Skip to content

The Book of Concord

The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church [Tappert Edition]

Excerpts from THE SMALCALD ARTICLES Part II, Article IV. Of The Papacy

1. “The pope is not the head of all Christendom by divine right or according to God’s Word, for this position belongs only to one, namely, to Jesus Christ. … Hence it follows that all the things that the pope has undertaken and done on the strength of such false, mischievous, blasphemous, usurped authority have been and still are purely diabolical transactions and deeds…which contribute to the destruction of the entire holy Christian church (in so far as this lies in his power) and come into conflict with the first, fundamental article which is concerned with redemption in Jesus Christ.” (#’s 1&3)

2. “Here it is asserted that no Christian can be saved unless he is obedient to the pope and submits to him in all that he desires, says, and does. This is nothing less than to say, ‘Although you believe in Christ, and in him have everything that is needful for salvation, this is nothing and all in vain unless you consider me your god and are obedient and subject to me….’” (#4)

3. “This is a powerful demonstration that the pope is the real Antichrist who has raised himself over and set himself against Christ, for the pope will not permit Christians to be saved except by his own power, which amounts to nothing since it is neither established nor commanded by God. This is actually what St. Paul calls exalting oneself over and against God.”…“Finally, it is most diabolical for the pope to promote his lies about Masses, purgatory, monastic life, and human works and services (which are the essence of the papacy) in contradiction to God, and to damn, slay, and plague all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations of his above all things. Accordingly, just as we cannot adore the devil himself as our lord or God, so we cannot suffer his apostle, the pope or Antichrist, to govern us as our head or lord, …but we ought rather speak as the angel spoke to the devil in Zechariah, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan’ (Zech. 3:2).” (#’s 10,14,15)


Brief Statement
of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod (Adopted 1932)
[Approved as a confessional document of the CLC at its founding]

Paragraph 43:

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….Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is “the very Antichrist.”

[Pertinent paragraphs of The Smalcald Articles are then referenced. – Editor]