A biblical response to RAP spokesman Rev Ron Johnstone
Behind Closed Minds is an examination of the book, 'Behind Closed Doors'
by "Royal" Arch Purple Spokesman Rev Ron Johnstone, Armagh, on behalf of the
Chaplains Committee of the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Purple Chapter of
We have deliberately chose to concentrate upon the arguments
relating to the actual "Royal" Arch Purple degree rather than reply to the
author's many unjust personal attacks upon the author of Behind Closed Doors.
The most notable aspect of Behind Closed Minds, which has been heralded
by some as both a defence of the Royal Arch Purple and a rebutal of Behind Closed
Doors, is its evasive nature. It repeatedly ignores the many biblical
arguments outlined in the latter. Notwithstanding, it also succeeds
in avoiding the vast bulk of the degrading RAP initiation as if somehow it
didn't exist. We will however refer to these matters in the final
part of our response.
Quotes from Behind Closed Minds will be made in bold italics for the
purpose of study .
At the end of his "ride on the goat" the candidate is rolled up in a
bundle and carried in the canvas or sackcloth sheet to the north-west
corner of the Chapter room, where he is informed of the consequences of
disloyalty to the Royal Arch Purple. Here the Arch Purple candidate
subjects himself to one of the most blasphemous and grossly repulsive
forms of bondage imaginable, binding his conscience and spirit, by a
devilish blood curse, to this sinful counterfeit body.
Two lecturers converse to explain the penalties as follows: "Can you explain to me the three great and solemn penalties of a Royal Arch Purpleman?
First - That I would suffer my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by its roots, and with my
body buried in the rough sands of the sea, two and a
half cable tow lengths from where the tide ebbs and
flows, about twice in a natural day, before I would divulge.
Second - That I would suffer my left breast torn open, my
heart and vitals taken therefrom, and with my body
given to the vultures of the air, or the wild beasts of
the field, as a prey, before I would divulge.
Third and last - That I would suffer no less a penalty than
that of having my body severed in two, one part
carried east, the other west, taken to the top of some
high hill or mountain, the parts thereof burned to ashes, the ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven, so that not a vestige of such a vile or
perjured wretch as I should remain amongst men, more especially Royal Arch Purple men, should I divulge, part or parts, secret or sign, sign or token,
of anything I had received, or was about to receive, or may hereafter be instructed in, unless to a brother Royal Arch Purpleman, well knowing
him to be such, after strict trial and due examination, or upon the word of a well-known brother."
One must ask, how a believer could be part of an Order that confers such evil spiritual bondage upon its members. One wonders what pathetic
defence they could give for bestowing such barbaric penalties on the initiate in the light of Holy Writ, or what shred of contrived justification
could be uttered to explain how such repugnant rhetoric in any way promotes the Protestant Faith?"
In response to this the author of Behind Closed Minds declares, "It is a pity that Mr Malcomson did not take the trouble to look up a Bible Concordance.
He would have discovered that what he terms 'blasphemous' and 'a devilish blood curse is taken from Jeremiah chapter 34:20…On Page 78 he quotes from
1 Cor 3:16,17 to suggest that as our bodies are Temples of the Holy Ghost it would be wrong to take an oath that would imply judgement on our bodies
if the oath was not kept. This of course is absolute nonsense. In the Old Testament when a woman was suspected of adultery the priest would make her
take an oath. If she lied then, "May your belly swell and your thigh rot. "To these words God required the woman to add her Amen. Commentator's claim
that in Bible times when oaths were taken by Ruth David etc. it- would be accompanied by the person running his or her hand across their throat in a
cutting motion signifying what they wished to suffer if they did not keep their promise. There are many examples in scripture of oaths made between
men. These were often ratified by the cutting of animals into two parts and the parties to the oath walking between the then" to signify that they
wished that to happen to them if they did not keep their promise. The animals were then burnt. Abraham did this to make an oath with Abimelech
in Gen 20. God told Abraham to cut up animals and lay them on altars. God Himself then passed between the pieces to signify that He was swearing by
His own Name to keep His oath."
If the example quoted of ascertaining whether a woman is an adulteress is applicable today, why doesn't the author introduce the same mode of
enquiry to his own assembly?
The author of Behind Closed Minds amazingly attempts to compare the just open biblical oaths affirmed in the Old Testament to the wicked Masonic
ones sworn by Orangemen today. However, to justify the taking of Masonic penalties with the story of the woman suspected of adultery in the Old
Testament is astonishing. She was compelled for judgement's sake to take a potion and swear an oath to the priest - if she lied then, "May your
belly swell and your thigh rot." To compare and compel a Christian to take such a curse for no other reason than the fact that he simply wants
to join a so-called Christian organisation is outrageous.
Knowing the weakness of his argument, the author of Behind Closed Minds sheepishly turns to Protestant history in an attempt to find some shred
of support for his position, saying, "Remembering the historical connection of these penalties and the fact that some of the Martyrs depicted on Orange
Banners suffered some of them rather than betray the Protestant Faith there need be no apology made for quoting them in the degree."
Failing there, he then tries to employ secular history to justify this
iniquity, saying, "Any student of history will know that such penalties
were once the lawful punishments carried out in our land. 'The History of
the Royal Arch Purple Order' clearly demonstrated this yet Mr Malcomson did
not include those facts in his book. History reveals that in 1555 six
pirates suffered the very fate of the first penalty. These penalties were
in fact the typical methods of punishments used almost universally in the
Middle Ages, hanging with various accompaniments for the crime of treason,
and burning at the stake, with another set of accompaniments for the crime
of falsely accused by such gullible people of calling up the devil in their
Notwithstanding, the Royal Arch Purple inherited such savage curses
directly from the iniquitous pit of Freemasonry, an Order that has always marked its evil influence with this satanic bond. Whilst the
Royal Arch Purple places her vulgar penalties into one monstrous abominable concoction, Freemasonry spreads hers over her first three degrees.
Nevertheless both orders threaten the same penalties for divulging their teaching and practices.
The obligation of a first degree Freemason (Entered Apprentice degree) says: "Binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having
my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the rough sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and
flows twice in twenty four hours, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this my solemn oath and obligation as an Entered Apprentice Mason.
So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."
The obligation of a second degree Freemason (Fellowcraft degree) says: "Binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my left
breast torn open, my heart plucked out, and given as a prey to the wild beasts of the field and the fowls of the air as a prey."
The obligation of a third degree Freemason (Master Mason degree) says: "Binding myself under no less a penalty than that of having my body
severed in two, my bowels taken from thence and burned to ashes, the ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven, so that no more trace or
remembrance may be had of so vile and perjured a wretch as I, should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this my solemn obligation as a Master
Mason. So help me God, and keep me steadfast in the due performance of the same."
Despite the absolute fact that these penalties are appropriated from Freemasonry who acquired them from the occult, the author of Behind Closed
Minds argues, "In point of fact these penalties were not dreamed up by Freemasons, witches, Mormons or by Satan. How could that be, when
they contain the very words of the Bible?"
This is probably one of the most naïve statements made in Behind Closed Minds as Satan is the master at mixing Scripture with error and presenting
it as absolute truth. Roman Catholicism, Freemasonry, and Mormonism are proof of this.
We see the devil employing three significant strategies in Genesis 3 in the Garden of Eden, which he has repeated countless times since. In fact,
wherever you see Satan's religion at work these three tactics are very much to the fore.
The first is - Satan questions the Word of God.
The second is - Satan corrupts the Word of God.
The third is - Satan invents his own false Gospel.
On these three important matters, the "Royal" Arch Purple Order fulfils the criteria.
In reality, no Christian has the right to bind himself to such wickedness. He is the Lord's unique possession and his body is the temple of the
Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
The believer is under Divine ownership, being the peculiar possession of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has therefore no right to subject himself to
such mutilating curses. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If
any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Like every other word of instruction and every aspect of ceremony within the Royal Arch Purple, the penalties are designed to instil great fear
within the candidate, so binding his conscience to the Order. The Bible says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because
fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (I John 4:18).
The author of Behind Closed Minds again misrepresents, saying,
"The RAP has declared that the penalties are not taken in the
form of an oath yet Mr Malcomson gives space to a denunciation of the
taking of oaths. On this he is at variance with scripture."
Mr Malcomson actually explains, "Whilst debate may continue among evangelicals on the overall subject of oaths there can
surely be no justification, from any side, for this sinful neo-Masonic Royal Arch Purple oath."
Three great lights
Behind Closed Doors reveals how the "candidate is faced with a mystical three-branched candlestick flickering before his eyes," which he is told
represents "the three great lights."
The Arch Purple lecture explains its meaning.
Q. "What did you next behold?
A. Three great lights in the east.
Q. What did these three great Lights represent?
A. Spiritually, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, co-equal and co- eternal; but carnally, the sun, moon and stars, and the Worshipful Master.
Q. Why the sun, moon and stars, and the Worshipful Master?
A. First - The sun, the greater light, to rule the day.
Second - The moon and stars, the lesser lights, to rule the night.
Third - The Worshipful Master standing in the midst with a drawn sword in his hand. He also
carried the Bible, and the book of rules and regulations, and the seal
of the Chapter placed thereon. The Bible to be the rule and guide of his
faith and practice. The book of rules and regulations to enable him to
rule and govern his Royal Arch Purple Chapter, or, in his unavoidable
absence, cause the same to be done by some fit and qualified brother.
The seal teaches me that should I receive a summons or document whereon
that seal is legally affixed, I am in duty bound to attend thereto, as
well as to keep the secrets of my Royal Arch Purple brethren within my
breast, as well as my own, murder and treason excepted."
This Arch Purple address is a confused accumulation of religious rhetoric. Not surprisingly it has no biblical foundation!
It derives its origin from Freemasonry. Scripture speaks of only two great lights, the sun and the moon, which were created to provide natural
light to the earth. Genesis 1:16 says: "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to
rule the night: he made the stars also."
Please note, after confirming the "two great lights" ("the sun and the moon") the Holy Spirit then adds a postscript: "he made the stars also."
Mr Johnstone alleges, "Mr Malcomson's lack of Biblical knowledge is further underlined on page 90 when he dogmatically
accuses the Order of having, 'NO biblical foundation' in referring to the stars as 'Great lights.' The Order, of course is simply quoting the words
of Psalm 136:7-9. Mr Malcomson quotes verses that condemn heathen worship of the sun and stars. He does not however list the references that show
other symbolic uses of the stars. The Bible in some places shows that the star was used as a symbol of false gods but in other passages was also used
as a symbol of the Saviour and of His ministers. Mr Malcomson must have forgotten that in Gen 37:7 the sun, moon and stars are used as symbols of
rule in the family of Joseph. Jacob his father was symbolised by the sun, his mother by the moon and his brothers by the stars."
Mr Johnstone totally changes the subject, avoids the issue at hand and transpires to create a straw man here. His response is surely
a smokescreen to conceal Royal Arch Purple error. His response has nothing to do with the concern expressed by Mr Malcomson
in his book. The author's disquiet was two-fold. Firstly, the RAP teaching that there are 3 great lights instead of the 2 the Bible speaks of.
Secondly, the RAP's attempt to force the "Worshipful" Master into its so-called "three great lights."
Does Psalm 136 contradict Genesis 1:16 and say there are 3 great lights instead of the 2 in Genesis? Does Psalm 136 says that the "Worshipful
Master" is the third great light?
Absoluetly not! Psalm 136:7-9 simply says, "To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever."
There is no conflict between Genesis 1 and Psalm 136. Psalm 136 tells us that God made great lights, Genesis 1 tells us how many ("two").
The question we must ask the author of Behind Closed Minds is: how many great lights does he believe there are? Are there two
as the Bible says or three as Freemasonry and the "Royal" Arch Purple say?" Or is he insinuating that there are millions of great
lights (as in the stars)?
Evangelicals know: when there is a conflict between man and the Bible Scripture wins every time. For Mr Johnstone to give his assent to
this error is to fight with Scripture and expose his own defence.
The RAP order is:
"First - The sun, the greater light, to rule the day.
Second - The moon and stars, the lesser lights, to rule the night.
Third - The Worshipful Master ..."
Naturally the sun is presented by the RAP as the first great light. The moon and stars are then coupled together to make the next
great light (albeit it also describes them as "lesser lights" - thus confusing the candidate even more). Finally, the RAP
invents a third great light (unknown to Scripture) - the Worshipful Master. He is amazingly elevated (as a great light) to the same level
as the sun, moon and stars!!!
Where does the Chapter get this nonsense? Mr Johnstone totally side steps this issue. Could he furnish the rest of us with Scripture
that states that the "Worshipful Master" is elevated to a natural great light trinity? How can he justify adding unto the words of Scripture,
arguing there are 3 great lights when it is clear there are 2?
I think we will be waiting a long time on biblical evidence!
Behind Closed Minds is an examination of 'Behind Closed Doors' by Royal Arch Purple Spokesman, and Free Presbyterian Minister, Rev. Ron Johnstone,
Armagh, on behalf of the Chaplains Committee of the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Purple Chapter of Ireland.
Evangelical Truth response
Part 1 - An analysis of the arguments
Part 3 - An analysis of the arguments (continued)
Part 4 - The arguments conveniently ignored
Part 5 - The arguments conveniently ignored (continued)
Part 6 - The Conclusion