Category Archives: Evangelism

Errors at The Junia Project – Part 5

This is the 5th and final post in a series reviewing a recent blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo published at The Junia Project. Here are the links to parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series.

More than one woman found herself [after the Civil War] without a suitor—and a purpose for her life (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Straw-manOur purpose in life is to glorify God—whether married or single. Many women (and women) desire to be married, but do not believe they have no purpose for their lives. Again, it appears the Krizo has set up another straw man argument that she can easily attack. On the contrary, the apostle Paul was single, did not lack for purpose in his life and even commends the unmarried:

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I (1 Corinthians 7:8).

The Bible never teaches that a woman without a suitor (or a man without a wife) has no purpose in life. On the contrary, the Bible makes it clear that the unmarried have some advantages in being able to better focus on serving the Lord outside of their families:

But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Returning to Krizo’s article:

Necessity should never be a guide for morals, for truth must be obeyed regardless of circumstances. Yet, sometimes necessity forces us to give up beliefs and practices that are against God’s will (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

I agree that perceived necessity must never be a guide for our morals—this is pragmatism. Unfortunately, Krizo has employed pragmatic argumentation at many points in her article. But which beliefs and practices are against God’s will? I think she is referring to the belief and practice that women cannot be missionaries. But, because she has brought in the subject of marriage and used inaccurate definitions of apostles, it is not immediately clear what belief and practice she is arguing against. Nor has she demonstrated from the Bible how any particular belief or practice is against God’s will.

If a woman can choose missions and remain single for life, is a woman’s created role, her purpose, solely that of a wife and a mother? How can it be? (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Again, who is Krizo arguing against? Are there people who argue that a woman’s sole purpose  for life is to be a wife and mother? Perhaps. But that position can be easily refuted from Scripture. Also I do not understand the mixing of missions with singleness. How is that relevant?

Singleness is a gift from God. It allows people to follow God wholeheartedly without distractions (1 Cor 7:32-25). But when marriage is presented as the only success story  for Christian women, it is almost impossible for those not married not to view themselves as failures. Of course family is an important part of life, but it isn’t the only thing, nor was it meant to be. The church needs women willing to shoulder responsibilities where married women with young children cannot; there are more opportunities available than there are hours in a day. If marriage was the answer to all of life’s problems, God would have told us so. But he didn’t, so why insist he did?

Now, I am not sure who is teaching that marriage and family are the only success stories for Christian women. Nor have I heard anyone teaching that marriage is the answer to all of life’s problems. Such a person could not have ever been married and could not have actually known any married couples! Unfortunately, Krizo provides only a reference to her own book here, so I cannot comment on the possible sources of these comments.

Let’s not waste any more time. There is so much to do, so little time. Dear sisters, if you have heard the voice of God, embrace your calling, your place in the Kingdom. The church needs you, the world needs you, and God is more than willing to send you. Why shouldn’t you go? (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Agreed. To a point. There is much to do and so little time. However, we must remember that this blog article was posted at The Junia Project. They are teaching that “women are called to serve at all levels of the Church.” There are countless unique callings available for both men and women. However, it is always within God’s guidelines. For example, since no woman can be a husband, that means no women can be pastors or elders or deacons. No matter how badly it may appear that the church and the world needs them. No matter how strongly it feels like God is calling them or gifting them for that type of service. No matter what percentage of so-called “Christian” churches may be putting them in their pulpits today.

targetNow, this may come as a surprise, but I believe that both married and single women can serve as Christian missionaries, as long as the specific missionary tasks and roles are not specifically prohibited by Scripture. We have to define what we mean by missionary. My point of this series was not to argue against women serving as Christian missionaries, but to point out the poor method of argumentation used in this particular article. We need to understand how to think rather than just be told what to think.

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Errors at The Junia Project – Part 4

This is part 4 of a series reviewing a recent blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo published at The Junia Project. Here are the links to parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series.

As was discussed previously in this series but will be repeated here, we cannot universally equate the term apostle with church leaders such as pastors and elders:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The apostles Paul and Peter were certainly prophets and evangelists. But not all evangelists are prophets. Both Peter and Paul were part of the special classes of apostle that were called directly by Jesus. Peter and Paul performed miracles and wrote Scripture. This type of apostle no longer exists today. We cannot use the examples of Peter and Paul to define modern missionaries. They are a completely different category of apostle and basically irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not God sends men and women as missionaries today. This is a category error.

Paul and Peter weren’t the only apostles. The Bible mentions nearly twenty apostles by name, and one of them is a woman (Rom 16:7) (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

I agree that Paul and Peter were not the only apostles. Does Krizo believe anyone thinks this? This is a red herring designed to further confuse the issue.

For centuries, the apostle Junia has either been transformed into a man by translators, or ignored. But we cannot ignore her anymore (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Actually, there has been some debate since the first couple centuries of the New Testament church about whether or not Junia was a man or a woman. There is even some debate as to how to render Romans 16:7 as to whether or not Junia was actually considered an apostle or was known merely known by and/or working with the apostles. Junia has not been “transformed into a man” or “ignored.” Krizo is again reverting to inflammatory language. Compare the translations from the ESV, NIV and KJV Bibles:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me (ESV, Romans 16:7).

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (NIV, Romans 16:7).

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me (KJV, Romans 16:7).

None of these three translations ignores Junia. But neither do any of the three make it perfectly clear as to whether or not Junia was an apostle or was just highly esteemed by the apostles.

Despite some debate as to whether or note Junia is a man or a woman and whether or not Junia is even called an apostle in Romans 16:7, I am willing to allow for the sake of argument that Junia is a female apostle. Now, we have to look at the list of 6 types of apostles described yesterday and decide which type of an apostle . Clearly she is not one of the original 12, not Matthias, not Paul, not Jesus and not a false apostle. That means Junia is one of those messengers who is sent out by the church. Not the type of apostle who performs miracles or writes Scripture. Equating Junia with the apostles Peter and Paul is misleading and confusing.

We have hundreds of thousands of women apostles preaching the Gospel around the world. If these women exist, why wouldn’t Junia? If our church sends women as apostles, why wouldn’t the early church? (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

cart-before-the-horseThis is putting the cart before the horse. We should never weigh the Bible using our experiences. And Krizo appears to be trying to equate Junia as an apostle with Peter and Paul as apostles since these are the only three she refers to by name. And she does so without delineating that they are different types of apostles.

Furthermore, this twisted form of logic can be used to directly contradict the Bible. We have thousands of women serving as pastors and elders in churches around the world. If our churches today have women as pastor and elders, why wouldn’t the early church? Oh right, because women do not and can not possess all of the Biblical qualifications to be pastors and elders.

Another uncomfortable question raised by the existence of women apostles is the woman’s “role” (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

I am not sure why this is an uncomfortable question. Just because we may disagree with The Junia Project’s stance on women in church leadership does not mean the related questions make us uncomfortable. Again, it appears Krizo is trying to use inflammatory, emotional arguments. And, she never make clears in the article what she means by “role.” She poses the vague question, but never addresses it.

Many of the women who joined missions in the 19th century remained single by necessity. The absence of six hundred thousand men left a vacuum in all of society, not just the church (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Absolutely true. The shortage of men would prevent some women from marrying. Just as a shortage of women in China today due to sex-selective abortions means that many men are unable to marry. So what? What does singleness have to do with being a missionary? Is that a Biblical qualification?

So, for a quick recap of day 4…continuing conflation of the complex term apostle into a single meaning, red herrings, and yet more inflammatory and emotional language. But no good, clear Biblical argumentation for her position. And here is the link to Day 5.

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Errors at The Junia Project – Part 3

This is part 3 of a series reviewing a recent blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo published at The Junia Project. Here are the links to parts 1 and 2 of this series.

By 2001 nearly 60 percent of the world’s missionaries were women. That trend began during the second wave of modern missions – and was catapulted into being through the American Civil War, when six hundred thousand men lost their lives (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

LemmingsUnfortunately, Krizo does not supply a reference for her data regarding missionaries. Is that Christian missionaries? Appealing to a 60 percent figure is merely the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum. If 60 percent of the world’s lemmings are jumping off cliffs, it must be good, right? Even if the 60 percent figure is accurate, she has still not addressed whether or not it is Biblical. And, I have previously addressed the issue of loss of life during the Civil War as being insufficient to require that women be sent as missionaries. The question we are still waiting to be addressed by this article—is it Biblical?

With such significant loss of male leadership, earning ability, and traditional roles in some families, women stepped up to rebuild both the American nation and also the American church. Facing the possibility of a halted work, the church agreed to send women to every corner of the world to proclaim the Gospel (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Rebuilding the nation is not the same as rebuilding the church. And, Krizo has not established that the church even needed to be rebuilt. In addition, sending missionaries to every corner of the world would have actually detracted from the rebuilding of the nation and the church. They cannot be in both places at the same time.

Alternatively we could use her argument of the “loss of male leadership, earning ability, and traditional roles in some families” to justify all sorts of behaviors that are non-Biblical. If there were not enough Christian men to go around, why not approve polygamy and move away from those traditional family stereotypes? This would have solved the male leadership problem by letting one male lead multiple women and families. It also would have increased the birth rate to more quickly repopulate the nation and the church. As I hope you can see, appealing to pragmatism can lead to all sorts of problems. We have to use the Bible to guide us.

But why is it that more than a hundred years later, the church hasn’t ceased sending women, although the pool of available men has been replenished? Maybe God likes the idea of sending men and women. Maybe God has always sent men and women (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Maybe God does like the idea of sending women and maybe God has always sent men and women. But we would need to address the issue from the Bible, not from our personal ideas or feelings. And, just because it has been done for more than 100 years does not make it right either. Thankfully, Krizo will now begin trying to use the Bible.

The word “missionary” isn’t found in the Bible; we get the English word from the Latin missio, “sent” (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

It is true that the term missionary is not found in most English Bibles.

Instead, the Bible talks about apostles, who were entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel to specific people groups (Gal 2:7-9). Paul, for example, spent his life traveling around the Roman Empire preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, while Peter went to his own people living in the Diaspora. (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Here she is equating our modern English term “missionary” with the the Biblical term “apostle.” However, the Bible uses the term apostle many different ways. The term apostle simply means “sent one.” Depending upon context, the Greek term for apostle is sometimes translated as “apostle” and sometimes as “messenger.” In the New Testament the term “apostle” is used to describe several different types of people:

  1. The original 12 apostles appointed by Jesus (Acts 1:1; 1:13; plus Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus).
  2. Matthias who was selected to replace Judas Isacariot (Acts 1:26). In the Acts passage, this type of apostle must meet specific criteria: “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us–one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).
  3. Paul (Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, many others).
  4. Jesus (Hebrews 3:1)
  5. Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and other various apostles who are sent as messengers. For example: “And as for our brothers, they are messengers [apostles] of the churches, the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 8:23). Also, “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger [apostle] and minister to my need (Philippians 2:25).
  6. False apostles. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13).

As you can see, the term apostle can mean several different things depending upon its context. We cannot simply equate it with the English term missionary. And, as was discussed previously but will be repeated here, we also cannot equate it with church leaders such as pastors and elders:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Returning to Krizo’s article:

Instead, the Bible talks about apostles, who were entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel to specific people groups (Gal 2:7-9). Paul, for example, spent his life traveling around the Roman Empire preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, while Peter went to his own people living in the Diaspora. (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Even this analysis of Paul and Peter over simplifies their apostleship. Their apostleship was not limited to preaching the Gospel to specific people groups. For example, while Paul’s focus was the Gentiles he also regularly preached the Gospel to Jews in synagogues in Salamis (Acts 13:5), Antioch-Pisidia (Acts 13:14-16), Thessalonica (Acts 17:1–3), Athens (Acts 17:16-17), and many other places.

So, what have we identified during today’s review of this article? Unsupported and irrelevant data, an appeal to the popular, more pragmatism, and a poor teaching on the topic of apostleship in which the various categories of apostleship is ignored.

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Errors at The Junia Project – Part 2

Part 1 of this series can be found here. Now, let’s really begin the review of a recent blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo published at The Junia Project.

question_markI have always liked to ask questions; questions that are often considered impertinent by those who don’t believe in asking questions (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Starting off the article in this manner is just appealing to emotion. She wants you to think that people on the other side of this issue “don’t believe in asking questions.” You might as well play scary music in the background and act like this is some great Christian conspiracy to oppress women.

For example, as a young Christian I wondered why women could become missionaries if they couldn’t teach in the church. The answer—if a man is not available, God doesn’t mind sending women (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Missionaries are not the same as people who teach in the church (pastors and elders).  In fact, some missionaries sent by the local church do not even have as their primary role to teach or evangelize at all (for example, medical missionaries or missionaries that build houses, churches, water systems, etc.). Conflating the different categories of missionaries and teachers in the church just confuses the issue. In the following text, the Bible identifies several different categories of individuals that God calls for the work of ministry:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Evangelists as described in this Biblical text are probably most similar to the idea of a missionary implied by Krizo in this blog article (yet she will later try to equate missionaries with apostles rather than missionaries). But even the term evangelist does not encompass all the modern uses of the term missionary. We could perhaps consider all evangelists to be missionaries, but definitely not all missionaries are evangelists. In either case these evangelists are different from both apostles and shepherds and teachers.

If the Bible uses distinct categories for ministry then we should too. An evangelist is not an apostle. An evangelist is not a pastor or elder. The God-defined distinctions are important. Just as the God-defined distinctions between men and women are important.

The answer—if a man is not available, God doesn’t mind sending women. I didn’t like the answer then, and I don’t like it now. (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Womenl).

Whose answer was that? Krizo does not say. Perhaps she did hear that answer in the past. But receiving a non-Biblical answer from someone in her past would not justify her giving another non-Biblical answer. And it does not matter if she does not like the answer. The question is whether or not it is Biblical.

But the American church of the 19th century didn’t have a choice. Ron Boehme, from Youth With a Mission (YWAM), visited our church recently and told our congregation that women, single and married, became missionaries in the late nineteenth century because most of the men of their era were gone. The Civil War had wiped out nearly an entire generation of men; there was no one to send (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

civil_war

This is a pragmatic argument not a Biblical one. Plus, the facts do not support their premise at all. An estimated 620,000-850,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. In 1865 at the end of the Civil War, the US population was estimated to be at least 31,000,000. That means that at most 2.7% of the US population died during the Civil War. Assuming that all of the dead were men and that men make up 50% of the total population, then at most 5.5% of all men died during the Civil War. Basically 1 man in 18 was lost. Even if you expand the men lost to include casualties (estimated to be 1.5 million total) the percentage of men lost only increases to only 9.7%.  Surely this was a major impact on those men who were of the age to both go to battle and go to the mission field, but it is hyperbole at best to say there was “no one to send.”

Even if the facts were true that there were no men to send, the church still had a choice. Let’s assume that the church, under God’s command, could only send men as missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. If 100% of the men were wiped out under the sovereign control of God during the Civil War, then so be it. Does Krizo reject the sovereignty of God to fulfill his purposes? Does she reject God’s commands when she feels it becomes necessary to meet some good goal? Besides, the Bible does not mandate the number of missionaries that must be sent each year. So we cannot even change the argument to say that there were not enough men.

The nineteenth century brought a freedom and release to women in missions that greatly impacted the history of the world evangelism (Krizo,God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Did you notice the use of inflammatory language? Women had previously been in bondage, but now had been freed! Krizo is again appealing to emotion rather than making Biblical arguments.

Well, that is it for Day 2. To this point the article Krizo not used the Bible to defend her position, but she has used emotion, pragmatism, inflammatory language and bad facts. Jump to Day 3.

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Errors at The Junia Project – Part 1

Recently a blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo was published over at The Junia Project. This week I would like to review that article and demonstrate the errors in logic and Biblical interpretation. I am not trying to attack the author as an individual, but rather focus on the arguments themselves. The types of arguments employed in the article are often used by people pushing for equal roles for men and women in church leadership. Understanding where the arguments go wrong can help us to both support women who are truly called to Biblical positions and also be faithful to Scripture where certain roles are restricted to qualified men. Before I even begin this 5-day and nearly 4000 word series, let me state up front that I believe both married women and single women can serve as Christian missionaries, as long as their specific missionary tasks and roles are not explicitly prohibited by Scripture.

Now before we jump into the blog article, we need to review some specific background. The Junia Project teaches incorrectly that:

“The Bible teaches that both men and women are called to serve at all levels of the Church, and that leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender” (About the Junia Project, emphasis in the original).

Notice that they use a straw man to imply that their opponents are arguing that church leadership is only based on gender. Not true. Has anyone ever argued that all men are automatically qualified for church leadership positions simply because they are men? I doubt it. And, if they did it would not be Biblical. Rather, the Bible defines requirements for pastors, elders and deacons that include both their gender (males) and their gifts (or qualifications). The Bible does teach that these church leaders must be men (1 Timothy 3:1-13), and that they must also meet numerous important qualifications including:

  1. above reproach
  2. husband of one wife
  3. sober-minded
  4. self-controlled
  5. respectable
  6. hospitable
  7. able to teach
  8. not a drunkard
  9. not violent but gentle
  10. not quarrelsome
  11. not a lover of money
  12. manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive
  13. not be a recent convert
  14. well thought of by outsiders

Is gender included within this list? Yes, absolutely. It is impossible for a woman to be a husband. Is gender the only thing in the list? Far from it! Many (probably most) males do not satisfy all of these requirements. So, it is a straw man argument to say that “leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender.”

sister-wives-seasonThe correct, Biblical, position is that church leadership must be based on meeting that full set of qualifications of which one of the 14 in that list above is gender. On that list, I suspect the only one the people at The Junia Project want to ignore is the “husband of one wife.” Would they be okay with a pastor who was a drunkard or violent? How about a husband of  four wives? Of course not. Well, at least I hope not!!!

The second error in their “About” statement is a little more subtle, but seems to have become ingrained in our modern culture. Notice how they say “leadership should be based on gifting and not on gender.” The unstated presupposition is that gender is not a gift from God. They are making gender to be mutually exclusive from God’s gifts. In reality, our genders—both male and female—are one of our wonderful gifts from God. I certainly rejoice in the God-given female genders of my wife and daughters. Gender was part of God’s original design:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:27, 31).

So, addressing the actual article will have to wait until Day 2. Hopefully my post today will help you spot the incorrect presuppositions that often underlie discussions about gender and the Christian church.

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Preaching the word from heaven

This past weekend I went with my family to a funeral for one of my wife’s aunts. We knew that Bonnie had died as a believer in Christ, so this was not a funeral of great sadness. Rather we could rejoice that she been delivered from the ravages of this world marred by sin.

My wife and I had been praying all week that the true gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ would be faithfully preached to the many unbelievers who would attend. I prayed that whoever would be leading the service would be faithful to the calling laid out in Scripture:

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).

I never once imagined that the person preaching the gospel to all of those gathered would be Aunt Bonnie herself. You see, Bonnie had prepared her funeral. She had selected a couple of songs and written down the message she wanted conveyed to her loved ones. That message was the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. She had taken advantage of her last opportunity to bring glory to God and tell others of her great Savior. This is all the more remarkable in that, in recent years, Bonnie’s mind had been severely affected by dementia. But she must have had the foresight and the desire to prepare that message some time ago. Bonnie can definitely declare with the apostle Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Through it all I was reminded that God does indeed answer prayer and that His ways are better than my ways. Hearing a stranger deliver the gospel at that funeral would have been great. But how much better for those in attendance to hear it delivered by Bonnie – a person they knew, trusted, and loved.

I hope and pray that I too can finish the race as well as Aunt Bonnie. I hope and pray that my life and my death can declare the gospel as clearly and as faithfully as she did this last weekend. And praise God for the answer to prayers.

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Pray for boldness – Ephesians 6:19-20

We just finished our Vacation Bible School for which the memory verses were the well-known lines from Ephesians chapter 6 on taking up the armor of God. As is pretty typical, we stopped at verse 18. I happened to look at those verses today and read past to verses 19 and 20:

and [praying] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:19-20).

It is amazing to hear Paul ask for prayers that he would boldly proclaim the gospel while he is in chains for proclaiming the gospel. It was Paul’s bold proclamation that got him in chains in the first place. While we may not face imprisonment like Paul, all Christians should pray that we would have the boldness to proclaim the gospel. If Paul needed prayers for that boldness, certainly we need them too.

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