The Reformation Lives…In Italy

When we think of Italy we probably don’t think about a growing, confessional Reformed church but it exists. The Rev Andrea Ferrari not has the coolest name in the Western world but he is the minister. He was ordained in 2010 and is called by Christ Reformed Church (Santee, CA) as the church planter and minister in Milan, Italy. Together Christ Reformed and Chiesa Evangelica Riformata ‘Filadelfia’ are seeking to establish La Chiesa Riformate in Italia.

The reason one does not think first of all the Reformation in Italy is because it is the home of the Roman Catholic Church. There were, however, Italian Protestants. Mainly they had to flee Italy to safe havens in Geneva and Heidelberg so the Reformed Reformation certainly did not flourish in Italy. Today, however, Italy, like the rest of Europe, is quite secularized. The need is great. The website notes:

Of [Italy’s] 60,250,535 citizens, 58,441,290 were baptized into the Roman Church (though a large percentage of this number consists of nominal members). After that, the ecclesiastical landscape consists mainly of charismatic and Brethren churches. Not even the remaining Waldensian Church in Italy can be considered a Reformed presence. In 1975, it merged with the Italian Methodist Church and the Baptist Union, and is now a member of the World Council of Churches. Aside from CERF, there is not a single congregation in Italy that confesses the Three Forms of Unity. Rome did its work well in the sixteenth and seventeenth centries. As confessional Reformed Christians, we are compelled to ask, “Where is the Gospel being preached each week in Italy?” While there are a few Baptist congregations in the country that preach the Gospel, there is no distinctively Reformed witness.

The establishment of a confessional Reformed beachhead in Milan represents a tremendous opportunity to extend the Reformed witness to the Christian faith.

There are a series of YouTube videos available. Here’s part 1 and part 2. Here are related videos.

Certainly the establishment of this work calls for prayer that the Lord would soften the hearts of those who hear the law and the gospel, that through the gospel the Spirit would raise the dead to life and grant to his elect the gift of faith and through that faith union with Christ. May that glorious process occur again and again to his glory and to the upbuilding of his church.

Finally, La Chiesa Evangelica Riformata ‘Filadelfia’ also needs your support. Check out the site, the video, and the support page. They’re all in English. They’ll be happy to talk and supply you with more information.

Part 2: Why the Heidelberg Catechism is Important for Italy

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  1. Thanks Scott. And for any of your readers who are interested in learning more about the rise and fall of the Protestant Reformation in Italy, one of the best books I have ever read on the subject is “The Protestant Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy” (1999) by Salvatore Caponetto, who was at the time a history professor at the University of Florence. As Caponetto rightly concludes, “By the end of the century, the Counter-Reformation had crushed every attempt made by the Protestant movement to establish itself in Italy as it had elsewhere in Europe.”

    We are now making an attempt to change that by establishing the first Three Forms of Unity-confessing denomination in the country. Please pray for Italy.

  2. My family emigrated from Italy to the northern Michigan after the Risorganismo (reunification of most of Italy) when their part of the Italian Alps, which is today part of the province that includes Trent, remained under Austrian control until after World War I. Until the late 1990s I knew of a grand total of three Italians who were Reformed.

    Always nice to see more Italian Calvinists, especially in Italy itself. The culture is definitely **NOT** conducive to the Reformed faith.

  3. Dear Dr. Clark,

    Thanks a lot for calling attention to our church and encouraging people to pray for us. I hope to see you again soon. Andrea.

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