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Master Class: Is Roman Catholicism Preaching the Gospel? Why Not and Why It Does Matter



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 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 and Leaders Network.


Is Roman Catholicism Preaching the Gospel? Why Not and Why It Does Matter

Roman Catholicism is the largest religious group in the world. Wherever you are, you are dealing with it. In recent decades it has become welcoming, wanting all Christians to be “united” in some form or another. Yet, in spite of all the changes, Roman Catholicism is not based on the Bible alone. To more or lesser degrees all Catholic doctrines and practices are the result of a flawed theological method which is not governed by Scripture alone, but by a self-authenticating tradition which is administered by the authority of the Roman Church. In dealing with Roman Catholicism, especially in times of mounting ecumenical pressure, Evangelicals should attempt to go beyond superficial commonalities based on shared vocabulary. They should instead be aware of the internal theological framework of Roman Catholicism and try to understand it in the light of Scripture.

This Master Class will address the following 5 topics: 

1) Same Words, Same Gospel?
The vocabulary of Roman Catholicism contains many biblical words, but is Roman Catholicism biblical? This session will give few examples of the way in which Roman Catholicism uses the right words but it does not embrace the biblical gospel. 


2) Why "Roman" and Why "Catholicism?"
Roman Catholicism is what the expression tells us: “Roman” and “Catholic”. This session will explain why and what difference it makes for Roman Catholicism to be both Roman and Catholic. 


3) Where Is The Roman Catholic Church Going with Pope Francis?  
The Roman Catholic Church has a long history but certainly Pope Francis (in line with Vatican II) has impressed a new trajectory. This session will provide an analysis of the vision of the reigning Pope and its impact on his church. 


4) Can Evangelicals Be United with Rome?
Unity is one of the buzzwords in today’s Christian language. Given the fundamental differences with the Roman Catholic account of the gospel, can we pray together with Catholics? Do mission together? Collaborate for the good of society?  


5) Communicating the Gospel to Roman Catholics
What are the best practices in seeking to evangelize Roman Catholics? This session will give tips on how to effectively engage Roman Catholic friends and neighbors with the gospel.


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