Daily devotions


Headlines week 9

Jane Williams: Christians should stand up for their beliefs - London Telegraph
Jane Williams, a theologian and teacher, said many Christians felt uncomfortable talking about their beliefs and feared that doing so was “not politically correct”. 

Report: Crimes Against U.S. Churches Rising - Charisma
We read a lot about persecution against Christians through arrests and beatings. But church facilities themselves are also under attack 

Rob Bell: Universalist? - Justin Taylor´s blog
It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine. 

Salvation Army in New Zealand responds after earthquake brings destruction - TSA international Web-site
THE Salvation Army in New Zealand is responding after the city of Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake on Tuesday 22 February – the second major earthquake to affect the city in less than six months. At least 65 people are known to have been killed and – at time of writing – hundreds are trapped in the debris.


Monday morning

Another week has passed by and spring should be appraoching even if we haven´t seen signs of it yet.

Last week we had a funeral in Blekinge in the south of Sweden. It was Ruth´s aunt. She was born 1911 and died 2011. She was the last one in the parent generation of our family. You can see pictures from the funeral here.

Saturday last week was the welcome meeting for Marie Willermark in Riga. Marie is the new Territorial Commander for the Sweden/Latvia territory of The Salvation Army. The visit started with a meeting in the afternoon in Riga second corps.
 Part of the audience at Riga 2. The rest of the people were seated in a connecting room following the meeting on a wide screen.

Saturday evening was the official welcome meetin at Riga 1, with people travelling to Riga fram all parts of Latvia. The worship group from the School for Officers Training (SFOT) and Riga Staff Songsters were singing and Marie Willermark was preaching.
 Marie Willermark speaking at the Welcome Meeting
Riga Staff Songsters
The worship group from SFOT

Sunday morning we travelled to Daugavpils for the morning service. We had a good meeting with speeches from the Chief Secretary Johnny Kleman and from the Territeorial Commander Marie Willermark. Ruth and myself were singing an playing during the meeting. The Commanding Officers at Daugavpils were leading the meeting in an excellent way.

Singing in Daugavpils
More pictures from Daugavpils here.

While we were having our meeting in Daugavpils, there was a new soldiers enrolment at Riga 1 corps. Four new soldiers and one new adherent. Praise God!
New soldiers Riga 1
You can see more pictures here and here.

Have a blessed week!
Peter Baronowsky


Headlines week 8

A city's official condemnation of Roman Catholic Church teachings as "discriminatory," "insulting," "callous" and "defamatory" is being taken to the U.S. Supreme Court because of the Constitution's requirement that government not be "hostile" to faith.

The Wisdom of Men and the Power of God - John Piper in Preaching today
I would consider my life well spent if I could preach and live and die like the apostle Paul, who wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. In these words I think we get a glimpse of what a preacher should aim at in his work and how he and his people can be sure to hit this target.

Ted Haggard Talks Temptation and Contempt for American Church - Charisma
 In the interview, Haggard tells about events in his past, including being sexually abused as a child, which contributed to his temptation. He also describes characteristics of temptation he believes make every person vulnerable, and tells what has helped him since the scandal.
How the Bible Hangs Together - The gospel coalition
We Christians believe that the Bible is 66 books; we also believe the Bible is but one book. We believe this Bible embraces both the Old and New Testaments; we believe there is but one huge plot, one storyline. Yet those of us who teach and preach the Bible regularly admit that sometimes we do not do a good job showing how the entire Bible hangs together.


Early Sunday Morning: Memories - February 20

Another Sunday morning! This week several things have reminded me about events in the past.

I wrote last week about the meeting we are planning for the Latvian Officers in Stockholm in June. The meeting will take place at "The Kungsholmen corps".

That is the corps where Ruth and I grew up. Those days the corps was called "Stockholm 6 corps", and that name you can still read on the sign above the corps entrance. That is the corps where Ruth and I were Junior soldiers. That is the corps where we both were enrolled as soldiers in the same meeting. That is the corps where we were music leaders, Ruth for the Songsters and I for the Band. That is the corps where we had our spiritual breakthrough 1975. By the way, the soldiers enrolment was 1961, fifty years ago!

During the week I also spoke with one of our sons. He lives in Norway and he is a teacher at the Salvation Army School, "Jelöy Folk High School". Ruth and I were teachers at the same school 1979-1988. The son told me that he "appreciated the life style as a teacher at the school. To be a part of the school life, not only during the lessons, but also on evenings and weekends. That is the way I grew up". And I remembered how it was...

During the week we have also started the preparations for Aunt Karin´s funeral in Blekinge. Her life also brings my thoughts back to days which have passed. Aunt Karin was born 1911 and died 2011. A long and rich life with many memories. Aunt Karin is Ruth´s aunt, not mine. But I have been part of that family more than forty years, so I have memories of my own. And I have heard a lot of memories from Aunt Karin´s first sixty years, before I was introduced to the family.

But reality brings me back from memories to the present moment which is full av work and activities. Looking forward we still focus on getting people saved, discipling the saved people and as a result of that reach out to a suffering humanity.

I can sense that this will be a victorious year for the Salvation Army in Latvia. But the victories will cost problems and suffering.

But we will live the year week by week and I wish that the coming week will be a blessed week for you.
Now it is Sunday morning and we shall soon start the two hour drive to Drusti for the Sunday morning meeting.

Peter Baronowsky


Leadership: Who has your crayons?

Great Visionaries and Leaders are great, only because the people on their team make them great! No one can go that road alone. This is what I have observed. Great leaders, and more accurately, great visionaries understand their role of “drawing out the picture.” In other words they are masters of drawing an image of where they are going.

However, the visionary must stop there! Once the picture is drawn, the visionary has to hand those on their team the box of crayons, and trust them to color in the picture! If the right people are on the team, they will be ever so careful to color in between the lines, careful of choice of color, and who has the steady hand to touch up the “small” areas. If all goes according to plan…A masterpiece will emerge!

From artiedavies.com Read more>


Totally awesome!

who got an A+ for this entry

Since the Pledge of Allegiance  
The Lord's Prayer  
Are not allowed in most  
Public schools anymore  
Because the word 'God' is mentioned.....  
A kid in Arizona wrote the attached  
NEW School prayer:  
"New Pledge of Allegiance" 
Now I sit me down in school  
Where praying is against the rule  
For this great nation under God  
Finds mention of Him very odd.  
If scripture now the class recites,  
It violates the Bill of Rights.  
And anytime my head I bow  
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,  
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..  
The law is specific, the law is precise.  
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.  
For praying in a public hall  
Might offend someone with no faith at all..  
In silence alone we must meditate,  
God's name is prohibited by the state.  
We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,  
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...  
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.  
To quote the Good Book makes me liable. 
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,  
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.  
It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,  
We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..  
We can get our condoms and birth controls,  
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles..  
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,  
No word of God must reach this crowd.  
It's scary here I must confess,  
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.  
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:  
Should I be shot; My soul please take!  


Headlines - week 7

True Love Waits International grows worldwide - Baptist Press
"During that three-and-a-half-year period, more than 1.6 million young people in Africa heard the True Love Waits message promoting sexual abstinence until marriage. In addition, nearly 46,000 married adults have committed to faithfulness, and more than 41,600 decisions to follow Jesus Christ have been recorded by True Love Waits team members."

Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or violence: WHO - Postmedia News
"Rising incomes have triggered more drinking in heavily populated countries in Africa and Asia, including India and South Africa, and binge drinking is a problem in many developed countries, the United Nations agency said."

Salvation Army teams in Australia respond to Cyclone Yasi - SA web
"SALVATION Army Emergency Services (SAES) teams responded immediately in the aftermath of tropical Cyclone Yasi, which lashed the coastal region of Queensland, Australia, causing widespread devastation and destruction."

2011: The Time Is Now! - Charisma
"Now is the time to cast off every weight that would hold you back personally and to pursue wholeness for your personal life. Walk in a new level of joy and peace in the upcoming year.  God says, “Quit looking at your circumstances!  Stop focusing on the giants and start seeing your promise!”


Early Sunday morning - February 13

Weekly review from my own perspective.
Another week...
It looks as if spring was almost here, but then the snow storm came just in time for the weekend...

Some weeks ago we received an invitation to speak at the Riga Christian School about the Salvation Army. Last Tuesday I had four lessons about the Salvation Army in two different classes. Two lessons in grade 11-12 and two lessons in grade 9-10. I told about what the Salvation Army is, what it does and what it believes. I liked it very much and I hope some of the young people liked it too. I believe most of them never had heard about the Salvation Army before.

In connection with the welcoming of our new Territorial Commander, Marie Willermark, Ruth and myself were invited to inform her and the visiting secretary for Europe, Robert Street, about the Salvation Army operations in Latvia.

We love to tell about Latvia and the great work God is doing there. We have been in Latvia one and a half year and we have seen growth. More than thirty new soldiers have been enrolled in the different corps and outposts. That is a growth with 15-20 per cent of the number og soldiers. We have seen more than twenty new adherents being welcomed. 19 junior soldiers have been enrolled. We have eight wonderful cadets at our training school. For the moment we have eleven Latvian officers in Latvia (and then we have a few foreign officers). If our eight cadets will make it through the training and will be commissioned next summer, then it will be an increase of Latvian Officers with 73 per cent.

Saturday evening was the Welcome meeting for Marie Willermark as Territorial Commander for the Sweden/Latvia territory. The meeting was held at the Temple corps in Stockholm. Robert Street was installing Marie and our new TC preached about our making covenants with God. The Band and the Songsters from the Temple corps took part in the meeting and a worship group from Uppsala was leading us all in worship.

The Temple corps band

This week it has also been decided that we (= all officers and cadets in Latvia) will have a pre-congress-meeting at the Kungsholm Corps in Stockholm. There will be a lot of good music and good testimonies. If you are some place around Stockholm that day you should come. This will happen on Thursday the 30th of June at 19.00.

Until then I wish you a blessed time
Peter Baronowsky


Interview with the new general

Interview with General-Elect Commissioner Linda Bond

From the Norwegian TSA website by Lieut-Colonel Laurie Robertson

Please tell us about yourself and your background.

Recently I contributed to a book in the Australia Eastern Territory, and this is how I described my background.
I was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, as the youngest of 13 children. My mother was British, migrating to Canada with her parents when she was 17 years old. My Canadian father was a coal miner. You can't grow up in a large family, having a mother with a keen mind and a fiery spirit and a father as gentle as a lamb and selfless as Jesus, without being influenced. I am my mother's child by nature, and my father's child by desire.
The coal mining town and political environment in which I was raised also affected the way I view life and I thank the Lord for this. The marginalised, the poor and the addicted were part of the community landscape, and my parents were committed to seeing things change for the hurting. This was consistent with what I later learned to be the Lord's mission – and the Army's.

Read more


Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? PART 2

Acts 2:38, "Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.‘"

This verse is often used to say that baptism is part of salvation, but we know from other scriptures that it is not, lest there be a contradiction.  What is going on here is simply that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected.  In the Greek, "repent" is in the plural and so is "your" of "your sins."  They are meant to be understood as being related to each other.  It is like saying, "All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness."  Repentance is a mark of salvation because it is granted by God (2 Tim. 2:25) and is given to believers only.  In this context, only the regenerated, repentant person is to be baptized.  Baptism is the manifestation of the repentance, that gift from God, that is the sign of the circumcised heart.  That is why it says, "repent and be baptized."

Also, please notice that there is no mention of faith in Acts 2:38.  If this verse is a description of what is necessary for salvation, then why is faith not mentioned?  Simply saying it is implied isn't good enough.  Peter is not teaching a formula for salvation, but for covenant obedience, which is why the next verse says that the promise is for their children as well.

1 Pet. 3:21, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

This is the only verse that says that baptism saves, but the NIV translation of the verse is unfortunate.  A better translation is found in the NASB which says, "and corresponding to that, baptism now saves you."  The key word in this section is the Greek antitupon.  It means "copy," "type," "corresponding to," "a thing resembling another," "its counterpart," etc.  Baptism is a representation, a copy, a type of something else.  The question is "Of what is it a type?" or "Baptism corresponds to what?"  The answer is found in the previous verse, verse 20: "who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.  21And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you," (NASB).
Some think that the baptism corresponds to the Ark because it was the Ark that saved them, not the floodwaters.  This is a possibility, but one of the problems is that this interpretation does not seem to stand grammatically since the antecedent of

Baptism is most probably in reference to the water, not the Ark.
But, water did not save Noah.  This is why Peter excludes the issue of water baptism being the thing that saves us because he says, "not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God."  Peter says that it is not the application of water that saves us but a pledge of the good conscience.  Therefore, baptism here most probably represents the breaking away of the old sinful life and entrance into the new life with Christ -- in the same way that the flood waters in Noah's time was the destruction of the sinful way and, once through it, known as entering into the new way.  Also, Peter says that the baptism is an appeal of a good conscience before God.  Notice that this is dealing with faith.  It seems that Peter is defining real baptism as the act of faith.

Acts 22:16, "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."

Is the washing away of sins done by baptism, the representation of the circumcised heart (Col. 2:11-12) which means you are already saved, or is it by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14Rom. 5:9Eph. 1:7)?  Obviously it is the blood of Jesus and the washing here refers to the calling on Jesus' name.

Rom. 6:4, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Because the believer is so closely united to Christ it is said that the symbol of baptism is our death, burial, and resurrection.  Obviously we did not die -- unless, of course, it is a figurative usage.  And that is what it is here.  The figure of baptism represents the reality of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.  It is a covenant sign for us.  Remember, a covenant sign represents the covenant.  The covenant sign of baptism represents the covenant of grace which is that covenant between God and the Christian where we receive the grace of God through the person of Christ by means of his sacrifice.

Titus 3:5, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
The washing of rebirth can only be that washing of the blood of Christ that cleanses us.  It is not the symbol that saves, but the reality.  The reality is the blood of Christ.
Gal. 3:27, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

This is speaking of the believer's union with Christ.  It is an identification with, a joining to, a proclamation of loyalty to, etc.  In 1 Cor. 10:2 the Israelites were baptized into Moses.  That means they were closely identified with him and his purpose.  The same thing is meant here.

Baptism is not necessary for salvation.  It is the initiatory sign and seal into the covenant of grace.  As circumcision referred to the cutting away of sin and to a change of heart (Deut. 10:1630:6;  Jer. 4:49:25,26;Ezk.44:7,9) baptism refers to the washing away of sin (Acts 2:381 Pet. 3:21Tit. 3:5) and to spiritual renewal (Rom. 6:4Col. 2:11-12).  The circumcision of the heart is signified by the circumcision of the flesh, that is, baptism (Col. 2:11-12).
One last thought: If someone maintains that baptism is necessary for salvation, is he adding a work, his own, to the finished work of Christ?  If the answer is yes, then that person would be in terrible risk of not being saved.  If the answer is no, then why is baptism maintained as being necessary the same way as the Jews maintained that works were necessary?

 Matt Slick
From the blogsite of Former Salvation Army Officers Fellowship - www.fsaof.blogspot.com 


Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? PART 1

If we are saved by faith, then we are saved by faith when we believe, not when we get baptized, otherwise we are not saved by faith.  Furthermore, if baptism is necessary for salvation then anyone who receives Christ on his deathbed in a hospital and who also believes Jesus is God in the flesh, who died and rose from the dead for his sins,  etc., would go to hell if he doesn't get baptized before he died.  This would mean that we were not justified by faith because if we were, then the person would be saved.  Also, if baptism is necessary for salvation, then all babies who die go to hell since they weren't baptized.  Remember, when someone says that baptism is necessary, there can be no exceptions -- otherwise it isn't necessary.One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, "No, water baptism is not necessary for salvation."  But you might ask, "If the answer is no, then why are there verses that say things like '...baptism that now saves you...' (1 Pet. 3:21) and '...Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins...' (Acts 2:38)?"  These are good questions and they deserve a good answer, so we will look at these verses later.  But for now, the reason baptism is not necessary for salvation is because we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1Eph. 2:8), not by faith and a ceremony (Rom. 4:1-11).  You see, a religious ceremony is a set of activities or forms peformed by someone.  In the Bible circumcision was a ceremony where one person performed a religious rite on another person.  Likewise, baptism is also a ceremony where one person performs a religious rite on another person.  But, we are saved by faith alone and anything else we do, including ceremonies, will not help.

Now, in order to more thoroughly look at this issue, I need to lay a foundation of proper theology, and then I'll address some of those verses that are commonly used to support the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation.

God Works Covenantally
First, you need to understand that God works covenantally.   A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties.  The New Testament and Old Testament are New and Old Covenants. The word "testament" comes from the Latin testamentum which means covenant.  So, the Bible is a covenant document.  If you do not understand covenant you cannot understand, in totality, the issue of baptism because baptism is a covenant sign…
If you do not think that God works covenantally then look at Hebrews 13:20 which says, "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,..." 

If you fail to understand that God works covenantally and that He uses signs as manifestations of his covenants (rainbow, circumcision, communion, etc.) then you will not be able to understand where baptism fits in God's covenant system.
Second, you need to know what baptism is.  It is a ceremony that represents an outward representation of an inward reality.  For example, it represents the reality of the inward washing of Christ's blood upon the soul.  That is why it is used in different ways.  It is said to represent the death of the person (Rom. 6:3-5), the union of that person with Christ (Gal. 3:27), the cleansing of that person's sins (Acts 22:16), the identification with the one "baptized into" as when the Israelites were baptized into Moses (1 Cor. 10:2), and being united in one church (1 Cor. 12:13). Also, baptism is one of the signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace that was instituted by Jesus.

The Covenant of Grace is the covenant between God and Mankind where God promises to Mankind eternal life.  It is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the condition is faith in Jesus Christ.  As the Communion Supper replaced Passover, baptism, in like manner, replaces circumcision.  "They represent the same spiritual blessings that were symbolized by circumcision and Passover in the old dispensation" (Berkhoff, Lewis,Systematic Theology, 1988, p. 620).  Circumcision was the initiatory rite into the Abrahamic covenant; it did not save.  A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties and that is exactly what the Abrahamic covenant was.  God said to Abraham, "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you," (Genesis 17:7).  God later instructed Abraham to circumcise not only every adult male, but also eight day old male infants as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 17:9-13).  If the children were not circumcised, they were not considered to be under the promissory Abrahamic covenant.  This is why Moses' wife circumcised her son and threw the foreskin at Moses' feet (Ex. 4:24-25).  She knew the importance of the covenant between God and her children.  But at the same time we must understand that circumcision did not guarantee salvation to all who received it.  It was a rite meant only for the people of God, who were born into the family of God (who were then the Jews).

An important question here is how is it possible for an infant to be entered into a covenant with God.  There could be a lot of different answers given but the point remains: it was done; infants were entered into a covenant relationship with God -- through their parents.

If you understand that baptism is a covenant sign, then you can see that it is a representation of the reality of Christ circumcising our hearts (Rom. 2:29Col. 2:11-12).  It is our outward proclamation of the inward spiritual blessing of regeneration.  It comes after faith which is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3) and the work of God (John 6:28).

Third, the Bible says that it is the gospel that saves.  "By this gospel you are saved..." (1 Cor. 15:2).  Also, Rom. 1:16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."  Neither of these verses, which tell us what saves us, includes any mention of baptism.

What is the Gospel?

It is clearly the gospel that saves us, but what exactly is the gospel?  That too is revealed to us in the Bible.  It is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."  The gospel is defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins.  Baptism is not mentioned here.

Paul said that he came to preach the gospel, not to baptize: "I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.  (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.)  For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel..." (1 Cor. 1:14-17).  If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why did Paul downplay it and even exclude it from the description of what is required for salvation?  It is because baptism is not necessary for salvation.
Additionally, in Acts, Peter was preaching the gospel, people got saved, and then they were baptized.  Acts 10:44-48 says, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.'  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days."  These people were saved.  The gift of the Holy Spirit was on the Gentiles and they were speaking in tongues.  This is significant because tongues is a gift given to believers (see 1 Cor. 14:1-5). Also, unbelievers do not praise God.  They cannot because praise to the true God is a deep spiritual matter that is foreign to the unsaved (1 Cor. 2:14).  Therefore, the ones in Acts 10 who are speaking in tongues and praising God are definitely saved, and they are saved before they are baptized.  This simply is not an exception.  It is a reality.

Let's Suppose...
Another way of making this clear is to use an illustration.  Let's suppose that a person, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), believed in Jesus as his savior (Rom. 10:9-10Titus 2:13), and has received Christ (John 1:12) as Savior.  Is that person saved?  Of course he is.  Let's further suppose that this person confesses his sinfulness, cries out in repentance to the Lord, and receives Jesus as Savior and then walks across the street to get baptized at a local church.  In the middle of the road he gets hit by a car and is killed.  Does he go to heaven or hell?  If he goes to heaven then baptism is not necessary for salvation.  If he goes to hell, then trusting in Jesus, by faith, is not enough for salvation.  Doesn't that go against the Scriptures that say that salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23) received by faith (Eph. 2:8-9)?
Saying that baptism is necessary for salvation is dangerous because it is saying that there is something we must do to complete salvation.  That is wrong!  See Gal. 2:215:4.

All right, so this sounds reasonable.  But still, what about those verses that seem to say that baptism is part of salvation?  I will address those now, but because this subject can become quite lengthy, in fact sufficient for a book in itself, I will only address a few verses and then only briefly.

Baptism Verses
John 3:5, "Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.'"
Some say that water here means baptism, but that is unlikely since Christian baptism hadn't yet been instituted.  If this verse did mean baptism, then the only kind that it could have been at that point was the baptism of repentance administered by John the Baptist (Mark 1:4).  If that is so, then baptism is not necessary for salvation because the baptism of repentance is no longer practiced.
It is my opinion that the water spoken of here means the water of the womb referring to the natural birth process.  Jesus said in verse three that Nicodemus needed to be born "again."  This meant that he had been born once -- through his mother's womb.  Nicodemus responds with a statement about how he cannot enter again into his mother's womb to be born.  Then Jesus says that he must be born of water and the Spirit.  Then in verse 6 He says that "flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."  The context seems to be discussing the contrast between the natural and the spiritual birth.  Water, therefore, could easily be interpreted there to mean the natural birth process.

I would like to add that there are scholars who agree with the position and some who do not.  Some believe that the water refers to the Word of God, the Bible, and others claim it means the Holy Spirit.  You decide for yourself.

From Former Salvation Army Officer Fellowship Blog site (www.fsaof.blogspot.com)


Early Sunday morning in Riga

 Another week...
A rather normal week with meetings in the Finance- and Property Board and in the Strategy Board, interviews ant talks..

Things had also happened which I am not too proud of. On our way to a meeting in Skangali I was caught for speeding. It was a 90 km/h-road and suddenly came a short passage with only 70 km/h. I did not notice that and was driving 91 km/h. Since I did not have a crimininal record before I did not have to pay fines, but I got a warning. That was my confession.

But positive things also happened during the week. Among the positive things came a mail from the corps Leader at Gothenburg Eastern Corps. On the corps blog, the corps leader writes:
"Now we have started a new decade with a clear order from the Lord: "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes" (Is 54:2)"
And from the mail we understand that the Eastern Corps takes these words seriously. Do not hold back was the message in the verse from the Bible, and at the Eastern Corps they are not holding back. They have decided to give ten percent of the tithing in the corps to the Salvation Army in Latvia. That helps us to pay for a social worker among the poorest families in Riga. So to the Gothenburg Eastern corps we want to say: THANK YOU!

Now it is early Sunday morning and we will soon leave for the two hour drive to the outpost in Seda in the northeastern corner of Latvia. We have better start early so I do not have to drive to fast.

Have a blessed week!
Peter Baronowsky


Exhibition about The Salvation Army in Latvia

In connection with the twenty years anniversary, The Salvation Army in Latvia set up an exhibition, showing history and present work of TSA.

You can see the exhibition here.
Follow the link and click on the pictures and they will show in readable form.


Woman tapped as new Salvation Army leader

From Washington Times:
"For the third time in its 146-year history, the Salvation Army has selected a woman to be its general, or international leader. The London-based church and charity elected Commissioner Linda Bond on Monday to take office on April 2.
I am a Salvationist through and through; I love the Lord with all my heart,” Ms. Bond, 64, said in remarks streamed over the Internet from Sunbury Court in southeast London. An officer, or ordained minister, in the Army since 1969, she currently leads the group’s activities in the eastern part of Australia. A Nova Scotia native, Ms. Bond entered the ministry from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Moments after her election, Ms. Bond focused attention on the spiritual work of the Army. While widely known for its social services, Salvationists — as members of the movement are called — see themselves as evangelical Christians first and foremost."
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