Is the Orange Order a secret society?
What is a secret society?
Webster's dictionary defines: "any of various oath-bound societies often devoted to brotherhood, moral discipline, and mutual assistance".
American Heritage Dictionary describes it as “An organization, such as a lodge, that requires its members to conceal certain activities, such as its rites of initiation, from outsiders.”
The same dictionary defines an Orangeman as:
“A member of a secret society founded in Northern Ireland in 1795 to maintain the political and religious ascendancy of Protestantism.
The Free Methodist Church explains: “Those voluntary associations which demand an oath, affirmation, promise of secrecy or a secret password as conditions of membership are to be considered secret societies.”
Does the Orange Order come under this banner?
I believe the Orange Order fulfils this as does its senior orders the Royal Arch Purple and Royal Black Institution.
Encyclopædia Britannica says of the Orange Order: “After a major confrontation in 1795, known as the Battle of the Diamond, the Orange Society was formed as a secret society, with lodges spreading throughout Ireland and ultimately into Great Britain and various British dominions. In 1835, with the Orange Society in mind, the House of Commons petitioned the king to abolish societies that were secret and that excluded persons on the ground of religion.”
The Orange Order, the Royal Arch Purple Chapter and the Royal Black Institution hide their practices and teaching behind locked doors. The outsider is not welcome to hear their teaching or view their practices. Why is this? Why do these societies hide their procedures from the rest of us? Can they not bear scrutiny? Why do these societies hide behind secured doors, funny handshakes, door tylers, secret passwords, cryptic recognition methods and vows of secrecy? Why do the Arch Purple and Black threaten their members under pain of death to conceal the internal teaching?
If these religious societies are just and biblical then why don't they swing their doors open and let us witness their practices, teaching and rituals and let us judge for ourselves? Surely if you belong to a biblical society it can bare the scrutiny of Scripture?
Yes, the Orange Order is a secret society, and yes there are reasons why it conceals its teaching and practices!
Newspaper articles, reviews and debate following the release of Behind Closed Doors
Evangelical Truth response to Royal Arch Purple Chapter spokesman Rev. Ron Johnstone's attack on Behind Closed Doors.
Evangelical Truth response to Independent Orange Institution attack on Behind Closed Doors.
An indepth study of the highly-secretive Independent Orange Institution. We will look at their history, secrets and degrees of the Order.
Questions Christian Orangemen should consider
View the overall Orange degree system
A biblical analysis of the Royal Arch Purple degree