For those of us who have studied Christian Church History, the Roman Catholic Church obviously plays a major role. As in any situation, it is always important to discern facts from fiction or hearsay and understanding Roman Catholicism is no exception. For those of you who are not aware, there is currently an initiative underway that presents an opportunity to learn and observe dialogue from experts from both sides. The need for, the vision and the strategy being used within this initiative are as follows:
This question is important for leaders of evangelical churches and organizations and for hundreds of millions of evangelical believers around the world.
We are convinced, in line with the historic Protestant view, that Roman Catholicism is a severely flawed system in need of a radical biblical reformation in its basic theology and practice. Currently there is no global evangelical effort to study these topics, promote new research and share insights.
The Reformanda Initiative seeks to:
Research and Articulate
- the history of Roman Catholic theology and practice
- contemporary sociological analysis of Roman Catholic theology and practice
- an evangelical evaluation of Roman Catholic theology and practice
Educate and Equip
- emerging evangelical academics who are seeking to study Roman Catholicism
- evangelical leaders and laity to better understand Roman Catholicism, including the similarities and differences between evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism
- evangelical leaders and laity in how to understand, love and communicate the Gospel to their Roman Catholic family and friends
- the biblical Gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone
- an evangelical perspective concerning Roman Catholic theology and practice
- the research sponsored or done by Reformanda Initiative
The Reformanda Initiative supports various strategies to identify, unite, equip and resource evangelical leaders to study Roman Catholic theology and practice, to educate the evangelical church and to communicate the Gospel by means of, for example:
- Hosting an annual Global Meeting of key Reformanda Initiative leaders
- Sponsoring the annual Rome Scholars Network conference to train and equip evangelical scholars and leaders to articulate an evangelical perspective about Roman Catholicism and the biblical Gospel
- Compiling a Reformanda International Electronic Journal
- Creating Reformanda Educational Training Programs to
- educate evangelical leaders and laity about Roman Catholicism
- facilitate church planting in Roman Catholic regions
- communicate the Gospel lovingly and persuasively to Roman Catholics
- Drafting and releasing “Is the Reformation Over? – A Statement of Evangelical Convictions” affirming the principles of the Reformation
- Producing a documentary “Is the Reformation Over?” and video resources to explain the significant differences between Catholics and Evangelicals
The link to the home page of The Reformanda Initiative is directly below:
Considering that Roman Catholics comprise 50 percent of all Christians worldwide and 16 percent of the world’s total population, this is obviously an important topic to become conversant with.
I have personally followed Leonardo De Chirico’s website http://vaticanfiles.org/ for a couple of years. Leonardo De Chirico is the pastor of Breccia di Roma, a church that he helped plant in Rome in 2009, and Vice Chairman of the Italian Evangelical Alliance. Previously, Leonardo planted and pastored an evangelical church in Ferrara, Italy, from 1997 to 2009. He earned degrees in History (University of Bologna), Theology (ETCW, Bridgend, Wales) and Bioethics (University of Padova). His PhD is from King’s College (London); it was published as Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. In 2015, he published A Christian Pocket Guide to Papacy and A Christian Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God? through Christian Focus. He is a lecturer of Historical Theology at Istituto di Formazione Evangelica e Documentazione in Padova, Italy. Additionally, Leonardo is the Director of the Reformanda Initiative, which aims to equip evangelical leaders to better understand and engage with Roman Catholicism, and the leader of the Rome Scholars Network (RSN).
This is an excellent opportunity to learn, if you are so inclined.