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John MacArthur’s New Book…A Must Read


Excerpt from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by John MacArthur. Thanks to Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries www.apprising.org

Op-Ed:The modern-day pharisees of the Emergent/Emerging Church and other cults that call Jesus’ name yet jettison everything He taught would de well to read this book. Jesus is who the Bible says He is. He is not who the EC gurus’ spirit guides have told them He is…

After the Beatitudes, Jesus goes straight into an extended discourse on the true meaning of Old Testament law. The rest of Matthew 5 is a systematic, point-by-point critique of the Pharisees’ interpretation of Moses’ law. Jesus is correcting some of their representative errors. Some commentators have suggested that Jesus is altering or expanding the moral requirements of Moses’ law for a new dispensation. Jesus Himself emphatically said otherwise: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (vv. 17–18).

Furthermore, every principle Jesus used to refute the Pharisees’ interpretation of the law was already either stated or plainly implied in the Old Testament. We’ll see that very clearly in our survey of this section. But what is most important to notice here is that Jesus deliberately sets His description of authentic righteousness against the religion of the Pharisees. The brunt of the sermon is aimed squarely at them. The Sermon on the Mount is in essence a jeremiad against their unique brand of hypocrisy. That is the singular theme that ties the whole sermon together. Furthermore, when He singled out these specific misunderstandings of Moses’ law, Jesus was clearly impugning the Pharisees’ pet doctrines.

He was publicly denouncing what they taught. Everyone in the crowd understood that. It was impossible to ignore. Jesus made no effort to make the dichotomy subtle or to outline His differences with them in a delicate fashion. He went for the jugular against their most closely held beliefs. He even mentioned the Pharisees by name and expressly stated that their righteousness was inadequate—lest there be any ambiguity about whose doctrine He was refuting. Immediately after saying, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (v. 20), he began dismantling their whole system. He attacked their method of interpreting Scripture, their means of applying the law, their notions of guilt and merit, their infatuation with ceremonial minutiae, and their love for moral and doctrinal casuistry.

The major arguments in this section of the sermon are structured in a way that contrasts the Pharisees’ interpretation of the law with the law’s real meaning, as expounded by Christ: “You have heard that it was said to those of old. . . . But I say to you . . .” Six times in the second half of Matthew 5, Jesus used that formula or a variation of it (vv. 21–22, 26–28, 31–32, 33–34, 38–39, 43– 44). When He spoke of what “you have heard,” He was describing the Pharisees’ teaching. And in each case, He refuted it. Again, He was not changing or expanding the law’s moral requirements; He was simply reaffirming what the law always meant.

Your commandment is exceedingly broad,” David said, as he meditated on the law (Psalm 119:96). The meaning of the Ten Commandments is not exhausted by the wooden literal sense of the words. Jesus says, for example, that the sixth commandment forbids not only literal acts of murder, but murderous attitudes as well—including undue anger, abusive speech, and an unforgiving spirit (vv. 22–25). The seventh commandment forbids not merely acts of adultery, but even an adulterous heart (v. 28). The command to love your neighbor applies not only to friendly neighbors, but also to those who are our enemies (v. 44).

Superficial readers are sometimes inclined to think Jesus was modifying or raising the bar on the standard of Moses’ law. After all, He quoted directly from the sixth and seventh commandments (vv. 21, 27), and He cited the Old Testament principle known as lex talionis (“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”—v. 38; cf. Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21)—then He followed those quotations with “But I say to you . . .” To a casual listener, it might actually sound as if He were changing the law itself, or making a new law that stood in contrast to what the Old Testament had always taught. But remember: Jesus Himself unequivocally denied that notion in verses 17–18. Instead, what Jesus is doing in this portion of the sermon is unpacking the true and full meaning of the law as it was originally intended—especially in contrast to the limited, narrow, and woodenly literal approach of the Pharisees. Their hermeneutic (the method by which they interpreted Scripture) was laden with sophistry. They could expound for hours on the law’s invisible fine points while inventing technical twists and turns to make exceptions to some of the law’s most important moral precepts.

For example, the fifth commandment is clear enough: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12). But the Pharisees had a custom whereby “if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban’—(that is, a gift to God), then [the Pharisees] no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother” (Mark 7:11–12). In fact, if someone had thus pledged his inheritance to God and then used any of his resources to care for his parents in their old age, the Pharisees would deem that act of charity a sacrilege, because it was a violation of the Corban vow. Jesus told them, “[You have made] the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do” (v. 13, emphasis added). That was precisely the kind of hermeneutical tomfoolery Jesus was correcting in the Sermon on the Mount… (The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, 134-138)          John MacArthur

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Posted by on September 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Brian Mclaren vs. Job 38 – 40 … God wins, Again!


Op-Ed from Truthinator:

The article that follows is from Emerging/Emergent Church leader and guru, Brian McLaren’s website. In this article, he says that his new book will address the need to imagine a ‘bigger God’ than the one traditional Christians have claimed to know. McLaren and his admirer want a ‘God’ that grows and changes along with man. A ‘God’ that modifies along with our changes of mind (my assumption based upon the article).

Talk about convenient! Wow, we would never have to worry about sin because ‘God’ would change the rules each time we lust for something we should not have… and so on. Brian McLaren, the ECers, the seeker-friendly, entertainment-driven & doctrine-opposing people all share a common core. They do not want the real God. They want a god they can create and control. This allows them to feel spiritual while continuing to be the pilot of their cargo plane full of this world’s goodies…

Read Job 38 – 40 and you will see that God does not vary according to our demands or wishes. We are not the creator, HE is! God gives men proper perspective by defining Himself in this passage.

Disclaimer: The information contained in the article below is very offensive to people who believe the Bible and worship the true God of the past, present, and future. This article is steeped in New Age heresy and should be read for informational purposes only.

God and/of evolution … (by Brian McLaren)

Sister Joan Chittister writes a provocative reflection on God and evolution, and on the God of evolution, here. (Thanks Mike Todd!) There are strong resonances between what Joan is saying and what my upcoming book explores. Most of us grew up learning about the God of Laws, the God who made sense in Sir Isaac Newton’s mechanistic universe. (Nothing expressed this contextualization better than the little booklet “Four Spiritual Laws,” which could have been called “Four Spiritual Mechanisms.”) Now, we are struggling to imagine a bigger God, a God who makes sense in the evolutionary universe of Darwin, Einstein, LeMaitre, Hubble, Heisenberg, and Kuhn … Here’s how Joan expresses it … (after the jump) … Instead, the God of creation becomes the God of ongoing creation, of life intent on its own development, and of life involved in contributing to its own emerging form. From this perspective, creation, life itself, is a work in process. It grows from one stage to another. It is immersed in both possibility and mistakes. It is a creature of imagination on the way to the unimaginable. The God of grand but hidden designs becomes the God of evolution, of the working out of creation as we go. Suddenly free will, the choices we make as we labor at the project of life, becomes important. Decision-making becomes universally significant, and selection of our actions determines the shape of an ongoing evolving world. A self-creating universe becomes co-creator with the humble God who shares power and waits for the best from us and provides for what we need to make it happen. We become participants in the process of life and the development of the world that is not so much planned as it is enabled. As nature grows, experiments, unfolds, selects and adapts, so then must we. Growth, not perfection, becomes the purpose of life. Ongoing creation, not predestined fate, becomes the purpose of life. I’m especially stuck by Joan’s use of the word “provides” in the previous passage. The doctrine of divine providence in Sir Isaac Newton’s world often could be reduced to divine control or puppetry … but in this new context, divine providence suggests something far richer, far subtler, and – to me at least – far more beautiful: divine generosity, divine provision, divine resourcing, divine empowerment. That gives us not only a different image of God, but also of ourselves. You might try living within that universe – and that vision of God – today. I know I will be doing so.

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Posted by on September 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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In the Real World, There is No Neutrality Where God’s Word is Concerned (Thanks to Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries)


By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Sep 1, 2009 in AM Missives, Current Issues, Devotions, Features

For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; He puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! (Psalm 33:4-8, ESV)

Who Would Be In Awe Of The God With A Man-Shaped Hole In Its Heart

There is a real spirit of universalism masquerading today as love and tolerance, which is dominating this time of tepid indifference we are now living in. However, there is no place of neutrality ala Switzerland in this spiritual war. While the visible church in America is crumbling down all around them self-centered children are busy playing with their toys or sticking their heads in the sand going within themselves, to experience…well, themselves—or worse—seducing spirits, whom they think is God.

And when they come emerging from playpens disguised as churches their hue and cry is always: “Unity! Unity!” But all the while Christ Jesus stands outside imploring His children to come away from this darkness of man-centered religiosity passing for the Christian faith oozing from the various off-shoots of the semi-pelagian (at best) Church Growth Movement; be it the pragmatism of Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren on the one hand, or the Elvis of the Emerging Church quasi-rabbi Rob Bell on the other.

But why no tears for the lost? Because as more and more of mainstream evangelicalism comes under the spell of the postliberal cult of the Emergent Church, now morphing into Emergence Christianity, there are none lost but those who “opt out” of the salvation they have when God reconciled through Jesus on the Cross all things which He created within Himself—to them there are no lost. And certainly Apprising Ministries is not alone as fellow soldiers of the real Cross of Jesus Christ have been trying to get you to see:

perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-2, 5-7, KJV)

And yet too many professing Christians somehow still cannot see the real reason why so many of their pretending Protestant evangelical leaders are gaining such stature within our pagan culture. But it is written: They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5). And what does the world tell you it wants? Peace. You’ve heard it all before in the old soft drink commercial: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

Well, this is what a real man sent by God will tell you:

Some misguided Christian leaders feel that they must preserve harmony at any cost, so they do everything possible to reduce friction. They should remember that there is no friction in a machine that has been shut down for the night. Turn off the power, and you will have no problem with moving parts. Also remember that there is a human society where there are no problems–the cemetery. The dead have no differences of opinion. They generate no heat, because they have no energy and no motion. But their penalty is sterility and complete lack of achievement.

What then is the conclusion of the matter? That problems are the price of progress, that friction is the concomitant of motion, that a live and expanding church will have a certain quota of difficulties as a result of its life and activity. A Spirit-filled church will invite the anger of the enemy. (A.W. Tozer, This World: Playground or Battleground? 122).

Storm On The Horizon As The Sky Grows A Darker Shade Of Red Each Morning

So how are you doing? Is the enemy angry with you? The initial fallout from my AM article Adele Sakler And Peter Rollins reveals that Existential Punk is perturbed:

@gideony LOL!!!! He keeps quoting me from my blog and my tweets. i feel like Kenny keeps stalking me! It’s like i’ve become an idol 2 Ken! (Online source)

As you can see from the mocking above, and as I’ve pointed out before, the loving and Tolerant Ones Really Aren’t So Tolerant or loving. Recently it was said of one of my writings: “Wow, that’s some serious anger going on there.” Well, don’t be so sure the anger is mine; and I wouldn’t want to be any rougher on you than our Lord Himself will be if He catches you slumbering while satanic forces brazen and emboldened are walking right into God’s sanctuary. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them (Matthew 15:16). Is that what He’s asking you today?

Friend, as the Reformation—that evangelical Protestants profess was of God—is now being reversed, a Reformation I might add that cost many of Christ’s precious children their very lives, do you really think that it’s the Spirit of the Lord whispering to you, “Peace,” where there is no peace? As you watch the sky going ever more red this morning know that the time has come for you, even you, to take up your Sword of the Spirit. Can you not hear the Voice of the Great Shepherd:

“Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in Heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

“For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it… I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Matthew 10:32-39; Luke 12:49)

Many will then come emerging to protest: “But that’s proof-texting; that’s out of context!” Well, we’ll just let the Lord decide that; I know can live with it, can you? And anyway, as my Master says:

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” (John 17:16-18, KJV)

The truth is, try as they may, one simply cannot find any soft middle ground as the end of the Age draws ever nigh. As a matter of fact, in 1 John 2:18, the Apostle John tells us that we’ve been in the last days for two thousand years now. All the more reason in this gellatinous generation of world-pleasing psuedo-Christianity to heed these words from Alexander MacLaren in his message The World’s Hatred, As Christ Saw It, themselves a warning from Jesus over one hundred hundred years ago:

If a man does not love God as He is revealed to him in Jesus Christ, he neither cares to please Him nor to think about Him, nor does he order his life in obedience to His commands. And if it be true that obedience is the very life-breath of love, disobedience or non-obedience is the manifestation of antagonism, and antagonism towards God is the same thing as hate…

There is no neutrality in a man’s relation to God. It is one thing or other. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” “The friendship of the world is enmity against God”…My friend, come away from the unreasonable people, come away from the men who can give no account of their attitude…and let His love kindle the answering flame in your hearts. Then you will know God as only they who love Christ know Him… (Online source)

So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away; and I went embittered in the rage of my spirit, and the hand of the LORD was strong on me. (Ezekiel 3:14, NASB)

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Exclusive or Inclusive? Is salvation for everyone? part II


Yesterday, we discussed the fact that false teachers are saying that all roads lead to Heaven when the Bible says just the opposite. Jesus said of Himself that He is God, was Co-Creater, and is the ONLY way to Heaven.

OK, so, if modern ‘theologians’ and ‘preachers’ are saying that as long as you are sincere you will be alright because everyone’s eternal experience will be the same, where are they getting this from? Also, can they be trusted?

They are getting this from the devil himself. It was Satan who questioned whether or not God was telling the truth to Adam and Eve when He warned them to stay away from the forbidden tree. These speakers who tell you something other than what the Bible says are not to be trusted.

Now, I know how some people think and I know someone is thinking to themselves, “But, pastor Joe fills stadiums of people to hear his inspiring sermons.”

Look guys, Aerosmith fills stadiums. That is no indicator of authenticity nor success.

Many ‘pastors’ have sold out to financial success, personal gain, prestige, and so forth. What did Jesus promise His disciples? Wealth, success, prestige? No, He promised them a cross… He also told them that since He had been hated that they would also be hated. Why? Because the message of Christ divided the worldly from those being saved.

Today, the message of many, many ‘evangelical preachers’ will not get anyone into trouble because you have to hunt and peck to find anything resembling a truth found in scripture.  If I hear another topical message about how God wants you to conquer your fears that have been keeping you from success in this life, I will scream!

Jesus said that if you protect this life and its spoils, you will lose eternity.

When is the last time you heard an EC or seeker preacher say something like that? They do not say this because this type of talk will not fill seats or an offering plate.

So, is salvation for everyone? Sadly, not. Jesus said that narrow is the way to life and few there will be who find it. He also said that broad is the way that leads to destruction and there will be many who go that route.

Is salvation open to everyone? Thankfully, yes. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish but that all would find eternal life.

I do not like to throw verses around so if you read the New Testament you will see that God is most gracious and loving. You will also see that He is righteous and judging.

The narrow way is open. Jesus is the exclusive gate. Read the Bible and call out to God. He will save by His grace through faith in Jesus.

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Posted by on August 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Intelligent Design: A Christian Perspective


I have been thinking about and watching the ID movement for a while. I have some hopes and some concerns about this movement. Unfortunately, the concerns outweigh the hopes…Let’s discuss:

ID attributes the creation of the world, universe, and everything that exists to an intelligence. It is left up to the thinker to decide the identity of the intelligence.

First, the hopes. It would be nice for schools to teach creation since that is indeed the truth. It is ridiculous to know that children are taught evolution that requires as much if not more faith than creation. I know that it is a great deal to hope for but it is still a hope. It would be nice to read a scientific journal that sought to explain the activities that occurred during the creation week and the magnificence of the God who did it all. That is also a pretty large hope and I am not holding my breath. I also hope for the wonder of creation to turn hearts and minds of the lost to God for His divine redemption in Jesus Christ. This is in God’s hands and that is an excellent place for it to be.

So much for hopes, let’s talk about concerns associated with the ID movement. First, I do not believe incrementalism accomplishes anything in the Christian world. In the Bible, I suppose the argument could be made that the church was built incrementally since it was put together over time from small fragments scattered across the known world. However, I do not believe the major power of the church was incremental in nature. God is totally complete and all-sufficient all of the time. When God does something, He does it…period. Sure much time passed but the formation of the church and the continuation of people being converted to Christianity is not an incremental process. The Bible is very clear about God being in control of drawing in the converts. He adds to His church by His sovereign will.

So, how could a movement that does not name God and honor Him with creation be a good step toward the truth? The ID movement was originated because several people in the scientific and intellectual community knew the overwhelming denial of creation by science is wrong and a disservice to humanity. They feel, however, that the best course of action is to keep identity of the intelligence ‘set aside’ for now since that will polarize the debate.

Is ID totally bankrupt? No, but I cannot really hold out much hope for God to back a concept that denies Him. Yes, to refuse to name our God as the creator is a mistake.

Second, to give credit for creation to an unnamed entity opens the door to all sorts of problems with “Thou shall have no other gods before me”. Every religious group on the earth could claim their entity of choice to be the creator under ID. This is a very large hole in the movement. Remember when the kings ruled Israel? Many of them worshipped other gods. This infuriated God. The Jews suffered much as a result. Even the good kings failed to destroy all of the implements of idol worship. God does not share the stage nor does He play second fiddle in the band.

Third, some in the ID movement claim they will ‘insert the part about God later once ID is established and accepted”. I do not buy this as being a viable approach. I do not think the seeker-friendly way of approaching people with the gospel works either. They try to draw crowds with entertainment and man-centered talk. They claim that they will ‘insert the Jesus information later’ which is absurd. If people do not want Jesus, they do not want His church… I believe the same thing goes with ID. If people reject God, they will not accept Him incrementally through a process of converting evolution into a design by an entity to be named at a later date…

Is ID a bad idea? No. It is flawed in its execution however. God is one and He is God alone. Let’s give credit where credit is deserved…

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Posted by on August 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Op-Ed: EC Goatherder, Rob Bell, says gospel approach isn’t working.


 
 
I saw a clip recently of Rob Bell who is a ‘guru’ of the new way of ‘doing church’ and who is looked at as a hero by many young people and students training for the ministry. He was berating a guy who was street preaching using a bullhorn and challenging people to repent because the wages of sin are death and hell (Biblical as far as I can remember). Rob says, “People were not stopping to talk and were not taking brochures from the bullhorn guy so, therefore, the gospel isn’t working.”
 
Now, to encapsulate what Rob means and what much of the ‘new way of doing church’ is all about, we can call this pragmatism. The central tenet of pragmatism is ‘if you see results, you are successful’.
 
Let me count the errors with this mentality…
 
1. Who defines what results are? Us or God… What we see happening must be interpreted by what the Bible says not by what we ‘feel’.
 
2. Is it what people want that matters? If I handed out cocaine on the street I would then be successful because many people stop to take what I am offering but because I offer the Gospel and no one stops to take it then I am unsuccessful and the Gospel no longer works…?
 
No need to continue. Rob goes on to say that the only way that ‘works’ is for churches to give the people what they want… Some points from the Bible come to mind about the natural mind and the desires of the wicked…
 
Hey, didn’t Robert Schuler come up with the idea of asking people what they want from their church…?
 
We are only successful when we are popular with the world is what Rob was saying. That brings to mind a parable taught by Jesus about a narrow path and a broad road…both are labeled “Heaven” but only one leads there…
 
How do you define success?
 
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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Jesus Is not the only way to Heaven?


Jesus Isn’t the Only Way?         Aug 03 by Sam Guzman

The Episcopal church has long been toeing the line of apostasy, and in several cases, has outright crossed it. Now some liberal Episcopalians are downright denying that Jesus is the only way, twisting the definition of grace to mean that God accepts the whole world, regardless of what individuals believe about Jesus.  How tragic it is when the exclusive nature of salvation through Christ alone is denied to uproarious applause. Thank God that he always has a remnant, in this case, conservative Episcopalians who are sickened by this.

Op-Ed: 

Robert Schuler made a career at teaching the heresy that Jesus is not/may not be the only way to Heaven. Billy Graham said he dogmatically taught that Jesus was the only way when he was younger but now he thinks only God knows and would have to decide (my paraphrase). The Emerging Church vehemently denies the Bible can even be understood much less believed. Joel Osteen and Rick Warren (and others) twist the truth until there is just feel-good mishmash and no truth.

There are some letters to some churches in the Revelation. It would serve us well to read them occasionally. Our preacher spoke about the sovereignty of God two weeks ago. He used, imagine this, the Bible as his source. People applauded at the conclusion of the sermon. When is the last time you heard a sermon that warranted applause?

The Bible is very direct about this subject. Jesus is THE way and the ONLY way. It is not veiled, subjective, or implied. There is no getting around this fact unless you deny the word of God. Why is this so difficult?

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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