A recent joint statement by a number of Italian evangelical groups indicts the Roman Catholic Church as an “imperial” church and its call for evangelicals to “unionist initiatives that are contrary to Scripture and instead renew their commitment to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.”
Writing for the Gospel Coalition, Leonardo De Chirico offers an interpretation that does not do full justice to the complexities of Italian evangelicalism and its history with the Catholic Church. The statement was issued by both the more Reformed Alleanza Evangelica Italiana, to which de Chirico, a Reformed Baptist, belongs and various Pentecostal groups with greater numbers. To interpret the statement as a straightforward affirmation of Reformed commitments, as de Chirico does, smacks of the way Pentecostal and holiness churches were initially invited to join the National Association of Evangelicals for their numbers, not their theology, a history Molly Worthen has chronicled in her Apostles of Reason. Moreover, de Chirico’s position represents only part of the Reformed tradition. The Reformed scholars who signed Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement “The Gift of Salvation” would view the situation differently.