Protestant Confessions Condemning the Pope as Antichrist

“Those who have borne and are bearing the truth, the poor people not easily believing: since darkness has reigned such a long time, and the Antichrist (who is the pope) has ruled so strongly over all people, princes, kings, and nations, persecuting and putting to death all those who are for the truth: by which the ignorant people cannot believe the truth, but reject and condemn it, as if they were demanding that Jesus be put to death, unable to believe that He is the Son of God, since all the bigwigs and councils of esteemed sages have condemned Him to death.” – William Farel’s Summary (1529)

“Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom God has given all authority and the power of the Holy Spirit, is alone the Lord of the conscience. On this account the pope, bishops, priests, and all their retinue are but antichrists, advancing the doctrine of the devil. For they all presume to rule the conscience. They make that to be sin which God has not prohibited, and overlook what is evil in God’s sight. They confer grace, and through their self-invented works even merit grace for other people.” – The Bern Synod (1532)

“Therefore, of this doctrine and faith and of the things, which pertain to them, and also of this Church, which accepts, professes, and follows them, we know ourselves to be ministers. We assemble this, and by it we separate ourselves from all sects and especially from the Antichristian idolatry of the Roman Pope.” – London Confession of John à Lasco (1551)

“Moreover I renounce the Pope as the Roman Antichrist, and his whole doctrine and religion: in particular, touching transubstantiation of the bread in the Eucharist; touching the invocation of saints, trust in the righteousness of works that belongeth unto ourselves or unto any other whomsoever save Christ, free will, purgatory, and any satisfaction for sins other than the blood of Christ; and finally, touching all the image-worship and all other such-like human inventions that are contained in his religion and doctrine.” – Vallérandus Poullain: Confession of the Glastonbury Congregation (1551)

“On the Duty to Apply to Oneself These Things and to Abandon All That is Contrary to Them After all the aforesaid things, which are the foundation and substance of our faith and of the Christian religion, there must be added that it is not sufficient to believe them in general, but it is necessary that each one of us, to have some fruit, apply them in particular to himself, believing them in himself and for himself and accordingly making an open profession as a true and faithful Christian declaring verbally: I myself [name] having embraced these truths with the heart and accepting them as my salvation, I thus believe and confess and in this belief and confession I intend to live and to die; for this reason, I renounce and condemn all other religions and doctrines of whatever sect they may belong, judging them all false and heretical and as contrary to the Word of God and to His most holy truth, and above all those of the pope, who is the first and foremost antichrist (that is, contrary to Christ and to His holy gospel); therefore, I renounce, condemn, and curse his false and sacrilegious pontificate, his ungodly and devilish mass, transubstantiation, free will, purgatory with all kinds of indulgences, satisfactions, and meritorious works, confession and all other so-called sacraments, the invocation of the saints, the worship of images and all idolatry and superstitions employed in his church and all sorts of his inventions and traditions, and every kind of veneration made up and introduced by him apart from the Word; I, therefore, protesting and declaring to be no more willing to participate in such abominations and ungodliness, separate myself from that synagogue in everything, and I ask to be incorporated into the true church of Jesus Christ, with which discipline I agree with all humility and obedient submission, desiring the grace to persevere more and more to the glory of His holy name and for the edification of this church.” – Lattanzio Ragnoni’s Formulario (1559)

“Christ alone is the Head and sole foundation of the true church. Christ alone is also the bridegroom of the true church (Hos. 2). The Pope or Antichrist is neither the betrothed, nor the head, nor the foundation of the catholic church, but like an ambitious harlot raises himself above God and pollutes the chaste virgin of Christ (2 Thess. 2).” – The Hungarian Confessio Catholica (1562)

“We condemn those who superstitiously bewitch the conscience, force the bread of the Antichrist with altars and popish rubbish. Among the weak for a time, we tolerate this matter and form of immolation along with altars and vestments, for they are condemned with the same name of anathema. But where the weak have been strengthened in their faith, there we eject from the church signs and titles, or bonds of idolatry, altars, images and popish vestments together with the superstitious bread. For we do not wish to emulate the pope as Antichrist in his bread and rubbish (Isa. 44; Zech. 9), but we desire to follow Christ and the apostles in a free and holy manner. Finally, we reject these signs of idolatry from the church in order that they may not shame and ruin posterity.” – The Hungarian Confessio Catholica (1562)

“We have forsaken the pope, the true Antichrist and his whole disgusting empire, and we have also thrown away all his traditions, and thus we have cast off his loathsome knowledge about the foundations of Christian faith. Because he, with diabolic audacity, corrupted knowledge of the true and always blessed Trinity, of God the Father and of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Spirit of both these two, and in its place brought in idolatry of a monstrous god of four persons, that is to say followers of a consubstantial God and three persons, in whose existence was thought the true essence of God. From this came the order which the Roman Emperor Anastasius I gave, on the urging of the pope, that henceforth it was necessary to believe not in the Trinity, but in a god of four persons.” – The Synods of Gyulafehérvár and of Marosvásárhely (1566)

“In particular, they are well aware that the Papist host, that unleavened bread of the Mass invented by the Antichrist, Pope Alexander, is more condemned in Scripture than idols; indeed, it is the head and foot of idolatry. For this unleavened bread is the root and basis of the Papist Mass, as if the Mass cannot be administered without this thin, white unleavened wafer marked with the crucifix…First: because in Jeremiah 1, it is written, I have put my words into your mouth that you may weed out, root up, destroy, break and slay (vv. 9–10). Here is the Lord’s command that the things planted, founded and built up by the devil and the Antichrist, i.e., false doctrines, opinions, heresies, traditions, and the inventions of men, must be removed and extirpated from the bosom of the church as dung and vile sins. He commands that we weed out and uproot them, so that no trace of Papist defilement remains in the heart and soul of man. As the weeds of the field, which choke the good seed, are torn up root and all, so the Lord commands us to extirpate completely by means of the Word of God, the doctrines and heresies of demons and the traditions and inventions of the priests of the antichrist pope as the sources and causes of idolatry. For the wellspring and source of every heresy and false doctrine is the rage, superstition, deception, lies, and envy of the devil and the Antichrist; his purpose is to deceive, kill, and destroy (Rom. 1, 5–6; 3 Kings 32 [sic]; Eph. 2, 4; 2 Thess. 2–3; 1 Thess. 4–5; 1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 1, 3–4). The thief comes only to kill, destroy, and plunder (John 10:10). Guard against those that come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15; Ezek. 13–14; Matt. 15, 21, 23). Do not trust every spirit (1 John 4:1; see 2 Peter 2–3; Jude 1; Gal. 5–6; Eph. 5–6).” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)

“Scripture condemns the beliefs, doctrine, and every kind of invention of the Antichrist, the Pope, for these reasons. Principally, the pope’s Mass wafer, altar, images, idols, vestments, and monastic habits have been invented by the popes from some devil.” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)
“IV. Purity of doctrine must be preserved and procedures conforming to the Word of God maintained in the church; heresy, however, and the doctrine of the Antichrist must be avoided.

All those things that the devil, the Antichrist, and heretics have brought into the church, such as false doctrines and rules, e.g., their sins and the works of darkness, we must consider contemptible, foolishness, and lies. Therefore, the Word of God must always be followed both in truth of doctrine and in ecclesiastical rites, and in doctrine and rites Christ and His apostles be imitated. Therefore, they err wickedly that abandon truth, the light and example of Christ and His apostles, and follow the antichrist pope in their filth, as do the supporters of idols, altars, papal vestments, and other loathsome things contrived by the Antichrist, his patrons and defenders, who make unleavened bread in the Mass; that it is evil and a sacrilege to follow Christ, the apostles, and the fathers; and indeed say the same of the Christian freedom to use leavened, everyday bread; and that they are dreamers who say it is a holy, sure, and profitable thing to follow the Antichrist and the pope. For they lie, saying that the pious quarrel and give offense in the truth of God, but not in lies, unrighteousness, and human inventions; indeed, they proclaim loudly that such men are immune from scandal (Matt. 19, 23). Whereas Scripture likens the maintenance of the pollutions of the antichrist pope (to retain idols, altars, customs, and wafers in the Mass) to coarse immorality and adultery (Isa. 57:3; Ezek. 16).” – IV. Purity of doctrine must be preserved and procedures conforming to the Word of God maintained in the church; heresy, however, and the doctrine of the Antichrist must be avoided. All those things that the devil, the Antichrist, and heretics have brought into the church, such as false doctrines and rules, e.g., their sins and the works of darkness, we must consider contemptible, foolishness, and lies. Therefore, the Word of God must always be followed both in truth of doctrine and in ecclesiastical rites, and in doctrine and rites Christ and His apostles be imitated. Therefore, they err wickedly that abandon truth, the light and example of Christ and His apostles, and follow the antichrist pope in their filth, as do the supporters of idols, altars, papal vestments, and other loathsome things contrived by the Antichrist, his patrons and defenders, who make unleavened bread in the Mass; that it is evil and a sacrilege to follow Christ, the apostles, and the fathers; and indeed say the same of the Christian freedom to use leavened, everyday bread; and that they are dreamers who say it is a holy, sure, and profitable thing to follow the Antichrist and the pope. For they lie, saying that the pious quarrel and give offense in the truth of God, but not in lies, unrighteousness, and human inventions; indeed, they proclaim loudly that such men are immune from scandal (Matt. 19, 23). Whereas Scripture likens the maintenance of the pollutions of the antichrist pope (to retain idols, altars, customs, and wafers in the Mass) to coarse immorality and adultery (Isa. 57:3; Ezek. 16).” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)

“Moreover, the Obligation and Stipulation of the Elect Is This: First, to call only on the one God and to worship Him alone. Second, to acknowledge Christ as their only spouse and redeemer, to ascribe every cause of their salvation entirely to God, confusion to themselves, glory to God because they have nothing that they have not received. Third, to deny wickedness and the inordinate desires of the world and to live justly, soberly, and religiously. By the strength of the Holy Spirit and endued with the armor of Christ, to extinguish the works of the flesh and the flames of concupiscence (Rom. 6, 8, 13; Col. 1–3; Eph. 4–6; Gal. 5–6), and to flee the pollutions of the antichrist pope. We disdain other foolish speculations and renunciations. As many as may attend the sermon will in this manner act piously if as many as possible attend this sacred sermon and become witnesses of the baptism. We approve of godparents as well-wishers and witnesses, but not in accordance with the Papist custom.” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)
“Just as he that has abandoned the heavenly doctrine of the prophets and apostles and follows the wicked creed of the antichrist pope and heretics, so accursed are those that reject the example of Christ, the light of the world, the truth, the head of the church, and its bridegroom, and the apostles, and follow the example, ordinances, and traditions of the antichrist pope and heretics (which are tohu bohu, dung, darkness, lewdness) (Isa. 4, 28, 57), and so like whores, taint the bed of their husband Christ with vile pollution, taking to themselves adulterers; and having accepted adulterers to the place and couch of their husband, recall their former husband and enjoy the oil, wine, and wool of adulterers (Amos 4–6; Ezek. 16). Such are those that support the bread of the Mass, images, and altars (Matt. 13, 15). Christ too rebuked the Jews for abandoning the commandments of God because of their traditions (Mark 2, 10).” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)
“Because Scripture commands that idols be torn down, sacred groves cut down, and altars overthrown where sacrifice is offered. It commands that we wipe away the idolatry of the Mass. How then could Christians remain in the brothel of the antichrist pope? Therefore they separate themselves from the tents of the wicked and have their own place to assemble…

…The true and visible church, i.e., the congregation of the elect, although hypocrites have always been mixed into it like tares among wheat (and bad fish into shoals of good), are driven away by the wind of God to be burnt as soon as they are separated from the wheat (Matt. 3, 7–8, 13). From the time of Cain and Abel on, it has been at all times distinguished from the congregation of the false and godless, as the temple of Solomon was from the idolatrous temple of Jeroboam at Samaria. This congregation spurned the knowledge of God and was blind; was rendered dull of wit by the wicked doctrines of Satan and Antichrist; rejected the truth for falsehood; despised the commandments, ordinances, ceremonies, and institutions of God, following the traditions of the antichrist pope, his doctrine, ordinances, and accursed Mass, which are dung, straw, and vain deceptions and which will be rooted out and destroyed, as the Holy Spirit says.” – Documents of the Debrecen Synod (1567)

“And otherwise we could not with reason declare that we heartily renounce the Papacy (whose single pillar and citadel is the whole abomination of the mass) if we did not show by actions, as much as by words, our disavowal that we will any longer and in any degree participate in the dreadful idolatry and misuse of the Holy Supper while we contend so firmly about the small wafers which the pope has concocted, and which facilitate his antichristian abomination and the Papacy, so long held in honor.” – The Nassau (Dillenburger Synod) Confession (1578)

“There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22). 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 exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God (Matt. 23:8–10; 2 Thess. 2:3–4, 8–9; Rev. 13:6).” – The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

“IV. 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 it 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.” – The Savoy Declaration (1658)

“4. 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 (Col. 1:18; Matt. 28:18–20; Eph. 4:11–12); 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 (2 Thess. 2:3–9).” – The London Baptist Confession (1677)


 

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