Southern Seminary Celebrates God’s Faithfulness and Honors Dr. Mohler at Alumni and Friends Lunch June 16, 2023

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on June 14 hosted its annual Alumni and Friends Luncheon in New Orleans, LA, in connection with the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. Over 760 guests gathered at the Sheraton Hotel for a time of fellowship and to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness to Southern Seminary.

The luncheon commenced with a special appearance by Bart Barber, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Despite never having taken a class at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Barber expressed his gratitude for the far-reaching impact of R. Albert Mohler, Jr.’s ministry, which extends beyond the seminary campus.

Josh Powell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, awarded this year's Alumnus of the Year Award to President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. As a two-time graduate of Southern Seminary, Mohler has bestowed the award 29 times, but this is the first time he has been the recipient of this honor. Powell said of the Trustees' choice of Mohler, “I know of no other graduate that deserves this honor more than Dr. Mohler. No one in recent times has done more for our beloved seminary than him. Not only what he has done for our seminary but his greater impact on evangelicalism is incalculable. He is the best example of a distinguished alumni. We are thankful for him.”

After receiving the award, President Mohler took the stage to express his gratitude and to provide an update. Reflecting on thirty years as president, Mohler quipped there was a time that he did not believe he could last long at Southern Seminary but expressed the overwhelming joy it is to look back over three decades and see all that God has done to bring so many students to prepare for ministry at Southern Seminary and Boyce College. Speaking to the success of Southern Seminary over the past thirty years, Mohler attributed it to the institution’s unwavering theological commitments and unyielding commitment to train pastors and scholars in service of the local church. These commitments are embodied in the faculty, who Mohler praised as one of the finest groups of faculty ever assembled.

Mohler concluded his time by stating his immense gratitude to all those who have supported him in his time as president. He thanked the Trustees who have given time and energy, the countless men and women who have supported the institution financially, and the faculty and students who make Southern Seminary and Boyce College one of the truly most joyful places to be. Above all, he noted his gratitude for the love and support of Mary Mohler, who has been an essential part of the work the Lord has used him to do.

In reflecting on the luncheon, Mohler said, “I am thankful for every single opportunity to gather together with Southern Seminary alumni and friends. After Mary, our kids, and grandkids, they are our family. What a sense of gratitude comes over me on the occasion of this thirtieth anniversary luncheon.”

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Mary Mohler Honored at 2023 SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon June 13, 2023

The 2023 SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon began by honoring Mary K. Mohler as this year’s Willie Turner Dawson Award recipient. This award is given to a minister's wife who has made a significant denominational contribution beyond the local church and has displayed Christian character in her service to others.

Mrs. Mohler began her remarks by recognizing the tireless sacrifice of so many ministers’ wives who are deserving to be honored and too often go unrecognized. “There are women serving in difficult places among difficult people who give very little affirmation yet are persevering day after day. We know that as Scripture teaches us, God is not unjust as to overlook your work and the labor you do and the love that you show in his name in serving the saints,” said Mohler.

In accepting the award, Mrs. Mohler expressed her love of the Southern Baptist Convention and the joy it has been to serve the convention as the President’s Wife of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the founder of the Seminary Wives Institute. Mrs. Mohler acknowledged that her service has only been possible because of the wonderful faculty wives she has had the gift of serving alongside, many of whom were present at the Ministers’ Wives Luncheon. Mrs. Mohler expressed, “I am surrounded by a stellar group of faculty wives who bring their own gifts and talents and energies to the table. Together we have the joy of seeing the rich fruit come from the Seminary Wives Institute.” Alongside these faculty wives, Mrs. Mohler has led the Seminary Wives Institute to prepare hundreds of women for faithful church ministry alongside their husbands.

Mrs. Mohler concluded her remarks by expressing her gratitude for the love and support of her family, who were present at the luncheon. President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. stood beside her during her acceptance speech, showing his delight at her receiving the award.

The Southern Seminary community celebrates the SBC Ministers’ Wives Luncheon selection of Mary Mohler for the Willie Turner Dawson Award. Mrs. Mohler has played an instrumental part in President Mohler’s work to recover faithfulness at Southern Seminary and has impacted the lives of countless students and families through her joyful service.

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Brent Small Joins Boyce College Faculty, Brings Decades of Pastoral, Business Experience June 9, 2023

Brent Small has been appointed Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Boyce College, President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. announced. Small will join the faculty while continuing in his role as Associate Vice President of Human Resources.

Small's background in pastoral ministry, non-profit leadership, and finance makes him particularly suited to train Christians in approaching business from a biblical perspective.

"Since 2017, I have counted it a privilege to serve at Southern Seminary and Boyce College," Small said. "Having been a seminary student, a pastor, and a non-profit leader, I know firsthand the importance of gaining a solid theological foundation for life, ministry, and professional pursuits. Now, being a part of that process at Boyce College is a real joy."

Dustin Bruce, Dean of Boyce College, says the hiring of Small will continue Boyce College's mission to train biblically-minded Christians for careers in the church and marketplace.

“I am delighted to have Brent Small joining the Boyce College faculty,” Bruce said. “His broad business experience coupled with his commitment to a biblical worldview will allow our business program to prepare students for an even broader variety of careers in the business world.”

David Bosch, Business Program Coordinator at Boyce College, believes Small’s professional experience and teaching skills make him an excellent fit for the Boyce College business program.

"I am excited to welcome Brent Small to the business program,” Bosch said. “Brent has a strong background in accounting and administration, and his interests align well with our program's focus on developing top graduates in the accounting and finance arena. He is also a gifted teacher and has already proven to be a valuable asset to our students.”

Small joins Erin Austin as new faculty additions to the Boyce College business program. Small and Austin have strong academic credentials and professional experience that will equip students to succeed in the marketplace and life for years to come.

For more information on Boyce College Business Administration degrees, including the Seminary Track option, go to BoyceCollege.com.

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Boyce College Appoints Erin Austin First Professor of Marketing June 8, 2023

President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. has named Erin Austin as Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Marketing at Boyce College. Austin becomes the first professor of marketing, a new faculty position approved by the Board of Trustees during their April meeting. Along with decades of teaching experience, including serving as an adjunct professor at Boyce College since 2020, Austin brings her years of leadership in the business world to the classrooms of Boyce College.

"Teaching at Boyce as an adjunct over the past several years has been an absolute joy,” Austin said. “I am so thankful and honored by the opportunity to move into the role of assistant professor. I look forward to walking alongside the Boyce business students as they study and prepare to serve their customers and colleagues in the marketplace."

Dustin Bruce, Dean of Boyce College, says the hiring of Austin will continue Boyce College's mission to inspire graduates to faithfulness in all areas of life.

"Erin Austin makes an excellent addition to the Boyce College faculty. With her passion for marketing and love for teaching, I am confident she will inspire countless students to enter their field committed to professional excellence and Christian faithfulness."

Students increasingly seek marketplace degrees at Boyce College, and Austin fits the growing need to help students navigate the corporate world from a Christian worldview. She is excited to apply her unique marketing background to help train the students of Boyce College.

“My experience in a corporate environment allowed me to interact with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and walks of life and taught me of the need for gospel-minded believers in the marketplace,” Austin said. “From conversations in the break room to planning a marketing campaign, the gospel transforms how we think about those whom we serve and serve alongside, and I look forward to helping students as they learn to think in that way."

David Bosch, coordinator for the Business Administration program at Boyce College, is delighted to welcome Austin to the faculty. He commended Austin's ability to teach and her zeal for discipling the next generation of Christian leaders.

“Erin has a strong background in marketing, and her expertise is allowing us to launch our new Marketing Management emphasis,” Bosch said. “She is a gifted teacher and has already impacted our students. Most importantly, her love for the Lord is contagious. I am confident she will continue to be a valuable role model for our students as they use their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the marketplace for God's glory.”

For more information on Boyce College Business Administration degrees, visit BoyceCollege.com.

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3 Guidelines for a Christ-Centered Approach to Evangelizing Muslims May 26, 2023

Southern Seminary’s Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam hosted an international potluck and lecture to help Christians witness to their Muslim neighbors, April 28 in Heritage Hall.

Ayman S. Ibrahim, director of the Jenkins Center, encouraged attendees to treat Muslims as people rather than projects, summarizing the key themes of his latest book, Reaching Your Muslim Neighbor with the Gospel (Crossway, 2022). In the recent lecture and through his accessible book, Ibrahim drew from his personal experience and love for the local church to encourage Christians to build relationships with Muslims.

“We need to distinguish Islam and the Muslim,” Ibrahim said. “Islam is a religion and set of beliefs, but Muslims are a people. A people in need of the gospel. We need the tools to connect with Muslims on a relational level and begin the friendships many Muslims are looking for.” Ibrahim also said the diversity of Islam presents a challenge for Christians wanting to reach Muslims with the gospel. According to Ibrahim, there are at least three categories of Muslims: radical, religious, and nominal. But Christ works in all three categories.

“Most Muslims around Louisville are cultural Muslims,” Ibrahim said. “They may not know a lot about Islam, but they are Muslims because they were born into Muslim families. Students here often know more about Islam than cultural Muslims because we teach the doctrine and history of Islam.”

To reach these Muslims and glorify Christ, Ibrahim presented three guidelines for Muslim evangelism that Christians need to consider:

1. Pray that God will bring Muslims to you.

“If we don’t pray, we aren’t expecting God to use us to reach Muslims,” Ibrahim said. “We love them by praying for opportunities to witness to them. We have the good news and the greatest message of hope.”

2. Ask and raise questions.

“Muslims enjoy talking about politics and religion,” Ibrahim said. “We ask and raise questions
because this is what Jesus did. We need to be proactive and initiate conversations, but you need to ask good questions.”

Some good questions Ibrahim recommends Christians ask Muslims are: Why do you wash your hands before prayer? Can you guarantee paradise in Islam?

3. Don’t argue to win.

“If you are competitive, you will lose,” Ibrahim said. “You are an ambassador of Christ and always need to be calm. We need to critique the religious claims of Islam while reaching Muslims with the gospel. Be focused and loving. Do not be angry. We are not representing ourselves but Christ.”

Prayer for Muslims during Ramadan

The evangelism training followed the Jenkins Center’s month of praying for Muslims during Ramadan. For the whole month of Ramadan, students, staff, and faculty gathered and prayed for the salvation of 1.8 billion Muslims around the world. Ramadan is the holiest month for billions of Muslims, as they fast from sunrise to sunset to please their deity, hoping to receive his favor.

“We prayed every weekday for one thing—that God would break through in the nations with the gospel,” Ibrahim said. “We specifically prayed for Muslims in Nigeria, Egypt, and Pakistan. We need to share the great fact of Christianity that God is love. In Islam, God is unapproachable. Muslims read the Quran to please God, not know God. The best thing Allah can do is send prophets. But our God came himself and experienced what we experienced in all things except sin. We need to help Muslims learn about following Christ.”

For more information on the Jenkins Center and upcoming events visit here.

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Jacob Percy Named VP of Communications May 18, 2023

Jacob Percy has been appointed Vice President of Communications at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Percy has served for several years at Southern in a variety of assignments. Among other roles, he oversaw the opening of The Bookstore at Southern and contributed to its successful start.

Jon Austin, Senior Vice President of Institutional Administration, is eager to see Percy thrive in this new role.

“I’m excited and encouraged to see Jacob take this key leadership role,” Austin said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Jacob in multiple capacities, and he has proved himself over and over as a faithful and strategic leader.”

Percy earned his BBA in 2016 from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, then completed his MDiv at Southern in 2019, he graduated with his PhD in systematic theology from SBTS this May.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Southern Seminary and Boyce College community and serve in this role,” Percy said. “It is exciting to be a part of telling the story of the work God is doing here at Southern Seminary and Boyce College. I have experienced the immense value of the training, preparation, and formation that happens here, and I am excited to do all I can to invite others to come participate as well.”

Austin believes Percy will bring the right energy and experience to the Communications office.

“Jacob understands the vision of Southern Seminary and Boyce College," Austin said. “He will lead his team in telling the institution’s story in new and compelling ways. Jacob brings energy and excellence to his work, he works well across the campus, and he’s the right person to help advance the institution’s mission through this department.”

Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler, Jr. called Percy “one of the outstanding leaders of his generation.” Mohler continued: “Jacob Percy has excelled at every assignment given him. I look forward to great strides in our communications program under his leadership. I am very thankful for his commitment to Southern Seminary and Boyce College.”

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Graduates from 24 Countries Commissioned as Soldiers of Christ at Southern Seminary Commencement May 16, 2023

“What is happening here will determine whether or not persons who have not yet heard the gospel of Jesus Christ will hear that gospel and believe in Christ and be saved,” said President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. in his opening remarks at the Commencement of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While other institutions may gather this time of year to celebrate commencement ceremonies, the commencement at Southern Seminary is distinct in that it is a service of Christian worship. Both the service and the motivation of the graduates are full of gratitude to the Lord and determination to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

A graduation assembly of over 2,000 people took to the Seminary Lawn on Friday, May 12, for the 231st Commencement Ceremony of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Faculty, family, and friends celebrated as 345 students representing 24 different countries had their degrees conferred, with 259 in attendance and 86 receiving their degrees in absentia. Surveying the graduates, Mohler said, “The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ produces this. Godly churches produce this. Faithful pastors preaching the word of God in season and out of season produces this. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit of God that produces this.” He continued, “More than anything else, this is not a celebration of human achievement. More than anything else, it is just visible evidence of the faithfulness of God.”

In his commencement address, President Mohler looked to James 5:7-11 to encourage the graduates with the ongoing need for their work as ministers of the gospel until the Lord returns. He urged them to establish their hearts on Christ as they prepare for decades of ministry and faithfulness to the local church. Christians can be confident that the Lord is coming to establish his kingdom and fulfill all that he has promised, and it is this eschatological frame that is to guide graduates into faithfulness in Christian ministry. “The exhortation here is that we settle ourselves and establish our hearts knowing that all things in the name of Christ for the gospel will be fulfilled,” declared Mohler.

During the commencement, faculty looked on as Mohler charged their students to remain steadfast in their gospel ministry, confident that they had prepared the graduates for this objective. From the first moment these men and women enrolled in classes, the faculty has consistently taught, trained, and equipped these ministers of the gospel for enduring, faithful service to the church. As the graduates depart, they go prepared by the faculty to proclaim what they vowed in the Graduation Pledge: “We are soldiers of Christ, arrayed in truth, and we commit the length of our days to the service of our Savior.”

Looking at the graduates, Mohler invited those in attendance to consider what he and the faculty see in them. “We see faithfulness channeled into the lives of these servants of Christ captured right in a picture as all sit together on this lawn. This group of graduates is a picture of faithfulness and promise.” In a final charge to the graduates, Mohler said, “So go! Go do what God has called you to do.”

Southern Seminary’s commencement ceremony was a clear reminder of the sacred task entrusted to these graduates. With diplomas in hand, Southern Seminary-commissioned graduates go out into the world as heralds of truth, armed with the transformative power of God’s Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. As they embark on their respective ministries, the graduates carry with them the sincere confidence that their preparation at seminary will impact both time and eternity through their faithful service to Christ and his church.

Honoring Excellent Pedagogy

Don Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and the Associate Dean of the School of Theology, received the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award, given annually to an outstanding professor on the seminary faculty. Findley B. Edge taught at Southern Seminary for over three decades and died in 2002. Whitney has served on Southern Seminary’s faculty since 2005.

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Boyce College Graduates Declare Their Commitment to Ministry and Service as Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ May 15, 2023

“As graduates of Boyce College, we hereby declare to the watching world that we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who are called to ministry and service by the power of the Holy Spirit.” This first line of the Boyce College Graduate Pledge captures the essence of what makes the Commencement Ceremony at Boyce College so praiseworthy – each of the graduates of the Boyce College Class of 2023 is committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and stands ready to “commit the length of our days to the service of our Savior.”

On Thursday, May 11, the 2023 Graduating Class of Boyce College assembled on the Seminary Lawn to celebrate the 25th commencement of Boyce College, marking a significant milestone for the graduates as they embark on a new chapter in their lives, equipped with knowledge, skills, and experiences gained throughout their time at Boyce College. Faculty, family, and friends witnessed as 167 students graduated, with 139 participating in the ceremony and 28 receiving their degrees in absentia on a beautiful May morning.

The ceremony, according to President R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is more than just a ceremony to honor graduates. It is a worship service for the God who called them and prepared them for all that they are commissioned to go do in the name of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Scripture readings, prayers for the church and for the nations, the singing of hymns, and recitation of the Apostles' Creed marked this distinctly Christian commencement ceremony and reminded graduates that whatever their vocation, they stand on the Word of God and are commissioned in service of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the building up of his church.

Drawing on 2 Timothy 3: 10-27, Mohler charged the students to continue in what they have learned from parents, pastors, and most assuredly from the faculty of Boyce College. Mohler emphasized that it is God's plan that the eternal truths of his Word would be transferred through relationships with others, highlighting that at Boyce College, students have not only received gospel knowledge from their professors but also gospel passion and are commissioned to go out as the people of that passion.

"Continue in what you have learned," charged Mohler. "We firmly believe that the gospel, the Scripture, the truth infused in you in the curriculum of this college will be invaluable for you to your faithfulness for the decades to come." Mohler continued, "We believe that God has called you for this time, to this purpose, and will give you all things necessary in order to be faithful." He concluded, "May your faithfulness be extended from this class to the church and from the church to the world."

Dean Dustin Bruce encouraged graduates from Matthew 10:26-33 to not misplace aspects of their Christian discipleship. By holding fast to a proper fear of the Lord, a proper understanding of their value to their heavenly Father, and a proper steadfastness in their confession, Bruce presented a way for graduates to remain strong in their faithfulness to Christ regardless of the pressures of life to come.

"My exhortation to you is to continue for all of your days, maintaining that confession that Jesus is Lord, that you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead so that you might be saved." Bruce exhorted, "Fear God alone, trust him, and confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father."

During their time at Boyce College, graduates have been prepared for this moment since they first stepped onto campus. The faculty and administration have worked to endow students with the requisite knowledge and form students into whole-hearted disciples of Christ. With this preparation, graduates are now ready for all that lies ahead. And prepared they are. Many in this graduating class have already secured career placement in fields ranging from church ministry to accounting, with job titles from teacher to news producer. Others have been admitted into post-graduate programs to pursue advanced degrees. Regardless of the specific vocational pursuits, each graduate stands ready, equipped, and "determined to serve wherever God may call us, knowing that by the power of the resurrected Christ, our labor is not in vain.”

Honoring Excellent Pedagogy

Tyler Flatt, associate professor of Humanities and Co-Director of the Augustine Honors Collegium, received the Charles W. Draper Faculty Award. The annual award is named in honor of longtime Boyce professor Charles W. Draper, who died in 2017 after many years of faithful service on the Boyce faculty. Flatt has served on Boyce College's faculty since 2016.

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Hundreds of Boyce College and SBTS Prospective Students Attend Preview Day, Meet Faculty May 4, 2023

Southern Seminary welcomed a record-breaking 319 visitors for Boyce Preview Day, March 16–17. Prospective students and their families attended chapel, went to classes, and spent time engaging faculty.

Dustin Bruce, Dean of Boyce College, says the future looks bright for Boyce College—noting that the high attendance reveals a longing in today’s students for confessional Christian education.

“The opportunity to host the largest Preview Day in the history of Boyce College was a tangible reminder of all the prospective students and families who resonate with the conservative, confessional, Christian education Boyce College provides,” Bruce said.

Bruce cast the vision of Boyce College and Preview Day by pointing to three distinctives: an education from a Christian worldview, a focus on discipleship, and a push for students to engage with God's mission.

“We want students and their families to get a glimpse of what life is like at Boyce College and are excited to communicate to them what makes Boyce distinct,” Bruce said. “Christ is supreme over all things—this is the truth that guides everything at Boyce College. We want a college experience that only makes sense if Christ has been raised. I love seeing future Boyce College students light up as we communicate our distinct commitment to biblical worldview education, fostering discipleship, and encouraging mission.”

Southern Seminary prospective students from 25 states and 3 countries arrived in Louisville to experience campus life and meet the faculty on April 21. Attendees toured campus, learned about admissions and financial aid, and spent extensive time with faculty members.

SBTS and Boyce College President Albert Mohler remains committed to Christian education amidst a secularizing world. Mohler believes the current and future students of Boyce College and Southern Seminary are the type of leaders the church and world desperately need to contend for biblical truth.

“It is an exciting time to be a Christian college and seminary,” Mohler said. “Boyce College and Southern Seminary are to assist this generation in not being conformed to the world. Transformation and the renewing of the mind comes by education based on the Word of God in order that this generation of Christians will be faithful in an increasingly hostile world. It’s the right time for this generation of Christian leaders to arrive on the scene and bring glory to God’s name.”

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Southern Equips Students for Missions, Hosts KBC, IMB, and NAMB at Great Commission Week April 27, 2023

Southern Seminary held its annual Great Commission Week to help students explore their options for missions with SBC entities April 11–14. During the mission-focused week, the Boyce College and SBTS community heard chapel messages, built connections, and attended events emphasizing current and future opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), International Mission Board (IMB), and North American Board (NAMB) hosted meals and informative sessions on campus to help students learn how to get involved and serve after graduation.

Paul Akin, Provost at Southern and Professor of Missions said Great Commission Week offers a unique opportunity to help students know their path to the mission field.

“Great Commission week provides our students with opportunities to learn more about pathways to serve with the KBC, the IMB, and NAMB,” Akin said. “It’s a strategic time on our campus as we challenge students to consider the role they will play in the Great Commission.”

Afshin Ziafat, Pastor at Providence Church, spoke at chapel on Tuesday and encouraged students to see the good news of the gospel as the power behind missions.

“The gospel is fuel for radical discipleship and radical mission,” Ziafet said. “Amazing grace in the gospel propels missionaries and church planters to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Other key events included prayer gatherings for various people groups and a unique live recording of Akin’s podcast, Amazon to the Himalayas, in The Bookstore at Southern, with Hershael York, Dean of the School of Theology.

Omar Johnson, Pastor at Temple Hills Baptist Church, spoke at Chapel on Thursday—challenging the SBTS and Boyce College community to lean on God’s power and proclaim Christ.

“Recognize your insufficiencies but don’t let them rule you,” Johnson said. “Go be a life-giving Christian wherever God might call you and trust that the Lord is still working. Rely on him and raise the banner for Jesus. Center your life on speaking Christ and let God show his powerful work through your profound weakness."

“Great Commission Week was a great success,” said Jacob Percy, VP of Communications. “We look forward to seeing how this week equips the Southern Seminary community to impact the world with the gospel.”

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