Delivered!
~a newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere~
ex-pentecostals.org
Copyright © 2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
Over 100 subscribers!
 

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Volume 1, Issue 3
June 15, 2002
Table of Contents

 

1.    Welcome
2.    Pentecostals In the News . . .
3.    Famous Pentecostals
4.    A Pentecostal Experience
5.    Letters to the Editor
6.    Spotlight On . . .
7.    Final Prayer

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Editor:  The Association of Former Pentecostals, contact@expentecostals.org
Contributors this month include: Robin Arnaud, Lois Gibson, and Karen Blanton.

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~Welcome~
 

Thanks for your continued readership!  I think you'll enjoy this month's newsletter; we have eight news stories, a profile on Benny Hinn, a powerful experience by one of our readers, and some exciting news about our new services! 

Even more than that, we compiled so much information and contributions this month, that I couldn't include it all -- a first for Delivered!  We will publish a special EXTRA edition of Delivered! newsletter next month on July 15, 2002, to accommodate this additional material.

We hope you'll keep reading, and spreading the word about Delivered!

God Bless
The Association of Former Pentecostals, Editor

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~Pentecostals in the News*~
Copyright © 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
 


ONE GOD = ONE CHURCH?

According to a recent report by Charisma News Service (6-5-02) and the website of the Center for Spiritual Renewal, a historic event for the world of Pentecost took place in a meeting that was held at the end of April by Robert Fisher, director of CSR.  At this summit, Mr. Fisher had gathered leaders from most of the major Pentecostal and Word of Faith denominations and churches, and major movers in the Charismatic movement.  Not since the early revivals of the late 19th and early 20th century had major figures in this world-wide movement been in "one accord in one place."

The purpose of the meeting, according to CSR, was to unite in their history, and not to discuss issues of doctrine and faith.  Present at the meeting were the General Superintendents of the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostal Church (Thomas Trask and Kenneth Haney, respectively), International Foursquare President Paul Risser, International Pentecostal Holiness Church General Superintendent James Leggett, and tele-evangelists Kenneth and Gloria Copeland -- leaders in the Word of Faith movement.  Representatives of the Church of God of Prophecy, the Church of God in Christ, and the Church of God Cleveland were also present.

It was not only remarkable that the event itself took place, but the kindred reception the Oneness Pentecostals received at this occasion.  It was also remarkable that Oneness Pentecostals even bothered to attend considering their arrogant position of being the only faith that teaches true salvation.

Though nothing was reported about possible reconciliation among the faiths or of creating an ecumenical movement among the similar denominations, this meeting does beg the question: Where do they go from here?
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TELEVANGELIST KNOWS WHEN TO FOLD 'EM

Spirit-filled Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson is not just "horsing" around when it comes to his conservative, fundamentalist religious beliefs, or his right-sided views in politics -- he means business.  However, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition was left "wrangling" up excuses when the New York Times revealed another business venture Pat was involved in -- a venture that has left many other Christian conservatives wondering which ranch he is riding for.

Two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the Times revealed that the one-time Republican  presidential hopeful owns a business called Tega Stable, which houses the race horses he also owns, including one that he hoped to race in this year's Derby.  Though he intended to keep his equine endeavors a secret, he defended them stating he loved the horses and not the industry that supported them.  He also stated that he hoped people did not bet on his horses.

Critics were not so amused, and one -- according to the Times report -- stated that his owning race horses while condemning the industry that supports them was equivalent to owning a bordello and condemning prostitution.

After an avalanche of criticism, Robertson gave in.  No longer "horsing around," he intends to sell "the ranch" in the next few months.
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IS SATAN WINNING IN INGLIS?

As reported earlier in Delivered!, the mayor of the town of Inglis, Florida officially proclaimed that Satan and his forces were not welcome in her town.  The Church of God member was responding to changes in their community, and recent doomsday sermons by her pastor, according to a recent report from the Orlando Sentinel.

New City Commissioner Gene Kiger feels that this Satanic preoccupation -- which has only been exacerbated by continued media coverage -- has led attention away from municipal issues that concern the city.  He feels that the city should focus on road paving, and developing a sewage system -- things that the city needs to develop in order to accommodate a possible influx of new residents that may come when the state builds a new highway spur to their city.
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THE LEAST OF THESE
No Longer Welcome -- Part One

After attending services at Houston's Vineyard Church in the Heights for nearly two years, lesbian couple Marti and Donna Rickard were not only told they could no longer participate in communion or worship, but that they were no longer welcome to enter the building.  Pastor Michael Palandro believes that homosexuality is a sin, but apparently did not mind their fellowship for the last two years since the couple had confessed their relationship to his wife shortly after joining.  According to the Houston Press (5/2/02) which broke the story, the pastor was just giving them time to heal, though the couple stated it was more likely that the pastor might have been influenced by the congregation's reaction to a visiting Vineyard minister's positive comments on gays and lesbians within his own assembly.  During that service, all but the handful of homosexuals within the Houston congregation left, after which anti-homosexual remarks were made nearly every service, according to the couple.

Marti and Donna felt it was God's will for them to attend this church formerly affiliated with the Assemblies of God.  They heard from friends at the time that although the church had issues with such orientation, they seemed to be developing a more tolerant attitude.

In an earlier unrelated article in the Press (4/4/02), Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston was asked about such sexual topics as homosexuality and abortion.   In that interview, he inferred that he steers clear of such topics, preferring to be an "encourager."
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SINS OF MY MOTHER
No Longer Welcome -- Part Two

A 5-year-old in California was recently expelled from Capital Christian School.  She was not removed for academic or disciplinary reasons, but for reasons pertaining to Christian morals -- or at least the absence of them by her mother.  According to several reports, CCS -- a ministry of Capital Christian Center (one of the largest Assemblies of God churches in the US) -- removed the young girl when it discovered her mother was working as an exotic dancer to pay for the $400 monthly tuition.  The former Sunday school teacher was also told that while she continued her chosen profession, neither her nor her daughter would be allowed to attend services at the ministry's church where they once claimed membership.

By the next week, the pastor and the mother reached a compromise, and the young girl was allowed to return to finish the school year, providing her mother stopped dancing -- at least until school let out.

In a story that continues to evolve, news broke from another source that by the end of May, the mother had reneged on her immorality clause and posed nude for Playboy.com.  Officials at the school have announced they will keep their side of the bargain and allow her daughter to finish the school year.
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REVEREND SWINDLE
(information contributed by Lois Gibson)

When Pentecostal minister Al Petty called, many people answered -- and sent tons of money!  According to a report by the Houston Chronicle (5/26/02), this musician, former instrument maker, and inventor from the Overton area had finally created a business that made him a millionaire ten times over, after a life of job hopping and an impoverished existence.

The money flow has since stopped, mostly due to the efforts of the FBI, and their charges that the minister was operating a "Ponzi" scheme out of his small trailer.  In that deceptive guise, he sold investments and phone services, promising his investors up to 1,300 percent returns on investments ranging from $1,300 to $50,000 in as little as three months -- figures that many of his conservative network contacts believed when he doctored up his sales pitches with Biblical references.

Now facing trial and jail, many of these supporters still believe the dream-seller -- perhaps in a last ditch effort to recover the thousands invested in his TeleCom2000 business.
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ANOINTED ABUSE
Child Abuse in the Church -- Part 1

The pastor of Greater Anointed Tabernacle Worship Center of Lithonia, Georgia, is going to need a miracle to get his feet "out of the miry clay."  According to several reports by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (5/15/02-5/22/02), the Reverend was in the middle of a child molestation case against him, which threatens to relocate him from the sanctuary of his church walls to walls of concrete and steel -- for up to 30 years.

This is the third such charge against the pastor.  The latest involves encounters with a 15 year old male from his congregation, a crime that netted him 25 counts.  Another charge several years ago -- from other youths in the church -- was dismissed after it was discovered the victims were 16 at the time, which is the age of consent in Georgia.  He faced similar charges in New York many years before.

Distraught at his arrest, it was reported that he attempted suicide unsuccessfully.
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TEACHER ARRESTED FOR LEWDNESS
Child Abuse in the Church -- Part 2

Another 15 year old -- this time in Gainesville, Florida -- learned more than geometry while attending The Rock church school, a ministry of a charismatic church of the same name.  His former Spanish teacher allegedly had sex with him numerous times, spawning a daughter for him in the process.  The Gainesville Sun reported that their encounters took place between January of 2000 and September 2001, and when the church school discovered it, they informed the parents and not law enforcement -- an omission which has caused much controversy.  The pastor now states many of the accusations against the church group are false.

When law enforcement discovered the crime, the teacher was arrested at her new job at Immokalee High School in Collier County, where she was undoubtedly responsible for teaching other teen-agers.
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~Famous Pentecostals*~
 

Healer in the House
A Profile On Benny Hinn**
Copyright © 2002.  The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
(some information for this profile was forwarded by Lois Gibson)

 

~Under this anointing, the words I speak cannot fall to the ground. Under this anointing, everything I say, happens.  ~ Benny Hinn, TBN, 9-10-99~
 


I remember a song a group of ours in my former church used to sing.  It was called, "Healer in the House," and it told how God's Spirit was in our midst, and would heal those who needed and wanted it.  It reflected the theology of many Evangelical faiths, that healing can happen through faith in God, and not through any power of man.

Benny Hinn is known throughout the world as a modern day "healer," and says all the right things as any Christian minister might; that when healing happens, it is of God, and not of him.  Does this mean, though, that anything and everything that Rev'd Hinn does is of God?  Many critics of him show evidence that little he does and preaches is consistent with evangelical Christianity -- some things showing little resemblance to Christianity itself!


A recent HBO documentary (America Undercover) followed Benny Hinn through one of his crusades, and followed several of those who had been "healed," or at least prayed for.  None of those followed showed any lasting improvement, and one young child died of his affliction.  One who got up and walked out of his wheelchair after years of debilitating hip pain, promptly got back into it after the service -- unable to move from the pain.  There are some who have claimed healing from his services, but not many in the line of dramatic healing where no other cause could explain the improved direction of their health.

These activities could be ascribed to any neo-pentecostal evangelist, but Hinn is no ordinary minister of the Gospel.  He admits to not having a traditional ministerial training, but he seems to have made up for it with his own adaptations and interpretations of scripture.  Often, some of these interpretation are against traditional Christian theology, and some aren't even in line with Christianity.  Other teachings he has made have simply been called heretical.

How does Benny get away with it?  Most of his followers -- members of doctrineless Word/Faith or charismatic churches -- simply take what he says at face value, having little scriptural background for themselves.  Believing that he is a man of God, it never occurs to them to question, doubt, or even research the doctrinal claims that he makes.

What are some of the things Benny is saying that has the religious world in an uproar?  I'll give you a few of them (some of them Benny has recanted, or denied stating even when much was captured on video or audio recorders)

-     That Jesus Christ Himself was going to appear during one of Benny's crusades.  He made this claim in 2000, and, well . . . none of us have seen such a startling headline in the world's newspapers!  Traditional evangelical Christianity teaches that we won't see Christ until he returns for His Bride -- Benny says we'll see Him before that!

-     Pastor Hinn split from accepted Trinitarian doctrine in stating that each entity in the Triune Godhead was not only a distinct and separate being with it's own spirit, soul, and body ("Trinitarians" believe that God is One in three Persons, not three distinct beings), but that each entity is a triune being of Himself.  In essence, he said that each distinct member of the Trinity has its own trinity -- basically, these three are Nine, not One!  (Benny stated this in 1990, but has since stated that he was misunderstood.)

-     He stated once that the Lord revealed to Him that women were originally created to give birth out of their sides, though he has hinted that this might have been an error.

-     He prophesied that Castro would die in the 90's -- again, a prediction that did not happen.

-     And perhaps the greatest of his "revelations" was when he "taught" on TBN that the Genesis 1 account is not of the Creation of Earth and its inhabitants, but a "restoration" of Earth that had previously been destroyed by God after Satan's fall from Heaven, and that what we consider as "demons" were not fallen angels, but one of many "pre-Adamic" races -- all that were destroyed (along with the dinosaurs) when God flooded the earth (not Noah's flood -- which he claims was the second flood) and froze it.  He states that this accounts for the Earth actually being millions of years old, although Adam was created 6,000 years ago.  He props this "teaching" up with vague Old Testament scriptures, inferences, and emphasis on certain words within scripture.

-      He stated in 1991 that since Adam had dominion over the birds of the sky, that this means he could actually fly -- and not only around the sky, but to the moon!  Move over, Neil; Adam was the first astronaut!

-     Benny claims that in dreams and visions Christ Himself has appeared before him, as well as the archangel Michael.  He also claims to have been visited by the late faith healer, Kathryn Kuhlman -- who came to him in a vision to lead him into the ministry of healing.  Such remarks have created charges of necromancy against him (speaking to the dead) which is clearly unbiblical.

-     He has espoused a word/faith heresy that states that Christ died spiritually after the Cross and became one with Satan and sin, and had to be "born again" (His Resurrection) first in order for others to do the same.  His Blood was not enough, according to this heresy.

In addition to his false claims, he has gone on record and cursed all those who would speak against him or any other preacher -- even if they are wrong.

Time will tell if Benny Hinn's ministry survives his own misdeeds, or if he simply becomes a household name, mentioned in the same breath along with such people as Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart or Robert Tilton -- people that rose high as self-proclaimed high-priests of God, but fell hard as their egos and greed got the best of them, exposing them for the blowhards (or the charlatans) that they were in reality.
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  ~Poem~
 

Boundless**
Copyright © 2001. Karen Blanton.  Used by permission.

Endless horizons
Over the sea,

Bondage to self
No longer to be,

Love of self,
The spiritual key.

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~A Pentecostal Experience~
 

A Dominion Experiment **: (Part 1)
The Shepherding/Discipleship Movement
A Personal Account and Analysis
Copyright © 2002. By Robin Arnaud.  Used by Permission.

I was very new to the Charismatic experience and just 12 years old when this movement began, right in my own hometown. Originally billed as "a return" to city-churches, it was supposed to eliminate barriers and unify the church in every city. It was to be a grand, courageous exercise in mutual submission that would dissolve all remaining walls between Christians (denominational, political, theological, financial, social). And such a unified church would be so powerful that dominion would quickly follow.

"There were not separate churches divided by denominations in the first century," they explained. "Churches were city-churches, single entities in every city, which is why the gospel spread so quickly despite persecution." The authors of this great experiment (Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, and Don Basham) began it soon after they had established very popular teaching ministries in Fort Lauderdale Florida and founded New Wine magazine - now defunct, but then hugely popular. New Wine was one of the earliest Charismatic "teaching" magazines produced by the Charismatic movement. I grabbed every copy I could get my hands on, and literally sat at Bob Mumford's feet on those overcrowded Monday night teaching meetings - first held at Memorial Baptist Church and then moved to the Governor's Club Hotel in downtown Fort Lauderdale to accommodate huge crowds of itchy-eared Charismatics. All us preteens and teenagers sat up front on the floor to let the grownups have the chairs. Besides, the closer to the front we could get the better we liked it!

"Kingdom dominion" was the object of this movement from the very beginning. The object was to unify the church, thus making her far more powerful and influential. "That we may be one ... perfected in unity and in glory so that the world may believe that God sent Jesus," was the appeal, based on a gross misapplication of John 17:21-23.

Early on, this movement wedded itself to "Kingdom Now" theology, which most of the more orthodox churches (even Pentecostal ones) had rejected as heretical and dangerous. But "Shepherding" offered a way to make "Kingdom Now" actually work. It was to be the first practical application of the concept, putting the ideals into practice through mutual "shepherding." It was supposed be the means to "establish the unified Kingdom of God on earth," hastening the return of Christ. This was my first exposure to any Post-millennial eschatology. I was bewildered by it at first, then completely taken in by its appeal to here-and-now dominion. And I felt lucky to be "on the ground floor, right at the beginning" of the establishment of God's kingdom on earth in the first city in it was to be achieved in our century.

The appeal of this idea was irresistible. We expected to become powerful and influential. We expected to win the entire Broward County metro area to Christ in just a few short years because of "the uninhibited flow of the Spirit" through a "unified" Spirit-filled church. Dominion of the whole world would follow within a generation or two, spreading from right here in my own hometown. Here's how that unity was to be achieved:

Not really by His Spirit, but by might and by power.

The might and power of manipulation. The equivalent, I believe, of witchcraft. Manipulation of others is witchcraft. A "pyramid" of leadership was laid out like an organizational chart with Christ at the top, followed by three "apostles" (guess who? If you guessed Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, and Don Basham, you win!), and from there to their disciples, who would, in turn, train other disciples once they were fully trained. Every individual in the whole city would be personally discipled, by a "shepherd" who had himself been personally discipled, etc. Right on up to the "top" - so that everyone would ultimately become a disciple of Christ. Every person was assigned to a "shepherd" who had been trained in discipleship by the three "Apostles of the Church in Fort Lauderdale."

But what kind of authority does a "shepherd" have? As we look casually at examples of discipleship in the bible, we get a picture of total obedience. But it was not slavery! Any disciple in every biblical model was free to leave his teacher at any time. The biblical model of discipleship did not blur the lines between spiritual authority and domestic authority. Biblically, the individual retained his own responsibility and authority for his own vocation, family, children, place of residence, etc. But this Shepherding movement blurred those lines. In fact it virtually eliminated them. There were stories of abuse so hideous that they had to be quelled by stern orders from above. The equivalent of a "Papal decree," one might think.

It's very interesting how that, among Charismatics, any new "move of God" ends up being a move towards Rome - whether in polity, theology, liturgy (the use of icons, "points of contact," confession of sins to a "shepherd," veneration of holy objects, etc.), or practice. I have suspected for many years now that the Charismatic movement will, in years to come, become a wider means by which Rome will recapture much of Protestantism. Anyway, back to Shepherding / Discipleship:

There were no clear lines drawn to define the scope and limit of a "shepherd's" authority over those he was "discipling." The authority of a spiritual discipler is spiritual, not domestic nor political. It is limited to training in the word of God. Except in the godly application of Scripture to all of life, a discipler has no authority to control a believer's personal life. But in this movement, such limits were never defined.

My own "shepherd," Andy Z., had a group of men living in his home who kept 10 percent of the money they earned for themselves and turned ninety percent over to Andy. I would have been one of them, but I wasn't old enough to move out of my parents' house yet. My older brother, however, was old enough. Already troubled by the abuse we endured at home, my brother moved out of the house at the first opportunity that presented itself - which happened to be Andy's newly forming commune. I was very happy that my troubled older brother had finally "come to Christ" and that he was being "really discipled." He'd be okay after all, I felt.

But now to this day, my brother will never darken the door of any church, and bristles at the mere mention of Christ. He knows a lot of theology and can quote a lot of Scripture. But he hates the church, and is at enmity with God. The abuse my brother suffered at the hands of this "shepherd" and the men who formed this little commune at Andy's house was worse than the abuse he had fled from at home. The damage was so profound and long-lasting that my brother remains unable to maintain relationships and to hold a job. We have lost touch with him, but at last report he was homeless and living in a pickup truck.

The second half of "A Dominion Experiment" will appear in the next month's EXTRA issue.
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~Spotlight On . . .~
 


ex-pentecostals.org!!!

After many months, a dedicated website for all the services is finally a reality!  On May 30th, I secured the domain name, and have been working on building the site ever since.    On our main page, it briefly describes the purpose of the site, and services provided.  There is a separate "forums" page introducing our two support groups, "Ex-Pentecostals" and "Ex-Apostolics," and the debate forum, "Pentecostal Debate."  A third page is dedicated to this newsletter, and currently supplies information on submissions and "letters to the editor."  We hope to build it even further -- including pages for links and resources for former Pentecostals, and have its "grand opening" sometime in late summer or early fall.

Please pardon the dust as we continue construction on the site!  Please bookmark it after visiting, and visit frequently for updates and changes!
GO TO  . . . www.ex-pentecostals.org
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~Letters to the Editor**~
 


AFoP Editor,
         Thank you for the newsletter this month. I appreciate your efforts in keeping us informed of the wider world of the Pentecostal/Charismatic faith.  There is so much out there that we never hear about. Even though the news is not pleasant to hear, I find that such information goes a long way in dispelling the mindset I have had of the Apostolic faith being the "true church." In the past I had heard of scandals and problems in other "Christian" churches and the spin on such information was "the true church" (meaning UPC) would never do such and such. And yet, after I left church I found that the UPC was embroiled in many such scandals and problems. We just had a history of silence and secrecy about such things. My own church for years harbored a minister who just last year was imprisoned as a pedophile -- having molested his seven daughters and in the past, young teens in the church. But no one talked about it then and had not his daughters finally brought suit, he would never have been stopped.
         Any way, thank you for the effort. I hope to see more writings such as your poetry, from other ex's out there. Such positive, creative writing leaves you feeling more hopeful after having read such sad, distressing news. 
Gracie (4-15-02)


Thanks, Gracie, and this month's edition does include more contributions from our subscribers.  I would like to see more contributions, though, from our readership!  Tell us your thoughts, your experiences, or even write a news story!  Check out the details below.
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~Final Prayer~
 


A Psalm of David (25:5) KJV
Lead me in thy truth,
and teach me:
for thou art the God of my salvation;
on thee do I wait all the day.

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About Delivered!

Delivered! is a FREE quarterly newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere, distributed by e-mail only.  It is affiliated with ex-pentecostals.org.  A special EXTRA edition will be published next month, July 15, 2002. The next publication date of the general newsletter is August or September 15, 2002.

ex-pentecostals.org

For more information concerning services and forums, check out ex-pentecostals.org.
Comments? Submissions? Letters to the Editor?
Check out ex-pentecostals.org/newsletter.html for more information, or e-mail: contact@expentecostals.org
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*information compiled from several independent media sources are considered "public knowledge," and sources are not identified.  Articles compiled from one source, the source was identified and a story written extracting the news without intentionally infringing on copyright laws.
**contributions and experiences by former Pentecostals do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editor of this newsletter.  Contributions many be edited for grammar, punctuation, or length.
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Copyright © 2001-2002 by The Association of Former Pentecostals All rights reserved.  All stories, opinions, and other text in this newsletter, Delivered!, are the personal copyrighted property of The Association of Former Pentecostals, unless otherwise noted. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means without the expressed permission of the author(s).  To request permission for reproducing materials contained within this newsletter, please e-mail The Association of Former Pentecostals at contact@expentecostals.org for more information.
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