What is a Reformed Baptist/Particular Baptist Church?

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The purpose of this post is to discuss an important matter in the growing reformed Baptist movement since there are three basic groups of Reformed Baptist in America and the varying definitions have likewise affected how other countries define a Reformed Baptist and what makes a church a Reformed Baptist Congregation.  I will not cover all of the details in this post, but I will recommend 2 books that are essential for understanding the key issues:

  1. Renihan, James.  Edification and Beauty: The Practical Ecclesiology of the English particular Baptists, 1675-1705 (Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2008)
  2. Chantry, Tom and Dykstra, David. Holding Communion Together: The Reformed          Baptists:  The First Fifty Years, Divided & United (Alabama: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2014).

*The first book is a publication of Dr. James Renihan’s doctoral thesis on the Ecclesiology of the 17th century particular Baptists and is an essential primary source for understanding their Ecclesiology.

*Chantry & Dykstra’s book gives a helpful overview of some of the key issues with the recent reformed Baptist movement in the last 50 years in America with issues faced in the past that still have important ramifications in the present.  Regardless of what position you side with it is necessary reading to understand the key issues and distinctions among Reformed Baptist churches.

Probably the largest issue is the difference in definitions since many Christians use the adjective reformed to define different theological positions.  For instance the New-Calvinism movement would argue that as long as you accept TULIP, affirming the doctrines of Grace, reformed soteriology, then you are reformed. Others would call this group Calvinists for example Bethel Baptist Church associated with John Piper defines its beliefs as Calvinistic, Baptistsic, and Charismatic, but not as reformed:

https://www.hopeingod.org/about-us/who-we-are/our-beliefs

The two most well-known names associated with the Reformed Baptist Movement in America are FIRE and ARBCA.  I have been a member of a FIRE church in the past and I am currently a member of an ARBCA church so I am aware of some of the differences between these two, but I am only going to give some basic differences.  You can read Chantry & Dykstra’s book to understand some of the historical differences between FIRE and ARBCA, I am only briefly addressing the difference in views of confessional subscription below which clarifies the principle difference between FIRE and ARBCA.

FIRE, which stands for Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals, gives the following definition of its tenets, it can be summarized as a Cessationist Calvinistic Baptist Fellowship that holds to a loose view of Subscription to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.  By loose subscription I mean that FIRE churches are not required to affirm all of the doctrines contained in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, for example one of the reasons FIRE started was because of a disagreement with ARBCA on the Lord’s Day and abiding validity of the 4th commandment for Christians.  Degrees of subscription to the 1689 LBC vary amongst individual FIRE churches, for example some FIRE churches affirm the Lord’s Day while others don’t view the 4th commandment as abiding for believers.  Here are the links from the FIRE website summarizing their doctrinal views:

http://www.firefellowship.org/core-beliefs

http://www.firefellowship.org/position-statements

A FIRE church could be a minimum of a Calvinistic Baptistic Dispensational congregation or a more confessional Calvinistic Baptist church that affirms covenant theology, the Lord’s Day, and the Regulative Principle of Worship.  I am trying to briefly define the variety of views present in FIRE to avoid mischaracterizing their position.

ARBCA, the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, is an Association of Reformed Baptist Churches that holds to a full subscription/strict subscription view of the 1689 London Baptist Confession.  You can view a summary of this view by Dr. James Renihan under Appendix#1 of the ARBCA Constitution:

http://www.arbca.com/arbca-constitution

Here is a brief definition by Dr. Jim Renihan from Appendix#1 defining what Full subscription does and does not affirm:

“One should note the language found in the agreement signed by the messengers of the founding churches in Mesa, Arizona in March, 1997; in the ARBCA constitution; and in the application for membership. The first states, “We declare that our primary rule of faith and practice is the inerrant Word of God, and adopt as our subordinate standards the excellent document commonly known as the London Baptist Confession of 1689, and the Constitution of this Association.” The second states, “While we hold tenaciously to the inerrant and infallible Word of God as found in the sixty-six books of the Bible (this being our final source of faith and practice), we embrace and adopt the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as a faithful expression of the doctrine taught in the Scriptures. This Confession is the doctrinal standard of the Association,” and in the third the applying church signs this statement: “We accept the London Confession of Faith of 1689 as an accurate and reliable expression of what the Scriptures teach and the faith we confess.” In each case, the member churches commit themselves to the Confession as a whole. We maintain the primacy of the Scriptures, and “embrace and adopt” the Confession as a truthful expression of our convictions with regard to the details of Scripture.

Taken at face value, these words imply, even though they do not explicitly state, strict, or full subscription. This does not mean that we treat every doctrine in the Confession as if it were equally important, but we do commit ourselves to all of the doctrines of the Confession. In addition, as Dr. Smith says so well, “full subscription does not require the adoption of every word of the Confession or Catechisms, but positively believes that we are adopting every doctrine or teaching of the Confession or Catechisms.” This is an important distinction, and needs to be understood. It is possible for an individual, a church, or an association to be cautious about the wording used to express a specific doctrine without denying the doctrine that wording seeks to define. Full subscription honestly adopts all of the doctrines expressed in the confessional formulation. In the case of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America, this means that by subscribing to the document commonly known as the London Baptist Confession of 1689, we receive all of the doctrines contained in it as true, founded on the Word of God[1]” (bold and italics are added by me for emphasis).

The full article on confessional subscription by Dr. James Renihan has been published in Appendix VI of Chantry, Tom and Dykstra, David. Holding Communion Together: The Reformed Baptists:  The First Fifty Years, Divided & United (Alabama: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2014), 271-294 which you can read to get the full historical context and further details.

You can also listen to the Confessing Baptists’s podcast with Dr. James Renihan on Confessionalism that gives a useful overview of different views of Confessional Subscription amongst the reformed Community (Dr. Jim Renihan is not exclusively addressing Reformed Baptists in the podcast; he primarily mentions differences in subscription amongst Reformed Presbyterians primarily, but the same basic categories apply to Reformed Baptists also):

http://confessingbaptist.com/podcast022/

I also highly recommend the recent lecture by Pastor Arden Hodgins on Confessionalism at the 2016 ARBCA General Assembly, In Defense of Confessionalism, that gives a very useful outline of what Confessionalism is in contrast to a Biblicist position and why it is important for Churches to be Confessional (I will discuss this more in a later post since it is a crucial point):

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=5616150307

As a result of the Full-subscription position of ARBCA churches, and ARBCA church would see the doctrines in the 1689 as interconnected and therefore modifying or removing a doctrine from the Confession will modify others as well.  An illustration would be having a row of dominoes laid out in a column, by knocking down via modifying or explicitly denying a doctrine presented in the 1689 you will necessarily have to modify other doctrines.  For example if someone takes exception to the Lord’s Day, chapter 22 in the 1689 LBC, that will also require modification of the doctrine of the Means of Grace and the Regulative Principle of Worship.

It is important in light of this brief overview that we carefully define our terms since a lot of the confusion over what constitutes a reformed Baptist is a result of different groups defining it in various ways which are not all compatible.  We must understand our historic particular Baptist roots of the 1st and 2nd London Baptist Confession of faith to properly understand how they defined particular Baptist theology and confessional subscription rather than reading into the definition our preconceived biases of what we think it means to be a Reformed Baptist.  We must go back to the original sources, ad fontes!   Hopefully the 2 resources that I mentioned at the beginning of the post will help readers to go to some of the key primary resources.

I will conclude with a brief example of how differences of definitions for reformed have affected not only the reformed movement in the U.S. but also in other countries.  For example this you-tube channel by two Calvinistic brasilians called, Dois Dedos de Teologia (Two fingers of Theology), they affirm a Calvinistic cessationist view and equate that as being “reformed” rather than subscribing to a historically reformed confession.

https://www.youtube.com/user/doisdedosdeteologia

I hope that this post has shown some of the important issues that should be considered by those who consider themselves Reformed Baptists or those interested in better understanding what Reformed Baptists believe.  I have attempted to do so carefully and to respectfully and accurately represent some different views.  These issues are not unnecessarily splitting hairs, but rather required discussions that have crucial ramifications for the function of the local church, pastoral ministry, missions, and evangelism to name a few.  I will attempt to more fully draw out some of these implications in further posts on this topic of Confessionalism as it relates to defining the Reformed Baptist Movement.

 

 

[1] http://www.arbca.com/arbca-constitution

 

 

Una Introdución a las hermenéuticas para interpretar la escatología y el libro de Apocalipsis

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Esta clase dominical de La Iglesia Evangélica de la Gracia ubicado en Barcelona, España (la qual es una iglesia bautista reformada) da una buena resumen de los principios de interpretación para la escatología bíblica  y como deberemos interpretar el libro de Apocalipsis.

 

“¿Qué es la Teología Bíblica?” por Claudio Garrido

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Una buena introdución a la Teología Bíblica y también una buena explicación de la hermenéutica Cristocéntrica.  Es muy importante para creyentes entender estas temas para interpretar la Bíblia con un centro en Cristo en vez de un centro solamente en nuestros mismos.  Si entendemos bien la Teología Bíblica y a hermenéutica Cristocéntrica entonces volvemos a nuestros raices de las hermenéuticas de la Reforma en el Siglo XVII.

 

Solamente no concordo con el uso de Tim Keller porque su teología en muchas areas está errada, aunque la citación de él en esta presentación explica bien la hermenéutica Cristocéntrica.

An Introduction to the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity Part I

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I want to briefly introduce this first post in a series of blog posts condensing the material from the book written by Dr. James Dolzeal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness (Eugene, Oregon; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011) and give a basic overview of each chapter to show the importance of this often neglected doctrine and conclude with a post on some practical applications of the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity.  Bold text in quotes is added by me for emphasis of a key point.  I abbreviate the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity as the DDS, as does Dr. Dolzeal in his book.

I have already alluded to some apologetic implications of this doctrine in my critique of Dr. K. Scott Oliphint’s book, Covenantal Apologetics:

https://1689reformedbaptist.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/divine-impassibility-apologetics-the-inconsistency-of-dr-k-scott-oliphints-apologetics/

Due to the technical nature of the book I won’t be covering every detail. I will try to cover the main points and define key terms in each chapter, so hopefully this series will be useful for anyone trying to read through the book to get a condensed chapter summary and serve as an introduction to the DDS.  This series will also provide a useful starting place to understanding the DDS as the foundation for understanding the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility which is currently debated among many theologians.  Divine Impassibility assumes the DDS, so in order to properly understand Divine Impassibility it is important to get the context of the doctrine by first studying the DDS.  As will be demonstrated in this series the DDS upholds many essential doctrines of God, such as His Immutability, Aseity, Eternality, and Impassibility.

For anyone who wants a useful brief overview of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility I highly recommend Sam Renhian’s book, God without Passions: A Primer

http://www.rbap.net/god-without-passions-a-primer-by-samuel-renihan/

I. Defining Divine Simplicity

What is Divine Simplicity?  Dr. Dolzeal defines this doctrine as follows in the Preface of his book,

The classical doctrine of simplicity, as espoused by both traditional Thomists and Reformed scholastics, famously holds forth the maxim that there is nothing in God that is not God.  If there were, that is, if God were not ontologically identical with all that is in him, then something other than God himself would be needed to account for his existence, essence, and attributes.  But nothing that is not God can sufficiently account for God.  He exists in all his perfections entirely in and through himself.  At the heart of the classical DDS (Doctrine of Divine Simplicity) is the concern to uphold God’s absolute self-sufficiency as well as his ultimate sufficiency for the existence of the created universe[1].

Dr. Dolzeal also provides this more concise definition in the first chapter of his book,

The doctrine of divine simplicity teaches that (1) God is identical with his existence and his essence and (2) that each of his attributes is ontologically identical with his existence and with every other one of his attributes.  There is nothing in God that is not God[2].

What Dr. Dolzeal is expressing here is the distinction between God as self-sufficient Creator, who is not dependent upon anything, and the creation.  This distinction between Creator and creature assumes that God is not composed of parts or pieces in contrast to creation which is composed of parts and is therefore dependent and not self-sufficient.  All created things are made of parts whether it is a house, car, or a computer, which makes the whole dependent on the parts because if one part isn’t working it may not function properly.  However God is self-sustaining, He is not dependent on something else to be God because by nature God is Creator and in a separate category of being from His creation.  He cannot be composed of parts or dependent on something outside of Himself because then He would cease to be God and be just like us, dependent on something else to exist.  We as creatures are dependent upon God to sustain us, but God requires no one to sustain Himself.

The first chapter of Dr. Dolzeal’s book gives an overview of the current landscape of the DDS among evangelical Christians; both current proponents and opponents of this doctrine.  Rather than re-iterating the historical theology of the DDS and all of the critiques by contemporary opponents of the doctrine of divine simplicity I will summarize the key presuppositions of both positions that Dr. Dolzeal provides in an outline format.  This will help provide a historical framework for some of the reasons why this classical and historical doctrine of God is often rejected by contemporary theologians.

II. Historical Theology & the DDS

Dr. Dolzeal gives a brief overview of the DDS as affirmed by patristic sources, medieval theologians, and reformed and modern theologians to demonstrate its historical significance as a catholic (universal) Christian doctrine.  In the patristic section Dr. Dolzeal briefly discusses 2 important apologetic uses of the DDS as employed by patristic authors:

(1) Irenaeus used the DDS in response to Gnostic views of God involving emanations, and God undergoing passions and mental changes to affirm and uphold God’s Immutability in his book, Against Heresies.

(2) Gregory of Nyssa affirmed the DDS to affirm unity of essence when describing the Doctrine of the Trinity in response to accusations of tri-theism by opponents.  Augustine also affirmed DDS, in order to affirm that each subsistence of the Trinity is Immutable [3].

Dr. Dolzeal mentions several Medieval writers who affirmed the DDS in order to affirm God’s Immutability and Aseity (self-sufficiency) such as Boethius, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus.  He focuses on the importance of Aquinas’ articulation of the DDS as it pertains to the Creator-creature distinction to contrast creatures’ essence as separate from its being, and therefore contingent on something outside of itself, whereas God’s essence is identical with his existence.  This leads to the conclusion that God is necessary and self-sufficient in contrast to creation which is contingent and dependent on a source outside of itself to be sustained.  Aquinas’ first cause argument for the existence of God assumes the DDS because everything else needs a cause outside of itself to exist, whereas God is the First and necessary uncaused, and self-sufficient being.

Dr. Dolzeal observes continuity among the Protestant Reformers and Scholastics who affirmed Aquinas’ articulation of the DDS.  He cites John Owen’s used of the DDS as a polemic against Socinian distortions of the doctrine of God.  The DDS was affirmed by Reformed writers into the 19th and 20th century.  Here are two citations from John Owen and Herman Bavinck showing their affirmation of the DDS,

John Owen on the DDS, “With reference to Exodus 3:14-15, Owen also explains God’s unity via the DDS: “[W]here there is an absolute oneness and sameness in the whole, there is no composition by an union of extremes….He, then, who is what he is, and whose all that is in him is, himself, hath neither parts, accidents, principles, nor anything else, whereof his essence should be compounded[4].

Herman Bavinck on the DDS, “If God is composed of parts, like a body, or composed of genus (class) and differentiae (attributes of differing species belonging to the same genus), substance and accidents, matter and form, potentiality and actuality, essence and existence, then his perfection, oneness, independence, and immutability, cannot be maintained[5].

Dr. Dolzeal even mentions how the DDS was affirmed by 19th and 20th century Catholic theologians such as Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, however a shift began to occur in the 20th century away from an affirmation of the DDS as Louis Berkhof stated in his systematic theology,

In recent works on theology the simplicity of God is seldom mentioned.  Many theologians positively deny it, either because it is regarded as purely metaphysical abstraction, or because, in their estimation, it conflicts with the doctrine of the Trinity[6].

III. Recent Criticisms of the DDS

Atheistic philosopher Richard Gale gives 3 primary reasons for rejecting the DDS:

  1. It makes God equivalent to abstract attributes, thereby making God impersonal.
  2. If God is identical to His properties, then His properties cannot be shared by his creation, otherwise they would be God.
  3. If all of God’s properties are one and the same, then there should be no distinction between God’s attributes, but there appears to be differences between God’s attributes e.g. Omnipotence vs. omnibenevolence. Therefore distinctions between God’s attributes prove that God is not simple.

As will be observed later in the chapter overviews these criticisms are rooted in a foundational misunderstanding of the Creator-creature distinction.   Many of Richard Gale’s arguments are likewise employed by Christian theologians and philosophers to deny the DDS, so the arguments are not exclusive to Atheists.   Two primary criticisms that Dr. Dolzeal briefly responds to at the end of his first chapter are:

  1. Ontological Univocism (a denial of analogical predication and the Creator-creator distinction between the being of God and man. This assumes that there isn’t a fundamental distinction of God’s essence and the essence of creatures).
  2. Biblicist Hermeneutics ( a proof-texting approach to the Doctrine of God that argues that since there isn’t a single passage that explicitly says God is simple, therefore it cannot be a Biblical doctrine).

There are a large range of criticisms of DDS, which I will not be able to elaborate in a concise amount of space and since Dr. Dolzeal will address them in later chapters which I will be summarizing for blog posts I don’t need to list them all here.  It is better to address them progressively as the DDS is explained.

Dr. Dolzeal does observe a crucial underlying criticism among opponents of DDS, which is a tendency towards univocism, thereby denying the distinction between God and man by not making a careful distinction between the being of God and man.  It is this fundamental hermeneutical presupposition that critics of DDS deny before beginning to study DDS that results in their denial of it:

But it is precisely this ontological univocism that the DDS will not allow.  Though creatures bear the image of God’s existence and attributes, their similarity to God is better understood as analogical than univocal.  The manner in which God exists and possesses attributes is so radically unlike anything found in creatures that he cannot be classified together with them in a single order of being or as the highest link on a great chain of being.  As the one who ultimately accounts for being in general, as its first and final cause, God does not stand within the general ontological order.  In this connection the various critics surveyed in the foregoing section seem to have gratuitously precluded the very ontological outlook in which the DDS is intended to make sense[7].

The second common presupposition amongst critics of the DDS is a Biblicist hermeneutical presupposition as expressed by Dr. John Feinberg’s denial of the DDS[8]:

Are the biblical writers really making a metaphysical point in these passages?  Furthermore, would not any passage that speaks of God as possessing attributes argue equally well for the position that God is not identical with his attributes?  Feinberg concludes that the biblical data “underdetermine the issue.”  Indeed, this lack of explicit biblical data for the DDS “should be disconcerting at the least, and a good argument against it at most[9][10].

Many of the same arguments Dr. Feinberg is using here to deny the DDS could also be used by Biblicists such as Jehovah’s Witnesses arguing against the doctrine of the Trinity because it is not explicitly stated in one passage, but is rather the result of observing the totality of the Witness of Scripture and then being able to see the logical connections.  These arguments are not novel; the same Biblicist approach was employed by Socinians to deny the Deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity. We cannot reduce the doctrine of God to mere proof texting arguments, we have to look at Scripture in its totality and have a consistent hermeneutic that accounts for the passages and doesn’t undermine fundamental doctrinal presuppositions that we cannot deny such as the Creator-Creature distinction.  No one interprets the Bible with a blank slate, with absolutely no presuppositions, when we study the Doctrine of God or any doctrine of Scripture.  This requires us to carefully think through our presuppositions as we study the DDS.

IV. Conclusion

In conclusion we can see that disagreement over the DDS is a hermeneutical difference at the most foundational level.  We must be humble as we study the Doctrine of God since as finite creatures we can never fully grasp the totality of all that God is.  This should encourage us to worship God who defies our limited creaturely categories in all his Divine perfections.  The importance of the DDS and its practical implications will become clearer as we progress.  I have attempted to address some of the reasons why this doctrine is so crucial to an orthodox doctrine of God in this brief introduction and overview of chapter 1.  As Dr. Dolzeal stated in the 2015 SCRBPC when he was discussing the DDS, we can rest in the assurance that God is immutable since according to the DDS God is not made of parts, and therefore we don’t have a God who will fall apart on us in the midst of the trials that we face in life.  It is the greatest comfort for believers to have an immutable God that is a firm foundation, than a mutable God who changes due to circumstances and causes since a mutable God would give us no assurance and would be creaturely and not Self-Sufficient and Sovereign.

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, NASB).

[1] Dr. James Dolzeal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness (Eugene, Oregon; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011), xvii

[2] Ibid, 2

[3] Often referred to as person, but subsistence is more precise and avoids confusion of terminology by defining person in a creaturely way, which unravels the doctrine of God and the Trinity.  The 1689 LBC uses subsistence rather than person in Chapter 2.3.  I have discussed in more depth some of the issues regarding the use of person and why it is better to use subsistence in an earlier blog post on the Doctrine of the Trinity:

https://1689reformedbaptist.wordpress.com/category/english/attributes-of-god-doctrine-of-god/

 

[4] Owen, Vindicae: Evangelicae, XII:72, cited in Ibid, 9

[5] Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, II: 176, cited in Ibid, 9

[6] Berkhouf, Systematic Theology, 62, cited in Ibid, 10

[7] Dr. James Dolzeal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness (Eugene, Oregon; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011), 29

[8] I recommend Dr. Richard Barcellos’ excellent thorough study of reformed/confessional hermeneutics and critique of Biblicist hermeneutics, Dr. Richard Barcellos, The Family Tree of Reformed Biblical Theology: Geerhardus Vos and John Owen Their Methods and Contributions to the Articulation of Redemptive History  (Owensboro, KY; RBAP, 2011)

[9] Feinberg, No One Like Him, 329

[10] Dr. James Dolzeal, God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness (Eugene, Oregon; Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2011), 27

 

A Biblical Theology of the Lord’s Day, sermons on An Orthodox Catechism Q. 114-5 by Dr. Richard Barcellos

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Here are the first 4 sermons of a series on a Biblical Theology of the Lord’s Day from an Orthodox Catechism Q. 1114-5.  I’ll add more links as more sermons are uploaded:

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=215161217550

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=41116011559

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=41916034385

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=52162136551

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=516161155398

 

 

 

A necessidade da Aliança das Obras

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Tem um ditado entres os crentes sobre a doutrina da justificação, – a justificação e como se nunca tivesse pecado – mas este ditado somente contém uma metade da verdade, a outra metade é a justiça imputada aos crentes por meio da obediência perfeita do Senhor Jesus Cristo.  Se não temos a sua justiça perfeita estivermos a pé perante Deus condenados igualmente como o profeta Isaías quando ele viu a santidade de Deus na sua visão (Isaías 6:1-5).

Esta doutrina da imputação da obediência perfeita do Jesus Cristo é negado por muitos que professam ser crentes principalmente devido à influência da teologia dispensationalista. O qual nega a aliança das obras porque a palavra aliança não acontece até o capítulo 6 do Gênesis o qual descreve a aliança com o Noé e por isso não há uma aliança das obras nem uma aliança com o Adão na Bíblia.

Por exemplo aqui é uma citação de dois teólogos Dispensationalistas que ensinam no Seminário teológico Dallas que fica em Texas. Eles dizem que Cristo somente pagou a maldição da lei em nosso lugar, mas não obteve justiça perfeita para nós por meio seu próprio obediência. Acordo com estos dois teólogos, o Darrel Block e o Craig Blaising, Jesus só foi obediente porque se tivesse pecado então não poderia morrer em nosso lugar pagando a maldição de Deus; mas eles não incluem a necessidade da justiça perfeita de Cristo imputado aos crentes.

Em Gálatas 3:10-13, Paulo explica como o morte de Cristo foi cumprido e por isso terminou a aliança Mosaico. -Cristo nos resgatou da maldição da lei, fazendo-se ele próprio maldição em nosso lugar (porque está escrito: Maldito todo aquele que for pendurado em madeiro),- (Bíblia Sagrada João Ferreira de Almeida Revista é Atualizada 1993, Gálatas 3:13). Cristo tomou a maldição da aliança Mosaico sobre ele próprio para satisfazer as exigências de Deus. Esto não tivesse acontecido, entretanto, se ele próprio fosse um pecador quem precisaria a expiação para os seus próprios pecados. Mas como o Paulo diz no 2 Coríntios 5:21, -Aquele que não conheceu pecado, ele o fez pecado por nós; para que, nele fôssemos feitos justiça de Deus- (Bíblia Sagrada João Ferreira de Almeida Revista é Atualizada 1993). Esto é porque eles quem estão em Cristo são contados justos ( cf. Deuteronomio 6:25; 1 Corintios 1:30) e acham a maldição de Deus satisfeito por eles [1].

Esto não é suficiente só ter nossos pecados perdoados para entrar no céu porque Deus requer a justiça perfeita como Jesus disse no Sermão no Monte,

-Portanto, sede vós perfeitos como perfeito e o vosso Pai celeste- (Mateus 5:48, Bíblia Sagrada João Ferreira de Almeida Revista é Atualizada 1993)

O Paulo explica a importância da aliança das obras quando ele compara o Adão com o Cristo no Romanos 5:12-21, se o Adão não fosse nossa cabeça federal nem representativo, então acordo com o Paulo Cristo não fosse nossa cabeça federal também. Se o Adão caiu sem representar ninguém como um representante federal então Cristo somente morreu por ele próprio. O teólogo A.W. Pink explica a necessidade da aliança das obras para preservar o evangelho porque se alguém nega a aliança das obras então pode resultar na negação que o Adão fosse nossa cabeça federal.  O fato que o Adão foi nossa cabeça federal, o qual mesmo alguns crentes acreditam quem negam a aliança das obras, supõe que houvesse uma aliança das obras no jardim porque a palavra “federal” é sinônimo com “aliança”. O Adão precisou ter uma aliança com Deus para ser uma cabeça federal, estos dois fatos não podem ser separados.

A desobediência do primeiro Adão foi a fundação judicial por nossa condenação; a desobediência do último Adão é a nossa fundação judicial em qual Deus só pode justificar um pecador.  A substituição do Cristo no lugar do seu povo, a imputação dos seus pecados para ele e a sua justiça para eles, é o fato  essencial do evangelho.  Mas o princípio de ser salvo pela obra de outra fez só é possível na fundação que nós fomos perdidos por meio o que outro fez. Os dois se sustém juntos.  Se não houvesse uma aliança das obras então não teria acontecido a morte em Adão, não teria a vida em Cristo [2].

Em conclusão, nos vemos a importância da teologia da aliança para o evangelho. Esto não é somente uma sistema abstrato para os teólogos; ao contrário esto é muito prático para como estudamos a Bíblia e como entendemos o evangelho.

Ainda que este método da interpretação não é consistente para eles que negam a aliança das obras porque a aliança Davídica não usa a palavra “aliança” no 2 Samuel 7:8-17, mesmo que ninguém negue que há uma aliança Davídica porque os componentes de uma aliança acontecem se bem que a palavra explícito “aliança” não seja usado. Depois a Bíblia chama 2 Samuel 7:8-17 uma aliança em 2 Samuel 23:5 e Salmos 89:3-4. O mesmo princípio da interpretação é usado para a aliança das obras embora em Gênesis 2 a palavra “aliança” não suceda, mas depois no Antigo Testamento é chamado uma aliança em Oseais 6:7, Isaías 24:3-6, e também pelo Paulo no Novo Testamento em Romanos 5:12-21.  A Bíblia nos dá uma interpretação infalível de se mesmo e por isso quando a Bíblia se refere a outra passagem na Bíblia é sem erros ainda que aconteça em outra parte da Bíblia. Esto é porque a Bíblia não foi escrito só pelos homens mas também por Deus, Ele é o autor principal pelo meio do Espírito Santo de todos os livros da Bíblia.

Nós vamos confiar na inspirada é infalível interpretação do Apóstolo Paulo em Romanos 5 explicando a necessidade de Adão como o nossa cabeça federal para que Cristo pode ser a cabeça federal dos crentes ( o qual supõe a aliança das obras) ou vamos ler Gênesis 2 somente focalizando no autor humano sem ler Gênesis 2 no contexto de todo a Bíblia? A segunda opção focaliza no argumento que a palavra “aliança” não acontece lá ( no Gênesis 2 ) e por isso é impossível que houvesse uma aliança das obras, o qual dá a prioridade ao autor humano em vez de permitir a Bíblia interpretar se mesmo.  Quando a Bíblia interpreta a Bíblia é um comentário infalível o qual não deveríamos ignorar, porém deveríamos usar a sua interpretação infalível para melhorar o nosso entendimento da Bíblia.

Podemos observar todo deste material resumido e aplicado à proclamação do evangelho na confissão de Fé Batista de Londres 1689 capítulo 20.1 [3],

1. O Pacto das Obras foi quebrado pelo pecado, e tornou-se inútil para conduzir à vida, então, Deus Se agradou em desvelar a promessa de Cristo a semente da mulher, como o meio de chamar os eleitos, gerando neles a fé e o arrependimento[1]. Nesta promessa a essência do Evangelho foi revelada, e é feita eficaz para a conversão e salvação dos pecadores[2].

[1] Gênesis 3:15

[2] Apocalipse 13:8

 

Citações:

[1] Blaising, Craig and Bock, Darrel, Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI.  Baker Books: 2003), 197-198

[2] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Divine Covenants (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), 33

[3] http://oestandartedecristo.com/data/CFB1689CPCHSporEC.pdf

 

 

SCRBPC 2015 Panel Discussion on Divine Impassibility

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This video was recently uploaded on You-tube for the Panel Discussion on Divine Impassibility from the 2015 Southern California Reformed baptist Pastor’s Conference.  A profitable discussion on the crucial doctrine of Divine Impassibility.  Questions range from more technical questions to pastoral application of the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility:

 

This is the playlist for all of the Conference Sessions and additional interviews with Conference Speakers as well as some book interviews.  The Conference sessions are well worth listening if you want a thorough introduction to the doctrine of Divine Impassibility as Dr. Dolzeal traces the history leading up to contemporary positions on the Doctrine of God and faithfully exposits from Scripture the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility upholding a Classical Doctrine of God:

Um argumento Batista reformada para o bautismo dos crentes & e a natureza dicotômica da Aliança Abraâmica

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O seguinte é uma tradução das perguntas 72 e 73 do catecismo ortodoxo pelo Pastor Hércules Collins, um dos pastores batistas reformadas quem assinou a confessão Batista de fé de Londres 1689. Se Pode ver desde o seu argumento para o bautismo dos crentes e o seu argumento em contra do bautismo dos infantes que o seu argumento vem desde a sua teologia da aliança, especificamente a sua posição sobre a aliança Abraâmica e a aliança de graça:

Q. (Pergunta) 72 pode a semente infante dos crentes baixo o evangelho ser batizados assim como a semente infante de Abraão baixo a lei foi circuncidado?

A. (Resposta) Não.  Abraão teve um mandamento nesta hora de Deus para circuncidar-lhe a sua semente infante, mas crentes não tiveram ninguém mandamento para batizar a sua semente infante baixo o evangelho.
(a) Gênesis 17:9-12

Q. (Pergunta) 73 Porque alguns dizem que os infantes dos crentes estão na aliança de graça com os seus pães, porque não podem eles ser batizados baixo o evangelho, assim como a semente infante de Abraão foi circuncidado baixo a lei?

A. (Resposta) por afirmar que os infantes dos crentes estão na aliança de graça, eles devem querer dizer da aliança de graça absolutamente considerado, e se é assim, então não tem ninguém total nem final apostasia de qualquer semente infante dos crentes da aliança, mas então todos precisam ser salvos (a).
(a) Jeremias 2:38-40; João 10:28

Ou eles precisam significar condicionalmente, o que quando crescem até a maturidade, então por fé verdadeira, amor, e santidade de vida, segurando a aliança de graça de Deus, terão o seus benefícios. Se isso é o seu significado, então, Que benéfico espiritual tem a semente infante dos incrédulos, se eles vivem até anos da madurez, e por a fé verdadeira e a or seguram a aliança de Deus? Além disso, Não pertenceria o selo da aliança tanto como aos filhos dos incrédulos como aos filhos dos crentes? Sim, porque a semente infante do incrédulo a vezes chega a aceitar a aliança de Deus, e a semente infante do crente não o faz; tantas vezes como isso é visto para a tristeza de muitos pães devotos (b).
(b) Isaías 56:3-8; João 3:16; Atos 10:34-35

Suponha que toda a semente infante dos crentes estiveram absolutamente na aliança de graça; mas os crentes baixo o evangelho não deveriam batizar a sua semente infante mais que Ló circuncidou seu mesmo e a sua semente infante, se tivesse masculinos assim como fêmeas, embora Ele foi relacionado ao Abraão, um crente, e na aliança de graça, porque a circuncisão foi limitado ao Abraão e a sua família imediata.  Se a semente infante dos crentes estivesse  absolutamente na aliança de graça, nós traríamos infantes a Ceia do Senhor porque as mesmas qualificações são requeridas ao necessário desempenho  do batismo assumo como a Ceia do Senhor (c).
(c) Atos 2:41-42

A aliança Abraâmica teve dois partes:

Primeiro um componente espiritual, o qual consiste por Deus prometer ser um Deus ao Abraão e todo a sua semente espiritual numa maneira particular (d), se foram circuncidados ou não, quem creram como Abraão o pai da fé creu (e). E isso foi significado por Deus aceitar assim como a sua gente as quais não são da semente de Abraão, mas comprados pelo seu dinheiro esta promessa foi selado ao Abraão pela circuncisão, que por Jesus Cristo (quem Isaque tipificou) os gentios, os não circuncidados quem creram (f), deveriam ter a fé considerado pela justiça, como Abraão foi antes de ser circuncidado (g).
(d) Gênesis 17:19,21; 21:10; Gálatas 4:30
(e) Atos 2:39; Romanos 9:7-8
(f) Gálatas 3:16,28-29
(g) Romanos 4:9-14

Segundo, esta promessa foi composto de um componente temporal. Por isso, Deus prometeu que a semente de Abraão deveria desfrutar a terra de Canaã, e tiveram suficiente benções externas (h), assim que Ele selou esta promessa pela circuncisão (i).  A circuncisão também distingue os judios como o povo de Deus desde os gentios , qual até agora não foram a semente de Abraão.  Mas quando os gentios chegaram a crer e pela fé chegaram a ser o povo de assim como os judios, então a circuncisão, esta marca distintiva parou.  As marcas distintivas de ser os filhos de Deus agora são a fé em Cristo e a circuncisão da coração (j). Portanto qualquer pretexto poderá ser para batizar os infantes dos crentes não vale nada, seja seu ser na semente dos crentes, seu ser na aliança ou que a semente infante de Abraão , um crente, foi circuncidado. A circuncisão foi limitado também até o oitavo dia, e qualquer pretexto for feito, não fosse feito nem antes nem depois. Foi limitado aos masculinos, o qual se o batismo veio no lugar da circuncisão e é o selo da aliança baixo o evangelho, assim como a circuncisão foi baixo a lei, ninguém mas os masculinos precisam ser batizados. Ainda assim baixo a leia circuncisão teve regulados particulares, assim é baixo o evangelho com o batismo.  Estes regulados sobre o batismo dependem somente sobre a vontade do legislador, aquele Profeta a quem nós faríamos bem escutar-lhe (k). Ele determina sobre quem, quando, e como o batismo deveria ser administrado.
(h) Gênesis 12:6-7; 13:15-17; 15:16, 18.
(i) Gênesis 17:8-11.
(j) João 1:12, Romanos 2:28-29; Gálatas 3:26-28; Filipenses 3:3.
(k) Atos 3:22.

Se pode comparar a resposta de Hércules Collins com o argumento para batizar os infantes de acordo com o Catecismo Heidelburg no português, pergunta 74. Se pode ver para comparar os dois que as diferenças sobre a doutrina do batismo vêm das suas diferenças na sua teologia da aliança:

http://www.refo500.nl/content/files/Files/Catechism/hc-portugees.pdf

 

Un Argumento bautista reformada para el bautismo de creyentes & la naturaleza dicotómica del Pacto Abrahámico

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Lo siguiente es una traducción de preguntas 72 y 73 del Catecismo Ortodoxo escrito por Pastor Hercules Collins, uno de los pastores bautistas reformados quien firmó la confesión bautista de fe de Londres 1689.  Se puede ver desde su argumento para el bautismo de creyentes y su argumento en contra del bautismo de infantes que su argumento viene desde su teología del pacto, específicamente su posición sobre el pacto Abrahámico y el pacto de Gracia:

Q.(Pregunta) 72 ¿Puede la semilla infante de creyentes bajo el evangelio ser bautizados así como la semilla infante de Abraham bajo la ley fue circuncidado?

(Respuesta)  No.  Abraham tuvo un mandamiento a esa hora de Dios para circuncidarle a su semilla infante, pero creyentes no tienen ningún mandamiento para bautizar su semilla infante bajo el evangelio.

(a) Génesis 17:9-12

(Pregunta) 73 ¿Porqué algunos dicen que los infantes de creyentes están en el pacto de Gracia con sus padres, porque no pueden ellos ser bautizados bajo el evangelio, así como la semilla infante de Abraham fue circuncidado bajo la ley?

(Respuesta) Por afirmar que los infantes  de creyentes están en el pacto de Gracia, ellos deben querer decir del pacto de Gracia absolutamente considerado, y si es así, entonces no hay ningún total ni final apostasía de cualquier semilla infante de creyentes del pacto, pero entonces todos necesitan ser salvos (a).

 

(a) Jeremías 32:38-40; Juan 10:28

O, ellos necesitan significar condicionalmente, que cuando crecen a su edad de madurez, entonces por fe verdadera, amor, y santidad de vida, agarrando el pacto de Gracia de Dios, tendrán sus beneficios.  Si eso es su significado, entonces ¿Qué beneficio espiritual tiene la semilla infante  de los incrédulos, si ellos  viven hasta años de madurez, y por fe verdadera  y amor agarran  el pacto de Dios?  Además, ¿No pertenecería el sello del pacto  tanto como a los hijos de los incrédulos como los hijos de creyentes?  Sí, porque la semilla infante del incrédulos a veces llega a aceptar el pacto de Dios, y la semilla infante del creyente no lo hace; tantas veces como eso es visto para la tristeza de muchos padres piadosos (b).

(b) Isaías 56:3-8; Juan 3:16; Hechos 10:34-35

 

Suponga toda la semilla infante de creyentes  estuvieran absolutamente en el pacto de Gracia; pero creyentes bajo el evangelio no deberían bautizar su semilla infante más que Lot circuncidó  su mismo y su semilla infante, si tuviera varones así como hembras, aunque Él fue relacionado al Abraham, un creyente, y en el pacto de Gracia, porque la circuncisión fue limitado al Abraham y su familia inmediata.  Si la semilla infante de creyentes estuviera absolutamente en el pacto de Gracia, nosotros traeremos infantes a la Cena del Señor porque las mismas cualificaciones son requeridas al necesario desempeño del bautismo así como la Cena del Señor (c).

(c) Hechos 2:41-42

 

El pacto Abrahámico tuvo dos partes:

Primero, un componente espiritual, lo cual consiste por Dios prometer ser un Dios a Abraham y todo su semilla espiritual en una manera particular (d), si fueran circuncidados o no, quienes creyeron como Abraham el padre de la fe creyó (e).  Y eso fue significado por Dios aceptar así como su gente los cuales no son de la semilla de Abraham, sino comprados por su dinero, y esta promesa fue sellado a Abraham por la circuncisión, que por medio de Jesucristo (quien Isaac tipificó) los gentiles, los no circuncidados quienes creyeron (f), deberían tener la fe considerado por justicia, como Abraham fue antes de ser circuncidado (g).

(d)  Génesis 17:19,21; 21:10; Gálatas 4:30.

(e) Hechos 2:39; Romanos 9:7-8.

(f) Gálatas 3:16, 28-29

(g)  Romanos 4:9-14

Segundo, esta promesa fue compuesta de un componente temporal.  Por eso, Dios prometió que la semilla de Abraham debería disfrutar la tierra de Canaán, y tuvieron suficiente bendiciones externas (h), así que Él selló esta promesa por la circuncisión (i).  La circuncisión también distingue los judíos como el pueblo de Dios desde todas las naciones de los gentiles, cual hasta ahora no fueron la semilla de Abraham.  Pero cuando los gentiles llegaron a creer y por la fe llegaron a ser el pueblo de Dios así como los judíos, entonces la circuncisión, la marca de distintiva, paró.  Las marcas distintivas de ser los hijos de Dios ahora son la fe en Cristo y la circuncisión de la corazón (j).  Por lo tanto, cualquier pretexto podrá ser para bautizar los infantes de creyentes no vale nada, sea su ser en la semilla de creyentes, su ser en el pacto, o que la semilla infante de Abraham, un creyente, fue circuncidado.  La circuncisión fue limitada también hasta el octavo día, y cualquier pretexto podría ser hecho, no fue hecho ni antes ni después.  La fue limitado a los varones, quienes si el bautismo llego en lugar de la circuncisión y fue el sello del pacto de Gracia bajo el evangelio, como la circuncisión fue bajo la ley, nadie pero los varones deben ser bautizados.  Así como bajo la ley la circuncisión tuvo reglas particulares, también la fue bajo el evangelio con respecto al bautismo.  Estas regulaciones con respecto al bautismo depende solamente sobre la voluntad del legislador, aquel Profeta a quien nosotros haríamos bueno para escucharlo (k).  Él decide  sobre quien, cuando,  y como el bautismo debería ser administrado.

(h) Génesis 12:6-7; 13:15-17; 15:16, 18

(i) Génesis 17:8-11

(j) Juan 1:12; Romanos 2:28-29; Gálatas 3:26-28; Filipenses 3:3

(k) Hechos 3:22

 

Se puede comparar la respuesta de Hercules Collins con el argumento para bautizar los infantes según el Catecismo Heidelburg en español, pregunta 74.  Se puede ver por comparar los dos que las diferencias sobre la doctrina del bautismo vienen de sus diferencias en su teología del pacto:

http://www.refo500.nl/content/files/Files/Catechism/HC-spaans.pdf

 

Presuppositions and the Resurrection of Christ

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During Easter there are many popular apologetics books promoted to persuade unbelievers of the veracity of the Resurrection of Christ such as Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Easter.  Unfortunately most of these books don’t even defend the Christian worldview since they abandon the authority of Scripture to seek neutral ground with the unbeliever and to use archaeological and non-biblical historical data to prove the Resurrection.  This is a vain attempt because even if sufficient evidence is provided that evidence is not interpreted in a vacuum, it is interpreted by everyone’s worldview, and without abandoning naturalism the naturalist will not accept the Resurrection as an act of God.  Neither will the Muslim accept the Resurrection based on extra-biblical historical proofs until he has denied the authority of the Qur’an which explicitly denies the Crucifixion of Christ in Surah An-Nisa: 157 (4:157) and only affirms that he ascended into heaven, so there was no need for the Crucifixion nor the resurrection according to the Islamic worldview.

The following quotes from Van Til explain the importance of evaluating one’s presuppositions and worldview when interpreting facts since there is no “neutral ground” on which everyone comes to the facts without prior assumptions and arrives at the same conclusion [bold and italics were added for emphasis, also parenthesis are given in the quotes with explanations for more technical terms].

“…We must show that the philosophy of fact as held to by Christian theism is the only philosophy that can account for the facts.  And these two things must be done in conjunction with one another.  Historical apologetics becomes genuinely fruitful only if it is conjoined with philosophical apologetics.  And the two together will have to begin with Scripture, and argue that unless what Scripture says about itself and all things else which it speaks is true, nothing is true.  Unless God as an absolutely self-conscious person exists, no facts have any meaning.  This holds not only for the resurrection of Christ, but for any other fact as well[1].

Van Til also points out the futility of trying to prove the Christian worldview one piece at a time, which places the unbeliever as the ultimate judge and authority over God’s Word, rather than God being the final authority.  So even if an unbelievers accepts the resurrection of Christ, but has not denied himself as the ultimate authority rather than accepting  God as the true final authority,then he has not truly believed in Christ’s atoning work for sinners, his perfect life unto death obedience, crucifixion, and resurrection, and the true person of Christ as fully God and fully man, and accepted the Christian worldview. The sinner still assumes he is the standard of truth, and has not been convicted by the Law of God to show him his need of Christ’s redeeming work, which is why a genuinely biblical apologetic cannot be separated from the proclamation of the Law and Gospel.  As we confront unbeliever’s suppression of the truth by confronting their worldview we are not treating the Gospel as an intellectual fact to believe, but are confronting them with the Law of God and their need of Christ, which provides a transition to further explain the law of God and the Gospel.

The Scriptures nowhere appeal to the unregenerate reason as to a qualified judge.  On the contrary, Scripture says over and over that the unregenerate reason is entirely unqualified to judge.  When Scripture says, “Come, let us reason together,” [Isaiah 1:18] it usually speaks to the people of God, and, if it does speak to others, it never regards them as equal with God or as really competent to judge.  The unregenerate man has knowledge of God, that is, of the revelation of God within him, the sense of deity, which he seeks to suppress [Romans 1:18-21].  Scripture does appeal to this sense of deity in man, but it does so and can do so only be denying that man, when acting on his adopted monistic assumption [the monistic assumption is the view that man is the interpreter of truth apart from God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture, that man is the ultimate authority rather than God], has any ability or right to judge of what is true or false, right or wrong[2].

“Historical apologetics is absolutely necessary and indispensable to point out that Christ rose from the grave, etc.  But as long as historical apologetics works on a supposedly neutral basis, it defeats its own purpose.  For in that case it virtually grants the validity of the metaphysical assumptions [views about reality e.g. whether only natural events occur or whether miracles are possible as in the Christian worldview] of the unbeliever.  So in this case a pragmatist may accept the resurrection of Christ as a fact without accepting the conclusion that Christ is the Son of God.  And on this assumption he is not illogical in doing so.  On the contrary, if his basic metaphysical assumption [views about reality] to the effect that all reality is subject to chance is right, he is only consistent if he refuses to conclude from the fact of Christ’s resurrection that he is divine in the orthodox sense of the term.  Now, though he is wrong in his metaphysical assumption, and though, rightly interpreted, the resurrection of Christ assuredly proves the divinity of Christ, we must attack the unbeliever in his philosophy of fact, as well as on the question of the actuality of the facts themselves.  For on his own metaphysical assumptions, the resurrection of Christ would not prove his divinity at all” [3].

[1] Cornelius, Van Til, edited by William, Edgar, An Introduction to Systematic Theology 2nd Edition: Prolegomena and the Doctrines of Revelation, Scripture, and God (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R, 2007), 243

[2] Ibid, 69

[3] Ibid, 242

 

This video by the LutheranSatire provides a comical application of the points made in this blog post applied to the reasons for why Atheists, based on a naturalist worldview, deny the resurrection of Christ:

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