A Final Word on the Pope/Anti-Christ Controversy


I like to get y’all fired up and really question what it is that you believe and I also like the opportunity to plug books that have made an impact on the way I look at things now from a more Reformed Orthodox position. Well the book that I think speaks directly to this current flap is a book by White Horse Inn contributer Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. This work is entitled “Man of Sin” and can be found nearly anywhere fine books are sold.

From the Description:

What should Christians believe about the Antichrist?

Christians have always been fascinated with the Antichrist, but recently the interest seems to have reached an all-time high, with pop culture depictions and speculation leaving many people confused or even frightened. But what does the Bible really say? What have Christians throughout history believed about the Antichrist? Should we fear the Antichrist or such things as the mark of the Beast? Have some end-times prophecies already been fulfilled?

Pastor and professor Kim Riddlebarger carefully untangles the confusion surrounding this biblical doctrine. He considers common beliefs about the Antichrist and end times, closely examines the relevant scriptural passages, and explains how these passages have been interpreted historically by the church.

Pastors, professors, and concerned Christians seeking trustworthy guidance on the doctrine of the Antichrist will appreciate Riddlebarger’s sound biblical approach.

A Word From John Calvin On This Issue

Seeing as the issue of me calling the Pope a/the Anti-Christ has caused quite the consternation for some folks I thought I would let John Calvin have a word. I also commend the whole of Book IV, Chapters 2, 18, and 19 concerning this topic.

Institutes of the Christian Religion
by John Calvin

BOOK IV CHAPTER 2 SECTION 12

Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4); we regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom. By placing his seat in the temple of God, it is intimated that his kingdom would not be such as to destroy the name either of Christ or of his Church. Hence, then, it is obvious that we do not at all deny that churches remain under his tyranny; churches, however, which by sacrilegious impiety he has profaned, by cruel domination has oppressed, by evil and deadly doctrines like poisoned potions has corrupted and almost slain; churches where Christ lies half-buried, the gospel is suppressed, piety is put to flight, and the worship of God almost abolished; where, in short, all things are in such disorder as to present the appearance of Babylon rather than the holy city of God. In one word, I call them churches, inasmuch as the Lord there wondrously preserves some remains of his people, though miserably torn and scattered, and inasmuch as some symbols of the Church still remain—symbols especially whose efficacy neither the craft of the devil nor human depravity can destroy.

BOOK IV CHAPTER 18 SECTION 1

1. By these and similar inventions, Satan has attempted to adulterate and envelop the sacred Supper of Christ as with thick darkness, that its purity might not be preserved in the Church. But the head of this horrid abomination was, when he raised a sign by which it was not only obscured and perverted, but altogether obliterated and abolished, vanished away and disappeared from the memory of man—namely, when, with most pestilential error, he blinded almost the whole world into the belief that the Mass was a sacrifice and oblation for obtaining the remission of sins. I say nothing as to the way in which the sounder Schoolmen at first received this dogma. leave them with their puzzling subtleties, which, however they may be defended by cavilling, are to be repudiated by all good men, because, all they do is to envelop the brightness of the Supper in great darkness. Bidding adieu to them, therefore, let my readers understand that I am here combating that opinion with which the Roman Antichrist and his prophets have imbued the whole world— viz. that the mass is a work by which the priest who offers Christ, and the others who in the oblation receive him, gain merit with God, or that it is an expiatory victim by which they regain the favour of God. And this is not merely the common opinion of the vulgar, but the very act has been so arranged as to be a kind of propitiation, by which satisfaction is made to God for the living and the dead. This is also expressed by the words employed, and the same thing may be inferred from daily practice. I am aware how deeply this plague has struck its roots; under what a semblance of good it conceals its true character, bearing the name of Christ before it, and making many believe that under the single name of Mass is comprehended the whole sum of faith. But when it shall have been most clearly proved by the word of God, that this mass, however glossed and splendid, offers the greatest insult to Christ, suppresses and buries his cross, consigns his death to oblivion, takes away the benefit which it was designed to convey, enervates and dissipates the sacrament, by which the remembrance of his death was retained, will its roots be so deep that this most powerful axe, the word of God, will not cut it down and destroy it? Will any semblance be so specious that this light will not expose the lurking evil?

Update: Found a couple more good readings on the subject by others.

Francis Turretin, “7th Disputation: On Whether it Can be Proven that the Pope of the Rome is the Anti-Christ”

William Whitaker, “The Roman Pontiff is the Anti-Christ Whose Presence Scripture Prophesied”

A Nice Little Controversial Post

With all the hoopla surrounding the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to America and all the words I hear in Reformed and Evangelical circles of “being glad the Pope is Catholic again” I wonder how many of us Reformed and Evangelical folk would be willing to agree with the 25th Chapter of the WCF where it says:

VI. 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.

Well I do. What say you?