Lutherans Informed about Lodges (LIL)

Is it a Sin to Belong to the Elks Lodge?
by Rev. Walter Snyder
Co-author of  “ What Do Lutherans Believe?



Membership in the Elks Lodge

by Pastor Walter Snyder (7/2/2003)


Q: Is it a sin to belong to the Elks Lodge?  I belong to one and have been wondering lately if a true Christian should belong to such organizations.

A: In short, some Christian bodies allow lodge membership, some tolerate it, and some demand that you choose between lodge and Church.  While especially directed toward the Masons, these prohibitions likewise cover the so-called “Animal Lodges,” including Elks, Eagles, Moose, and the like.

Some of this rejection involves being sworn to secrecy concerning future information about the lodge’s teachings, taking godless oaths, placing Christianity on the same level as other religions, and the like.  Lutherans traditionally reject the lodges for these reasons and because they all, even if they otherwise allow freedom of Christian expression, focus on doing good works in order to merit God’s favor and, perhaps, achieve eternal life.  Any organization which speaks of any sort of divine benefit, including eternal life, due to our own good deeds is in error.  It takes nothing more than reading Ephesians 2:8-9 to see that membership in any organization denying or devaluing the meritorious work of Christ involves confessing a different faith.  Not a lodge exists that completely rejects good works as essential for salvation.  If the discerning Christian carefully studies the teachings of the lodges, he'll see that all are built on a false foundation.  How he responds depends upon his trust in the Lord and his understanding of the words of Scripture.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and co-author of the book “What Do Lutherans Believe?”


Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Ask the Pastor, © 2003 by Walter P. Snyder.  It may be reproduced in totality, including this disclaimer, by anyone, provided that no profit is generated by said republication and redistribution.  Translations into other languages should similarly note the United States and any appropriate international copyrights, as well as God’s Scriptural injunctions concerning the property of others.