Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 17, 1953

Baptist Preacher Converted

C. R. Paden, Rome, Italy

Sunday night, June 21, Vincenzo Ruggiero started a new phase of his very interesting life by being baptized for the remission of sins. That morning he had closed another phase by preaching his last sermon for the Lungaretta Baptist Church here in Rome. He had been a Baptist for five years and was serving as a "pastor" of one of the three Baptist churches in Rome. He had also served as assistant and secretary for the vice-president of the World Baptist Alliance while here in Rome.

While Brother Ruggiero was a student of medicine at the University of Naples someone gave him a tract on some of the more pronounced errors of Catholicism. There were several scriptural quotations in the tract. He procured a Bible and in company with a friend began studying the scriptures, however, since he was unacquainted with such study he became confused and his interest died. His friend continued to read and months afterward called on him to help find the meaning of an obscure verse. In searching for the meaning of this verse he soon regained the interest that he had lost.

Desiring to share what knowledge he had gained from his short study of the word, he called his friends to assemble in his house for further investigation. Soon 50 or 70 people were in regular attendance and with their own contributions they rented a hall. This success called their activities to the attention of the local clerics who organized feeling against them. Catholic mobs stormed their meeting place one night and several of the group were injured in the melee that followed.

With conditions intolerable and the safety of his followers in doubt he went to Naples and appealed to the local Baptist preacher for help. He was told that they could help only if he would let his group come into the Baptist convention. This would grant them the same rights that other Baptist churches had to function without interference of this type. Later he enrolled at the Baptist seminary at Rivoli.

When he had completed one year of study there he was called into the army. When he had completed his tour of army service he was called to Rome where he became the "pastor" of one of their churches. He has carried on his studies in the Waldensian seminary while here in Rome.

An appointment was made some six weeks before his conversion with Brother Ruggiero through a former Baptist friend. His reaction was immediate. We met almost daily after the first appointment. His ideas were those peculiar to this denomination and he defended them as long as he could.

About this time Brother Roy Cogdill's book, "The New Testament Church" which we have translated came off the press. Brother Ruggiero asked for a short leave from his church and spent this time at his home with this book and the Bible before him. He examined every scripture and upon his return to us he asked to be baptized.

Since his conversion he is continuing his studies with us daily in preparation for the time when he will be sent out to preach only the truth. He knows Greek almost perfectly, as well as Italian and French. He reads German and English.

We are hoping to find a congregation to support this fine young man. (He is 28 years of age.) We need his ability and his desire to be of service in reaching the lost of Italy. CAN YOU HELP HIM?