Reformed Baptist Fellowship

A Brief Statement on Divine Impassibility

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on January 17, 2015 at 6:05 pm

1689 Chapter 2


A standard definition of the doctrine of divine impassibility (DDI) asserts that God does not experience emotional changes either from within or effected by his relationship to creation. He is not changed from within or without; he remains unchanged and unchanging both prior to and subsequent to creation. The doctrine of divine impassibility is generally treated under the doctrine of immutability in the standard books on systematic theology. Immutability means that God is without change. The Scripture is clear on the doctrine of immutability (see Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) and the logic regarding impassibility should be clear: if God is unchangeable, then He is impassible. If God did in fact experience inner emotional changes, He would be mutable. To suggest otherwise would be to affirm that God was less than perfect to begin with: if He changes it is either for the better or for the worse, neither of which is consistent with the biblical data concerning God.

What the Doctrine Does Not Mean

The doctrine of divine impassibility does not mean that God is without affections. The Bible is clear: God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). The Bible consistently teaches that God does relate to His creatures in terms of love, goodness, mercy, kindness, justice and wrath. An affirmation of divine impassibility does not mean a denial of true affections in God. However, these descriptions of God’s character are not to be understood as changing or fluctuating things. For example, the 2 London Confession of Faith of 1677/1689 affirms impassibility (God is “without passions”) and then goes on to describe God as “most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute…most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth…” The affirmation of impassibility does not result in removing affections from God; rather, the affirmation of impassibility upholds the fact that God is most loving because He cannot decrease nor increase; He is love! The doctrine of divine impassibility actually stresses the absolute-ness of affections in God.

Objections to the Doctrine

Some modern authors have challenged the classical doctrine of impassibility. While there are several reasons for this, two of the most persuasive ones seem to be (1) the biblical descriptions of change occurring in God and (2) the fact that Jesus Christ suffered.

In the first place, when Scripture speaks of change occurring in God, these passages do not describe actual inner emotional changes in God, but rather these passages are a means whereby God communicates “in the manner of men” so that He can effectively reveal His unchanging character to man. For instance, when Scripture speaks of God “repenting” (Genesis 6:6; Judges 2:18; 10:16; etc.), these are called anthropopathic statements. An anthropopathism is when the biblical author ascribes human emotion to God. While this may be a new word to many, most Christians are familiar with the word anthropomorphism. An anthropomorphism is used by the biblical authors when they ascribe human characteristics to God; i.e. when the Scripture says God has eyes, or a mighty right arm, or that He comes down to dwell on Mount Sinai (2 Chronicles 16:9; Isaiah 62:8; Exodus 19:20). Such descriptions are accommodations to man that are designed to communicate certain truths to man. In the same way, anthropopathisms are not descriptions of actual change in God, but are a means to communicate something concerning the character of the infinite God to man in language designed to be comprehended by man who is limited by his finite capacities.

There is also a thing apart from theology that man in his life is interested in and endears to; for example, the effort to meet his means and to provide for his family. Trading has attracted man from time immemorial and it is the primary duty of man to also go out in quest for earning enough to be able to provide for his dependents and to be able to afford them a decent life. QProfit Systems can help. You can read more about it at

Secondly, the sufferings that Jesus Christ went through were real. He was despised and rejected by men, He was betrayed by Judas, delivered into the hands of the Romans, and at the request of the unbelieving Jews, He was crucified. It is important to remember that Jesus Christ was unique: He is one glorious Person with two natures, human and divine. Christianity from the New Testament period on always predicated the suffering of Christ to His human nature. In other words, Christ as God did not suffer and die, but Christ as Man. There are not two Christs, but one Christ who has two natures. To confine the suffering and death of Christ to His humanity protects divine impassibility. Conversely, impassibility protects from the notion of a God who suffers and dies.


In conclusion, there is much more that can be said. The goal with this post is simply to provide a basic definition, explanation, and to highlight why the doctrine is essential. It is crucial to understand that it is the doctrine of impassibility that secures God’s relational character to His creatures; it alone provides the foundation for the confession’s declaration that God is “most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute…most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth…”

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

To Lent or reLent? Some thoughts on a recent post at The Gospel Coalition

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm


Recently, The Gospel Coalition (TGC) site posted a blog entry entitled – “Lent Is About Jesus: A Free Devotional Guide.” No, I did not make that up. You can read the whole thing here. As I read the post and thought about it a bit, I concluded I would like to respond to it. So, as many of you do on various blogs, I sent a comment to that post. Before sending the comment, however, I sent copies of my response to a few friends, just to make sure I was responding correctly and clearly. They encouraged me to post my thoughts. Here is (below) what I sent to TGC’s site, which is still awaiting moderation, even though there has been at least one comment posted after I sent mine, I received notice of that post via email, and there were, at one point this afternoon, 25 comments and now there are only 24, as of 2:41pm Pacific time. I hope that changes, but in case it does not (which will not be the first time my comments at TGC have been deleted, if, in fact, that is the case), here it is.


This is not helpful to me as an individual or, especially, as a pastor. It creates more work for me.

Though there are many, many problems I have with this post, I will share but two.

First, moralizing John’s preparatory ministry is terrible–hermeneutically, theologically, and practically. Your post says:

“At the onset of Jesus’ ministry, John announced his coming in fulfillment of Isaiah 40: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This is the cry of Lent: Prepare the way of the Lord! Make room for him in your thoughts and activities and affections.”

This goes against, for example, what Dr. Carson’s Commentary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament advocates (and I think rightly). The Gospels narrate these kinds of things for us because they are telling us what happened in fulfillment of the OT and in relation to John the Baptist and the incarnation and ministry (i.e., His sufferings and glory) of Christ. Drawing these kinds of “practical” applications from these types of texts is simply wrong. The Epistles are God’s theological commentary upon and ecclesiastical applications of some of the events depicted for us in the Gospels. Nowhere do we see John’s preparatory ministry interpreted and applied as your post does in the Epistles (or anywhere else in the Bible). The fact of the matter is this: The way has already been prepared for the Lord by John and in fulfillment of God’s Word via Isaiah. We don’t “Prepare the way of the Lord!” John already did that. We can certainly gain confidence in the veracity of the Word of God due to this and connect the dots between the OT, John, and Jesus; but to tell people “Make room for him in your thoughts and activities and affections” based on John’s preparatory ministry is, at best, naive and at worst, a moralizing/allegorizing of a text that ends up creating new laws for God’s people–laws invented by man. “God alone is Lord of the conscience.”

Second, the following words are very troubling to me:

“The practice of giving something up for Lent is a way of entering into the wilderness with Jesus. Don’t worry about whether your sacrifice is a good one. It’s not a contest. Just make your aim to know Christ more fully, and trust him to lead you.”

A churchgoer misinterpreted this as sacrificing all his endeavors and therefore stopped working to provide for his family and dependents. It had to be made clear to him in the light of the present arguments that Jesus does not ask him to abandon his duties. Upon advice he signed up for CarbonFX and started to trade on the website. More information on

“…entering into the wilderness with Jesus”? What does that mean and where has God revealed that it is His will for us to enter such? The fact is that Christ already entered the wilderness for us and won! This statement betrays a hermeneutic that is too horizontal, allegorizing, and misses the point of Christ’s wilderness experience. He was driven there to be tempted as our representative and win; unlike Adam in the garden and Israel in the wilderness, Jesus does not give-in to the devil.

TGC brothers, this post makes more work for local church pastors. It is destructive. It erodes confidence in those involved with TGC. Recently a Mark Driscoll interview was posted on TGC blog where he gave somewhat of a “pass” to Joel Osteen. Check this out by Mark Dever. This is what we need from TGC; a clear sound for truth and against error.

I hope you will consider these things in the spirit they are intended. I think this post should be deleted and a humble apology posted in its place.


Richard Barcellos
Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Paldmale, CA
▶ 39 Responses
  1. I wish TGC had more Gospel and less Coalition.

  2. Well said, Pastor Barcellos. You hit the nail on the head as did Dr. Trueman on the Reformation 21 blog. Since there was a reformation, why the move back to Catholicism among many? I think it is because their is not enough gospel in their message, and God made it such that a vacuum must be filled.

  3. […] of your convictions.   And I believe Richard Barcellos has some good things to say over at the website of the Reformed Baptist Fellowship concerning how the issue has recently arisen under the auspices […]

  4. Excellent, Rich. Exegetical points that go straight to the heart of why Lent is not just optional, but dangerous and misleading.

  5. Reblogged this on The Lighthearted Calvinist and commented:
    Rich Barcellos gives food for thought here – good food.

  6. […] blog, some of my concerns were posted by the moderators of that site. You can read the post here. Also, Carl R. Trueman provides brief comment on the same issue […]

  7. Solid Rich, how true it is that it gives local church pastors more work ! TGC need to respond too.

  8. Robert, I hope they do respond with a simple “We apologize for posting confusing information about Lent. It will not happen again. My God give us wisdom.” I hope we do not get a post explaining things that qualifies and nuances things to death.

  9. Really good stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  10. my comment was approved for a while but not up now :-(

  11. A link to your response (i.e. here) is now in the comments section of the article on TGC

  12. Wise words, brother Barcellos! Isn’t it interesting that a group who’s name puts forth the gospel as central is willing to replace it with tradition and misguided pietistic practices based upon faulty hermenutics. Thanks.

  13. […] Earlier this week Pastor Richard Barcellos entered Matt Smethurst’s comment thread and thoughtfully engaged the issue.  Now in case you didn’t realize it you ought to know: TGC doesn’t do thoughtful engagement.  They’re fine with critics who rant and rave and can be easily dismissed, but they hesitate to approve comments which involve serious critique.  Rich’s comments predictably disappeared, but he helpfully reposted at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship.  […]

  14. […] some go further: one pastor called the post “destructive” and suggested that TGC should offer an apology for it. His complaints, at least the ones that he […]

  15. My comment, copied below, did not wait for moderation. Perhaps they are only moderated if they exceed a certain length?


    I believe the allegorical and ahistorical treatment of scripture here undermines the gospel and shows, once again, why the Puritans, and evangelicals who share their gospel-driven aspirations, generally don’t embrace Lent.

    The author writes that Lent “prepares the way for the Lord” just as John the Baptist did. But that implies that the Lord hasn’t come already and finished His work; or, at least, that He has to keep on coming, every year, through the liturgical calendar, to keep working on the salvation he hasn’t finished yet.

    Further, it implies that some seasons and days are more holy than others and sanctification is attained during those few sacred times. This is contrary to the gospel-created reality that all of our lives are to be holy to the Lord.

    Why not this Lenten season, seminary students, pastors, devout Christians of all kinds, think deeply about what Christ has earned once and for all in the cross and, so, give up Lent for Lent?

  16. Bravo Rich!

  17. John, here is what Tom Chantry thinks: “Perhaps, but I suspect it is more sinister. The objecting comments which they tend to approve are often either terse or passionate. It is easy to set such comments aside: “Look at the absurdity of our critics!” What they consistently hide are comments like yours, which are calm, reasoned, biblical, and which demand a refutation which it would be very difficult to make.

    To put it simply, I don’t think they like the idea of having to actually defend themselves. Perhaps it’s beneath them.”

  18. I said:
    I hope they don’t post a lecture on why it is careful , balanced, loving, and accepting to post stuff on Lent.

    to which a friend replied:
    Or how it is careful, balanced, loving, and accepting to not allow dissenting views.

  19. I am not too surprised anymore by what gets posted over at TGC. Many of my comments have remained in suspended animation for an eternity. Hummmm! BTW, I agree with Tom Chantry on most things, and now you. :)

  20. For a more positive take on Lent, see this article by Mike Horton:

  21. Thanks, Luke. I do not, however, think Dr. Horton would disagree with anything I said in the post.

  22. I fully sympathize and agree with your response. But it does seem you are bewildered by what is common place with TGC. Not only should this alarm you but as well its repeated toleration and practice of hermeneutical, theological and practical failure on a regular basis without apology and in fact done so unabashedly and quite robustly.

    This is a failure a beginner with the Scriptures would make. You will get no acknowledgement of this. Again, it is a repeated practice by TGC. It reminds me of Russell Moore’s piece equating Mary, Joseph and our infant Lord as illegal immigrants. That poison is still happily in TGC’s drinking water.

    I dare say up to 50% but no less than 25%of their material fails at the level you identified but of course if it was pointed out regularly you would not be thanked but cursed for raining on their parade

    Thank you for demanding hermeneutical, theological and practical integrity from Teachers for the sake of what God’s sheep may eat to their injury.

  23. I found this helpful.

  24. I am glad to find this. I am a Reformed Baptist in a region where we are ridiculed for being such. My Sunday school teacher was openly ridiculed in a Baptist Newspaper by a local pastor who is an “Open Theist” and most around here come from the Honky Tonk Gospel/Dispensational, Premillennial camp. I have agreed with just about everything here, and I appreciate your stand on truth. Even if it is a stand to correct and reprove a brother. Keep it up!

  25. Richard,

    Thanks for addressing this. Whatever the “good intentions” the author of the TGC article may have had, the thesis and thrust of his article is misguided, unhelpful, and potentially harmful to the gospel.

  26. Bob, I agree. Nor is it helpful for such an influential site to allow it to stay up. I have shared my concerns with some on their council. I hope they take it down with a *brief* apology.

  27. TGC should have an article from the historically Puritan (for lack of a better name) perspective, in opposition (or at least cautioning) of Lent, as they usually do with issues over which there is a variation of opinion among evangelicals. I was surprised and disappointed that they have put up at least two articles in support of observing Lent and none questioning it.

    However, Reformed Baptists should be can’t complain about lack of dissent at TGC. I was banned from a Reformed Baptist discussion page for daring question the “family integrated church” movement, which I believe is a subversion of the church. ARBCA requires churches to believe in cessationism, despite lack of Biblical evidence for it.

  28. please omit “should be” from the first sentence of the second paragraph above.

  29. […] the link to the Reformed Baptist Fellowship site that features the post by Richard Barcellos.  Here is that […]

  30. This Reformed Presbyterian pastor thanks you so much for this very helpful post!

  31. Lent seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year in the evangelical world. As for me, I decided to eat more bacon!

  32. I was about to note that comments with links generally get tossed to the moderation bin automatically, rather than automatically appearing on the site. But it’s been 5 days now, so that is disappointing. Thanks for these concise thoughts

  33. Years ago, after Anglicanism, I gave up Lent for Lent, and see Jesus as my righteousness, rest, and law-keeper.

    Also post-Presbyterian, I am sad to see TGC embrace a popish relic (pun intended).

    Traditions such as Lent are brought in to fill up a gospel-vacuum that’s developed. If one’s faith is shakey, then traditions appeal.

    If one is looking to Christ alone, then we do good works NOT to get us closer to God, but FROM our relationsip established by him through faith alone, per Eph. 2:8-10. The Lenten tradition is to get one to God, not flowing from God.

    So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not[d] seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

    Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using— according to the commandments and doctrines of men? hese things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. {Col. 2:16-end; NKJV}

  34. Below is my reply to the GC article supporting Lent by Chuck Colson, an Anglican minister, in response to his comments to me which suggested he didn’t understand Puritanism. I tried posting it at the GC blog but it may not have been accepted:

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for the courtesy of a thoughtful and gracious reply. However, your answer is not well-informed and suggests, with all due respect, that you have little understanding of the evangelical movement or it’s historical roots.

    First, Puritans were Anglicans. They were the movement seeking to reform the Church of England according to the Word of God, with the gospel in the center. Gospel-centrality (although a new term) wasn’t their slogan but it was their passion.

    Second, the term “left-wing of Puritanism” refers to movements like the Quakers, who also, of course, opposed the church calendar. It does not refer simply to those who opposed the liturgical year, which would have been all (or nearly all) of Puritans.

    Third, As far as I know, all Puritans opposed the liturgical year, including Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. They had seen how it necessarily obscures or even undermines the gospel. The New England Puritans had only three “holy days”: the weekly Lord’s Day (“Sabbath”), Fsting days and Thanksgiving days, the later two were called spontaneously as Providence seemed to direct. That is, fasting days and Thanksgiving days were not scheduled into the calender but were marked as a response to circumstances. I believe it is safe to say that opposition to the liturgical year was part-and-parcel of Puritanism because they understood that to be Catholic tradition which taught, as your article suggests, that godliness is something obtained through a cyclical events we do, rather than remembering what God has already finished.

    Finally, lacking that historical understanding of Puritanism means that likely you lack an appreciation for the gospel-centeredness of historical evangelicalism; that would account for you not understanding the core issues at stake in an attempt to re-introduce a tradition that was purposefully and thoughtfully rejected by faithful Christians in the past. That is, you simply don’t understand why observing Lent fell out of evangelicalism, likely assuming that it was by careless neglect when the truth was that there were theologically substantial reasons for doing so.

    I ask that the Gospel Coalition find someone to write an article from the historic evangelical (i.e. “Puritan”) position explaining why it was opposed by our faithful Christian forefathers and the dangers inherent in trying to re-introduce it.

  35. Dear John,

    Appreciate your comments. @ the other TGC Lenten devotion, particularly.

    Sad that you & Richard are there [even somewhat] censored.

    My being banned is entirely apropos, but you all are learned, civil, and biblical.

    On 2nd thought, maybe that’s exactly why TGC isn’t keen on your insights. Keller’s gospel is something else (which is not another).

  36. John,
    Interestingly (though tangentially), the Anglicans were among the original Reformers.
    (Dare we call them “puritans”? Maybe with a lower case “p”.)
    Having once erred in joining a modern-day Anglican church b/c of my naive and false impression that anyone there believed in the 39 Articles or Cranmer, Ridley, et. al., I have learnt the hard way.
    My point is that the early Anglicans (read Foxe & Ryle!) were pretty biblical and trying to get back – as you indicate – to Holy Writ!

  37. Lent: A Secondary Issue Hardly Worth Arguing About

    Paul is clear in Romans 14 that there are indeed disputable, secondary matters, ones where he refused take a strong authoritarian stand, even though he believed that one side was more right. He used two examples, food and holy days. Some things are simply less important and not worth fighting about, and he allowed differences of opinion:
    “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
    For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
    Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

  38. Dr Bruce,

    Paul is clear in Gal. 4 & Phil. 3 & Col. 2 that there are indeed indisputable, primary matters, ones where he was Holy-Ghost-inspired to take a strong authoritarian stand, knowing that false steps lead to death.

    He used two examples: circumcision and the observance of days. Some things are simply too important to not fight about, and he allowed no “differences of opinion” when gospel freedom was at stake. :)

  39. […] Read the Baptist perspective on the controversy by Richard Barcellos here: To Lent or reLent? […]

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

From One Antichrist to Another: Thoughts on The Papal Transition

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



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.

The closest analogy right now is of Fintech Ltd. As long as the trading software was giving out major results and the trader were immensely benefitting from the signals, the people thought very highly about the software. But as soon as the website signals started floundering and the people started to lose their money they started backlash against the website and even went to the extent of calling the website scamster. Well, if you see form the trader’s point of view they were not wrong but notice that it was the same website that they had been talking so highly about! You may want to check out

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 and

[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.


▶ 30 Responses
  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:

    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.

    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,

    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.

    Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

    Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

    Buy from Amazon

    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

    Richard’s testimony of true conversion to Christ

    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. […] Read on. […]

  12. 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.

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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:

  15. 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.

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

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

  17. […]… […]

  18. “Eidolons,”

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

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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).

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. ” 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!

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

  28. 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!

  29. Popeless yes. Christless no!

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Typical Objections to the Ten Commandments and Christians

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Jeremiah prophesies that Christians have the law that God wrote on stone tablets, the Ten Commandments, written on their hearts by the Spirit of God sent by the Son of God (Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3). The Spirit of God also causes us to delight in God’s law and obey it (Ezek. 36:27, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”). The New Testament gives us the way in which the Ten Commandments are to be applied by Christians. Though this seems clear and is, by far, the majority view of the Christian church throughout her history, some disagree. To be fair to those who may disagree, we must admit that some statements of the New Testament make this issue difficult to understand (Rom. 6:14, for example). In light of this, let us consider four typical objections and interact with them.

1.      The Mosaic law in the Old and New Testaments always refers to the entirety of that law, the whole thing, the whole law of the Old Covenant, the law for ancient Israel.

“Since Christians are not under the Mosaic law as a whole, then they cannot be under it in any of its parts,” so goes this objection. “So the law in Jeremiah’s prophecy cannot have anything to do with the Old Covenant and its law.” At first glance, this appears to be a very strong objection, but let us interact with it.

We are not arguing that the law in Jeremiah’s prophecy has anything to do with Christians in their present relationship to the Old Covenant or being under any law in order to obtain either the temporal blessings promised to God’s ancient people in the Land of Promise or worse salvation and eternal life. This is a prophecy of the New Covenant, of a new day for God’s people. What I am arguing is that Jeremiah’s prophecy refers to the basic fundamental law of the New Covenant, which is the same for the Old or Mosaic Covenant. We are not under Moses’ law like the ancient Jews were, but we are creatures created in the image of God, just as they were, with the law re-written on our hearts. We do have duties as Christians that are very much the same as Israel did under the Old Covenant. We are to love God and neighbor, which Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 in Matthew 22:37 and 39. One thing we learn from this is that some laws of the Mosaic Covenant transcend that covenant and can function outside of it. For example, we are to worship the one and only true God of the Bible. This has always been the case. We are to worship the one and only true God of the Bible the way He says to. This has always been the case. We are not to take God’s name in vain. This has always been the case. We must rest for the purpose of public worship and we must work or labor. This has always been the case. We owe respect and obedience to parents and all authority figures in our lives. This has always been the case. We must respect life and not murder others either by taking their lives unlawfully or even by hating them. This has always been the case. We must keep ourselves sexually pure, neither committing adultery in our acts, words, or thoughts. This has always been the case. We must respect the property of others and not steal. This has always been the case. We must tell the truth and not lie. This has always been the case. And we must be content with what we have and not commit idolatry by coveting things and people. This has always been the case. These are the Ten Commandments. As a matter of fact, the Ten Commandments did not become holy and good at Sinai. These things are always right or wrong in light of who we are as creatures made in God’s image. These simply reflect the ethical absolutes woven into the fabric of our being.

The third amendment says that we need to labor and work to be able to provide for our dependents and even though we know that we have to work in the most lawful way there is no commentary that says otherwise. Still, common sense must prevail and we must work in such a way that we damage the image of the faith and Christ. You may want to learn more about binary trading at CarbonFX at

Maybe looking at it this way will help. Just as God incorporated the law written on man’s heart at creation (Rom. 2:14-15) into the Old Covenant (Exod. 20:1ff.), He does the same in the New Covenant (Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3). This natural law became what it was not at Sinai; it was formally published by God Himself on stone tablets. That same law is incorporated into the New Covenant. This law, then, is not only trans-cultural but trans-covenantal. Since it is coextensive with our status as image bearers, this should not surprise us at all.

2.      If the law in Jeremiah refers to the Ten Commandments, why didn’t God repeat them word-for-word in the New Testament exactly as they come to us in the Old Testament?

“If repeated then binding; if not repeated, not binding,” so goes the argument. Again, this appears to be a sound objection, but is it really? God already revealed the Ten Commandments twice in the Old Testament (Exod. 20 and Deut. 5). He prophesied their presence in the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:33. He confirmed their presence under the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:3 (and elsewhere). The Ten Commandments are either quoted or assumed to be good and right by the New Testament writers in many places. Remember, it is the essence of the Ten Commandments that are binding, not any particular form in which they have been revealed in Scripture.

For example, Paul references the fifth commandment as that which is right for children to obey (Eph. 6:1-3). Do you really need God to repeat, for example, the sixth commandment–“You shall not murder”–in order to believe that murder is sinful? By the way, it is interesting to note that murder was wrong and sinful prior to Sinai–Cain killed his brother Abel, which is recorded in Genesis 4, and John tells us in 1 John 3:11-12 that Cain was of the evil one and an example of someone who did not love. There is no command to love or any prohibition of murder recorded in Scripture prior to Genesis 4. Do you want to argue that love was not expected and murder was not prohibited until we read of an explicit command to love or an explicit prohibition concerning murder? I hope not.

How about the tenth commandment–“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor”? That command, as given here, is not repeated in the New Testament (i.e., word-for-word). It is, however, reduced to its essence–“You shall not covet” (Rom. 7:7; 13:9). God does not have to repeat the Ten Commandments word-for-word for them to be relevant for Christians.

Did you know that the first four commandments are not repeated in the New Testament word-for-word and neither are the ninth and tenth? In light of this, no one in their right mind argues that only the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments carry over into the New Testament and, therefore, are the only ones applicable to Christians. The essence of all ten of the Ten Commandments carries over into the New Testament. This is what we expect from Jeremiah’s prophecy (and elsewhere).

3.      The New Testament says that we are not under law but under grace. We do not have to obey the law of God; we just need to bathe our souls in the grace of God.

This objection is often based on Romans 6:14, which says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” At first glance, this verse may appear to undo much of what has been said above. How should we respond? It is one thing to be under law as a sinner as a means to life (which is impossible to attain since the fall), as a means whereby one obeys to get salvation and eternal life, as a means to get right with God or earn an inheritance; but it is quite another thing to obey because we have received eternal life, because someone else made us right with God, because someone else has earned an inheritance for us. We are bound to obey God’s law, not that we may live, not that we may gain salvation and inherit eternal life, not that we may be right with God, but because we live, because we have received eternal life, because we are heirs of life. We do not obey to life; we obey from life. Being a Christian does not mean we do the right things to get to heaven. It means that we believe the gospel. Christians believe that Christ has done everything necessary to earn heaven and the eternal state of glory for them. Our obedience does not get us to glory; Christ’s does. The basis of our justification and entitlement to glory is what Christ did for us. What we do for Christ is a result of His work. The efficient cause of what we do for Him is that which He does to or in us by His Spirit, a promised blessing for all in the New Covenant. What we do is a reflection of our love for Christ in light of what He has done for us and it is impelled by His Spirit in us forming us into Christ’s image in conjunction with the written word of God. Obeying God as a believer is a result of grace in our lives; it is an effect of God’s grace in us (Eph. 2:8-10). But, it is also a response to the grace of God in us (1 Cor. 15:10). We obey God’s law by grace. Because our souls are soaked by God’s grace, we want to obey God’s law.

4.      This would mean that the fourth commandment carries over into the New Covenant.

Well, my short answer is, “Yes, that is certainly true.” The essential principles of all ten of the Ten Commandments carry over. Time to work and time to stop work for the purpose of special worship are both necessary if we are to please God. But, someone says, “The fourth commandment is not repeated in the New Testament.” Neither is the first commandment (at least not word-for-word) but that does not make having other gods before the true God virtuous or only for Old Covenant Israel. And the second commandment is not repeated (at least not word-for-word) but that does not mean you can make idols and expect that (or any other humanly devised forms of worship) to be acceptable worship to God. And neither is the third commandment (at least not word-for-word) but that does not mean you can take the name of the Lord in vain.

But, someone says again, “In order for the fourth commandment to carry over we would expect the New Testament Christians to meet for worship on the seventh day of the week. In fact, they did not; they met on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day.” Yes, they did. But they met on the first day of the week because of the resurrection of Christ in celebration of redemption won and the inauguration of a new creation. Let’s think through this a bit.

This objection assumes that the application of the Ten Commandments must look the same as it did in the Old Testament era if they are to be obeyed under the New Testament era. Is this, in fact, the case? Must the application of one of the Ten Commandments look the same as it did under the Old Covenant if it is to be applicable under the New Covenant? I think not. For example, the second commandment is still in force but the laws for what constitutes acceptable worship have changed (Heb. 9:1-10). This change is due to the coming of Christ and His work which is the fulfillment to which the ancient elements of worship pointed. We worship the way we do in light of the coming and resurrection of Christ and the revelation explaining the implications of those events recorded in the New Testament. However, idolatry is still a sin (1 Cor. 10:14; Col.3:5; 1 John 5:21). We do not offer animal sacrifices at a physical temple through a Levitical priest, though all believers are priests who offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ (1 Pet. 2:5) in the new house of God, the new temple, the church (1 Cor. 3:16-17; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15). Things have changed due to fulfillment in Christ, but fulfillment does not cancel the moral principle of the law, though it may change its application. In other words, the application of the second commandment looks different than it used to in light of the coming of the Son of Man and His entrance into glory. We worship how we do in light of the coming and resurrection of Christ. It is the same for the application of the fourth commandment. We worship when we do in light of the coming and resurrection of Christ (Heb. 4:9-10; Rev. 1:10[1]) but Sabbath-keeping is still our privilege (Heb. 4:9) and we do not meet on the seventh day of the week, looking back to the original creation and redemption from Egypt or forward to the first coming of Christ. Just as the historical basis for the application of the fourth commandment under the Old Covenant is two-fold–creation (Exod. 20:8-11) and redemption (Deut. 5:12-15), so the historical basis for the application of the fourth commandment under the New Covenant is also two-fold–the resurrection is both the formal inauguration of a new creation and the guarantee of our redemption.

A similar case can be made with the fifth commandment on two levels. The fifth commandment is ours to obey irrespective of our age. However, honoring parents when you are two years old looks different than when you are 50. Also, in Eph. 6:2-3, Paul references the fifth commandment, applying it to children in first-century Asia Minor. However, in its first revelation to us in the Bible, obeying the fifth commandment promised longer life in the Promised Land (cf. Exod. 20:12, “that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you”). The application may change due to various factors, like the inauguration of the New Covenant due to the sufferings and glory of Christ, without cancelling the essence of the commandment.

Just as the application of the second commandment looks different under the New Covenant due to the sufferings and glory of Christ (i.e., the elements of public worship have changed), so the application of the fourth commandment (i.e., the day for public worship has changed). The application of the fourth commandment takes its shape based on redemptive-historical realities connected to Christ’s death and resurrection. The Christian’s Sabbath does not look backward to the original creation or to redemption from Egyptian bondage, and neither does it look forward to the first coming of Christ. It looks back to the inauguration of the New Covenant (i.e., the new creation and much better redemption) and is a foretaste of His second coming and the eternal rest that will be brought to eschatological fulfillment at that time and forever afterward. The Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath is a present symbol of a better creation and a better redemption which we enjoy in part now, but in full in the state of consummation.

Richard C. Barcellos
Pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Palmdale, CA


[1] The word translated “Lord’s” is found two times in the New Testament, here in Rev. 1:10 and in 1 Cor. 11:20. Both times it refers to something (i.e., a day [Rev. 1:10] and a covenantal meal [1 Cor.11:20]) that peculiarly belongs to the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. Just as the Old Covenant had a sacred day (i.e., the seventh-day Sabbath) and a sacred meal (i.e., Passover), so the New Covenant has its own sacred day and sacred meal. Both the sacred day (Rev. 1:10; “the Lord’s Day”) and the sacred meal (1 Cor. 11:20; “the Lord’s Supper) get their official titles after the resurrection. Though it is true that all days and all meals come from the Lord, all days and all meals are not identified as “the Lord’s,” in the sense that this word is used in Rev. 1:10 and 1 Cor. 11:20.

Reformed Baptist Fellowship

A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 8, 2014 at 10:34 am


Providentially, many Christian wives are married to unbelieving husbands. This is a great trial for them, especially if the man is very ungodly. Pastoral counseling discovers that many of these sisters in the Lord are perplexed about how God wants them to relate to their husbands in such a case. I have prepared this brief catechism for some guidance, suggesting that she should memorize it and find supporting Scripture references for its counsel, with careful study of those passages.

I am convinced that even though these are basic biblical truths, many Christian wives would know more peace and confidence in their God-ordained role if they called them to mind every day for practical application in their marriages. Also, these truths should prove helpful even when the husband is a godly man.

May the Lord use this simple catechism to bless His precious daughters in difficult marriages.

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA


Q1.      What is the main point of my marriage to my husband?

A1.      To glorify God and enjoy Him forever, the same point of my existence and all my circumstances.

Q2.      Can my marriage ever be the source of true happiness to me?

A2.      No, at best it can become an occasion of happiness, but all my joy is bound up and will remain forever in knowing God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and therefore my blessedness does not depend on the state of my marriage.

Q3.      How can I glorify God and enjoy Him forever in my marriage?

A3.      By trusting God implicitly and doing His will in all things because I love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Q4.      What is the most important thing about how I relate to my husband?

A4.      That I love him with gracious gospel love, respect him for his position over me, and submit to him as unto the Lord.

Q5.      What is gracious, gospel love for my husband?

A5.      A supernatural love from Christ that is large, constant, and free, and that does my husband good and not evil all the days of his life.

Q6.      What is respect for my husband?

A6.      It is a conscious recognition of his special authority over me as my husband on the basis of God’s Word and the covenant I freely entered when I married him.

Q7.      What does it mean to submit to my husband as unto the Lord?

A7.      That I will cheerfully acquiesce to my husband in all things consistent with the revealed will of Christ, but no further, from a sincere desire to please my husband and Christ for my husband’s good and Christ’s glory.

Q8.      Will there be cases when I must obey Christ rather than my husband?

A8.      Yes, if ever my husband expects me to disobey any of Christ’s commands, but even then I must keep loving and respecting my husband as my husband while Christ always has my greatest love and loyalty.

Q9.      What is the primary means by which I can influence my husband toward greater faith and obedience to God?

A9.      Setting a good example before my husband, without a word of nagging or disrespectful rebuke.

Q10.    Does this absolutely forbid addressing my husband about his responsibility for faith and duty as a man, a husband, and a father?

A10.    No, but when it is right to address him about these things, I must speak the truth in love, with evident love and respect for him as my husband.

Q11.    How good a husband is my husband to me?

A11.    Much better than I deserve, and therefore I will thank God for him every day.

He has never failed in his duties to us as provider of bread. Always gone out of his way and made an earnest attempt to be able to provide each one of us a life that would help us in praising the Lord and every moment remind us that how fortunate we have been to have him and to have Jesus Christ’s grace upon us. I remember particularly how he has inspite of his busy schedule also tried trading in binary options on 1G Profit System Review when he had met an accident and could not go out to work. You can read and benefit from

Q12.    How good a wife am I to my husband?

A12.    Much worse than I ought to be, and therefore I will confess my sins to God every day, asking forgiveness, and to my husband as needed, and continue in prayer for grace to grow into the excellent wife that God wants me to be, and that would be such a blessing to my husband.

Q13.    How can I possibly love my husband so well, since he falls so short of the ideal husband, and I am such a sinful person?

A13.    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even this, for I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Also, I know that God has given me His Spirit and all-sufficient grace to help me to do all He requires of me.