Death, Justice, and the Gospel

A common argument made by pacifists and/or those who really do not know their Bibles very well is that all killing is wrong because it cuts short a person’s life, thereby possibly preventing them from hearing the gospel and repenting. One hears this objection quite often, and it has even been used concerning the killing of Osama bin Laden.

‘It is so wrong and so un-Christian to kill Osama – now he will never be able to repent and become a Christian,’ we are told. ‘Because God wants people to come to know him, it is always wrong and always unbiblical to kill anyone,’ they will claim.

But is this in fact true? Is this in fact what the Bible clearly teaches? If so, then we have some major problems here. First and foremost, God is therefore immoral, wrong and unjust, because it is God himself who has allowed killing to take place. He has ordained at least three forms of morally-justifiable killing: self-defence, just war, and capital punishment.

I have laid out the case for all this elsewhere, so I will not rehearse the biblical arguments here. See instead such articles as:

But let’s just look at this premise a bit more closely. These folks are claiming that all killing is always wrong and always against the will of God. As just noted, if this is true, then God is wrong, and he is acting against his own will. For it is God himself who has permitted the use of killing in a fallen world to maintain justice and punish evil.

Indeed, all throughout the Bible we find this clear distinction between killing – which can be morally and legally permissible – and murder, which is not. Let us look at just a few biblical examples of permissible killing. Indeed, many of these are at the express command of God himself.

Obviously, whenever any killing is permitted, it will in one sense end a person’s life prematurely. So take the example of the destruction of the Canaanites. The pacifists could argue that this was just so wrong, because some of these Canaanites might have come to know Yahweh if they were allowed to live longer.

So they are in effect telling us that the Israelites should have disobeyed God’s express commands here, because God was obviously not being as compassionate as we think he should have been. The Canaanites should have been allowed to live out their full lifespan, because this might have allowed some of them to get right with God.

By this line of thought, God was absolutely wrong and immoral to say that the time for the Canaanites was up, and he never should have insisted on using Israel as a tool of his wrath and justice. Indeed, God is amiss to say that any person’s time on this earth is up.

This pacifist argument, if consistently applied, will mean that God was clearly very wrong not only in this but in so many other instances. He was in fact immoral and evil to make any of these commands, or allow any of this killing to occur. God must therefore be put in the dock and judged for his immoral actions, even for his ‘war crimes’.

Of course atheists talk like this all the time. But we really do not – or should not – expect those who claim to be biblical Christians to come up with such nonsense. They are simply siding with the atheists and secularists here.

And of course Jesus and the early disciples were also obviously quite wrong and immoral. When they talked to soldiers and those involved in the military, they never seemed to do the right thing. They never appeared to have said, “If you want to be right with God, you must immediately get out of the military and promise to never kill again.”

Yet we have many incidents in the Gospels and Acts where Jesus and his disciples encountered military folk, but never once do we hear such statements. What we hear is quite the opposite. For example, when John the Baptist was asked by some soldiers, “And what should we do?,” he had the perfect opportunity to push pacifism.

This was a golden opportunity for John. “Thanks for asking guys. If you want to be right with God, you must immediately leave the military, and vow never to use force or kill any more”. Yet for some odd reason this is not what he said.

Instead, he incredibly simply said this: “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.” John, what were you thinking? You blew it big time. Here was your perfect chance to let these guys know that all killing is always wrong, but you instead gave them the mistaken notion that they could stay in the military and be right with God at the same time.

Surely Jesus would not miss such a great opportunity. And we find him dealing with military personnel in the Gospels. In Luke 7:1-10 (=Matt 8:5-13) for example we have the story of his encounter with the centurion, a military official.

If John blew his chances with soldiers, surely Jesus would make things right: another golden opportunity for the pacifist message to be broadcast loud and clear. But what do we find here? Incredibly, Jesus starts praising the soldier, not chewing him out.

He even commends his faith: “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” But if all killing is always wrong, and the military is no place for a follower of Jesus, then why in the world did Jesus not point this out to him? He just missed a golden teaching opportunity here.

And it seems his disciples were not very good at pointing out this supposed biblical insistence on pacifism either. In Acts 10 we read about another centurion. If Jesus missed his chance, then maybe Peter could get things right. But he blows it as well. Indeed, we simply read of this soldier that he was “a righteous and God-fearing man”.

Well Paul at least would get it right, wouldn’t he? We read in Philippians about how he is imprisoned with Roman guards. In 1:13 he speaks about his witness running “throughout the whole palace guard” and in 4:22 he says this: “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household”.

What? This can’t be right. He is calling these military dudes ‘saints,’ part of the redeemed. But surely that cannot be the case, because the leftists and pacifists insist that one cannot be a real Christian and be involved in any kind of killing.

Indeed, by their reasoning, it is not just God, Jesus and the disciples who got it all wrong. So have countless others throughout human history. Obviously it was wrong to seek to stop Hitler or any Nazi. After all, they should all have been allowed to live – even if it meant enslaving the world, ruling with horrid terror and bloodshed, and killing every last Jew – because some of them might have found the gospel.

Justice, it seems for these folks, is to allow any and every evil to take place, because some of these evil doers might eventually see the light. So the bad guys here were clearly the Allies who sought to stop Hitler and liberate Europe. They were obviously frustrating God’s intent to save Hitler and all the other malicious Nazi thugs.

I was even asked by one of these pacifists, “who are you to decide that bin Laden had had enough of a chance to repent?” I replied: I am not in a position to decide anything along these lines. Only God is. He alone knows when a person has had enough opportunity to know of him, repent, and be saved.

But he appoints the times and seasons of men. He gives life and he takes it away. And part of the way that he governs in this fallen world is to declare that those who forfeit their right to life shall in fact lose it. He instituted the death penalty and the use of the sword for this very reason.

When God ordained – with full justice and righteousness – the death penalty for murder, he had every right to do so. If people think God is immoral for doing so, they really need to deal with God about this. What they are really doing is putting God in the dock and saying they are in a far better position than him to run the universe, and to make moral judgments.

In sum, God’s concern that the lost will come to know him does not in any way conflict with, or negate, his justice and righteousness. It is God who has established the state to use the sword to maintain justice and to punish those who do wrong. Those who choose to reject God’s just standards and forfeit their right to life deserve fully what they get.

In the meantime, we certainly should be doing all we can to tell everyone the good news about Jesus. I suspect however that many of these critics who complain about the death penalty, about the death of Osama, and so on, are doing very little by way of world evangelism.

We all need to share the good news as often as we can. But that in no way contradicts or counters God’s just dealings with men on this earth, including the delegated means he has chosen to do this with. God ordained the state and helped us set up laws relating to justice and so on, and that is as much a part of his perfect plan for us as is evangelism.

If critics are not happy with all this, that really is their problem. It certainly is not God’s problem. As Abraham confidently affirmed, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25).

[1660 words]

25 Replies to “Death, Justice, and the Gospel”

  1. “I suspect however that many of these critics who complain about the death penalty, about the death of Osama, and so on, are doing very little by way of world evangelism.”

    In fact, they are actively working to turn people away from Christ by totally misrepresenting God’s character, claiming Christianity promotes unworkable and unjust legal systems and implicitly telling people that they shouldn’t believe what the Scriptures say.

    Mansel Rogerson

  2. Yes, “Those who choose to reject God’s just standards and forfeit their right to life deserve fully what they get.”

    Since God is a God of both mercy and justice, if they reject His mercy, they must accept His justice.

    And to round off the argument that God was unjust in not giving the Caananites enough time to repent, Gen 15:16 says:
    “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” This prophecy is over 430 years in advance of the events of the book of Joshua.

    John Angelico

  3. God takes us human beings very seriously and regards us as very precious and he wants us to have the same attitude. He created us to be thoroughly human with all that that implies. Despite the fall into sin, we are so precious to him that he gave his only Son to redeem us and gives us his Word and Spirit to lead us to fear, love and trust him in above all things and to love our neighbours as ourselves.
    Human life and human responsibility are real. Their proper use results in great riches and blessings and their misuse in great loss and tragedy. Since God alone is the author of life, separation from him through sin brings nothing less than death. If we are going to take both God and us humans as seriously and as precious as God does, we also need to take God’s grace and human sin seriously.
    Nothing is more demeaning of human beings than saying that the very thing that damages and destroys them is not serious and just a minor blip. It is an awful thing to rebel against God and to hurt and destroy people.
    Yes, horrible thing happen when justice is meted out. Yet if sin is treated light-heartedly humanity is treated as of little, if any value, as a mere shell of what God intends it to be.
    How marvelous it is that God’s Son, who alone is able to atone for our sins, has provided full and free salvation for us sinners who deserve nothing less than eternal death! We need to take refuge in Christ alone and not try to find it by refusing to face up to the enormous evil of sin by and trying to set aside its just consequences.
    Vic Schubert

  4. Just looked up the link to your 2007/10/11 blog and saw you quote the fundamental principal Genesis 9:5-6: “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”

    How can the pacifists deny that – unless they do not accept he Bible as the Word?
    Stephen White

  5. Thanks Stephen

    Sadly, they are allowing their ideology – in this case pacifist ideology – to judge Scripture, instead of allowing Scripture to judge their ideology. Some of these ideological pacifists will simply ignore or discount the many clear Scriptural passages which speak to legitimate and moral killing. They are unhappy with God about this and seem to think they are more moral, more compassionate, and more spiritual than God. That is a really worrying position to be in, it seems to me.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. John, one should also note that God was ready to wipe out the Canaanites shortly after the Israelites left Egypt but due to the sin of the Israelites, they were given forty more years to repent than what they might have got and they still didn’t turn from their sin.
    Matt Vinay

  7. I find many people quote the “evangelium vitae” as an authority text on this matter.

    Any suggestions on how to respond (aside from linking to your articles)?

    I realise I may be breaking the rules but I would appreciate a private response even if you don’t post my comment. I have family members who feel this way.

    Kylie Anderson

  8. Thanks Kylie

    No, I am quite happy to reply, and you raise a very good and important question. Several things can be said in response. First, obviously I am not a Catholic, so at the end of the day, my loyalties lie with Scripture, not with any papal encyclical. Having said that, there can be much of value in these encyclicals, such as Humanae Vitae for example. Not only would most Protestants not know about this one, but neither would most Catholics. We even know that most Catholics don’t even agree with it. But that is another matter for discussion.

    As to Evangelium Vitae a few things can be pointed out. Most importantly, it does not take a wrong, unbiblical view. That is, it does recognise that not all killing is murder, and it does not argue that there is never justified killing. For example, on the subject of capital punishment, it simply states that we “ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity”. So this document is clearly not taking an absolutist position here, ruling out all killing.

    And consider the issue of just war. Catholic (and Christian in general) social teaching has long recognised and supported the principles of just war theory. Whether it is Augustine, Aquinas, de Vitoria, Suarez, etc., there is a long tradition of recognising the legitimacy of just war.

    Your linked article mentions the Catholic Catechism, but it quotes from it only sketchily and selectively. Look it up for yourself. There is a section there on “Legitimate defense” (no. 2263-2267). It says in part:

    “Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm. For this reason the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty” (no. 2266).

    Then there is another entire section called “Safeguarding Peace” which is broken down into two sections: “Peace” and “Avoiding war” (no. 2302-2317). In 2309 it discusses “Strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force”. It concludes this way: “These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the ‘just war’ doctrine.”

    Thus it is quite clear that the three biblical allowances for just killing (self-defence, just war, and the death penalty) are all affirmed in official Catholic teaching, and have been so from the earliest days. Catholics are not absolutists here about killing, saying it is always wrong, and they are not ideological pacifists. Individual Catholics may well be, but long-standing Catholic teaching is not.

    Of course sadly most Catholics are unaware of what their own church teaches on these matters, just as most Protestants are unaware of what their own Bible teaches on these matters.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  9. Thank you Bill. As I said I was quoting what has been quoted to be. I was unaware of those other sections in the Catholic Catechism that are also relevant to these matters. Thanks for answering my question.
    Kylie Anderson

  10. Thanks Kylie

    Happy to be of a bit of help. In fact, I may write an entire article on this – which might be considered to be a bit cheeky coming from a non-Catholic! But hopefully Catholics will show me some grace and latitude here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  11. Well said Bill – yet again!
    It is so sad that today so many Christians have learned man’s ideology rather than God’s theology, through a social gospel almost totally devoid of Biblical truth.
    At best, they cherry pick selected verses or even parts of a verse to sustain their ‘Christian’ credentials.
    Doesn’t seem to matter what the subject – Capital punishment (from ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’, to dealing with those who deliberately take another persons life), to sex outside marriage (and of course homosexuality), to euthanasia – there is a false, but always ‘progressive’, ‘Christian’ position.
    We are told so many times in the NT to be aware of false prophets and false teachers and to remove them from the church – that they might repent and return.
    Yet it is the Bible believer who is told he is wrong and not truly representing Jesus and asked or told to stop speaking ‘for Christians!!!!
    Peter Stokes

  12. Hi Bill,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you wrote in your article about the difference between killing and murder i could not find an explanation on when it is killing and when it is murder. Could you explain that?

    Also I think I would have rather seen Osama Bin Laden captured and tried than shot. What is your opinion on that?

    I must note that I didn’t read your full article or previous articles and comments so excuse me if I missed you writing about these things.

    Menno van Rookhuijzen

  13. Since God is a God of both mercy and justice, if they reject His mercy, they must accept His justice.

    I think John Angelico’s comment above sums it up perfectly!

    Steve Davis

  14. Thanks Menno

    The distinction is not too difficult, and of course any court of law will make these elementary distinctions all the time. Indeed, the will speak about homicide, murder in various degrees, and so on. Different types of life-taking activities will be judged and penalised differently, depending on what sort of activity they were.

    Very simply put, to kill someone is to take their life. There can be all kinds of reason for this. It may be an unintentional or accidental killing. Thus there was no intent to end a person’s life and there was no malice involved. If I am driving along lawfully, and someone suddenly darts out in front of my car, and dies, I have in a sense killed him. But it was not my intention to do so, and it certainly is not regarded as murder.

    Or there may be legally and morally permissible killing, such as in personal self-defence, or in state-sanctioned killing, as in capital punishment or just war, which I have already discussed in detail.

    Murder on the other hand usually has to do with the wrongful taking of innocent human life. Thus if I am angry with someone and blow his brains out, it is murder – which may or may not have been provoked, premeditated, and so on. It may have been done in a fit of rage, or long ago planned and thought through, eg.

    Abortion may be another type of murder, where an innocent life is deliberately taken. But a policeman lawfully using force to stop a knife-yielding maniac is not guilty of murder if he kills him in his attempt to disable and subdue him and his dangerous activity.

    So while all murder involves killing, not all killing is to be considered to be murder.

    As to capturing Osama, I have spoken to this here and there, especially in my comments. There is the question of whether this was even feasible, given Osama’s clear insistence that he would never be taken alive. And of course the details are still emerging as to what exactly took place in his compound – eg., whether he had a weapon, or was reaching for a weapon, and so on. So until all those details are fully revealed, it is hard to offer too much precise commentary on this exact issue.

    Normally capture and standing trial is the order of the day, but it does not always work that way, certainly in times of war and other extreme cases.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  15. Perhaps Osama’s opportunity to respond to the gospel was cut short. Then again, maybe his time on earth was actually extended?
    Perhaps more significantly, I wonder how many people would have heard and responded to the gospel had they lived past 11th September 2001 (& other less remembered occasions)?
    Jeff Robertson

  16. Well said Bill. One of the best articulations of the distinction between killing and murder that I have read. And I appreciate your deft handling of scripture to ground your arguments in the Biblical worldview.

    Darrell Furgason, Canada

  17. Our life is on God’s hand and we have a choice to choose life, I do agree with you Bill it is our appointment by Jesus to go and make disciples and proclaim the good news. I am sure Osama has been introduced to the gospel and chosen death and God has fulfilled Osama’s choice as he will with all of us.
    Uri Fogel

  18. But are we to be more righteous than God, who condemned each every one of us to death as a consequence of Eve’s transgression. Everyone of us has to live with the consequence of our own sinful natures. Let us be reminded of this whenever we see a cemetery, or simply look in the mirror.

    And what did Jesus say about carrying swords, for which it seemed for Peter, at least, to be a personal accessory.

    John 18 :10,11: Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

    Luke 22 :35-38: Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

    Finally the death of characters like Osama and other murderers are not seen merely as a means of protecting the public – as expediency – but as punishment, a word, along with those like sin and evil are not permitted by the politically correct and bleeding hearts.

    Romans 13:4: For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

    Why indeed are there so many Christians amongst the ranks of the military, including General Sir Richard Dannatt

    David Skinner, UK

  19. It is fine to argue people/criminals deserve the death penalty – but that isn’t the theological problem. Rather, the problem is whether any particular person or State has the authority to implement that punishment.

    If God implements it – that’s fine. If United States of America implements it – well, we have a theological problem.

    You can’t utilise OT theology regarding killing to justify modern state mandates, because Israel had a unique mandate that isn’t transferrable; and it can be sucessfully argued that God is no longer prioritising that style of Covenant. He did things before the cross, that he isn’t doing now – not because His character has changed, but rather because his priority has changed; until a future, final judgement day.

    The final 3 points I wish to make are more emotive rather than theological:

    1. A better form of justice would be if 1 million Amercians prayed, and God killed Osama
    2. Can anyone put their hand up, and declare that they don’t also deserve being terminated for their own sins? Sure – we’ve repented – but if God was giving people what they deserve now, how many of us would be left? While Christians are preaching capital punishment, they aren’t preaching grace.
    3. Can anyone declare they know of a modern State, of suitable infallability, Godliness and incorruptability to implement terminal justice? I’m personally much more concerned of the State’s ability to be bribed, mislead or pursue their own vindicative agenda (eg Bonhoeffer); than whatever benefit can be argued for terminating people.

    Note this argument is specific to capital punishment – I agree with the use of force or imprisonment to implement social order.

    If God kills someone – that’s fine. If United States of America intentionally kills someone outside the parameters of self defence – well, we have a theological problem. There will be a future day that God gives people what they deserve – He doesn’t need our help.

    Phil Guerin

  20. Thanks Phil

    But you are amiss in just about everything you have said here. As to your first three paragraphs, you are simply wrong big time. God has ordained the institution of the state in general and the death penalty in particular. He commanded us to make use of both to maintain justice and punish evildoers in a fallen world. And of course both these institutions were given to us by God long before Israel ever even existed as a nation. We find this in the early chapters of Genesis to be precise. Thus the nation of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with this. The NT does not abrogate general principles of justice as outlined and implemented in the OT. By your reasoning we should ban all laws against murder, because they were part of the old covenant, before the cross.

    As to your three points:
    Concerning the first, I would not doubt for a moment that 1 million Americans did indeed pray, and the death of Osama is their long-awaited answer to prayer. They prayed for justice and God came through, working as he basically always does through fallen humans to accomplish his purposes in a fallen world.

    As to your second, this is simply a furphy which I have discussed numerous times. We are all sinners so we all deserve to die, eternally. But those who fall on God’s grace in faith and repentance are spared eternal death, although every one of us will still die a physical death. This has absolutely nothing to do with God’s just ordinances about maintaining justice in a fallen world, including the death penalty. If you think God is immoral or unjust in this regard, then you had better deal with him about it.

    Unfortunately your confusion continues big time in your third point. Where does it say in Scripture that justice in this life cannot be implemented unless a state is perfect? Is that what it says in Romans 13? As I said, God uses imperfect and fallen individuals and governments to get his work done in this world. Indeed, that is the only thing he has to work with. If you think perfection is the criteria for any service for God, then I trust you are not daring to do anything for God, unless you think you are far better than all the rest of us mere mortals.

    No state is perfect as no individual is perfect. But by your rather foolish and unhelpful reasoning, all police, judges, courts, and laws should immediately be banned today, since none are perfect. Indeed, it sounds good to me. I can go to your home, steal all your valuables, and when dragged to court simply say, “Well as Phil reminds us, no judge or court is perfect, therefore you have nothing to say to me. I’m outta here.” Indeed, I can just say with you, “God doesn’t need our help here”.

    Sorry, but your unbiblical notions leave me rather unimpressed. While in one sense God does not need any of our help for anything, he has nonetheless chosen to work in and through us to accomplish his purposes. That includes the earthly centres of justice which he has ordained, imperfect as they will always be. That includes justly taking lives when individuals have forfeited their right to live. Again, if you are unhappy with the way God has ordained all this, then you need to complain to him about this.

    And I already spoke to the moral right of the US to administer justice to a terrorist who has declared war on the US. This has nothing to do with a “vindictive agenda” as you wrongly claim, but with justice, particularly retributive justice, which is everywhere found in Scripture and which is the very basis of a just and ordered society in a fallen world.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  21. I agree that the State’s role is to protect it’s citizens and to dispense justice. I guess my issue is not with the State but rather when the Church takes on the voice of the State. We (the Church) are to be the safe place for sinners, the place of mercy and love. But what I see in the American Church — and I will be specific — the more Republican/Conservative side; is that we voice the State’s line and not the Church’s line. Across American Conservative Evangelical Churches you will hear discussions not about how people can help the homeless, the refugee coming into their city, or the HIV victim, but rather you will hear fear based conversations about how the Muslims are out to get them and how they must be stopped before they destroy America completely etc. It is from the mouths of pastors and parishioners that I hear the “them against us” arguments, and that it’s ‘better for ud to stop them with violence than for us to lose any of our rights’. I know I’m making generalizations here, but what I am describing is hopefully communicating the problem that I see. You are right in thinking that we are confusing our spheres. But I would argue that the confusion I see as most disconcerting is not that the Church is filled with Pacifists but rather that the Church is filled with men and women who do not want to love their Muslim, Mexican, or Homosexual neighbor with the love of Christ. The resounding message that I hear from the Church is the message that should be coming from the government and I believe it is very much misrepresenting Christ. A final story to illustrate my point: I was having a rather animated conversation about Muslims with my Christian Grandfather this summer. He told me very seriously, “Sarah, all you have to remember is to do what Jesus would do.” But what he meant by that really, in the context of the conversation exploded out of my mouth, ‘Well he wouldn’t want to blow them up!’ My Grandpa leaned back shocked — that’s exactly what he thought Christ would do.

    Sarah Hamilton

  22. Thanks Sarah

    Yes those are sort of generalisations. It does happen, but not all the time. In reply, it seems to me one can and should do two things simultaneously as a believer, even if it is hard to do: we can love and seek to reach out to individual sinners of whatever stripe (Muslims, homosexuals, abortionists, drug dealers, etc), while also seeking public policy actions to prevent harm to the community by these same groups.

    Thus to warn about and work against the very real dangers of political Islam and its clearly stated goal to destroy the West and force sharia law on us all, does not mean we cannot and must not reach out to Muslims with love and the gospel. As hard as it may be, we must do both simultaneously: stand up for freedom on the political level while bringing Christ’s message of salvation to Muslims friends and contacts. This would be true of the other groups mentioned.

    But I seek to address this issue in much more detail elsewhere, so I urge you to have a look:

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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