Apologetics Bible Evangelism Liberalism Scotland The Church in Scotland

Lessons from Scotland – A Call to Ministers and Pastors in Scotland and Beyond

Last night I had a discussion/question time with a lovely group of ‘more mature’ people, mostly from a C of S background. They were a fascinating group of people with lots of questions, thoughts, doubts and fears. It was just a real joy to be able to share with them on the Old Testament, Jesus, etc. We had a great evening as we opened the Scriptures.  It was stimulating, provocative, inspiring and heart warming.

But the frustrating thing for me was that all of them had been brought up in the church, were regular churchgoers and yet most seem to have never heard the most basic apologetics and bible questions. Of course I don’t blame them. I blame the shepherds who are not feeding the sheep.

It is little wonder that the church in Scotland is in such a mess if the ministers and preachers are not feeding people the milk and the meat of the Word of God. When the people are fed inane sentimental pietistic drivel it should be no surprise that at the first blast of sceptical cynicism, militant secularism or well meaning liberalism,  their faith falls apart!

There is a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord in Scotland today….and I fear that it is largely the church that is responsible for this – whether it is the liberals who take away from the Word, or the legalists who add to it, or indeed the ‘nice’ but spineless evangelicals who don’t think their people can take the pure teaching of the Word of God, and so water it down with their own ‘churchy’ pietism, whilst they sit and wait for the coming renewal/revival/reformation.  It seems to me that that they are happy to read, hear and talk about God working in other countries and other centuries, but they don’t really expect God to work here – through His Word.   Sorry for the rant but when you see how the poor starving sheep lap up the Word, you cannot help but be infuriated at those shepherds who refuse to give it to them!

McCheyne felt the same way 160 years ago – ““It is confessed that many of our ministers to not preach the gospel – alas! Because they know it not. Yet they have complete control over their pulpits, and may never suffer the truth to be heard there during their whole incumbency. And yet our church consigns these parishes to their tender mercies for perhaps fifty years, without a sigh! Should not certain men be ordained as evangelists, with full power to preach in every pulpit of their district – faithful, judicious, lively preachers, who may go from parish to parish, and thus carry life into many a dead corner?”.

I also heard this week of an ‘evangelical’ Church of Scotland where apparently my name is mud because of my debate with Scott McKenna  Apparently ‘good Christian people’ were upset because they thought it was an attack upon the Church of Scotland.  No – it was  defence of the traditional doctrine of the C of S and an attack upon the poison of theological liberalism which leads to the destruction of the Church.   What stuns me is that people seem more upset about this heresy at the heart of the Kirk being exposed, than they are about the heresy itself!   Again I don’t really blame the people – its the ministers (even or sometimes especially evangelicals) who seem far more concerned about the denomination and their position within it, than they are about what the sheep are being fed.

The Lord has something to say about this – and it makes me, as a preacher of the Word of God, tremble.  We have a solemn (and joyful) responsibility to proclaim the Lords Word, to apply its teachings in the context of a culture which is largely hostile, and to do so in the power of the Holy Spirit.    We need to be preaching Gods Word, living it out and giving our people basic apologetics which helps them deal with the constant drip drip drip of our unbelieving culture.   How many of us have really given up all hope of seeing that culture renewed?  How many of us are just in survival mode, seeking to maintain our own sanity, jobs and institutions? How many of us teach, live and proclaim what we profess to believe?  Where is our confidence in the Word of God?   Those of us who are shepherds need to take seriously the Word of the Lord to Ezekiel.
The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no-one searched or looked for them.
7 “ ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
11 “ ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and make them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
The Holy Bible: New International Version—Anglicised. (1984). 



  1. Superb post. Sadly some evangelicals in Scotland are now putting huge emphasis on ‘spin’ and manipulation in their desire to ‘talk up’ and manufacture revival. In all of this, the Gospel of salvation, founded on sound and systematic Biblical teaching has been abandoned. As a result, I fear that a significant proportion of those who describe themselves as evangelical would be unable to explain the most basic tenets of the faith. How can we expect Biblical illiterates to ‘contend for the faith’ or be able to stand up for ‘sound doctrine’. The sober warning in this post clearly exposes those shepherds from liberals and legalists to extreme charismatics who are deliberately starving the sheep for their own self-centred and unholy reasons.

      1. May I suggest that being sorry for a rant is a start and that there is a place for adversarial polemics and personal comments and a place for unifying in Christ whatever part one is at in the theological spectrum for the sake of the reputation of the church in Scotland but more importantly the gospel?

        I am sorry for my part in difficulty where I have spoken thoughtlessly. I have had been damaged by the church and at times have lashed out with choices I have made in damaging ways as I have healed from issues. The church has caused damage to the gospel by her choices. I would affirm you comment, “There is a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord in Scotland today….and I fear that it is largely the church that is responsible for this”.

        Thankfully perfect love casts out fear, heals, and grace covers a multitude of sins. We know that God doesn’t do the work on his own but includes us in the privilege of taking part in it if we choose.

        So, you say you can can help – I think i can too.

        So how do we do this so the “Word of the Lord” can be heard in ways that serve and meet the needs of everyday folks?

      2. First of all – we have to recognise what the gospel is and stop all this ridiculous mucking around with ‘the theological spectrum’…this is a great part of what has destroyed the church. Stick to the gospel…its not on a spectrum!

  2. David,

    Exactly the same situation in England.

    What slightly surprises me is that you seemed slightly surprised by the reaction to your ministry. “But the frustrating thing for me was that all of them had been brought up in the church, were regular churchgoers and yet most seem to have never heard the most basic apologetics and bible questions.”

    As a child in the mid 50’s / 60’s my family attended a local Congregational Church in North London (my parents having been raised in the Church of Scotland but moved south to London 1954).

    I attended this church as a child / teenager until 1967 when I became a medical student and left home.
    But during my childhood I have no memory of having ever heard any biblical preaching or any explanation of the basic gospel. All we received was Boy Scout Christianity, “On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law”, i.e. soft legalism.

    I became a Christian on my own at about 15 years of age after reading Romans 5 – 8. I remember talking to my parents about being “justified by faith” to their (and largely my) incomprehension.

    It was not until I became a student and regularly attended St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London and had the fantastic privilege of sitting under the ministry of Rev. Dick Lucas that my faith became consolidated in the Word of God, due to his clear expository preaching.

    What I am saying is that the rot set into the churches half a century ago when the ministers abandoned biblical preaching, largely affected by the theological liberal influences. We are now reaping the consequences, both in England and Scotland.

    Sadly because the evangelical and charismatic movements, since then, lacked a sound theological basis, and frequently lack any biblical rigor, the rot has continued resulting in a very weak national Christian spirituality, even in some of the churches which claim to be “alive”.

    I also have been reading Ezekiel (along with the excellent commentary by Roy Cements, “Faithful Living I a Faithless World”). In chapter 13 it states, “Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”

    Sadly this is the age we are living in an age of whitewash until The Lord moves again in this land. Even the evangelivcal churches are telling the people, “Peace, peace – God loves you and wants to bless youI ….. and never preaching a message of repentence and judgement. (Acts 17, 30 -31)”

    I think there will be very hard times ahead for bible believing Christians who stand up for God’s truth in this deeply secular age. And the judgement for this will start with the Church. Ezekiel 36, 31- 32.

  3. ‘When the people are fed inane sentimental pietistic drivel it should be no surprise that at the first blast of sceptical cynicism, militant secularism or well meaning liberalism, their faith falls apart!’ – So the author of this blog has stated………………
    And in so stating he reveals his ignorance regarding the real source of any true believers faith.
    The faith which a true believer holds is not sourced in his/her intellect or the strength of his/her intellectual prowess or belief. – it is sourced in Christ. True believers operate with the faith OF Christ – not their (own) faith IN Christ.
    Bible versions which speak of faith IN Christ are corrupted translations
    And the Faith OF Christ, as Calvary proved, can withstand the severest of human assault – at every level.
    Faith based on, and expressed through our natural intellect is not a faith which can carry a person beyond the grave to the eternal realm – only the Faith of Christ has that ability.
    Flesh can only give birth to flesh – it takes God’s initiative carried by, and through His Spirit to give birth to spirit’
    It would appear carnal Christianity – as opposed to true spiritual Christianity. is in a far worse state than the most reverend and educated of minds can see……………

    1. Jack – what a strange post! True believers do operate with the faith of Christ but that is not opposite or without our intelligence. For example it was your mind (not Christs) that wrote these words. Just as well given how wacky they are! The bible does speak about faith in Christ. And about our minds being renewed. You may call this this carnal Christianity – I call it biblical. On the other hand the super spiritual pietistic waffle….?

      1. I dip into this site now and again, have two of your books, and listened to your Keswick lecture and a sermon on the net.
        I was unchurched and from a tepid,deistic family until the age of 47 when I was saved, a lost sheep, found by Jesus.. I was a solicitor for a number of years and still struggle at times with an adversarial attitude although I have experience enough to know that it is possible to win the argument, but lose the day.
        Some Christians would be appalled that the LORD used a miracle (I do not use the word lightly, being aware of the laws of evidence) leading up to the death of my dad, the NIV New Testament and Psalms placed in hospital by Gideon’s society, followed by an Alpha course, in the Church of England. to call me to HimI
        have some rudimentary theological training in the Methodist Church, with some teaching for preaching. I was stunned to hear that there was no “fall”. Though unnamed, Pelagianism seems to underpin the foundations of flabby and facile theology in the church at large.That led to self study to refute “higher criticism” and other false teachings on atonement and to look quite deeply into Arminianisn and Calvinism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I came away from preaching training in the Methodist church, as I could not vow not to preach/teach against their doctrines. At the same time was was looking at books by Goldsworthy and Motyer on biblical theology.
        Since the I’ve benefited greatly from books, talks, sermons, from Keller, Clowney, Lucas, Begg, Lloyd-Jones, Dever, Ferguson, Duguid, Piper, Carson, Reeves, Schreiner and others.
        I’ve also enjoyed robust and “muscular” apologetics from Ravi Zaccharias, Lennox, yourself and others, great aids to dismantle or at least undermine world views in the workplace in a conversational way.
        Little of this has been taught, promoted nor subscribed to by the local church.
        Throughout all this, salvation is only of the LORD.
        So why write this?
        Some while ago I was deeply disappointed with the publication of a book entitled, if I recall correctly, “Engaging with Keller ” which I’ve merely “flipped through.” Keller is not theologically perfect (who is) but he knows how to communicate the gospel with the New York culture
        So this is the point of this reply. I was disappointed to to read your dismissal of Jack’s post as “wacky…superspiritual piestic waffle.” Perhaps you were irritated by his seeming slight against use of intellect as being carnal. Perhaps where you may both agree is in “solas”. Salvation is only of the LORD. As you are aware,there are theologians of significant intellect such as Michael Eaton, RT Kendal and others some of whom you may call pietistic, and some you wouldn’t, who would support “pistis” in some text as being correctly translated in KJV as faith “of.” Of course the irony for Jack’s that this translation has been supported by the use of intellect , not carnal but “regenerated” intellect.
        Just a question: in the reality of my (“mystical?”) union with Christ I am credited with His righteousness, which I suppose includes his perfect faith does it not? But at the same time I have a gift of faith in Christ, the true Son, who had the faith Israel did not have. Does not righteousness, include, encompass faith?Or have I got that wrong?
        This is my first post anywhere, so please be robustly gentle.
        Yours in Christ Jesus,

      2. Geoff – thanks for this. Much appreciated. Helpful comments and great questions…I’ll do my best to answer….

        It is great to hear your story. Sad to hear of the ‘training’ you got though – sadly all too typical. And how sad that you get so little from the local church! That is kind of what this post was about.

        I love your reading – its great that the Lord has given us such gifts!

        I agree with you about engaging with Keller. In fact I wrote a review and began a series of articles on this blog which you can read here – https://theweeflea.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/engaging-with-keller-a-review/

        Perhaps it was wrong to dismiss Jack’s post as wacky superspiritual pietistic nonsense – although that is honestly what I think it is. He says, on the basis of the OP that I am ignorant of the source of real faith! Of course our faith is sourced in Christ. It is a gift of Christ. But faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – which is what the whole OP was about. In stating that the Bible NEVER speaks about faith in God (thats all from corrupted translations) Jack is mistaken. He sets himself (and his intellect/feelings) up as a judge of the Word of God and a destroyer of all who dare to disagree. Faith is both in and of Christ.

        In an ultimate sense everything we have comes from God – what do we have which we did not receive? And yet the great thing is that God calls us to freely love him, as rational, feeling, human beings. We are not robots. It is perfectly correct to speak of faith in as well as the faith of. To deny that is to seek to be wiser than the Holy Spirit. I call it superspiritual nonsense – others might call it blasphemy!

        Great to hear from you – and thanks for your thoughtful stimulating post…feel free to post again!

    2. Actually Jack you make a good point.

      Faith is a gift from God. So it is not “my” faith or yours or anyone else’s for that matter but the same faith that comes from God.

      I’m not sure that what you say about David being ignorant is true about faith but I do share a degree of concern.

      If leaders cannot model this faith then that doesn’t bode well for the church in Scotland. Thankfully I have known leaders who can and that is where I choose to have allegiance.

      1. David -The point that I was attempting to make (obviously unsuccessfully), is that genuine spiritual regeneration is a the result of a spiritual transaction and has nothing, and can have nothing to do with (spiritually dead) human intellect and emotions…………
        When Christ initiates an (eternal) relationship with one of His elect, His Spirit cuts through the dead mantle of Sin which enshrouds any person and consummates an eternal relationship with that person’s otherwise eternally non-viable spirit,
        Thereafter – and only thereafter can a person respond (positively) to the simple ‘Christ crucified’ gospel which Paul advocates in 1 Corinthians 1/1-5.
        The life saving efficacy of the true gospel no more depends on intellectual understanding and tactic than a fledglings first flight depends on it having a B Sc in aero-dynamics………
        The fledgling flies because it has been gifted flight…………..and a true believer ‘believes’ because he or she has been gifted (our Saviour’s) Faith
        In conclusion – if a true believer is fed pietistic drivel – then, thanks be to God, that drivel cannot and will not adversely affect that person’s eternal standing before God…..therefore it cannot possibly affect His true Church
        It might however affect a believer’s sanctification – but, thanks be to God’s providence and the Holy Spirit’s counsel, such affect will always be short lived and eventually, irrevocably contribute to their eternal development,

      2. Jack – and the point you were making is wrong and unbiblical – doing what Christ nor the Holy Spirit nor the Father does not do – seeking to bypass the human mind and heart. We are dead in sin and trespasses but the Spirit works within us – using our human faculties and renewing them. This is dangerous and unbiblical teaching – an extreme kind of hyper-Calvinism which then allows you to say that false teaching ‘cannot possibly affect His true Church’. We have no right to distort or twist the Word of God. Ironically your posts are self-contradictory – because whilst arguing against the intellect it is your intellect that is doing the arguing – unless you are claiming divine inspiration for your words!

  4. With regard to the people from the Church of Scotland you talked to I pass on this gem from my local Church of Scotland minister:
    “In truth, all truth about the faith is temporary.”
    Speaking as an outsider I am amazed that there is not some sort of open rebellion in his church when he says things like that. Why do people carry on going to his church when that is what he preaches? What are they getting out of it? If they believe what he says they might as well stay in bed longer on a Sunday morning. If they disagree why do they not create a fuss? (Those words, by the way, were on the church website but they’re not there any more.)
    But how recent is all this? Listen to this gentleman recounting his days studying theology at a Scottish University:
    “Our professors were a heterogeneous company, theologically speaking. Three were irreproachably orthodox and inexpressibly dull. A fourth was an iconoclastic radical who dished up the philosophy of ecclesiastical history made in Germany; whilst the professor of Biblical Criticism …was so advanced as to be practically indistinguishable from a Unitarian.” And in relation to the General Assembly he wrote, “There were all manner of different ‘schools’ within the ample fold of the Establishment, beginning from the lowest Evangelical who was almost a Salvationist; continuing with the sceptical Broad Churchman who might believe in anything or nothing; and ending with the Papistical High Churchman..”
    The writer was Henry G Graham and he wrote those words in 1908.

    1. ‘In truth, all truth about the faith is temporary’ is one of the dumbest things you can hear – not least because by its own standard it is only temporarily true!

      1. I would argue that the statement is not one that we should be hearing from a minister preaching in a pulpit – or writing on a church blog but I would not necessarily call it dumb. He could say that truth about everything else is long-lasting but truth about faith is temporary. But what does it mean? Well, you also have to know that he thinks that it’s more important to ask questions than to provide answers. So you see, any answers are only answers until someone comes up with a new or better answer. It’s all part of the extreme version of historical-criticism which has infected parts of the Church of Scotland and other Churches. But there’s also an indication of it in the Church of Scotland’s attitude to the Westminster Confession. On the Church of Scotland website you can read:
        “The General Assembly has agreed that ministers, deacons and elders at ordination have to assent to the Confession and its role, but, at the same time, it is made clear that this is a ‘subordinate’ standard (to Holy Scripture) and therefore open to challenge on the basis of further study of Scripture.”
        Notice ‘open to challenge’. That implies rejection. It implies, “This is what we believe today but in future we might believe the opposite.”
        But in calling any statement a ‘subordinate standard’ is that not what is implied? If it is subordinate then it has no binding authority and, indeed, some other interpretation is possible in the future. It is merely subordinate to whatever interpretation people believe at any particular time. And anybody who disagrees with the new interpretation can argue no more than that his interpretation is better than somebody else’s. But on no better authority than his own say so.
        For example, some say that the Bible rules out divorce in every situation while others say that it does not rule it out in every situation. Whose interpretation is correct? Who decides which interpretation is correct? They all say “I do.” Then some say that it’s not very important as it’s only ‘secondary’. And similarly, attitudes to homosexuality will be declared ‘secondary’ so it won’t matter what stance you take on the issue.

      2. The Free Church uses the same language – but what we mean by it is that it is subordinate to the Scriptures (not the Assembly)…if anyone can show anything in the WCF is contrary to Scripture then we are bound to change it…

  5. Great to know that someone is saying it how it actually is. As a Presbyterian in Ireland I am dismayed at the Church of Scotland and mother Kirk for their total disregard for and of the Scriptures. To say that a lot of the teaching is drivel is correct, however I would hasten to add that it is dangerous and taught by unregenerated heretics. It is time to ditch the word evangelical as it has become a pseudonym for lightweight, False ecumenical, crowd pleasing behaviour. One is either Reformed or they are not. David keep up the good work in apologetically honouring Christ through telling the truth because more people are listening than any denomination would care admit.

  6. Yes. Presumably, to prove the point, the statement, fell to the ground dead as soon as it was uttered. But there seems to be some evidence to support the claim -it has been removed from the church website! More seriously, Will this go over heads of the congregation? Yes and no.

    Some poorly joined-up thoughts.

    The cuckoo of culture, if not in the nest, laid its egg long ago. It is now coloured by the the modern “pigment ” of imagination masquerading as flaccid philosophy.

    Are there no warnings against false teaching? No doctrines of demons?

    Culture burdened God’s chosen prophets, priests, judges, shepherd/kings. Because it was of sufficient “bother” to God,He graciously and lovingly granted and entered into covenants and legislated, became human, tabernacled among us, suffered,died, was raised and ascended, poured out His Spirit chose disciples, apostles, His people, called out off the world, against the flow and wrote it down in a book. To use David Wells phrase “Holy Love”: this was all in furtherance of God’s “Holy Love.”

    The statement from the CoS minister seems like it could come readily from a modern day disciple of Albert Schweitzer with his heretical separation of the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith.

    Our faith depends on truth, corresponds to reality, in space and time. But as we knownot only is truth a proposition, but is a person. I sometimes can scaresly take it in that if I’d lived in the right place at the right time I could have met God, God who came down, the Son, God of the patriarchs who was “hidden in full view ” as he went among the scribes, pharisees, sadducees and people.

    Didn’ t someone/historian? say something like,”If you don’t know your history you’re consigned to repeat it.”? We have the history. Do we know it?

    Was it ever thus? And will it ever be.? Yes and no: from the history of the past, to the revealed “history” of the future, Genesis to Revelation, creation to consummation, until the new heaven on earth. Come Lord Jesus, come.


    Thanks for your “engaging with Keller” link. I’d seen it at the time and was thankful as I’d come across the book before your post and was somewhat disheartened and I do not have the wherewithal to critique it as you did. I was unsettled and unsure about motives, not necessarily the theology as I barely skimmed it. But there again, others have invested me with motives that have never crossed my mind.One thing I learned from court advocacy and from a time of public service employment is that the message you give is not always the message received. In fact it can be the opposite to what is said/intended. This has been researched, studied. But more important, is it not throughout scripture, from Eden onwards?

    And more deeply, as you know God’s word never returns void, hardening, softening, repentance, pride,obeyed, disobeyed, ignored, received, resisted, accepted, spontaneous or chronic apathy, pyrotechnic delight, joy that cannot be expressed on a foot that cannot dance as David danced, rest, activity, chastening, comfort, and more. Always living and active and accomplishing.

    Keep on keeping on with the good news of Jesus and our stunning, astonishing, trinitarian, interventionist God. Lost in wonder, Lost in awe..Just a little bit of enjoying God of the word.

    It is of eternal importance. Jesus life was put to the stake because lives are at stake,

    Apologies for going on. It’s not intended to patronise, although I’m aware I can come across that way, nor teach my granny to suck eggs (perhaps too local, colloquial) but to encourage.

  7. David, It is not my beliefs which conflict with the Bible. It is your (New Calvinistic) beliefs, practises and affinities which run contrary to Biblical teaching…..thereafter allowing you, while paying lip service to reformed theology, to call Roman Catholics ‘brothers in Christ’……..
    In finishing, dare I remind you that it was Jesus Himself who said that His Church was built on His faith – as expressed by Peter – and that the gates of Hades/Hell would not prevail against it

    1. Sorry Jack…I’m old school Calvinist…I’m not even sure what New Calvinist beliefs are. I don’t pay lip service to Reformed theology – I live by it. Which is why I am happy to call any Roman Catholic Christian who loves and follows Jesus, brother or sister. Like my predecessor McCheyne! And yes Jesus did say that the Church was built on his faith – I wonder if your logic/intellect helped you work that out? If so how can you trust it?

  8. One is either Reformed or () not
    I guess this is a true statement but it does not get us very far.
    “keeping up the good work”

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