Does the ELCA Still Teach That the Pope Is the Antichrist?

Your repeated comments on this indicate that you find this troubling somehow.

No confessional Lutheran needs anyones approval a to worship in any confessional Lutheran church regardless of the synod.

Isn’t that the truth!

While orthodox Lutherans are small in number under the banner of Lutheranism, I’m happy and overjoyed to find that we share much commonality with our Cross facing friends in the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox church.

And I’m overjoyed that the new members in our church and the new world are calling back to the cross and away from our self-indulgnet hubris.

Simply put - while small, we have friends in all the right places - the young, the poor, and and steadfast in other Christian traditions.

You are truly ecumenical and don’t know it :smiley:

Absolutely not!! I found Pope Benedict to be marvelous. He probably understands Luther and Lutheranism better than any other pope in history.

I don’t know about anti-popes. That seems to be a sedavacantist thing.


All Lutheran pastors are held to the confessions. That’s pan-Lutheran, so far as I know.


Reminds me of the Black Pope and White Pope thinking also. Here’s a paragraph for entertainment…

"As a result of this, the Devil raised up Ignatius Loyola with his demonisms, his “spiritual exercises” and—because Loyola had been a member of the Spanish Alumbrados, which is what we call the Illuminati today, and he used the Jesuit Order to attempt to regain back what had been taken by the Reformation

The Council of Trent consists of 25 Sessions. Those 25 Sessions accurse and condemn all the doctrines of the Reformation. It condemns anybody who does not believe that the literal Jesus Christ is in the host [holy communion bread], and that his literal blood is in the wine. That’s called transubstantiation. Anybody who does not believe that is an accursed anathema. Anybody who believes that their salvation is outside the Catholic Church is accursed anathema. Anybody who believes in justification by grace through faith—anathema, accursed. Anybody who believes that the Pope is not the vicar of Christ—accursed, anathema. You see, all of these doctrines were being put forth as a result of reading the Bible, which produced the Reformation, and so the Jesuits accursed everything that the Reformers were preaching. This is all in Law called the Council of Trent." Pope

We consolidated the office now.:smiley:

I know our (LCMS) pastors swear to uphold and defend the Confessions “even unto death,” and our catechumens do as well. Being raised in another Lutheran body, do you know if others take the oaths that far?

Evangel and other Lutherans on here, do you happen to know?

Just curious…

Agreed. The difficulty comes in determining whether an individual parish is indeed Confessional, particularly when it resides in a synod that imposes difficulties on Confessional Lutherans. :confused:

The Antichrist is mentioned by name in only four verses of Scripture: 1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3, and 2 John 7. There are other verses that many people link to the Antichrist, but since he isn’t named in them, the connection is not certain. The four Johanine verses must serve as the core of our knowledge before trying to link other verses to them.

In 1 John 2:18–19, we read, “Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.”

This passage appears to speak of a major individual Antichrist, as well as many minor individual Antichrists, who apparently are apostate Christians for “they went out from us.” The appearance of the individual Antichrist is yet future (“Antichrist is coming”), but the presence of the many Antichrists is a signal that “it is the last hour.”

In 1 John 2:22–23, we read, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.”

This is consistent with the apostate nature of the many Antichrists, for they have “deny[ied] that Jesus is the Christ” and, in denying the Son, they have implicitly denied the Father. Presumably the same would be true of the individual Antichrist.

1 John 4:1–6 gives practical tests for discerning which spirits bearing revelation are from God and which are not. In John 4:3, we read that “every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of Antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.”

This shows that the Antichrist movement is inspired by spirits bearing false revelation and that refuse to confess Jesus. This movement had begun in John’s day but would grow afterward.

Finally, in 2 John 7, we read, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Nothing there about the pope (any pope!) or the papacy.

I don’t have the manual on Occasional Services/ Rites.

But am convinced that the ELCA does not require cathechuems to vow loyalty to the Church under death.

I am old enough to remember that confirmation vow to Christ and His Church [and meant it] but that language is probably not even used in LCMS confirmations any more.

The three charges against the papacy which I listed earlier are the basis. One has already become moot. Were the other two to come under a new and agreeable understanding, then this certainly would no longer be the position of Lutherans. Lutherans, perhaps more than any protestants, are open to a level of primacy for the Bishop of Rome, as was the case in the first millennium Church.


The first time I ever witnessed a Lutheran ordination was about 8 years ago in our LCMS parish. I never witnessed one in the LCA/ELCA, in part because I was raised in a parish whose pastor also happened to be my dad. :smiley:

I would defer to Pastor Gary on how that proceeds.


Thanks for this Erich, because it support our contention that when we use the term, we only mean to say that the authority claimed by the Roman Pontiff is opposed to Christ.


Why should the fact that many baptized Lutherans are not practicing really matter when it comes to counting them? We could do the same thing with Catholicism and I’m sure a sizeable portion of its baptized communicants would have to be struck from the rolls because they are lapsed Catholics. When it comes to Europe, neither Protestant state churches nor the Catholic Church in traditionally Catholic countries can brag about religious participation.

I found this Vow. Not sure it is current and used by both the ELCA and LCMS;

  1. Do you promise that you will perform the duties of your office in accordance with these Confessions, and that all your preaching and teaching and your administration of the Sacraments will be in conformity with Holy Scripture and these Confessions?
  1. Will you faithfully instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine?
  1. Will you forgive the sins of those who repent, and will you promise never to divulge the sins confessed to you?
  1. Will you minister faithfully to the sick and dying?
  1. Will you demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry centered in the Gospel?
  1. Will you admonish and encourage the people to a lively confidence in Christ and in holy living?
  1. Finally, will you honor and adorn the Office of the Holy Ministry with a holy life?
  1. Will you be diligent in the study of Holy Scripture and the Confessions?
  1. Will you be constant in prayer for those under your pastoral care?

After asked these 9 questions, the pastor answers, “I will, the Lord helping me through the power and grace of His Holy Spirit.”

Sounds reasonable for either synod.

Let’s be clear here. I was raised LCA/ELCA by a pastor. Beyond the superficial (but important) disagreements between the synods, and the further away one gets from St. Louis and Chicago, the more obvious our similarities and common confession becomes. Was it Churchill that said England and America were divided by a common language? A walk through the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Catechisms would reveal rather strong unanimity of belief.


That is a fair point, but not the one I was making. My main question is whether those baptized “cultural Christians” ever belonged to a Lutheran church, since many of the churches that call themselves Lutheran quite simply are not. Take the Church of Sweden, whose female bishop (that, in itself a contradiction to the Lutheran Confessions) questions “Why Pick Jesus over Mohammed?” or the the Evangelical Church in Germany, which is a union church and is not bound to Lutheran beliefs (as I mentioned):

I contend this would be a good thing to do for any Christian group - as a wake-up call to the lapsed.

“Easy” Christianity, in my opinion, that I ape from Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer leads to a smothering of the faith.

Mary, why the anger? The LCMS are fellow Christians. Charity goes further is bridging divisions than suspicion. all I’m saying is a typical group of Lutherans don’t sit around judging and condemning the pope or anyone else.

When I said that Lutherans teach the doctrine forcefully, what I meant primarily was that the Lutheran confessions teach it forcefully, and modern Lutherans, because they subscribe to these same confessions, at the very least implicitly (I have no idea what your average LCMS pastor preaches from the pulpit every Sunday) teach the doctrines that the confessions teach with identical force.

I don’t think your clarifications on the LCMS position do anything to put Catholics at ease. What does it mean to say that “only the office of the pope is the Antichrist, not any individual pope?” To me, this seems to merely say that popes are not the Antichrist by virtue of their human identity, but by their office so all the popes have inhabited the office of the Antichrist. That might sound like a moderate thing to say to Lutheran ears, but is not very reassuring to a Catholic. This means that all the popes for over a millennium have all been individually, in Luther’s words, the Antichrist. Although we do not think the biblical Antichrist necessarily has horns, cloven hooves etc., the Bible does speak about the Antichrist as Erich pointed out, and what does any of this have to do with the papacy? Does the papacy deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? Does the papacy deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh? Does the papacy deny the Father and the Son? Did the papacy go out from us? On the contrary, if anything, St. John must be speaking of the Lutherans, since they were the ones who went out from the Roman Catholics who were before them. Yet the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not teach that Martin Luther was “the very Antichrist” even if there is a stronger biblical argument for teaching that. It is puzzling for a modern observer to see Lutherans insisting on this as the clear teaching of Holy Scripture. The three points from the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope are nowhere stated in the Bible.

Finally, I do not think you have fully represented the confessional teaching on the Papacy. The confessions say some pretty extreme things about the pope, not the least of which being that he is “the very Antichrist,” which has no basis in Holy Writ, as Erich clearly established (it is interesting that the Smalcald Articles do not even bother to appeal to any verses mentioning the Antichrist to support such an outrageous claim). For example, Luther says,

For all his bulls and books are extant, in which he roars like a lion (as the angel in Rev. 12 depicts him, [crying out] that no Christian can be saved unless he obeys him and is subject to him in all things that he wishes, that he says, and that he does. All of which amounts to nothing less than saying: Although you believe in Christ, and have in Him [alone] everything that is necessary to salvation, yet it is nothing and all in vain unless you regard [have and worship] me as your god, and be subject and obedient to me. And yet it is manifest that the holy Church has been without the Pope for at least more than five hundred years, and that even to the present day the churches of the Greeks and of many other languages neither have been nor are yet under the Pope.
-Smalcald Articles 2.4.4

If we turn to Revelation 12 we will see that Dr. Luther is identifying the pope with “the great dragon… that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan.” So the pope (or his office?) is Satan himself according the “biblical” teaching of the Lutheran confessions. At the very least, this comes across as incredibly immature.

Jon, can you explain how these passages support the LCMS claim, and do you think that what you are saying is the view of the Reformers who wrote the confessions?

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