ope, I want to make a reminder to everyone. Theologians more eloquent than I have spoken out about the Roman Catholic Church's stance against the Gospel.
In this age of 'tolerance' we usually do not see the kind of language that church fathers used even as recently as 50 years ago when describing someone who is opposed to the Gospel: an antichrist. The RCC pope was most often referred to as an antichrist, having the antichrist spirit which John described in his verse in 1 John 4:3). We hear of the coming one man who will be antichrist, but if we say "that man or this man is an antichrist" we are soundly pooh-poohed, being called intolerant or politically correct.
Last night I listened to a John MacArthur sermon about the church, and this morning I read two other essays which discuss the pope in terms of antichrist. I bring your attention to them.
First, how the Pope was spoken of in the past:
"When the western church was divided for about 40 years between two rival popes, one in Rome and the other in Avigon, France, each pope called the other pope antichrist - and John Wycliffe is reputed to have regarded them as both being right: "two halves of Antichrist, making up the perfect Man of Sin between them." -Ibid
Martin Luther (Lutheran)
"We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist...personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist." (Aug. 18, 1520) Taken from The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 2., pg. 121 by Froom. (In response to a papal bull [official decree]): "I despise and attack it, as impious, false... It is Christ Himself who is condemned therein... I rejoice in having to bear such ills for the best of causes. Already I feel greater liberty in my heart; for at last I know that the pope is antichrist, and that his throne is that of Satan himself." --D'Aubigné, b.6, ch. 9.
Cotton Mather (Congregational Theologian,)
"The oracles of God foretold the rising of an Antichrist in the Christian Church: and in the Pope of Rome, all the characteristics of that Antichrist are so marvelously answered that if any who read the Scriptures do not see it, there is a marvelous blindness upon them." Taken from The Fall of Babylon by Cotton Mather in Froom's book, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 113.
John Wesley (Methodist)
Speaking of the Papacy he said, "He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers... He it is...that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped...claiming the highest power, and highest honour...claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone." Taken from Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms by John Wesley, pg. 110.
John Knox (Scotch Presbyterian)
Knox wrote to abolish "that tyranny which the pope himself has for so many ages exercised over the church" and that the pope should be recognized as "the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks." Taken from The Zurich Letters, pg. 199 by John Knox.
In his sermon, MacArthur spoke of the history of the reformation and began speaking of John Hus, John Knox, and went forward to Martin Luther. He did so because he wanted us to understand that when we casually say, "Christ is the Head of the Church" that was a blood-bought concept purchased by martyrs who opposed Rome's claim to the same and who died horrible deaths exalting the glorious name of Jesus and denouncing the pope.
The Pope's claim to earthly supremacy and headship of the church is satan's longest running attack on the church on earth. Not the only one, but the most successful, longest, and most heinous. The seeker driven pastor is of spirit of antichrist because they look to carnal means to expand the church. The purpose driven pastor is spirit of antichrist because they replace the bible with man-made, corporate methods to expand the church. The prosperity preacher is spirit of antichrist because they replace values and qualities of God with earthly possessions such as money and carnally-driven consumerism. The Charismatic is spirit of antichrist because they replace the word of God with personal experience as authoritative.
The sermon is excellent and heartfelt. You can listen or you can wait for the transcript.
Turning back to the pope, there is so much focus on the process to select a new one, after Pope Benedict's dramatic resignation, it behooves us to remember that the pope is an antichrist. Remember, this is a man who claims to be Christ on earth, infallible and the authority over all the church, replacing Jesus. There is no higher blasphemy. We should not become so inured to this blasphemy that we cave under pressure to NOT say pope is a slave to sin, a man of perdition, and an antichrist. Here is what the folks at The Cripplegate say:
A friendly reminder: the Pope is (probably) the antichristThe false doctrine spewing from the Vatican is so corrupt that it hardly bears thinking of how these men are allowed to go on taking another breath. God's grace is surely evident in the fact that the ground does not open immediately and swallow them whole.
"...The identification of the Pope as the antichrist was so ingrained in the Reformation era (for obvious reasons) that Luther stated it repeatedly. For example: “This teaching [of the supremacy of the pope] shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God” (Smalcald Articles, II)."
And again Luther said,
"“We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist…personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist” (sermon on Aug 18, 1520)."
A little known fact about Jonathan Edwards is that he actually wrote a church history book. Titled A History of the Work of Redemption (it is in Vol. 4 of the complete set of his works), he actually identifies the rise of the Papacy, which he places from 479-800, as “the rise of the antichrist.” Edwards describes the time period between 800 and the reformation as “the reign of the antichrist” and structures most of his outline around the theme of the gospel’s advance in relationship to the antichrist.
This was not a doctrine held only by Calvinists and Lutherans. Wesley wrote a book titled Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms, and he too saw the antichrist of Revelation and of 2 Thessalonians as the Pope.
I give this long list simply to put forward a response to those that ask me if I care about who the next Pope will be. In short, I do not. And if calling the Pope the antichrist seems like a very unchristian thing to do, I assure you that it is not the theology of the thing that has changed in the last 50 years. Today’s reluctance to make that connection says a lot about how far our evangelical culture has drifted, and very little about the Pope.
With that in mind, I bring you to another sad fact. Rick Warren, the man who is one of the pastors advising the makers of the History Channel mini-series, "The Bible," has called for prayer and fasting for the cardinals as they "seek God's will" in selecting a new
As Erin Benziger wrote last night,
Such realities [of the pope's antichrist spirit] make it difficult for the Christian to deny that the office of Pope is one that should be denounced and condemned by true believers, not one to be celebrated. How, then, ought the Christian respond to the following tweet posted early this morning by purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church?
The cardinals can no more find God's will than rich old Lazarus begging for water in hell can find comfort. They would not know God's will if they fell into a hole and came nose to nose with it. That Rick Warren, such a popular and influential pastor, should urge us to pray they select a new antichrist and that this process is within God's will is so far out of bounds my heart is racing with amazement.
Do not be caught in a web of deceit that the pope is anything but an antichrist and for all likelihood, will become THE antichrist.
Benzigner finishes, "What a blessing it is to know that the true Body of Christ is never without its leader! Jesus Christ is the only Head that the true Church ever has had or ever will have. No mere man could surpass Him in power, greatness or glory and woe to the man who tries."