Response to Grand Lodge of England Part 4
Grand Chaplain to the Grand Orange Lodge of England JRG Harvey has recently released a book in response to Behind Closed Doors called “The Royal Arch Purple Degree – A Response to W.P. Malcomson.” It is essentially a defence of the Order and its teaching and practices from an internal Orange perspective.
Article Number 3 to J.R.G. Harvey Booklet called “The Royal Arch Purple – A Response to W. P. Malcomson”
The Binding of the Candidate
Chapter two in Mr J. R. G. Harvey in his booklet “A Response to W.P. Malcomson seeks to answer W. P. Malcomson’s second chapter in the book “Behind Closed Doors”. This is dealing with the obligation that the Royal Arch Purple initiate must take before proceedings to become a member of the Royal Arch Purple can continue. The initiate makes this obligation completely unaware of what is expected of him, or what is about to take place. Mr Malcomson has quoted the Reformed Presbyterian Church statement on this, which seems exceedingly fair. “Membership in Secret Societies involves taking an oath before being aware of the obligation. No man is at liberty to bind his conscience by oath without knowledge of the nature and extent of his obligation.”
Were the initiate given time to calmly reflect on the fact that he was being asked to cover his fellow Royal Arch Purple man in all his actions legal and illegal except for murder and treason, he may want time to think about it. Such time is not available on the night!! I quote from the obligation
“I will obey the five points of fellowship, and keep and conceal the secrets of my Royal Arch Purple brethren within my breast, as well as my own, murder and treason excepted.”
Mr Harvey excuses this part of the oath as necessary in a particular time of extreme difficulty such as in 1795. I must presume that we are still in such a terrible time as known paramilitaries whose organizations have track records in money laundering, counterfeiting and racketeering openly associate and participate in Orange Order demonstrations often wearing the collaret. Maybe some are keeping to their obligations very carefully!!
Read a detailed exposure:
Another part of the obligation addresses itself to the sin of Adultery. “I will not have any unlawful carnal knowledge of a brother Royal Arch Purpleman’s wife, mother, daughter, sister, or any of his near or dear female relatives.” To ask a candidate of a religious organization to promise to not commit adultery with the near relatives of any fellow member is strange. Surely such an organization should clearly promote the clear teaching of scripture that all adultery is sin and is therefore prohibited. Harvey argues that this prohibition was for a special time, when the Protestant community was under severe threat, and that things have changed.
In response I suggest. There never was a time of great danger when a community was under such awful threat that made adultery with a member of the family of a fellow member more heinous with a non member’s relative. I quote Mr Harvey. “To answer this we need to again return to the circumstances in which the Institution was founded; beleaguered Protestants banding together for protection against a vastly numerically superior vicious papist foe. Any act which weakened the brotherhood could lead to calamity upon the whole community. What could be more potentially damaging to the unity of the brotherhood than illicit carnal relations taking place between one brother and a close female relative of another?” The implication here is that adultery with a near relative of fellow member would bring greater harm to the brotherhood than if it were committed with a relative of a non member. Let me assure him adultery with anyone will bring incredible damage to both individuals concerned and their families and any church or institution this man is a member of.
If as Mr Harvey has stated, this was written in particularly difficult times, surely this is is a good time to change the wording, remove all ambiguity and restate the scriptural position, by making the obligation read something like this? “I will not have unlawful carnal knowledge with anyone”
Most importantly, if my understanding of the Royal Arch Purple is correct: this obligation forms the unwritten constitution of the chapter. Were a member committing adultery with a non member’s wife and engaging in illegal activity which did not involve murder or treason, the Order has no mechanism wherewith to expel that person. Legally, he has not broken the Royal Arch Purple Chapter’s rules. Does this not call into question the right of this Order to claim either the title Christian or Protestant?
Yours for the defence of the faith
Paul A. Johnston
Biblical response to Rev. Ron Johnstone (Orange Order Chaplain)