By Andras Szalai and Thomas Soggin
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Official response of the Waldesian Church in Italy about SDA claim
E-mails from Pastor Thomas Soggin of the Waldesian Church in Bergamo to Andras Szalai, director of Apologia Research Center (CFAR Hungary) concerning the Seventh-day Adventist claim that Waldesians were Sabbath-keepers.
June 19, 2006
I am Andras Szalai, director of an evangelical apologetics research center in Hungary and I need your help -professional help of a Waldesian theologian - in a certain research project.
It's about the Seventh-day Adventist Church which claims that Waldesians have kept the law of the Sabbath. As far as I know, it is not true, but I'd like to know your opinion. If Waldesians have ever kept the Sabbath, please give me historical sources.
June 21, 2006
Dear Brother Andras,
My name is Thomas Soggin, a Waldensian Minister in Bergamo (North Italy), in charge - by our Board, the Tavola Valdese - to answer to your letter.
If you are interested in the Waldensian Churches in Italy (North, Center, and South Italy) and in Uruguay and Argentina, in past and present you can look in the site of our Publishing House: Claudiana (Torino), and email. You can try also to find and study the following book: Giorgio Tourn, You are my witnesses – The Waldensians across 800 years, Claudiana Editor 1989 - Distributed in North America by P.O. Box 37844 - CINCINNATI,OH 45222 (USA).
In their 350 years before the Reformation their real problem was baptism - the link between baptism and Roman Catholic constantinianism, not the problem of baptism (by immersion or with sprinkling), neither the problem of Sabbath instead of Sunday.
In a well-supplied library you can try to find the following books:
1) Jean Gonnet - Amedeo Molnar, Les vaudois au moyen age, Claudiana, Torino 1974 (French): In the XV century all the Waldensians (France, Italy: Piedmont, Calabria) where united with the Hussite movement: the Taborites Czechs (c/o Jan Hus! In that time there are also some Waldensians documents on baptism: pp., 434-437).
2) Amedeo Molnar, Storia dei valdesi/1, Dalle origini all’adesione alla Riforma, Claudiana, Torino 1974 (Italian). (They did not have interest in baptism as St. Paul wrote in I Cor.1,17): p. 274).
3) Carlo Papini, Valdo di Lione e i Çpoveri nello spiritoÈ, Claudiana, Torino, 2001.
They were called: Mater Reformationis (=Mother of the Reformation) when they were before, as you know, during the Middle Ages a movement, but NOT a Church. After the Synod of Chanforan in Angrogne (1532) and later on, the Waldensians become a Reformed Presbyterian Church, as in Geneva. They adopted the Huguenot Reformed Confession of faith, of the so called Synod “De la Rochelle” of 1559 (but it was really the Paris Synod, their first Huguenot General Assembly).
But in 1655 the Waldensian Churches had its own Confession of Faith, hurriedly drafted in Italian immediately after the massacre of the Waldenses, called “Piedmonts Easters” (See Milton’s Avange o Lord…!. This confession of faith was simply a shortened version in Italian of the Huguenot Confession of faith of 1559: it confirmed that theologycally the Waldenses were in the mainstream of Presbyterian Calvinism. It is still the basis of nowadays Waldensian beliefs, which the Candidates have to undersign in front of the General Assembly before becoming ordained as Ministers (VDM) in our churches (without any kind of Anabaptism, or Sabbath instead of Sunday!).
Therefore, the Waldensians did not keep the Sabbath (in the sense of Saturday instead of Sunday) and were not guardians of the "Sabbath Truth” as somebody calls it. The Waldensians never followed the Seventh-day Adventist’s Sabbath but they followed more Paul in Romans 14,5-8.
We can therefore say very clearly that the Waldensians were not Seventh-day Sabbath keepers and they were not persecuted for keeping Saturday as the Sabbath! Thy were persecuted, [from 1532 (when they joined the Reformation - Angrogna Synod) to 1848 (when they received religious freedom)], because of their Reformed-Calvinistic faith in Christ.
With my best regards, yours, Thomas Soggin
June 22, 2006
Dear Brother Thomas,
Just one more thing. May I use your letter as an official answer of the Waldesian Church for refuting the Seventh-day Adventist claim? (As I wrote they claim Waldesians kept the Sabbath just like they; this way they want to establish a historical continuity with your church...)
In the case you allow me to use your letter I would also send it to some American researchers, who would do only what we do, telling SDAs, that they cannot use Waldesians to prove the historicity of their teaching.
God bless you! Andras
June 23, 2006
Dear Brother Andreas,
Surely you may use my letter with the whole documentation, because the old Waldensian movement and the Seventh-day Adventist claim, have, historically spoken, nothing to do with each other, neither the Waldensian Reformed Church after the Reformation (1532).
God bless you too, Thomas Soggin