Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33


By Pastor Josiah DODDS.

RPCNA: Winchester, Kansas.

Excerpted from:


Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter.



NO. 11.

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

The following little article was published in 1874 in the combined “Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter” magazine, when the National Grange was just seven years old.  The question of whether Christians should be involved in the organization, given its nature as a secret-society and its faith-subverting compromised religious principles, was a question that not only Covenanters saw necessary to ask, but other Christians as well.  For some, another aspect made it necessary to reject membership in the organization: it would involve them in a mingling fellowship with unbelievers and heretics in a cause to promote the health of society.  And how will that work?

Before passing the reader on to the text itself, a remark should be made about how applicable these criticisms are to the National Grange at the present day.  To some it may seem that the changes within this organization will effectively cancel the relevance of the objections made by Mr. Dodds.  But let the question be asked: Do these changes represent the Reformation of this organization? or do they represent the fruits of its original corruption?  It may be less pseudo-religious; but there can be no surprise that bad religion should lead to irreligion.  It may be less secretive; but this doesn’t imply its organization or existence is the more warranted. 


The following question has been propounded to me, with a request to furnish an answer: “Is it right for Christians, and especially for Reformed Presbyterian Christians, to join the order known as Patrons of Husbandry, or Grangers?”  This question, I most emphatically answer in the negative.  It is inconsistent with Christian principles, and the profession of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, to join the Grangers. {374}

1. Because they are a secret, and substantially an oath-bound organization.  In the obligation assumed by the candidate at his initiation, in the first or laborer’s degree, we find the following clause: “In the presence of the Heavenly Father and these witnesses, I do hereby pledge my sacred honor, that I will never reveal any of the secrets of this order or communicate them, or any part of them, to any person in the world, unless I am satisfied by strict test, or in some legal manner, that they are lawfully entitled to receive them.”  This obligation to secrecy is reiterated in the succeeding degrees.

Here is a solemn pledge given in the presence of witnesses, with a direct appeal to God as the searcher of hearts, so that, although the candidate does not say expressly, I swear, yet the obligation has, and is designed to have, all the binding force of an oath.  In this obligation there is a solemn pledge to keep the secrets of the order.  Moreover, after imposing this obligation, the Master of the Grange instructs the initiate in the “signals at the outer and inner gates (or doors,) the password, the degree word, the sign of the degree and salutation, also the sign of caution and the patron general’s sign.”  The same signs are given to the women, and the same obligations imposed.

The Patrons of Husbandry are in reality a secret oath-bound organization, and consequently liable to all the objections usually made against secret orders; and for Covenanters to join this order, is unquestionably a violation of our standards, both supreme and subordinate, (See Isa. 29.15; John 20.21; Eph. 5.11; Testimony, chap. 22, sec. 5, and error 7; and Covenant of 1871, article 2d.)

2. Because, the initiate must pledge himself to keep secrets, obey laws, perform ceremonies, conform to ritual &c., before he has any opportunity of knowing what these are.  The obligation is in these words: “I will conform to and abide by the constitution, rules and regulations of the National Grange, and of the State Grange under whose jurisdiction I may at the time be, and of the subordinate Grange to which I may be attached.”  In Jeremiah 4.2, the divine direction is, “Thou shalt swear the Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness.”  How can any one judge of the truth of his obligations, or how can he exercise his judgment in relation to them, or how can he determine whether his obligations are righteous or unrighteous, when he knows not what he says, nor whereof he affirms?  How can he know but that his duty, both to God and man, would bind him to expose some of those things he pledges himself to keep secret?  How can he determine whether certain laws should be obeyed, and ceremonies performed, when he knows not what they are?  The initiate in taking such an obligation surrenders his judgment, his conscience, and his manhood.  He is “snared with the words of his mouth.”

3. It was originated, and is controlled, by Free Masons and Odd Fellows.  In the Christian Cynosure, of May 15th, 1873, we find the following: “In a confidential letter of Mr. Kelly, the secretary of the National Grange, who was mainly instrumental in the introduction of the order into these interior States, to a gentleman whom he expected to employ as an agent in the work, this sentence occurs: ‘As this matther (the oath of secrecy for the Grange) was freely discussed (at {375} Washington), and many of our originators being Masons of the thirty-second and thirty-third degrees, and prominent Odd Fellows, &c.;’” and it is a well known fact that many, or most of those who are employed as agents in organizing Granges throughout the land, are Free Masons; moreover, the Grange in its initiation, degrees, ritual, rites, and ceremonies, bears the distinctive features of its parentage.  And the parentage being evil, the offspring cannot be good.

4. It is deceptive and ensnaring in its character.  Although it professes to ignore both religion and politics, and to have for its object the correction of many of the evils under which the community groans, yet it has a religion, it has its hymns, prayer, chaplains, and manifold religious ceremonies.  It has its politics.  Most of the evils it professes to correct are political evils, and are to be corrected by political measures.  It is a notorious fact that it has endeavored to control the elections in almost every State where it can cause its influence to be felt; it serves as a recruiting camp for other secret orders.  “It familiarizes with habits and forms of secret associations, and cultivates a taste for them, and thus it becomes a training school in which multitudes are prepared for those orders that are most objectionable.”  Thus by its deceptious professions, and inconsistent practice, multitudes are deceived, and unwittingly caught in its snare.

5. The Grange mingles together, in the secrecy and intimacy of the lodge, all classes of individuals.  Its constitution provides that, “any person engaged in agricultural pursuits, of the age of sixteen years (female), and eighteen years (male), duly proposed, elected, &c., is entitled to membership and the benefit of the degrees taken.”  The sober (pious and godly?) Christian must come into the closest and most intimate fellowship with Jews, Mormons, Deists, infidels, spiritualists, communists, and the ungodly, profane, and impious of almost every name.  How can the Christian consistently join in religious and other services with such a motley crew?

6. The Grange rejects Christ from most of its prayers, ritual, and ceremonies.  The prayer read by the chaplain at the opening of a Grange addresses some imaginary being in the following style: “Almighty Father, maker of heaven and earth, and giver of all good, we return our heartfelt thanks to thee that we are permitted again to meet each other here for work in this glorious cause.   *   *   *   *   We ask all in thy holy name.”  (All respond,) “Amen.”  At the closing of the Grange, a Christless song having been sung, the chaplain pronounces the benediction: “May our divine Master above protect and bless you all now and evermore.”  (All respond,) “Amen.”

Although a Saviour is acknowledged in a few of the written prayers of the Grange, yet the above is a fair specimen of its prayers in general.  It is not addressed to a God reconciled in Christ Jesus; the name and office of the Saviour of sinners are ignored; the suppliants are not aware that they are sinners, or need salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.  How can Christians offer such prayers in hope of a glorious hearing?  How dare they attempt to approach a holy and righteous God otherwise than through the merits and mediation of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?  Are not such services offering strange {376} fire on God’s altar?  Jesus has said: “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” [Matth. 10.33.]

Many additional considerations might be presented did space permit, but the above are certainly sufficient to establish the fact, that no Christian can in consistency with his Christian profession, hold fellowship with this unholy anti-Christian organization.

Editor’s Final Note.

The reader is encouraged to consider what other organizations, collected and defined for a variety of purposes, and often concerned in the welfare of society, partake of the same characteristics as the Grange.  There are really very many, some of which accommodate one sort of individual, and others another; some also being designed specifically for children.  But insofar as they make claims, more or less vague, to embrace either “religion,” “morality,” or “values,” while intentionally avoiding the proper authoritative ground for these things, they all serve to replace the Church in the lives of many people, and to condition & train Christians to think of their faith as what ought to be compromised or clipped when it comes to social relations or public endeavours.  The final consequence is that Christian individuals are effectively content with their own “freedom” and see no reason to oppose a secular constitution of society itself.  They are the kind of Christians an Antichristian society and government find easy to tolerate, because they are the kind of Christians who will never turn the world “upside down.” (Acts 17.6.)