Reformed Baptist Fellowship

From One Antichrist to Another: Thoughts on The Papal Transition

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on February 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm

pope

 

A Commentary by D. Scott Meadows, Pastor

Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed) of Exeter, New Hampshire

Joseph Ratzinger (a.k.a. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI) just announced his resignation from the Papacy by the end of this month, February 2013. The process of selecting a successor has begun, with all of this garnering much attention in the news media. As a theologian and pastoral leader, my conscience constrains me to comment.

Years ago I was asked my opinion about the new Cardinal of Boston. I replied, “That’s like asking me about the new captain of a pirate ship. The whole enterprise is illegitimate.” I do not deny that these events may have momentous implications, but I strongly and solemnly protest the show of reverence and awe for such men and for this religious institution even from those who should know better.

A great champion of the biblical faith once wrote a magnificent book entitled, Christianity and Liberalism (1923). In it, J. Gresham Machen detonated an enduring and powerful blast against theological liberalism by asserting that it is not Christianity at all, but an alternative, a competing religion, and deeply anti-Christian.

The same is true of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Plainly it is not the Christianity of the New Testament’s apostles and early Christians, as those in agreement with them, and knowledgeable about Roman Catholicism, can discern and attest. At crucial points, the RCC has steadfastly opposed that faith once-for-all delivered to the saints. Historically, she has even slaughtered a great host of Christian believers unjustly branded as heretics. At least since the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the RCC has formally, meticulously, and vociferously repudiated the true, biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, pronouncing curses upon any who dare to preach it. For example, the Council proclaimed,

CANON XII. If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified: let him be anathema.[1]

That this remains the RCC’s position today is clear from the fact that it still appeals in its modern catechism (c. 2000) to Trent as an authoritative doctrinal statement and teaches in substance along the same very lines.

Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man (Council of Trent [1547]).[2]

Though it exceeds the scope of this commentary to vindicate the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone apart from our works, let the reader remember this Scripture passage:

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3.20-24).

The important Reformed theologian Charles Hodge aptly said of this passage,

The righteousness of God which is revealed in the Gospel is to be attained by faith, not by works, not by birth, not by any external rite, not by union with any visible Church, but simply and only by believing on Christ, receiving and resting upon Him.[3]

Without a doubt the esteemed Mr. Hodge hereby consigned himself to eternal hell, if the pronouncements of the RCC are to be believed.

Today the RCC’s reputation among many Bible-believing Christians is considerably better than it was in the days of the Protestant Reformation. This change is unwarranted and dangerous. The RCC still represents the same anti-Christian apostasy that threw curses like firebrands and punished by literally burning alive and reducing to charred ash the bodies of sincere Christians eminent for their learning and piety. Her policy may have switched from mass murder to ecumenical seduction, but she still propagates infernal lies about the way of salvation. Paul’s ancient warning has applied to the RCC for many centuries now.

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (1 Tim 4.1-3).

The RCC has a legacy of ascetic abstention from marriage and meats, the very manifestations of damnable heresies so dangerous to the true church.

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul issued a divinely-sanctioned curse that now applies to the RCC:

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Gal 1.8-9).

For about three hundred years, Protestants consistently recognized the profound spiritual threat the RCC poses to mankind. That there was near universal agreement about this appears from the strong consensus statements of the Reformed confessions. For example, the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith proclaims, as an instance of “the things most assuredly believed among us,”

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 exalts himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.[4]

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646, Presbyterian) and the Savoy Declaration (1658, Congregational), say the same thing. In some of my other writings, I have produced a long list of quotations from Protestant church leaders over the last four centuries who evince sympathy with this strong opposition to and utter repudiation of the RCC as a true church.[5]

Now godly men today may debate whether the Papacy is to be so certainly identified as “that antichrist” specifically foretold by the Holy Spirit through Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2. Personally, I am not grieved by dissent on this particular point. Yet people of discernment, in my judgment, cannot doubt that the Papacy is at least an antichrist.

That contemptuous term “antichrist” contains a prefix capable of being correctly understood in two ways. A modern dictionary says “anti” conveys a sense of antagonism and opposition,[6] and with this we are all familiar. Some may not realize, however, that the Greek prefix can also mean “instead of.” The towering Protestant scholar Francis Turretin (1623-1687) wrote an extensive treatise in Latin, arranged under 23 topics and 4 appendixes, to prove the thesis that the Papacy is the Antichrist foretold in Scripture. Of the word itself, he wrote,

The term Antichrist implies two meanings: (1) That he is an Enemy and Rival of Christ; (2) That he is His Vicar. The definition of the prefix anti, indeed, introduces both, which, when used in conjunction with a noun, means, on the one hand, before, and on the other hand, against. It can also mean in place of, and, indeed, a substitute. . . . In this regard, the Antichrist certainly presents himself as the great adversary of Christ, in so far as he makes himself equal to Christ as a rival, while professing to hold the place of Christ on earth, as His Vicar.[7]

The RCC insists that the Pope is Christ’s “Vicar” (“from Latin vicarius substitute”[8]). Here is evidence from their recent catechism:

For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.[9]

Few Christians seem to be aware of the blasphemously honorific titles and divine prerogatives which the RCC has boasted for their Pope, including “Supreme Pontiff”[10] (i.e., Bridge, Mediator between God and man; cf. 1 Tim 2.5), “Lord and God,”[11] and these idolatrous assertions:

Since the Pope is God, therefore he cannot either be bound or loosed by men.[12]

From this it appears that the Pope is above Scripture, councils, princes, and all powers upon earth, upon the account of his divinity.[13]

Because he presents himself as Christ’s representative, any particular Pope represents a much greater threat of seduction to professing Christians than, for example, the Dalai Lama, the chief lama of the dominant Tibetan Buddhist order, since he makes no pretense of being a Christian.

So, it seems we are on the verge of a transition from one Pope to another, and therefore, from one antichrist to another. Am I to be blamed if I show no preference for any of Satan’s minions? God helping me, I will not recant, even before the threat of martyrdom. I am praying for the complete demise of this Satanic kingdom. Let all Christ’s loyal followers rally with me! In our generation more than ever, fearless protest may distinguish those of sound understanding and deep conviction from the naïve and cowardly. May the Lord come quickly and destroy His Enemy (2 Thess 2.8). Amen.


[1] Schaff, P. (1890), The Creeds of Christendom, II.113.

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church (2000), #1989.

[3] Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, in loc.

[4] 1689 LBCF XXVI.4.

[5] When Protestants Protested (2005), my introductory work; The Papal Antichrist—A Call to Recognition and Opposition (2006), a more complete treatment. Online at http://ibrnb.com/articles2/?p=15 and http://ibrnb.com/articles2/?p=38.

[6] Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Sixth Edition (2007), in loc.

[7] Francis Turretin’s Seventh Disputation, Whether It Can Be Proven that the Pope of Rome Is the Antichrist.

[8] SOED, in loc.

[9] CCC, #882.

[10] CCC, #837.

[11] Primary source: Decretales Gregorii IX., Tit. 7, cited by J. A. Wylie in The Papacy Is the Antichrist (1888), p. 45.

[12] Primary source: Vide Text. Decret., dist. xcvi. cap. 7, cited by Henry Wilkinson in Puritan Sermons 1659-1689, VI.1.

[13] Primary source: Canon law set forth by Gregory XIII in 1591 A.D., also cited by Wilkinson.

 

  1. Very well said and I am in full and complete agreement. In my opinion too many Christians, even those who at least ought to know better, give honor where honor is certainly not due. While I do not believe that the Pope is THE AntiChrist as such I do believe that all Popes and the Papacy are clear forerunners of the ultimate AntiChrist spoken of in the Word and I for one refuse to recognize either the Roman Catholic Church or the Papacy as Christian in any sense of the word. While there may be individual Catholics who are truly regenerate it would be in spite of their religion and not because of it.

  2. Mr. Spurgeon on this subject (from MTP #717):

    It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is, no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not Popery in the Church of Rome, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this Church on suspicion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description.

  3. thanks, DSM!

  4. As an ex roman catholic, I could not agree more with your assessment and analysis. Well said! May God deliver multitudes more of His elect from this idolatrous and blasphemous cult!

  5. Reblogged this on Thinking allowed and commented:
    Worth a read. This is well thought out, and expresses the concerns we have about Roman Catholic doctrine, and it’s implications.

  6. “Far more serious still is the division between the Church of Rome and evangelical Protestantism in all its forms. Yet how great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church, with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds, to devout Protestants today! We would not indeed obscure the difference which divides us from Rome. The gulf is indeed profound. But profound as it is, it seems almost trifling compared to the abyss which stands between us and many ministers of our own Church. The Church of Rome may represent a perversion of the Christian religion; but naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all.”

    (from Christianity and Liberalism)

  7. Thank, JM, for bringing to our attention this relevant paragraph from Machen. I have a couple thoughts in response.

    1) My appeal to Machen’s book was intended as an illustration of my attitude about the RCC, not Machen’s, and so, it stands intact as perfectly true. I still do not regard the RCC as “a legitimate enterprise,” or a true Church of Jesus Christ, at least not since the Council of Trent. Indispensable marks of the true Church include confession of Jesus Christ as sole Head of the church and an adherence to the true Gospel. The RCC fails on both counts.

    2) Machen’s paragraph must be appreciated and interpreted in its historical and ecclesiastical context. In “Christianity and Liberalism,” he was inveighing against theological liberalism, not Rome. That very well may have been because he saw liberalism as the chief spiritual and theological threat invading the Protestant churches and their institutions, for it was making frightful progress. The Protestant stance against Roman Catholicism was centuries-old, but in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, theological liberalism was largely being embraced, even within Machen’s own denomination at the time. Today we can see that the mainline Protestant denominations have generally fallen to theological liberalism. Twentieth-century “fundamentalists” (I consider Machen in a class by himself), instead of prolonging attempts of reformation from within, separated themselves and formed separate denominations and schools (e.g., the OPC, Westminster Theological Seminary). But I digress.

    In this above-cited paragraph, Machen was stressing the badness of theological liberalism, not the goodness of the RCC. To make it seem otherwise is to stand this paragraph on its head. Surely I agree with Machen that in comparison to theological liberalism, traditional RCC has some important things to commend it. He specifies what he appreciates: “maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds.” Traditional RCC doctrine includes a high view of Scripture (verbal, plenary inspiration) and the Apostles and Nicene Creeds, for example. Of course Machen was right about this.

    However, Machen expressed concern that theological liberalism is dangerous precisely because it opens the door to Roman Catholicism. Here are Machen’s own words: “As long as the Protestant churches go on giving up that great idea [the necessity of authority in religion] they will open themselves up to Roman Catholic attack” (Stonehouse biography, published by The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987, p. 231). Furthermore, Machen wrote, “If the Catholics would only make use of the rich heritage of their Creed! But there is just the trouble. They don’t seem to feel that the individual must see any importance in the incarnation and in the atonement; these things must be accepted simply because the Church commands it; any other doctrines would do just as well if submission were exhibited by the acceptance of them” (ibid., pp. 231-32). And of course this is an error of spiritually-fatal consequence. Naturally, the most convincing Satanic delusion must keep up a semblance of Christianity.

    So when directing his comments specifically toward the RCC, Machen made his position perfectly clear. “I am a Protestant of the most uncompromising sort,” he wrote (ibid., p. 280). Amen, Mr. Machen! I am with you, and I wish all professing Christians would join us in defending the true Gospel against the RCC.

    The very fact that Machen chose to compare theological liberalism unfavorably to Roman Catholicism was meant to make the point that theological liberalism is exceedingly bad indeed. It is an argument from the lesser to the greater along these lines: “If we must, as Protestants, register an elaborate, historic, doctrinal protest against the erroneous teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, sealing it with the blood of our Protestant martyrs, how much more ought we Protestants to testify as one against the monstrous apostasy represented in the anti-supernatural, creed-rejecting assault on the truth represented by theological liberalism!”

    To quote that paragraph out context, as has been done, is to risk giving a very false impression of Machen’s attitude about the RCC. He was a conscientious subscriber to the Westminster Confession of Faith which, like the 1689 LBCF, is implicitly anti-RCC almost from beginning to end. I presume that he subscribed to WCF XXV.6 about the Papal Antichrist, unless and until someone can show me where he dissented from it. I believe Machen would have appreciated the main point my posted commentary was intended to make: We must be Protestants of the most uncompromising sort!

  8. I just discovered the 1789 American revision of the WCF removed explicit identification of the Papacy as the Antichrist. This leaves Machen’s position on this narrow question unknown to me. It does not alter his professed uncompromising Protestantism.

  9. Hello Pastor Meadows,

    My parents have visited your church in Exeter a few times when visiting us in Manchester. I am their formerly Reformed Baptist, now Roman Catholic daughter.

    First of all, I just want to say that your representations of Catholics are often incomplete or outright lies. I don’t know if these are your mistakes/lies or if they have been fed to you by others, but thought I could help you out a little.

    Some of the most “damning” proofs you have against the Church happen not to be from the Catholic Catechism or the Council of Trent, but from anti-Catholic sources who have every interest in smearing the Church. Do these sources give more information about where they find these statements? Granted, I have only been a Catholic for 6 years, but I have certainty that we do not consider the pope a god, nor would we refer to him as “Lord & God” as you suggest. I realize that this is most probably based on some other person’s deceptions that you suggest this, but maybe you could have researched if Catholics actually believe this before asserting it?

    Beyond that, a thorough reading of the council of Trent will reveal that the condemnations are for those who teach justification by Faith Alone (yes, i realize that this is what you already said, but consider this: “sola fide,” coined by M. Luther? Battle cry of the reformation? Denied in James 2:24-26 where it is specifically said, “…by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” And, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” No wonder Luther would have preferred to remove the book of James from the Word of God since it showed “faith alone” to be clearly unbiblical.) and nowhere asserts that Salvation is based on man’s merits apart from God’s grace. You may be surprised to find how much the Catholic position of Salvation by Grace Alone aligns with yours. While I don’t know if they would put it in those terms, you will see by reading Trent or the CCC, that any “merits” we have before God are only possible through His Grace who works in us “to will & to do.”

    I do want to give you congratulations on actually going to the church documents in some cases. Most RBs I know will not even go that far, but instead quote known sensationalists like Jack Chick tracts or Lorraine Boettner’s work as their “primary sources”.

    If you have the Catechism of the Catholic Church on hand, I highly recommend you read the sections (1987-2029) on Justification & Grace before you dismiss the church as unChristian or lead those who respect your opinions to do the same. At the very least, for intellectual honesty’s sake. If you don’t possess a copy you can look here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6Y.HTM

    I haven’t responded to most of what you say about our Pope because I think most of the poison of it comes from the perception of the Catholic Church as ascribing to some Pelagian heresy. But if you will do the charitable thing and look at what the Catholic Church actually believes, I think you may be more hesitant to call the Church a Satanic one, or her leaders an anti-Christ.

    As for the many martyrs, I agree that there is no excuse for this. They were different times, and in many cases the Catholic Church was considered a state religion. Religious disobedience may have also been seen as civil disobedience? Perhaps even enemies of state were allowed to be persecuted as if they were heretics, though their murders were largely politically motivated and carried out. And the mass murders were not one-sided. Protestants murdered their own fair share of Catholics in the name of religion (though again, I wonder if there were more political motivations). Still, Protestant hands are also not bloodless. It is no excuse. It should not have happened.

    As I’m sure you well know, we hold the Pope in high reverence (not worship) & great respect because he is the successor of St. Peter. Jesus said to Peter: “you are Rock (kepha), and upon this rock (kepha) I will build my church.”

    You also mention that the Catholic Church resembles nothing of the biblical church or the church of the early fathers. Have you read them? St. Justin the Martyr describes the mass almost exactly as it is celebrated today. And he was writing a mere 120 years (possibly only 2-3 generations) removed from Christ and the apostolic church. I can’t imagine someone reading that does not recognize the Catholic Church unless he is completely ignorant of the Catholic Church. And such a person would have no ability to speak authoritatively about what the Catholic Church is, believes, or teaches.

    Of course I would live to talk more about these things. And perhaps produce a greater understanding of our similarities and differences.

  10. Hello “eidolons.” With all respect and compassion toward you, I offer this reply to your interesting comments.

    Of course my 1760-word commentary is “incomplete” as charged. Volumes upon volumes could be filled with the false doctrines, unscriptural practices, and egregious crimes of the RCC—and many such volumes are readily available. Lately I read R. C. Sproul’s new book available from Ligonier Ministries, “Are We Together?” I can recommend it warmly. This world-class Protestant scholar and man of God carefully and respectfully sets forth why true evangelicals cannot regard the Roman Catholic Church favorably.

    http://www.ligonier.org/store/are-we-together-hardcover/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=are%20we%20together%20sproul&utm_content=%21acq%21v2%21s-b-14525216184-1274463024&utm_campaign=Product+-+US+Only+-+Biz&gclid=CNOEuZ7kwrUCFYqk4Aodf3QALg

    You charge me with “outright lies,” I presume, with respect to this public commentary under discussion. Can you demonstrate these in this public forum? What particular statements are fairly so characterized, and what is the evidence against them? Your assertion is not proof. I will be in your debt if you can show me that I need to withdraw with apology any of my statements because they are wrong on the facts. If you simply have a different point of view, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

    Some of the damning proofs I adduce are from the Council of Trent and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (2000). Why do you brush these aside? If I were a prosecuting attorney and presented three iron-clad proofs of a murderer’s guilt, would you as a juror vote “not guilty” because only two of them were certain in your judgment?

    The secondary sources I have cited could be wrong, but it appears that you are merely presuming their unreliability from your prejudice against my position. Would you please demonstrate publicly that these sources which you malign are not credible?

    I made no claim that you or any modern Roman Catholics even know of the historic, blasphemous claims which I cited, much less that you would agree with them. But they are a matter of historical record, and they are horrid examples of the kind of pope-worship which continues to this very day. On the whole, I find that most lay Catholics know considerably less than I do about their own “church.” One of the tasks Protestant ministers must sometimes engage is teaching the RCC’s errors to Roman Catholics for the sake of exposing these errors by the light of Scripture. God has ordained that our contentions with false teachers for the true faith will sharpen our clearer understanding of biblical truth and provide a forum for the manifestation of those who are true to the Word.

    It is common knowledge, and you cannot dispute this, that the Pope is still often called “The Holy Father” by Roman Catholics, and he readily accepts this attribution. For example,

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9868298/Pope-Benedict-XVI-has-left-us-with-a-great-legacy-on-which-to-build.html

    The phrase “Holy Father” is used only once in Holy Scripture (John 17.11), and there Jesus used it in prayer to His Father in heaven. Only God may be reverently called “The Holy Father.” The RCC is impenitent regarding this blasphemous ascription to the Pope, despite Jesus’ clear prohibition:

    “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt 23.9).

    The biblical context of this saying is a very solemn warning against slavish submission to religious leaders (Pharisees back then, surely applicable to “Popes” today), as if they had power over our consciences, or were infallible, or had some inherent superiority to any of the “brethren,” all of whom are on the level in Christ (Matt 23.1 ff.). Then Christ went on to excoriate these religious hypocrites (Matt 23.9 ff.) who were lording it over God’s heritage—a sin condemned by Peter himself (1 Pet 5.3). Peter’s true successors do not parade about in gorgeous robes, dwell in palaces, and deign to let the little people kiss the bejeweled hand! The shameful cadre of “popes” through the centuries is not credible in its claims of “apostolic succession.”

    You recommended that I read CCC #1987-2029 on “Grace and Justification,” as if I have not read it. I have read, reread, and read again this section long before I wrote this commentary. I have been studying the RCC for decades from primary source materials—not only Trent and modern catechisms but also the very informative “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Dr. Ludwig Ott, which is:

    Recognized as the greatest summary of Catholic dogma ever put between two covers. A one-volume encyclopedia of Catholic doctrines. Tells exactly what the Church teaches on any particular topic. Tells when the pronouncement was made and gives the sources from Scripture, Church Councils, Papal statements and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Essential for priests, seminarians, parents and teachers. Easily one of our most important books.

    From these decades of my research and accumulated theological knowledge, I know that I know what the RCC believes in the main and in not a few details, and that it often stands squarely opposed to the biblical doctrine. I can also testify to having read through the entire Bible dozens of times, cover to cover, as every pastor should be able to say. I have taught through every one of its 1189 chapters one at a time to the congregation here at Exeter, outlining every single chapter for my Bible survey course. Readers may judge for themselves if I am a novice in these things, as you suggest. I assure you it is not my custom to comment publicly about things of which I am ignorant.

    Let me recommend to readers the excellent ministry of my friend Richard Bennett, a former Roman Catholic priest for over 20 years, and now a Reformed Baptist apologist and evangelist reaching out to Roman Catholics around the world:

    The Berean Beacon

    http://www.bereanbeacon.org/

    Richard’s testimony of true conversion to Christ

    http://www.bereanbeacon.org/testimonies/Former_Priests/Richard_Bennett.pdf

    Richard is more knowledgeable and more experienced than I in exposing the errors of the RCC and leading Roman Catholics to embrace Christ alone as Savior by grace alone through faith alone. I thank God for this dear brother, whom I regard as the greatest living expert on these matters.

    Of course it is not surprising that you, a confessed Roman Catholic, would not appreciate my exposure of its manifold evils. Perhaps my speaking the truth in love, both in the original post and in this reply to you, will become a means of your recovery from serious error, and from this infernal foe

    whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thess 2.9-10).

    In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray with all love and zeal for your soul and for all the precious Roman Catholic people, that they may be saved. Amen.

  11. Pastor Meadows,

    I took the time to comment on your post because you are making quite a strong and serious claim about the Catholic Church – That the Church itself recommends pope-worship which in turn makes him (if not THE Anti-Christ) an anti-Christ. You admit of this being a serious enough claim to make it somehow permissible to label the Church Satanic.

    My point is, if pope-worship is what Catholics are guilty of, then indeed that is a serious problem, but you have not actually proven this. You said:

    “The secondary sources I have cited could be wrong, but it appears that you are merely presuming their unreliability from your prejudice against my position. Would you please demonstrate publicly that these sources which you malign are not credible?”

    I am not merely presuming them wrong. That type of “evidence” only amounts to hear-say. If I were writing a research paper, a professor would throw out my claims because I did not provide primary sources. If you’re going to insist that Catholics worship the Pope, you will need to have some record or document demonstrating Catholics actually calling the Pope “Lord and God” or teaching that he is some kind of god. I can venture to say with confidence that you will not find it. Of course a puritan sermon is not a reliable primary source on Catholic doctrine! It doesn’t convince me if a whole crowd of reformers throughout history have claimed something if they can’t provide proof. And if you are trying to be honest with your research, it shouldn’t convince you either. The burden of proof always lies with the one making the claim. Here you or the Puritans before you are claiming that the Catholic Church worships the Pope without backing it up with Primary Sources.

    So you ask where you were telling something untrue (And please note that I did not assume any kind of intentional deception on your part. I fully realize that there have been multiple deceptions that reformers have propagated about the Catholic Church without proof and have been taken at their word by their followers. The only thing I would fault you for is not taking the extra step to find that Primary source before making your own accusations.) The untrue accusation: that the Pope is seen as a god or in the place of God.

    Simply calling him Holy Father does not show that we regard him as a god. In fact, in RCIA it was stressed that Pope’s are office-holders, but hardly exempt from sin or error. We treat them with great respect because they are the head of the visible church on earth, but he is still subservient to the Supreme Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/call-no-man-father

    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/the_priesthood.html

    You also mention that the word Vicar means substitute and lead the reader to believe that we substitute the Pope in place of God. However, the word Vicar connotes more of a meaning of substitute or agent – as in an ecclesiastical agent – therefore an AGENT of Christ, not a Substitute FOR Christ.

    In the end, you are probably right. We will have to agree to disagree. But if you’re putting serious claims like this out there on the internet and can’t substantiate your claims, I just may pop up from time to time to point it out.

    And thanks for the Richard Bennett information. I forgot about him, but I’ll definitely check him out.

  12. Here is a summary breakdown of what I actually did assert in my original article:

    1) The RCC is illegitimate (paras. 1-2). This is a statement of my opinion.

    2) The RCC is anti-Christian (paras. 3-4a). This is my personal judgment of which I would persuade many.

    3) The RCC opposes the biblical teaching on justification (paras. 4b-12). This is the historic, Protestant position. I provided authoritative primary references of Rome’s errors (Council of Trent, The Catechism of the Catholic Church), along with Scripture (Rom 3.20-24) and Protestant commentary (Hodge) for the reader’s consideration. The contention over sola fide is real and well-documented. The Protestant Reformation was not just a big misunderstanding by Protestants whose beliefs were really the same in substance as the RCC after all.

    4) The RCC has martyred saints and taught doctrines of demons (paras. 13-15). I cite 1 Tim 4.1-3. The RCC has acknowledged its historic bloodiness, so there’s no debate about that. The RCC advocacy of celibacy and dietary restrictions for religious reasons is public knowledge, and it is humiliating in the light of this Scripture text.

    5) The biblical curse that applies to the RCC (paras. 16-17). I cite Gal 1.8-9. If the reader agrees with #3 above, then this (#5) necessarily follows. Otherwise no agreement on #5 is expected.

    6) The historic antipathy of Protestants to the RCC (paras. 18-20). I cite the 1689 LBCF XXVI.4 (and mention the WCF and the Savoy) as examples of this. Indisputably true.

    7) The Papacy is an antichrist or the Antichrist (paras. 21-29). I cite Turretin on the meaning of the term (his lexical analysis is correct), another authoritative primary source (twice, The Catechism of the Catholic Church), and three primary (RCC) sources reported by secondary sources. You object to these last three as “hearsay.” I still think they are reliable but they are not essential to my case, and so for the sake of argument, I pass by them.

    8) Conclusion and appeal (para. 30). If I have carried a reader’s judgment in paragraphs 1-29, then he or she will probably appreciate this as well.

    Perhaps this one statement summarizes the main point of your last response, namely, that I made “the untrue accusation: that the Pope is seen as a god or in the place of God.”

    First, this was not my main point at all, which I restate in summary: the RCC does not deserve the respect commonly shown it by Bible-believing Christians, especially on display during a time of papal transition.

    Second, I never claimed that a poll of modern Roman Catholics would show that most of them would admit to seeing the Pope as a god or in the place of God. I seriously doubt that would be the case.

    Third, I also never claimed that the modern RCC would admit in such a crass way that this is her doctrine. She doesn’t. But this is, de facto, one of the inescapable implications of her overall doctrine, and those who cannot see this are spiritually blind.

    Let me make one more attempt at demonstration, this time without using the disputed quotes.

    Many of my readers will discern blasphemous impiety merely from the outrageous claim made for the Papacy in CCC #882, that “the Roman Pontiff . . . has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.” What is this but a bold proclamation of his absolute sovereignty over the church? Yet the Bible unequivocally teaches that there is only one Head of the Church.

    “Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim 6.14-15).

    This biblical language requires us to understand that this office of sovereign Lord is unique to Jesus Christ. Absolute sovereignty, by its very nature, cannot be shared.

    Other biblical passages authoritatively declare that Christ is the only Head of the Church:

    “And [God] hath put all things under his [Christ’s] feet, and gave him [Christ] to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1.22).

    “Christ is the head of the church” (Eph 5.23).

    The church is not a body with multiple heads, but one, and that Head is Christ alone.

    “And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col 1.18).

    Here the stated point of Christ’s unique Lordship is for His glorious preeminence over all others.

    Only our Lord Jesus Christ “has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power that he can always exercise unhindered,” but CCC #882 wickedly attributes all this to the “Roman Pontiff.” The excuse is that he is allegedly “Vicar of Christ,” and by this semantic sleight-of-hand the unique ecclesiastical prerogatives of the risen Lord Jesus, secured at the price of His own blood, are claimed for a long line of religious usurpers, supported by millions and millions of dupes.

    Accepting CCC #882 requires seeing no distinction in authority between popes and the Lord of glory. Isn’t the idolatry obvious? Even when irrefutable evidence is simply and plainly held up before your very eyes, you will not acknowledge the truth. “None so blind as those that will not see.” Grace alone enlightened me, and I pray the same blessing for you.

  13. For the record, let it be noted that eidolons, who accused my article of “outright lies,” did not name any particular statement that is fairly so characterized, and show publicly where I was wrong on the facts, despite my challenge.

    Instead, she defends the propriety of referring to the Pope as “The Holy Father,” a title in Scripture used only of God Almighty, but by Roman Catholics, as a unique title for the Pope. I thank her for this public confirmation of my allegations of modern Roman Catholic sacrilege, even while I pray God will forgive her.

    Researching ancient primary source materials today, I discovered this interesting evidence for repeated appearance of the phrase, “Dominum Deum Nostrum Papam” (trans. “Our Lord God the Pope”) documented in historic Roman Catholic publications. The website is replete with facsimiles of the original texts:

    http://biblelight.net/Extravagantes.htm

  14. This is purely anecdotal, but still: I’ll never forget the letters to the editor in the Chicago Tribune the week after the death of the last Antichrist, John Paul II. One of them began, “Our Father, who is NOW in heaven, hallowed be thy name…”

    Is that official Catholic doctrine or practice? Of course not, but it is entirely inevitable.

    Whomever you pray to is your god. Whomever you depend on to represent you to God is your christ. Whomever you trust implicitly to speak words of unquestionable truth, even if they are new words, is your holy spirit.

  15. “The Pope and the Papacy” by John MacArthur

    http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-291

    The above message, while delivered during the last papal transition, deserves to be heard again.

  16. “Eidolons,”

    Why the anonymity? How about telling us your name and your alleged former RB church for the sake of accountability?

  17. Well, for one thing, when I signed in to post it pulled up an old blog of mine (because it is a wordpress account) which was linked to my e-mail. That is why my name shows up on your site as my blog name. My blog remains anonymous because I’m pretty sure that is just good internet practice. Do you say “alleged former RB church” because you doubt that I was ever a member? and what do you mean by accountability? Of course I would gladly have posted with my name. But your questions make me wonder what you plan to do with the information.

  18. Also, how is that even relevant to the discussion?

  19. Eidelons,

    You made it relevant by giving a truncated personal history. If you want to discuss the facts of this post, it isn’t unreasonable to maintain anonymity. But it is suspicious and disingenuous to start throwing around personal details in support of your points while maintaining an anonymous profile. Believe it or not, some people lie about who they are on the internet! You may not be one of them, but if you want to include details about your former church, you would be better off to say who you are and where you were a member.

  20. Sure it would be disingenuous to use personal experience as a proof. But I did not use personal experience as evidence. The only place where one could remotely see that is in my own blog post in the part about justification by grace alone, in which I very clearly state that my understanding of RBC theology on that point may not be accurate. In essence, I leave room for someone more knowledgable to correct me if I am wrong in my memory or assessment. However, this does not require you to know my name or past church. In fact, even if I had never been Reformed Baptist, it would not invalidate my points. It’s a little weird to me that you think this is relevant. Do you seek to disprove that my parents have ever attended Pastor Meadows church when they were visiting me in Manchester? What does that do for the matter at hand?

  21. I am dropping the public dialogue with eidolons, as it has lost theological substance, and I am engaged in other projects. “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” (Eph 6.24).

  22. Sounds like a wise decision brother. In my opinion this is a 2 Timothy 2:24-26 situation and it needs to be left up to the Holy Spirit now Who can certainly handle it better than we can.

  23. I can’t say that I am surprised. Sure, you are happy to preach to the choir of those happy to engage in this ancient hatred of the Catholic church, but as soon as a Catholic shows up and defends the Church, rather than actually respond to any of the arguments you appeal to your own “decades and decades” of knowledge of the subject (without demonstrating it by actually engaging the issue). So when a Catholic is able to defend the Catholic position with Scripture and history, you bow out?

    I posted my most recent response to P. Meadows on my own blog so that others could have the benefit of the conversation. I did not shield my readers from any of the “proofs” or arguments of Pastor Meadows, but engaged them.

    Let the record show that Pastor Meadows has not responded to any of the following:

    1. Inconsistency of sola fide with the book of James.
    2. How he can say that celibacy of the priests or fasting from meat are “demonic doctrines” when Jesus and St. Paul recommend them. Do you then say that Jesus and St. Paul are guilty of teaching demonic doctrines?
    3. If sola fide is actually inconsistent with Scripture, how is it that the curse of Gal. 1:8-9 does not apply to those who teach sola fide?
    4. If Jesus Christ instituted the hierarchy of the Church in setting up Peter as first of the Apostles and foundation of the Church (Matthew 16), can we then say that Jesus has set up an anti-Christ in his own Church? or can you demonstrate that the promises of Matthew 16 apply to your church rather than the Catholic Church? or at the very least, your interpretation of this passage?

    If he chooses not to respond, although I’ll be disappointed at the end of the discussion, I’m happy to accept that he is the one choosing to walk away without defending his position on these points.

  24. ” Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (II John 1:9-11, NKJV). I will stick with the doctrines of Christ, not those made up by the pope or any other mere man!

  25. Today the Pope officially resigned. Are we now left in a state of “popelessness”?

  26. Steve Marquedant: I’m sure glad I have God’s Word and don’t rely on a man to explain it to me! I guess you could say I am in a state of “popelessness,” but I’m not in a state of hopelessness!

  27. Popeless yes. Christless no!

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