnny feels is to the Shriners.

Little Johnny’s feeling of gratefulness, directed to the Shriners is understandable. Besides, "Little Johnny" grew up in a church where the message was always about doing good things for one another – never hearing that it is through God that all things are possible. :

"And Jesus looking upon them, saith, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible’."

Mark 10:27

Johnny wants to be a Shriner

Now that Johnny is of "lawful age", he wants to become a part of the wonderful things the Shriners do for others. He wants to repay them by becoming a part of their efforts. So he becomes a Mason, trusting not only in the works done on his formerly frail body many years ago, but now, he is also trusting in the beautiful sounding things they are teaching him about life, and about his future life. They not only healed his body, but they are now showing him a way of life that is presented as being the formula for attaining to "that Celestial Lodge above." He trusted in their good works many years ago and his body was healed. Now, he feels that he can trust in their plan of salvation. After all, doesn’t the Apron Lecture teach that all Masons shall stand before the Judge Supreme of the Great White Throne; and that upon review of the deeds done while here in the body, they shall all be ushered into heaven? Isn’t his Masonic pastor’s message almost always on being a good person and doing good things for others, just like members of the lodge do? Doesn’t God want us to love our neighbors, just like members of the lodge do? Surely, if the plan of salvation offered by the lodge was flawed, Johnny could depend upon his pastor to point this out to the ritualists, couldn’t he?

Little Johnny has grown up now, and John has progressed through Masonry, moving on through life with the hope of a glorious immortality. He has hope that there is indeed a "Celestial Lodge above", where he will one day be received, because of "..the deeds done while here in the body." He hasn’t stopped with Blue Lodge degrees. He wants more. He wants to be a Shriner, so he goes into the Scottish Rite. Johnny goes through the additional 29 degrees in a fast and furious weekend, never being required to memorize anything, and only seeing half of the degrees he is given credit for.

The fact that the 19th degree confers the priesthood of Jesus Christ upon the candidate – the Melchizedek priesthood held by Jesus Christ alone - goes right over his head. After all, that was one of the "communicated" degrees that was only briefly spoken of, and not enacted. Johnny doesn’t give the teachings of the Scottish Rite a lot of consideration: "There is nothing wrong with it, or else my pastor wouldn’t be a Scottish Rite Mason." At last comes the day when he is allowed to become a Shriner. To do so, he is required to swear a blood oath to Allah. Johnny’s pastor explains to him, "It’s okay, Allah is just another name for God. If there was something wrong with the Mystic Shrine, I wouldn’t have remained a member all these years." (Yet the truth of the matter is that Moslems – those who proclaim Allah as "the god of our fathers" - deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; they claim He is nothing more than a prophet. Allah has no son. Since Allah has no son, he cannot be the God of the Bible.)

And so, life goes on – for a while, anyway. John has matured into a very successful businessman. Sometimes he is swamped with all the work that fellow Masons send his way, but he always makes sure he has time to actively participate in the various fund raising activities of the Shriners. After all, he owes them more than he could ever repay.

The End of Life

But then comes the day when his lifeless remains are to be laid to rest beneath the clods of the valley, when from his nerveless grasp, drop forever the "working tools of life", but where is "Little Johnny" now?

The funeral service is religious sounding enough, and it certainly is well attended. More than fifty men are present, some wearing white aprons, others arrayed in the regalia of various appendant bodies, and of course, the men of the red fez – the Shriners. Johnny was one of their own.

During the funeral service, there is a great deal of talk about the promise of eternal life, and even mention of a resurrection to eternal life, but there is no reference to Jesus Christ and acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior. There are several prayers recited, but none of them ever mention His name. Some passages of the Bible are quoted, including some things that Jesus Himself had said, but always, His name is omitted. There are no Christian symbols, such as a cross, or a fish emblem, anywhere within sight. The only religious symbol present is the Crescent Moon symbol of the Islamic religion. The Crescent Moon is prominently displayed on the red fezzes of the Shriners. Johnny’s fez with the Crescent Moon is displayed at the head of his casket. Allah is in attendance – but is there room for Jesus?

"Little Johnny" had been a church member for years. As a teen, he had professed faith in Jesus. But there is nothing visible at his funeral service which witnesses of a vital faith in Jesus Christ. Is it the blood of the Lamb that now covers him because of a faith in Jesus Christ, or has that now been replaced by the lambskin apron which has been placed in his casket? The lambskin apron is the badge of a Mason. It is to represent a pure and blameless life, which Freemasonry claims is so essentially necessary to obtaining entrance into the Celestial Lodge above. Surely, Johnny’s good deeds outweigh the bad, don’t they? The lecture he heard when he was given his lambskin apron many years ago clearly stated that he would receive an eternal reward for those good works. Did Johnny trust in those salvific teachings of good works as the basis for his hope of the eternal life?

The Craft had taught Johnny to put his hope in the teachings of the lodge, but aren’t the teachings instilled within him in the lodge room at odds with what is taught in the Written Word of God? John 14:6 states:

"Jesus spoke unto them saying, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me’."

This is one of several passages his Masonic pastor never spoke on – one of several passages that point to Jesus Christ as being the only way to the Father. Ephesians 2:8-9 states:

"For by grace we are saved, through faith, and not of ourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast’."

This is yet another passage that Johnny’s Masonic pastor never spoke of in any of his sermons. Since Jesus is truly unique, why did the Scottish Rite confer the Melchizedek priesthood which is held by Jesus Christ alone, upon men who were not even required to confess Him as Lord and Savior? Were they implying that Scottish Rite Masons may stand before God with personal righteousness, just as Jesus Christ can? And, if Allah is really just another name for God, why doesn’t he have a son?

Deuteronomy 32:16-17 states:

"They made Him jealous with strange gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons who were not God, to gods whom they have not known, new gods who came lately, whom your fathers did not dread."

Paul warned that it was impossible for a man to embrace Jesus Christ and remain ensnared in paganism. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21:

"No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."

The Total Package

The philanthropies of the Lodge healed his body many years ago, but now, by his acceptance of their false teachings, "Little Johnny" will live in eternity, separated from God. This is the "total package" the Craft has to offer.

What are their "good works"? What benefit do they bring?

Is this a true story? Yes, every element of it was true in the lives of one or more men we have known. This composite allows us to view the Masonic package in proper perspective. How many more times will we see similar real-life stories play out? How many times will the father of a young child who has been made to walk again, or even to finally walk for the first time, feel an indebtedness toward the lodge? And how many times will such a feeling of indebtedness lead a man to filling out a petition for the degrees of blue lodge, so that he can eventually become a part of the "good works" that caused his child to walk? How many times will a "Little Johnny" come along, feeling an indebtedness for the services provided in a crippled children’s hospital, or a burn-care unit, causing him to want to be a part of the process that made his bodily transformation possible?

Save a body today, and destroy the soul tomorrow?

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

Mark 8:36

Again we ask, "Where is ‘Little Johnny’ now?"

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