My name is Pawel Bartosik. I was born in Gorzow Wielkopolski (the city at the West of Poland, close to the German border) in 1977 where I lived for 19 years. Now I live with my wife and 8 years old daughter Zuzia, 6 year old son - Janek and Maja who is 4. From many years we live in Gdansk. I met my wife (Jola) at the Conference with pastor Dennis Tuuri (Reformation Covenant Church in Portland, OR, USA) in Lezyce (Poland) in May 2001. We have been married the 5th of October 2002.
My parents are Roman Catholics (as well as my wife's). I was baptized in infancy in Roman Catholic Church. When I was in high school I met believers of ISKCON (Hare Krishna Movement). For 2 years I visited their meetings, I was a vegetarian and I believed in reincarnation, karma and that Krishna and Yahweh are one and the same God. But thanks God I didn't decide to be a formal member of this Movement. I left the circle of these people after my visit in the Temple of Hare Krishna in Wroclaw. I met there a Guru form the USA (there are 12 Gurus in the world after the death of Srila Prabhupada and all are Americans J ). I saw idolatry and big pressure on me and all members.
After this event I became a zealous Catholic. I used to attend an evening mass 3 or 4 times a week. My neighbor and I used to go to the meetings of small charismatic group of teenagers in the Catholic Church.
When I was in the last class of high school I decided to take the entrance exams to the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw. I wanted to be a teacher of Catholic religion or do something in my Church (but I didn't want to be a priest).
My conversion to Lord Jesus
I began my studies in Warsaw on the 1st of October 1996. In December on my way to play basketball I met 2 missionaries from the US. One of them preached in Polish at the street and the second one gave out tracts about salvation in Jesus Christ. I heard a the sermon of the first guy and today I remember that he said that salvation if a gift, not payment. And it is given by faith in Jesus. And that everyone who believes in the name of Jesus – can be sure of salvation. It was something new for me. As a Catholic I thought that I had to give something to God as a condition of my salvation. They encouraged me to read the Bible (Gospel of John and the Epistle to Romans) and highlight the verses where the authors say about justification and eternal life. Then I started meeting these 2 missionaries in Pizza-Hut and other restaurants and we talked about the Bible and basics of faith while drinking milk.
December '96 was the time of my conversion to Jesus. I saw my sin and consequences of it. Thanks to God's grace I saw that the only rescue is in the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross and His resurrection. He opened my eyes and He forgave my sins. I attended the church of these Americans and Polish Brethren. Some months later it appeared that Church of this missionaries is modalistic and these Americans believe not only in One God who plays three roles (heresy of Sabelianism, Modalism) but they are "King James Only" believers. In their opinion only Gdanska Bible (old Polish Bible) is inspired translation which they have read at the Services. But God used them to show me that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Baptist Church and Reformed Faith
After one year (in 1997) I resigned from my study at the Catholic Academy. I came to Gdansk to study "pedagogy" (rules of education). In May 1998 I joined the First Baptist Church where I was until February 2005.
After my conversion, a very important process in my life was learning about Reformed Theology from Reformed Baptist and Evangelical Reformed Pastors. I became 5 Points Calvinist at that time. A booklet by Lloraine Boettner – "What is the Gospel?" has had strong influence on my views. From then on I've been reading reformed books and articles.
I have written to Polish Magazine "Reformacja w Polsce" (Reformation in Poland) some articles (I do this still).
In the years 1999-2001 as a member of our Baptist Church I was a leader of youth group and Bible study and once in 2 months I preached during Sunday Services. In June 2001 I finished my studies at University in Gdansk and the elders of my church asked me to work as a minister in our Church as an Assistant Pastor (at that time I began my theological study in Baptist Seminary in Warsaw. I'm going to finish it at June 2005). And this was my ministry until the end of January 2005. My responsibility was teaching, prayer and overseeing the flock. I preached every 3 weeks on Sunday, I led 2 youth groups (secondary school, high school and students), we made Bible Study in our church (in December we finished studying the Book of Jonah and then we were studying the Gospel of Mark). I was responsible for evangelization (doing sketch-board, talking to students in dormitories, give out tracts, organize evangelizing meetings and camps) and I wrote to 3 Magazines in Poland: besides "Reformacja w Polsce" there were "Slowo Prawdy" (Word of Truth - Baptist Monthly Magazine) and "Droga" (The Way - Monthly Magazine of Our Local Church in Gdansk).
Covenant Theology and paedobaptism
I began to study the issue of infant baptism in the October 2002. The beginning were discussion with some reformed pastors from USA (by e-mail) and from Poland and small book by Robert G. Rayburn "What about baptism?"
I read a lot of articles and books. Some of them (most influential articles and books on me) are:
- Articles from Theologia website about ecclesiology and sacraments (R. Lusk, M. Horne...)
- Articles from Word.mp3 website (especially polemics by Gregg Strwabridge)
- What about Baptism? – Robert G. Rayburn
- Children of the Promise – Randy Booth
- To a Thousand Generations – Doug Wilson
- The Case for infant Baptism – ed. Gregg Strawbridge
- The Standard Bearer – ed. Steve Schlissel
- The Presbyterian doctrine the children in the Covenant – Lewis Bevens Schenck
- Federal Vision – ed. Steve Wilkins
- Reformed is not enough – Doug Wilson
- Backbone of the Bible - Covenant in Contemporary Perspective – ed. Andrew Sandlin
Most of them sent me Randy Booth – moderator CRE, director Covenant Media Foundation and pastor Grace Covenant Church (USA). Big influence on me has been made by the articles of Greg Strawbridge at his website www.wordmp3.com (especially polemics with Reformed Baptists) and other articles by Greg Bahnsen, Ralph A. Smith, Francis Schaeffer, Randy Booth, Rich Lusk, Mark Horne, Gerry Wisz, Charles Hodge about Covenant Theology and infant baptism.
I often read and talked with my wife in the evenings and we couldn't sleep at night. It was hot issue in my life in all along last year. I've asked few paedobaptist pastors about some aspects of the Covenant Theology by e-mail. I read a lot of critics of infant baptism (F. Malone, D. Kingdon, P. Jewett, G. Welty, W. Chantry, R. Barcellos, J. McArthur) and I ascertained that Baptist Theology has a lot of weak points. It's main weakness is reading Old and New Testaments as two different books (as dispensationalists do).
My wife and I became paedobaptists in the fall 2004. I lost my job as Baptist Assistant Pastor during our visit to US in February 2005. The reason were my convictions concerning the place of children of Christian parents in the church and their right to the sign of baptism.
Evangelical Reformed Church in Gdansk
In the March 2005 we moved our membership to the church in Wroclaw and we had to move to another apartment. Now we rent a flat with 3 rooms in Gdansk.
We have begun the work of planting a new Reformed Church in Gdansk in cooperation with Confederation of Reformed Churches in Poland and King's Chapel (CREC, Brooklyn, NYC) as a missionary Evangelical Reformed Church in Wroclaw. Besides us at the beginning we have had one couple.
On the 3rd of April 2005 at the Service in Wroclaw elders of this church sent me and my family to the ministry in Gdansk as their missionary. On the 10th of April we are going to start our Services and on the 8th of May we are going to baptize Zuzia - our daughter. Now we pray to our God about possibilities to preach the gospel in Gdansk and growth His church here. Here we have 2 Baptist Churches, 3 Pentecostal, Brethren, and 2 independent charismatic churches. Our ministry goal is to bring glory to God – The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Outline of our Sunday Service and life is God centered. We believe that reformed faith is the true explanation of the Bible. We want to preach the gospel to people and show them how to apply biblical truths in all area of their life.
Though the general theological position of the our church is well within the tradition of the Protestant Reformation, there are certain distinctions that we offer in contrast to the evangelical Protestantism of our day.