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Roberto's TestimonyWritten by Jacob Prasch
I come from Italian parents. My dad was a WW 2 prisoner of war in Kenya. After the war he married andÃ‚ I was born there. Spent my youth in Kenya and then went to South Africa in 1971 . I lived in Cape Town for 26 years and then returned with my wife and two sons to Italy 8 yrs ago to look after my 92 yr old father.
As an Italian, I was baptized as a baby, christened, (still have the photos of the bishop "imparting the Holy Spirit ").
In the early 70's South Africa was experiencing a mighty revival. Various friends and a work colleague of mine started witnessing to me. Finally, on the 5th of January 1975, the Lord graciously and gloriously saved me at a Gospel service. A few months later He baptized me with the Holy Spirit and I have never looked back !
I never went back to the Catholic Church. So I did not study their doctrine or got to know their ways. We were so busy growing in the faith and winning souls for the Lord.
We returned to Italy, as I said, in 1997. Apart from looking after my elderly father, we believe that the Lord called us here to be witnesses and preach the truth to the italians .
Three months ago, our Church, (Serenissima Bible Church) pastored by an American Pastor, started a separate Italian ministry and I have the privilege of leading it. We used to worship and listen to the preaching in English as the church is composed mainly of American military folk from the Air Base nearby .
Over the last 8 years, we have had plenty of opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus, listen to official and non official Vatican discourses, study the Catholic doctrine in greater detail, talk to nuns and priests and listen to Radio Maria. This is a radio station that propagates Catholic doctrine and, as the name tells it, is dedicated to the madonna (I use the small "m" purposely as I do not recognize this person as the true mother of the Messiah) . They have radio stations in 40 countries.
I will be eternally grateful to the Lord for saving me and rescuing me from that organization.
The more we study where their doctrines come from, the more we realize the evil therein.
We live in a different reality here, compared to South Africa, USA, UK. The Catholic Church has a powerful influence in this country. There is no real separation of Church and State. In fact the Italian penal code has 4 articles dealing specifically with vilifying the " State Religion ", (Catholic), it's objects of cult , for example idols, shrines and it's ministers. Penalties range from 1 to 3 years jail if convicted. There are laws against vilifying other "State approved religions", (Jehovah Witnesses, Baptist , Assemblies of God), but penalties are reduced.
By law, when one does one's tax returns, we have to sign a clause at the bottom of the form whereby one authorizes the State to give what is known as the "otto per mille " to the Catholic Church, JW's orÃ‚ the AOG. What this means is that, with every 1000 euro paid in tax, 1 euro goes to one of the above as you choose.
The catholic church is the biggest beneficiary and collects millions every year. Really wicked.
On a personal note, our Pastor and I wanted to open a Christian bookshop in the town where our Church is. One location was chosen, on the river's edge. The owner would not let us have it because we would be selling bibles, Christian books and witnessing. She was very scared that the priest of the town, who is a rich man and influential, would cause her problems! This is in 22nd century Italy ! Five hundred short years ago,we would have been burned at the stake. We subsequently found another place. Of the 18 months that we were open, not one priest set his foot in it and only two nuns,once.
Italy has never had a Reformation, even though there was the start of an evangelical non catholic congregation , before Luther's Reformation, in a place not far from here. Needless to say, it was destroyed within a short period of time.
Over the centuries, the popes have done their utmost to prevent an influx of bible preaching Christians . They have, mercilessly, held captive the minds and souls of Italians over all these centuries. I have yet to hear any clergyman preach repentance. As you probably know, the catholic doctrine teaches that one is born again or saved when one is baptized as a baby. So once that is done, together with the other sacraments, you are a Catholic and on the way to heaven.
The cult of the madonna is very, very strong here. She is worshipped in many shrines which are at the entrance of many towns. I believe the Lord gave me a revelation about this last year. There is a tremendous spirit of oppression in this country. Many friends and others that come, always comment on the fact that there is a "heavy spirit ". The moment they cross the border or return home, it disappears. This is more evident with Christian folk. Well. I believe that the Lord showed me that these shrines which either have a madonna in it , or some saint, are idolatrous , occultist, strongholds at the "gates " of the towns. So when our Church does prayer walks, we pray against them.
Having said all this, let me express my shock and disappointment at news reports,( thanksÃ‚ to Moriel for the Alert Newsletter !), which tell us of Evangelical Churches and some well known names that are signing documents of co-operation, beginning to draw closer to catholicism. How can this apostasy be ?? Don't these guys study doctrine ? I am not even talking of some mainline Protestant churches like the Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians , etc, who "wandered from the truth" a long time ago.
But those who once were preachers of the truth, how can it be ? Peter and Paul would have torn their clothes in horror.
I would love to invite the leaders of these churches or organizations to visit Italy.
I would take them to my Accountant, a Pastor of an Italian Pentecostal church, and let him tell them a thing or two.
Or introduce them to American and other missionaries who have laboured in Italy for 17, 25 years . Winning one soul at the time, congregations of 20 or at the most 150 people ! Not twenty, thirty thousand like the States.
I wish I could take hold of them and tell them that they must beware of the subtlety of the Vatican. A global empire of over one billion "citizens". Powerful. They cannot burn true ChristiansÃ‚ at the stake anymore, or jail them. So what have they done ? They have approached the Protestants by saying that we are also Christians. Here, the official line is that we are "the distant brothers ", official quote. In other words, we should all come under the wings of the "Mother Church".
Are the Evangelicals so blinded ? Can they not see that with this one declaration and their acceptance of the approach, they have undermined every single bible believing, born again Christian in Italy ? Catholics need to know the truth , they need to be born again. When we witness to them, they have no clue about the bible , salvation, baptism, NOTHING. Yet when one asks them "Are you a Christian ?" Their reply is always "Yes, I am a Catholic ". Yet 6 out of every 10 Italians consult mediums, tarot card readers, horrorscopes, (my spelling). They have no clue as to the dire warnings the Lord gave concerning these abominations.
One final appeal to the evangelicals out there : Stop fornicating with the Catholic Church.Remember, in a worldly sense they are more powerful than you. They will never convert to the truth. They want YOU to return to the mother church. DON'T TRAMPLE ON THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND MARTYRS OF THE REFORMATION! THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE TRUTH!
May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ give us grace and power to endure and not compromise the truth.
Grace and shalom.
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