A Curious Dilemma

A lot of American Presbyterians don’t believe that the papacy is the Antichrist. In fact, the American revisions to the Westminster Confession of Faith allow for both views (he is, and he is not). Confessional Lutherans, like Presbyterians who hold to the original WCF, consider the papacy/pope to be the Antichrist.

One might think that on some semantic level this would qualify as “anti-Catholic,” not in the usual sense of the term which implies some sort of hatred, hostility, or bigotry, but in the sense of being opposed to the Roman religion.

There’s one blogger out there who has attempted to use a different meaning for “anti-Catholic,” namely referring to someone who does not think that those in the Roman communion are necessarily Christians.

On the other hand, I’ve come across a Lutheran blogger (link) who has pointed out that in Lutheran theology (allegedly) the view is that Rome is a true church. I’m not sure whether the blogger goes so far as to say that all Roman Catholics are necessarily “Christians,” but he seems to be saying “yes.”

What an interesting dilemma! If you think that a Roman catholic actually needs saving faith in Christ in order to be a true Christian, you might be an “anti-Catholic” but you can hold that the pope is antichrist, and that many Roman Catholics are going to hell, but if you simply label them as “Christians,” you would not be anti-Catholic.

Perhaps the real key here is that “anti-Catholic” has become largely a tool for describing hatred, hostility, or bigotry, rather than some kind of nuanced word.



13 Responses to “A Curious Dilemma”

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