Another Reason To Question Whether The Roman Catholic Church Is The Anti – Christ
Posted by Job on October 20, 2008
The fact that the reformers (and those who rejected Catholicism in times prior) frequently called the Roman Catholic Church the anti-Christ is often used to give theological and historical weight to people holding onto that view. While you will not find a bigger opponent of those that have cast aside the Bible for manmade tradition in order to facilitate their idolatry of images, the host of heaven, and humans (including “saints”, the pope, and “Virgin” Mary), I still have found the idea to be quite suspect. My prior reason for believing so is because the anti – Christ will deceive and lead the whole world. While thanks in large part to the new world order forces doing their best to promote religious pluralism, mysticism, syncretism and secular systems masquerading as religion (including liberation theologies of Barack Hussein Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr.) there is nowhere near the opposition to Roman Catholicism as there once was, chiefly among Protestants but also among other religions, we are nowhere near the day when the whole world will be deceived by and follow the so – called bishop of Rome, who has the same title, pontifus maximus, that Roman emperors such as Constantine held in their pagan state religion. (Constantine merely moved from being pontifus maximus in the prior pagan state religion to being pontifus maximus when the empire adopted “Christianity”, a fact which people who defend the decision of the church to acquiesce to Constantinism rarely mention. My suspicion is that Protestants tiptoe around this fact because Constantine called the Nicea ecumenical council that defended the truth of the divinity if Jesus Christ from Arianism. In doing so, they ignore the fact that even if any human had the spiritual standing to convene an ecumenical council Constantine certainly was not that human, a fact later borne out when Constantine called ANOTHER ecumenical council to adopt Arianism and immediately began persecuting people who believed in Jesus Christ’s deity. Constantine’s motives were political and military, not religious. Even if Constantine did actually see a cross in the sky with the famous “in this conquer” slogan, it was a demonic deception in a pagan society that was utterly demonized. Protestants should be truthful enough to declare that nothing good came out of Constantinism and have enough faith to state that the true apostolic faith over issues like the deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity would have won out without needing a pagan state to call ecumenical councils whose edicts were imposed with the sword.)
Yet how far are we from the day that the whole world will follow the so – called bishop of Rome? It would require 1) a major theological move on the part of the Roman Catholic Church and 2) for the nations of the world who have suffered at the hands of Rome or who themselves have major religious objections to forget or abandon them. While both (or either) are certainly possible when God sends the spirit of strong delusion, the truth is that said delusion can cause the whole world to follow any institution or leader. So while that does not preclude the Roman Catholic Church, there is no reason to definitely say that it will be them when it could just as easily be some secular political leader or entity, or the leader of some now obscure eastern religious movement such as the Tibetan ones that are oh so popular among the left (keep in mind that jainism was equally obscure until first Ghandi and then Martin Luther King, Jr. popularized its tenets).
So what of the position of the reformers and those similar? Well keep in mind that the reformers were adherents to amillennialism, whose first major exponent was Origen and which was cemented in the Constantine church (and ultimately a great many churches that splintered out of her, including not only the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches but also many Protestant churches, especially the state and liberal churches) thanks to the work of Augustine. Though its modern adherents deny the extent to which it is true, amillennialism relies on allegorical interpretations of the covenant, prophetic, eschatological and apocalyptic passages of the Bible. (Otherwise, Origen’s theories that everyone, including possibly Satan and demons, would be saved and that there could be an endless number of falls of mankind and creation into sin requiring an endless number of redemptions throughout eternity; in other words there was no permanency to Jesus Christ’s work because as Origen was working from a naturalist pagan structure as opposed to a Jewish spiritual one – please read Why The Early Church Fathers Were Millennialists And Why The Gentile Church Quickly Rejected It For Sadduceeism and he Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism, would have been impossible.)
Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the amillennial reformers, who to one degree or another accepted an allegorical or nonliteral interpretation of not only the millennium but a great many other prophetic and eschatological concepts to give them a temporal meaning and fulfillment, believed in a literal beast, man of sin, anti-Christ, etc.
When you consider the dominionism aspect of amillennialism, this becomes even more so the case. Dominionist amillennials (and this incontrovertibly included Roman Catholics but Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Church of England, and all others who basically rejected a separation between church and state, advocated the right of the state to use violence and other measures to enforce church doctrines and accepted infant baptism as a method of initiation into the church – state system) believe that we are in an allegorized nonliteral millennium now where Jesus Christ is ruling the earth from heaven through the church, which happens through the transforming moral and cultural effect that the church has on societies as well as any influence that the church exerts on civil magistrates.
With that view in place, “anti – Christ”, then, becomes anything that opposes the church’s dominion over the earth. In particular, it results in a false Christianity or a false church that takes dominion of the earth over the true church instead. Thus, when the reformers and like minded amillennialists spoke of Roman Catholicism being the anti – Christ, it was only in a nonliteral allegorical sense. Further, it was based on the Roman Church having the same position that the reformers wanted for their own churches. Make no mistake, the churches set up by the reformers were not merely spiritual and religious competitors, but also political, military, and economic rivals. The result was not only well over one hundred years of warfare between Roman Catholic church – states and Protestant church – states both calling each other anti – Christ for opposing each other’s desires for amillennial dominion of state and culture that was allegedly in the Name and to the glory of Jesus Christ in heaven but in reality was a violation of James 4:4 and a host of related scriptures that say that there is no marriage between sacred and secular, Christian and worldly. Now recall, this was something that God used the hard line of demarcation between holy and defiled in the Jewish law to teach the church … if the Jews could not even use tools to cut stones to build an altar for sacrifices because the tools were unholy and their touching the holy altar would defile it and make it unholy, what made them think that the church could come into such intimate contact with pagan cultures and adulterous rulers?!
And as a direct result of this worldview, both Roman Catholic AND reformation church – states persecuted Anabaptists and others who rejected infant baptism and the lack of separation between church and state. Consider this: the amillennial dominionists in the Roman Catholic and early reformation churches grotesquely misinterpreted such Bible events as Hagar’s being subjected to Sarah, the lord of the estate compelling people in the hedges and highways to come to the wedding feast, and Peter picking up two swords to coerce people into membership of “Christendom”, or the church – state in which membership was usually initiated by infant baptism. (Which is why it was called “Christendom”, or kingdom of the christened or infant baptized, as opposed to Christiandom, or kingdom of confessing Christians.) These abominations were institutionalized by Augustine at the very latest but almost certainly existed before then. The worst was the “two swords” when Peter (as always until his indwelling by the Holy Spirit) misunderstood the teachings of Jesus Christ and responded “here are two swords” in response to the words of Jesus Christ to which Christ, frustrated by their inability to understand and having His mind occupied with other things at the time (His very soon trip to the cross) replied resignedly “it is enough.” The dominionist allegorists claimed that Peter’s erroneous notion of believing that Jesus Christ was somehow speaking of a violent overthrow of the Roman Empire (and likely also the Pharisees and Saduccees if they resisted!) was correct in the sense that one sword of Peter referred to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the second sword of Peter referred to the power of the state to compel people to (externally of course) submit to the former!
So, you had Catholics and reformers calling each other anti-Christ because they were both claiming that the other were wielding a false gospel sword and a false state compulsion sword. But please realize that both Catholic and Reformed states persecuted certain Anabaptists and other groups who A) rejected the notion of church states, B) rejected the coerced initiation into said states including but certainly limited to infants baptized by their parents and C) especially rejected the church’s getting the state to heavily fine, imprison, or even execute those who rejected their religious AND civil authority. This was why Reformers often persecuted and killed Anabaptists who agreed with them on every doctrinal point save those regarding the church using the coercive power of the state (or possessing such power and authority itself by having its own police and army), and particularly why many Reformed states followed the policy of Roman Catholics by making the rejection of infant baptism by getting rebaptized as adults (which is the origin of the term Anabaptist) which in addition to being an act of sincere religious dedication to the gospel was also public rejection of state church authority or dominionism a capital crime!
This is, after all, why some scholars claim that Michael Servetus was burned (the Roman Catholic AND Reformed church states twisted yet another set of scriptures to justify the practice of burning heretics, and furthermore the typical method was to use green wood so that the victim would die very slowly, often over the course of hours!) was primarily initiated by the civil magistrates of Geneva for his opposition to infant baptism (making him a subversive to civil authority) rather than by Calvin over his rejection of Trinity. But make no mistake, Calvin fully believed in the right of the state to execute Servetus based on Calvin’s dominionist convictions (even if Calvin’s true motives were Trinity he nonetheless testified against Servetus in a proceeding where a city state considered him a political subversive based on his opposition to infant baptism, the primary method which people were initiated into Genevan citizenship, please realize that Calvin himself was never a Genevan citizen as he was never born or baptized there) and therefore fully participated. And keep in mind: where Servetus was the only heretic killed during Calvin’s tenure, many dominionism rejecters were imprisoned, expelled, or executed by other Reformed states.
Note that while the Reformers did call Anabaptists heretics and frequently sought their suppression and persecution to the pain of death, they seldom if ever called them “anti – Christ.” Why? Because Anabaptists and similar had no designs on civil power, indeed they rejected it. (Please note that I am aware that certain Anabaptists did have designs on civil power and were willing to use subversion and violence to get it; Anabaptist was a wide, poorly defined category, and it was helpful to the cause of the rulers of Reformed states to associate all of their opponents with the subversive radicals who would violently take control over an area and then forcibly redistribute wealth and property.) So because certain Anabaptists rejected any claim on the second sword of Peter, the one which Augustine and those who came after (indeed including the reformers) claimed belonged to the true church – state, they were not a competing religious – civil power system, and hence were not a false or anti – Christ system competing for power. Instead, they were merely “heretics”, a religious system competing for souls, because of their rejection of “Christendom.” If they were “anti – Christ”, it was only due to their promulgation of doctrines that opposed not only the right but the theological imperative of the Reformation to set up church states, and also because their movements were drawing the Roman Catholic expatriates that the Reformation church states badly needed in their rival system with Rome. After all, if you are competing with earthly systems, it is all about having enough citizens to A) create capital for your economies – please note that Calvinism is credited with spurring the development of modern capitalism – and B) produce soldiers to fight in your armies.
So, the next time you encounter someone that asserts that the Roman Catholic Church is the anti – Christ, see if that person is rejecting a literal interpretation of Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, etc. in favor of an allegorical one and merely resents the Roman Catholic Church for having the huge numbers and political, cultural, economic, etc. influence, the second sword of Peter, that he wants for his own church, and by the way you had better believe which Islam also wants and which communists and Hugo Chavez socialists want as well. (Incidentally, Hitler and Mussolini wanted it also. With Hitler in particular, please consider the rumors of his “the spear of destiny” occultism but do so with a grain of salt.) In other words, someone who wants to exchange the Roman Catholic anti – Christ system for his own.
Or it may simply be someone who is unaware of this history. If so, that person needs to be reminded of the awful history of both Catholic and Protestant dominionism. And that person also needs to be reminded that in these last days, Catholic and Protestant dominionists are now marching hand in hand, with the American and western religious – political movements (the religious right and the religious left, and by the way these movements even include people from other religions such as Mormons in the religious right and Muslims like Keith Ellison in the religious left, and Jews in both, and we have already mentioned the incorporation of doctrines of jainism – similar to Buddhism – in the religious left) leading the way. How ironic that so many of the politically affiliated evangelicals and fundamentalists who do interpret the prophetic, eschatological, and apocalyptic passages literally (with the appropriate hermeneutics of course!) and believe in a literal anti – Christ are at present supporting movements that are setting the world stage for the coming of the man of sin just as the amillennialists are. The two sides that are supposed to represent different doctrinal systems and in many cases believe themselves to be opposing each other (especially in the case of the religious right versus the religious left) are in fact being manipulated by those behind the scenes to work together! Well, when you consider that scripture prophesies that the anti – Christ will deceive the whole world, it is not a surprise, but instead may yet be a manifestation of it.