From Erroll Hulse’s “The Puritans and the Promises.”
“This antichrist pretends to be the real Christ but is counterfeit. Antichrist in the text implies opposition but its primary meaning is not against. First and foremost anti means IN PLACE OF. Antikeimai is the present participle of the verb antikeimai, to set oneself in the place of by taking the place of another. Anti in Greek usage means instead or in the place of. For instance, ‘If your son asks for a fish will he (anti) in the place of it give him a serpent’ and Matthew 2:22, ‘Archelaus was reigning (anti) in the place of his father Herod.’ This antichrist takes the room or place of Christ. He becomes the vicar (substitute) of Christ on earth.”
“The Reformers and Puritans were unanimous in seeing 2 Thessalonians 2 as descriptive of the papacy. The Puritans not only agreed about this but they decided that it was important enough to inscribe into the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 26 on the Church, paragraph 6.
There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.”
“The 1689 London Baptist Confession, chapter 26, on the Church paragraph 4, has the same wording as the above but adds the promise, Whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. As in the Westminster Confession 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9 is cited in support of this.
Samuel E. Waldron in his exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith states that the confession is false at this point and without adequate basis. Mr Waldron’s opinion is defective. He makes no attempt to work at the principles of apocalyptic interpretation. He provides no exegesis and no examination of the testimony of history.”
“To date the papacy has been serviced by about 260 Popes all of whom by their unbiblical claim to represent Christ as vicar have fulfilled the office of antichrist. The office of the papacy has served to proclaim new doctrines which cannot in any way, shape or form be supported by the Bible and which are antithetical to the gospel: purgatory (593), worship of images and relics (786), celibacy of the priesthood (1079), the Inquisition established (1184), sale of indulgences (1190), transubstantiation (1215), adoration of the wafer (1220, cup forbidden to the people at communion (1414), tradition placed on an equal footing with the Bible at the Council of Trent (1545), Apocryphal books added to the Bible at the Council of Trent (1546), immaculate conception of the virgin Mary (1854), the infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals (1870), the assumption of the virgin Mary bodily into heaven (1950).
The Roman Catholic teaching on the Mass, the Priesthood Confession, Penance and Baptism combine to form a system of salvation which is antithetical in all its parts to the free gift of salvation, union by faith with Christ, justification by the express declaration of the Father and sanctification by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8; 2 Thess 2:13).”