What is a Husband’s Role in His Wife’s Spirituality?


What is a husband’s role in his wife’s spirituality?  Is he responsible for sanctifying her?


Husband, wife, sanctification, Biblical role, Christian Marriage


I need help with this one.  David Sons has an article that was posted at Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), Pursuing Your Wife (Part 3): The Goal of Dating is Not Marriage.  I like a lot of the article about a husband striving to pursue relational intimacy with his wife, but let me show you the tweet that made me click on the article’s link.



To me, that implies that a man is responsible for his wife’s faith.  That it is a husband’s “works” that will accomplish what she needs spiritually.  Am I misreading that?  Here’s some more from the article, but please read the whole article to be sure I’m not getting anything out of context.  It’s pretty short.

In Ephesians 5, Paul challenges husbands to a great pursuit, saying, “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

Paul exhorts husbands to model their love and service for their wives after the model of Jesus’ love and service for the church. When Jesus called the church to himself, he did so with the intention of presenting her holy and blameless to the Father.

He does this through calling the church to himself (pursuit), cleansing her from her sinfulness (justification), and making her holy through his Spirit and his Word (sanctification).

His pursuit of the church was for the purpose of creating a covenant relationship with her, so that she might one day perfectly display the splendor of God’s glory (Eph. 2:19-22). Jesus did not simply pursue us to have a relationship with us; he pursued us so that, through this relationship, God might be seen as glorious (Eph. 1:3-6), and that our joy might be made full Jn. 15:11).


My goal as a husband is now to work diligently for the sanctification of my wife.


So, for me, the issue isn’t that the husband works for the good of the marriage.  It is important for spouses to be working on their marriages, but I question specifically the “sanctification” aspect as the husband being responsible for his wife’s faith or her sanctification.   What are your thoughts?  What specifically is a husband’s role with regard to his wife’s faith and spirituality?  

I think this idea is important to discuss especially in light of what we have seen going on in Christian Patriarchy in teachings by Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, and so many others where many women are not free to live their own spiritual lives, because their spiritual lives are owned by their husbands, and essentially spiritually abused by them.


***Update:  After reading Cindy’s comment, I decided to see what John MacArthur says about sanctification:

True sanctification, according to Scripture, is the process of God’s transforming work in your life. In the moment of your salvation, you are declared justified by the Lord through the sacrifice of His Son and freed from the guilt of sin. From there, sanctification frees you from the pollution of sin, helping you destroy sinful patterns and relinquish your former wickedness.

And just as with salvation, sanctification is not accomplished by our will or actions—it’s the work of the Lord in the lives of His people. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul prayed that the Lord would complete His sanctifying work in their lives.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians5:23-24).

The word translated here as sanctify literally means to be set apart—in its noun form it is usually translated as holiness. So in basic terms, sanctification is the Lord’s process of separating us from sin and setting us apart for holiness. Paul’s prayer is that the Lord would bring about that transformation in the lives of the Thessalonian believers—that their lives would reflect a decreasing frequency of sin and an increasing frequency of holiness. (Source)


236 comments on “What is a Husband’s Role in His Wife’s Spirituality?

  1. It’s actually not bad. Trouble arises when polluting the truth with foreign elements. A simple instance of this is Peter’s word to honor the woman as the weaker vessel, read with the presupposition that weakness is an inferior state. That’s how the world thinks, and implementing it in that spirit makes Peter’s guidance disgusting.

    But the biblical context is that it is weakness that we are made strong, and that it is in weakness that the power of Christ rests upon us, as Paul explained. It is in Leonard Cohen’s expression, the crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.


  2. Lydia@ 11:39 AM,

    Yes, I saw that Mohler said he did not like the priesthood expressed in an individualistic sense, which is also a problem.

    I didn’t see any reference in either the ’63 or the 2000 BFM to “priesthood of all believers.” I think priesthood of THE believer was correct. However, if they wanted to adjust that to bring out a collective priesthood, they could have changed it to “priesthood of all believers.” Or they could have said “each believer is a priest and all believers together make a collective priesthood” or something similar. There were other ways to do it than leaving a big gaping hole — into which you can allow or disallow anything — between “of” and “believers.”

    “Priesthood of believers” is wholly unacceptable. I must have been misunderstanding Cindy’s concern because I thought she was saying they wanted “the believer ” instead of “all believers” because somehow that made their case about denying women the status of priest and I could not understand how that could be. Now that I see they did not want “the” and have removed it and replaced it with an ambiguous nothing, I see what the problem really is.

    In fact, with the absence of either “the” or “all” there are now two problems where before there was none: 1) The lack of affirmation of the individual as a priest; 2) The question of whether anyone is excluded from that status. It makes me wonder, if they really wanted a collective sense of an ALL believers priesthood, where then is the “all”? Or did they want even more than that? Because this way they are able to have both the absence of each believer as priest and the restriction of the priesthood to certain persons.

    And one wonders how far it would go? Would they eventually want it interpreted to mean not just men, but only certain men, such as pastors/elders? And the other thing it could easily do is deny congregational rule, because “priesthood of [GAPING HOLE] believers” readily supports elder only rule, while easily supporting the denial of both pastor only rule AND congregational rule.

    This seems to be what you are getting at. (?)


  3. Hi, just stumbled onto this blog today, researching speakers that are going to be at our homeschool conference after the fall out with B. Gothard this last week or so.

    Anyhow, I came to the realization a couple of days ago that for the last 19 years of my marriage, I have been expecting my dear, wonderful, servant-leading husband to be my spiritual guide (maybe even my “sanctifier” – is that a word?). And my frustration the last 19 years? That’s not my husband’s style. He’s never taken it upon himself to lead me spiritually. Can you imagine? Here I am thinking that’s what he’s suppose to do, and somehow I’ve failed as a wife because he wouldn’t.

    Where did I get this idea? These subtle ideas of the husband sanctifying the wife – attending two B. Gothard conferences, and then it being subtly woven into the talks at homeschool conferences.

    And two days ago it literally hit me like a ton of bricks: it’s not my husband’s job. He didn’t marry me so he could lead me spiritually. He married me because he loved (and still loves) me, wants to be with me, and wants me to be who I am and grow and flourish as I am.

    This realization is still overwhelming me. I’ve been so caught up in him leading me spiritually that I’ve failed to pursue my own growth, my own walk with Jesus. Thank goodness for the glorious grace and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ! I think I would be a ball of blubbering mess if it weren’t for that.


  4. WouldRatherNotSay:


    You are FREE!!!! Yes!!

    Was this something that you came to on your own, or was it reading somewhere? Regardless, I’m thrilled for you, your new-found spiritual walk and also for your marriage.

    By the way – this teaching is very common at homeschool conferences. Now that your eyes are opened, you will see it popping out all over the place.

    I’m really glad you found the blog and shared your story. ~Julie Anne


  5. WouldRatherNotSay, Welcome!! I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was involved in your ‘stumbling’ to this blog community today. So glad for that. Thank you for sharing about your journey and the fact that you came to a significant realization. It is good to ponder how and why you believed the way that you did and for such a long time.

    You are free to process your thoughts here. You are not alone. People have come from many backgrounds yet there is much that is similar in their stories. Trusting that you feel at home and will feel empowered to shake off what is/was extra baggage in your Christian life. This is a place to grow and to learn, along with others. It is a place to further share your thoughts as you process who you are in Christ and how to please him. Glad that you shared so freely with us.


  6. The use of “priesthood of the believer” vs, “priesthood of believers” goes back to the key issues and arguments involved Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.

    When the controversy between conservatives and moderates in the SBC was in full swing, one of the key arguments made by the conservatives was that Baptists have historically held to the infallibility and authority of the Bible, which the conservatives prefer to call “inerrancy.” Conservatives argued that it was vital to insist on adherence to the doctrine of inerrancy among faculty at SBC seminaries and among those in positions of leadership in the other SBC agencies (missions boards, the Sunday School literature board, etc.). The conservatives felt commitment to the absolute truth of everything in the Bible (historically, scientifically and doctrinally/theologically) was essential to keep the denomination committed to belief in salvation through Christ alone and to prevent the denomination from drifting in a more and more theologically liberal direction.

    On the other side of the controversy were the moderates within the SBC, who believed that it was inappropriate to make adherence to inerrancy a requirement for service in the seminaries and other agencies. They argued that Southern Baptists had historically banded together around their common commitment to missions (taking the gospel to the world) and that there was room within the Southern Baptist Convention for many doctrinal differences, including differing views on the issue of inerancy. Moderates felt that it should be sufficient that a person was committed to spreading the gospel and to the teachings of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, which did not use the word “inerant” in reference to the Bible, but rather stated that the Bible contains “truth without any mixture of error” and that the Bible is our guide for “faith and practice.” Moderates felt this wording allowed a person to believe that there are no errors in the Bible in regards to its doctrinal teachings about God and Christ and how we should live, but also believe that we should not expect the Bible to be literally true in all matters (since it was not designed to be a history or science textbook).

    Conservatives often said that belief in the Bible was historically a primary unifying belief of Baptists and that commitment to inerrancy was simply believing the Bible, and that not believing the Bible was a very “unBaptist” viewpoint.

    Moderates often said that Baptists were historically unified around certain core doctrinal teachings from the Bible, not to a specific doctrine about the Bible itself. They said that a key historical Baptist doctrine was that of “priesthood of the believer” (and the and the related concept of “soul competency”), which implies that each individual believer stands before God individually and directly and is therefore capable of interpreting the Bible for themselves (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course). Moderates therefore argued that it was very “unBaptist” to insist that others believe the same as you do.

    Once the conservatives had full control of the SBC, they took steps to solidify and codify their power and doctrines by making adjustments to the Baptist Faith and Message (and also by requiring adherence to the document by their leaders, professors and missionaries, something that had not been required previously). Al Mohler championed many of the changes, including the switch from “priesthood of the believer” to “priesthood of believers.” His argument was that “the believer” was too individualistic, as it lent support to moderates’ arguments that their individual standing before and accountability to God meant that Baptists shouldn’t impose their doctrinal views on each other. So he (and others, like Paige Patterson) pushed for the change to “believers,” in order to indicate that Baptists are collectively accountable to God and to each other, and therefore it is acceptable for Baptists to tell each other what they must believe as Baptists.

    All that said (for anyone who bothered to read all this and who still cares), there have been (as noted by Cindy K and Lydia and others above) additional implications and problems from the shift from “the believer” to “believers.” Not the least of which is the ambiguity of the new wording. “The believer” strongly implies “each and every believer” whereas “believers” could mean all believers, or just some of them. This lack of clarity, combined with the shift of focus away from the competency of the individual before God, allows the BFM to be used to support the idea that some believers are priests over other believers, or that some believers are of a different or higher order of priests than others — such as the idea that husbands having a special priestly role toward their wives that wives do not have toward their husbands.

    Amazing how a small shift of wording can make such a difference. Especially when coupled with an authoritarian structure.


  7. Wow, Lydia, I had no idea the cbmw beliefs about the role of women went that far. Of course, they are following their own beliefs to their logical conclusion. Because Christians in conservative fundamentalist circles are often so suspicious of anything intellectual or of critical thinking, they fail to make these connections or, reading the statements from cbmw which are so shocking, their minds refuse to process that something is very, very wrong with this teaching. I’ve been following your posts for a while and lurking, not out of choice but trying to get used to using the screen reader in the comment field. You, Patrice and Cindy K. are all a tremendous inspiration for all you do in encouraging others. they


  8. Another Tom,

    Amazing how a small shift of wording can make such a difference. Especially when coupled with an authoritarian structure.


    Thanks for the further explanation.


  9. Julie Anne and Barb,

    Thanks for the welcome. Julie, you asked what brought me to this discovery. (And I apologize for the long-winded reply – but can see from this thread that I’m not the only one who can be verbose! 😉 )

    Well, I believe a series of God-ordained events. It started a couple of weekends ago with a regional women’s retreat. The teachers there went through Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary’s lives and how even though they weren’t perfect (and in fact, some not Jewish), yet they were in the line of Jesus. The big thing I got from that was “don’t let the past define who you are today, because God and redeem anyone’s life,” and “God doesn’t care if you’re qualified.”

    Anyway, they recommended, for a different perspective on those women, reading Francine Rivers’ books about these ladies. (The ladies who spoke had different perspectives than Rivers.) I had read a lot of her fiction and really enjoyed it, so I tucked that in the back of my mind.

    Then, that next week the news on Bill Gothard came out at World Magazine. Someone in the comments there posted a link to Recovering Grace’s website. I really soaked that in. I was floored. I had NEVER heard any of those things before about him. (We never got involved beyond going to a Basic and Advanced seminar and doing one of his studies with friends, because we moved to a state where his stuff just wasn’t “popular.” And when we talked to people here about B. Gothard, they would just say he’s a little to legalistic.) After reading the stories and then some of the articles on how he twisted scripture and how the whole “umbrella of authority” thing was unbiblical and some of the stories of patriarchy (and Doug Phillips) and such, well, I was just overwhelmed and saw how my thinking had been wrong.

    To kind of give myself a break from that I decided to check out a book from the library – I love to read Christian fiction (even if some of it is predictable and dorky) because it really relaxes my mind. I went looking at our local library’s electronic collection and saw a new Rivers fiction book that I hadn’t read, “The Scarlet Thread.” (Don’t know if it’s new, or it was just new to the electronic book collection.) So, I read that book, and after I finished it, I put 2 and 2 together and began to realize my error in expecting my husband to be my “spiritual guide.” Somehow that book showed me that it is my responsibility to develop my own spiritual path. (I had been under the mistaken impression that I shouldn’t be more “spiritually mature” than my husband (I’m not 100% sure where I got that idea), so I stopped working on that so he could “catch up” to me and then be my spiritual leader. How bizzaro is that? How prideful is that – thinking that I was more spiritually mature than my husband? Sigh…)

    Then I thought, “You know, I really need to check out the speakers coming to our state homeschool convention. I don’t want to get sucked into some kind of cult-like thing again.” And when I started doing searches on those names (K. Swanson, V. Baucham, etc) I stumbled onto your blog.

    Sad part of it is, Mr. Swanson was head of our state homeschool group for several years. I never listened to his radio program, but reading some of the transcripts and seeing some of the things he has said has blown me away. It’s outrageous stuff. I do remember going to a Homeschool Day at the Capital a few years back and when he prayed for the legislators and legislature he called them a “brood of vipers” (or den of vipers – one or the other). That was the first time my hubby had ever come to a homeschool event with me and my hubby was not impressed with Mr. Swanson. Here we were talking about submitting to authorities and appealing to them to protect our ability to homeschool and Swanson is calling them vipers. I don’t think you should call your state leaders vipers. I mean, if one of his kids called him a viper, I don’t think Swanson would tolerate it. (And I’ve seen even more things like that that just turn my stomach.)

    So now I’m debating on whether to go to our homeschool conference or not. I usually don’t go to the “main sessions” where Swanson and his ilk speak. I have gotten much encouragement and help from the 1-hour workshops for our homeschool. I really don’t want our money going to support these guys. And now I’m pretty much a veteran homeschool mom – my oldest will be a 9th grader this fall. There is a lot of “support” on facebook and the web for homeschooling. And, the curriculum provider I use won’t be at our vendor hall this year, Soo…

    At this point I’ve written a letter to our state homeschool group and asked them to stop giving the patriarchy and family integrated church guys a platform. I’ve talked to my husband he’s encouraging me not to go if I feel this strongly about it.


  10. Hi again, WouldRatherNotSay. Thanks for taking the time to share more details about your journey and what things excite you and what things grieve you on the Christian landscape. As I mentioned before, you are not alone! Somehow the light goes on and you see that you have been duped by unscrupulous leaders who claim to have some kind of authority from the Creator to boss you and your family around. You are seeing how ridiculous this can get! It can get pretty overwhelming, the more you dig around for your own answers, to say the least.

    You have turned a corner and those gut feelings, that you have had all along, are now flying in formation. You are getting your own answers and are making personal adjustments. You are becoming one of those who ‘gets it’. Your heart is grieved with the hypocrisy that you have experienced and no longer want to be a part of these toxic systems. Keep checking things out. If you need some help with anything, just drop a question or comment and some folks with information in that area can be of help to you and your dear husband. You are on your way!


  11. Maybe someone posted this verse already… John 1:12 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.

    Sounds like it’s got nothing to do with the husband and everything to do with God.


  12. WouldRatherNotSay, yes, all about God!

    Hey, Ed, if you read this, remember that we are children of God, in God’s family, and since we all know that kids do better in a two-parent home, God can’t be only male or we’d be getting less than the best. 😉


  13. Hey Patrice,

    I read it.  My response is, God is a spirit, and he (YES, HE) has no gender.  No penis, no vagina.  No sperm, no egg.  NO female partner. 

    God “created us” out of nothing.  And, since God is a spirit, we, too, are a spirit.  What GENDER is our spirit?  Male or Female?  Good question, huh?

    I say neither.  What do you think?




  14. Where does this strange notion come from that God has no gender? Surely not from the Bible, which says that God made man in his own image and likeness; male and female he made them.


  15. Ed, I’d be fine with that but there’s no neutral pronouns for God. “It” is not ok because it denotes something without life. Our language is too limiting for such as God. It is weird, really. Why can’t there be a pronoun just for God, who is truly that exceptional, that One and Only? We don’t allow for such an idea in language.


  16. If a man loves his wife as Christ loves the church I do believe he will enable her to grow more in her relationship with the Lord. The reverse can also be true. If he does not love her as he is instructed, and creates grief and pain for her, that will make it more difficult for her to grow in her faith. Just my opinion.


  17. Patrice and Peter,

    Peter, God has no gender. He does not have sex. He does not have a penis, nor a vagina. God is a spirit. He made mankind in his image, both male and female. Together, the TWO are ONE. God is ONE. Pay attention to that word, ONE. It has nothing to do with gender. I have no idea where you are assuming that God has a gender. It is mankind that makes all this a gender issue. There is no gender in heaven.


    I posted this in the two posts of council for biblical manhood womanhood posts. I hope this helps a little bit:

    We all, regardless of gender, inherit all. And yes, we are all called “sons of God”.

    John 1:12
    But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    Romans 8:14
    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

    Galatians 4:6
    And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

    Galatians 4:7
    Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

    Philippians 2:15
    That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

    1 John 3:1
    Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

    1 John 3:2
    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

    Revelation 21:7
    He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

    Even the Angels are known as the “sons of God”

    Job 1:6
    Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

    Job 38:7
    When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    ****There is no gender since everyone is a son, both male and female. A female is a son.



  18. I’m not assuming that God has gender. I’m just reading it in the Bible.

    Of course it isn’t the shadow, the picture of this reality that we experience, just as the days defined by sunrise and sunset that begin on day 4 are much less than the real days of creation defined by God speaking in Genesis 1.

    What’s remarkable is that something as intrinsic to our nature, in which God says that his image is male and female, should be absent in the God whose male and female image we are. As long as it’s not the Bible that counts for you, but your a priori assumption into which everything must fit, there’s going to be trouble.

    It is certain that sonship is for women as well as for men, but that doesn’t prove that God has no gender. It proves that the reality of gender is more fundamental than our biology, which only portrays a greater reality.

    C. S. Lewis had a good handle on these things. Read some of his stuff.


  19. Peter,

    It seems to me that you are way too carnal in your thinking. Now, if you would think spiritually about things, you might see a huge difference from the carnal to the spiritual.

    I always love when people say things like, “Nowhere in the Bible will you find, blah, blah, blah.”

    Well, Pharisees were blind to the scriptures when they knew the scriptures. Even the Apostle Paul knew the scriptures very well before his famous ride to Damascus. But nowhere in the Bible did he find that Jesus was the Messiah.

    Why? Because he was blind to the scriptures. So, when you say things like “I’m just reading it in the Bible…”, then that tells me that you aren’t looking deep enough.

    Paul had to take off his carnal lenses and put on his spiritual lenses.



  20. Well, Ed, I’ll never be spiritual enough, God willing, to put on spiritual lenses that enable me to see things in the Bible that aren’t there and conflict with what is there. I don’t really think there’s anything especially spiritual about getting some idea and then making everything you read fit around that idea.

    And I’m not recommending Lewis as someone not to put to the test like anyone else. He just said things well, and it would be prudent to pay attention before you blow him off.


  21. Well, Peter,

    What you said sounds like the same types of justifications that the Pharisees used as their justification to stoning Jesus.  They couldn’t see.  They were blind, but they claimed to see.

    John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    John 9:40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

    John 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

    In John 9:39, Jesus was not discussing the eye sight. 





  22. You don’t have a good answer, and so being unwilling to put on your spiritual lenses, I am carnal. Which is fine; it’s true enough. But when Jesus disputed with the Pharisees, he showed them they were wrong from the scriptures, and they didn’t have an answer. In this dispute, you don’t have an answer from the scriptures and can only tell me I’m spiritually blind because I’m not wearing the spiritual lenses you prescribe. That’s a fundamental difference.


  23. Peter,

    I do believe that you are wrong in many many ways there.

    If Jesus did as you say, then their eyes would be opened, and they would have fallen to their knees at Jesus’ feet and repented.

    But, they didn’t do that, now did they?  Why?  Because they did not believe Jesus.

    Before Abraham was, I am.  I suppose that Jesus showed them the scripture that states that, right?

    But, if they knew the scriptures, they would have seen that already.  Can you find it in the scriptures?

    Please don’t tell me that it isn’t there, because it is.

    Come on Peter.  I thought you were the foundation of the Church!  LOL




  24. Peter,

    For you:

    Matthew 13:
    10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

    11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

    12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

    13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

    14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

    15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.


    Mark 4:
    11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

    12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.


    I suppose that you just think that Jesus spoke plainly to these people, huh? If those smart Pharisees KNEW the spiritual, then they would have understood what Jesus was saying.

    Also, Nicodemus. Jesus had to tell Nicodemus the following:

    John 3:
    12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

    Nicodemus had no spiritual lenses, either. He couldn’t understand what being born again was all about. He could only think of mama’s womb. That’s carnal.



  25. That’s all true, and Mark 4:9-12 even identifies who gets to understand – those who ask him about the parables and get them explained, as Jesus then proceeded to do. It’s not at issue here that we need revelation to understand the word of God. That doesn’t support your posture, that we understand it by putting on some spiritual lenses, which you have explained means assuming a priori what it says and then making it fit, since you know that what you already believe on this question is correct.

    It simply means that you ask when you don’t understand, and Nicodemus did understand. He did so by asking his stupid question and getting the answer from Jesus, which is the way he came to understand and didn’t stay stupid. That’s still the way it works.


  26. You’ve got to be kidding, Peter?  The Hebrew scriptures are full of spiritual stuff that NO ONE will ever be able to SEE unless those spiritual lenses are put on.

    For example, do you see Jesus in the Passover, long before Jesus was born?

    If so, please describe what you SEE with your CARNAL lenses.

    I suppose that all you see in the Feasts of God is food and drink, and, of course, “obedience”, huh?

    Revelation 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

    *****SPIRITUALLY CALLED Sodom and Egypt. Where was Jesus crucified?  GREAT CITY.  GREAT CITY…SODOM/EGYPT.  GREAT CITY.  Remember those two words.  This is trying to tell you something spiritual, but are you listening.  You need to search the HEBREW scriptures now, and take a journey about that GREAT CITY.  Spiritual, not carnal.

    Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

    Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.




  27. Ed,

    Jesus did do as I say, and it doesn’t follow that they would have therefore understood. For instance: Matthew 22:15-22, 19:3-8, 15:2-9, 12:1-7, 9:10-13,
    Mark 2:24-27, 7:1-13, 10:2-9,
    Luke 4:25-29, 6:1-4, 20:17-18, 20:21-26, 20:41-44

    I look forward to your showing us how Jesus reasoning with the Pharisees from the scriptures would necessarily have caused them to believe.

    What Jesus did not do is to define spiritual as believing whatever he a priori believed and decided to impose on the scriptures, as you do. In fact, he didn’t even argue with the Saduccees about the proper canon of scripture. He took it from where they were and showed them the resurrection from Moses.


  28. Oh, Peter, Peter…my, my, my…

    So, Jesus asked the Pharisees the following question:

    Matthew 22:41 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

    Matthew 22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. Were they wrong?  NO!  The Pharisees were RIGHT.

    Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

    But now look what Jesus added to their answer:

    verse 45

    45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

    And what was the answer? 

    46 And no man was able to answer him a word

    But lets see what Jesus said inbetween verse 42-45

    43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

    If David called Jesus Lord, then HOW is Jesus the SON OF DAVID.  Keep in mind that verse 1 shows that Jesus is the son of David.

    Now…what is your answer to that one, Peter?  Jesus did a gotcha on the Pharisees, and it shut them up.  They still didn’t get it.  Jesus said that David in spirit…that means that David isn’t discussing carnality stuff here.  He is spiritually speaking, and that is what Jesus was doing to the Pharisees.  But they didn’t get it.  Nor did they even know the answer.  But they knew the words of David.  It was a required course.

    So, to say that Jesus took them to where they were is way off base.  He questioned their belief system, and left it at that.  He took them to David, and they had no answer, because they didn’t spiritually understand it.  They answered the carnal correctly, however…remember, Matthew 1:1?




  29. They didn’t know how Psalm 110 fit in, so he left them there, but I don’t see your point. Since they believed the scriptures including the Psalms, he worked within what they knew and challenged them with a problem.

    He did not here or anywhere else dream up some allegedly spiritual lenses and impose that on the Bible to make it come out as he wanted, as you’ve been recommending. WHen your own spiritual ideas trump the plain sense of the text, you can’t be corrected. Jesus didn’t argue with the plain sense of the text or impose some super-spiritual interpretation on it. What he did here was precisely the opposite: he made them look at each word, including those they had blipped over.

    Actually, it wouldn’t hurt you a bit to lose the supercilious “my, my, my” nonsense. It’s spiritual pride, and scoffing, none of which is spiritual in the least. I don’t know why you think it’s persuasive in any way.


  30. My point, Peter, is for people in general…not just you…to take off your carnal lenses and seek out spiritual matters.

    God has no gender.  The TWO are ONE.  Male and Female together is NOT A GENDER.  God is ONE.  God is NOT TWO.  God is not a female, nor is he a male. 

    Stop thinking that a pronoun proves that he has a penis. 

    Besides, your explanations of scripture is all carnal based.  You think in the carnal.  You don’t seem to spiritualize anything, and I showed you HUGE examples, that you just quickly dismiss.

    You are way too carnal for me, as are every single reformer that I have ever come across on the internet.




  31. I never said that God has a penis, and your characterizing my view in that way doesn’t meet even the test of elementary honesty that the world expects.

    I know, Ed, that name-calling, characterizing other people as carnal in contgrast with your own spiritual self is doubtless very spiritual – but I guess I’m too carnal to understand how that can be.


  32. Here’s a thought

    We are all of born of the Father, but through the ‘womb’ of the church.. ‘the Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all’



  33. That’s my whole point Julie Anne.  What male with a penis is ever going to admit that he’s a she, saying, “I’m the Bride of Christ”, in a deep voice, while at the same time, brow beating female spirits into submission? 

    I suppose that God has an Adam’s Apple, too? 

    OK, I’m a lesbian trapped in a mans body.



  34. Peter,

    You had said: “It’s all good clean fun. Jesus is the son of God, but then in Proverbs 8 we find him as Lady Wisdom.”

    My response: That should tell you that women are more wise than men, right?  So why are women to listen to us men again?  Cuz we got a penis?  That penis thing is what makes our gender, Peter.  That’s why I say, and you agree, that God doesn’t have one.  No penis, no vagina, no gender!




  35. Ali,

    Now THAT is spiritual.  That is what I was talking about, Peter.  Ali has those spiritual lenses.  You need to see what she sees.

    Thanks Ali,




  36. There are several passages in scripture about nursing mothers. There’s a song I sang at church years ago: like a weaned child in mothers arms, so longs my soul for Thee, oh Lord.

    As a mom who practiced child-led weaning for my 7 children, this was a powerful illustration.

    O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
    I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
    2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me. Ps 131:1-2


  37. They are analogies. Analogies are never perfect or direct comparisons. CBMW exploits the analogies that suit their purpose, claiming that they are literal and direct. They ignore the others.


  38. JA, “like a weaned child in mothers arms, so longs my soul for Thee, oh Lord.”

    Do you remember the name of that song, or who wrote it? That is so lovely to me and show me how much I need metaphors and analogies that can relate my experience to the God I love.


  39. Patrice -I will try to find it when I get home. About to sing at a concert now. I sang it in high school at the Catholic Church. I loved it then and especially now after being a mom and understanding what it’s like to have a weaned child in my lap. Nursing moms would get this. I like reminders!!!


  40. Pingback: How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers | Christian Pundit

  41. Peter,

    You had said: ”

    What Ali says is true, but further, the apostle Peter writes that we are to desire, as new born babes, the pure milk of the word. That’s the Father being mom.” My response: Oh, so now God has milk filled breasts?  You can’t figure out that Peter was being SPIRITUAL here?  That isn’t the Father being mom. Ed



  42. Peter,

    Further analysis of the MILK is dealing with the new babes, so to speak, not able to eat the meat. Meat is for mature Christians. Milk is for babies.

    How can you have any pudding if you can’t eat your meat? (Pink Floyd).



  43. Hebrews speaks of meat being for the mature, and milk only for babes, but Peter is writing to everyone who reads to desire the pure milk of the word as a newborn.

    Of course this only applies to newborns, and not to those who fancy themselves mature – one of many ways in which the Bible invites the proud to exclude themselves.

    Another such case is 1 Peter 3, in which proud men are invited to exclude themselves from its advice, although the example pointed to for that advice is a certain male, Jesus, and therefore applies to everyone except those who in their conceit exempt themselves from it because they aren’t women.


  44. Well, Peter, Go and Eat Jesus Body, and Drink His Blood, while you drink the milk. It is quite clear to me that it isn’t discussing milk at all, nor is it discussing that God is a mom, or female. That is a conjecture that you have concluded. Not me. Milk is for beginners.

    Also, it should be noted, and it is certain that the Catholics disagree with this, but Peter’s audience in both of his epistles are the Jews…not the Gentiles.



  45. We need not speculate on who Peter’s audience is. He tells us that it the strangers scattered in various places elect according to the Father’s foreknowledeg and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. There’s no suggestion that this audience is limited to Jews; Peter got that straight back in Acts 10.


  46. Those Strangers, Peter, are his Jewish brethren…and it was Paul that straightened out Peter, making it clear that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, while Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles.  Acts 10 was so that Peter KNEW that the Gentiles are included…not that his audience is to anyone, both Jew/Gentile, but to one class…Jew only.




  47. You have any evidence that this is only his Jewish brethren? Last I checked, people described in those first two verses are both Jews and non-Jews, the blood of the cross having made the two one. That Peter had the ministry to the circumcision is no evidence that Peter was writing only to Jews, just as Paul had the ministry to the gentiles but continued preaching early and often to Jews. See, for instance, Acts 28.

    This appears to be another instance of your bringing a predetermined doctrine to the Bible and jamming the Bible into it. I think that this way of handling the scriptures does not work out well, but I do not expect you to believe me.


  48. Yes, Peter, I have done my research.  I had this debate long ago with Catholics who tell people the when Peter said the word Babylon, that they say that he used that word “Babylon” as a code word for Rome.

    Using a Strong’s Concordance, you will see that the word “stranger” is based on someone in a foreign land. 

    The word Stranger

    1 Peter 1:1  3927 (a resident foreigner)Jews living in someone else’ country. 2 Peter 2:11 3941 (alien resident)Jews living in someone else’ country.

    Babylon actually existed in the days of Jesus, and did exist long after Jesus died.  It is in Assyria.  This is where the Babylonian Talmud was written, and that Talmud was completed in about the year 600 something, if I am not mistaken.

    Aish.com is a Jewish Website, and that gives detail about this Babylon that the Catholics say didn’t exist because it was destroyed. 




  49. In addition, Peter, you will see once you read Peter’s epistles once again, noticing that he mentions Gentiles, showing that he isn’t talking to Gentiles.

    Both of his epistles give HUGE hints about that. 




  50. Odd hearing the champion of the “spiritual” talk about strangers being those who are Jews in the flesh living among the nations, when it is quite clear in many places that anyone who is bought by the blood of Jesus is a stranger in this world and a Jew in the faith. Note, for instance, Paul referring the non-Jewish believers in Rome to “our father Isaac,” and stating that they have been grafted in although they come from a wild olive tree. Hebrews 11:13-16 is pertinent, as is Paul’s writing that he is crucified to the world and the world to him. That’s being made a stranger in this place.

    If American Christoids knew that they were strangers here, instead of identifying with the American empire, they might believe what Jesus says and do it, thereby being actual Christians, instead of being on board with bombing, invasion, and even genocide – not to mention crucifying Jesus afresh through their approval of torture. Failing to know that we are strangers here has some very practical consequences. It really does determine whether or not God is ashamed to be called our God, as Hebrews 11:13-16 makes clear.

    Moreover, the references to gentiles in Peter’s letters are quite obviously people who are not disciples of Jesus, since disciples of Jesus would not be maligning the faith and otherwise demonstrating unbelief as the gentiles do in Peter’s references to them.

    To my mind, it’s likely enough that Peter went to Babylon, since he was sent to the circumcision, and Babylon and not Rome would be the place to go to fulfill such a ministry. I don’t see how it’s all that material regarding our issues here, but I do think you’re probably quite right about this.


  51. Peter,

    Peter is not discussing strangers as the way that you lay it out, spiritually.  He is “addressing” Jews in a foreign land, carnally.  Babylon, for example is not the land of the Jews, but Jews in a foreign land.  They are residents, but not citizens.  Peter was in Babylon, not Israel, not Rome.  He, himself, was also a stranger in a foreign land.

    Paul, on the other hand, was a citizen of Rome, hence God sent him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.  Paul would not address any Gentile in Rome as a Stranger.  Paul, being a Jew, was a resident citizen in Rome, not a resident alien.  Peter was NOT in Rome, he was in Babylon, among other places, addressing Jews who were aliens, aka, not citizens of the nation that they occupied.

    The book of Hebrews and Ephesians discusses us sojourning here on earth, as strangers, yes, but this isn’t discussing Peter addressing an audience in his Epistles, as a greeting.

    Your explanations just don’t cut the mustard.  I’d rather hear accurate history from Jews, than skewed history from Gentiles any day.  In other words, I don’t believe anything, and that means 100% of anything that Catholics say.  But, reformers love to believe in most of Catholicism, just not some of Catholicism.  Augustine influences both.  The Jews hold the Oracles of God.  Not the Gentiles.  Peter was never in Rome.  Peter is not the foundation of the Church.  He was in Babylon and that is not code word for Rome.

    And yes, Peter was only addressing Jews.  Not Gentiles.




  52. Sounds like you haven’t grasped that through the cross God abolished that carnal barrier, while making any disciple of Jesus a stranger in this world – as God himself is. Paul did write that this is a great mystery.

    I don’t know how any of this has to do with Catholics, reformed, or Augustine. We’re talking here about the text, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Anyone can be right or wrong about things, and I’ve never seen anyone wrong about everything all the time, as John 1 leads me to expect.


  53. Of course Peter wasn’t the foundation of the church. Jesus was clearly speaking of himself, as Paul confirmed in 1 Corinthians 1 about who the foundation is. Whether Peter was ever in Rome or not, I don’t know, and neither do you, but fortunately that doesn’t matter for our purpose.


  54. Peter,

    Acts 2:10
    Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

    This is an example of the word Stranger.

    Those were Jews and Gentile Converts to Judaism (proselytes) from all over the world in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Strangers of Rome (JEWISH alien residents of Rome). There was NOT ONE Gentile at Pentecost in Acts 2.

    This is NOT discussing your spiritualized stranger, but carnal stranger.



  55. Peter,

    You had said:
    “Sounds like you haven’t grasped that through the cross God abolished that carnal barrier, while making any disciple of Jesus a stranger in this world – as God himself is. Paul did write that this is a great mystery.”

    Peter is not discussing some great mystery.

    Jesus did NOT abolish the carnal barrier for those who are NOT IN CHRIST. That barrier is still there.

    IN CHRIST there is no Jew/Gentile…but outside of Christ, there is Jew/Gentile.

    Peter was ADDRESSING JEWS, not spiritualizing the word STRANGER. I stand by that.



  56. Peter,

    Yes, I do know that Peter was not in Rome. For many reasons. But one of the reasons is that Paul himself refused to go where Christ is already named. In other words, Paul is saying that he does not interfere with another Apostles territory. Therefore, he would not want Peter in his territory. Peter was never Pope. Not only that, Peter was a Jew, if I am not mistaken. Has there ever been another Jew as Pope? Never. The Catholic history shows much disdain for the Jews. So much so, that the last Pope wrote a book exonerating the Jews for murdering Jesus. Who gave him authority to do that? Didn’t Jesus already do that when he said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”? Or, when Jesus said “Father”, did he really mean Pope so and so in the distant future?



  57. I think we can make too much of Paul’s statement that he wanted to go only where Christ had not been named; for instance he followed up in Ephesus after Apollos had been there. But in any case, where Paul would not go would not tell us about where Peter would go. I don’t think he went to Rome, because I think his ministry to the circumcision would naturally lead him to Babylon, the principal center Of Jewish life and learning after Jerusalem. But I don’t want to overdrive my lights in these things.

    Maybe Roman Catholicism is more of an issue for you than it should be. Roman Catholics are like you and me: where they’re wrong they’re wrong, and where they’re right they’re right. And it’s even possible that I – and even you – are wrong about some things as well.


  58. Peter,

    Apollos was a disciple, not an Apostle. Not only that, Apollos had to get the record straight by Pricilla and Aquilla. Apollos only knew of the Baptism of John at that time, which is why he had to get more education on the matter.



  59. Well, I’m still not so sure that Apollos was ever an Apostle.

    According to the book of Acts, there was a requirement check list, so to speak. After Judas killed himself, “The Twelve” became “The Eleven”.

    Acts 1:17 “17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.”

    And, according to the book of Acts, there still needed to be “The Twelve” again. So, they had to vote on someone. And the way that they voted was to “roll the dice” so to speak, aka, cast lots.

    Acts 1:21-26 ”

    21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

    I’m not sure, but it looks to me like there were still only a total of twelve. And, again, look at the requirements.

    1. Verse 21, they had to be at least one of the disciples that ALWAYS “companied” with them. Remember, Jesus had more than 12 disciples…out of MANY he had only 12 Apostles. In the book of Luke, Jesus sent out 72 disciples.

    2. Must be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.

    Apollos did not qualify, based on Acts 1.




  60. We do have Paul, who was not of the 12. And then a couple more in Romans 16:7. And James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19).

    And then in the Revelation we find a church being commended for putting some supposed apostles to the test and finding them false, which should not be much of a challenge if you can dispose of the case by noting that they are not of the 12.

    Finally, Ephesians 4 says that apostles, along with prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are supposed to continue with us until we reach maturity. Not that I see any, but I don’t see prophets either. Or going by 2 Timothy 4:1-5, no evangelists either. And as many here have learned upon their hides, not so many pastors or teachers, if only real ones count.

    Yes, indeed, we are not in such a good way these days.


  61. Peter,

    Very good point.  Or I should say, points (plural).  Makes me want to research this a bit more, in regards to what actually qualifies a person to be an apostle, especially since we know that we have self appointed apostles, rather than by casting lots.




  62. Hi there, one and all

    I’ve been fighting the good fight on a thread of Barb’s on a different forum and lost touch here. So sorry for breaking the flow.


    I was reading this article on the Comp. view of eternal roles in the New Creation.


    Ploughing through the preamble before I even got to the comp. perspective the Lord whispered 'minas'.

    YES!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 Get it?

    What is the reward for his faithful servants?…. Rulership!

    Over what?…..CITIES….. containing 'males' and 'females' or neither, whichever view you want to take.

    So if I have been a faithful female now, and if I am still 'female' in the New creation I will be ruling over 'MALES' !!!

    If THAT is God's design for then, it is ALSO his design for NOW.


    Eat that CBMW! 😛


  63. If it’s of any use, on that other thread, I’ve been chipping away at the foundational belief of there being a divinely established order for men to rule over women. I put together the following series of qyestions addressed to an unusual comp. Larry is what he calls a Hebraic Christian… not Messianic Jew… and sees ALL the OT scripture (apart from the ceremonial cleansing rites and sacrifices.. now fulfilled by Jesus) ..are all still in force. What a minefield of Patriarchy ! This is what I posted


    He has promised to reply and I’m still waiting.. so don’t know myself.. if it is a useful approach.

    May appreciate some help, though , in my responses

    By the way I have A. Amos Love to thank for the ‘no curse’ angle.


  64. Oh and another ‘waking thought’ that came this morning, was a picture to decribe the meaning of ‘help meet’. I should have inserted it into the post I sent to Larry, but will update the post now for you. Two jIgsaw pieces only become one if they are aligned side by side.

    Thank you



  65. Jesus said they’re all in force, however offensive that seemed to Marcion and his many disciples this day. But then again, Jesus learned his chops from those scriptures, so if you don’t see how they agree with Jesus in the gospels, either he understood them wrong or you do.

    I think I know which way to bet.


  66. That’s a splendid article, Peter!

    ‘God walks in the ruach, spirit, of the day’. Love it! What intimacy with the Father we have restored to us now!

    Never thought of the ‘desire’ to return being the driving force….. good insight.

    Great examples of Bible characters too.

    What you put together on the women keeping silent, follows well. Just wondering if you have ever considered that Paul was being sarcastic, actually quoting what contentious, ex-Jewish Corinthians were pushing for? The synagogues use the ‘traditions of men’ the Talmud… not Torah about women being silent. (The Apostle of GRACE, wouldn’t even be citing the Torah, even less the Talmud LAW to go against ALL his other exhortations for ALL to prophecy and that when they gather EACH one has a tongue… a revelation, a teaching. The two following verses starting with an exasperated ‘What?’, confirm the sarcasm, I think.

    Likewise the Timothy passage, does follow well, again. Lydia helped me with a different understanding that also follows well and you might find it on the thread on ‘Women in the Church’.

    Just some thoughts… I’ve had mine reshaped rapidly, these last few months meeting you lot! 😉


  67. I’ve recently been pottering around a thread on Linkedin started by Barb on the subject of women as pastors. 1300 comments(-ish) to date!

    On it, I wrote a hypothetical letter by an imaginary 21 year old to a complementarian about his appointment as a newly qualified teacher in a school which had a christian, single woman as Head. Needless to say there was no serious engagement with the contents or intelligible response to my request for advice.

    The gentleman to whom I wrote believes that, in the church (whatever that means) all men are the spiritual head of all women!

    I reproduce it here for interest / relevance to the topic:

    Dear Cal

    I am writing to you because I need your advice.

    As you know, I have just begun work as a teacher in a local school with a very high reputation. The Head, an outstanding woman, has held that post for the last 6 years and does so admirably. Inspection reports rate the school as outstanding.

    She is a Christian and brings her christian principles to everything she does. Her pastoral care of both the pupils and staff has created a Godly atmosphere in the school which would be the envy of any Head. It is a delight to work there.

    Being new to the job, I have sought her advice often. She leads me in the practicalities of the job, exhorts me to trust God as my source of strength and wisdom, prays for me, directs me and oversees this large part of my life. In fact, being new to the faith as well, I find her support and guidance in matters of the Kingdom invaluable.

    It is indeed through this lady, that I have come to the faith in the first place.

    I have begun to attend the church of which she is a part.

    The confusion I face is that some who seem to be of good standing in this church and much more experienced than myself are teaching me that because she is a woman, I am her spiritual head.

    Please tell me in what way this headship of mine should be practised.

    Should she be submitting to my advice? My instruction? In my present state that would seem rather nonsensical.

    What teachings is she disallowed from sharing with me?

    Should I now cease to receive pastoral advice and support from her at school?


    Confused Christian.


  68. Oops was copying in a post for Chris above but forgot to change the name… no matter .. We’re one, anyway!


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