This question doesn’t come up a lot lately but still is a matter of proper faith and practice and so is a point worthy of review. Our constitution lists lodges and other such fraternal orders that we can’t, in good conscience, have dual membership with as members of St. John or as Christians, really. This is likewise the position of the LC-MS of which we are a congregational member. A lodge is defined as a quasi-religious organization that holds to views and doctrines, particularly on salvation, that are in conflict with the Bible. Elks, Moose, and Masons are primary examples of lodges. Moreover, these groups keep secret rituals and pacts that betray the unity that is to between Christian brothers and sisters. Lodges are to be distinguished from civic or service organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Gideon and the Scouts (a later concession) which meet regularly but have no secret oaths to make neither any religious convictions to hold nor rituals to perform.
The conflicting religious views held by lodges include the belief that salvation is possible outside of faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus and can be earned through good works, the pronouncement that all sincere members will be reunited in the afterlife, the position that the Bible is only one of the “good books” useful for its moral teaching, and the conviction that the nature of man is perfectible through serious good deeds and charitable giving. Lodge theology is really just another version of the Universalist-Unitarian Church. Their focus is upon God only as a creator and then the rest is up to man himself. As a disciples of Jesus Christ, we can’t affiliate with those who deny the Triune God and salvation in any other way but then the blood of Christ.
Some attempt to claim a mere “social-membership” because of business necessity or to use community amenities without taking the formal oath in the lodge. This is confusing at best as to what one truly believes. Scripture warns of even the appearance of the company we keep. Sometimes knowing the difference between lodges, social orders and civic organizations or college groups can get blurred. I think it best to say that congregational members not belong to any organization which by oath binds them to a faith and practice which is in conflict with the true confession of Holy Scripture and the unwavering faith that Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, is the sole confidence of our eternal life.
Let’s consider John 5:23, 8:31, 32 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:6-14; 1 John 1:6, 7.