The following «Mission Statement» reflects the core values, goals and strategy which were IFED’s founding strength and which today continue to justify its existence and inspire its service for the cause of the gospel in Italy.
We are enthusiastically committed to the faith which was delivered once and for all to the saints, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In line with historic orthodox Christianity, we confess the glory of the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as He is revealed in the inerrant and authoritative Word of God written. We are convinced that the five «sola, solus» of the Reformation («sola Scriptura», «solus Christus», «sola gratia», «sola fide», «soli Deo gloria») vividly express the spirit of the gospel. Among the various Reformed confessions which represent faithfully and accurately what Scripture teaches, we particularly endorse the 1689 «Baptist Confession of faith».
We are fully persuaded that the Biblical faith we confess provides an integrated worldview which both shapes and guides all Christian living. The sovereignty of God expressed in creation, providence and redemption is its primary motivation; the authority of Scripture is its absolute standard; the cultural mandate, linked as it is to the missionary mandate, defines its compelling task. In the light of such a high calling, all spheres of life must be thought-out and lived-out within the parameters of this worldview. We believe that the scheme «creation-fall-redemption» adequately summarises the thrust of the Biblical and Reformed worldview.
We are strongly engaged in the strengthening and consolidation of the unity of all evangelical believers. Although recognising many differences within the evangelical world, we consider them not to be so divisive as to require separation when the core of Biblical faith is upheld. While firmly rejecting the form of unity promoted both by the Roman Catholic church and by the Ecumenical Movement, we are servants in the cause of evangelical unity on the basis of the gospel. In line with such a commitment, we are ready to work together with other fellow evangelicals in proportion with the degree of doctrinal agreement between us.
In light of the briefly outlined core values, we shall act to achieve the following goals in our national situation.
We are deeply convinced that the present and future of the evangelical witness in Italy demand the elaboration and application of an evangelical culture. In the Italian context where the strongholds of Roman Catholicism and secular trends of thought prevail, evangelicals must develop their faith as an alternative culture. A major goal of IFED is to stimulate and encourage Biblical thinking and the development of a worldview which is thoroughly grounded in Scripture and in the rich heritage of Christian thought, leading to the shaping of a distinctly Christian approach to every area of life.
Such an alternative culture has to be articulated and presented in academic terms in order to gain a hearing in society at large. Too often, evangelicals in our country are considered a cult or a group of religious fanatics which has avoided the task of confronting the academia. As an evangelical institution, we endeavour to raise the profile of the evangelical witness within the Italian academic world. Our work in this area will not be pursued at the expense of evangelical integrity but as a mean to affirm our explicitly evangelical identity.
The scope of our activity includes evangelical churches and para-church agencies in Italy. Our desire is to help the Italian evangelical movement to appreciate the glorious mandate that the Lord has entrusted to His people and to seek to embody that alternative culture in a coherent and challenging way. In order to see this happen, we have committed ourselves to train a new generation of church leaders and to be a reference point for the existing leadership. Our vision, however, is not confined to churches and evangelical organisations but involves the possibility that Italian society at large may be influenced by a more solid evangelical witness at all levels. Our role is to encourage every vocation and calling, whether directed inside the church or outside, to contribute to that purpose.
In order to honour our core values and to achieve our goals, we shall act according to the following basic strategy.
Access to reliable and suitable resources is essential for the implementation of our objectives. In this respect, we have set-up a study centre in the well known university city of Padova with excellent facilities for scholars and students. The library, which is unique in the Italian evangelical world for its number of theological books and journals, is constantly being updated along with the growing archive on the history of evangelicals in Italy. Along with these logistic and documentary resources, our qualified staff are available for tutoring and lecturing around the country. IFED’s academic respectability is reflected in the range and quality of resources it makes available.
As an academic institution, serious scholarship is an integral part of our ministry. Research projects are carried out, particularly in the fields of systematic and historical theology, social and medical ethics, and the evangelical understanding of Roman Catholicism and contemporary theology. Our theological journal «Studi di teologia» gives voice to Italian evangelical theology as well as presenting contributions from international evangelical scholarship. Our staff are involved in several publishing projects and we relate on various levels with similar academic institutions around the world. IFED can meet the need for an alternative culture by promoting this kind of scholarship.
Beside providing resources and encouraging research, we seek to train men and women who have the same vision, though called by God to serve Him in different realms. Our training programmes aim at impacting the lives of the students with our core values and goals. The variety of training activities (i.e. five-year study course in theology, the annual theological conference, seminars for churches and public lectures) helps to reach different people at different academic levels. Some programmes are held in our study centre in Padova, others in various Italian towns. As a result of these initiatives, many students will benefit in their preaching, teaching and church leadership. Others will be stimulated to accomplish their vocation and calling in their profession or elsewhere. The importance of IFED for Italian evangelicalism and society is illustrated by its ability to form people who live to serve God, obey His Word and extend His kingdom until the Lord Jesus comes.