The Situation in Italy
Many Christians in Italy feel a strong pull towards evangelism—and it’s easy to see why.
Italy acts as an international hub for the Roman Catholic Church. It not only attracts tourists from Catholic communities around the world, but it also houses millions of Catholic citizens who pack the general population. So for Italy’s Evangelical minority, simply stepping outside their doors often means brushing shoulders with crowds from the Catholic masses. Whether hopping into a checkout line or walking into the workplace, most Christians in Italy can see glaring opportunities for outreach right in front of their eyes.
And yet, for TMAI’s Italian Theological Academy (ITA) headquartered in Rome itself, the dominant focus isn’t on the Catholics. It’s on the Christians.
The Needs of the Christians
“We certainly want to witness to Catholics and witness to Italy regarding the true gospel and the true Christ,” assures Johnny Gravino, President of ITA.
But Johnny also points to a problem: Many Italian Evangelical churches over the years have focused so intensely on the needs of the Catholics that they’ve nearly overlooked the needs of the Christians.
While evangelism is a must for any healthy church, every evangelist needs to be “nourished on the words of the faith” in order to proclaim the words of the faith (1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:16–17).
To avoid this issue, Johnny turned to study it. And when he did, he discovered how so many Evangelical churches in Italy had lost their balance.
The problem was simple: When evangelism was raised to the highest level of importance, doctrinal education was then “relegated to basic elementary instruction.”
This imbalance explains why it’s so difficult for many of Italy’s Christians to find deep doctrinal instruction today, both in their pulpits and in their printed resources. And not only that, but ironically, with a weaker grasp of biblical doctrines, there will also be a weaker witness to the Catholic Church. Paul confirmed this when he said that, Christians are to “shine as lights in the world” while “holding fast the word of life” (Phil 2:15–16). Something strategic had to be done—for Italy’s Christians.
Sound Doctrine in Pulpits
That’s why Johnny and the team at ITA have invested the last 17 years into Christian church leaders across Italy. Alongside other sound ministries who share their passion, ITA is helping to settle Italian Evangelical churches back into the balance of biblical ministry.
Simply put, the Bible teaches that God’s Word is necessary for God’s work. So while evangelism is a must for any healthy church, every evangelist needs to be “nourished on the words of the faith” in order to proclaim the words of the faith (1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:16–17). This balance is critical, and ITA has been blessed to see God restoring it in Italy.
Since ITA’s professors began grounding local pastors in expository preaching, it’s helped to bring rich theology into the pulpits of many churches and into the hearts of many Christians.
But even so, there’s still a growing demand to bring sound doctrine into printed resources as well—and that’s where TMAI supporters have stepped in.
Sound Doctrine in Print
Thankfully, TMAI supporters like you helped meet this vital need by recently giving Italy’s Christians their very own Italian translation of Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth.
This one book took over three years to prepare. But, thanks to dedicated donors, translators, and proofreaders, hundreds of Christians in Italy can finally hold in their hands a comprehensive summary of every major doctrine in the Christian faith.
“One of the blessings resulting from ITA’s influence over the course of its time in-country has been the growth of a steady body of disciples and churches who now desire to move from the milk to the meat of the Word. Biblical Doctrine has thus arrived at such a providential time as this.”
And though it’s still hard to find sound resources like this in the Italian language, it’s important to remember that every copy carries an impact. From individual students to partnering churches, plenty of Italian Evangelicals have joined Johnny in rejoicing that “Another foundational resource for the faith and godliness has been offered to the Italian church.”
Thank You for Helping Christian Evangelists in Italy
In God’s grace, Italy’s Christians will continue to evangelize their Catholic neighbors. But thanks to your help, they can now go forward with hearts better equipped for the great work ahead.