The Bible says that the Papal system would “wear out the saints of the most High” (Dan. 7:25); that “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). For their unwearied evangelistic labours, and for the fact that they refused to submit to the pope’s tyrannical rule, the Waldensians experienced persecutions so dreadful that the annals of world history have nothing to compare with them. Every Christian today should study their sad, yet deeply moving and triumphant history, for it is the story of how the Lord, in fulfilment of His Word, preserved His Church against the gates of hell during those Dark Ages.
Rome loves to claim that before the Reformation she was the only church in existence; but not only was she not even a church at all, there were faithful Christian churches in the Waldensian valleys and elsewhere, churches which maintained a purer faith, amidst the fires of persecution, than many of the “churches” that were born during the Reformation. It is sad indeed that so many Christians know about the Protestant Reformers and those woefully unscriptural “State Churches” that they created, so often mere “daughters” of the Mother Harlot in Rome (Rev. 17:5), yet they know so little – if anything at all – of the wonderful Christian history and testimony of the Waldensian churches.
“The persecutions of this remarkable people,” wrote Wylie, “form one of the most heroic pages of the Church’s history. These persecutions, protracted through many centuries, were endured with a patience, a constancy, a bravery, honourable to the Gospel as well as to those simple people, whom the Gospel converted into heroes and martyrs.”
Yes, the Waldensian history is a glorious one. But after so many centuries of faithful testimony, the time came when their churches departed from the faith of their fathers, the purity of the true Gospel, and went into error. And like almost all other “Evangelical” churches in the world today, they began to fall for the seductions of the Roman Whore, who – via the devilish ecumenical movement – began to hide the stains of Waldensian blood on her garments and to wipe their blood from her lips (Rev. 17:6), and began to whisper words of love into the ears of their descendants. Truly, “the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword” (Prov. 5:3,4). The Harlot in Proverbs can be taken literally, or symbolically for the Harlot of Rome. The Waldensians fell for Rome’s charms, and rejected the counsel of the Lord which says, “Remove thy way from her, and come not nigh the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8). They were ravished with her, and embraced her (Prov. 5:20). They forsook the commandment of the Lord, which (if they had heeded it) would have kept them from this evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of this strange woman (Prov. 6:23,24). And now they will find, to their cost, that a man cannot take fire in his bosom and not burn his clothes (Prov. 6:27).
No longer are they the strong, separated, holy believers of the past. And nothing could have more starkly demonstrated this fact than their enthusiastic reception of the Roman pope, Francis I, in June 2015.
Francis was received at the entrance of the Waldensian “Temple” by the moderator of the Waldensian denomination, Eugenio Bernardini; the president of the Consistory of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Turin, Sergio Velluto; and the titular of the Waldensian Evangelical Church of Turin, Paolo Ribet. Ribet, in welcoming Francis, referred to him as “our brother Francis”. What a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of Waldensians who suffered death in a thousand and one diabolical ways, century after cruel century, rather than submit to the pope of Rome and his blasphemous religion! What? – call the Roman Antichrist “our brother”? Call the head of the religious system that persecuted, unto death, so many multiplied thousands of innocent Waldensians a “brother in Christ”? How utterly disgraceful that Waldensian pastors could sink so low!
Present at the meeting between the Roman Antichrist and the Waldensian leaders were the leaders of other religious institutions (we will not call them churches) as well: Methodist, Baptist Union, Salvation Army, and Seventh-Day Adventist. Adventists are correctly labelled a cult; but in truth this name can be applied today to these other groups as well, for in embracing the Roman pope as a brother in Christ they reveal that they do not preach the true Gospel but rather devilish lies, and are not Christian churches.
Let us take a look at what the pope of Rome actually said during his visit to the Waldensians.
He thanked the Waldensian leaders for their invitation to him to come and address them. They invited him! Men claiming to be Christian shepherds of Christian flocks invited the most dangerous “wolf in sheep’s clothing” in the whole world into their very midst (Matt. 7:15)! Paul exhorted the pastors of the church in Ephesus as follows: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:28,29). These pastors did not take heed to themselves, nor to the flocks under their care; and plainly they were not made overseers by the Holy Ghost, for instead of feeding the church with the pure Word of God, they invited this grievous wolf into their very midst – the one described in God’s Word as the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition, the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:1-10; 1 Jn. 2:18,22; 4:3)!
Note the triumphal words of Francis as he thanked them: “With great joy I find myself among you today…. In particular, I greet the Moderator of the Waldensian Temple, Reverend Pastor Eugenio Bernardini, and the Pastor of this community of Turin, Reverend Paulo Ribet, to whom I express my heartfelt gratitude for the invitation that they so kindly addressed to me.” In inviting the Antichrist to address them, these men betrayed the Gospel, betrayed their flocks, and revealed themselves to be false teachers.