Well, I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news – the Pope is coming to town. Do you think I’ve chosen too strong a title for this blog? Perhaps some of you will think so. Though this language may shock you did you know the most of the orthodox confessions of Church history call the Pope the AntiChrist? Here’s two examples:
1689, London Baptist Confession of Faith: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” – (chapter 26, article 4)
1646 Westminster Confession of Faith: “There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.” (chapter 25, paragraph 6)
Both of these documents, the 1689 London Baptist Confession and the earlier 1646 Westminster Confession, are strong and robust, gospel centered documents that uphold the truth of the Scripture and have for centuries brought light onto what orthodox Christian belief is. Though we can’t really be sure if the Pope is in fact the AntiChrist, we can be sure he has the spirit of AntiChrist in him (1 John 2:18). My conclusion is that the Pope is a heretic under the condemnation of Galatians 1 for not teaching the true gospel. If you’re still reading this by now let me explain why I think this.
When the Reformation broke out it was Martin Luther who defended of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This essential doctrine teaches that all who come to Christ by faith are justified and made right before God. If justification is by faith it necessarily means that justification isn’t by works. And justification by works is exactly what the Pope still teaches and spreads. This is nothing short of tyranny, because no amount of work done by man could ever lead to a right standing with God. We are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace along, to the glory of God alone. Anyone who disagrees with that is under the condemnation of Galatians 1. Am I the only one who has said such things? No.
Charles Spurgeon also said something similar: “The Protestantism of England is the pay-master of the Pope. I am ashamed that sons of the Reformers… should bow themselves before the beast, and give so much as a single farthing to the shrine of the devil’s firstborn son. Take heed to yourselves, ye Protestants, lest ye be partakers of her plagues; touch her not, lest ye be defiled. Give a drachm to her, or a grain of incense to her censors, ye shall be partakers of her adulteries and partakers of her plagues. Every time you pass the house of Popery let a curse light upon her head: Thus saith the Lord:—‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities”
To add offense to offense here, did you know the Catholic Church held a council in response to the Reformation? It was called the ‘Council of Trent’ and during the 6th session they made this statement: “If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.” Though the language is a bit archaic, do you see what they ‘re saying? If anyone says we are NOT justified by works, let him be anathema (accursed). That’s strong language, and it’s still what the Pope believes. How do I know this is still the teaching of the Pope? The declarations and anathemas of the Council of Trent were confirmed anew by both the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the official “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (1992). This has yet to be revoked.
Christian, beware the teaching that comes with Pope Francis. It is nothing but works based nonsense. It is not the gospel. Pray for him, that God would change his heart, and turn him to the truth of Scripture. Pray also that God would rescue the millions led astray by this false teaching, that God would give them understanding from His Word revealing the lie of salvation by works and give them a true knowledge of the gospel.
He may be coming to our cities, and may be welcomed by many. But be sure of this, his gospel is a false gospel that hurts man and dishonors God.