There is no doubt that some might wonder why:
Isn’t Italy a Christian country?
Isn’t there an evangelical presence there?
Has Italy ever had a reformation?
The word ‘rekindling’, in one of its meanings, signifies: ‘arouse again’. There is no doubt that God has worked inItalyin the past, and continues to work inItalyeven now, to build His church.
When one reads Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world”, it is clear that the church in Rome had a crucial part in spreading the Gospel around the world.
When Christianity became the official religion of Rome, it quickly lost its fervor for the Gospel, only to be replaced later on by the Roman Catholic Church. When the Reformation spread in Europe, it did have some impact in Italy. The Waldensians suffered because of the Gospel. Giovanni Diodati was an Italian recognized as one of the reformers. He translated the Bible into Italian in 1607, and followed Theodor Beza as professor of theology in Geneva. Over the years, other men were instrumental to the proclamation of the Gospel in Italy, and many believers there suffered and died for their faith. Even in the early 1900s, many true Christians, especially from the Plymouth Brethren movement, suffered imprisonment because of their faith and unwillingness to submit to the Roman Catholic religion.
Today in Italy there still are faithful believers, for which we are grateful to God. But because of the difficulty of the propagation of the Gospel in such a stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church, there is incredible darkness.
Many factors have contributed to the minimal presence of Bible-believing and -preaching churches. Today the Waldensian church is liberal, and many of the Biblical churches are very small, with untrained leaders. Over 30,000 cities and towns have no evangelical presence at all.
[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”steelblue”]Over 30,000 cities and towns have no evangelical presence at all.[/pullquote1]
Although we realize that it is God’s work and we are so grateful for those who labor faithfully, Cornelius Ministries particularly desires to be used by God to spread the Gospel all over Italy.
- Strengthening the leadership of the local churches is vital, as they have the responsibility to equip their flock by preaching the whole counsel of God in order to prepare them to reach out to the lost people in their communities.
- Thus, publishing books to strengthen both the leaders of the churches and to equip the individual believers continues to be of great need. This means translating and writing books to these ends, even if their readership is limited.
- Preparing evangelistic materials that are clearly biblical is a continuing need. And when people do come to Christ in areas where churches are not present, and there are many, literature for their personal growth also needs to be made available.
For most believers in the United States, it is hard to imagine that a cultured country like Italy is in such dire need of the Gospel today. Superficial understanding of the Roman Catholic Church has lowered our alarm for populations enslaved by its beliefs.
Today, even though 95% Catholic, Italy is a very secular country, where, although there are some devout people who live their lives trying to merit their way into heaven, there are many more who live for the pleasures of the world. Also, superstition and the occult blind many, as they try to deal with the difficulties of daily life.
Cornelius Ministries needs your prayers, as it continues the work of those who have come before them, desiring in this present time to “Rekindle the Light of the Gospel in Italy”.