Leonardo De Chirico

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 Network (RSN).

 

2018 Forum Sessions


Afternoon Workshops

Post-Forum Seminar

 

Afternoon Workshops


Four Theological Mistakes of Roman Catholicism Related to the Sacraments

The word sacrament is central to the definition of Roman Catholicism. The Church is considererd as a sacrament. There are seven Roman Catholic sacraments dispensing God’s grace. Moreover, there is a “sacramental economy” that undergirds the Christian life. The sacraments also define the structure of the Roman Church in that only those who have received the sacrament of order can celebrate them. The workshop will highlight four mistakes related to the Roman Catholic understanding and practice of the sacraments.

 

Interview: Mother of God? A Biblical View of Mary

Leonardo De Chirico interviewed by Michael Reeves

Why is Mary so important to Roman Catholic spirituality? How did the Catholic practice of prayer to Mary originate, and why has it achieved so much popularity? In this interview, Leonardo De Chirico, pastor of the church Breccia di Roma and director of the Reformanda Initiative, speaks on the subject of his latest book, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary. He offers a biblical account of Mary’s character that contrasts with the Roman Catholic traditions which have developed throughout history, distorting her nature from an obedient servant and worshipper of God to a worshipped saint herself.

 

Post-Forum Seminars


Engaging Roman Catholicism

This seminar features six short talks that discuss the theology and practice of Roman Catholicism, its differences from Evangelical Protestantism, and how Evangelicals can engage their Catholic neighbors in a way that is both loving and truthful.

FOCL Talk 1: Why Evangelicals Need to Engage Roman Catholicism

Do the debates of the Reformation still matter for evangelicals today? How should evangelicals understand Roman Catholicism, and why is it important for evangelicals to continue to engage the Roman Catholic Church from a biblical perspective? This opening session highlights the relevance and urgency for evangelicals to both better understand and more winsomely engage the Roman Catholic Church, including its theology and practices.

FOCL Talk 2: Roman Catholicism: A Worldview and a System

Roman Catholicism is a complex reality. A global view of Catholicism must take into account its doctrine, culture, and its institutions. It is a religious worldview which has been promoted throughout history by the ecclesiastical institution whose center is in Rome. Although there is considerable diversity in its forms of expression, Catholicism is a basically unitary reality with discernible underlying tenets. Any analysis which does not take into account the fact that Catholicism is a system will fall prey to a superficial and fragmented understanding of the phenomenon. This lecture will compare and contrast systemic vs. atomistic approaches to Roman Catholicism and demonstrate the need for an evangelical assessment to grasp the basic contours of this worldview and its system.

FOCL Talk 3: The Second Vatican Council and Beyond

The Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, also known as ‘Vatican II’, is widely regarded as one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. Beside the immense influence exerted on Catholic theology and life, the Council has brought aggiornamento to the Roman Church. Aggiornamento, or a bringing up to date, does not denote reformation in the evangelical sense but neither is it a merely political and linguistic device aimed at concealing an unchanging reality. It is instead the Catholic way of responding to the need for some form of renewal without altering the fundamental structure inherited from the past. This lecture will examine the historical significance of Vatican II and its theological outcomes that continue to shape Roman Catholic identity today.

FOCL Talk 4: Why is Unity so Attractive? Understanding and Evaluating the Ecumenical Movement

Unity has become a catchword in present-day Christianity. Everybody talks about unity and wants to promote unity. What is meant by it? There are several accounts and many projects of unity. Among the various options, two of them seem to be the most influential ones outside of the evangelical world. One has to do with the 1982 Lima document Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. It expounds the mainstream view of unity that can be found in important circles of the World Council of Churches. The other is the Vatican II decree on ecumenism Unitatis reditengratio (1964) which sets forth the vision for unity of the Roman Catholic Church. What are their theological foundations and how can be they assessed biblically? What are the implications for the unity of the church and of humankind? Are there better options that are more biblically grounded?

FOCL Talk 5: Communicating about the Gospel with Roman Catholics

What are the greatest sources of the Roman Catholic misunderstanding regarding the Gospel? What are most important biblical concepts with which to dialogue with Roman Catholics? This session will bring together what participants have already learned about Roman Catholicism to reflect on effective methods of engaging Roman Catholics in meaningful and impactful evangelism.

FOCL Talk 6: Why the Reformation is not Over!

After centuries of controversies and strained relationships between Evangelicals and Catholics, the ecumenical friendliness of recent times has created ripe conditions for some leaders in both camps to claim that the Reformation is over -- that the primary theological disagreements that led to the rupture in Western Christianity in the sixteenth century have been resolved. Is it true? What should we make of the issues raised in the 16th century? What is their on-going significance?

 

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