Archive for April, 2009

Christian apologist James White will be debating Dan Barker tommorow (4/30/09) on the existence of God

James White has his last say before the debate here

An important element in Presupppositional Apologetic is the importance of bringing to the table that the other side is not as religious neutral as many often think

Here is a short article showing how Dan Barker is not one who is neutral and even if their is a rational demonstration of God’s existence, Barker will not believe nor submit to the Lordship of Yahweh:


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 Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

In the introduction to the work, Van Til himself specifically state that he wants to give an overview. This work captures a good summary of Van Til’s apologetic of the Reformed Biblical Christian faith, where the Gospel is an antithetical challenge to all other worldview. With broad strokes, he addresses the philosophy that has risen out of Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Modernism. This work, though it is dated in regards to some of the philosophers and thinkers he addressed (it is written in the 1950s), is still a worthwhile read especially for those who wish to understand how Van Til’s scheme of apologetics is applied by Van Til himself. He makes the observation of the rational v.s irrational dialectic of non-Christian worldviews, then makes the power argument of how the nonbeliever is inconsistent with this dialectical tension whenever they expound their beliefs and their rejection of Christianity. It is a great observation that Van Til makes, one that is useful when it comes to a Christian’s defense of the faith. There needs to be an updated work like this addressing the contemporary worldview trends today, a nice title being “The intellectual challenge of the Gospel Today

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In earlier post, I wrote on JOHN ROBBINS CHARGE: VAN TIL TEACHES FOLLOWERS NOT TO STATE THINGS CLEARLY? as an evaluation of a snippet from Robbins’ booklet titled Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth.  While I have read the entire short booklet, in the business of ministry, work, a relationship and Seminary, I can only go slowly in trying to locate all the sources of Clark’s citation.  So today’s entry is narrowly focused on this one point:


One of John Robbins charge against Cornelius Van Til in his booklet, Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth, is that “Van Til’s prose is frequently unintelligible.”[1] Under a subsection of his book titled “The Cult of unintelligibility”, Robbins found that “this very unintelligibility is transformed by Van Til’s perfervid disciples into a sign of great intelligence and profundity.”[2] What is Robbins’ evidence that Van Til’s disciple’s have a cultic adoration of his “unintelligibility”? Robbins quotes from Van Til: Defender of the Faith, an authorized biography of the life of Van Til written by William White. Here is Robbin’s quote from William White’s book, of a banquet at Westminister Seminary:

“…the master of ceremonies was presenting the good-natured Dutchman. ‘There is a controversy today as to who is the greatest intellect of this segment of the twentieth century,’ the m.c. said. ‘Probably most thinking people would vote for the learned Dr. Einstein. Not me. I wish to put forth as my candidate for the honor, Dr. Cornelius Van Til’ (Loud applause.) ‘My reason for doing so is this: Only eleven people in the world understood Albert Einstein…Nobody—but nobody in the world—understands Cornelius Van Til.”[3]

Robbins sees this as a great hint of how among Van Til’s followers there is a “tendency to assume that unintelligibility implies superior intelligence, learning, or profundity.”[4] The charge against the students of Van Til as being a “cult of unintelligibility” is serious, and there must be a closer evaluation of the quote Robbins cited as evidence before one accept such a serious a charge by Robbins.

When one goes to the original source which Robbins quoted, one see that the context of the quote was in a chapter about Cornelius Van Til and humor. Looking at the immediate context after the portion which Robbins cited, the next line in Williams book goes on to add: “And nobody in the banquet hall enjoyed the joke more than the subject.”[5] The immediate context before the quoted text further reveal that Robbins quoted a joking moment when it stated: “But a delightful dimension of Cornelius Van Til is his willingness to be put in stocks and pillory if it contributes to wholesome amusement.”[6]

One must have to ask themselves that for such a serious charge, Robbins would do better than to usher in a joking moment as evidence. What Robbins has done is certainly laughable, only it wasn’t a joke but a serious allegation.

Robbins’ faulty method to justify his charge can also be turned around against his beloved Christian philosopher Gordon H. Clark. I have no intention of attacking Gordon Clark, whom I have profited much spiritually and intellectually from, but only to reduce Robbin’s way of arguing to absurdity, and take it to a conclusion he does not desire, to show his ways for what it is. Will Robbins charge Clark’s prose as “frequently unintelligible” on the basis of what is revealed in the book Robbins has edited titled Gordon H. Clark Personal Recollection? Is there a “cult of unintelligibility” among the followers of Gordon Clark? (Remember I am reducing Robbins’ argument to absurdity here). What would Robbins do with this evidence coming from Deborah Kozlowski, who has this to say after taking Clark’s course on philosophy?

“He lectured from his book, Thales to Dewey, and asked numerous questions of his students. Most of us were too confused to give meaningful answer”[7]

“I found most of the issues baffling…”[8]

Yet Deborah Kozlowski herself sees Dr. Clark as profound and reveres him. Can it be that Clark’s mysterious unintelligibility and confusion in his lectures and his book has suddenly been transformed by his followers into something profound and intellectual (Robbins’ charge against Van Til’s followers)? Are other other Clarkians endorsing this outlook on Clark, when the pro-Clark flagship organization, The Trinity Foundation, have these words on print in a recollection of Clark? To think this cult of unintelligibility spread to John Robbins himself, who edited the Recollection!

Of course, the overall context matters when it comes to the source of the citation concerning Clark. So should the context of citations concerning Van Til. Robbins should have cited something that legitimately does justice to the context.

[1] John Robbins, Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth, (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation), 4.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 4-5. Original quote is from William White Jr., Van Til: Defender of the Faith (Nashville, New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979), 181-182.

[4] Robbins, Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth, 5.

[5] William White Jr., Van Til: Defender of the Faith (Nashville, New York: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979), 182.

[6] Ibid, 181.

[7] John Robbins, Gordon H. Clark: Personal Recollections (Jefferson, Maryland: The Trinity Foundation), 66.

[8] Ibid, 65-66.

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Ben Witherington’s blog series which he review Bart D. Ehrman’s “Jesus, Interrupted”

Part I covers pages 1-60

Part II covers pages 61-75

Part III

Part IV

Part V


J.P Holding’s tackling of Bart’s same book follows below:


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Purchase: Amazon

This is a work by the President of Southern Seminary, Al Mohler. Most people know him through his blog, where he writes on topics concerning our culture, society and secularism. This book is in the same vein, where he addresses various topics from the abortion debate, the legality of torture, “tolerance”, and public education. Some of the chapters address current event that is still fresh in the public memory, for instance the Tsunami in late 2004 and the unfolding of Katrina. He also reflects on the past, from the event in Hiroshima to the racism of the South. It is evident from the book that Al Mohler is a big reader, with his familiarity of liberal authors, idealogue, etc. I enjoyed his chapter on “soft v.s hard america”, and also the chapter on the weakening of the next generation. The approach Dr. Mohler takes in this book is for the general readership, and I hope that as time goes on Dr. Mohler will write more work with hard hitting insight refuting unbiblical worldview and also provide the blueprint of a Christian worldview in society. On a lighter note, I did appreciate Dr. Mohler autographing my copy during the Shepherd’s conference. Gives this book a bit more of a personal touch.

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In his book, “A History of Christianity In the United States And Canada”, Mark Noll gives his assessment of the impact of the early part of the 2oth Century’s “Modernism”:

“Modernism has had a long-lasting influence on the academic study of religion” (376)

In contrast to Modernism’s effect in the field of academia, Noll observes of “Modernism”  lesser impact in the pews:

“Modernism had less impact among the church-going population, although its promotion of the Social Gospel helped keep alive a concern for social reconciliation in the large Protestant denomination of the North” (376)

And then he gave this interesting point:

“Ironically, modernists may have had the greatest impact on their polar opposites, the fundamentalists, who were intensely preoccupied with the effort to refute modernist reinterpretations of the faith” (376)

I disagree.

Noll seems to miss “Modernism’s” greatest effect is the blurring of the gospel, and the hinderance of the gospel from being preached clearly.  “Modernism” is not a monolithic movement and its various theological shades which deny the essential core of the Gospel in academia would only cripple the cause of the gospel when it comes to training the leaders of the church.  Even if the gospel is not explicitly denied, the confusion would at least take away the centrality of the Cross.

This amounts to the training of preachers/leaders who are not clear when it comes to the gospel.

And that is the most tragic effect of “Modernism” as one can see where the Mainline denomination is at today, with their spiritual and number decline.

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All the writers here at Veritas Domain have served in the military (two in the U.S, one overseas) and this entry concerns this topic: Veterans.

Here is the Homeland Security’s report that reference the possible Conservative Threats of disgruntled veterans being possibly ‘recruited’ by right wing violent extremists

Since this has went public, the head of the Department of Homeland Security has taken a lot of heat, and rightly so

What I find ironic is that the document begins by saying that “this product is one of a series of intelligence assessment…”, implying that there are data which is the foundation for the report’s conclusion

There must have been a committee or a group that actually put this report together, no doubt staffed with  some kind of ‘experts’

Imagine how much each one of these guys get paid, to put together this unclassified document, and the salary probably is up there in employing these “professionals” to produce the “intelligence” assessment.  I can’t help but to wonder how long did they take to research and write the report.  IT SHOULD BE EXPECTED that for the money involved behind this small report, it SHOULD BE done well: In other words, there should actual data in the document of the group’s finding.  High quality unclassified intelligence report have been put together before, such as the FBI’s finding on environmental terrorism which has a lot of data and empirical evidences, complete with proper source citations.

It is after, a “finding” by a bunch of paid “professionals” and not some conspiracy theorists sitting in some room typing up a report of hypotheticals.  Anyone can do that, and for less the cost too.

I like to know if they have data to substantiate the following conclusion, found on page seven:

The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

Replicated today?  Who are these extremists groups? And what findings lead the report to state this?

The report asserted one of their evidence on page eight:

A prominent civil rights organization reported in 2006 that “large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the [U.S.] armed forces.”

Your tax dollar is at work here, when the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence is based upon an civil right’s group’s report and then it fails to properly provide the citation!  Undergrad education did not prepare them for the real world.

What is this unnamed civil rights organization that is prominent?  It is none other than the Southern Poverty Legal Center who’s reliability shows when it thinks of the American Legion as a hate group.

The report has now gotten the attention of those in the Senate, and Michelle Malkin reports that a few Senators have written to the head of Homeland Security.

April 16, 2009

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
The Department of Homeland Security
310 7th street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20528-0150


Dear Secretary Napolitano,

We write today concerning the release of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division.

While we agree that we must fight extremists who are both foreign and domestic we are troubled by some of the statements your department included as fact in the report titled above, without listing any statistical data to back up such claims.

First, your report states that “Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists…” without listing any data to support such a vile claim against our nation’s veterans.

Second, the report states that the millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment are a potential threat to our national security. Why? Do you have statistics to prove that law-abiding Americans who purchase a legal product are being recruited by so-called hate groups?

Thirdly, the report states that those that believe in issues such as pro-life legislation, limited government, and legal versus illegal immigration are potential terrorist threats. We can assure you that these beliefs are held by citizens of all races, party affiliation, male and female, and should not be listed as a factor in determining potential terror threats. A better word usage would be to describe them as practicing their First Amendment rights.

Also, you list those that bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India as being potential rightwing extremists. We would suggest that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry to foreign countries are not potential terror threats, but rather honest Americans worried about feeding their families and earning a paycheck.

In closing, we support the mission of DHS in protecting our country from terror attacks and are proud of the many DHS employees who make this possible in conjunction with our state and local law enforcement. We ask that DHS not use this report as a basis to unfairly target millions of Americans because of their beliefs and the rights afforded to them in the Constitution. We also ask that you provide us with the data that support the unfair claims listed in the report titled above and to present us with the matrix system used in collecting and analyzing this data?

Finally, we look forward to your prompt reply and we offer our assistance to DHS in our shared effort to fight terrorism both home and abroad by using data that is accurate and independent of political persuasion.

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Reported by CNN and ANSA that an 8 year old girl married a 47 year old man.

Is this because Muhammad provided an example for all Muslims after him when he married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine?

(ANSAmed) – RIYADH, SEPTEMBER 10 – A Saudi judge asked to decide on the request for divorce between an eight-year-old girl and a man of 50 has taken his time until December 20 to rule on the case, a lawyer of the family said. The hearing on the divorce request, filed by the mother of the girl, was held yesterday in the town of Unaizah, 420 kilometres north of Riyadh. Lawyer Abdallah Jtili said that in the hearing the husband reiterated he did not agree with the breaking up of the marriage. “The judge said he wanted to reflect further on the matter and give time to the parties to reach a mutual agreement before ruling on the case,” the lawyer said. The marriage of the girl, who does not know yet that she has been given away as bride, was organised by the father. Some relatives of the child reported the case in August to a Saudi human rights association asking it to intervene in order to annul the marriage. Cases of girls given as brides to men are denounced from time to time in Saudi Arabia, an ultra-conservative kingdom which rigidly applies the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam which allows polygamy. In neighbouring Yemen an eight-year-old girl obtained in April divorce after having denounced in the court her father who had forced her to marry a 28-year-old man. (ANSAmed).

Another 8 year old girl is also facing similar case in Yemen.

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Tom Krattenmaker, a writer with USA Today, praises heavily Bart Erhman and takes a cheap shot at James White

The original article is found here

James White has responded here

Al Mohler has his thoughts here

My thoughts? For the sake of time and the scope of this entry’s focus, I will make some observations of Krattenmaker’s failed assertions.

The line that really got my attention was Krattenmaker comment about Ehrman’s methodology:

If the Bible is the literal word of God, Ehrman asks, how could it be inconsistent on so many details large and small?

Krattenmaker relishes Ehrman’s attempt to show that somehow the Bible is inconsistent in details “large and small”.  But is the Bible really inconsistent in the sense that the details are conflicting (and contradicting)?  If there are according to Krattenmaker “so many details” that are inconsistent, can Krattenmaker cite from the Bible a good example according to Erhman?

Let’s start with an example appropriate to the just-concluded Easter season marking the Savior’s death and resurrection: As Jesus was dying on the cross, was he in agony, questioning why God had forsaken him? Or was he serene, praying for his executioners? It depends, Ehrman points out, on whether you’re reading the Gospel of Mark or Luke.

First observation is that Krattenmaker’s claim that (P1) Jesus dying on the cross, (P2) Jesus was in agony, (P3) Jesus questioning of God and (P5) Jesus praying for his executioners, are obviously not the problem.  These four events can occur around the same time, without the details being inconsistent or conflicting.

Secondly, it seems that what Krattenmaker sees as inconsistent is his claim that the Bible supposedly give details that (P3) Jesus was “in agony”, which goes against the detail that (P4) Jesus was serene.  If P3 and P4 were true, then obviously one can be sympathetic with Krattenmaker’s charge.

This leads to a third point, are Krattenmaker’s assertion of P3 and P4 true? Specifically, do we find P3 in the Gospel of Mark and P4 (that “Jesus was Serene”) in the Gospel of Luke?  The claim of P3, that Jesus was in agony, can be supported from Mark 15:34 in which Jesus cried out in agony to God.  Krattenmaker’s assertion of P4, that Jesus was serene during the crucifixion however, can not be found in the Gospel of Luke.  Krattenmaker should have at least cited verses in his hit piece, to add more credibility.  The burden of proof is for him to establish that Luke does give details of P3, but unfortunately he won’t find it.

Thus, his example is inadequate as a necessary detail to show the Bible’s conflicting detail (P4) is dubious.

But Krattenmaker gives a second example:

Regarding Jesus’ birthplace of Bethlehem, had his parents traveled there for a census (Luke’s version) or is it where they happened to live (Matthew’s version)?

Here again, we find the same problem.  Concerning the birth of Jesus, supposedly the detail in Luke, the premise that (P6) Jesus’ parents traveled to Bethleham, conflicts with Matthew version that (P7) Jesus’ parents happen to live in Bethlehem.  P6 can be found in Luke 2:1-6, but P7 cannot be found in Matthew.  Matthew simply mention that Jesus was born in Bethleham in Matthew 2:1, but no where does it state that the parents live in Bethleham.

It seems that if there is one thing inconsistent, it’s Krattenmaker’s assertion about what the gospel supposedly “details”, and the details of the Gospels themselves.

Krattenmaker’s third assertion is weak as well:

Did Jesus speak of himself as God? (Yes, in John; no, in Matthew.)

If it is given that Matthew does not record Jesus speaking of himself as God, and John does, it does not logically follow then these two details conflict.

First off, in order for the details to truly be “inconsistent”, it requires that John records Jesus speaking of himself as God, while Matthew records Jesus speaking of himself that He is not God.

Secondly, Matthew does not record Jesus denying His diety.  If Krattenmaker is dogmatic that Jesus did deny His diety in Matthew, the burden of proof is on him to demonstrate it.

Thirdly, Krattenmaker might make a weaker premise that in Matthew, Jesus was silent about his own diety.  If this is so, Krattenmaker then commits the logical fallacy of arguing from silence.  Matthew’s silence on quoting from Jesus talking about himself as God does not mean that  Jesus spoke of himself as NOT God.  Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.

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He supported Prop. 8 but now he says he never once endorsed it on Larry King Live.

Rick Warren says he never ONCE ENDORSED Prop. 8 to Larry King

Rick Warren says you SHOULD SUPPORT Prop. 8

What is going on Mr Warren? ashamed of the Gospel? under pressure from Mr King? Perhaps a mistake? We all make mistakes, so I am sure you will issue another video to explain the flip-flop.


from OneNewsNow.com

California mega-church pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren says he apologized to his homosexual friends for making comments in support of California’s Proposition 8, and now claims he “never once even gave an endorsement” of the marriage amendment.

Monday night on CNN’s Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren apologized for his support of Prop. 8, California’s voter-approved marriage protection amendment, saying he has “never been and never will be” an “anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist.”

“During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going,” Warren claimed.

However, just two weeks before the November 4 Prop. 8 vote, Pastor Warren issued a clear endorsement of the marriage amendment while speaking to church members. “We support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8,” he said.

The following is a complete transcript of Warren’s comments just weeks before the Prop. 8 election:

“The election’s coming just in a couple of weeks, and I hope you’re praying about your vote. One of the propositions, of course, that I want to mention is Proposition 8, which is the proposition that had to be instituted because the courts threw out the will of the people. And a court of four guys actually voted to change a definition of marriage that has been going for 5,000 years.

“Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.

“This is one thing, friends, that all politicians tend to agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain, I flat-out asked both of them: what is your definition of marriage? And they both said the same thing — it is the traditional, historic, universal definition of marriage: one man and one woman, for life. And every culture for 5,000 years, and every religion for 5,000 years, has said the definition of marriage is between one man and a woman.

“Now here’s an interesting thing. There are about two percent of Americans [who] are homosexual or gay/lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.

“This is not even just a Christian issue — it’s a humanitarian and human issue that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love, and procreation.

“So I urge you to support Proposition 8, and pass that word on. I’m going to be sending out a note to pastors on what I believe about this. But everybody knows what I believe about it. They heard me at the Civil Forum when I asked both Obama and McCain on their views.”

During his CNN interview on Monday, Warren expressed regret for backing Prop. 8. “There were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends — the leaders that I knew — and actually apologized to them. That never got out,” he admitted.

Additionally, Pastor Warren said he did not want to comment on or criticize the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision last week to legalize same-sex “marriage” because it was “not his agenda.”

Bryan Fischer with the Idaho Values Alliance says Warren is abdicating his biblical role as a pastor. “For Pastor Warren to say that shoring up marriage is not something that’s on his agenda is just something that’s hard to believe for somebody who believes the Bible is our rule for faith and practice,” Fischer notes.

Dr. Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, helped spearhead the Prop. 8 effort in California. Garlow admits he is confused and troubled by Pastor Warren’s decision to apologize for supporting Prop. 8.

“Historically when institutions and individuals back away from convictional biblical truth, it is driven primarily by one single factor — and that is the respectability of other people. In other words, much more caring about what other people think about them than what God thinks about them,” he concludes.

Pastor Warren did not respond to a request from OneNewsNow for an interview.

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Is it legitimate to preach on the example of Jesus for young people to do apologetics?

“What Would Jesus Do?”

Verse 40 and 52 shows that in Jesus humanity; He was learning, and growing, which is the model we attempt to accomplish with the youth of any church

Christians are commanded elsewhere in Scripture to do apologetics (1 Peter 3:15), and here is an example of young Jesus doing it!

PROPOSITON: A young Christian apologist should be like Jesus.

A young Christian apologist:

1.) Grows in wisdom (v.40, 52)

a. He was growing in Wisdom before questioning the religious leaders (v.40)

b. He was growing in Wisdom after questioning religious leaders (v.52)

c. His questioning and answering to the religious leaders shows His wisdom and people were amazed (v.47)

d. His parents were astonished (v.48)

2.) Is normal (v.40, 52)

a. Jesus was growing strong (v.40), like any kid was

b. He grew in height or maturity (v.52)

c. He found favor with men (v.52)

d. In other words, he was not only just an “apologist” who grew only in wisdom!

3.) Seeks an opportunity for apologetics (v. 41-43)

a. In Jerusalem, He went to the religious leaders (v.46)

b. He goes to them after the Feast was over (v.43)

4.) Asks questions, and answers them (v.46-7)

a. He was there for three days and three nights doing His things (v.46)

b. He was 12 years old among the wise (“in the midst of the teachers” v.46)

c. He listens (v.46)

d. He asks questions (v.46)

e. He answers them (v.47)

f. He answers them well (v.47)

5.) Submits to their parents (v.48-51)

a. Parents concern

b. He followed His parents in subjection (v.51)

c. Though He is wiser than His parents, He does not disrespect them

6.) Is right with G\od (v.39, 52)

a. He has the favor of God (v.52)

b. God’s grace was upon Him (v.40)

c. He does the Father’s will (v.49)

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