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Encyclopedia > Limited atonement
Calvinism
John Calvin

Background
Christianity
St. Augustine
The Reformation
Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought within the Protestant tradition articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin, his interpretation of Scripture, and perspective on Christian life and... From [1], in the public domain This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. ... This article is becoming very long. ... For the first Archbishop of Canterbury, see Saint Augustine of Canterbury. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. ...

Distinctives
Calvin's Institutes
Five Solas
Five Points (TULIP)
Regulative principle
Confessions of faith Institutes of the Christian Religion is John Calvins seminal work on Protestant theology. ... The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers basic beliefs and emphasis in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. ... Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called five points of Calvinism (remembered in the English-speaking world with the mnemonic TULIP), which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dordt and which were published in the Quinquarticular Controversy... The regulative principle of worship is a Christian theological doctrine teaching that the public worship of God should include those and only those elements that are instituted, commanded, or appointed by command or example in the Bible; that God institutes in Scripture everything he requires for worship in the Church... The Reformed churches express their consensus of faith in various creeds. ...

Influences
Theodore Beza
Synod of Dort
Puritan theology
Jonathan Edwards
Princeton theologians
Karl Barth
To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... xxx cciiiox The Synod of Dort was a National Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618/19, by the Dutch Reformed Church, in order to settle a serious controversy in the Dutch churches initiated by the rise of Arminianism. ... The Puritans were members of a group of radical Protestants which developed in England after the Reformation. ... Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 — March 22, 1758) was a colonial American Congregational preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. ... The Princeton theology is a tradition of conservative, Christian, Reformed and Presbyterian theology at Princeton Seminary, in Princeton, New Jersey. ... Karl Barth (May 10, 1886–December 10, 1968) (pronounced Bart) was an influential Swiss Reformed Christian theologian. ...

Churches
Reformed
Presbyterian
Congregationalist
Reformed Baptist
The Reformed churches are a group of Christian Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Calvinist system of doctrine, which first arose especially in the Swiss Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli, but soon afterward appeared in nations throughout Western Europe. ... Presbyterianism is a form of Protestant Christianity, primarily in the Reformed branch of Western Christendom, as well as a particular form of church government. ... Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practising congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. ... The name Reformed Baptist does not refer to a distinct Christian denomination, but instead is a description of the churchs theological leaning. ...

Peoples
Afrikaner Calvinists
Huguenots
Pilgrims
Puritans
Afrikaner Calvinism is a unique cultural development that combined the Calvinist religion with the political aspirations of the white Afrikaans speaking people of South Africa. ... In the 16th and 17th centuries, the name of Huguenots came to apply to members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, or historically as the French Calvinists. ... Pilgrims is the name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony. ... This article describes a highly specialized aspect of its subject. ...

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Limited atonement (or definite atonement or particular redemption) is a controversial doctrine in Christian theology which is particularly associated with Calvinism and is one of the five points of Calvinism. The doctrine states that Jesus Christ's substitutionary atonement on the cross is limited in extent to those who are predestined unto salvation and its benefits are not given to all of humankind. Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... It has been suggested that Christian theological controversy be merged into this article or section. ... Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought within the Protestant tradition articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin, his interpretation of Scripture, and perspective on Christian life and... Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called five points of Calvinism (remembered in the English-speaking world with the mnemonic TULIP), which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dordt and which were published in the Quinquarticular Controversy... Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. ... Substitutionary atonement is the act of restoring balances by substitution. ... The traditional form of the Western Christian cross, known as the Latin cross. ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ...

Contents

The doctrine

The doctrine of the limited extent of the atonement is intimately tied up with the doctrine of the nature of the atonement and with the general Calvinist scheme of predestination. Calvinists advocate the satisfaction theory (also known as punishment theory) of the atonement, which developed in the writings of Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas. In brief, the Calvinistic refinement of this theory states that the atonement of Christ literally pays the penalty incurred by the sins of men — that is, Christ receives the wrath of God for specific sins and thereby cancels the judgement they had incurred. Since, Calvinists argue, it would be unjust for God to pay the penalty for men's sins and then still condemn them for those sins, all those whose sins were propitiated must necessarily be saved. For other uses, see Atonement (disambiguation). ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... The satisfaction view of the atonement (also known as the penal or punishment theory) is a doctrine in Christian theology related to the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ and has been traditionally taught in Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed circles. ... Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109) was an Italian medieval philosopher and theologian, who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas [Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino] (c. ... Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral code of conduct or the state of having committed such a violation. ...


The Calvinist view of predestination teaches that God chose a group of people, who would not and could not choose him (see total depravity), to be saved apart from their works or their cooperation, and those people are compelled by God's irresistible grace to accept the offer of the salvation achieved in the atonement of Christ. Since in this scheme God knows precisely who the elect are, Christ needn't atone for sins other than those of the elect. Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... Total depravity (also called total inability and total corruption) is a theological doctrine that derives from the Augustinian doctrine of original sin and is advocated in many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of Lutheranism,1 Anglicanism and Methodism,2 and especially Calvinism. ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... Irresistible Grace (or efficacious grace) is a doctrine in Christian theology particularly associated with Calvinism which teaches that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (the elect) and, in Gods timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the...


The Calvinist atonement is thus called definite because it certainly secures the salvation of those for whom Christ died, and it is called limited in its extent because it effects salvation for the elect only. Calvinists do not believe the power of the atonement is limited in any way, which is to say that no sin is too great to be expiated by Christ's sacrifice, in their view. Among English Calvinistic Baptists, the doctrine was usually known as particular redemption, giving its adherents the name Particular Baptists. This term emphasizes the intention of God to save particular persons through the atonement, as opposed to mankind in general as General Baptists believe. The name Reformed Baptist does not refer to a distinct denomination but instead is a description of the churchs theological leaning. ... Baptists were first identified by the name General Baptists in 17th century England. ...


On a practical level, this doctrine is not emphasized in Calvinist churches except in comparison to other salvific schemes, and when it is taught, the primary use of this and the other doctrines of predestination is the assurance of believers. To that end, they apply this doctrine especially to try to strengthen the belief that "Christ died for me," as in the words of St. Paul, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). In fact, contrary to what one might expect on the basis of this doctrine, Calvinists believe they can freely and sincerely offer salvation to everyone on God's behalf since they themselves do not know which people are counted among the elect and since they see themselves as God's instruments in bringing about the salvation of other members of the elect. Paul of Tarsus (d. ...


Biblical passages

The classic Bible passage cited to prove a limited extent to the atonement is the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John in which Jesus uses Ancient Near Eastern shepherding practices as a metaphor for his relationship to his followers. A shepherd in those times might allow his flock to mix with another flock, but when he called to it, the sheep of his flock (but not the other) would follow because they know his voice (John 10:1-5). In that context, Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,...and I lay down my life for the sheep" (vv. 14-15, ESV, emphasis added), and he tells the Pharisees that they "do not believe because [they] are not part of [his] flock" (v. 26). He continues, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (vv. 27f). Since Calvinists and nearly all Christians believe that that not all have eternal life with God (based on the Sermon on the Mount among other passages), Calvinists conclude that either Jesus was wrong in saying that he would lose none of his sheep (a conclusion they reject) or that Jesus must not have died for everyone. Formally, the Calvinist position can be expressed thusly: The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. ... The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the canon of the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Evangelist. ... Overview map of the Ancient Near East The term Ancient Near East or Ancient Orient encompasses the early civilizations predating Classical Antiquity in the region roughly corresponding to that described by the modern term Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Turkey), during the time roughly spanning the Bronze Age from the rise... In a draw in a mountainous region, a shepherd guides a flock of about 20 sheep amidst scrub and olive trees. ... In language, a metaphor (from the Greek: metapherin rhetorical trope) is defined as a direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects. ... English Standard Version The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Holy Bible, published in the United States by Crossway Books, and in the United Kingdom by Harper-Collins UK. The first edition was completed in 2001. ... The Pharisees (from the Hebrew perushim, from parash, meaning to separate) were, depending on the time, a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews that flourished during the Second Temple Era (536 BCE–70 CE). ... The Sermon on the Mount was, according to the Gospel of Matthew, a particular sermon given by Jesus of Nazareth (estimated around AD 30) on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd (Matt 5:1-7:29). ...

  1. Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15)
  2. Jesus will lose none of his sheep. (John 10:28)
  3. Many people will not receive eternal life. (Matthew 7:13-14)
  4. Therefore, Jesus did not die for everyone but only for those who will ultimately be saved.

Additionally, in the so-called high priestly prayer, Jesus prays for the protection and sanctification of those who believed in him, and he explicitly excludes praying for all: "I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours" (John 17:9b). St. Paul instructs the elders in Ephesus "to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28, NASB), and he says in his letter to the same church that "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25, ESV, emphasis added). Likewise, Jesus foreshadows that he will lay down his life "for his friends" (John 15:13). Calvinists believe that these passages demonstrate that Jesus died for the church (that is, the elect) only. Sanctification or in its verb form, sanctify, literally means to set apart for special use or purpose, that is to make holy or sacred (compare Latin sanctus holy). Therefore sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i. ... An elder can refer to various topics: Elder (administrative title) Elder (religious) Elder - person of knowledge or high degree Elderberry plant (Sambucus) Box-elder plant (maple) Box elder bug (Leptocoris trivittatus or Boisea trivittatus) Elderly person - see: Old age William Henry Elder bishop and Archbishop of Cincinnati Joycelyn Elders Elder... Historical Map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888 Ephesus (Greek: , Turkish: ), was one of the great cities of the Ionian Greeks in Anatolia, located in Lydia where the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes) flows into the Aegean Sea (in modern day Turkey). ... The Acts of the Apostles (Greek Praxeis Apostolon) is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament. ... The Epistle to the Ephesians is one of the books of the Bible in the New Testament. ...


Objections to the doctrine

Limited atonement is contrasted with the view popularly termed Universal or Unlimited atonement, which is advocated by Arminian, Methodist, Lutheran, Messianic Jewish, and Roman Catholic theologians (among others) and which says Christ's work makes redemption possible for all but certain for none. (This doctrine should not be confused with universalism.) Though Lutherans and Catholics share a similar doctrine of the nature of the atonement with Calvinists, they differ on its extent, whereas Arminians and Methodists generally accept an alternate theory of the nature of the atonement such as the moral government theory. The elect in such models are the people who choose to avail themselves of God's gracious offer of salvation through Christ, not a pre-determined group. Thus, these systems place a limit on the efficacy of the atonement rather than on its extent, like Calvinists. The Atonement is the central doctrine of Christianity: everything else derives from it. ... // For the Armenian nationality, see Armenia or the Armenian language. ... Methodism or the Methodist movement is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ... Messianic Judaism is any of a group of loosely related religious movements, all claiming a connection with Judaism. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... In Christian theology, universal reconciliation or universal salvation, is the doctrine or belief that all will eventually find salvation and reconciliation with God, going to heaven sometime after death. ... The Governmental view of the atonement (also known as the moral government theory) is a doctrine in Christian theology related to the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ and has been traditionally taught in Arminian circles. ...


Historically, the Arminian Remonstrants raised this doctrine as a point of debate over predestination in the Quinquarticular Controversy, and their position was ultimately condemned by Calvinists at the Synod of Dordrecht in 1619. In spite of opposition, the doctrine of the universal extent of the atonement became and remains prevalent outside of Calvinist circles. Even some Calvinistic Christians identify themselves as Amyraldians or "four point Calvinists" and teach an unlimited atonement. In particular, Amyraldism teaches that God has provided Christ's atonement for all alike, but seeing that none would believe on their own, he then elects those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. Calvin himself did not clearly articulate an opinion on this doctrine, which is nonetheless usually associated with his name, but most see it as a necessary consequence of his doctrines of election and the atonement.[1][2] Quinquarticular Controversy refers to the theological Calvinist-Arminian controversy that was addressed by Dutch Reformed churches at the Synod of Dort in 1618–1619. ... The Synod of Dort met in the city of Dordrecht in 1618-1619, as a national assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church, to which were invited representatives from the Reformed churches in eight foreign countries. ... Events May 13 - Dutch statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt is executed in The Hague after having been accused of treason. ... Amyraldism (or sometimes Amyraldianism or the School of Saumur), also known as hypothetical universalism or four-point Calvinism, primarily refers to a modified form of Calvinism. ... The Calvinist doctrine of predestination, is the religious doctrine of double predestination, particular to Calvinism. ...


Some have contended that the doctrine of particular redemption implies that Christ's sacrifice was insufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, but Calvinists have universally rejected this notion, instead holding that the value of the atonement is infinite but that its application is only to the elect.


Recently, proponents of Arminianism have begun to deal with the conflict between the concepts of God's omniscience and omnipotence and unlimited atonement. The classical notion of the omniscience of God requires that God know specifically those who will ultimately be saved, whether that salvation is accomplished by God (as in Calvinism) or by the will of man (as Arminianism). In either case, because God knew the outcome, it could be said that they are predestined. This would leave a group of people known to God who would not be saved and thus for whom Christ's atonement would have no purpose or design as Calvinists maintain. Consequently, some Arminains (led by Clark Pinnock and others) are retreating from the notion of the classical omniscience and omnipotence of God. They are espousing an Open Theism theology in which God cannot know the future and who will be saved before one personally decides to accept Christ. They also advocate God's voluntary decision not to exercise His power to save an individual and to let the individual be free to decide whether to be saved without undue influence from God. Open theism, also known as free will theism, is a theological movement that has developed within Evangelical Protestant Christianity as a response to certain ideas that are a part of the synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian theology. ...


Biblical passages

Several Biblical passages are urged by opponents as contradicting a doctrine of limited atonement (all quotes from the ESV, emphasis added): The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. ...

  • John 1:29b: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
  • John 3:16-17: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."
  • 1 Timothy 2:3-6: "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."
  • 1 Timothy 4:10: "For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe."
  • Titus 2:11 - "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people."
  • 1 John 2:2: "He [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
  • 2 Peter 2:1: "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Calvinists admit that these are difficult passages with respect to the extent of the atonement, but following the Protestant hermeneutic principle of letting "Scripture interpret Scripture," they attempt to allow the passages on election and other passages on the extent of the atonement to clarify the meaning of these difficult passages. According to this principle, since the word world, for instance, is used at other places in the New Testament in a way obviously not intended to include every single person in the world (such as Luke 2:1 and Romans 1:8), its meaning in any particular passage must be determined by the context. In particular, they understand all to refer to all of the elect (as in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15); to refer to all races of men, not just Israelites (as in John 1:29; 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:6; and Titus 2:11); or to refer to the elect in all places throughout the world (as in 1 John 2:2, where the words "the sins of" have been added to the last phrase by the ESV and other translations and literally reads "but for the whole world", as in the NKJV, ASV, the Vulgate, etc.). They also posit that there can be different senses of the concept of salvation — as simply the defense and preservation of temporal life (as they understand 1 Timothy 4:10) or as salvation from God's wrath unto eternal life. The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the canon of the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Evangelist. ... The Second Epistle to the Corinthians is a book of the Bible New Testament. ... This article or section should be merged with Second Epistle to Timothy The First Epistle to Timothy is a book of the canonic New Testament, one of the three so-called pastoral epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus). ... The Pastoral Epistles are often considered together, as each throws light upon the others. ... There are three books in the New Testament called Epistles of John: First Epistle of John Second Epistle of John Third Epistle of John This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... In Christianity, Propitiation is a theological term denoting that by which God is rendered propitious, i. ... There are two books in the New Testament called Epistles of Peter: First Epistle of Peter Second Epistle of Peter Category: ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Hermeneutics (Hermeneutic means interpretive), is a branch of philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of texts. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The New King James Version (NKJV) is a modern Bible translation, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. ... The Standard American Edition, Revised Version, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was released in 1901. ... The Vulgate Bible is an early 5th century translation of the Bible into Latin made by St. ...


Opponents offer alternate interpretations of the same passages which in turn support a universal atonement, and the disagreement has yet to find any siginificant resolution. Consequently, both limited and unlimited atonement views are still held in Christendom, though the latter is much more common. This medieval map, which abstracts the known world to a cross inscribed within an orb, remakes geography in the service of Christian iconography. ...


External links

Pro

  • The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen (ISBN 0-85151-382-4) with a famous introduction by J. I. Packer, who says, "It is safe to say that no comparable exposition of the work of redemption as planned and executed by the Triune Jehovah has ever been done since Owen published his. None has been needed....[N]obody has a right to dismiss the doctrine of the limitedness, or particularity, of atonement as a monstrosity of Calvinistic logic until he has refuted Owen's proof that it is part of the uniform biblical presentation of redemption, clearly taught in plain text after plain text. And nobody has done that yet."
  • "For Whom Did Christ Die?", part 3, chapter 8 of Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology
  • "Particular Redemption", a sermon by Charles Spurgeon delivered on 1858-02-28
  • "Limited Atonement", chapter 12 from The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner
  • Articles on Definite Atonement at Monergism.com
  • "Limited Atonement", a series of articles by Ra McLaughlin

There have been several well-known people named John Owen, including: Johnny Owen (boxer) John Owen (church leader) John Owen (chess player) John Owen (politician), Democratic governor of North Carolina, 1828-1830. ... J. I. Packer James Innell Packer (born July 22, 1926 in Gloucester, England) is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the Reformational Anglican tradition. ... Charles Hodge Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary between 1851 and 1878. ... A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. ... Spurgeon in his late twenties. ... 1858 (MDCCCLVIII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Loraine Boettner (1901-03-07 to 1990-01-03) was an anti-Catholic American theologian who wrote books on Predestination, Roman Catholicism, the Trinity, Postmillennialism and Reformed Theology. ...

Con


  Results from FactBites:
 
Limited atonement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1993 words)
Limited atonement (or definite atonement or particular redemption) is a controversial doctrine in Christian theology which is particularly associated with Calvinism and is one of the five points of Calvinism.
The doctrine of the limited extent of the atonement is intimately tied up with the doctrine of the nature of the atonement and with the general Calvinist scheme of predestination.
The classic Bible passage cited to prove a limited extent to the atonement is the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John in which Jesus uses Ancient Near Eastern shepherding practices as a metaphor for his relationship to his followers.
The Five Points of Calvinism: Limited Atonement (7928 words)
The doctrine of limited atonement is the Reformed doctrine concerning the death of Christ and the redemption of men thereby (as Canons II puts it in its title) as it was officially set forth over against the Arminian heresy of general, or universal, atonement.
This is the doctrine of vicarious, or substitutionary, atonement.
That the atonement is limited is inseparable from the truth that the atonement is efficacious.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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