Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Term Antichrist

I have a Catholic neighbor who thinks Obama is the antichrist. I am not at all ready to go there.

Michael Horton, not the actor, but the author of the insightful Christless Christianity and Professor at Westminister Seminary California, was asked if Obama is the antichrist and he responded to the Washington Post (see Resources here):

I mean no offense, but this is the sort of teaching that many people are getting in extremely conservative churches where Christ is as evidently left out of the picture as in any rant by Jeremiah Wright. Judging by the enormous popularity of the Left Behind best-sellers, many Christians today are more fascinated by the Antichrist than by Christ. How many books on Christ's person and work top the New York Times Best-Seller List for months?According to First John, "many antichrists have gone out into the world" even during the time of the apostles, and John identifies them as those who distort the gospel concerning Christ. Even if one holds that there is still a future Antichrist figure who will consummate this line of false prophets, the New Testament teaches that he will take his throne in the temple-that is, in the communion of saints (the church). He will be a religious figure who uses the secular power of the state to persecute the saints. If we're keeping our eyes peeled for the Antichrist, we should keep our eyes fixed on Christ. If we really know who he is and what he has done in history for our redemption and what he will do when he returns, then we'll know his impostors when we see them. If we are witnessing something like "Christless Christianity" across the religious spectrum today, this is what the Bible calls "the spirit of antichrist." And if that's true, then whatever one's politics, don't look for the Antichrist in Washington, but in false religion.

A poll on a Reformed blog asks if the Roman papacy is the antichirst and that poll is running neck and neck yes and no. There are only four verses in the Bible with the term antichrist. But we don't know that there is one antichrist according to I John 2:18 where John says it is the end times since there are many antichrists. I John 2:22 and 2 John 7 say that antichrists are those who deny the Father and the Son. I John 4:3 and I John 2:18 say that the antichrist was already in John's world. These Scriptures seem to help a Postmil position.

Postmillennialist and Partial Preterist Dr. Kenneth Gentry reviews the passages in first and second John and concludes, "Antichrist is a contemporary heretical tendency regarding the person of Christ, which is current among many in John's day." p. 378 in He Shall Have Dominion, 3rd Ed. In the same book he also in a chapter on "Eschatological Characters" distinguishing the beast, the great harlot and the man of lawlessness. Gentry concludes his "Eschatological Characters" chapter by writing, "Several prominent evil characters lurk in Scripture's prophetic drama. Too often Christians know these names better than their biblical and historical contexts. . . . Adherents to pessimistic eschatologies see these evil minions of Satan as providing evidence against the postmillenial hope. . . .When we carefully study these characters in terms of their historical context, the prophecies concerning their imminent appearance comport well with preteristic postmillennialism." p. 394

1 comment:

  1. I very strongly agree with this position because I don't hold to the papacy as that antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2.


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