Do You Believe the Papacy to be the Anti-Christ?

What Does Scripture Say?

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Puritan Board Freshman
I recently listened to Rev. Silversides's sermon on the Antichrist (linked above), and he makes a very good point: rather than the Reformers and Puritans being constrained by their times, it is those who deny the papacy is the Antichrist who are constrained by their times. In a time now of political correctness, where we shouldn't resist false doctrine if the people are nice, it can be very easy to see why this is the case.

Good point.


Puritan Board Senior
He is blasphemously referred to as the Good Shepherd and Heavenly Father, titles that should be reserved for God, thereby exalting himself to the status of God.

Holy Father and Shepherd (minus the 'Good'). In the RCC 'Heavenly Father' is reserved for God alone; 'Good Shepherd' for Christ alone.

Not that calling a man 'Holy Father' is a good thing...

Thank you for the correction.


Puritan Board Freshman
The Papacy is definitely heretical. It is NOT the antichrist, it doesn't fit the Apostle John's definition of what an antichrist is. The whole singular antichrist idea is unbiblical from the git-go.

The man of sin is not an individual, it's a category, just as 'man of God' is a category when Paul uses it of Timothy.

Gog (Satan) and Magog (godless unbelievers) rise up against the church worldwide at the end of the millennium. My personal opinion is that we are there now. Christian influence has all but ceased to exist worldwide.

Paul stated several things in 2 Thess 2:

1. Jesus would NOT come until the apostasy came first. If you don't believe that we are in a complete utter worldwide state of apostasy in the Christian church, you've been living in a cave somewhere.

2. The apostasy and the man of sin are connected by an 'and', which tells me that they are related. "Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed--the one who brings destruction.*" (NLT)

3. The man of sin believes himself to be God and hates the idea of a supernatural god of any kind. Again from the NLT:

"He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God."

Now from the Humanist Manifesto II:

The next century can be and should be the humanistic century. Dramatic scientific, technological, and ever-accelerating social and political changes crowd our awareness. We have virtually conquered the planet, explored the moon, overcome the natural limits of travel and communication; we stand at the dawn of a new age, ready to move farther into space and perhaps inhabit other planets. Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life.

The future is, however, filled with dangers. In learning to apply the scientific method to nature and human life, we have opened the door to ecological damage, over-population, dehumanizing institutions, totalitarian repression, and nuclear and bio-chemical disaster. Faced with apocalyptic prophesies and doomsday scenarios, many flee in despair from reason and embrace irrational cults and theologies of withdrawal and retreat.

Traditional moral codes and newer irrational cults both fail to meet the pressing needs of today and tomorrow. False "theologies of hope" and messianic ideologies, substituting new dogmas for old, cannot cope with existing world realities. They separate rather than unite peoples.

Humanity, to survive, requires bold and daring measures. We need to extend the uses of scientific method, not renounce them, to fuse reason with compassion in order to build constructive social and moral values. Confronted by many possible futures, we must decide which to pursue. The ultimate goal should be the fulfillment of the potential for growth in each human personality - not for the favored few, but for all of humankind. Only a shared world and global measures will suffice.

A humanist outlook will tap the creativity of each human being and provide the vision and courage for us to work together. This outlook emphasizes the role human beings can play in their own spheres of action. The decades ahead call for dedicated, clear-minded men and women able to marshal the will, intelligence, and cooperative skills for shaping a desirable future. Humanism can provide the purpose and inspiration that so many seek; it can give personal meaning and significance to human life.

Many kinds of humanism exist in the contemporary world. The varieties and emphases of naturalistic humanism include "scientific," "ethical," "democratic," "religious," and "Marxist" humanism. Free thought, atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, deism, rationalism, ethical culture, and liberal religion all claim to be heir to the humanist tradition. Humanism traces its roots from ancient China, classical Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to the scientific revolution of the modern world. But views that merely reject theism are not equivalent to humanism. They lack commitment to the positive belief in the possibilities of human progress and to the values central to it. Many within religious groups, believing in the future of humanism, now claim humanist credentials. Humanism is an ethical process through which we all can move, above and beyond the divisive particulars, heroic personalities, dogmatic creeds, and ritual customs of past religions or their mere negation.

We affirm a set of common principles that can serve as a basis for united action - positive principles relevant to the present human condition. They are a design for a secular society on a planetary scale.

For these reasons, we submit this new Humanist Manifesto for the future of humankind; for us, it is a vision of hope, a direction for satisfying survival.


FIRST: In the best sense, religion may inspire dedication to the highest ethical ideals. The cultivation of moral devotion and creative imagination is an expression of genuine "spiritual" experience and aspiration.

We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence; in our judgment, the dogmas and myths of traditional religions do not do so. Even at this late date in human history, certain elementary facts based upon the critical use of scientific reason have to be restated. We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity. Nature may indeed be broader and deeper than we now know; any new discoveries, however, will but enlarge our knowledge of the natural.

Some humanists believe we should reinterpret traditional religions and reinvest them with meanings appropriate to the current situation. Such redefinitions, however, often perpetuate old dependencies and escapisms; they easily become obscurantist, impeding the free use of the intellect. We need, instead, radically new human purposes and goals.

We appreciate the need to preserve the best ethical teachings in the religious traditions of humankind, many of which we share in common. But we reject those features of traditional religious morality that deny humans a full appreciation of their own potentialities and responsibilities. Traditional religions often offer solace to humans, but, as often, they inhibit humans from helping themselves or experiencing their full potentialities. Such institutions, creeds, and rituals often impede the will to serve others. Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence, obedience rather than affirmation, fear rather than courage. More recently they have generated concerned social action, with many signs of relevance appearing in the wake of the "God Is Dead" theologies. But we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

SECOND: Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the "ghost in the machine" and the "separable soul." Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture.

Traditional religions are surely not the only obstacles to human progress. Other ideologies also impede human advance. Some forms of political doctrine, for instance, function religiously, reflecting the worst features of orthodoxy and authoritarianism, especially when they sacrifice individuals on the altar of Utopian promises. Purely economic and political viewpoints, whether capitalist or communist, often function as religious and ideological dogma. Although humans undoubtedly need economic and political goals, they also need creative values by which to live.


THIRD: We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now. The goal is to pursue life's enrichment despite debasing forces of vulgarization, commercialization, and dehumanization.

FOURTH: Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. There is no substitute: neither faith nor passion suffices in itself. The controlled use of scientific methods, which have transformed the natural and social sciences since the Renaissance, must be extended further in the solution of human problems. But reason must be tempered by humility, since no group has a monopoly of wisdom or virtue. Nor is there any guarantee that all problems can be solved or all questions answered. Yet critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled. Thus, we are not advocating the use of scientific intelligence independent of or in opposition to emotion, for we believe in the cultivation of feeling and love. As science pushes back the boundary of the known, humankind's sense of wonder is continually renewed, and art, poetry, and music find their places, along with religion and ethics.

There's your man of sin. Anyone who believes that drivel is the man of sin.

4. Something is restraining that man of sin until 'his time'.
TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE. Why technology? Because in Paul's day there was insufficient technology for mankind to think of itself as God on a worldwide basis. Now man is capable of almost anything. Think of the words of the LORD concerning the time before Noah. Then the LORD* saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. It is the knowledge that allows the lying wonders that make Magog-man believe he is god-like.

5. Man sits in the temple already. The human body is the temple of God, for God is spirit. Paul uses the Greek word naos for temple in this application; the very innermost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies. This corresponds to our heart.

6. Once the knowledge base is there, the true intent of godless Man is revealed Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
... Who else but Satan (Gog) could spew forth some of the ideas mankind has been coming up lately? Test-tube babies, aborticide, tolerance of homosexuality, euthanasia and so forth and so on.

7. These people are irredeemable, they refuse all instruction and for this, just as He did at the First Destruction, God gives them over to their rampant evil deeds.
Just as God gave over the antidiluvians, He gives over the Magogites to their eternal destruction. (Romans 1) Furthermore, listen to what the Spirit inspires Paul to write concerning them:

"...and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,..." I have deliberately melded two versions NASB and NKJV here because I believe they best express Paul's point. Please notice "THE lie" rather than A LIE. I believe that is very important. What is THE lie? Oh come now, surely we all know the answer to this:

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil." Gen 3:4, 5.

There it is: THE lie. The very first lie, the one that condemned our race in the beginning is the one that will condemn it in the end.

There no antichrist dictator obviously trying to conquer the planet. There is an evil angel though, hell-bent on destroying those made in the image of God. He has come up from his prison and is leading the Wicked in the great final battle against the Holy City.


Puritan Board Freshman
I favour Ken Gentery's view of 2 Thessiloanians Chapter 2 but ThePapaecy seems the other most logical choice I just dont think The Papacey is THE Antichirst it's an Anticchrist but not THE Antichrist


Puritan Board Freshman
Since the term antichristos was apparently intended of John to specifically refer to the Gnostic heretics, can we really include anyone other than the Gnostics in the term? I'm not sure we can. It seems obvious that the term has already been mistakenly mixed in with other terms that it should not be associated with, continuing to use it in that vain only causes more confusion.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Puritan coventar, Randy is correct:
The RC church deny and pronounce an anathema upon all who believe in justification by faith alone? Is that not denying the Person and work of Christ? They deny the Father and the Son in their denial of election. For if any man or angel bring you another gospel let him be accursed. If the RC's are accursed aren't they denying the Father and the Son?

The spirit of anti-Christ is to deny that Christ came in the flesh. It is a denial of his work. They do deny his work and set themselves up as the Thessalonian s passage speaks.[/QUOTE]

:think:Furthermore the Westminster confession of faith as well as the London baptist Confession teaches all of us on here as Reformed Protestants that the papacy is an evil antichrist institution and the pope is thus also an antichist.

Again as a reminder if we confess to the Reformed beliefs of Reformed Protestantism than the papacy is and always has been the antichrist.

I voted the papacy is antichist as well as the pope.

Westminster Confession (1646)

25.6. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

26.4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.


Puritan Board Freshman
I put my faith in Jesus Christ and thank God for allowing me to know that.

I know nothing of Roman Catholic doctrine, but having attended with my aunt a couple of christmas eve mass's many years ago, I sure was uncomfortable with all the praise they give to Mary, and the Pope and the lack of recognition of the work of Christ as the ONLY means of salvation. As a new Christian, I knew what I was listening to then, was a farce.

In that sense the Church of Rome is Anti-Christ. We are now in this post just re tracing the foundational footsteps of many great reformers that have brought us to our present day freedom in the saving Grace of our Lord, and freedom from the Anti-Christ teachings of the Church of Rome. I think that Paul was dealing with similar issues with the Church in Thessalonians.

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
While the original WCF contains the condemnation of the papacy as the Anti-Christ, the version used by the OPC does not. The question itself comes up because people in times past thought the papacy was corrupt (true) called itself the only true church (true) and was a synagogue Satan. Unable to escape their times, they viewed the verse in 2 Th as surely being fulfilled in the papacy. Yet nothing in the scripture itself mentions the pope in Rome (it could not, as that "office" did not exist yet).

We might yet see the RC church turn and repent of her sins of the past 1000 years, and become a true church yet again ... I do not think it appropriate to close that door forever.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This is an intriguing question. If I had come across this poll a few days ago, I would have answered, I don't know, and I was definitely in the camp of those who didn't care that the WCF took out it's comments about the pope. However, my husband and I watched a lengthy historical documentary on the RCC the other day. It left me completely stunned and almost completely convinced that the papacy is at the very least an anti-Christ, and at the most it is the anti-Christ. I haven't had finished my biblical study on the subject, but if there is one specific anti-Christ, it could very well come from the papacy.

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
While the original WCF contains the condemnation of the papacy as the Anti-Christ, the version used by the OPC does not. The question itself comes up because people in times past thought the papacy was corrupt (true) called itself the only true church (true) and was a synagogue Satan. Unable to escape their times, they viewed the verse in 2 Th as surely being fulfilled in the papacy. Yet nothing in the scripture itself mentions the pope in Rome (it could not, as that "office" did not exist yet)...

Does not the Scriptures often use imagery to foretell future events/people that does not directly name them? If this is true (and I do not think anyone would argue otherwise) why would 2 Thess 2:4 be required to specifically name the Papacy? It itself mentions the fact it is speaking of the future.


Puritan Board Doctor
If the Bible did name the Papacy, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Maybe the passages that deal with the Papacy are a test?

Can we recognise (thinly?) disguised heresy and wickedness without it being spelled out to us in the Bible in words of one syllable?


Puritanboard Commissioner
On my way to work today, I was listening to Riddlebarger's series on the Man of Lawlessness. He makes a pretty strong point that preterism takes the eschatological tension of the already/not yet and "solves" the tension by throwing everything into the past. Dispensational eschatology "solves" it by pushing everything off into the future.

Riddlebarger works deliberately through the texts on the Man of Lawlessness and on the Antichrist. He argues that we canNOT simply assume an identification between the two (e.g., Warfield's warning against such). Instead, it must be proven. Warfield ultimately did not think that a composite of the two could be made. Riddlebarger disagrees, suggesting that the two are the same. Also, John makes it pretty clear that the Antichrist (literally several Antichrists) were already at work in the first century.

Riddlebarger contends that Gentry makes a good case for the identification of Nero as 666 in the first century, certainly a Man of Lawlessness/Antichrist. He opines that the Reformers were correct in identifying the Pope/papacy as a Man of Lawlessness/Antichrist. His counter would be that as long as "the restrainer" is not removed, we have not reached the point of THE Antichrist, an eschatological figure that ought not be dismissed as fulfilled in Nero nor pushed entirely into the future.

Riddlebarger suggests that Vos is correct in saying that we will know THE Antichrist when we see him. Until then, we ought to contend against the spirit of antichrist evident in every age. At the end of time, there will be a combination of state power, idolatry, and persecution of believers that will be THE final Antichrist. The papacy not only held "spiritual" power, it also could direct armies to persecute believers, and through the mass it engaged in idolatrous worship. Trifecta for Antichrist in Riddlebarger's mind (as was Nero).

So . . . was Nero Antichrist? Yes.
Is the papacy of Reformation days Antichrist? Yes.
Will there be an Antichrist yet to come? Yes.

At least that would be one "take" on it from a contemporary orthodox amillennialist.
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Puritan Board Junior
This is an intriguing question. If I had come across this poll a few days ago, I would have answered, I don't know, and I was definitely in the camp of those who didn't care that the WCF took out it's comments about the pope. However, my husband and I watched a lengthy historical documentary on the RCC the other day. It left me completely stunned and almost completely convinced that the papacy is at the very least an anti-Christ, and at the most it is the anti-Christ. I haven't had finished my biblical study on the subject, but if there is one specific anti-Christ, it could very well come from the papacy.

What was the name of the that documentary if you don't mind telling?
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