A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The “Do-Nothing” god of our Day Promotes Evil in the Church

No one can disobey the Lord and not suffer consequences. But just as it was in the days of Jeremiah the prophet, so it is today among many who profess to be Christians. Such people sin, turn to their own way, twist Scripture to justify their sin, and then announce that God will do nothing, no disaster will come upon them.

They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them!'” (Jeremiah 5:12-13)

We know that the fundamental mindset of an abuser is a profound sense of entitlement. He or she sees himself as entitled to….well, to be the center of the universe. Entitled to power and control. Entitled to be blessed regardless of what he does or does not do. The god of such people is a false god created by them. A god who will do nothing. A god who will not punish.

This subject came to my mind recently as I was reading this Scripture. Let me give you an example of people who I have had contact with in the last few years who serve just such a do-nothing god. All three were women. All three claimed to be Christians. Two of them had left abusive marriages, and the third was widowed. In each case they began to pursue immoral and even adulterous relationships, knowing full well that such acts are serious sin.

Now, each one of these women told me what they were doing. Two required a bit of pointed questioning before they confessed, while the third phoned me and told me she had actually moved a man into her home and bed. And what was common to all three of these people is that there was no sense of brokenness. No real grief over their sin. Oh, they acknowledged with their mouth that it was wrong, but that is as far as it went. Compare that to David’s experience of genuine repentance:

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalms 32:3-5)

What I ultimately realized is that all three of these people expected me and our church to gladly pronounce God’s forgiveness upon them, to welcome them back into our midst all the while singing praises to how gracious and forgiving God is. They had a profound sense of entitlement, you see. Entitlement to be forgiven by God, entitlement to have other Christians smile and tell them no disaster will come upon them. They expected it from their do-nothing god.

And what do you suppose happened when we told them otherwise? When we told them that they must genuinely repent or the Lord was not going to forgive them? The smiley face and pleasant tone turned and the fangs came out! One said “Well, just go ahead then and kick me out of your church! That’s what you want to do anyway!”

Do you see how a do-nothing god promotes evil in the church? How abusers are able to be protected and excused by such wicked theology? After all, even the abuser need not fear disaster or judgement from such a god. When the prophets become wind and God’s Word is not in them, you can be sure that just such a false god will soon become the object of worship in such a place.

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Study Bible Notes are Not Scripture – A Case Study in the CSB Study Bible

We must handle “study Bibles” very carefully, always remembering that the notes and articles are not the Word of God. The following article appears in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Study Bible edition and it is also in the newer edition, the CSB, published by Holman in 2017.

 

The article convinced me that I will not use or recommend the HCSB Study Bible or the CSB Study Bible. The author of the article is Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, North Carolina. There are huge, troubling problems with what Akin writes here. I have interspersed my comments into the article.

The Bible and Sexuality, Daniel L. Akin

God created men and women as sexual creatures. Therefore sex should be viewed as a good gift from a great God. Sex as God designed it is to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. It should be good, exciting, intoxicating, powerful, and unifying.

Comment: I certainly would have clarified the opening sentence here. “God created human beings as male and female. One important aspect of humans is their sexuality.” As you will see in the rest of this article, Akin gives far too much weight to the importance of sex, and in particular male sexuality. Men and women, human beings, are far more that “sexual creatures.” At best, Akin is unclear in his opening sentence.

Akin continues [bold-facing is mine]:

This “one-flesh” relationship (Gn 2:24) is the most intense physical intimacy and the deepest spiritual unity possible between a man and woman. It should remind both partners of the even more remarkable oneness that the human spirit can experience with God in spiritual new birth through faith in Jesus Christ (Jn 3). God approves of sexual relations within marriage alone, where husband and wife are to serve each other and meet each other’s physical needs in sexual intercourse (Pr 5:15-21). Paul indicates that sexual problems in marriage can hamper the Christian life, especially prayer (1Co 7:5). Both husband and wife have equal sexual needs which are to be met in marriage (1Co 7:3), and each is to pursue the needs of the other and not his or her own (Php 2:3-5).

Comment: Notice very, very carefully that some of the most sweeping statements in this paragraph are simply stated and not supported in Scripture. For example, the sentences above which I have boldfaced are simply never taught in Scripture. Oh sure, Akin lists a couple of Scripture references, but neither teach what he is saying.

Think it through. Where does this sex as “deepest spiritual unity” leave a husband and wife who for reasons beyond their control cannot have sexual relations? I can tell you. Akin leaves their relationship at second rate.

And he just keeps on making sex much, much more than the Lord ever intended it to be. Listen to him again: “It should remind both partners of the even more remarkable oneness that the human spirit can experience with God in spiritual new birth through faith in Jesus Christ.” As Barbara Roberts noted when she read this, it is really virtual heresy. This is just the kind of thing that is used, through its perversion of Scripture, to justify all kinds of weird “spiritual” practices. I say once more, Akin did not find this teaching in the Bible.

Akin again:

Though the Bible is not a book on sex, it does contain a complete theology of sexuality: the purposes for sex, warnings against its misuse, and a beautiful picture of ideal physical intimacy (see especially the Song of Songs). Below are some of the Bible’s most important teachings on human sexuality.

• God’s Purposes for Giving Us the Good Gift of Sex Knowledge (Gn 4:1) Intimate oneness (Gn 2:24) Comfort (Gn 24:67) The creation of life (Gn 1:28) Play and pleasure (Sg 2:8-17; 4:1-16) Avoiding temptation outside marriage (1Co 7:2-5)
• God’s Commands to the Husband He is to find satisfaction in his wife (Pr 5:19) He is to find joy in his wife (Ec 9:9) He is to concern himself with meeting her unique needs (Dt 24:5; 1Pt 3:7)
• God’s Commands to the Wife She is to be sexually available to her husband (1Co 7:3-5) She is to prepare and plan to capture her husband’s heart (Sg 4:9-15) She is to show sexual interest in her husband (Sg 4:16; 5:2) She is to be sensitive to his unique masculine needs (Gn 24:67)

Comment: Do you conclude what I have concluded from Akin’s words here? That the husband (because he is a man) has ‘unique masculine needs” and it is the wife’s duty to see that she meets those needs. The verses that Akin cites here in no way support what he claims Scripture teaches. And I believe I am being objective when I conclude that Akin sees the wife as having far, far more responsibility to sexually please her husband than her husband has to please her. Oh yes, I know Akin threw in the “He is to concern himself with meeting her unique needs” caveat. But I find it interesting that Akin went into far more sexual detail regarding the wife’s duties to her husband than the husband’s duties to his. Am I imagining that? I think not.

Akin continues, claiming in his sub-title that the principles he is about to lay on us are biblical:

Biblical Principles to Govern Sex

• Sexual relations within marriage are holy and good.
• God encourages intimate relations and warns against their cessation (1Co 7:5).
• Pleasure in sexual relations is both healthy and expected.
• The bodies of both parties belong to the other (Pr 5:15-19; 1Co 7:4).
• Sexual pleasure is to be guided by the principle that one’s sexuality is to be other-oriented. “Rights” over one’s body are given in marriage to our mate (Php 2:3-4).
• Sexual relations are to be regular and normal. No exact number of times per week is prescribed, but the biblical principle is that both parties are to provide adequate sexual satisfaction so that both “burning” (sexual desire) and temptation to find satisfaction outside marriage are avoided (1Co 7:9).
• The principle of satisfaction means that each party is to provide sexual enjoyment (which is “due” him or her in marriage) as frequently as the other party requires. Other biblical principles (moderation, seeking to please another rather than oneself, etc.) also come into play. Consideration of one’s mate is to guide one’s requests for sexual relations.
• In accordance with the principle of “rights,” there is to be no sexual bargaining between married persons (“I’ll not have relations unless you . . .”). Neither party has the right to make such bargains. This is a form of “marital prostitution” and must be avoided.
• Sexual relations are equal and reciprocal. The Bible does not give the man superior rights to the woman or the woman superior rights to the man. Mutual service is the goal.
• Whatever is safe, pleasing, enjoyable, and satisfying to both is acceptable. The body of each belongs to the other (1Co 7:4). Neither should demand from the other what is painful, harmful, degrading, or distasteful to him or her.

Comment: Alright, as we always do here at ACJF, let’s put ourselves in the place of a woman who is an abuse victim. What is Akin telling her? She MUST yield her rights whenever he wants sex. Her husband’s lust is her duty to control. She must give him sex whenever he wants it. She is prohibited from setting any boundaries with her abuser! If she does, she is a prostitute.

As I said, Akin throws in a couple of caveats, as he does in the last bullet point above. But the fact is that this entire article is steeped in testosterone and very light on the estrogen. What I am getting from Akin is that men need sex a lot more than women do, that it is the duty of the wife to meet those needs no matter what, and in the end what is communicate is that if her husband is abusing or adulterating or porning, well, it is her fault.

And remember now how serious this all is. This article appears in the pages of Holy Scripture in the Holman Christian Standard Bible!! Someone in charge down there at Holman picked Akin to write on this subject and agreed with what he wrote. In addition, there are other PhD’s from the halls of Christian academia who wrote other articles in this Bible, whose track record in rendering real justice in abuse cases is anything but spotless.

[This article has been quoted from the Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Bible, published by Holman Bible Publishers, 2010, Nashville, TN]. The same essay appears in the newer Christian Standard Bible, Study Bible published by Holman in 2017].

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Coercive Control: a recommended three part series

We recommend this three part post series about Coercive Control at domesticshelters.org, with the following caveat:

We do not agree with the last sentence of Part 2 which says:

Abusive and controlling men are so dependent on their intimate partners, they often believe they will die without them.

Like Dr George Simon Jr, we think the core of abusive and controlling men’s mentality is not dependency, but an overblow sense of entitlement and malignant narcissism. When abusive men portray themselves as ‘dependent on their intimate partners,’ this is just one of their tactics of manipulation and emotional blackmail — the ‘poor me’ act designed to make us feel sorry for the abusive man and make allowances for him.

We are not necessarily endorsing all the material on the material at domesticshelters.org — but we have noticed a few other items on that site which we think would help our readers and we have added these items to our Resources. Here they are:

Can abusers change? 

The Deaf Endure Domestic Violence More Than Hearing

Will it happen again? 

3 Myths about survivors of domestic violence

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Dear Readers and Friends – An Announcement from Jeff Crippen

Dear Readers and Friends:

Way, way back in 2010 the wheels began to turn in me about the nature and deception of domestic abusers hiding in the church. By 2012 the Lord had so compelled me to write about it that the book A Cry for Justice was produced. In the process of that project, I found another book called Not Under Bondage and emailed the author—some lady down in Oz named Barbara Roberts—to ask her if I could quote from it in my book.

A WordPress blog was begun, by the title of A Cry for Justice, simply to let people know about the book and how they could get a copy. It wasn’t long after that when Barbara joined the ACFJ team and this ministry was begun.

While Barbara and our faithful TWBTC team member will continue the blog, I have decided that the time has come for me to retire from it. Grandchildren are starting to show up in our lives and I still have a church to oversee in addition to trying to be just a little bit retired. My faithful wife has patiently seen me spend hours and hours and days and days these years at the computer after telling her, “I just need to go answer a few emails and take a call.”

What I will not retire from however is speaking out against abusers, against evil, against churches and church leaders and church members and others who persist (key word, “persist”) in knowingly or unknowingly enabling the wicked and adding to the oppression of victims. You will still hear these subjects in my sermons and no doubt I will do some other writing that hopefully can be used to bring comfort and validation to abuse victims and make life generally more difficult for abusers.

As of October 31st of this year then I will be departing from the ACFJ team. It has been quite a ride. May the Lord continue to bless all of you, and may this ministry keep being an answer to those who cry out:

Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. (Job 19:7)

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Barbara Roberts and TWBTC (the woman behind the curtain) offer thanks and appreciation to Pastor Jeff Crippen

Pastor Jeff has created a solid scriptural foundation for the blog in both his posts and his sermons.  That type of foundation is not found on most (any?) other websites that deal with domestic abuse in a Christian context. It’s that type of foundation that will endure and where victim/survivors will find the most longterm help and growth.  Our hope is that we can take that foundation and continue to build on it

Pastor Crippen has taught so clearly, cutting through all the teachings that harm abuse victims which are so prevalent in the visible church, and showing why they do not concord with the whole counsel of God in Scripture. He has exposed false teachers and denounced false doctrines. He has taught us the difference between libertinism and legalism and how either error can lead to abuse. Here are the some of key messages he has given:

Jeff has published 730 posts, plus another 67 which he and Barb co-wrote. He has offered advice for pastors and written an Open Letter to Pastors. He has called on pastors to step up to the plate. He has expressed sadness about how few pastors are interested in learning about domestic abuse.

What a stupendous gift Jeff has given to God’s people at this blog. And in addition he’s written two books on abuse: A Cry For Justice* and Unholy Charade [affiliate links*].

We wish him well. And we will always consider him a friend.

Personal note from Barb:

As a female author writing about Christian doctrine, I felt like a Deborah who needed a Barak. So in January 2012 when a fellow called Jeff Crippen emailed me asking permission to republish something from my book, I was curious to learn more about his manuscript. I asked him to send me the chapter synopsis and a sample chapter. As soon as I started reading I could tell that he was different from the vast majority of pastors. He got it. He understood domestic abuse. He understood the mentality and tactics of abusers. He understood how victims were being mistreated by churches.

It has been a great privilege and blessing to work with Jeff. Our partnership in co-leading the blog has illustrated to me how men and women can work synergistically together bringing their respective gifts — what might be seen as the gender-typical strengths of each sex — to complement each other and enhance the common work. Thank you Jeff!

Personal note from TWBTC:

I stumbled upon Pastor’s 21-sermon series about domestic abuse on sermon audio as I was trying to make sense of my abusive marriage.  Using the contact option on sermon audio I sent an email of gratitude.  I didn’t know if my email would get to the pastor who preached those sermons or not, but I hoped that at least someone would know how much they meant to me.  To my surprise Pastor replied to my email the same day.

It was also during this time that I found the ACFJ blog, which at that time was only weeks old. I have been following the blog ever since. What I have learned, what I have experienced, and how I have grown during this time cannot be measured. And all because God chose a small town pastor who was shepherding a small flock to preach His message on evil and how it hides in the church. And Pastor, because you have been faithful to that message, many have been blessed! Thank you.

The future of the blog

Barb and TWBTC will definitely be keeping the blog going. We are both keen to keep giving our time and energies to it. We hope to provide you with all the same kind of content which the blog has provided in the past. Jeff will continue to help moderate comments to the end of October and you will see some more posts of his during that period too.

We know our readers will be in shock and may well be grieving from having read this announcement. We ourselves (Barb and TWBTC) have been grieving ever since Jeff told us of his decision about two weeks ago. We encourage our readers to ride the waves of grief, to hold on to Christ and the promises God gives to his people such as Romans 8:28.

We know that many victims of domestic abuse have found it immensely validating to be supported and believed by a male pastor. Barb and TWBTC cannot offer you that because we are women, but all our readers who want to ‘hear it from a man’ can go to our Jeff Crippen tag and read all the posts he has written anytime they want to. And of course, anyone can listen to Jeff’s sermons at Sermon Audio.

Here is a hymn which our readers may find helpful at a time like this.

Interestingly, there are variants in the lyrics of the first verse. In this version it says:

…No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

And in the old Presbyterian Hymnal at the church Barb attends, it reads:

…I dare not trust my sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Can someone be saved, yet remain immature, lazy & eventually lose that salvation and return to their sinful ways?

 

I really thought when we were young that my husband became a Christian, and he really seemed to try….even now sometimes I find him reading his Bible, etc. Yet after having been married to him for decades, I’ve seen so much of his pattern of behavior that I no longer doubt that he is narcisstic and abusive. I think back to the early days and I wonder if he ever was really saved or not. He seemed to be. If I had to pick a time when things began to change I’d have to say it was after we had a couple of babies. Since then it’s been a roller coaster. Is it possible for someone to be saved, yet remain immature, lazy, and eventually lose that salvation and return to their sinful ways?
— a paraphrase of the question our reader ‘Breathe Again’ asked here.

It is a common question. Here are two excellent sermons which speak to it:

Doing the Impossible  – Hebrews 6:4-12.  Ps Liam Goligher 

Working out our Salvation –  2 Peter 3:1-11; Romans 6.  Ps Jeff Crippen

I (Barb Roberts) have listened to both sermons more than once. I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same if you have the time.

On the post where Breathe Again asked her question, I replied to her as follows:

I do not think it is possible for a person to be effectually saved (regenerate/ born again) and then lose their salvation. Both Jeff and I subscribe to the Baptist Confession of Faith (which is quite similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith). In those Confessions the term ‘effectual calling’ is use quite specifically — you can read about that in the Baptist Confession chapter 10 “Of Effectual Calling”. In paragraph 4 of chapter 10 it says:

Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.

So people like Breath Again’s husband (my first husband was another example) are “called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit” so for a while it may appear that they are saved.

In my husband’s case, he heard the Word preached, he responded to an altar call and said the sinner’s prayer and in the next days, weeks and months he had quite a few experiences of the Spirit speaking to him in dreams and in his waking mind. He told me that he had a dream in which Matthew 18:3 was highlighted — “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” In prayer one evening he received an image which showed how he had treated me in the marriage before then: he was a big tree overshadowing me the little plant and his shadow prevented me from getting enough light.

And in the early weeks he loved reading the Bible, he was drawn to the Word and wanted to keep reading it… which is one of the marks of conversion.

But it all fell away. Bit by bit, gradually, he became more and more emotionally and verbally abusive to me. Many months after he had been supposedly ‘born again’— but was by that time regularly swearing at me and raging at me and manipulating me to feel guilty for anything and everything — he was at work one day and he heard God’s voice telling him that he was treating me very badly and God told him “When you go home you must apologise to Barbara and ask her forgiveness and ask her how she wants you to treat her.”

He came home that evening, aplogized, asked how I wanted him to treat me.  I told him, “Don’t swear around the house. And treat me with respect.” …. Needless to say, his abuse of me moderated for a little while, but it crept back up to where it was before and eventually escalated even higher…

I now look back on that and I think he was NEVER saved. He had ‘some common operations of the Spirit’ but he was never saved. The Spirit was calling him, pricking his conscience, pointing him to the need to humble himself… and he in his own sin resisted the Spirit. I marvelled at how God gave him so many opportunities. It was clear that God was urging him to change. And my husband was declining to follow God’s urgings.

Simon the Sorcerer is another example of a person who appeared to be saved initially but was not saved… and it became apparent when his besetting sin of covetousness was spotlighted (Acts 8:9-25).

And Song of Joy responded:

Jesus’ parable of the sower comes to mind…some people really do seem to receive the Word with “joy” and change for awhile…but then fall away when their old nature figures out it is *not getting any worldly advantage* from the “conversion” and wants to reassert itself (they want to avoid having cares, responsibilities, challenges and go back to their pursuit of materialism and domination).

Matthew 13:20-21 (NASB)
The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

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For Further Reading

Seeds sown on rocky ground: Lessons about the abuser’s mentality 

Churches are sinfully honouring reprobates — Eli and his reprobate sons.  The unpardonable sin.

The “Christian” Abuser and Hebrews 6:4-8

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Churches are sinfully honouring reprobates—Eli and his reprobate sons. The unpardonable sin.

What is a “reprobate”? Esau was a reprobate. Pharaoh was a reprobate. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were reprobates. Scripture tells us that there are indeed people who are beyond God’s mercy, for whom it is in fact too late, for whom repentance is now impossible. Let us consider how they ever got to such a point and why their sealed condition serves as a sobering warning to all who are continuing to reject Christ.

We can find numerous examples of anemic, erroneous theology in people who claim to be teachers in Christ’s church. It is a repeated refrain – “No one is beyond God’s mercy. It is never too late for anyone.” These kinds of falsehoods are frequently presented to us when some person who has claimed to be a pious, model “saint” is found out to be what they really are – a wicked, evil, deceiver guilty of the most horrendous sins.

What does the reprobate look like today?

  • He claims to be a Christian.
  • He has heard the gospel and the truths of Scripture for years and years.
  • He is often quite “religious” in appearance.
  • But behind all of this lies an evil, unbelieving heart as evidenced by his real life of walking in evil, of refusing to repent, of having no fear of the Lord.

Hophni and Phineas, Eli’s sons, were reprobates.

What were the sins of Hophni and Phineas?

  1. They were “pastors.” Ministers. Priests. Church leaders of their day.
  2. They did not know the Lord.
  3. They stole from the offering plate (by force).
  4. They fornicated with women who were at the tabernacle, apparently setting up a kind of temple prostitution ring.

And so it was the will of God to put them to death. Not to redeem them. Not to plead with them to repent.

Eli the priest was the father of Hophni and Phineas. Eli’s guilt was in pleading with his sons to repent. Many pastors and Christian counselors today would want to “fix” Hophni and Phineas. Many, many church leaders and professing Christians today are guilty of Eli’s sin.

Reprobates, sinning with a high hand and the sin that leads to death (the unpardonable sin)

Ps Jeff Crippen explains about reprobates and the sin that leads to death in his sermon Today if You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart. The main text of the sermon is 1 Samuel 2:22-36 but it also discusses Hebrews 3:17-19; 6:1-8; Numbers 15:28-31; Matthew 12:31-32; Jeremiah 7:13-16; 14:10-12. It is an excellent coverage of the doctrine of the reprobate, what it means to sin with a high hand by intentionally and persistently resisting the Holy Spirit, and how that is the sin that leads to death — the unpardonable sin.

1 John 5:16-18  If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

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The text of this post is a shortened version of  Part 1 of this 2-part sermon series by Jeff Crippen:

Today if You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart, Part 1.

Today if You Hear His Voice – Do Not Harden Your Heart, Part 2  this discusses the doctrine of the reprobate more, and explains the difference between an apostate and a reprobate.

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For Further Reading

Can someone be saved, yet remain immature, lazy & eventually lose their salvation and return to their sinful ways?

The “Christian” Abuser and Hebrews 6:4-8