“Old Waldensian Paths” (Sentieri Antichi Valdesi) Conference 2014, Bobbio Pellice, Italy
The overarching theme was recovering and living out the principles of the ancient Waldensian movement and the classical Reformation, while rejecting the deceptive seductions of modern ideologies.1. This principle continues to uphold the movement of "Old Waldensian Paths", which held in August 2014 in Val Pellice , its second annual conference. As expressed in the confessions of faith of the Reformation, these principles are accepted among delegates as permanent values that reflect the authentic teaching of the Bible.
2. Remaining faithful to them, the movement intends to express loyalty to the Christ of the Scriptures,"So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:14), and to be able to walk "worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).
3. Those of us who had the opportunity to participate in our 2014 summer conference are pleased to have been able to meet each other strengthen our fellowship and informally discuss the present and the future of our movement.
4. Our thoughts go out to those who, for various reasons, have not had been able to afford or benefit from this opportunity of meeting and we do not want to exclude them or make them feel isolated and marginalized (more than they normally already are).
5. We believe it is very important, therefore, to continue to maximize the communication between us at a distance in order to be able to hear the voice of all those who have expressed an interest and commitment to our movement and so enjoy their contribution.
6. Beyond expressing and strenghtening our fellowship, this year's conference had several high moments, including a worship service in the Church of Ciabas, with the celebration of the Lord's Supper; a public evening on the issue of faithfulness (inspired by the writing that appears in the apse of the hall where the Waldensian Synod meets); reports on the contribution made by the British Christians over history to the support and growth of the Waldensian movement (which encouraged the building of a theological college in Val Pellice and the need for evangelization of the Italian peninsula and the increasing theological and cultural competence of pastors and laity); guided tours of the historical sites of the testimony in the Waldensian Val Pellice, including the museum and library of Torre Pellice; a presentation on British artists of the Waldensian Valleys.
7. We made a gift to the Waldensian Library of a book on the Confession of Faith of 1655. It was received with gratitude and we hope that it will further bear fruit. In fact, we believe that the book, published by the past. Castellina on the Waldensian Confession of Faith 1655 (which refers also to that of 1560) remains a key text of our movement, not only in order to know the permanent doctrinal foundations of the Protestant Reformation (now often disregarded by "revisionists" of different types), but also for the qualitative development and growth of our membership.
8. In a period like ours, characterized by doctrinal carelessness, superficiality, and relativism, even the best-intentioned are often inevitably influenced themselves by this spirit, resulting in fuzzy and confused thinking, not theologically structured and consistent doctrine. Several copies of this book have been also sold at the Conference itself, and is available to be ordered at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/paolo-castellina/la-confessione-di-fede-valdese-del-1655/paperback/product-21242787.html#.
9. Consolidating our specific identity (as expressed by the first part of our statute), growing in it, letting it be understood wherever possible, is what emerged from our discussions.
10. The need was also noted not to bureaucratise too much "Old Waldensian Paths" preserving its character of a movement not so much that of an Association (which entails legal obligations that, for various reasons we cannot meet). For this reason, we want to keep (and strictly adhere) to the first part of our Constitution and will revise and simplify its second part.
11. Consolidating our identity remains very important. For this reason we are asking each of our members to commit to studying carefully the theoretical basis of the SAV. For this reason the study material published in http://wiki.riforma.net is precious, together with what Giorgio Modolo has published put into his website www.cristoregna.it
12. The latter is characterized by a particular perspective of the Reformed faith and discusses mainly the normative value of the permanent law of God, revealed in the Scriptures, for every sphere of human life. It emphasizes how not only the soteriology and spirituality is important, but also the ethics and politics, spheres that must also draw inspiration from the principles revealed by God in the Bible.
13. It will be important to us in the coming months, to introduce the readership to this vast material, and in order to prevent the readership being disorientated, providing an annotated guide.
14. It was agreed that the movement’s online communications are very important and there are 7-8 key websites (in Italian):
- http://www.valdesi.eu, - edited mainly by Lucio Malan. This website is a commentary and critic of what is happening in the official Waldensian Synod and Church.
- http://danielavaldese.blogspot.it - blog by Daniela Michelin- Solomon contains mostly biblical meditations.
- http://riforma.net/index.php?title=Studi_biblici - weekly sermons by past Paolo Castellina particularly important for isolated believers
- http://www.discorsiatavola.net/,- edited by Simone Caneparo, wishes especially to specialize in courses of study, among which we highlight the basic course of hermeneutics (how we interpret the Bible). This is a website that we hope will expand.
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/sentieriantichivaldesi/?fref=ts - the SAV Facebook page, especially useful for relating with a wider audience of different tendency, and presenting and discussing our arguments.
- http://sentieri.riforma.info - the overarching website of the movement
And in English: http://oldwaldensianpaths.blogspot.it - English website holding material on the movement and observations on the biblical faith and Waldensian history
The official Waldensian Church has radically moved away not only from its confessional Reformed foundations, and also from the faith of the majority of evangelical churches in Italy, visibly losing more and more members (and therefore resources). It seems to only focus on fashionable stances, especially to the so-called secular progressive ones representing the issues of contemporary intellectuall fashions with the funds and guise of "the gospel". However, its audience is very limited, and unreliable in relation to the actual continuity of the Waldensian Church so that, inevitably, it will dramatically fall away, which the current leadership Waldensian seems to be unaware of.
Many Waldensian (Methodist) believers feel themselves to be orphaned in a church with which they now identify themselves less and less, because this church is no longer what it was and should be. These members need spiritual nourishment, but they always receive indigestible stone. Resolving this situation will certainly not be the full-blown revival of a so-called evangelization for the current Waldensian leadership supports the characteristics of a revised and corrected “gospel”, a false gospel that introduces nothing less that a "genetically modified Christ", who is very different from the Christ of the New Testament.
"Old Waldensian Paths" is still a young, nascent movement but it seeks to be a prophetic voice not only denouncing this current Waldensian situation, but also exercising pressure to return to the old values of the Waldensian and Reformed movement - now widely disregarded. This is not a vain hope as it continue in the Lord's promise that a faithful remnant will continue, with His help, to carry true principles forward.
We continue, therefore, with confidence and optimism, trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised, can and will achieve victory over all that in vain which seeks to thwart His teaching and the purposes of His Kingdom.