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Friday, 23 June 2017

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Last Week

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Articles from John MacArthur

Measuring Oral Roberts' Influence

In light of televangelist Oral Roberts' death, how much influence did Oral Roberts have on the word of faith movement and also Prosperity Doctrine? John MacArthur explains.

Unholy Trinity

John MacArthur writes against the things going on with Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Sectors by Total Assets and Fundraising Average
SectorTotal AssetsFundraising Average
Relief and Development $3,810,582,796 5.7%
Radio/ TV Stations $1,645,110,481 6.6%
Foreign Missions $1,530,475,857 6.1%
Community Development $958,013,243 7.9%
Educational Media $938,794,119 7.8%
Fellowship Evangelism $856,769,016 6.8%
Publishing $642,656,807 7.5%
Evangelism $637,866,494 5.8%
Christian Growth $385,972,260 6.4%
Evangelism Support $217,113,783 5.7%
Advocacy $133,207,988 7.7%
Leadership Training $66,663,036 7.4%
Persecuted Christians $65,596,000 6%

Christian Orgs Labeled Hate Groups on Top Charity Site

Several Christian organizations known for their advocacy on behalf of traditional marriage and families were recently labeled hate groups on one of America's top charity research sites, GuideStar.

Read article at Christianity Today

TBN's Jan Crouch Found Liable for Covering Up Granddaughter's Alleged Rape

A California jury has found that the late Jan Crouch, the founder and popular face of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), is partly to blame for mishandling an incident when her teenage granddaughter was allegedly molested and raped at a telethon in 2006.

Read article at Christianity Today

A Federal Judge Sets 2019 Trial Date for Fraud Case Against Gospel for Asia

A federal judge in Western Arkansas ruled that one of the fraud and racketeering cases against Gospel for Asia will go to trial in 2019. U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks set the date for a jury trial on April 15, 2019.

Read article at Patheos

Hank Hanegraaff Talks 'Turbulent' Weeks; Reveals Health Issues, Looking Forward 'to Another World'

Christian radio personality Hank Hanegraaff, also known as the "Bible Answer Man," has opened up about the "turbulent" past few weeks in his life, and revealed that he has been diagnosed with unexpected health issues. Hanegraaff posted a video blog on his Facebook page on Wednesday, where he addressed all his listeners and supporters to inform them of some of the changes in his life.

"The last couple of weeks have been turbulent, to say the least. But somehow, by God's grace, I have never been in a more peaceful place in the entirety of my Christian life. I just feel surrounded by the love and goodness and grace of God," Hanegraaff said.

Read article at The Christian Post

Trump to Ease Enforcement of Limits on Church Political Activity

President Trump is set to sign an executive order Thursday to make it easier to for churches and other religious groups to participate in politics without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. Trump plans to sign an order in the morning that attempts to overcome a provision in the federal tax code prohibiting religious organizations from directly opposing or endorsing political candidates.

Read article at The Hill

Learning from Benny Hinn

by Warren Cole Smith

We can indeed learn from Benny Hinn. We can learn what not to do, of course, but we can also use what is happening to him and his ministry this week as encouragement to do what effective Christian leaders from Jesus to Augustine to Chuck Colson have done: Be transparent and vulnerable before a watching world.

Read article at Breakpoint

J.C. Watts Sues Feed the Children

J.C. Watts is suing Feed the Children. Watts, a former U.S. congressman, was president and CEO of the Oklahoma City-based charity last year. He alleged in the lawsuit that he was fired in retaliation for reporting problems and irregularities at the charity to the state attorney general's office.

Read article at NewsOK

After IRS Raid, Benny Hinn Ministries Claims Full Cooperation with Governmental Entities

Via the organization's Facebook page earlier this evening, Benny Hinn Ministries issued a statement about the IRS/Postal Service raid on their headquarters.

Read article at Patheos

"Bible Answer Man" Hank Hanegraaff Joins Orthodox Church

Known to millions as the "Bible Answer Man," 77-year-old Hank Hanegraaff and his wife were received into the Orthodox Church this year on the great feast of Palm Sunday, at St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, NC.

Read article at

Charity Officials Are Increasingly Receiving Million-Dollar Paydays

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on excessive compensation for non-profit executives. While most of the article focused on secular non-profits, it also included information about two Christian ministries, one of which has highlighted for abuse in the past. The two were the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Hal Lindsey Ministries. Rabbi Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews earned $1.1 million in 2015, the third year in a row he made over $1 million from the charity. Additionally, several of the Rabbi's family members are on the ministry's payroll. Hall Lindsey's ministry brought in $8.1 million in donations in 2014 and paid Mr. Lindsey and his wife a total of $4 million or almost half of the ministry's total donations.

Sadly, the article points out that the IRS almost never challenges these salaries. The IRS audits less than 1% of non-profit tax returns. As a result, the amount of abuse of donors has increased over the years as there is very little risk of getting caught or punished. Wise donors can use services like to try to help shield them from such abusive practices.

Read article at Wall Street Journal

Compassion International Officially Has to Leave India

After 48 years of providing education, scholarships, meals and medical care to children in India, Compassion International will be forced to close its doors as a result of the country's crackdown on foreign aid.

Read article at Relevant Magazine

Reasons to Avoid the Prosperity Gospel

The prosperity gospel is a false gospel that substitutes a vision of present earthly happiness for a vision of the final restoration of heaven and earth that the Bible anticipates. It is a trap that ensnares the poor and the weak and leads them away from the love of Christ. It is a potential danger even for those who avoid its more obvious expressions.

Read article at Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Donald Trump's Favorite Televangelist

For most people in America, including most churchgoers, Paula White is not yet a familiar name. That may change Jan. 20, when she delivers an invocation at the inauguration of Donald Trump.

White, an early and enthusiastic Trump backer, organized national gatherings of evangelical leaders on his behalf and spoke at a Trump rally on the campus of the University of Central Florida. She also delivered the benediction on the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

White will be only the second woman to pray at an inauguration. And, together with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International, who will deliver another of the inaugural benedictions, she will be among the few outspoken advocates of the "prosperity gospel" to appear at an inaugural in recent memory.

Read article at Religion News Service Needs Your Help!

It has been our pleasure at to help you be as wise and effective a giver as possible to the work of the Lord. As the only ministry dedicated to exclusively helping Christian donors better understand the finances of ministries they give to, it is our sincere desire to help you bless the many excellent Christian ministries doing the Lord's work with your donations. While we want almost all of your giving to go to the many worthy ministries we cover in our database, also has need of your financial help to be able to continue bringing this free service to you. Our budget is not large, so if everyone using our website gave even a small amount, our costs for 2017 would be covered. Naturally, not everyone will be in a position to assist us or feel led to do so. We are trusting, however, that some will feel led by the Lord to contribute to our work, and some perhaps significantly so. If you feel the Lord prompting you to help us continue our work on your behalf, please click on the link below for the various options available for you to give to Thank you!

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Donors Seek Financial Efficiency

American individuals, estates, foundations and corporations donated an estimated $373 billion to charities in 2015, setting a record, according to Giving USA. About a third, or $119 billion, went to religious charities - including churches and parachurch organizations. That's more than education, human services or any other category ... Many ministries receive a quarter or more of their annual donations in the last two months of the year. How can donors figure out which organizations deliver the most "ministry per dollar"?

Read article at The Gazette

Why Are There So Many Celebrity Pastors?

Every generation has had a few popular preachers, but today there is a whole celebrity class within American evangelicalism. How did this happen, and why do these celebrity pastors often have catastrophic falls? Skye Jethani answers a viewer's question by comparing modern evangelicalism to the "military industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned us about in 1961.

Christian Today Says Half of Gospel for Asia's Staff Left the Ministry in 2015

Around 50 staff - half of the total - left the embattled Gospel for Asia (GFA) mission organisation in 2015, according to an activist group.

Read article at Christian Today

Famous Last Words

We highly recommend watching the video below from James Walker of the Watchman Fellowship on the incorrect teaching coming from those espousing the prosperity gospel. Watchman Fellowship is a great resource for those interested in biblically sound teaching on cults and other distortions of God's word and we recommend you look into and consider supporting their work.

World Magazine - Courtroom storm over Trinity Broadcasting Network

A flood of lawsuits involving TBN and members of the Crouch family continues into a fourth year

Read article in World Magazine

DONOR ALERT - Gospel for Asia

Still No Meaningful Explanations from Gospel for Asia About Their Expulsion from the ECFA and More Evidence of Possible Fraud

Since Gospel for Asia was terminated from ECFA membership last month for violating five of the self-regulatory group's seven standards, there has been essentially no meaningful explanation coming from the ministry about the specific circumstances that led to the ministry's expulsion. We do know, however, that the ministry has sought to remove from the website (the website blogger Warren Throckmorton has used to report on Gospel for Asia's apparent misdeeds) the recording made by someone inside the ministry of Chief Financial Officer David Carroll making claims about Gospel for Asia which appear to be untrue. One can only presume by their efforts to thwart the continued posting of the recording that it contains information the ministry would rather have hidden from donors. And Gospel for Asia seems to be using hardball tactics to get its way.

Click here to read the full Donor Alert

DONOR ALERT - Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia Expelled From ECFA - Donors Should Cease Donations

The self-regulatory body for Christian ministries, the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA) late Friday announced Gospel for Asia (GFA) had been expelled from the group for violating most of its Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship all members commit to uphold. Clearly, there have been extensive problems uncovered at the ministry as a result of an audit/review of GFA's operations starting in June 2015 and concluding on October 2, 2015. GFA had been a founding member of the ECFA and thus a member for the past 36 years. DONORS TO GOSPEL FOR ASIA SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CEASE MAKING DONATIONS TO THE MINISTRY. While the ECFA did not disclose the exact nature of the violations, it is clear they are very serious. We encourage the ECFA to change its policy of not revealing the specifics of its findings in cases like this as donors who gave their hard earned money to the ministry deserve to know what happened.

Blogger Warren Throckmorton has been writing extensively about suspect actions at GFA for some time and deserves full credit for causing the ECFA to investigate GFA more closely. How the wide range of problems at GFA had escaped the ECFA's notice over the years remains an open question. While the ECFA announcement failed to address any specific problems at GFA, in line with their usual practice, Throckmorton's blog had raised concerns about finances and governance among other potential problems. Interested donors should visit Throckmorton's blog to read his many posts regarding GFA at

Here is the text of the ECFA's brief announcement:

Statement from ECFA on Gospel for Asia

On June 10, 2015, ECFA began formally reviewing member organization Gospel for Asia for compliance issues. The review concluded on Oct. 2, 2015 when ECFA's board voted to terminate the organization's membership for violation of the following standards: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7.1 and 7.2. This ends Gospel for Asia's 36-year long status as an ECFA member.

ECFA enhances public trust in Christian churches and ministries by establishing and applying Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship to review and accredit organizations. These standards are biblical and are fundamental to operating with integrity. ECFA uses a pass or fail concept in applying the standards rather than a rating system.

How to Help Friends Escape the Prosperity Gospel

John Piper was recently asked:

"Pastor John, how do you practically and lovingly lead your loved ones who are steeped in the prosperity gospel all their lives back to the true gospel? I come from Malaysia and Singapore, places immersed in prosperity gospel theology. I understand that in 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul says there will come such days as these, where people will gather themselves teachers that suit their own passions.

But what if these are your close friends and family whom you love so much? How do you teach or love or rebuke or reprove them? I'm training for ministry in Melbourne. One day I will go back to Singapore, God willing, to preach and pastor there. I know as Paul advised I should preach in every season, being ready to rebuke, reprove, and exhort. What does this look like in a culture so steeped in the prosperity gospel?"

Read Pastor John's excellent response here Part of CNN's Recent Report on Creflo Dollar's Appeal for $65 Million for New "Jesus Jet"

Does Membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Benefit Donors?

Warren Throckmorton recently reported on the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA):

The mission statement of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is "Enhancing Trust in Christ-Centered Churches and Ministries." A primary means of pursuing their mission is through promotion of their seven standards of stewardship. The ECFA website states that the standards are "are fundamental to operating with integrity." The ECFA tells the public that organizations who voluntarily agree to adhere to the standards "must comply with all of the standards, all of the time."

But what happens when an ECFA member does not adhere to "all of the standards, all of the time?" What does the ECFA do to alert the public when non-compliance is discovered? The disappointing answer for donors is that the ECFA may do nothing to alert the public when an organization is or was out of compliance. In contrast to former years when the ECFA publicly suspended organizations, now the ECFA conducts a private review if there is concern over compliance with standards. Michael Martin, Director of Legal Services and Legal Counsel for the EFCA told me, "When standards-related issues are under review with respect to a particular member, ECFA does not comment on our review."

Read more at Patheos

NPR Reports on the Hidden Finances of Televangelists

National Public Radio recently broadcasted a two-part series on Christian TV networks and preachers that avoid IRS scrutiny by classifying themselves as churches. NPR's coverage included commentary from founder and CEO Rusty Leonard. The reports are available online here: Updates

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Partially Penitent Pastors - Updates on the Seemingly Endless Driscoll and Furtick Sagas 4/1/2014
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte cannot seem to get the controversies they are embroiled in out of the headlines. Still, some of the recent news surrounding these two troubled pastors has reflected a degree of penitence on their part. Unfortunately, the progress made has been significantly less than we would have hoped for and has been accompanied by additional troubling revelations. From the perspective of World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky, these latest developments have capped off what he refers to as "the Second Great Embarrassment". This is a sideways reference to the First and Second Great Awakening, two periods of great spiritual growth in the United States. In Olasky's view, the First Great Embarrassment can be traced to the damage to the church brought on by the Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert scandals. The Second Great Embarrassment, in his view, began with Ted Haggard's fall from grace in 2006 and has continued more recently with a seeming avalanche of unfortunate circumstances in ministries ranging from Bill Gotthard and Doug Philips to Driscoll and Furtick. Read more

You Ask, We Answer - St. Matthew's Churches Are Despicable Con Artists Preying on the Elderly 4/1/2014
When we asked for your ideas about what we should look into in 2014, was asked by one reader about a ministry which now goes by the name of Saint Matthew's Churches. We can unfortunately confirm our reader was correct to be very concerned about this group. It is run by a sketchy individual named James Ewing who has used his experience as a direct mail fund raiser to bilk what likely amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars over many years from primarily elderly recipients of his highly emotional pleas for donations, promising answered prayers in return. Ewing apparently lives the high life in Beverly Hills, CA while fleecing the elderly with promises he knows are false. While the IRS was able to overcome Ewing after years of legal battles in the early 1990s and remove his charitable designation, Ewing simply reformed his organization as a church, where it is much more difficult for the IRS to withhold its charitable designation. From what we can tell, the organization actually acquired two churches in order to justify its claim that it is an actual church. Still, it is really just a post office box located in Tulsa, Oklahoma collecting cash from unsuspecting and nave donors. If you have an elderly relative, be on the lookout for mailings from Saint Matthew's Churches and do your best to explain to them that this organization is essentially a fraud stealing money from them. Read more

Bishop Bling Formally Fired by Pope Francis 4/1/2014
The so-called Bishop Bling, a German Catholic Bishop who we highlighted late last year for spending an incredible $43 million of church money on renovations to his housing complex in Limburg Germany, was permanently removed from his post last week by Pope Francis. He had offered his resignation in October 2013 and has been under investigation by the Vatican ever since. The issue was particularly sensitive in Germany since citizens pay a church tax which is used to support the country's churches. The Associated Press reported he will be replaced by Bishop Manfred Grothe, who stated Bishop Bling (whose real name is Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst) will be given another position "at the opportune time". It will be interesting to see where Bishop Bling lands and whether he has learned from his downfall. Indications are he has at least figured out Pope Francis is focusing on helping the poor, given he sat in the economy section of the airplane he took to Rome to try to explain his actions to the Vatican. Read more

Answers in Genesis' Ark Park Finally Moving Forward Thanks in Part to Atheist Bill Nye the Science Guy 3/7/2014
For several years Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, a ministry devoted to teaching Creationism, has been seeking tens of millions of dollars in funding in order to begin construction of a theme park centered around a life size version of Noah's Ark. Due to the large amount of money the ministry needed to begin construction as well as difficult economic conditions negatively impacting the ability of donors/investors to provide funding in recent years, construction of the "Ark Park" has been repeatedly delayed. The frustrations Answers in Genesis leaders must have felt were quickly swept away, however, after Ken Ham engaged well known atheist Bill Nye "the Science Guy" of PBS fame in a public debate which was purportedly seen by millions over the internet. While many opinions were expressed over who actually won the debate, one thing became clear very quickly - the publicity surrounding the debate coalesced interest in funding the "Ark Park" much better than any other fundraising effort the ministry had undertaken in previous years. Having been privy to the original plans for the park, we are confident it will be a worthwhile and impressive attraction once it has been completed. Read more

Bill Gothard Resigns After Being Forced to Take Administrative Leave from the Institute of Basic Life Principles in Wake of Multiple Claims of Sexual Harassment and Abuse 3/7/2014
World Magazine broke a story last week that the board of directors of the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP) had forced its founder, Bill Gothard, to take administrative leave from his positions at the ministry and the associated home schooling program run by the ministry, the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), due to allegations of sexual harassment by as many as 34 women, including four cases of alleged sexual abuse. Yesterday, Gothard submitted his resignation from all of his positions with the ministry. The allegations were made via testimonies of often teenage women who worked at IBLP many years ago via a website called The website is dedicated to helping individuals and families who have been harmed by IBLP's often legalistic teachings. Anyone who was or is closely associated with IBLP or ATI should make it a point to visit the website. We have been impressed with the manner in which this site has operated given the harm done to many and the raw emotions associated with that. IBLP's board, in a statement, promised a full investigation and appropriate reaction to the findings of their investigation. Now that Gothard has resigned, it is not clear how the board will proceed. Read more

More Pastor Problems - Driscoll, Furtick and South Korea 3/7/2014
Unfortunately, dubious behavior by prominent pastors has again been in the news recently. Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle apparently went to questionable lengths to have a recent book of his make the New York Times best sellers list. According to documents obtained by World, Driscoll spent over $200,000 to hire and fund a firm that arranged a complex plan to make it appear that Driscoll's book sales were large enough to merit a one week inclusion on the New York Times Bestseller List. We previously reported on Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick's own attempt to concoct book sales and get on the best sellers list for at least one week so he could also make the claim he was a New York Times best-selling author. Apparently, book sales is not the only thing Furtick is willing to distort. Now Furtick is being criticized for his church's attempts to manipulate people into going forward to be baptized. According to a report by Stuart Watson of NBC affiliate WCNC in Charlotte, NC, Furtick strategically places already believing Christian volunteers from his congregation in pews who are the first to respond to Furtick's call to receive Christ as their Savior and be baptized. Sadly, US pastors are not the only ones in trouble recently. In South Korea, the pastor of one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the world, was sentenced to three years in jail for $12 million in church funds. Apparently, Pastor Emeritus David Younggi Cho, 78, of a more than 1 million member denomination affiliated with the Assemblies of God, used church money to pay for stock owned by his son. Unfortunately, he paid more than three times what the stock was worth. Read more

View all Updates

Making 'Good Intentions' Good

Peter Greer of Hope International discusses the unintended consequences that can result from Christians seeking to help those in need. Careful planning is required for our giving if unfortunate side effects are to be avoided. Read more

Christian Rapper Calls Out Prosperity Preachers

A new song released by Christian rapper Shai Linne calls out Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Paul Crouch, and other prosperity preachers by name. In "Fal$e Teacher$", Linne criticizes twelve prominent teachers for preaching a false religion he dubs "selfism". He raps, "Jesus is not a means to an end, the Gospel is He came to redeem us from sin / And that is the message forever I'll yell / If you're living your best life now, you're heading for hell." Read more

DONOR ALERT - Trinity Broadcasting Network

Court Documents from TBN's Whistleblower Granddaughter Released

The Orange County Register Newspaper has been closely following the developments regarding TBN. Recently, it obtained court documents in a case involving Brittany Koper, the Crouch's granddaughter, just prior to them being sealed and published them on its website. These documents include internal TBN memos, receipts and reports from TBN's accountants detailing improper and likely illegal acts. In our opinion, it is likely the leadership of TBN will ultimately be replaced as a result of these revelations and some of the leadership team could possibly spend time behind bars. While the wheels of justice grind slowly, they do tend to grind finely. It may take quite some time before new leadership is appointed, but it will be near impossible for TBN's leaders to successfully defend themselves from IRS and FCC regulators. Accordingly, we call on leaders in the evangelical community to begin to prepare to assemble a new leadership team that could be presented to the regulators as a replacement. TBN is an attractive asset to the global church, therefore serious efforts should be made to preserve it and manage it in accordance with laws and regulations. Under stronger evangelical leadership, TBN could win more souls to Christ, effectively disciple millions with legitimate Christian teaching and bring honor to the Lord. We believe it would be wise for a new, respected leadership team to be assembled now and presented to the IRS and FCC as an alternative to other outcomes which would see the church lose control of this strategic asset.

The court documents containing the info noted above can be found at: We urge readers to looks over these documents themselves as well as some of the other reporting done by the Orange County Register on this subject. Some of the most damaging elements contained within the 180 pages include the following:

1. Widespread abuse of ministry funds by TBN directors including having the ministry pay for numerous personal expenses. Lavish meals, motorcycles and home remodeling were just a few of the expenses charged to the ministry. Brittany Koper claims she was told to invent business reasons for these many personal expenses to cover up the actual personal use of ministry funds.

2. Double billing TBN for some of these personal expenses.

3. The transfer of as much as $50 million over the course of a decade to the Crouch family.

4. The use of TBN's two jets for personal use.

5. Matthew Crouch's for-profit film production company received millions from TBN with little to show for it but an extravagant lifestyle lived by Crouch and his family.

6. Numerous threats made to Koper and her husband for her whistleblowing activities.

7. A report from TBN's external accountant detailing how the ministry and its leadership were at risk from IRS fines including this conclusion:

"Areas with the greatest exposure include:

Unreasonable Compensation
Personal Use of the Organization's Assets
Use of the church's credit card for personal expenses
Excessive Spending"

DONOR ALERT - Trinity Broadcasting Network

TBN's Dysfunction on Full Display in New York Times Article

Due to family conflict within the ministry's controlling Crouch family, new information about the extent of financial abuse of donor funds has come to light. We again strongly urge donors to TBN to prayerfully consider withholding their giving until such time as new leaders and a new board of directors are brought in to clean up this very troubled and dysfunctional ministry.

DONOR ALERT - Generals International

Generals International Loses Non-Profit Status

Generals International has lost its non-profit designation from the IRS as a result of its failure to file its IRS Form 990 for three consecutive years. Obviously, donors who have been supporting this ministry, or were considering doing so, should look for other ministries more worthy of their donations.

DONOR ALERT - African Children Welfare Association

African Children Welfare Association Loses Non-Profit Status

African Children Welfare Association has lost its non-profit designation from the IRS as a result of its failure to file its IRS Form 990 for three consecutive years. Obviously, donors who have been supporting this ministry, or were considering doing so, should look for other ministries more worthy of their donations.

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