Lutherans, Is This True?

Here’s a quote from the LCMS website on their STATEMENT OF DOCTRINAL POSITIONS webpage:

“As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18, have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist “as God sitteth in the temple of God,” 2 Thess. 2:4; that he anathematizes the very heart of the Gospel of Christ, that is, the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, for Christ’s sake alone, through faith alone, without any merit or worthiness in man (Rom. 3:20-28; Gal. 2:16); that he recognizes only those as members of the Christian Church who bow to his authority; and that, like a deluge, he had inundated the whole Church with his antichristian doctrines till God revealed him through the Reformation – these very features are the outstanding characteristics of the Papacy. (Cf. Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 515, Paragraphs 39-41; p. 401, Paragraph 45; M. pp. 336, 258.) Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is the very Antichrist.(Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 475, Paragraph 10; M., p. 308.)”

I’m looking forward to the response. In the mean time the same is true in the Westminster Confession, XXV, VI:
VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.

I think that portion was removed in a later printing of the WCF. It isn’t in my copy, but it was in the original.

Hmm.Usually Lutherans are ready to jump in on any thread about them or the reformation to say “No it’s really not that bad” but no one has posted yet. Hmm.

…awaiting responses…

It had only been posted two hours when you posted. :shrug: I work. :smiley:

Is it true that the Lutheran Confessions understand that the institution of the papacy is Antichrist? Yes. That’s what the LCMS page is simply restating. Randy, I don’t think it was your intent, but I think you emphasized a section that is meant to serve as a simple conclusion about how the LCMS holds to the Confessions in relation to the topic of Antichrist; read the 1,029 preceding characters and you’ll see that it is not so simple as ‘the Pope is the Antichrist!’

Now let’s take a look at why Lutherans consider the institution of the papacy to be anti-Christ. The Reformers gave three reasons why the term applied to the Papacy (below). At least one of these (#2), does not apply in our day, since the Pope is no longer a kingmaker (one less issue keeping us from restored unity! :D):
[LIST=1]
*]The Roman Pontiff claims for himself [in the first place] that by divine right he is [supreme] above all bishops and pastors [in all Christendom].
*]Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].
*]And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself [and boasts that he is] the vicar of Christ on earth.
[/LIST]

From the Frequently Asked Questions section of the same website:

The connection between the antichrist and pope are unclear to me. Do you believe the pope is the only enemy?

A: The LCMS does not teach, nor has it ever taught, that any individual Pope as a person, is to be identified with the Antichrist. The historic view of LCMS on the Antichrist is summarized as follows by the Synod’s Theological Commission:

The New Testament predicts that the church throughout its history will witness many antichrists (Matt. 24:5,23-24; Mark 13:6,21-22; Luke 21:8; 1 John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John 7). All false teachers who teach contrary to Christ’s Word are opponents of Christ and, insofar as they do so, are anti-Christ.

However, the Scriptures also teach that there is one climactic “Anti-Christ” (Dan. 7:8,11, 20-21, 24-25; 11:36-45; 2 Thessalonians 2; 1 John 2:18; 4:3; Revelation 17-18). . . Concerning the historical identity of the Antichrist, we affirm the Lutheran Confessions’ identification of the Antichrist with the office of the papacy whose official claims continue to correspond to the Scriptural marks listed above. It is important, however, that we observe the distinction which the Lutheran Confessors made between the office of the pope (papacy) and the individual men who fill that office. The latter could be Christians themselves. We do not presume to judge any person’s heart. Also, we acknowledge the possibility that the historical form of the Antichrist could change. Of course, in that case another identified by these marks would rise.

In a footnote, the Commission adds:

To the extent that the papacy continues to claim as official dogma the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent which expressly anathematizes, for instance, the doctrine “that justifying faith is nothing else than trust in divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that trust alone by which we are justified,” the judgment of the Lutheran confessional writings that the papacy is the Antichrist holds. At the same time, of course, we must recognize the possibility, under God’s guidance, that contemporary discussions and statements (e.g., 1983 U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue statement on “Justification by Faith”) could lead to a revision of the Roman Catholic position regarding Tridentine dogma.

lcms.org/faqs/lcmsviews#pope

We certainly do not feel that way (ECUSA) we respect the Pope as:cool: a holy and wise man of great influence-

Didnt the Chuch look at Martin Luther as some sort of an anti-christ under the reformation?
I mean, He (a munk) married a nun AND separated the Chuch (He who does not gather he spreads)

So it isnt to strange that when being accused of beeing anti-Christ he decided to make the Pope (anti-christ in the protestant doctrine)?

As a “former protestant” I have to say that this is the typical mindset of the different directions of protestantism. Its like " No one else are gonna get salvation, except the 500 of us, we are the only ones to fully undersand the true meaning of the Bibel"

So typical…

It’s also helpful to understand the revulsion of calling someone an anti-christ comes from modern mythology.

When the LCMS says anti-christ it’s not some sort of 666 Beast of Satan of pop culture. It’s simply stating that some of the teachings are contrary to what Christ has said.

Keep in mind, the phrasing of the Confessions is rather gentle for the time - this was from a time when the Pope excommunicated people - at that point, it was considered (by some) as damnation.

From Decet Romanum Pontificem against Martin Luther and others - “by this means they may escape divine vengeance and any degree of** participation in their damnation**.”

That said, LCMS leaders have met recently with Pope Benedict and he even greeted us kindly in return

blogs.lcms.org/2008/lcms-leaders-attend-ecumenical-meeting-with-pope

Yeah… Catholics never say that :cool:

Except that’s not at all what confessional Lutheranism teaches.

I don’t know too much about the current Bishop of Rome, but I have the very highest respect for Benedict XVI. Great theologian and pastor.

haha, I see your point. I just think that 2000 years of tradition dating back to the Apostles is more credible than following someone who has suddenly seen the light.

Well, it was given to us :cool: and the New Testament was written by Catholics :cool:

If I am not mistaken, their final position on this matter is that the Office of the Papacy is anti-Christ - meaning against Christ. I don’t think they interpret the individual Pope as being the Anti-Christ.

Lutherans wouldn’t disagree. But they’d say that they’re Catholics too!

So, the pope isn’t THE Antichrist, he is just anti-Christ. I’m sure we all feel better now.

Please do not lump all of us “protestants” together. I have been lurking for quite a while now and just had to jump in. I grew up LCMS Lutheran. Currently, I call myself non-denominational and have been studying the bible on my own with the help of all you people and numerous other internet sites. I still identify with Protestantism, however I would say the above is completely false. Myself and others that I know hold to the spirit of the gospel message and would call honest and true believers to be headed for salvation. These believers may not attend church at all (myself) or the catholic church, orthodox church etc…

As far as the stumbling blocks for me… Mary, oral contraception, confession etc… I don’t know any protestant churches that REQUIRE the belief in these doctrines for salvation. The catholic church still affirms that it is necessary for salvation to believe what the church teaches on these practices. In that case I know MANY catholics who are in trouble because of practices in the church that they don’t agree with.

Now for the “:bible” question. I have read many times on this site that the “bible” wasn’t put together for 100’s of years so why should we use it to guide us? Much of the NT is comprised of letters from the apostles, John, Peter and then Paul who wrote many letters to the churches that were forming. These letters guided the churches as far as core beliefs and practices. These letters were available in the 1st century and the use of scribes was very common so there may have been a limited number of copies made. The point is the guidance of these letters WAS given to the churches back then. At this point I agree with a moderate amount of “tradition”. It was common for jews to memorize the scriptures so they could teach it to others and I believe this is what may have happened.

Another thing I just wanted to add is that I find most liturgical church services not helpful.

  1. Who wants to sit in church for someone else to tell you 10 things that you aren’t doing good enough on. I don’t need to be reminded of my sins, I know they are plentiful.

  2. I don’t find it easy to have a good connection with GOD in these services that have you sitting, then standing then kneeling. Tiring. AND sometimes they have very stupid hymns. I understand fellowship is a good thing, however I find that alone time is the time where I can have a good “conversation” with GOD. “wherever 2 or more gather in my name, I will be there also” I prefer to study and worship with my family or a small group.

OK, on the OP. Yes the LCMS does say that in their statement of faith, ( I was never verbally taught that). but again I am not reguired to believe it.
As someone else mentioned above, there are to be many ant-Christ’s in the world. the Catholic church of the middle ages does fit in with this “label” when one considers the abuses of/in the church at that time. I don’t know, but I don’t think I would state that the current pope/office of the pope is anti-Christ.

Thanks for listening to my rant…I just sometimes think these peripheral beliefs hold us from coming back to the simple message that Christ gave us.

I’m sorry for being snitty but how can we not feel revulsion at that?

I quite understand. I imagine Lutherans feel the same way about being told that they are not a real church, that they aren’t allowed to own property, that their church was founded by an incontinent, excommunicated monk, etc.

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