God's Plan of Salvation


What Must I Do To Be Saved?


Proof That Baptism Is Necessary For Salvation by Thomas B. Warren

Two Parts of Salvation

Evidence For the Inspiration of the Bible

The Bible is Genuine and Authoritative

The Bible Confirmed by Archaeology

Some Suggestions For Bible Study

Help In Understanding the Bible

A Synopsis of the Books of the Old Testament

Between the Testaments


There are some serious questions being asked in our world today. People want to know what the future holds. Will there be another attack such as we witnessed on "9/11/01"? Is there life on other planets? Will we find a cure for cancer in our lifetime? These are important questions but they pale into insignificance compared to the question asked by the Phillipian Jailor as recorded in Acts 16:30: "Sirs, What must I do to be saved?"

This question is important because it has to do with eternity. It has to do with the soul and it's relationship to God. The Jailor recognized that he was lost and asked Paul and Silas, his prisoners, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

The first step in coming into a state of salvation is to recognize that one is lost and is in need of a savior. The Jailor had come to this point in his life. Paul and Silas began to answer the man's question by saying, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized"(Acts. 16:31-33).

Please consider some salient points regarding the salvation of this man and his family.

1. Salvation is personal. He asked "What must I do to be saved?" He didn't ask about some deceased ancestor who perhaps had never heard of Jesus. He recognized that he was in need of salvation.

2. Salvation requires obedience. The Jailor knew there was something required of him. Many religious leaders deny that man has any responsibility in his salvation. To many the word"obey" is a "four letter word" to be avoided. The Bible is clear that there is something about the gospel one must obey. (See Matthew 7:21; Acts 6:7; Romans 6:16-18).The Jailor knew there was something to do. Later,when he learned the truth of the gospel from Paul and Silas, he complied with its demands (see Acts 16:33).

3. Salvation is from above. Salvation does not come from man but from God. Men have devised their own systems of salvation rather than submitting to God's plan for redeeming man (see Romans 1:18-32; 10:1-3). The ancient prophet Jeremiah exclaimed, "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."(Jeremiah 10:23).

4. Salvation requires both belief and baptism. In answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?", Paul and Silas told the Jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." The Jailor took the two prisoners, cleaned their wounds and listened to their answer to his question regarding his salvation. Following this study session, "immediately he and all his family were baptized." A meal followed the baptism as they rejoiced in the salvation of this fine family (Acts 16: 34). Notice, "having believed in God with all his household." It is clear that the comprehensive expression "having believed in God" includes repentance as well as baptism and faith. Frequently in the New Testament believing and obedience are used to represent the same idea (see John 3:36; Hebrews 3:18-19; 4:3-6 and compare John 3:16 with Hebrews 5:9).

Other examples of how people were saved include:

1. The Jews at the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2).

2. The Samaritans (Acts 8:5-13).

3. The Etheopian (Acts 8:35-39)

4. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-18; 22:3-16; 26:1-23)

5. Cornelius, the first Gentile convert (Acts 10:34-48; 11:1-18)

6. Lydia (Acts 16:13-15)

In each case of New Testament conversion, we note the following:

1. One must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "...if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." Jesus also said,"...he who does not believe will be condemned." Belief in Christ implies complete reliance and surrender, not just a mere "mental acceptance."

2. One must repent of sins.Repentance is a "change of mind" that results in a change of conduct. Jesus said, "...unless you repent you will all likewise perish."(Luke 133,5). In the first gospel sermon recorded in the book of Acts, the apostle Peter, by inspiration commanded repentance "for the remission of sins"(Acts 2:38).

3. One must confess the name of Christ. Jesus said, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." Confession, therefore, is not a confession of sins, or some kind of a testimonial. Biblical confession is exemplified by the Ethiopian convert as he asked "What hinders me from being baptized?" Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the the Son of God.'"Evidently the young preacher Timothy, upon his conversion, had made the same confession. The apostle Paul reminded him of this when wrote, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12).

4. One must be baptized into Christ. Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved..."(Mark 16:16). Many who heard the apostle Peter preach the first gospel sermon, "...were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."Ananias told Saul to "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

Please search each case of conversion given in the Book of Acts and notice that not once is anyone told to "pray the sinner's prayer." No one is told to "just ask Jesus to come into your heart" and you will be saved! In every case of conversion, recorded by inspiration, people were converted by believing the facts of Gospel,i.e. the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), obeying the commands of the Gospel, i.e. repent of sins,confess the name of Jesus, and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:1-6; 6:16-18; Matthew 10:32-33).

Upon obeying the Gospel, one receives the promises of the Gospel, i.e. salvation (remission of sins) and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; 5:32).

Those who thus "obeyed the gospel" (cf. Acts 6:7) were added to the Lord's church (Acts 2:47). Having experienced the "new birth" (John 3:3-5, compare Romans 6:3-6) they became "new creatures" (2 Corinthians 5:17). When people today do what they did, they can become what they became --"Christians" (Acts 11:26), members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

If you have any questions concerning this most important of all questions, "What must I do to be saved," please let us know. If we may assist you in your obedience to Christ, we would be happy to do so.

--Dan Flournoy

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Email: dan@christian-family.net


Email: dan@christian-family.net

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Acts 2:38 - Proof That The Penitent Believer Must Be Baptized In Order To Be Saved

by Thomas B. Warren

In obedience to Christ's instructions given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44-49), under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost the apostles preached for the very first time the gospel of Christ as a law in force (Acts 2:1-41). While all of the apostles preached on that first day (Acts 2: 1, 14, 37), only the sermon of Peter is recorded in the New Testament. In that sermon, Peter gave proof that the Jews (to whom he was speaking) had crucified, not a mere human being who falsely claimed to be the Messiah, but the very Son of God, the Christ. In closing what can be termed the evidential part of his sermon, Peter said, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2:36, cf.: 2:22-23).

Peter's sermon convinced the Jews; they came to realize that they were guilty of the terrible sin of crucifying the Christ (Messiah). Out of that conviction, they said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

What were they asking? They were asking to be told what they must do in order to have their sins remitted (forgiven). It is clear that, in spite of the fact that, at the time they asked the question, they were already believers in Jesus Christ, they were not yet saved; they were still in their sins! Men are not saved at the point of faith.

What did Peter tell them to do? Did he say, "Since you are already believers, you have nothing to do - you are already saved"? No. Both Peter and his auditors knew that they (the auditors) were not saved. So Peter (guided by the Holy Spirit) told these believers, "Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (
2:38, A.S.V.)

The meaning of Peter's reply to their question should be easily understood by all. He simply tells these lost believers that they must (1) repent and (2) be baptized so that their sins will be forgiven.

Opposition To This Clear Truth

In spite of the simplicity of Peter's answer to such a simple question, there arc many people now living who reject the truth that penitent believers are to be baptized (immersed in water) in order to be saved by the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7). But, in order to deny this necessity, they must reject the obvious truth of Acts 2:38. What tactics are used by some in making such a rejection?

Two Basic Elements Of The Plan For Rejection Of The Truth Of Acts 2:38

Since Acts 2:38 so obviously teaches the necessity of baptism, if one is to hold (and/or convince anyone else of) the view that the lost man is saved the very moment he believes in Christ as the Son of God, then he must find some means of denying (to his own satisfaction at least) the obvious import of this passage. So, to avoid the force of Acts 2:38, some religious leaders have done two things; (1) they have come to hold that "unto" (A.S.V.) and "for" (K.J.V.) mean "because of" or "on account of" in Acts 2:38, and (2) to avoid the resulting implication in regard to repentance, they have come to hold that the prepositional phrase "unto the remission of your sins" cannot modify both "repent" and "be baptized."

Why have they come to hold these two positions? For these reasons: (1) if they can prove that "unto" (from the Greek eis) here means "because of" they will have shown that Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism precedes the remission of sins, and (2) holding that "unto the remission of your sins" means "because your sins have already been forgiven," then, unless they can prove that "unto the remission of sins- cannot modify both "repent" and "be baptized." they would have espoused a position which implies that one is saved before and without repenting.

In other words, if one holds both (1) that "unto" means "because of" and (2) that "unto the remission of sins" modifies both "repent" and "be baptized" then he would be saying not only that one is to be baptized because he has already been saved but also that one is to repent because he has already been saved. But even Baptists, who oppose the essentiality of baptism so strenuously, know that repentance is necessary to salvation. So, since they know that repentance is essential to salvation (II Peter 3:9-10; Luke 13:3-5; Acts
17:30-31), they make the effort to prove that "unto remission of sins" cannot modify both verbs.

In the remainder of this editorial it will be shown that a negative answer should be given to each of the following questions: (1) Does "unto" mean "because of" in Acts 2:38? (2) Is it the case that there are grammatical grounds which absolutely forbid one to hold that "unto the remission of your sins" can modify both "repent" and "be baptized"?

The First Question: Does "Unto" Mean "Because Of' In Acts

Sound scholarship answers this question with one voice: "No! 'Unto' in Acts
2:38 does not mean 'because of'." When the apostle Peter told the believers to be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins," he was telling them to submit to the rite (i.e., to obey Christ in being baptized) in order to be forgiven of their sins!

And, it must be noted, the penitent believer is saved (when he is baptized) not by water but by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Acts
20:28; Hebrews 9:22; Romans 5:8-9). But the blood of Christ will not be used by the Lord to forgive the sins of anyone who is not "born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5). Salvation is in Christ (II Timothy 2:10) and one is baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-27).

The Second Question: Can The Prepositional Phrase "Unto The Remission Of Sins" Modify Both Verbs ("Repent" and "Be Baptized")?

Since the words of Peter were given in answer to the question, "What shall we do?" the context indicates that the phrase "unto the remission of sins'' not only can but should be tying both "repent" and "be baptized".

Even outstanding Baptist scholars recognize this truth. In opposing the contention of Methodists that babies should be baptized, J. M. Pendleton said, "It is clear as the sun in heaven that the same persons are commanded to repent and be baptized." (Three Reasons for Being A Baptist, p. 20.)

Another Baptist scholar, H. B. Hackett, said, "We connect naturally with both the preceding verbs." (Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, p. 53.)

J. H. Thayer, outstanding Greek scholar said, "I accept the rendering of the revised version 'unto the remission of your sins' (the eis expressing the end aimed at and secured by the repentance and baptism' just previously enjoined" (quoted by J. W. Shepherd in Shepherd, Handbook on Baptism, p. 356).

This editor sent a diagram in English to English scholars and a diagram in Greek to Greek scholars in some of the most prestigious universities of this nation. The diagram indicated that the prepositional phrase "unto the remission of sins" modifies both "repent" and "be baptized." These scholars were asked if there is any reason, grammatically speaking, why the sentence should not be thus diagrammed. Not one scholar gave a negative answer. They all agreed that "unto the remission of sins" can modify both "repent" and "be baptized."

When the people who had become believers in Christ as the Son of God (Acts
2:22-37) asked, "What shall we do?" they had just been convicted of sin and, thus, wanted to know what to do to be saved from sin. Peter plainly told then to repent and be baptized unto the remission of sins. Clearly, these lost believers are here commanded to do two things in order to be forgiven. But this truth Baptists (and other "salvation is by faith only" advocates) must deny, if they are to be consistent with their view of salvation. But it is also clear that in denying that "unto the remission of sin" can modify both verbs, they deny what clearly is true: the believer is instructed to both repent and be baptized in order to obtain (by the blood of Christ) the remission of his sins.

One cannot be saved without being baptized in the name of (by the authority of) Jesus Christ. and one cannot be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ unless he is baptized in order to be saved - not because he thought he was already saved before he was baptized. Obedience to the gospel of Christ will save a lost person, but obedience to a mere human doctrine will not save anyone (Hebrews 5:8-9; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 7:13-23; II Thessalonians 2:10-12).

This item originally appeared in The Spiritual Sword
(January, 1979 Volume 10 Issue 2 - Baptism Is Unto Remission of Sins)


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Two Parts of Salvation

God’s Part

§        God loved us and gave His Son for us (John 3:16)

§        Christ died to save us (Rom. 5:8)

§        Christ gave us the saving Gospel (Rom. 1:16)

§        Christ built His church for us (Matt. 16:18)

§        God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4)

§        Christ is preparing Heaven for us (John 14:2)


Man’s Part

§        Hear the saving Gospel (Rom. 10:17).

§        Believe in Christ (John 8:24; 20:31)

§        Repent of his sins (Luke 13:3)

§        Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10)

§        Be baptized for forgiveness (Acts 2:38)

§        Live faithfully (1 Cor. 15:58)

God has done His part. Have you done yours?

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Evidence For the Inspiration of the Bible

Evidence From


Only the Bible starts with the special creation of all things by an eternal, all powerful, personal God.  The Bible has a unique and reasonable solution to the origin problem – “In the beginning, God created…”.  Other religious books reveal ignorance on this point.  They all propose ideas for the evolution of the universe from existing matter but do not explain how the matter originated.

For example, the Babylonians stated  in their “Enuma Elish,” that the universe began with a primeval chaotic mixture of three kinds of water.  The Greek mytsh proposed an initial state of matter randomly coming together.  Roman writers, like Lucretius, assumed that there was a universal blind interplay of atoms.  The Orphic myths supposed the universe developed out of a primeval world-egg.  Similarly, the modern theory of evolution begins with eternal matter in one form or another.  No other book (including modernevolutionary “science” books) is able to gobeyond the present order of things to a real first cause.

Only the Bible explains the origin of matter by the existence of God.  He is outside of matter, time, and space.  He brought matter into existence and can take matter out of existence.

--Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D., Many Infallible Proofs, p. 11

Evidence From


Our kidneys are such extremely complex yet reliably designed organs that we can survive with a single kidneys working at a fraction of its capacity.  This pair of dark red, bean-shaped organs are about the size of an adult first and perform many absolutely critical functions within our bodies.  The kidney’s primary function is to filter impurities and toxins from our blood.

Each kidney has three layers, called the cortex, the medulla, and the pelvis.  Blood flows in to the cortex and medulla through the renal artery.  The renal artery then branches into smaller vessels which connect to a blood filtration unit within the kidney called a nephron.  Two normal kidneys have about two million ephrons (60 miles in combined length) which purify all of the body’s blood approximately every 50 minutes.  Over 400 gallons of blood are pumped through the kidneys each day.  After being purified, about 99% of the blood’s fluid is recycled back into the body for further use.

Many engineers, over countless hours, have worked to design artificial kidneys.  Why would anyone accept that these comparatively huge and inefficient artificial kidneys have an intelligent designer, yet refuse to see God behind the infinitely more intricately designed kidneys within our bodies?

--Wayne Jackson, The Human Body: Accident or Design?, P. 69-71

Evidence From


In the late 1800’s, Sir William Ramsay, a scholar who was skeptical of the authenticity of the Book of Acts, went on an archaeological expedition in Asia Minor with the purpose of showing that Luke was not accurate in his historical account.  After years of research and literally digging up the evidence, Ramsay had to admit that Acts was completely and totally accurate.

Luke mentions, 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 Mediterranean islands,and95 people groups (of which 62 are not named anywhere else in the New Testament).  Every single reference which could be verified was found to be totally accurate.  This is truly remarkable in view of the fact that the political and territorial situation of Luke’s day was in a state of almost constant flux.  Even modern historians with computer-aided research make some errors.  How does one account for Luke’s precision?  He could only have been guided by God.

--Wayne Jackson, Bert Thompson, A Study Course in Christian Evidences, p. 115.

Evidence From


There is a war of values raging in America today.  Most of us are aware of the surface skirmishes (such as abortion, increasing violence, or euthanasia) but few are aware that the basis of this war is the question of man’s relationship to God.  Either life’s value is based on God’s personal existence (meaning absolute values do exist) or man sets the standards.  There are no other possibilities.

The consequence of 150 years of indoctrination with evolutionary principles is the acceptance that man is part of the natural forces which shaped us.  The inevitable result of this line of reasoning is the removal of an objective basis for determining the value of anything.  Thus, mankind either arbitrarily assigns value to things (including people) or all life becomes of equal value.  In the case of the former, atrocities such as human sacrifice, genocide, or passive acceptance of abortion occur.  In the case of the latter, absurdities occur such as animal rights groups equating the murder and mutilation of humans with the slaughter of chickens.  Both of these responses are inevitable outcomes of following the evolutionary humanist philosophy to its logical conclusion.

Christianity is rooted in the fact that a personal God exists and that people were made in God’s image.  Thus, human life is inherently valuable.  There is something special about all humans and no one has the right to remove their value by murder, abortion, or euthanasia.

--Bruce Malone, Search for the Truth VI-14

The source for the above articles confirming the inspiration of the Bible is A Closer Look At the Evidence by Richard & Tina Kleiss.  You may order a copy from Search for the Truth Ministries, 3275 Monroe Rd., Midland, MI 48642.  E-mail: Truth@Searchforthetruth.net

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by Dan Flournoy

Is the Bible reliable?  Can we rely on its statement of fact?  Must we bow to its claims of authority?  What evidence is there to demonstrate that the Bible is genuine?  That is, how can we be sure that men like Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Peter and Paul actually wrote the books ascribed to them?

Briefly, let us observe that the Scriptures were authoritative from the time of writing.  As Moses wrote the Pentateuch, the Israelites accepted his writing as being from God.  They observed the numerous signs which demonstrated that God was with him.  Even the magicians of Egypt said, "This is the finger of God."  (Exodus 8:19).  Thus, as each Old Testament book was written, is was accepted, copied, preserved and placed in the collection of books that eventually became the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible.

Likewise, the apostles and prophets of the New Testament wrote and confirmed their word by signs and wonders (Hebrews 2:4; Mark 16:17).  Paul said “truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you” ( 2 Corinthians 12:12).  Early Christians kept, copied, collected and preserved the New Testament document with such care that we can say that the New Testament is the best attested document in all of ancient literature!

There are about 1,000  Hebrew manuscripts (copies) of the Old Testament in existence.   Over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament are available today.  In addition to these, there are thousands of early translations of the Bible.  For example, the New Testament was translated into Syriac, Egyptian, and Latin between the end of the first century and  end of the fourth century AD.    Furthermore, early Christians often quoted from the New Testament letters as they wrote to one another.  By taking the quotations of New Testament books in the writings of Christians up through about 325 AD, scholars have been able to reproduce the entire New Testament with the exception of fewer than a dozen verses.

In comparing the documents which support the genuineness of the Bible with those that support other ancient literary works, one can be certain of the Bible’s authenticity.  F.F. Bruce, professor of biblical criticism and exegesis in the University of Manchester, has said:

The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of questioning.  And if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt. (The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, p. 15).

We stand amazed at the abundance of evidence for the genuineness and authenticity of the Bible.  God in His providence has preserved the sacred text.  We need have no doubt as to its reliability.  The Bible indeed is from God, its authority is unquestionable and its statements are infallible.  Therefore, we must obey its commands and may derive hope from its promises.


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By Dan Flournoy

The Bible is a historical in nature.  Although it is not a history textbook, it is steeped in history and can be tested historically.  Written by about 40 human authors over a period of 1600 years, the Bible discusses people, places and events which are literal and historical.  In comparison, the Koran, the book of Islam is the work of one man, Mohammed, during a ten year period.  The Vedas, sacred books of the Hindus are philosophical rather than historical.

Archaeology (the study of ancient civilizations) helps to confirm the account of events, customs, language and life mentioned in the Bible.  Consider a few of the many examples where archaeological discoveries confirm the Sacred Volume:

1.      Grapes in Egypt.  In Genesis chapter 40, grapes are mentioned in connection with the dream of Pharaoh’s butler.  The ancient historian Herodotus states that the Egyptians grew no grapes and drank no wine.  Plutarch, another Greek historian agreed.  However, frescoes discovered on the ancient Egyptian tombs show the dressing, pruning, and cultivation of vines.  Furthermore, there are scenes depicting the process of extracting the juice of grapes and of drunkenness (see Wayne Jackson, Biblical Studies in the Light of Archaeology, p. 32). 

2.      The Hittites.  There are forty-eight reference to Hittites in the Scriptures.  About a century ago it was common for the critics of the Bible to ridicule these references because it all the records of antiquity not a reference to Hittites could be found.  However, excavation in Turkey beginning as early as 1876 have uncovered the ancient Hittite civilization.  We now know that it was a great nation in ancient times.  Why is it that liberal scholars do not question why ancient historians failed to mention these people? (see Charles F. Pfeiffer, ed. The Biblical World, p. 290).

3.      Sargon.  The only reference to Sargon in ancient literature is found in Isaiah 20:1.  The passage records that this Assyrian king sent his commander against Ashdod and took the city.  Critics argued that Isaiah was mistaken, but in 1843, Sargon’s palace was excavated several miles north of Nineveh.  Assyrian texts were discovered which even named Sargon’s “commander-in chief” -- Tartan.  Furthermore, recent excavations of Ashdod have confirmed that the ancient city was destroyed by Sargon of Assyria (see Wayne Jackson, p. 34).

4.      The accuracy of Acts.    Wayne Jackson has observed that in the book of Acts:  “Luke mentions 32 countries, 54 cities and nine Mediterranean Islands.  He also mentions 95 persons, 62 of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament.  He is thoroughly familiar with the geographical and political conditions of his day.  Consider that the political and territorial situation was in a constant state of flux and change.  It is, therefore, a real test of a writer’s accuracy to see whether he can keep such matters straight.” (p. 46).

Truly the Bible stands as the supreme book of the ages.  --Dan Flournoy

Email: dan@christian-family.net

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Email: dan@christian-family.net

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