It all started when Andrea had the privilege of studying with many excellent professors at London Theological Seminary, 30 years ago. Our calling was already clear after our first year of study: we would return to Italy to preach the gospel, but also to translate, publish and distribute theological books, by any means we could.
This was back in the age of fax, without internet, emails, or social media. We did not have a computer and could not even afford to buy one. Returning to Italy was not an easy experience either. We had no money and no supporters, either in Italy or outside. We also grappled with a wider problem: the transition back to a fragmented church environment without good, biblical preaching. But as always, God had a plan. In 1993, as soon as we returned from our honeymoon, we started translating: reading and re-reading what we had written. We learned more about publishing than we ever imagined was involved. The important thing was not just to translate and print the books, but to be able to put them into the hands of believers, to engage with readers, and to go into communities to educate young and old to read the Bible and study good, biblical books.
The important thing was to go into communities to educate believers to read the Bible and study good, biblical books.
This was the hard part, and we were met with opposition at times, but praise God that he has enabled us – through our publishing house, Coram Deo – to distribute so much material and to interest so many believers in sound biblical doctrine and expository preaching.
Now, years later, we see Italian churches being transformed in line with apostolic teaching. We see the rise of a new generation of young pastors who are passionate about the gospel and biblical training, and wish to establish or reform congregations to be rooted in scripture. What a great privilege and blessing to see what the Word of God accomplishes! We also see a new need: for believers across Italy to come together to live out their biblical faith. After Andrea shared the idea to a team of leaders, Soli Deo Gloria Churches was born in 2022, a fellowship of free churches adhering to the same confession of faith, with a similar church structure and practice of life.
We also see a new need: for believers across Italy to come together to live out their biblical faith.
We planned to start slowly and only advertised the network to a handful of churches. However, at the first conference in August 2022, 100 people arrived in the beautiful town of Chianciano Terme and, in April 2023, 30 pastors attended the first pastoral meeting in Florence. These beginnings are immensely encouraging. Through strong bonds and quality fellowship, the network is proving worthwhile and stimulating.
Only time will tell what the needs of this group will be, but we continue to pray for a stronger body of believers in Italy supporting each other. Looking back at all that has happened in 30 years here, we are amazed at how God has worked.
We continue to pray that all believers in Italy may have the opportunity and courage to rely on the faithful word of Christ in order to live a more authentic Christian life, to the glory of God.
Photos: Theology books translated into Italian; leaders with Andrea; and pastors from Soli Deo Gloria churches meet for fellowship.
Andrea and Emanuela Artioli serve in church ministry and Christian publishing in Mantova, Italy.