Still, "ecclesiastical government as now existing in the Papacy," is "opposed to the institution of Christ." For the Romish Papacy has "so degenerated from the ancient customs and practices of the Church…, that a greater injury cannot be done to Christ than to use His Name in defending this disorderly rule…. We maintain that their kingdom is the tyranny of Antichrist."
Calvin further warned: "We may not be imposed upon by the name of ' Church' …. If the True Church is ' the pillar and ground of the truth' (First Timothy 3:15) — it is certain that there is no Church, where lying
and falsehood have usurped the ascendancy. Since this is the state of matters under the Papacy, we can understand how much of the 'Church' there survives….
"The place which we ought to assign to all the churches on which the tyranny of the Romish idol has seized, will better appear if we compare them with the ancient Israelitish Church…. After they forsook the Law of the Lord and degenerated into idolatry and superstition, they partly lost the privilege…. Who may presume to give the name of 'Church' without reservation, to that assembly by which the Word of God is openly and with impunity trampled under foot — where His ministry, its chief support, and the very soul of the Church, is destroyed?
"Let the Papists…deny…if they can that the state of religion is as much vitiated and corrupted with them, as it was in the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam! They have a grosser idolatry, and in doctrine are not one whit more pure; rather, perhaps, they are even still more impure! God — nay even those possessed of a moderate degree of judgment — will bear me witness. And the thing itself is too manifest to require me to enlarge upon it…. Scarcely can we hold any meeting with them [‘the Papists’], without polluting ourselves with their idolatry. Their principal bond of communion is understandably in the 'Mass' — which we abominate as the greatest sacrilege!"
Rev. Dr. John Calvin on the beginning and rise and development of the Romish Papacy
Argues Dr. Calvin: “In the Council of Carthage, at which Augustine [A.D. 354-430] was present, we do not perceive that the legates of the Roman See but Aurelius the…Bishop presided. Nay, even in Italy itself, a Universal Council (that of Aquileia) was held at which the Roman Bishop was not present — [and the A.D. 339-97] Ambrose, who was then in high favour with the Emperor, presided.” Indeed, the title of ‘Sole Pope’ or ‘Universal Father’ was never given to any Bishop of Rome before Gregory the Great — who promptly repudiated it! Calvin explains further: “The controversy concerning the title of ‘Universal Bishop’ arose at length in the time of Gregory [the Great, Bishop of Rome A.D. 590-604]…. But he strongly insists that the appellation is profane; nay, blasphemous; nay, the forerunner of Antichrist….
“[Asked Gregory:] ‘What else is intimated, but that the days of Antichrist are already near’ (Lib. IV Ep. 76)…. ‘None of my predecessors [as Bishops of Rome] ever desired to use this profane term’ (Lib. IV Ep. 80)…. ‘To consent to that impious term, is nothing else than to lose the faith’ (Lib. IV Ep. 83)….
“‘Everyone that calls himself or desires to be called ‘Universal Priest,’” insisted Gregory, “is…a forerunner of Antichrist’ (Lib. VII Ep. 154)…. ‘None ever wished to be called by such a name’ (Lib. IV Ep. 82)…. ‘Though I prohibited you [Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria] — you have taken care to write a word of proud signification by calling me ‘Universal Pope’ (Lib. VII Ep. 30)!”2