Articles on Nations:
Alcohol Prayer Initiative 2009, New York
CAN EUROPE BE SAVED?
CHURCH SUPPORTING POLITICS
CONGO-KINSHASA, A REMARKABLE CONFERENCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AMSTERDAM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AUSTRALIA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BELGIUM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BRAZIL
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF FRANCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF HUNGARY
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF KOREA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF SOUTH AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY of SWEDEN
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF THE USA
COVERING AN AREA WITH PRAYER
Dialogue with Jacques Ellul
DURBAN II ≈ EVIAN III; NEW ANTISEMITISM
EUROPA – AFRIKA; Indrukwekkende Conferentie
EUROPA – AFRIKA; verzoeningsconferentie dvd
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo I: Hist. Overview
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo II: Report
EUROPE - AFRICA; Neo-Imperialism
Gebed voor de koning
GEBEDSBEDEKKING VAN EEN GEBIED
GOD'S COVENANT WITH ALL NATIONS
HOW TO DEFEND WHICH BORDERS OF ISRAEL?
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 1
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 2
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 3
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 4
Landbelofte of staatbelofte?
LOVING THE CITY GOD'S WAY
MIRACLES AT CITY SCALE
NATIVE AMERICANS, THREE DRAMA'S
NESTOR AFRICAN PRESIDENTS FORGIVES EUROPE
SLAVERY AND HEALING
SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
THE CITY AS BEAUTIFUL AS SHE COULD BE
THE CITY, AND WHY CITY PRAYER?
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE PACIFIC
TWO CITIES DEDICATED TO KING JESUS
ÜBERSETZUNG THE NATIONS CALLED
VERZOENING MET NATIVE AMERICANS
WHY IS AFRICA SO POOR?
ZES LANDEN RIJNPROJECT
ZONDER VERZOENING GEEN TOEKOMST
Articles on Society:
A REVEALING UN-MEETING
A strategic assault on this generation of children
BOEK BOS ANTIDEMOCRATISCH?
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD TARGETED
COPENHAGEN – Five questions
COPENHAGEN - No bread from stones
Copenhagen, where do we go from here?
DE ANDERE AGENDA VAN DE DALAI LAMA
DE OLYMPISCHE SPELEN
EU: HUMANISME VERSUS “GOD”
EUROPA, WAAROM DIE NAAM?
EUROPE, WHAT'S IN THE NAME?
EVROPA - CO SKRÝVÁ TO JMÉNO?
EYPΩΠH, TI KPYBETAI ΣTO ONOMA
HER-MYTHOLOGISERING INTERNATIONALE POLITIEK?
Informed intercession for the UN
Jezus dienaar van Moeder Aarde?
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 1
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 2
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 3 (EU-Referendum)
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 4
Massa op Malieveld; nee toch?
MICRO FINANCING AND GRACE
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN I
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN II
Obama 1: Obama en het leven
Obama 2: Door Obama een les voor de kerk
PRAYING FOR THE G8
PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 0 OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS?
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 1: CHURCH-STATE/GOD-STATE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 2: GOD-STATE LINK IN OUR TIME
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 3: EU AND UN “COVENANTS”
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 4:GOD-STATE IN NEAR FUTURE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 5: WHAT ABOUT GOD’S MASTER PLAN
THINKING AND BELIEVING IN THE CHURCH
THINKING, BELIEVING AND SCIENCE
UN-DUURZAAMHEIDS TOP IN JOHANNESBURG
WHAT HAPPENS AT UN CONFERENCES?
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
A NATION AS A TREE?
Belijden van de zonden van je land?
BIDDEN VOOR HOOGGEPLAATSTEN
BLOED SCHREEUWT VAN DE AARDE
GODEN DER VOLKEN
'GODS OF THE NATIONS'
HERSTEL VAN HET ALTAAR
HET KRUIS VAN JEZUS
JEZUS KOMT - drie voordrachten
NBV, COMMENTAAR OP ÉÉN ASPECT
OOK TOPCONFERENTIES IN DE BIJBEL GAAN OVER VOLKEN
THE CROSS OF JESUS
THE GLORY OF HIERARCHY
TITHING AND ETERNITY
CHURCH SUPPORTING POLITICS
by: Pieter Bos
HOW THE CHURCH CAN SUPPORT POLITICS
Teaching notes for the “Politician’s afternoon”, Tuesday, November 29th 2005,
of the CHANGING THE COURSE OF THE NATION – CONFERENCE
by Pieter Bos, Serving the Nations, The Netherlands.
The complete text of this article can be downloaded as a Word-document (right click on the link and then "save as").
1 Concerning the author.
Pieter was a city planning consultant and has also taught philosophy of planning. His wife Helene was a selection psychologist. They are both 65 years of age, and since the late eighties international Bible teachers and (Pieter) European prayer leader, focussing on spiritual dynamics of international political scale. They lead “Serving the Nations”, and have ministered in over 50 nations, among which eleven African nations.
The mission statement of Serving the Nations: “Serving the Nations by equipping their Church to help their nation/city prepare for the return of Christ.”
Pieter wrote “THE NATIONS CALLED, A Theology Of The Nations And Their Redemption” (Sovereign World, UK 2002), translated in German and soon in French and Dutch also. In 2004 he wrote an article “Why is Africa so Poor? Africa’s poverty and her hope”, referred to below.
Helene visited a number of international UN- and G7-conferences, and is connected with a group of about a hundred professionals from all over the world, from whom she learns and who recognize her for her spiritual discernment. She wrote many reports on related topics, among which two are quoted below:
- “The Emergence of a Global Infrastructure” (2002, Emergence), see related article "What happens at UN-conferences"
- Global Dynamics Related to the UN” (2003, Gl. Dyn.), see related article "World Summit on Sustainable Development"
2 Context of this message.
In previous sessions of the conference the following topics, as far as relevant, were covered:
- God had a covenant with all nations, called Favour, Tender Love, on which basis he sent prophecies and messages to kings and governments of all surrounding nations. That covenant was broken through the behaviour of the nations (tribes, peoples, states) and at last declared broken by God himself (Zech 11:10). But at the same time God lays the foundation for a new covenant with all the nations.
- That is why the so-called Great Commission says, paraphrased: “Now, since the cross, I have been given all authority both in heaven and in the world; therefore, you, Church, go to all nations, tribes and states, and make them disciple-nations to Me” (after Matt 28:19).
- That means that Jesus is not only the “Shepherd of our souls” but also “Shepherd of the nations”, or King of all kings and presidents, as a near-future political reality!
- And indeed in the last 15 years a number of nations have covenanted to God: the Kingdom of Tonga (1985) and the Republic of Vanuatu (2002, and renewed in 2004), both in the Pacific Ocean; the Republic of Fiji, also in that region, is about to do it. Further the Republics of Zambia (1991, and renewed in 2005) and Benin (1997) in Africa. These covenants were all established at presidential level, publicly and officially, in harmony with the parliaments.
- A covenant in the Bible is exactly the same as in our time an (international) treaty. In God's original design of covenant He promises protection and provision, forever (!), on the condition, that the earthly covenant partner will follow God unconditionally; such a covenant includes blessings and curses, just like modern treaties conclude with mutual promises and unbinding and penalty clauses.
These “Teaching notes” contain information that may shock the reader. It is not meant as a threat or to establish a conspiracy theory. I share it with you because of the presence of several politicians, and also in the framework of the conference: CHANGING THE COURSE OF THE NATION: THE DESTINY OF MALAWI IS AT STAKE.
The information and the conclusions are based on thorough international team research and careful Bible study. Everything is open for comment.
3 The UN (and the EU) is like a covenant with all nations!
First of all: In UN-language the following new interpretations are introduced, mostly hidden or indirectly referred to:
- democracy: “real democracy” is when the parliamentary representative bodies are “brought in harmony” with the non-representative NGO’s, who are undemocratically established interest groups and often pressure groups,
- sustainability is no longer a word for continuous material availability of resources, but a holistic concept, that in fact refers to the survival of Mother Earth. The world religions have been screened on sustainability, and Christianity and Islam were found “un-sustainable” because they produce too many children, which Mother Earth in the end cannot support.
- security has also become a holistic concept, not only referring to anti-terrorist measures, but to all aspects that have to do with sustainability.
- reproductive health has nothing to do with the medical care for young mothers, but everything with the access to abortion-on-demand (and without parental consent) for even young girls,
- education does not in the first place refer to vocational training, but to sex-education, exposing (young) children to explicit sex variants, suggesting that sex is non-consequential fun, not to be restricted by parents or educators, including the choice between behaving heterosexuality or homosexuality.
(See: Emergence par. 4.3.1, 5.4, 6.1, 7.3, 9.2; and Gl. Dyn. par. 3, 4, 5 and 12)
Then, with the above “new interpretations” in mind, the UN-legislation includes the following regulations/approaches:
- More and more issues are called and treated “internationally", >suggesting> all member states need Me.
- International law supersedes, after ratification, national law, >suggesting> all member states must follow Me. In The Netherlands already 85% of our legislation is international, from the EU and the UN!
- No other gods and/or values are allowed; all legislation must be in line with the securing of sustainability. IMF and World Bank Loans are issued on these conditions, >suggesting> all member states may follow Me alone.
- A new set of values is imposed, according to the [New Age based] one-world religion around Mother Earth, or Gaia, and under a one-world government, >suggesting> I know what is good for all member states
- The Promise of the UN, the UN-slogan since 1946, is: ”To make a better world for all.”
(See: Emergence ch. 8; and Gl. Dyn. par. 1, 2, 5 and 6)
- The four main agenda’s of the UN, before roughly the year 2000 more or less hidden, but now no more, are 1- Population control; 2 - Environmentalism; 3 – Feminism; 4 – One world government. (See: Emergence ch. 5, 6, 7 and 8)
These examples, out of many, show the “covenant character” of UN-membership. The UN is also very strongly, if not aggressively, tightening the bonds with the member states.
That means, that each nation in the end must choose between covenanting to the UN or covenanting to God, because these two covenant partners oppose each other strongly.
Of course the main question that arises is: which of the two covenant partners is able and willing to fulfil the promise made: the earthly, power-playing UN or the eternal Creator God?
4 African observer: UN-policy to de-stabilize young democracies.
An African medical doctor was invited and paid to participate in UN-conferences on the continent. After some meetings he came to the above conclusion. What he saw was this.
- “Empowerment of women” is brought into any debate on whatever topic, also women’s NGO’s are encouraged to do so, as if that subject was not only relevant but even decisive. This in fact paralyzes many discussions and decisions. [Of course, much must change to improve the position of women in Africa, but not because the family structure is obsolete, or because rebellion against men is the only way to reach the goal.]
- “Abortion” and the lie of over-population. Abortion is presented as a necessity, regardless of value systems of nations. The verbal and institutional pressure, and the suggestion that is a “woman’s right” to demand it, and that it is “children’s right” to demand it without parental consent, even at the age of 12, undermine the development of the African nations. [The UN’s own statistical department has warned for years that the “threat of over-population” is not realistic, rather the threat of under-population! Also: the developed nations need the resources of the African nations in order to maintain the standard of living in the developed world; it is in their interest to slow down both the development and the population growth of African nations. (See also Emergence, par. 5.1 and 5.2)]
- The undermining of the Family. The negative image of the family, asserted through the “women’s rights” and the “children’s rights”, thoroughly go completely against the traditional values of both Christian and Islamic nations in Africa, and therefore destabilize these nations. [Because of the numerous reservations these “rights” were never internationally confirmed, but that does not stop the feminist NGO’s from claiming these rights. Also: “rights” is a French-Revolution concept, the opposite of a “gift” from the Creator in accordance with His character.]
- Pushing free sex. The sex-education has turned to exposing (young) children to explicit sex variants, suggesting that sex is non-consequential fun, not to be restricted by parents or educators, including the choice of behaving heterosexual or homosexual. This leads to sex-addiction and destabilizes the African nations. [A UN-ideal is the “gendered city”: a society where every person can daily decide which of the “five genders” he wants to actualize that day: male heterosexual, female heterosexual, male homosexual, female homosexual, bi-sexual]
- NGO’s have an anti-democratic influence. The NGO’s are pressure groups with no democratic basis. Therefore they cannot and should not be given a position equal to the democratically elected parliaments. The “monitoring bodies” are even worse for democracies; they position themselves as watchdogs to see whether governments implement the UN-treaties or not (Question remains whether they were truly ratified). [The term civil society has been coined to necessarily include parliament and the grassroots (the NGO’s), but in fact a strong civil society silences the parliament.]
These were the observations of an African medical doctor, who at the start of being invited, gladly responded because he assumed that the UN is good organization. In surprise and disgust he came to the conclusion that the UN is in fact geared towards de-stabilization of African nations.
In this context, we come to the topic of this afternoon: CHURCH SUPPORTING POLITICS. The context is not neutral, but highly charged.
Also: Politics is never neutral. Politics is the art or wisdom, just as fatherhood and architecture, to bring into one strategy many different and contradicting interests; politics (and fatherhood and architecture) are therefore never neutral, but spiritual. The UN / New Age, the Islam and the Buddhism work on that basis, guided by their (own, evil) spirits, the Church must learn to be involved in politics also, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
5 General roles of the Church toward politics.
First of all we must face the difficulty and the suspicion of the world and even of the church: too long the issue of the “church-state relationship” has taken much attention. The extreme positions on the issue varied: from the pope/bishops having an army and much political power, to the church totally withdrawing from the world and politics.
However, the infamous “church-state relationship” has in fact completely clouded the real issue: not the “church-state relationship” is the issue, but the ”God-state relationship”.
As stated in par 2, God from the beginning was wholeheartedly involved in nations and in politics, sending prophets all over the known world (Hundreds of scriptures do validate this; already several, including the Great Commission, were mentioned. One more: Jer 28:8). God showed, to the prophet Daniel, that once He would “cut out a rock, not by human hands, which would strike all the kingdoms of the earth, ruling the whole earth” (Dan 2:31-44). This refers to his final millennial rule and one-world government out of Jerusalem. Jesus will return, as King of all kings and presidents, not as a spiritual reality, but as a political reality! God is after a direct God-state relationship, on the basis of the newly established covenants with each nation!
The UN, the Islam and Buddhism copy this, each going for a one-world government (!) with great effort and without shame.
So the Church must decide to make a paradigm shift: from political withdrawal or power play (through armies, lobbies, “Christian” political parties) to an attitude towards (the city and) the state of being a Spiritual Body, that mediates between God and the State with spiritual means.
This is the only way to respond to the aggression of the UN, the Islam and Buddhism. But these parties are way ahead in theory and practice!
A prophetic vision for the state.
The prophet Elijah plays a major role in OT and NT. Jesus says of John the Baptist, that he was a prophet “in the power and strength of Elijah”, and that he would “restore all things”! (Matt 17:10-13)
Does the Church have that vision, that radical vision and the dedication and holiness to attain that?
Where is the authority (and holiness and total commitment) of the prophet Elijah in the Church? “Restoring all things” will not be completed in our day, but it will start. “Pilot projects of the kingdom” will be established, through a holy and united and visionary Church. In such a way the Church is a spiritual Body, that mediates between God and the State with the spiritual means of envisioning.
A prophetic voice and intercessory force into the state.
Does the Church realize that “ruling with Christ” is realistic? Does the Church realize that in the future the
“two witnesses”, two “prophets to the nations”, will “torment all nations" (Rev 11:10), just as Elijah tormented king Ahab and John the Baptist tormented King Herod?
The Church should learn this Elijah-role. In Argentina and Surinam, in Fiji and Vanuatu and Tonga this happens.
And since the mid-eighties intercession for the nations has been re-discovered. All intercession examples in the Bible concern cities and nations, and it is a sign of the time that God is restoring that ministry. Much needs to be learned; at a later day in this conference I will deal with this topic in depth.
In such a way the Church can be a spiritual Body, that mediates between God and the State with the spiritual means of prophecy and intercession.
These general roles of the Church are purely the responsibility of the Church. She can however only really learn in these three areas, if she cooperates with Christian politicians.
There are two more ways, the practical ones, where Christian involvement is crucial: mercy ministries and taskforces.
6 Mercy Ministries.
Jesus pronounced his 'woe' to the cities of Bethsaida and Chorazim, because the miracles that were shown there had not changed these cities (Matt 11:20-24). Jesus commands, and it is possible since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to heal the sick, deliver the possessed and raise the dead… that your city and your nations may be saved and redeemed. The church does not exist for her own sake but for the sake of the world!
Under the title Mercy Ministries I suggest here a kind of activities, that the Church or church members might undertake, with this goal: practical identification with the suffering and releasing the power of the Holy Spirit (the financial aspect is there but not decisive).
- drug- and alcohol rehab programs; aids/hiv victim hospices; deliverance ministry;
- inner healing counselling, including post-abortion counselling;
- marriage counselling and (inter tribal) mediation ministry in general;
- budget and debt redemption consultancy;
- child education and leadership training;
- pro-life support and teen-age pregnancy support;
- healing rooms, prayer stations;
- child care and teacher support;
- jobless training;
- justice for minorities and legal assistance;
- care for the environment;
- prison ministry.
How much has the Church to learn first (because the flow of the Holy Spirit is not so strong, really), and then to offer to a needy world, where many other spirits compete for attention with “easy” solutions!
Read Jer 47-51, read Amos 1 and 2, read Matt 25:30-45, and realize that God is concerned with those in society who suffer. Is the Church known to be involved and available in society?
The politics should underline and politically support the importance of such Christian initiatives, whether they are initiated by the Church or by Christians.
7 Christian Taskforces for politics.
Besides each parliamentary committee there should be a “Christian Taskforce”, that functions as an divinely inspired think tank for the committees.
In 2004 in Kenya the new draft-constitution was presented, and the Christians were surprised and not pleased to find out that Islamic study groups had been in place for a long time, and had been able to inspire the Constitution drafting committee with many of their ideas.
Many international NGO’s function as think tanks for UN-legislation, such as Greenpeace, International Planned Parenthood Federation IPPF and Mary Stopes (two of the world’s largest abortion providers), Commission on Eradication of Discrimination Of Women CEDOW. These NGO’s, because their intentions are in agreement with the UN-agenda’s, are also highly favoured in UN-circles, though they are mere interest groups, representing only a very small and very one-sided-opinionated portion of the world population.
At a certain moment the Australian government has denied access of the UN-initiated “monitoring bodies”, also a kind of taskforce, to the parliament, because their influence was deemed negative on the parliament.
These are actual examples of “taskforces” that actively and even internationally influence political dynamics. These taskforces are made up of highly motivated individuals, often professionals, with an antenna for politics and for society in general, who want to invest their (professional) best for their nation or for their world. Many have, Christian or not, the attitude of an intercessor: alert to spiritual aspects of societal developments.
During the seventies, young in our professions, my wife Helene and I went through a transition that, looking back, we can describe as “re-doing our academic training”. We did not do away with our academic training, but we sanctified it, completed it with Kingdom principles, and did away with secular thinking models. Helene was teaching on marriage and sexuality, quite revolutionary in that time, and I was developing a philosophy of planning, which I taught at many universities and professional conferences. This was God’s way to prepare us for the concept of Christian taskforces to politics.
Now I will make some suggestions for possible taskforces to function around the parliament of Malawi.
In each case the core task of the taskforce is: researching concerning an aspect of society, discerning through intercession, advising politicians, publishing its findings, stirring public debate and so influencing society with solid, Christian thinking, and serving the national politics in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Taskforce Family. Legislation that effects family values, recognition of the parental position (I avoid the term “parental rights”, because the “rights”-movement is not focussed on God to receive, but focussed on man to claim), the syllabi at the schools and care for the children that have learning disabilities. Sex education (should be in the family) with biblical values.
- Taskforce Education. Human value is not achievement through personal development; not only knowledge but also character; especially concerning discrimination; images of God and of evil, of leadership and servanthood.
- Taskforce Business. Not making money but personal development is the goal; not surviving but sharing opportunity; not power but exchange; not economy of scarcity but economy of dependence: tithing and Sabbath, under the God of abundance.
- Taskforce Health care. The invaluable value of the individual, even from before birth. Man is “more than the sparrows”. Abortion, euthanasia and selective health care oppose care. “Reproductive health” opposes health.
- Taskforce Internal Affairs. Not party/tribal interests but national interests. Not power but serving. Understanding hierarchy. Unholy alliances and traditions at national and tribal level. The need for reconciliation at tribal level. The conditions for covenanting the nation to God.
- Taskforce International Affairs: Discerning the spiritual dynamics of the UN, the World bank, the IMF, the international NGO’s that operate or try to operate in Malawi. Screening the loans, treaties and bilateral cooperation. The need for reconciliation at international level (e.g. the UK as former colonial power).
- Taskforce Repentance. The major sins of Malawi must be repented of. This is the only taskforce where the Church leaders, at national level and united, are in charge. In my article “Why is Africa so poor?” I have suggested four areas where, after research and discernment, repentance should be offered in a national “solemn assembly” (according to Joel 1:13-20): idolatry, ancestor worship, individualism and the bondage of the mind.
Africans should not try to become western, not even “redeemed western”. They should be fully “redeemed Africans”, with the zeal and commitment for their nation and their continent as was formerly given to their tribal life.
The Church should teach and model societal involvement as central part and goal of the Church’s existence! So much so that her individuals, professionals and intercessors are motivated to invest their (professional) best for their nation.
Establishing Kingdom values is the invaluable “bottom up” dynamic of discipling a whole nation. The nation through her government covenanting to God is the “top down” dynamic. These two Christian-faith-motivated and initiated dynamics are complementary and both are decisive.
Two more things are crucial.
> Overcoming the temptations of the marketplace (the business and professional world in general). Ps 107 presents the four major temptations of life (withdrawal, disobedience/rebellion, living in sin, adventurism). Yet the last one can be redeemed, if the participants, in the middle of the mess they have made, cry out to God; “He guided them to their desired haven” (Ps 107:23-30)!
Bribing, corruption in general, is mixing personal interests with community interests. This is the opposite of esteeming the interests of the other higher than those of your self, as Paul says. Bribing and corruption foster individualism; they are addictive and contagious.
Covenanting against corruption, bringing the little secrets into the light before men and God, is the only way out. And it has worked, because God is the strong covenant partner.
> Overcoming the temptations of power. Especially in Africa abuse of power has led to ruthless suppression and mass bloodshed. Over time many tyrants can be mentioned till in our day.
However, Jesus makes it very clear (Mark 10:42-44): serving is the alternative! The New Agers and, even more so, Muslims will not understand this. It is scary for Christians to practice it. But whom do we trust? Our cleverness or the Eternal God?
With God in top of every hierarchical structure, the flowing down of life and love is secured (based on the account of the centurion, Matt 8 and Luke 7). With God out of sight, the flowing down of life and love is blocked, and the subjects suffer… have terribly suffered in Africa, women under husbands, peoples under tyrants. Serving God AND your neighbour, even your political opponent, is taking the risk of trusting God to do his share. He wants to!
Using your first term (or half if it) for yourself degrades politics to selfishness, buying votes for money to raw power play. It denies politics her nation-serving and spiritual character; but because politics is spiritual anyway, spirits of all kinds are ready to take over. In excluding God, other spirits are invited, and rule the politician! On the contrary: not wealth must be acquired, nor votes be bought, but trust must be won and only then Malawi will be changed!
Politicians, are you part of the problem or part of God’s solution?
Politicians, show your vision, your character, your servanthood, trust God to go before you, do not only ask for prayer, but first of all: pray yourself. God has a plan for Malawi that is beyond you, but He wants to use you (only) for his destiny for Malawi. b>