Monday, 24 August 2015

Third Summer Conference of Sentieri Antici Valdese, Old Waldensian Paths Movement

On 16 and 17 August 2015, we attended the Christian centre, Forterocca in Bobbio Pellice, Val Pellice, the main Waldensian valley of Italy. This was a meeting of Sentieri Antici Valdesi, known as "SAV" or Old Waldensian Paths a movement of believers coming from various backgrounds, including from the Waldensian Church.  Members share belief in the authority of Scripture and take the view that the current official Waldensian Church has seriously departed from the Christian faith of the historic Waldensian Church having fallen away from the Christian Gospel, replacing it, uncritically with mostly secular views and beliefs.  This is a position that brings them often into direct conflict with the teachings of Holy Scripture that inspired the historic Waldensians down the ages to the point of shedding their blood for resisting strong pressure to water down and give up their belief in the Word of God. Their faithfulness to the true gospel gained international support for them, such as from William of Orange and Oliver Cromwell, and via a secret treaty with the British from 1704. Their pastors and schools were financially supported by various nations for centuries, on the basis of their adherence to the Reformed Confession of faith, fully in accord with the Reformation. Sadly, this is no longer true of the ultra liberal modern Waldensian Church.

Report on proceedings 
The first SAV event was chaired by Sergio Rastello, Waldensian lay preacher. This was the launch of a book "What is the Waldensian Church today" by national Italian politician and Waldensian church member, Lucio Malan.

Also available to buy was "The Confession of the Waldensian Faith"  by Reformed pastor Paolo Castellina who has an extensive Italian internet ministry through www.riforma.net. The hall was filled with various participants including three pastors of the Waldensian Church, including two retired pastors and one in current service. After their presentations, Lucio Malan and Paolo Castellina answered questions including some from the retired Waldensian pastor Bruno Rostagno.

Key Points
  • The official Waldensian Church is making no space for, and giving no platform to those members who think differently from its official views, especially those who view Holy Scripture as the sole authority of Christian belief, which the historic Waldensians did.
  • The modern Waldensian Church still officially subscribes to the Confession of the Waldensian Faith by Pastor Leger in 1655 but most of its modern teachings ignores or strongly contradicts these beliefs. 
  • The modern Waldensian Church has not integrated into its modern belief system The Fall, the concept of falling away from the will of God.  It naively assumes that the world as it is operates today has the full approval of God, rather than his condemnation.
On the second day, there was a trip to Rora, to visit some historic places of the Waldensian and to contemplate the military vantage point from which Waldesians monitored the Po Valley for armies marching against them which were either Papal ones, or those of the Dukes of Savoy who tended to act as the military arm of the Popes.

That evening, a service was led by Pastor Paul Castellina with the preaching of John 6, particularly on verse 35: "I am the bread of life; He who comes to me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. "  The worship included sung Psalms led by Daniela Michelin Salomon who composed some of them herself.

On the final day, a SAV committee of members discusssed the situation and proposed initiatives that SAV will undertake, in due course.

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