Pope as Antichrist, Westminster, and 1689 2LBCF

Discussion in 'The Confession of Faith' started by RevZach, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. RevZach

    RevZach Puritan Board Freshman

    What's more annoying than a newbie on a message board starting a thread on a subject that's been beat to death? I dunno... the mainstream media maybe.

    Anyway, my question is a little more nuanced than a broad discussion of whether the pope is the antichrist:

    If the Westminster Confession (and its doppleganger, the 2nd London Confession) declare the pope to be antichrist (WCF 25.6), and if agreement with these confessions is a prerequisite for participating on PuritanBoard, then can questioning this teaching get one banned?

    I ask because I truly do not believe that Benedict is the Antichrist or an antichrist. I DO AFFIRM what is written in the 2nd London Confession in 2 ways: 1. at the time of writing, the current pope and all popes in recent memory were indeed antichrists, and 2. The papacy itself is prone to the spirit of antichrist (by its confusion of the two kingdoms and its anathemas at Trent).

    I suppose the sub-question is, does our understanding of the confessions (as NON-inspired documents) allow them to be snapshots in time of what a proper understanding of Scripture looked like in its context. I'm certainly not pushing for some "living document" philosophy, but rather for us to consider historical context when applying the confessions as we would with any historical document.

    :worms::worms:DIG IN!:worms::worms:
  2. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    No, you are still free to post here; even if membership were solely based upon the WCF and strict adherence to every statement therein, several denominations have received modified forms of the document which have removed that clause.
  3. RevZach

    RevZach Puritan Board Freshman

    For some reason, I had always thought that the Philadelphia Baptist Confession (1742?) had removed this passage, but I just looked it up and they retain it. :oops:
  4. VilnaGaon

    VilnaGaon Puritan Board Sophomore

    Richard Baxter in his Christian Directory stated that he does not know if the Pope is the Antichrist or not, but it is unfortunate that he bears so many of the marks of the Antichrist. That was written in the 17th Century. The Roman Papacy has since added more abominable and blasphemous doctrines such as Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception of Mary to its Standards.
  5. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    Don't forget the 5 Marian Dogmas. The Pope pronounces a different Gospel, a different Godhead and a different method of salvation. However having said all of that I only see a few scriptural definitions of Antichrist:
    Given this rather narrow definition of antichrist I have to say the current pope is not antichrist. However he is not a Christian either as the Marian Dogmas violate The Athanasian Creed specifically by making Mary co redemptrix.

    Now if the Divines meant antichrist as in against Christ then I would argue the entire Catholic church as an organization is apostate and anti-Christ, but if they had meant that they would not have used the definite article.
  6. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    A couple revisions were made in the American adopted Presbyterian versions and do not have that for most denominations (e.g. PCA, OPC).

    Many might understand this as being "anti" in the general sense, but not in a specific eschatological sense.
  7. gkterry

    gkterry Puritan Board Freshman


    Thanks for the "excuse" to get out my Christian Directory! :book2:

    The exact quote from Richard Baxter concerning the passages in Thessalonians and Revelations:

    "That if the pope be not he, he had ill luck to be so like him."

    A Christian Directory, by Richard Baxter
    Soli Deo Gloria Publications
    Page 631
  8. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Speaking as a confessional Baptist, I have no problem with the LBC's view on the papacy. While the Pope may not be THE antichrist, the office of the papacy, and the whole Roman system, is the spirit of antichrist.

    How relevant is that view today? Consider that many Christian denominations seek dialog and understanding with Rome. They are willing to set aside immutable truth for the sake of tolerance. Being reminded that Rome and the papacy are enemies of Christ bridges the gap between a 17th century document and the age we live in.
  9. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    Previously posted on another thread:

  10. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    Does the "anti" in this context mean against? I always understood it was more "in the place of", as in "standing in for", and in fact a fairly exact equivalent to the Latin "vicarius". Which makes it striking (at least) that the pope has always styled himself "Vicar of Christ"
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  11. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Jenny, "anti" means the "opposite of" or "in opposition to". In the context of the antichrist; anyone or any system that sets itself up in opposition to Christ would be an antichrist or the spirit of antichrist.
  12. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Jenny, For what it's worth Fife is where my paternal grandparents are from. Kirkcaldy, Fife to be exact.
  13. louis_jp

    louis_jp Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there are connotations of both. Hence the language in 2 Thess. 2:4: "who opposes and exalts himself... so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God."
  14. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I think you're spot on with your assessment of both the papacy as antichrist and the continued relevance of that portion of the Standards for today.
  15. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    Well, what do you know?
    Friendly greetings across the world, ex-Fifer! Kirkcaldy is also the stamping-ground of another Brown, Prime Minister Gordon -- he isn't a relation is he? he is a son of the Manse as I expect you know.
    I don't live very near by Scottish standards, though maybe by US reckoning I ought to say it's just down the road -- to us it's a distant metropolis, while we live in the sticks, aka the East Neuk of Fife. What does For what it's worth mean?

    I've just had a quick look in my old Liddell and Scott and there, just as louis_jp says, both shades of meaning are found, I think more examples of the "in place of". Of course that's Classical Greek.
  16. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This is something I posted on the RBLIST.

  17. Reformed Thomist

    Reformed Thomist Puritan Board Sophomore

    A.A. Hodge on the passage in question, from his commentary on the WCF...

    "The word 'Antichrist' occurs in the New Testament in 1 John ii. 18, 22; iv. 3; 2 John 7. The coming of the 'man of sin', the 'son of perdition', is predicted in 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. Interpreters have differed as to whether these phrases were intended to designate a personal opponent of the Lord, or principles and systems antagonistic to him and his cause. The authors of our Confession can hardly have intended to declare that each individual Pope of the long succession is the personal Antichrist, and they probably meant that the Papal system is in spirit, form, and effect, wholly antichristian, and that it marked a defection from apostolical Christianity foreseen and foretold in Scripture. All of which was true in their day, and is true in ours. We have need, however, to remember that as the forms of evil change, and the complications of the kingdom of Christ with that of Satan vary with the progress of events, 'even now are there many Antichrists'. 1 John ii. 18."

    This appears to be all that Dr. Hodge had to say on the matter in his commentary.
  18. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    What does it say about the state of certain "Reformed" circles that a confessional Baptist brother can see and speak this so clearly, yet others (who are supposed to be confessional and should know better) seek to cozy up to Rome?
  19. PastorTim

    PastorTim Puritan Board Freshman

    how many of the other teachings of the confessions are we to disregard, and who decides this. This seems important to know
  20. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    Don't disregard it. The Pope usurps the place of Christ in making himself the priest people must go trough, he speaks in the place of Christ as with divine authority and declares in Bull what is truth infallibly.

    Most simply and clearly the Pope displays that he is indeed the anti-Christ is when he, whoever he may be at the time, takes on himself to usurp the royal prerogative of Christ as Head of the church.

    So whoever would take the place of Christ is The anti-Christ. The Roman Church also being against the true church is an anti-christ system, so the person is the anti-Christ. Though there be many anti-Christs this is not a problem to say the one who publicly would usurp Christ's place is against Christ, and replaces Christ so is the anti-Christ.
    You can debate how this may fit into the vision of Revelation but clearly the current Pope as well as any would take this office is the anti-Christ.

    The current anti-Christ. The anti-Christ among other anti-Christs who would usurp christ's priestly role, kingly role or infallible word of God Prophet role.
    I think one could also at the same time say the King of England is also the anti-Christ were he to claim to be Head of the church, as opposed to language some accepted, head of the church on earth.

    I have no problem seeing their language to see the current Pope as the anti-Christ
  21. VilnaGaon

    VilnaGaon Puritan Board Sophomore

    J.A Wylie in his book on the Papacy would agree with you.
    In my humble opinion the Pope by calling himself the substitute or Vicar of Christ Effectively denies that Jesus is THE Christ and that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Thus the pope is the Antichrist. Seems clear and plain to me.:)
  22. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The reformers renounced the pope

    I have written many articles on this PB site about my faith journey from roman catholic to Reformed Prebyterian Protestant.:calvin: You may read them if you like. I follow now the Westminter Standards :westminster:and I renounced the pope, the papacy and the roman catholic church as did John Calvin and all the Protestant reformers. I wrote in one paper "It was then that I openly stated and wrote to many that I renounce the errors and pretensions of roman catholicism and its false teachings and I furhter disclaim her bishop of Rome, the pope to be the succesor of Peter and the head of Christs church. It was then I began to not only renounce the pope but roman catholicism entirely."

    In grace,
  23. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The Papacy is the Big Daddy of all antichrists i.e. It is the Antichrist. There are many other antichrists e.g. Liberal theology, but the Papacy is the arch-antichrist. See other threads on this subject.

    He sits enthroned in the visible church of Christ, claiming the offices and functions of Christ.
  24. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    I think we can all agree with Rev. Winzer, thank you for posting that....
  25. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    :agree: I think the problem arises when people look at "antichrist" in the Confession and think of Antichrist a la Tim LaHaye.
  26. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Isn't there a thread or threads on this elsewhere? Gets a bit boring.

    The Papacy is the Big Daddy - sorry I see I'm repeating myself - of all antichrists (other antichrists are Liberal Theology, Gnosticism, Arianism, the Watchtower Society, Mormonism, Christian Science, etc, etc ; anything that retains the name Christian/Christianity while denying the saving reality of Jesus Christ; hence Nero, statist persecution, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, secular humanism, atheism/agnosticism, Communism, Fascism/Nazism, etc, are also enemies of Christ and Christianity, but are not antichrists)

    The Westminter divines were right to identify the Papacy as the Antichrist.

    See Patrick Fairbairn's "Interpretation of Prophecy". He is very good on this topic.

    The Papacy is also an antichrist that has stood the test of time, has taken millions to Hell, and still is. I don't know if Satan has devised a more successful antichrist, and he's devised a few.

    I believe the Bible predicts the overthrow of the Papacy long before the end of the world.
  27. Spinningplates2

    Spinningplates2 Puritan Board Freshman

    Do you think that the Pope is saved? Do you think he is simply misunderstood? What has he renounced from the past Antichrist that have held the same post?
  28. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I ask because I truly do not believe that Benedict is the Antichrist or an antichrist. I DO AFFIRM what is written in the 2nd London Confession in 2 ways: 1. at the time of writing, the current pope and all popes in recent memory were indeed antichrists, and 2. The papacy itself is prone to the spirit of antichrist (by its confusion of the two kingdoms and its anathemas at Trent).

    If the Papacy is a successful antichrist most people aren't going to recognise it though it's staring them in the face - even some Reformed theologians and pastors who subscribe to most of the WCF. It's a mystery of lawlessness, only recognised by careful comparison of Scripture. No-one would see it at all if it wasn't revealed in the Bible

    The Roman Church is also a mystery that has been revealed only by Scripture, see Revelation 17. She's not the only harlot (you have Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestant Liberalism) but she's the Big Mama of the Harlots. Even the Apostle John wondered at her with great admiration. If that was his response, are we always going to see the reality of things for what they are.

    It's like one of these now you see it, now you don't sort of pictures. It's like the beautiful lady who's also a witch or vampire. It's like the Devil coming as an angel of light.

    I'm sure Benedict will seem like the charming old man he seems to be, with his Lamb-like horns, over tea and biscuits. But if you pressed Scripture alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, by faith alone you would soon see the language of the Dragon emerge (Rev. 13). Benedict is both deceived and deceiver, otherwise he wouldn't be occupying the office of Antichrist. Through the agency of false prophets - chief of whom is the Papacy - the woman (the early Church) was turned into the whore.

    Christ will redeem and cleanse her from all these things.
  29. VilnaGaon

    VilnaGaon Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rome is very deceptive, in that they will tell you what they think you want to hear. Read the Jesuit Oath and you will see that they will pose even as a Calvinist just to win you over. What they truely believe is written in the Canons of Trent which have been upheld by Vatican II and the new Catechism they published. That has never changed, and is the true face of Rome.
  30. YXU

    YXU Puritan Board Freshman

    Good point. Sadly, this doctrine has been given up or avoided even by the churches who hold to 100% subscription to the confession.
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