The Reformed Church vs. the Reforming Church

Recently, I got a call from a good friend concerning my most recent articles for the Nehemiah Foundation (Are Sermons Enough to Preach the Whole Counsel of God?—Part 1 and Part 2). He serves as a deacon in a Reformed Presbyterian church, and he relayed that a member (who apparently wished to remain anonymous) contacted him to make sure that their church did not support the Nehemiah Foundation monetarily—since I was attacking Reformed traditions and doctrine in my two most recent articles.

My deacon friend, a true and humble man, decided to call me to talk about it. He voiced his concerns (some of which he had in common with his fellow member), we had a good and clarifying dialogue, and we gave each other much to think about before we get together next time.

There are many people who have had similar concerns but have decided not to talk to me about them. My deacon friend was in fact quite surprised to find out that he was the only person with disagreements or concerns about those particular articles who had yet bothered to reach out to me or the Foundation with substantive feedback (privately or publicly).

So I decided I would write some explanation here of where I’ve been coming from recently concerning the Reformed church, since many (either with glee or dismay) have incorrectly considered me its enemy.

I would also like to invite anyone at all who has any concerns or questions to reach out to me privately or publicly—your choice. I have no fear of being corrected, in public or otherwise. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to be corrected. And I want my correction to be of use to others, so I desire dialogue and reproof. If you truly want to have an “iron sharpens iron” conversation—and even if you just want to rebuke me—feel free to comment or send a private message or email (michael-at-RenewTheArts-dot-org) or whatever you want.

I don’t believe I have reached the final conclusions. I’m still searching, exploring, and yes—reforming. I beg you to please dialogue with me about where I have strayed from Christ and the Scriptures if you believe I am in error. Let’s learn from each other. Let’s grow together. Let’s be reforming together.

Speaking of which …

Why is it the Reformed Church and not the Reforming Church?

Semper Reformanda, one of many Latin mottos from the Reformation, means “always reforming.” It highlights the church’s responsibility to continually seek sanctification in doctrine and practice. But, according to many Reformed leaders in our day, the church’s job is to reform ecclesiastical and personal practice to more closely align with our already sufficient Reformed doctrines. They say our Reformed doctrines are “the clearest and best human expression of biblical truth.” Therefore, in the very best scenario, the continuing Reformation is aligning the church’s practice more closely to the received doctrines of some select number of Reformers—without ever questioning or re-evaluating those received doctrines or practices.

But, in the worst-case scenario (one that is unfortunately quite common), the continuing Reformation centers mostly on correcting other “weaker” churches and Christians who haven’t yet arrived at the correct doctrinal perspective.

If one mentions that Reformed doctrinal standards are written by men and could be wrong, the obvious reply comes back: “Where do you think they are wrong? What exactly is wrong with them?” And most people just don’t have an incontrovertible answer for that.

But that’s not really the point, is it? Even if Reformed doctrinal standards were nearly perfect, holding them in such high regard would still be problematic. My contention with our doctrinal standards doesn’t really concern their framing, wording, meaning, or rationale. The Reformed standards have been and continue to be extraordinarily helpful aids in their proper place. My issue with the Reformed church is that it has nominally maintained the doctrines of the Reformation while denying the spirit of the Reformation.

The Spirit of the Reformation

Think about it. When this anonymous Reformed person criticized my articles, he didn’t say that the articles undermined the truth of the Bible. He didn’t even interact with my argument in the article (which was drawn directly from the Scriptures). Instead, he said my organization and I should be cut off from the church’s support because I was “attacking Reformed tradition.” In his mind, “Reformed tradition” and “biblical truth” were basically synonymous.

I have always replied to this often-repeated criticism in the same way: “I am not all that concerned if what I’m saying contradicts Reformed church tradition or aligns with some other church tradition. All I want to know is this: Does what I am saying align with Christ and the Bible?” Is that not actually the very spirit of the Reformation? The Reformers looked at contemporary church tradition and practice, and in open contradiction to the church authorities of their day, they called Christians back to Christ and the Bible. They claimed that each believer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, could come to the truth of Jesus, the Word of God, without the need of merely human mediation. “Sola Scriptura!” they cried.

How bitterly ironic that the inheritors of the Reformation have begun to trust as much in the tradition and authority of the Reformed church as they do in God’s Word, even to equate the two in their minds. The sad truth is that the Reformation has been hijacked by a spirit that has much more in common with Caiaphas and Tetzel than it does with Jesus and Luther.

In place of individual freedom of conscience and “sola Scriptura” (which go hand-in-hand, by the way), many Reformed leaders appeal to the Reformed standards to label “heresy,” bind the consciences of believers, and create divisions within the church. In place of the priesthood of all believers, many have invested the ministry of the Word exclusively in a few expositors who are viewed by their congregants as the final arbiters and protectors of the truth. And these expositors themselves appeal to the “fathers” of the Reformation much like the Pharisees appealed to the revered interpretations of the Talmud. In place of “sola gratia,” we have an unteachable and self-righteous confidence that our human tradition exclusively comprises the truth, and that we must cut ourselves off from the “bad influences” of other doctrinal persuasions. In contradiction to “semper reformanda,” we call ourselves “totally/thoroughly Reformed.” In place of “solus Christus,” we adopt “Christus et Doctrina” in practice, as if Christian communion depends on doctrinal agreement as much as or more so than union in Christ.

All the while, we claim to cherish Reformed doctrine even while we resist any continuing Reformation. I would go so far as to say that if most Reformed Christians lived during the time of the original Reformation, they would have opposed the Reformers and trusted in the traditions and authority of the churches they grew up in. How do I know that? Because that’s what most people in Reformed camps are doing right now. The only difference is the church tradition they trust in.

If the Reformers Were Alive Today

I know it’s hard to believe. I know it’s hard to swallow. It’s unpleasant for me too. I hate that it could be true. But look closely at the fallout and upshot (the fruits) of Reformed practice today. We have become a proud and contentious faction of the church. In spite of our smallness (which many cherish as a sign of remnant faithfulness), we continue to bite and devour each other into smaller and smaller micro-denominations.

Consider: Do you think any of the Reformers would appreciate that we have elevated their teaching to such a place that no one can contradict them without accusations of heresy? Do you think Calvin would appreciate that a whole host of people call themselves “Calvinists”—followers of Calvin? Speaking of Calvin: he was 26 years old when he first published the then-inflammatory, now-authoritative Institutes of Christian Religion. If a 26-year-old with Calvin’s spirit and insight were to criticize the corruption, hypocrisy, and complacency within the leadership of the Reformed church, how would its leaders respond? Maybe a little like the leaders of the Roman Catholic church did in the Counter-Reformation?

Do you think the Reformers would not shudder to see the vast proliferation of Reformed factions and cliques? I wonder if Luther would have nailed the 95 theses to that door if he had known then what would happen to the Reformed church (from which even he, the original Reformer, would strangely be excluded). After all, he wanted discourse, not division.

More importantly, don’t you think it grieves our Lord to see Reformed Christians bickering with one another about who is the most doctrinally correct in his kingdom—while the sheep are neglected and even abused, and the unbelieving world crows over our hypocrisy or languishes in dire need?

Is it in fact “pure and undefiled religion” to keep doctrines unstained from heresy (James 1:27)? Is that the heart of what Jesus will judge us for in the end: whether or not we had all our doctrinal ducks in a row? Will he judge us for our doctrines or for our deeds (Matt. 7:21f; Matt. 25:31ff; Rom. 2:5–6; 2 Cor. 5:10)?

Why are we so unteachable? We can set aside for the time being why unbelievers or even our own young people won’t listen to us. Why won’t we listen to each other? Why do we hold so firmly to our own human opinions and standards as if they are themselves as infallible as the Word of God? Was it not the corrupting tyranny of tradition and human authority that had hoodwinked and derailed the church right up to the Reformation? Was it not this same trap that caused the Jewish leaders to reject their Messiah?

But That’s Not My Church!

The natural fleshly reaction to what I am saying is:

But that’s not me or my church! My church is doing a good job of preserving the free, Christ-centered, biblical spirit of the Reformation. If this is true at all, it’s a problem in other churches. And things are even worse outside the Reformed community. Baptists and Roman Catholics and Pentecostals think they’re exclusively right, too. It’s not just the Reformed church. Hey, even you think you’re right and are trying to correct others!

Sure, but is this a competition? Is it really “us vs. them” or “me vs. you”? Every Reformed denomination (there are dozens of them just in North America) believes that even the other Reformed denominations believe enough error to justify a split, and these denominations agree on virtually everything. As you can imagine, the division between the Reformed church and other church traditions is even more pronounced.

It’s true that we can’t all be right on everything. But why focus on the error? We also can’t all be totally wrong either—unless we are truly cut off from Jesus and his Spirit. Is anyone making that claim: that all the other denominations are cut off from Jesus? Most people in the Reformed camp aren’t even willing to make the claim that all Roman Catholics are cut off from Christ (even though the original Westminster Confession calls the Pope an anti-Christ).

So if they aren’t cut off from Jesus, why are we cutting ourselves off from them? Why are we willing to break communion with those various fellowships? In practice, we are willing to rend asunder what God has joined together in Jesus. This should not continue. If anything, I am criticizing the Reformed church because I am still in it. The Reformed church is still my local church community, and it grieves me to see her so divided. It grieves me even more to see her contributing to the dissension in God’s house worldwide.

We may not all bear the same level of guilt in the horrible disintegration of the church, but we are all responsible to be part of a Christ-centered solution. The solution is not to turn every church into a Reformed church. The solution is to turn every church into a reforming church. And in order to do that, our first step needs to be to model the Reformation we long to see by listening with charity and grace to other interpretations of the Bible, considering the value and importance of other church traditions, and regularly re-evaluating our own practices and doctrines when their fruit is not in keeping with the Spirit.

Everyone is the Chief of Sinners

We’re all desperately fallible and in need of God’s continual sustaining grace. We all know this, but do we act like we know this? No one local church is sufficient within itself to stand on its own. The pillar and support of the truth is not your church or your denomination. It’s the church (1 Tim. 3:15). And the church has a lot of different perspectives, angles, facets, ideas, opinions, doctrines, creeds, practices, and traditions within it. In short, there are lots of different people in the living God’s living house, and every single one of those people is uniquely valuable.

The point is—we all still have so much left to learn. And we can only learn it together. Shouldn’t that be obvious? Can I really learn that much from people who believe and know exactly what I believe and know? Remember that even the perfect and infallible Word of God includes four Gospel accounts of the same exact events. If the infallible truth values different angles and perspectives, how much more should we fallible people be open to learn from other perspectives?

Are we afraid of being tested or “proven wrong”? Why? To be tested in any area is to be given an opportunity to grow. Again, is this a competition? If anything, this is a competition of service: to be greatest in the kingdom, Christ calls us to be the servant of all, just as he came and laid down his life for us (Matt. 20:25; Matt. 23:11; etc.).

Have you considered that each Christian is actually inferior to every other Christian in at least one thing? Why else would God have created each of us, if not for a unique purpose for which any other person would not be adequate? That’s not a bad thing unless you react to it with bitterness or envy. It actually opens you up to value all people as your superiors.

If every believer on this planet is better than I am in at least one area, then shouldn’t I be focusing on the superiority of Jesus’ image in all those millions of Christians that he has inclusively shepherded into his body for a specific Gospel purpose and calling? Recognizing the peculiar value of each individual Christian expands and magnifies the glory of Jesus. His body is bigger than just you and me. It’s bigger than just the Reformed church. It’s worldwide, and it encompasses a huge variety of wildly diverse cultures and perspectives.

So unless you are willing to declare that some particular people who call themselves Christians are unbelievers, you should be willing to walk with them, work with them, support them, talk to them, and learn from them. Especially in and through disagreement.

If you can’t yet recognize where and how every one of your Christian brothers and sisters are your superiors, look harder. If you look hard enough and pray for discernment, you will recognize, like Paul, that everyone is actually better than you—that you are the least of the righteous, the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).

We say that sometimes. Because we want to seem humble or because we know it’s a biblical idea. But do we act like it’s true? If we really thought of ourselves as the least of these—or as the chief of sinners—we would be naturally open to discourse and correction from our Christian brothers and sisters. And we would consider it a privilege and high calling to serve them.

“You Will Know Them by Their Fruits”

The Reformed church can’t escape blame for the apostasy of the church in America by withdrawing into protective isolation. You shouldn’t horde salt and light—it is most beneficial when it is usefully dispersed. Cutting ourselves off from other believers when they don’t agree with our particular view of biblical doctrine is not any different than hiding our light under a bushel basket.

If we are actually more in accord with the light of Scripture, then we need to serve our brothers gladly in this. But the fact is: we may not be more in accord with Christ, the Word of God. We’ll never know if we only ever hang out with those who agree with us in everything. In the last judgment, it will do no good to say, “I knew you were an exacting Master, so I kept your biblical doctrines buried in a handkerchief within this shrinking denomination—pure and undefiled from heresy and corruption. Here, receive these doctrines back again. They are in the same condition as when they were entrusted to me.”

No. God wants fruit. And the one who separates himself from other believers doesn’t do so to protect the truth, no matter what he may say: “He who separates himself seeks his own desire; he quarrels against all sound wisdom” (Prov. 18:1). Just take a look at the deeds of the flesh again (Gal. 5:19ff). Consider that seven out of fifteen (nearly half!) of those fleshly deeds concern a lack of peace: “enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions.” Apparently, God is most concerned about a lack of peace and love in the church. Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). Peace is a fruit of the spirit. Correct doctrine is not mentioned. Indeed, the Spirit will lead us to all truth (Jn. 16:13). But, again, he will lead us together.

So, do we love one another? Take an honest look: Is the Reformed community generally characterized by disputes, dissensions, strife, enmities, jealousy, outbursts of anger, and factions? Or do we see within it the overwhelming peace and unity of Christ and the reconciliation of the Gospel flowing out even beyond its borders?


My family and I are currently members of a PCA church in Woodstock, Georgia. I love the Reformed church. I know that may seem odd at this point. “If you love her, why have you been criticizing her so regularly?” I’ve been criticizing her because I love her, and because I am still within her. I’m still repenting of all the deeds of the flesh I have attributed to Christ and the Bible because of my enslavement to human tradition.1 But my enslavement to human tradition was not in keeping with the spirit of the Reformation!

That is why I am calling the Reformed church back to her roots in the Scriptures and in Christ. I am not the innovator here. The Reformed church was built on freedom of conscience, on the priesthood of all individual believers, on the Gospel usefulness of all professions, on the value of different perspectives and discourse, on a Scriptural re-evaluation of church tradition, on a rejection of the “never-wrong” elitist insulation of church authority, and on a return to depending on Christ and his grace alone.

I know I have wounded and perplexed some within the Reformed church with some of my recent articles. But I promise you that I am wounding as a friend of the Reformation rather than as its enemy. Many who call themselves Reformed have betrayed the heart of the Reformation, even while they kiss its cheek.

These many have nominally adopted the Reformation in order to bring the weight of “orthodox doctrine” down on those who disagree with them. They are unwilling to submit themselves to their disagreeing Christian brothers in the fear of Christ. They are even unwilling to serve those who do not agree with them. They in fact consider all those who disagree with them to be their enemies.

But if we treat the friends of Christ as our enemies, how can we honestly call ourselves Christ’s disciples?

May God grant us grace and peace in Jesus!

church ruin

  1. As I wrote this article, I felt a pang of conviction for my own quite personal sin in all this, not only in the past, but in the present. I feel led to confess it: One of my oldest friends said some very hurtful things to me a few weeks ago, and though I have forgiven him in word, we have not become fully reconciled. I have treated him like an enemy though I have hope and confidence that Jesus loves him. I am going to call him today and ask his forgiveness. He reached out in humility to ask my forgiveness, and I have responded thus far in hurt pride.

10 responses

  1. Michael,

    I appreciate this article and the obvious thought that went into it and seems to continue in your heart and mind. In reading it, I am reminded of how polarized our society is becoming. Ford or Chevy, Coke or Pepsi, Evangelical or traditional, democrats or republicans. The commonality in polarization that bothers me the most is the “or.” Yes, there are some things that require a choosing of one side or the other. For example, you believe Christ died on the cross for our sins or you do not. To say I sort of believe it, is to say that you do not (yet) believe it.

    Life, overall, is not like that. Our culture spends way more effort and keeping each side in its own arena rather than looking at the people in the arenas and seeing where there are agreements or commonalities. There will always be differences, my wife of almost 21 years and I have differences, but our focus is usually on where we are united and we talk about our differences.

    This is what I long for, to have conversations with people who have substantial differences in thoughts, on any given subject. To be able to actually TALK about it and not be offended by the other person’s thoughts on the subject but to value the interaction with another person in a way that may reform your own thinking. And after the conversation ends to can look at the other person as a someone with whom you shared and exchanged thoughts, beliefs and vantage points so each of you have a better rounded position from which to move forward with.

    These are my thoughts that I offer. I would love to ready your thoughts on polarization in society.

    TOGETHER in Christ,

  2. Michael, this reminds me of what little I know of the context in which my (Baptist) church was in when I first started attending…many left the congregation before we started going over preaching styles “we prefer ‘expositional preaching’ [whatever that means]…” plus doubtless some others which I’m not aware of.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I think there’s some serious issues – I have my disagreements, not all of them pleasant…I’ve ignored some ethical/judicial issues in how I engage with others (prayers needed). I’ve also taken hardline stances on controversial issues + continue trying to get people involved with ethical/judicial issues + try to get others engaged with the local community (the latter one seems a tad easier than the former two)…

    But going back to the preaching styles, I used to think the expositional thing was important…but I think now it is a petty disagreement…I say both are important but no means the only way to preach…

    Messy thoughts in no particular order…sorry.

    • “Messy thoughts in no particular order” could be my tagline, so you’ll hear no complaint from me on that. It is exhausting trying to be at peace with all people. I find that I am usually being shot at by both sides in a controversy. Keep the faith, though. No one said the work of reconciliation would be easy.

  3. I agree with the spirit of this article. What I have seen practically is that the phrase “semper reformanda” is often used to ditch doctrines and practices that were biblically reformed in favor of reverting to unbiblical and idolatrous doctrines/practices of old, or else to never submit to biblical wisdom or biblical traditions, merely because they are traditional. I don’t find this spirit in Scripture.

    My natural bent is skeptical and autonomous to a fault. A major turning point in my life came when studying what the New Testament had to say about traditions. It’s pretty pro-tradition, and some of the tradition that it exhorts us to follow is not explicitly biblical. By that, I mean that the New Testament points to traditions that we should follow that are themselves not included in the canon.

    So, I believe it can be biblical to submit to traditions with which we may disagree, at least for a long enough time period for the Lord to work on us to show us whether they indeed conform to the canonical testimony. There are prodigies, to be sure (such as Calvin), but few of us immerse ourselves in Bible study sufficiently to grasp these things in a short period of time. In most cases, I think we would need a substantial period of prayerful reflection and observation to be able to conclude “This doctrine in the WCF is unbiblical.”

    This is a counterpoint to the points you raised, validly, but I mean it not as a denial of your points, just sort of a buffer against abuse of the non-canonical tradition of semper reformanda. Semper reformanda, within biblical limits. Ha!

    • These are all good points. I myself have submitted and continue to submit to traditions within my church with which I don’t whole-heartedly agree. On none of these points do I believe the heart of the Gospel is jeopardized, of course, or I would feel compelled to speak up. Much of my submission comes from a desire to maintain peace in the church as God works his truth out in all of our lives at his speed and according to his measure. I know much of what I believe now will be altered or discarded in the judgment, and I would like to forward that process in the mean time with the help and advice of my brothers and sisters. Thank you for your contribution to this, Matthew.

  4. Guess what Bible verse this thing I made up matches format with (possible cheesiness alert):

    “Do not say to yourself:
    ‘Does this fit the Reformed tradition?’
    For it is not from the Reformation that you say this.”

  5. In the various articles that I have read of yours, you are pretty much of the same mindset as myself, which is quite frankly both amazing and refreshing. (I feel so alone.) The difference between us is that I have concluded, after much experience, that all of the Reformed / Evangelical streams are incorrigibly loyal to their ecclesiastical orthodoxy, even continuing to defend the indefensible through the use of the most sophistic, absurd, irrational, dissembling, and mendacious hermeneutics and reasoning. (I come from a Reformed Baptist background).

    I could write a Barthian tome on all of the ways that the Reformed orthodoxy is in error. For instance, the justice in the justification in the substitutionary death of Christ is not intended to sate the wrath of God, a “justice” which is subjective and beyond human scrutiny and measure (a necessary attribute of justice, being by definition public, is scrutability); but in order to satisfy the exact and exacting objective and published principles of the justice of God. The key to the legal validity of justification through Christ crucified is the infinitely superior ontological merit of Christ rather than the extent of His suffering or the appeasing of God’s passion; all of the latter which has a pagan flavor. And this is not a petty issue. Almost to a man, every Reformed theologian and preacher advocates this wrath of God motif, (even though the WCF itself teaches the former, with wrath being a secondary argument).

    While I am a monergist, it does not work in the way that Jonathan Edwards claimed in Freedom of the Will. The bondage of the will to the nature is not ontological (which emanates from Hellensitic rationalism and naturalism) and leads to a form of internalized determinism. The will and the nature are ontologically distinct. Before regeneration, the weak human will is experientially in bondage to the nature. This aligns with Biblical and natural depictions of human slavery. This modern Reformed / Calvinsitic understanding is even at odds with the WCF which repudiated the notion of “a human will of necessity determined.”

    All this goes to the first point. I used to hate Calvin, by virtue of the Calvinists/Reformed, until I read Calvin. Just as with Jesus Christ in general; while claiming to be children of Calvin, the assertions within modern Reformed are at such odds with Calvin’s understanding, some modern positions of which he expressly repudiated. There has been a theological decadence of doctrine even from that which was believed at the time of the Reformation.

    While I can disagree with some points of Calvin, one appreciates, by virtue of the fact that he had five publications of the same Institutes, all with revisions, which indicates that even Calvin understood himself to only and always have a partial appropriation of the pristine truth. His justification/salvation was not based on the perfection of his mental works.

    In the crevices of variance between our partial appropriations of the pristine truth and the actual pristine truth, the nefarious forces of this world and the underworld will pour out all of their forces into such vulnerabilities, just as any battle-wisened general would do. In the having-already-theologically-arrived arrogance of the Reformed orthodoxy, they have become sclerotic in addressing these issues, and by consequence, increasingly lacking in resonance and relevance.

    If you are going to be a prophetic voice, you must become like the ancient Hebrew prophets of old, working from outside the church, even though you will be despised at the time, (and then celebrated hundreds of years later long after it could even matter to your dead corpse). You cannot speak with a distinctive, clear, and “loud” voice, nor be, in the end, of great effect.

    However, you are relatively young, and have not yet concluded, as I have, that the dynamics that you are seeing, of a theological tradition which is “always reforming,” only in motto, is a scripturally and historically attested human dynamic. Reformation within the Reformed church is just as impossible as it is within the Orthodox or Catholic streams. Major reformation against long-held positions attacks the very credibility of a theological stream and ecclesiastical institution, especially when such streams have, through institutional discipline, ousted and even persecuted dissenters to all of their distinctives.

    • First, thank you for commenting at such great length. I too have struggled with the theology of God’s wrath, and I agree that there are different emphases to justification (as with so many other truths), and different cultures/times probably need different emphases due to their imbalances. I too hated Calvin based on his mischaracterization until I actually read Calvin. I’m continually blown away by the vast disparity between Calvin and Calvinism.

      But to your last point, I don’t think I’ll ever leave the church, though I am regularly forced to speak to it from outside. Especially recently, my perspective on the truth has taken on such a communal and relational character that I hardly think the revealed truth is at all individually accessible unless an individual is found within a body of people who hold the truth in common. I think this is one reason why God “rebuked” Elijah (who thought that he alone in all Israel held to the truth) by revealing that He had reserved for himself 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. A remnant always exists in smaller or larger numbers, and this remnant is the church. I’ll never be outside that body. The institutional church, however, is unfortunately a different story (in general terms) for now. There are congregations of faithful, trusting sheep, but there is great, systemic, and widespread pharisaism and abuse in the leadership. I think this is especially the case in Reformed churches. A new legalism has spread its leaven in that lump. It’s a legalism that eschews the best parts of Gnosticism (mystic union) and Legalism (actual works for the sake of others) but combines their worst parts: exclusionary arrogance, special pleading, hypocrisy, and entitlement. It’s ugly, and I’ll always speak against it.

      But you’re right. I am still young. I know little yet, and I have a lot to learn. I’ll keep thinking about the things you’ve said here, and I very much appreciate you taking the time to write them to me.

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