Larry Holly

"The difference between a saint and a hypocrite is that one lies for his religion, the other by it."
Minna Antrim (b. 1861), U.S. epigrammatist. Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions (1901, p. 30).

James Larry Holly of Beaumont, Texas has waged an extensive campaign to have Masonry and his religion declared incompatible. He has written books and pamphlets and was a driving force in having resolutions placed before the Southern Baptist Convention for their consideration.

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Holly's charges made during one such convention were actually referred to a Board for further consideration over the objections of many. The man who was responsible for the investigation into Masonry - a long-time employee of the SBC with no Masonic connections - failed to find any incompatibilities between it and the Southern Baptist Religion. However, due to the hate engendered by Holly and his contemporaries, that man was fired (see below). A luke-warm report was returned to the SBC and approved. It indicated that many Southern Baptists were Masons, that Masonry had done a considerable amount of good works, and that decisions relative to supposed 'evils' were left to the membership themselves.

The SBC and Larry HollyPrior to this time, Dr. Holly had told the congregation of the Calvary Baptist Church of Beaumont, Texas that "From this day forth I am going to be a man of God; if that splits the church, then so be it. If the church wants to vote me out, then so be it. When I was 17, I prayed that God would make me a dangerous man for Jesus. I am publicly renewing that prayer today. Pastor, you and I know that one of the things blocking revival in this church . . . is Freemasonry." (From Holly's message on SBCNet on CompuServe)

The pastor and deacons met during the following week and asked Holly and his wife not to return. Apparently, he had problems with several churches in Beaumont. He was a member of one church, left, and when he tried to come back, they rejected him. Holly said in an e-mail message to 10 people on October 26, 1995 that no Southern Baptist church in Beaumont would accept him as a member.

Those who have served in the military will recall the joking expression sometimes used: "Everybody's out of step but me!" It appears that it truly fits for a (thankfully small) number of folks in this world - including Doctor Holly.

Dr. Holly's medical practice is run in harmony with his strongly held Christian beliefs. From the organization's web site it is clear that Dr. Holly has strong positions on many things and relates them all to his religious affiliation and beliefs. Amongst the listing on their site of the over a hundred papers and books he's written, we failed to find any reference to his position on Masons or Masonry or of the multi-volume tome he authored. Isn't that curious....

And very much by accident, I've come across a VERY interesting online report about attempts to 'discuss' Dr. Holly's positions with him. I'd encourage you to take a look at the appendix to a book titled "Character Counts" by Michael Glenn Maness. Click here.

And no recounting of this saga would be complete without mentioning the outcome which involved Holly's ruining the career of a lifetime SBC employee. Here from the Southern Baptist Press is the article which explains:

Former HMB interfaith director says he's entered Freemasonry
By Art Toalston

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Gary Leazer, a former Home Mission Board official who led a 1992-93 study of Freemasonry, has announced he has become a Mason.

Leazer, formerly director of the board's interfaith witness department, was asked to resign from the HMB staff by President Larry Lewis in October 1993 after delivering a speech sympathetic to Masons and critical of the HMB to a regional Masonic convention in Atlanta.

Leazer initially became a point of controversy in early 1993 over a sympathetic letter he had written to a Mason while the study, commissioned at the 1992 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis, was under way. He was removed from further involvement in developing the HMB report and then removed as department director.

In announcing he had become a Freemason, Leazer stated "catalysts" for his decision included Lewis and Texas physician Larry Holly, who initiated the challenge of Freemasonry in SBC life in the spring of 1992.

"I had no interest at all in becoming a Mason until after I studied the fraternity during the controversy and after leaving the HMB," Leazer wrote in a letter circulated on the SBCNet computer network. He stated he conducted the HMB study "like I did every other study" during his 14 years on the HMB staff. "I have always called it as I saw it."

Holly responded to Leazer over the network, stating: "When you stand before God to give an answer for your betrayal of the Gospel through joining affinity with the anti-Christ in the Masonic Lodge, you will not be able to excuse yourself because of Larry Lewis or Holly. I pray that God will enable you to repent and to renounce your evil association. If not, then I am willing to leave it to God as to your judgment."

The HMB report's recommended stance on Freemasonry was adopted at the 1993 annual meeting in Houston, noting:

"In light of the fact that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, while others are compatible with Christianity and Southern Baptist doctrine, we therefore recommend that consistent with our denomination's deep convictions regarding the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church, membership in a Masonic Order be a matter of personal conscience. Therefore, we exhort Southern Baptists to prayerfully and carefully evaluate Freemasonry in light of the Lordship of Christ, the teachings of the Scripture, and the findings of this report, as led by the Holy Spirit of God." 

The HMB interfaith witness department recently has released an examination of a primary Masonic text, "A Bridge to Light." The study concludes that "many of the religious teachings presented in a Bridge to Light are incompatible with biblical Christianity." The pamphlet is available from HMB customer services, 1-800-634-2462. 

Copyright 1996 Media Management. All rights reserved.

July, 2008 - Recently we've seen messages in various venues suggesting that Dr. Holly might have died. Either the reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated or the website for his medical practice is doing its best to hide the fact. We tend to think it's the former.

Last updated: July 26, 2008

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