It is clear that the Roman pontiffs, with their followers, defend godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the pope and his followers. Paul, in describing Antichrist to the Thessalonians, calls him an enemy of Christ, "Who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God" (2 Thess. 2:4). He is not speaking about heathen kings, but about someone ruling in the Church. He calls him the enemy of Christ, because he will invent doctrine conflicting with the Gospel and will claim for himself divine authority.
First, it is clear that the pope rules in the Church and has established this kingdom for himself by the claim of churchly authority. Second, the doctrine of the pope conflicts in many ways with the Gospel. the pope claims for himself divine authority in a threefold manner:
(a) He takes for himself the right to change Christ's doctrine and services instituted by God, and wants his own doctrine and his own services to be observed as divine.
(b) He takes to himself the power not only of binding and loosing in this life, but also jurisdiction over souls after this life.
(c) He does not want to be judged by the Church or by anyone and puts his own authority ahead of the decision of councils and the entire Church. To be unwilling to be judged by the Church or anyone else is to make oneself God. (paragraphs 39-40)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.