The Doctrine of Election and Evangelism
The Reverend Mark Q.L. Louderback Christ Lutheran Church — Arlington, TN

In his essay, The Liturgy as Beacon for the Elect1 , Pastor H.R. Curtis quotes my former St. Louis Seminary professor, Norman Nagel. “Doctor Nagel is fond of pointing out that every error in theology is pushing a truth a bit too far.” (p.7) The irony being, of course, that Pastor Curtis does just the exact same in his own paper. Summary of the Paper We are living among the dying. We are those who know the cure to the world’s ailment of sin. So it is up to us to spread the message of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, what judgment will come upon us if we refuse! Just think of how many will go down to hell this day. I wonder how many of them could have been saved if we had just done a little more. How many would be entering the pearly gates if each of our members had just told one more person about Jesus? (p.1) So begins Pastor Curtis’ essay which questions whether there is indeed anything that could be done to increase the number in Heaven. The essay is designed around the doctrine of election and how our actions do not effect the number in Heaven at all—so we ought to quit pretending as though they do. Pastor Curtis summarizes Calvinism and Arminianism at the beginning of his paper and points out that both are trying to do the same thing: remove the mystery from salvation. The mystery being “Why some and not others?” The Calvinist says that God chooses some for salvation and damns others; the Arminian says that human beings have the free choice to decide whether to accept God’s gift of salvation. Both of them give an answer to the question “Why some and not others?” But the Lutheran response is that this is a mystery: we do not know why. However, Pastor Curtis sees a “side door” of Arminianism into Lutheranism. Salvation does not fall from the sky. God works through means. These means are the Word and the Sacrament. These gifts come through men—men to print Bibles, men to preach sermons, men to share the Gospel with their neighbors, and so forth. If men stop doing those things—then the Holy Spirit can’t call people by the Gospel and enlighten people with his gifts. (p.4)


My paper is a response to Pastor Curtisʼ initial paper on the subject. He has subsequently expanded upon it in further paper and presentation and it is my intent to address the new issues that he brings up. But as the issues the initial paper addresses are still pertinent, it still calls for a response.


This is what Pastor Curtis calls “Functional Arminianism” and he sees it as “your synodical theology of missions.” He sees the evidence of this teaching as quite obvious: Lutheran churches look like Arminian churches. Arminians have a praise band, because that is what people like and they want them to make decisions for Christ. Lutherans have a praise band because people won’t come to hear the Gospel without one. In his critique of Functional Arminianism, Pastor Curtis makes the point that in Lutheran theology, our salvation is certain and secure. It is not based on the capricious will of God (Calvinism); nor on whether your decisions was fully committed or not (Arminianism); no, God gives us grace through His means of grace and we have certainty and assurance in this. Functional Arminianism takes this comfort and turns it into blackmail, forcing the individual to use these means of grace, or else people will go to Hell. Guilt becomes the main motivating force for evangelism (and also stewardship). Ultimately then we see with Functional Arminianism the exact same sin of Adam and Eve—becoming God. “While my salvation is not up to me — I do have the power to prevent or allow others into heaven. What a head trip!” (p.8) The person who has control over someone else’s salvation—by deciding whether to proclaim the Good News or not—plays the role of God. The position of Functional Arminianism denies not merely the doctrine of election but the utter graciousness of the Gospel itself. If you refuse to preach the Gospel from this day on—God’s purpose in election will stand. If you attack and persecute the Church, none of the elect shall be lost. If you horde money and refuse to pray for missionaries on their dangerous way, Christ little lambs will still be in his2 fold. He has lost none and will lose none of those his Father has given him. (p.9) This being true, Pastor Curtis asks, why preach at all? Why give? Why pray? The answer is the Gospel. Not because we need to do these things to save others, but merely in response to the grace that we ourselves have been shown. The question is not “Why?” but “How can we not?” We who died to sin, how can we live in it any longer? We who are saved by grace, how can we resist giving a reason for this hope we have within to all who ask? We do


Pastor Curtis uses the modern common style of not capitalizing pronouns referring to God. I myself do not hold to this standard. We capitalize proper nouns in English, but not the God who made them? It is an unfortunate style.

So. And surely we’ve got to be intelligible so that others can understand us. We don’t have to worry about being intelligible. God will save the lost. a differing way to look the issue. if Pastor Curtis is correct about his view on election. We don’t have to worry about being understood. Pastor Curtis has his theology and runs everything through it—except the Word of God. So. but not to support his position—rather a cursory reading of the Bible verse would seem to support some sort of Functional Arminianism. because God will save the lost no matter what the church does. preaching the same. What does Paul mean in that passage then? Obviously. This is what systematic thinking often does: it tidies things up. They will focus on doing the liturgy and not have to worry about whether it is “Evangelistic” or not. Pastor Curtis quotes from Scripture. He wants the Lutheran Church to return to looking what a Lutheran church should look like: and that is a place where the Gospel is proclaimed. doesn’t God tell us to go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations? “Woe to me if I do not preach” and all that. Critique of Paper—Scripture The summary of election that Pastor Curtis gives is nice. He is looking to change how churches behave. And this is the weakness of the paper—and also what Professor Nagel refers to. A church that rejects this Functional Arminianism will look like our grandfather’s Lutheran Church. or at the very least.” But what we actually have Paul saying is this: . He simply dismisses them based on the doctrine of election. Whether we tailor a message to them or not. and knowing that God will save whom He will save. we get sections this: On the one hand. (p. But Pastor Curtis does not deal with any of these texts. It is evangelistic. our own or another’s but because we are the Father’s children and we love to please the Father. Several times in his paper.3 not do good works to earn salvation. “All things to all men that I might save some”—right? (p. This is the basic framework of the argument that I will be responding to today.11) The point of Pastor Curtis’ paper is not merely to draw attention to a false teaching of theology of missions as an academic exercise. neat and clean. then there is no reason to make any changes whatsoever in our Gospel proclamation. the example that we would expect is for Paul to say “I remain the same.1) Pastor Curtis raises the issue but doesn’t answer it. There is indeed a great deal of truth in what Pastor Curtis writes—but his position is not one that is supported by Scripture or the Confessions.

most importantly. this is a question that begs an answer. Paul is not merely saying “I am reaching the elect. in order to win Jews. that by all means I might save some. both here and in his other presentations. why do anything different? Be as a Jew to the Gentiles and they shall be saved. Certainly. To the weak I became weak. It is not going to change the number in Heaven one iota.” He is talking about changing his actions and his approach in his evangelism. in light of the doctrine of election. But at the same time. Paul could have been the best Jew ever and it would not have won any more Jews. (1 Corinthians 9:19–23)3 What. that I may share with them in its blessings. I do it all for the sake of the gospel. preferences. and rights so that nothing would keep people from responding to his preaching of the Gospel. Paul ought to know better and realize that being like a Jew is not going to make any difference. It isn’t going to save any more Jews. Why would he do this? To say “Oh. Paul was willing to give up his own habits. Pastor Curtis’ argument is that there is no reason to adapt a presentation based upon a different culture or a differing situation. I understand that his paper was not an exegetical study of election in Paul’s writing. He touches upon the passage—why does he not address the passage? Our Synod’s latest study Bible. The Lutheran Study Bible. Paul could have become the perfect person under the law and that would not have made any difference at all. why ought we to not follow this example and change our own actions in order to win the lost? Pastor Curtis offers no answer. Pastor Curtis attempts to give a full explanation of this passage.. I have made myself a servant to all. So what then does Paul mean by this? Why does Paul highlight his behavior? Why does Paul act in this way? And. Once again. There was no reason to become one under the law: once again. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. that I might win the weak. but it is inadequate. It isn’t. I have become all things to all people. It is not going to make any difference whether Paul does this or whether Paul does not. Pastor Curtis would expand upon his slighting of this passage.. . To the Jews I became as a Jew. that I might win more of them. does this mean? It is utter foolishness. I would hope that in a future writing.4 For though I am free from all. heʼs just working with cultural norms” does not really explain the passage adequately—why is he working with cultural norms then? Once again. certainly understands the passage in opposition to Pastor Curtis’ position: 9:19 made myself a servant to all. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.the changeless Gospel empowers us to sacrifice our own 3 In his later paper (and presentation) Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism.

you put up with it readily enough. Paul affirms the importance of learning about. Nothing. (2 Corinthians 11:1–4) 4 I will cover this in my section on Professor Voelzʼs essay. tastes. Example—Warnings of Apostasy Let’s be crystal clear so that we understand the issue perfectly: Pastor Curtis’ position is that the number of people in Heaven is a set amount right at this very moment. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning. since I betrothed you to one husband. See note. Paul tells the people “Be careful. in Scripture. 4 But there are two other topics where Pastor Curtis’ position does not match up with the words of Scripture. respecting. And yet time and time again we have warning to watch for apostasy. we ought not to see anything that points to responsibility for that salvation to any human agent. what does the doctrine of election mean in light of what Paul is writing? These questions are not answered—and this is vitally important as we will see that a correct interpretation of Scripture requires a better understanding of dealing with conflicting topics. Absolutely nothing. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you.” To the Corinthians:5 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. interests. Nothing we do—no hard work. 1958) 9:22 weak. no teaching of falsehood —is going to have any effect upon the salvation of humanity.5 rights. no slacking off. The reason people quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 9. or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted. is because Paul has to mean something. (p. your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received. 8:7. These are the warnings of Scripture against apostasy and the actions of Paul to witness. (p. 5 All passages have emphasis added. and preferences so that others might hear the message of Christ in its power. What does Paul mean? What does it mean in light of the doctrine of election? Or. “Newton and Einstein at the Foot of the Cross”: A Post-Modern Approach to Theology. to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. So. and identifying with one’s hearers in order to reach them effectively. no teaching of the truth.1959) These words would seem to contradict Pastor Curtis’ position. .

reckless. without self-control. “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. not sparing the flock.” Did Paul mean something else? Is he simply referring to the Gospel—that if the Gospel is not proclaimed then there can be no salvation? But even that is Functional Arminianism. and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things. as we have no explanation. ungrateful. Persist in this. Persist in this. (2 Timothy 3:1–7) Let’s begin with Paul’s warning to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4. brutal.6 To the Ephesians: Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock. heartless. Why does Paul warn Timothy about keeping watch over his teaching? Timothy can do nothing to save his hearers. For people will be lovers of self. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you. in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. arrogant. slanderous. What can Paul possibly mean that would fit into Pastor Curtis’ model? There is no way of knowing. for by so doing you will be responding to the grace that you have been shown. but denying its power. to care for the church of God. If Pastor Curtis were right we would have expected Paul to say to him. Instead he says “Persist in this. (1 Timothy 4:16) To Timothy again: But understand this. which he obtained with his own blood. for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. having the appearance of godliness. treacherous. to draw away the disciples after them. unappeasable. that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. What about the second set of warnings that Paul gives to Timothy? “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women…” Capture? Really? That makes no sense. always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. lovers of money. not loving good. for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. How can they capture what cannot be taken? Why doesn’t Paul just quote Jesus to Timothy: “No one will snatch them out of My hand. swollen with conceit. God will save both yourself and your hearers.” But Paul doesn’t say that. Avoid such people. burdened with sins and led astray by various passions. unholy. disobedient to their parents. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women.” (John 10:28) Wouldn’t this put to rest any concern that Timothy or Paul would have? . (Acts 20:28–30) To Timothy in his first letter: Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. abusive. proud.

7 In a further interesting note: Issues. Nelson Searcy. through malice or as the result of a perverted zeal for the salvation of souls — deprives that soul. Walther. but God. . nevertheless.F. saying: “Neither is there salvation in any other. in his presentation Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism. 1885)7 6 Once again.W. C. of everlasting life. there is no answer. 6 Peter confirms this statement by his declaration before the Jewish Sanhedrin. We have the example of C.122) I would bet that if I said “Was it Rick Warren. Pastor Curtis deals with Scripture passages concerning his positions—but mainly he goes over the passages that speak to Predestination (as well as an unfortunate mis-reading of the Gospels and the book of Acts). Thirty-fifth Evening Lecture’ (September 18. So. Why? Because he must also live under Christ in his kingdom and serve him. ‘Law and Gospel. still leaves him in this poor earthly life. Walther: The Miserable Moral Precepts of the Rationalist Preacher Jesus says regarding Himself: “I am the Way. it is a great and awful sin not to draw any soul that has been entrusted to us for instruction to Jesus and not to tell that soul again and again what a treasure it has in the Lord Jesus. After all. A preacher who restrains a soul from confidently laying hold of Christ — no matter whether he does it consciously or unconsciously. he does not adequately engage what Scripture has to say upon the subject. 2. In his paper. no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. its Savior. for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. purposely or from blindness.org/guest/joel-baseley/) has an interview of Pastor Joel Basely talking about Walther and mission work.W.com/books?id=hWlPcGeyVbIC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA119#v=onepage&q&f=false. as far as he is concerned.google. then. the Truth. while he additional passages to support his position.” John 14. 12 Paul adds his testimony by telling his Corinthians: “ I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. but rather that he serve his neighbor whom he brings to Christ. Verily. Pastor Basely quotes Walther: “If a person has come to faith and to baptism. he is already fit to be received into heaven.” I Cor 2. or some other pastor who asked why we were not brought up to Heaven after being saved.” (http://books.” that no one would guess it was really Walther. we know that Calvinists read these texts all the time and they work them into their theology.” Acts 4. p. But this service does not consist of the Christian's bringing some benefit to Christ. To keep some one from believing in Christ is such an awful sin that words cannot express it. He ought to address Scripture and not simply use a theological position to ignore what texts of the Bible say 6.7 I’m not saying that there is not a response to this—Pastor Curtis may very well have an answer for these and for other texts in Scripture. as far as his own person is concerned. I have no doubt that Pastor Curtis has an answer: the issue is that he does not give one. And there ought to be. And not just the Bible: there are other Lutherans who also warn us about false teachers. and the Life. then. Etc (http://issuesetc.F.

then God will still act. I just want to be sure that we understand exactly what we are seeing here in Scripture: because there certainly are places in Scripture where it is very clear that human action is not going to bring about any change in God’s plans. especially those of the circumcision party.8 Once again: Pastor Curtis’ position would reject these words. said. that they may be sound in the faith. evil beasts. “Cretans are always liars. One of the Cretans. This sentiment is lacking in Paul’s letters when he is speaking about teaching the truth. if Esther does not act. Time and time again. So. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Ester 4:13-14) Mordecai states clearly that God will save the Jews and prevent them from being wiped out. empty talkers and deceivers. rather instead we find encouragements and warnings. Paul never says “Listen. lazy gluttons. For if you keep silent at this time. “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. One would think that Walther — who had been through the Predestinarian Conflict — would take more care in speaking of election.” This testimony is true. This is seen in the above quotes from Scripture. relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place. the number of the elect will be kept the same. Relief and deliverance for the elect will come from God. There simply is no way possible for a person to keep someone from believing in Christ. since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. then we would expect a breezy confidence from Paul —the same breezy confidence expressed again and again in Pastor Curtis’ work: “These are those who are empty talkers—let them talk! They do nothing! They will not change the number of the elect at all!” Instead. (Titus 1:10–14) If Pastor Curtis’ position is correct. they must be silenced. as we have seen. but you and your father's house will perish. because no matter what you do. do not worry. not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. a prophet of their own. Why? Why would this . The fact that he does not indicates that something else is going on. Paul warns church bodies (the churches of Corinth and Ephesus) and young pastors (Timothy and Titus) to watch their teaching so that people will not fall away. so the work of the wolves among the sheep will be useless!” No. In the book of Esther for example: Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther. They must be silenced. Therefore rebuke them sharply. and it is also seen in Paul’s letter to Titus: For there are many who are insubordinate. God is very clear that He can and will act and His will will not be thwarted.

etc of the people of God to preach rightly. He is speaking about his conduct and what he has proclaimed. why does God speak about holding leaders accountable who do not teach the truth? We see warning after warning in Scripture for the kings. speak to your people and say to them. son of man. O wicked one. I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. the prophets. that person shall die in his iniquity. but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand. The fact is that God seems to care a great deal about the truth being taught and warns us to take care because otherwise people will fall away! There is a danger to pretend blithely as though our actions do not affect others and their faith at all—otherwise why does God warn us? And indeed. so that the people are not warned.” (p. remember what I quoted from Pastor Curtis’ essay earlier in my paper: “If you refuse to preach the Gospel from this day on—God’s purpose in election will stand. (Ezekiel 33:1–7) Once again. but you will have delivered your soul. and the sword comes and takes any one of them.9) If that is so.” We do not see these words. We do not see the attitude that Pastor Curtis expresses.9 be? Why doesn’t Paul say what Mordecai says? “Whether they teach the truth or not will not matter. and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people. So why does Paul bother to say something that is so obviously true? . But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet. and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way. then why does the person die in their iniquity?8 8 In Acts 18:6 and 20:26. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth. you shall surely die. Pastor Curtisʼ position would be that Paulʼs words are redundant: of course other peopleʼs blood are not on Paulʼs hands. Paul declares that there is no blood on his hands. then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning. because God will save His elect. They never could be. and the people of the land take a man from among them. But if he had taken warning. that person is taken away in his iniquity. and he does not turn from his way. his blood shall be upon himself. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way. The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man. that wicked person shall die in his iniquity. he would have saved his life. “So you. We do not see Scripture reflecting the theology that he claims it to hold again and again and again. but his blood I will require at your hand. and make him their watchman. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning. his blood shall be upon his own head. If I say to the wicked. and the sword comes and takes him away. you shall give them warning from me. If I bring the sword upon a land.

if you do not see others as potential converts—if God has already made the decision about who is coming to faith—then all that matters is for one to proclaim the Word. Example #2—The Conduct of Paul A model is only as useful as the accuracy of its predictions. God will do the work. university lecture halls). All they have to do is proclaim the Word of God. What we actually discover in Scripture is Paul changing his preaching style and language depending upon his audience. Rather. it is to say that Pastor Curtis is mis-using the doctrine and having it say something that Scripture does not seem to echo. The clearest example of this occurs in the comparison of Paul’s sermon to the Jews of the synagogue in Pergia (found in Acts 13) and Paul’s sermon to the crowd of Athens (Acts 17). If it does not. No. . will that be an accurate prediction of what we will find in Scripture? Perhaps you can point to the story of the rich man and Lazarus or even to the rich man who comes to question Jesus. then it is not an accurate or useful model. Churches that are gathering in the elect do not have to please anyone. In Pastor Curtis’ world. This model that Pastor Curtis proposes would predict that in Scripture. You will dress. After all. everyone is a potential convert—that is. Surely these stories would be evidence of a bias against the rich in the Word of God! But it would not be enough to account for a few examples from Scripture. it has account for all of Scripture and explain every part. the church is removed from the constraints of catering to the “potential convert”. In order for a model to be accurate. we would not find examples of pastors and prophets changing their preaching based on their audience. not in funny robes (and especially in funny hats) but in normal. he is merely looking to gather in the elect. Will they accept Christ or not? To get potential converts to church. He is not looking to reach everyone. They do not have to modify their worship so that it is “clearer” or “more attractive” to others. Your music will be the music that people are listening to. honky tonk dives. because not everyone will be saved. everyday clothes. you do whatever is needed. Pastor Curtis rejects seeing people as potential converts. You are seeking for everyone to come to church—because everyone is a potential convert—so you want everyone to be comfortable. If I say that God hates all rich people. all that matters is the free will of the individual. In Arminian thought. You will make them comfortable and have your church look like a place where potential converts are comfortable (coffee houses.10 This is not to say that I reject the teaching of predestination.

as to whether this is because of “contextualization” or not seems simply to be an issue of semantics—or. Pastor Curtis states this about Paul in Athens: “He doesnʼt change his preaching. Pastor Curtis’ position would be confirmed only if Paul’s words were the same. He doesnʼt contextualize it. ๏ A close reading in the Greek shows that the syntax and vocabulary are different ๏ In the one sermon Paul quotes from Scripture and in the other sermon he quotes from pagan poets ๏ The one sermon assumes immediately what God he is referring to and in the other sermon he uses a local idol to explain. a poor job. The very same sermon before either audience would have brought the exact same result. The two sermons are different. To change the style or vocabulary would imply that it was through Paul’s own efforts that God would need to work. That draws us to the question: Why? Why would there be any differences between the two proclamations? Why in the world would we expect for Paul to modify his words in the least? Remember: Pastor Curtis’ point is that our words ought to be completely independent of our audience.” (p.9 The point is the same—they are a Christian sermon and are uncompromising in their proclamation of the risen Lord—but the vocabulary and the approach used are entirely different. or the resurrection. “Is that what most people mean by contextualization?” . If contextualization is seen as downplaying the cross of Christ. But the question is. After all.11 Any close reading of the texts of these two sermons would quickly see differences. this is not what Paul does. then. Paul was not preaching before potential converts. or something in-between. 9 In Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism. as some might see it. He simply had to proclaim the Word before the elect. or demythologizing the Bible in order to make it more “reasonable” to intellectuals.15) This is wrong: Paul does change his preaching. a game of semantics. yes. The elect of God would hear the Gospel message and believe it—no matter whether Paul did a great job.

If you horde your money and refuse to pray for missionaries on their dangerous way. where Paul speaks about only preaching Christ crucified. 15 week in and week out rather poorly in an ill-fitting cassock and alb and mismatched socks. Paul learned from his mistake at Athens and is resolving to go a different way. One could easily posit that every single sermon given in the book of Acts is “actually” a negative example. Because Paul himself has done so. 10 The very fact that Paul changes his words is reason why the church changes its words— why we use different styles. 9) Once again: nothing you do makes a difference in presenting the word. Why? And more importantly: why does God present this example to us? There is a reason why we have the Word of God to begin with—it teaches us of God’s grace and salvation. much less counter. his sermon to his Jewish populations sounds quite different from the one to the Gentiles. the only reason we find the objections is because they refute positions such as the one Pastor Curtis takes. not Scripture. This is such a stretch. Once again. Paul does exactly what Functional Arminian would do: he tailors his message. Start a praise band and stroll the aisle while preaching in your polo shirt and shorts—and the number of souls in God’s kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you chanted TLH p. you change your theology. etc. to proclaim the truth. one of the elect shall be lost. 1 Corinthians will be pointed to. but it also informs our behavior. 11 (p. And yet. vocabulary. There being no evidence to the contrary. if Scripture contradicts your theology. Here. So. How do we prove otherwise? The more likely interpretation is that Luke puts the words in his book.12 But no. because he approves of them. Often. we see Paul doing things differently. the normal rule is. . Christ’s little lambs will still be in his fold. He has lost none and he will lose none of those his Father has given him. 11 Emphasis not in the original. If you attack and persecute the Church. Why does God present such an example that directly contradicts the model that Pastor Curtis has posited? What would explain that? Freedom of the Gospel? Paul can act as he wants? Is that the reason? Perhaps…of course the other possibility is that Paul knows that he is working 10 Just to clarify a vogue criticism: some like to get out of this conundrum by claiming that Paulʼs Areopagus speech is actually a negative example. Obviously. I find it hard to address seriously. Luke records the speech—without comment—and expects us to see that because it did not “work”—because there were not a large number of converts— that this is not the way to go. Do nothing —and the number of souls in God kingdom on the last day will be just the same as if you had given all you had to missions and dedicated your every waking moment to preaching. Pastor Curtis in his own words: If you refuse to preach the Gospel from this day out—God’s purpose in election will stand.

Example 2: “No man can come to me except the Father draw/pull him. Professor James Voelz notes that sometimes Scripture seems to have contradictory statements contained in it. The fact of the matter is that Pastor Curtis simply does not deal with the texts of Scripture. were I to give a burnt offering. but I am carnal.(Rom 7:14) / But now. 25:3 (July 1999): 264–279.13 with a different audience and wants them to hear the Gospel as clearly as possible. and having been enslaved to God. Example 3: We know that the law is spiritual. rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 13 In his article Professor Voelz compares the perspective of God with a Einsteinian view of the world— that is. Professor Voelz sees two different perspectives contained in Scripture. James Voelz’ on the Theology of the Cross In a July 1999 Concordia Journal article12. . the view of contemporary quantum physics which is not immediately obvious—it actually is a bit strange.264) Some Biblical scholars see this as evidence of differing sources of Scripture. Others attempt to harmonize these passages—that they are speaking on different topics actually. What then do I say? Do I reject the doctrine of election? Do I ignore the passages that speak about the elect? The answer for this conundrum is to be found by a perspectival approach. then will you delight in right sacrifices. observation influences the observed. in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings (Ps 51:18–19a). Perspective One is the perspective from God. and Perspective Two is from the view of man. you would not be pleased (Ps 51:16) / Do good to Zion in your good pleasure. When we view the contents of the Bible as a whole. eternal life (Rom 6:22). Professor Voelz on the other hand offers the insightful thought that the positions expressed are both equally valid and equally true—they simply come from two differing perspectives. etc as opposed to Newtonian physics which is much more straightforward. having been liberated from sin.13 From the 12 “Newton and Einstein at the Foot of the Cross”: A Post-Modern Approach to Theology. (p. He does not engage in the Word and so this allows him to do exactly what Professor Nagel warns against: he pushes a truth too far. Example 1: For you have no delight in sacrifice. you have fruit issuing in holiness and its end. it often seems as if differing things are being said about the same topic or issues. sold under sin. Concordia Journal. So he brings the Gospel to them in a clear contextual way.” (John 6:44) / God is pleased by all those who fear him and do what is good and acceptable in his sight (Acts 10:35). Time is not constant.

Pastor Curtis reads all of the Bible through the doctrine of election. Doctor Voelz is James Voelz. Pastor Curtis’ entire position lives in this perspective as well.. this is important. He finds those who are lost (Luke 15:1ff. it is just as true as the perspective from God’s view. This is additionally spelled out in Professor Voelz’s article: Personal salvation: In Perspective Two. Because according to a Perspective Two view. Emphasis in original. we must in some way respond to our situation and to the approach of God. Walther speaking about in his essay? No. This begs the question “Why some and not others?” .” (p. because it makes no difference. Emphasis added. He saves (Luke 19:10).W. 268. He died for us (Rom 5:8). Pastor Curtis writes that our worship service doesn’t matter—what we do does not change the numbers in Heaven. Most interestingly. is the view of our own human experience. But Scripture warns repeatedly about listening to false teaching and keeping others away from false teaching. That is to say. We are called to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 16:31). He makes alive (Eph 2:5). Pastor Curtis misunderstands and dismisses this writing as “speculative theology. It is “the religion of the day-to-day. In writing his essay. 269. As regards our immediate issue. Since God saves His elect. Perhaps this argument is still seen as speculative to some—but then. this is only God’s act. what exactly is C. p. p. But that Perspective is not only legitimate perspective to hold. we see throughout history that Pastor 14 15 16 Voelz. of course. this is what Professor Voelz says regarding the Divine perspective of salvation: Personal salvation: In Perspective One. he only speaks from the Perspective of God (Perspective One).F. We are told to turn to the living God (Acts 14:15). the teaching of true and false doctrine don’t matter. this ignores the alternate perspective that is additionally presented in Scripture—the one that I have spelled out previously that speak about the involvement of human being’s actions when it comes to salvation.” This is necessary.14 Eternal election obviously lives in Perspective One. because Professor Voelz16 article rejects his own position. According to Perspective One. Doctor Nagel is Doctor Nagel. Voelz. this makes no sense. We are called to repent (Acts 17:30). However. It won’t change anything.15 Professor Voelz speaks of this position as a phenomenological one.270) But still. But in doing so he runs rough shod over the passages that run counter to his argument. We must seek after Him and find Him (Acts 17:27).). He is the one who acts and people are in a hopeless situation. He chooses (John 5:16). But Paul time and time again changes his behavior on behalf of the lost.14 perspective of God.

) But the article on Predestination is not one in which there are not differences among the Lutherans. After all. my own personal position might be incorrect and I would need it corrected by what we have all agreed is an accurate statement of Scripture. it is a useful. Pastor Curtis makes the remark that the “Confessions treat Election like a practical doctrine—a doctrine that is not meant for the ivory towers but for the bedside and confessional. (Kolb-Wingert. the Solid Declaration (Article 11) clearly states: On this article there has been no public conflict among the theologians of the Augsburg Confession. etc. So if I claim to be making an accurate presentation of Scripture. the teaching of election is directly referred to in The Epitome and The Solid Declaration. we see that the doctrine of election is not to be used by the Christian to determine how they do evangelism or even how they think about evangelism. Most of the Formula of Concord (which is made of these two works) are responses to issues that have arisen among Lutherans (the role of good works. p. No: the doctrine of election is a teaching of comfort: it is not designed to inform evangelism. In this way the individual knows that their own salvation is certain and secure. But not at all to defend Pastor Curtis’ practice.13) This may be true—but he misses the real point. salutary article that we became righteous and are saved apart from all our works and merits. it is also explained in this document so that no offensive dispute may arise in the future.” (p. the third use of the law.15 Curtis’ position is not reinforced by the teachers in our church body. This is especially important in our own Confessional writing: The Book of Concord. Instead the doctrine of election points Christians to God’s Word and to confidence in God’s salvation. 517) This is a rather important point—that the doctrine of election is intended for comfort. In fact. I need to examine what the Confessions say about the topic. If we are content to remain with and hold to the mystery of predestination insofar as it is revealed to us in God’s Word. purely on the basis of . Pastor Curtis clearly is not using the doctrine merely for comfort. The Confessions did see Election as a practical doctrine. He says specifically in his paper that the doctrine has practical implications that he uses to address how we do evangelism. because it is an article of comfort when properly treated. In the Confessions. But when we examine what the Confessions say on the matter. The Confessions We read Scripture through the lens of the Confessions—they are an accurate statement of what the Word teaches. However.

17). is a basis for an evangelism program. to strengthen our faith and assure us of our salvation (Ephesians 1:9.. 17 Once again. Rather. it is for “No other purpose” than what is listed. but we should look at people only in terms of the elect and not-elect. 31).12. Nowhere does it enter into who we ought to be focusing on in our evangelism.. But they do not. (p.16. What it is not. 2 Thessalonians 2:13–15) (p. Nowhere does it address how church services ought to be structured. Nowhere do the Confessions say that our evangelism ought to be based upon the doctrine of election. solely for Christ’s sake.14–15). that the church really ought not to treat them as such. to encourage godliness17 (Ephesians 1:15ff. it pertains to all people (Luke 24:47). In fact. 648) The practicality of the doctrine is for the comfort of the individual—it is.10. 13–14. 14). we must always firmly and rigidly insist that. 30. like the proclamation of repentance. But this is not using the doctrine of election as the Confessions intend for it to be used. John 10:27– 30. a pet peeve. John 15:3. Why is “godliness” not capitalized? Do we believe that it refers to any God? Another style that ought to be changed. . The elect are those whom God is going to save—therefore the church should focus upon reaching out to the elect. Or what our worship service ought to look like. 17).643) This is in direct contradiction to Pastor Curtis’ essay.This teaching offers beautiful. the Gospel for the individual. Or anything else that Pastor Curtis presents as practical application to the doctrine of election. Nowhere here do we receive practical instructions on evangelism. that is. to admonish us to repent (2 Timothy 3:16.16 grace. No: the doctrine of election is a word of comfort for the believer. 1 Corinthians 1:21. That is the practical use of it—that and drawing the believer closer to the Word. so the promise of the gospel is universalis. 4. The Solid Declaration spells out clearly what the proper uses of the doctrine truly are: Scripture presents this teaching for no other purpose than to point us to the Word (Ephesians 1:13. Arminians and Functional Arminians see them as such. not every individual is a potential convert (p. Once again: Pastor Curtis argues that because of the doctrine of election. His argument is that since everyone is NOT a potential convert. It is not practical for the purpose of determining an evangelism program (or deciding not to have one). if we want to consider our eternal election to salvation profitably. The Confessions could easily at this point addressed how we do evangelism and added it to this list. wonderful comfort. Therefore.

The elect of every nation will want the music of the Church. (emphasis added) We may not form conclusions or brood about this but must cling to the revealed Word. The Church of the elect determines the actions of the pastor—not reaching out to the lost. thus cutting them off from fellowship with all the believers in their geographic area. The elect of every nation will want an altar. Pastor Curtis’ is following his own thoughts on the matter in opposition to the Confessions. they are not “elect”. the point of Pastor Curtis’ paper is to change the behavior of our church body. reserving it for his wisdom and knowledge alone. Potential converts will need music they can connect with and that matches their individual tastes—so they’ll need several different venues with several different genres represented. No. set high and front and center. The culmination of Pastor Curtis’ paper involves a contrast between how a church that caters to “potential converts” as compared with a church that caters to the elect. beyond what has been said to this point (all of which is revealed in Christ).649) The doctrine of election is a teaching of comfort: it is not designed to inform evangelism.17 Therefore. music that will connect them to Christians of all ages—not music that will pigeon hole them not only in their own time. He specifically sees change occurring in the actions of the church. I think that it is arguable that the Confessions warn strictly not to interpret the doctrine of election as Pastor Curtis does: We must carefully distinguish between what is specifically revealed in God’s Word concerning this article and what is not. . (p. Pastor Curtis’ position denies this and brings the church to be focused on the few. (p. Practical Applications—Worship Diversity The question of election is not simply an academic question. they are not “lost”. Christ commanded preaching “repentance and the forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations. so that the Lamb of God once sacrificed might always be before their eyes. Pastor Curtis is not merely engaged in theoretical imagination for the sake of curiosity. Potential converts will be comfortable with a stage they will recognize from corporate events and plays.” (p.14–15) And so on. For. After all. We may not inquire into this or follow our own thoughts on the matter. This reminder is most necessary. God has maintained silence and has hidden a great deal related to this mystery. but in their own demographics. 645) You cannot hold to a dichotomy of the elect and the damned and still believe that the Gospel is universalis.

They want different colored cars. Some like their pastors preaching in a collar. and more than that. Some like the liturgy. if it has no significance on their salvation or anyone else’s whether a person’s singing is accompanied by an organ or by guitar or a harp—what difference does it make? No. even if Pastor Curtis’ theology is correct (which I believe is not) the amusing aspect is that it would not bring the changes in worship style that he wishes for. some don’t. The doctrine of election certainly won’t change this. People like different colors. etc. Car color has absolutely no eternal significance whatsoever. So. So. even if I am completely wrong in my analysis of Scripture and the Confessions. some don’t. Some Christians like rock music. would we expect that people would chose cars of the same color? In fact. Some people like to sing. its safety. How then would we expect people to worship? Wouldn’t the answer be “Any way they want”? As an example. then what we should expect from the elect is exactly what we have right now (with perhaps with fewer altar calls): Diverse worship. Pastor Curtis thinks that the elect will want to sing songs that connect them to Christians from all ages. we can go further than that and say that certain car colors decrease the re-sale value of cars. if you will. So. Pastor Curtis simply wants to justify his worshiping the way that he does. like different things. he seeks to convince others that it is more . some don’t. look at the color of cars. Put yourself in mindset that nothing we do has any effect on anyone’s salvation. and will continue to worship in different ways.18 The problem with this argument is that it is merely the desires of Pastor Curtis and his own opinion of what Lutheran worship would look like. that our actions have absolutely no effect on anything in eternity. more intimate environments. If he is correct in his analysis of the church. Imagine. It does not follow at all from his argument. This is simply reflecting how people are. some don’t. Why? It makes no difference what they sing—why will they want to sing certain songs? I am sure that there are plenty of Christians in contemporary services now—and surely some of them are the elect—who are happily singing songs that their forefathers never sang. the ride of the car. It has no effect on gas mileage. This is merely a reflection of how people are and the great diversity that they posses. People are made to be different. wouldn’t we expect that cars would simply have identical colors? But no. I don’t see there being any payout. What would be their reason to make any change now? After all. others will want to be smaller. Some people will want to worship with huge groups in packed auditoriums.

19 God pleasing to worship this way: this would be. It is merely his opinion of how the church ought to worship. How can you in good conscience plunk down hundreds of dollars for a family vacation when that money could have been used to save a soul? (p. you do not truly love Jesus.” (p. Or clothed or not. a good point. What is more important: your child’s college education or the saving of souls? How can you spend all that money that could have gone to missions? How dare you have a hobby that takes time that could have been spent in door to door evangelism! For surely a soul saved is more important that [sic] a fishing trip. It is what he would rather. what the elect of God would want. but it does change the quality of life for people on earth. to the very same effect: What is more important: your child’s college education or saving 10. the Christian is under no compulsion to do anything. It is just what he wants. Our actions certainly do influence whether a person is fed or not. After all. The Gospel makes no demands upon the Christian at all. Or is killed in an abortion or not. the passage above can be re-written this way. Suppose we change the focus of the above passage to human care. So. We all have experienced sermons where the guilt card is played in discussing people’s spending habits—who has not had to wince through the sermon illustration of the the boat labeled “One Unsent Missionary”? The problem isn’t that Pastor Curtis’ argument is wrong—it simply does not address the real issue.10) This is. But it isn’t what the elect wants. our spending might not change eternity one iota. which is about stewardship and not at all about election. Using guilt to motivate giving is a concern that Pastor Curtis has: For consider what happens to Christian freedom and that hearty Lutheran joy in God’s creation under the Functional Arminian scheme. after all. His own theology would suggest that the elect would be worshiping with all of the many and varied ways that the elect have worshiped through the ages—a rich variety of services equally as diverse as the elect themselves are! Practical Applications—Guilt as Motivation and Stewardship Pastor Curtis’ essay points out that because of the Gospel.10) As the summation goes: “If you do not give. They are free to act—not under threat or in response to guilt—but simply in loving response to God’s initial love. in fact.000 children from starving to death? How can you spend all that money that could have gone to feeding the poor? How dare you have a hobby that takes time that could have spent caring for the needy in your community! .

What does the Church do? It serves the Church. nor is it overthrown by the doctrine of election. but in addition. I believe that rather than dismissing the argument. the problem here is the use of guilt to motivate and the issue of stewardship: what do I do with what God has entrusted me with? The issue of stewardship does not go away simply because salvation is by grace. How can you in good conscience plunk down hundreds of dollars for a family vacation when that money could be used to save unborn children from abortion? Woe to us if we spend even one dime on a cruise to Cozumel rather than providing for ultrasounds at the Women’s Place. As Pastor Curtis says: “And rest assured—God will bring his elect to his Church where a faithful shepherd will care for them…”19 (p. If our funds can indeed be used to keep people from starvation and prevent abortions— and is there anyone who would argue that they would not? Are people elect to starvation? Doubtful. Practical Applications—Inwardly Focused Congregations Looking at the larger picture. if they belong in the church. What ought the pastor to do? “Do what the elect Church of Christ wants…” (p. We want to know what makes people leave Rotary and drop out.16) Those outside the church? Well. what exactly does Pastor Curtis’ theology result in? It results in having the Church focused on the Church. So.17) In other words. we were always looking to invite and bring new people to Rotary. When I was in Rotary. 18 The book Radical touches upon this exact topic is a very serious way and encourages sacrificial giving on behalf of the poor. they will find their way there. we ought to seriously examine the question: what exactly does God expect me to do with my riches? 19 Arrghhh! “Church” is capitalized and pronouns referring to our God is not? Arrgghhhh!!!! . why then is this argument not correct? How can we justify spending money on ourselves when people die of starvation? Why do we keep anything for ourselves? 18 The problem that Pastor Curtis is addressing—guilt over spending habits because of the lost—is not eliminated by his theological position. No. the argument picks up from another more worthy charity. we also asked ourselves about the people who left. Instead. secular organizations—such as the Rotary Club that I once belonged to —are more interested in bringing new people in to be a part of their organization than the Church according to Pastor Curtis.20 Or: For surely the life of a child is more important than a fishing trip.

How do the Spaniards hear about Jesus? Or the Indians? Or the Chinese? Men were sent to go and bring them the Word of God. encouraging them to use their talents on behalf of the organization—than a church following Pastor Curtis’ recommendations would be? Even understanding that God is the author of salvation. This contrasts sharply with what we see in Scripture. the church begins to downplay the importance of evangelism and ignore the call of Scripture to go to reach the lost. How do those in Madagascar hear about Jesus? Once again. Summary—Functional Arminianism vs Functional Calvinism Pastor Curtis states that within our Lutheran theology there is a mystery that we acknowledge: we do not know why some are saved and why others are not. they are those who too need to repent just like the nations. rather. Pastor Curtis speaks about the sending out of apostles as essentially going to the elect. But this is an entire misreading of Jesusʼ ministry to Israel. if 20 In Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism. the nations of the world. welcoming them. is this really what we would expect? Is the Church of Christ really suppose to be inwardly focused? When a church is simply focused on itself and making itself happy—and this is confirmed with their theology—this cannot help but breed a decidedly unScriptural view of evangelism. Amos is a good Old Testament examples of this. Israel is not depicted as the elect. His view instead encourages the church to be satisfied with keeping themselves happy. That is. How do the people of Israel hear about the Messiah? Jesus intentionally sends out Israelites to them. With intentionality. How do the Corinthians hear about Jesus? Paul is sent to them. . Put simply. to proclaim the coming Kingdom of God. And struggle. Look at Pastor Curtis’ own lackadaisical attitude concerning missions: How do the Koreans hear about Jesus? Well. And effort. helping them to integrate into the organization. 20 Pastor Curtis misses all of the intentionality in the Church to be focused upon the lost. Logically. While this is certainly a way for a congregation to feel good about their own worship style—or to excuse their lack of caring for the lost of the world—we still should wonder whether the church being counter-cultural means that the secular world cares more about people than the Church of Christ. just some running into each other. Israel was a pagan nation—which is why Jesus calls for Israel to repent—and also why so many reject the message (“Weʼve never been slaves!”) But I acknowledge this is a point that needs further developing in a future paper. through traders. the Word got our and some Koreans believed. as Israel is listed side by side among the goyim.21 What do new people think about the club? What do they like? What do they not like? What can we change? Does it seem right that a secular organization is more interested in people—reaching out to them. In Scripture. two by two.

why are there people in Hell? The Calvinist points to an arbitrary decision on God’s behalf: some are saved. is there anything in the article that would give you pause? What then is the difference between holding to a Calvinist position and holding to a Functional Calvinist position? 21 Summary—The Lutheran Difference So. you would demur—but other than that. Pastor Curtis—who I firmly believe rejects the position of Calvinism—is espousing a position that would have us functioning like one. some are not. But the fact remains that there is a Hell. . And this is not the work of God.22 God is the Savior of all then He could save all and a loving God would save all. he rejects Calvinism. He states very clearly that he rejected the position in his first paper—after all. My hypothesis is easily enough to test: read through Pastor Curtis’ paper and adopt a Calvinist view position of double predestination. To put it as Professor Voelz did. Pastor Curtis’ position emphasizes the Perspective One position to the exclusion of Perspective Two. what exactly then would be the theology that I would espouse? What is a truly Lutheran way of looking at evangelism? Well. This position carries over to his teaching that the Church exists primarily to serve the Church and that evangelism is not that important. So. certainly we need to recognize and take seriously the exact distinction between a Lutheran view and a Functional Calvinist one: As Lutherans. While Pastor Curtis rails against the Functional Arminian position he sees in our church body. 21 Pastor Curtis objects to being referred to as a Calvinist in his presentation Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism. What exactly would you disagree with? Where exactly would be the problems? Obviously when he talks about the mystery of the lost. But what exactly is the “Lutheran” position that Pastor Curtis espouses? Well. That is to say. how exactly is Pastor Curtis’ position actually any different from Calvinism? Where exactly would the two groups differ? Pastor Curtis’ position focuses entirely on God’s action and ignores completely the issue of human responsibility. The Arminian believes that the person’s choice is the determining factor: some chose God’s salvation. But this argument seems odd to me—no Lutheran would hold that he was an Arminian. the result of his position is a church that looks identical to a Calvinist church. The functional Arminian points to the bringing of the Gospel to others: we need to share the Gospel otherwise they cannot hear. other’s reject it. Pastor Curtisʼ point is he functions like one. his own position is the poster-boy Functionally Calvinist position. whether he intends it or not. we believe that salvation can be lost. In the same way.

we need them working on the right things. But what they work on is not always the right thing. of course. They are turning away from God. lies in the reason for the question being asked. So. are a part of the church that seeks to save the lost and our efforts are important. I cannot take credit for what is not mine to take credit for: God is the Author of salvation. So. Christians grow weary and bored at church and drift away. False teachers come— wolves among sheep. In this case. You see.23 Why do people fall away? The answer is not merely one of “We don’t know. having a church where people are there to serve themselves. It is not enough.” People are rejecting Christ. People fall away because they reject Christ. there are lost sheep who need seeking. . The pastor in this situation must bring the Law upon himself and upon his members and ask “Do you care or not that people are 22 This is addressed more in Freed From the Shopkeeperʼs Prison: Bible and Confessional Study on Election and Evangelism than his initial essay. not me. then I need to hear the Law and be corrected—my Old Adam of pride needs to be drowned. the issue here is not merely correcting Pastors who are lazy. the pastor needs to hear the Law that says “You can’t simply focus on the sheep who are in your care. a church where the parishioners see the goal of the church as service to themselves. Does this mean then that I am responsible for the salvation of others? That I MUST tell about Jesus otherwise people will go to Hell? That Hell is paved with my skull? The answer to this. This is a common occurrence in churches. 22 Pastor are not generally lazy—they work hard and are a pretty dedicated bunch. That is why God tests us to begin with and it is why parables are told about our actions. I tell of Christ freely and joyfully as someone who has been saved themselves can only do: I am a beggar telling other beggars where to find bread. And this is not because God has destined it to be that way. We after all.” We have more data than that. like any other issue within out Synod. if I think that I am the great evangelist and it is by my own power and might that people are saved. in schools. But on the other hand. and in business. We just don’t need people working hard. we must examine our actions from the perspective of Law and Gospel. The issue is not laziness—it is having an inwardly focused church.” The pastor who points to his own flock and says “It is enough that I preach the Word of God and do the sacraments for them” needs to be told “No. People listen to the voice of the world rather than creator. because of this we see in Scripture any number of examples of the importance of our actions.

these beloved of the Lord. And this is why the teaching of election is a doctrine of comfort and peace for the Christian—and not the next evangelism program for our Synod.” Perhaps out of love for the lost. a congregation that is Lutheran will be serious about reaching out to the community and bringing God’s Word to lost sheep. . Pastor Curtis’ corrective work for the church is important.24 rejecting Christ? Do you see that your attitude is one of apathy? This is not what God intends at all. after all. Perhaps they will have an evangelism team that encourages the congregation to see different avenues to reach out to the Either way. Perhaps they will begin works of service for the poor and hurting and demonstrate the love that they have been shown— and thus give people reason to ask questions about what they believe. Perhaps they will become engaged in the community and intentionally meet more people so that they might have the opportunity to share Christ with them. the congregation will start up a Contemporary Worship service. You must repent of your behavior. Their actions will not be under threat or because of guilt—they are. but we cannot go too far in the correction and go against the teachings of the Word and our Confessions. a new creation in Christ—but nor is their view focused solely upon themselves. that brings the Word of God to others in a clear and simple way.

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