The NIV Embraces and Supports Sodomy and Homosexuality

The following was reproduced with permission from the original author


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December 4, 1997 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368, fbns@wayoflife.org) -- The following report by the FBIS editor, David Cloud, contains lengthy sections by Michael Penfold and also incorporates part of a report done by Carl Graham.

On January 25, 1997, the Fundamental Baptist Information Service published an article on Virginia Mollenkott, a literary consultant for the New International Version. Many had asked us for information on this woman because of her connection, however significant, with this popular modern version.  

Thus we gave a general overview of her life and writings as follows:

Mollenkott is a pro-abortion feminist who claims to be a ‘left-leaning’ Evangelical. In reality she denies the very God of the Bible and worships an idolatrous female god of her own imagination. She grew up in a Plymouth Brethren fellowship and moved in Fundamentalist circles during her early years. She studied at Bob Jones University and taught at Shelton College in the 1950s. She has moved miles from that position, though. Today she is an Episcopalian, serves as professor of English at William Patterson College in New Jersey, and moves in the most radical ecumenical feminist circles. In the 1970s, Virginia Mollenkott was a consultant for the New International Version translating committee. She worked on the NIV during the entire time it was being translated and reviewed.

In 1978 she co-authored (with Letha Scanzoni) the book entitled Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, in which she called for nondiscrimination toward homosexuality. The book argues that the Sodom account in Genesis does not teach the evil of homosexuality, but the evils of violent gang rape and inhospitality to strangers. The book also claims that ‘the idea of a life long homosexual orientation or 'condition' is never mentioned in the Bible’ (p. 71), and that Romans 1 does not ‘fit the case of a sincere homosexual Christian’ (p. 62). This is the exact position taken by one of the actual translators of the NIV, Dr. Marten H. Woudstra, in a report he assisted in producing for the Christian Reformed Church in 1973. More on this later.

In 1979 Mollenkott participated in the 9th General Conference of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (a denomination composed largely of homosexuals). In a report which was published by the Christian Century, Sept. 26, 1979, Mollenkott stated, ‘This was the most grateful celebration of Christ I had ever attended...’

In the early 1980s Mollenkott was a member of the National Council of Churches' committee that produced an inclusive-language lectionary which addressed God in feminine terms. At a news conference at the NCC's governing board meeting on November 10, 1983, Mollenkott claimed there is some evidence that Jesus Christ was really a woman. She cited the research of biologist Edward Kessel, who argued that Jesus was "born in parthenogenesis; that parthenogenetic births are always female; that in some cases, therefore, he would be willing to refer to Jesus as 'she' -- up until the last minute of sex reversal, in which case Jesus remains chromosomally female throughout life, but functions as a normal male and looks like a normal male" (Christian Challenge, August 1984).

In October 1985, Mollenkott’s signature appeared on a statement supporting homosexuality which was published in the Sojourners magazine. The statement was also signed by James B. Nelson of the American Lutheran denomination, author of a book which promotes homosexual marriages and homosexual pastors.
In her plenary address before the July 1986, convention of the Evangelical Women's Caucus International (EWCI), in Fresno, California, Mollenkott warned against "heterosexism," the idea that everyone must be heterosexual.
In 1987 Mollenkott wrote an article claiming that refusal to ordain homosexual "clergywomen" is unscriptural discrimination. She wrote: "To ask lesbians and gay men to pretend they are like the majority is to deny them the self-identification and affirmation that is the natural legacy of every healthy adult. Forcing gay Christians into silence also denies them the opportunity to celebrate in gratitude to God for their authentic nature and for their life-enriching mutual relationship with a loving partner" (Christianity and Crisis, Nov. 9, 1987).

In 1988 Mollenkott published the book Women, Men, and the Bible (New York: Crossroad Publishing).

In the June 1991, issue of the Episcopal*  monthly entitled The Witness, she testified, "My lesbianism has always been a part of me. ... I tried to be heterosexual. I married myself off. But what I did ultimately realize was that God created me as I was, and that this is where life was meaningful."

In 1993 Mollenkott published a book entitled Sensuous Spirituality: Out from Fundamentalism (New York: Crossroad), in which she reflected on her rejection of fundamentalism, her lesbian "coming out," and her belief in a female God. Mollenkott concludes that "in a very physical sense we are all gay, we are all lesbian, we are all heterosexual, we are all bisexual--because we are all one" (p. 153). Her view of the kingdom of God on earth is a society in which "lesbian women, bisexual people, and gay men are going to be accepted as first-class citizens in the church and in society as a whole" (p. 153). She defines sin as "the absence of trust" (instead of disobedience to God’s law) and defines salvation as "being brought back into a trusting relationship by remembering Who We Are: God’s children, never actually separated from God’s love even though we had imagined we were" (p. 157). Her view of the new birth is as follows: "In the instant of remembering our true identity, we are at-once, restored to a trusting relationship with God, with our Selves, with other people, and with the universe" (p. 157).

Mollenkott claims that providing mutual sexual pleasure, whether it be homosexual or bisexual or whatever, is one of the most important things in life. "Learning to love ourselves and others (including mutual pleasuring) is the greatest contribution we can make to the creation of a just society. And I am confident that the day will come when most Christian churches will teach a creation-positive method of glorifying God and enjoying Her forever" (p. 158). Mollenkott turns sin and righteousness upside down by claiming that it is the "pleasure haters" (those who believe God made the sexual relationship for heterosexual marriage only) who are the "unjust" (p. 158). She claims that her lesbianism "is simply a good gift, as all sexuality is a good gift" (p. 162). She admits that when she first started voicing her lesbianism publicly she "felt slightly soiled, as if I needed a good shower," but later she recognized "that the soiled feeling was residual heterosexism" (p. 162). Mollenkott worships a woman-made idol she identifies as "our tender Father and our demanding Mother and then again our loving Friend, faithful Companion, and cosmic Lover" (p. 166).

At the November 1993 Re-imagining conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was sponsored by the World Council of Churches, Mollenkott said: "[Jesus] is our elder brother, the trailblazer and constant companion for us--ultimately is among many brothers and sisters in an eternal, equally worthy sibling-hood. First born only in the sense that he was the first to show us that it is possible to live in oneness with the divine source while we are here on this planet. ... As an incest survivor, I can no longer worship in a theological context that depicts God as an abusive parent [referring to Christ's death on the cross] and Jesus as the obedient, trusting child." At the same conference, Mollenkott said she longed to see the creation of an interfaith "worship community" in which each member respected completely the religion of the others and Christians ceased to make missionary efforts to target members of other religions. She labeled soul-winning evangelism as "imperialistic attempts to make others such as I."

In 1994 Mollenkott published The Divine Feminine: The Biblical Imagery of God as Female (New York: Crossroad). This book is filled with such heretical statements as, "The pursuit of holy peace within and the pursuit of peace on earth are perhaps the best of all reasons for lifting up the biblical image of God as the One Mother of us all" (p. 19) and "…because God is womanlike--women are Godlike" (p. 78). Mollenkott suggests that "the Lord’s prayer might be addressed to ‘Our Father/Mother who is in Heaven’" (p. 116). (David W. Cloud, "Virginia Mollenkott," Fundamental Baptist Information Service, Jan. 25, 1997).

When we published the previous information, we hesitated to suggest that the New International Version is weak on homosexuality due to the influence of homosexuals. Having come into possession of more evidence, though, we no longer hesitate. The parallels between the translation of NIV passages dealing with homosexuality and the views of modern homosexual "Christians" are too striking to be incidental.


Mollenkott aside, we have learned that there was another homosexual involved with the production of the New International Version. This one was directly involved with the translation. His name was Dr. Marten Woudstra, and he was Chairman of the NIV Old Testament Committee.

Consider the following report by Michael Penfold, Box 26, Bicester, Oxon, OX6 8PB, England, UK

"James White's book The King James Only Controversy (Bethany House Publishers, 1995) includes a question and answer section. One of the questions reads, 'I've been told that there were homosexuals on the NIV translation committee. Is this true?' On pages 245-246 of his book James White gives the following answer. 'No, it is not [true]. But due to the consistent bearing of false witness by many KJV Only advocates, Dr. Kenneth Barker, Executive Director of the NIV Translation Centre, had to write a response to the accusation, which I quote below:

[Dr. Barker writes]: 'It has come to my attention that false rumors are circulating, in both oral and written form, that the NIV is soft on sodomy (that is, homosexual sins). The alleged reason for this is that some NIV translators and editors were homosexuals and lesbians. These charges have no basis in fact. Thus they are simply untrue. And those who make such false charges could be legitimately sued for libel, slander and defamation of character. Here are the facts. It is true that in the earliest stages of translation work on the NIV (in the late 1960s and early 1970s), Virginia Mollenkott was consulted briefly and only in a minor way on matters of English style. At that time she had the reputation of being a committed evangelical Christian with expertise in contemporary English idiom and usage. Nothing was known of her lesbian views. Those did not begin to surface until years later in some of her writings. If we had known in the sixties what became public knowledge only years later, we would not have consulted her at all. But it must be stressed that she did not influence the NIV translators and editors in any of their final decisions.'

 "This is a very cleverly worded statement and one which we can allow Virginia Mollenkott to answer herself. In a letter to me [Michael J. Penfold] dated Dec. 18th 1996, in reply to my investigation into her true role on the NIV, Mollenkott wrote the following revealing letter:

"[Virginia Mollenkott writes] ‘I worked on the NIV during the entire time it was being translated and reviewed, although I was never free to attend the summer sessions even when I was invited to do so. Elisabeth Elliot and I were the Stylistic Consultants: our job was simply to make sure the translation would communicate clearly to modern American readers, and that the style was as smooth and understandable as possible. I was never removed, sacked, or made redundant from my work on the NIV; if I were, my name would not have appeared on the list sent out by the IBS. It was Dr. Edwin Palmer, who lived near my college, who invited me to work on the NIV. He had heard me speak and respected my integrity and my knowledge. So far as I know, nobody including Dr. Palmer suspected that I was lesbian while I was working on the NIV; it was information I kept private at that time. Dr. Palmer always sent me the batches of translating to review, and I always returned them (with my comments) to him. I have not kept track of which of my suggestions made it into the final version; I am a busy person, and it was a labor of love in the scriptures. I do not think anything concerning homosexuality was in any of the batches I reviewed. I do not consider the NIV more gay-friendly than most modern translations, so I do not understand why anybody would want to bash the NIV because a closeted lesbian worked on it. I was not a translator; if I were I would have argued that the word/concept "homosexual" is too anachronistic to be utilized in translating an ancient text. But I was a stylist and nobody asked me. I no longer have any contact with the NIV-CBT, but I am often amused to remember that I frequently refused my $5 an hour stipend because I heard the project was running out of money. At the time I was naive about how many millions of dollars are made by a successful Bible translation! Please tell Kenneth Barker for me that although there is much controversy about homosexuality among Biblical scholars, to my knowledge nobody denies that the Bible condemns lying about other people. He should be ashamed of his attempt to rewrite history.

"’Somewhere in my files is the letter I got thanking me for my work on the NIV when the project was completed. I also have the slipcase version sent out to the whole NIV team in 1978 by Zondervan; and I have the tenth-anniversary edition sent out to the whole team in 1988 by the International Bible Society. Various other editions were also sent out gratis to the translation committee and stylists, but I have received nothing since 1988 that I can remember. Because I am idealistic and sincere, it never occurred to me that anyone would lie about my contributions, so I was not meticulous about keeping records. Thank you for anything you can do to set the record straight. You may utilize this letter to do so, and I'd appreciate you sending me a copy of anything you generate. Sincerely, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott.’

"Why could not Dr. Barker have told the truth in the first place? Taking Mollenkott's words at their face value, the NIV publicity machine has nothing to worry about. Does their anxiety to distance the NIV from homosexual associations reveal something more sinister?

"In the light of the following, I believe it does, as it has now come to light that THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NIV'S OLD TESTAMENT TRANSLATION COMMITTEE, DR. MARTEN H. WOUDSTRA, WAS A HOMOSEXUAL. This is much more serious than Mollenkott's involvement. Here we have one of the leading scholars on the NIV CBT who is a homosexual. Obviously this fact compromises the whole project, especially as this fact was well known by his colleagues for many years. However, only now is this fact coming to the notice of the general public through articles like the one you are reading.

"Dr. Woudstra, who died in the early 1990s, was a long-time friend of Evangelicals Concerned Inc. This organization was founded in 1976 by New York psychologist, Dr. Ralph Blair, as a nation-wide task force and fellowship for gay and lesbian 'evangelical Christians' and their friends. ECI's address is 311 East 72nd Street, New York, NY 10021. They can be found on the internet at http://www.korpi.com/ECWE/

"It was during a series of research phone calls to Dr. Blair that I first confirmed the fact of Dr. Woudstra's homosexuality. Blair and Dr. Woudstra were friends. Dr. Woudstra had been on the mailing list of Evangelicals Concerned from its inception, and although he had no formal ties with ECI, on one of his many trips to New York he called in and had tea with Dr. Blair. Dr Blair told me that Dr. Woudstra shared the viewpoint of ECI that lifelong 'loving monogamous relationships' between gay men or women were acceptable to God. He believed that there was nothing in the Old Testament (his special area of technical expertise) that corresponded to 'homosexual orientation'. The 'sodomy' of the OT simply involved temple rites and gang rape (Gen 19). Notice the similarity between this view and that of Virginia Mollenkott. Dr. Blair clearly stated to me on the phone on 23rd September 1997 that Dr. Woudstra, a lifelong bachelor, was a homosexual. He intimated that other members of the NIV translation committee were also quietly supportive of ECI, but he was not able to tell me who they were (for obvious reasons). He later called them 'bigger' names than Dr. Woudstra.

"As to Dr. Marten Woudstra theologically, he was once the OT Professor at Calvin Seminary, the college of the Christian Reformed Church (Dutch Calvinistic). Over 70% of this denomination's churches now use the NIV. Dr. Woudstra was considered very 'conservative' within Calvin Seminary. He wrote the Joshua Commentary in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans) which was also contributed to by such illustrious 'evangelical' names as F.F. Bruce.

"In 1973 the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) published their official position relative to homosexuality. There is currently discussion, debate and disagreement over the issue of homosexuality within the CRC as in the wider Reformed denominations. For instance, the CRC's sister denomination, the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, took the position in 1979 of actually approving homosexual behavior within certain bounds. This is a more liberal position than the CRC has ever yet taken. Is it not incredible to think how far the CRC has traveled over the years when one considers some of the former teachers, professors and presidents Calvin Seminary has had, such as Harry Bultema, Herman Hoeksema, H.J. Kuiper, Louis Berkof and William Hendrikson, to name a few.

"In 1970, the CRC Synod appointed a six man committee to study homosexuality. Its report was adopted by the same Synod in 1973. One of the six, Clarence Boomsma, was four times moderator of the CRC and pastor of two CRC churches. In fact Boomsma held the record for the longest pastorate in the CRC; 35 years in the CRC church in Grand Rapids, near the Calvin Seminary.

"I called Clarence Boomsma on the phone in October 1997, and had a long talk about Dr. Woudstra since he had know him for many years and had been his friend. HE TOLD ME THAT DR. WOUDSTRA ASSISTED THEM IN WRITING THE REPORT ON HOMOSEXUALITY. I have a copy of the complete report in my office. It takes a compromised 'middle line' between the Biblical anti-homosexuality absolute, and the Reformed Church of the Netherlands liberal acceptance of homosexual behavior within certain bounds.

Let me quote a few lines from the report (Report 42, Art. 53, 1973):

 ‘In fact, its [homosexuality] origin is so unclear as to be finally a mystery’ (page 613)

‘As the cause of homosexuality is uncertain, so is the possibility of correcting it’ (page 614)

‘Responsibility and the possibility of personal guilt for the homosexual arises at the point where he must decide what he will do with his sexuality. It is here that the Christian homosexual must ask what God's will is for him in the same way as the Christian heterosexual must ask what he must do in obedience to God with his sex drive’ (page 616)

 "[Note here the clever but wrong comparison being drawn. For a man to desire sexual relations with a woman is not wrong within the marriage relationship. However, for a man to desire sexual relations with another man is always wrong in all circumstances].

"‘From this story [Genesis 19, Sodom & Gomorrah] read as an isolated incident we cannot conclude however that homosexualism is here condemned’ (page 617).

 Note that this report took the position that a person may be a homosexual by birth (homosexualism) due to the fallen and irregular nature of humanity, but should not practice homosexual acts (homosexuality)!]

"‘In how far the prohibition of homosexualism [in Lev 18:21 & 20:13] is binding on us is therefore a question that remains’ (page 619).

‘It has been suggested that the use of these words [malakoi and arsenokoitai in I Cor 6:9-10] stresses the activity rather than the condition of homosexuality’ (page 619)

 "[Note this vital belief of Dr. Woudstra. This is the reasoning behind the very clever translation in the NIV in I Cor 6 'homosexual offenders'. Thus the NIV here allows a person to be a homosexual, as long as they don't offend.]

"The report refers constantly to the 'Christian homosexual', and urges that he 'deserves the same acceptance, recognition, compassion and help that is given to any person (page 626).

Since the report urges a fully functional place in the church for 'Christian homosexuals' is it any wonder that, according the Boomsma, the CRC has currently (1997) one openly 'celibate' homosexual minister who has 'come out'. All through the report one is struck with the similarities it bears to the views of Virginia Mollenkott. Even the title of her book 'Is The Homosexual My Neighbour' finds an echo on page 631 of the CRC's Homosexuality Committee's 1973 report where paragraph 2 begins 'Love for the homosexual neighbour...'

 "The 1973 report advised homosexual ministers to seek pastoral and psychological help to cope with their desires, but stopped short of condoning homosexual practice. Boomsma felt that although the CRC should understand and 'sympathize' (page 630) with the struggle homosexuals faced, for which they may bear minimal responsibility (page 631), it could not make an exception and allow such people to engage in 'homosexual activity' that is wrong. This is still the view of the CRC in general

"Taking the scriptural principle of two witnesses, I will now add the comments of Clarence Boomsma regarding the sexuality of his friend Dr. Woudstra, the Chairman of the NIV Old Testament Committee. Boomsma made the following statement to me on the phone on 25th October 1997; I wrote it down verbatim: 'It is generally believed among us [Christian Reformed Church and Calvin Seminary] that Dr. Woudstra was a homosexual.’

"I asked Boomsma if Dr. Woudstra was an 'active' homosexual. Although he knew Dr. Woudstra's views on homosexuality very well and holds in his possession a written dissertation by Dr. Woudstra on the subject, he did not feel free to comment on its contents. However, he did tell me about a '[homosexual] incident' in Dr. Woudstra's career in which his professorship was at stake. Woudstra survived and was not fired by the Seminary.

"Boomsma also spoke of Dr. Woudstra's frequent trips to New York 'which like all large cities has a large homosexual population'. On his return Woudstra would tell Boomsma how much he enjoyed the 'plays' in New York. I asked were these 'gay plays'. Boomsma would only say that New York has a large gay culture and is dotted with gay bars, and it was his impression that his friend, Dr. Woudstra, took part in this side of New York's social scene.

"I submit this research as I feel it has a direct bearing on how the NIV treats homosexuality. By removing the word sodomy and sodomite from the Old Testament, the language is changed and new ideas are introduced. By speaking of homosexual 'offenders' in I Corinthians ch. 6, the NIV allows for people to be homosexual as long as they don't 'offend' by being 'active'; and this is the position of the Christian Reformed Church, Calvin Seminary, Evangelicals Concerned, and who knows, quite a few other members of the NIV Translation Committee other than the late Dr. Woudstra. The fact that Leviticus denounces homosexuality in total does not worry them as such ethical condemnations do not apply today!

''A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit'' (Matthew 7:17)."

Original Author
Michael Penfold, November 1997
P.O.Box 26, Bicester, Oxon. OX6 8PB, England UK.


The NIV translation allows for the false view that homosexuality as a natural condition is not condemned in the Bible, that the Bible only condemns the misuse of homosexuality. It is much easier to support this strange view from the NIV than it is from the KJV

The following study is expanded from one which was originally put together by Carl Graham entitled Sodomy and the NIV (first published 1991; revised 1996, Twogistates Publishers, 500 Wheeler Dr., Angier, NC 27501) after he researched the connection between the NIV's rendering of passages touching on homosexuality and the presence of a homosexual on the translation review team. It is amazing to see many direct parallels between Mollenkott's views about homosexuality and the translation of the New International Version. Graham’s study has been enlarged by Michael Penfold with the addition of sections of the 1973 Christian Reformed Church report on homosexuality and by additional comments by me (David Cloud). As noted earlier, Dr. Woudstra, Chairman of the NIV Old Testament Committee, helped the six-man committee write this report. Thus the 1973 report can be taken as the views of at least one prominent member of the NIV CBT.

After Graham published his booklet, he was threatened with a lawsuit by the publishers of the NIV, the International Bible Society. He was accused of slandering the members of the NIV, and they insisted that he withdraw the booklet immediately or face a possible lawsuit. Graham hired an attorney, who assured him that he was on firm legal grounds. After receiving communication from Graham's lawyer, the IBC apologized to Graham for the threatening letter and dropped the matter.

Graham wrote his report without the knowledge that a homosexual man headed up the Old Testament New International Version translation team. Graham saw the amazing connection between Mollenkott’s views and the rendering of various NIV passages, and he assumed this connection was caused by some direct input by Mollenkott. It appears now that this was not the case. Mollenkott probably had nothing to do with the translation of these various passages. At least that is what she has testified. There can be no doubt, though, that Dr. Woudstra had a direct role in the translation and that his views were precisely aligned with the views promoted by Mollenkott and other "Christian" homosexuals today.

Some people still believe two and two equals four. The connection between the NIV’s rendering of passages touching on homosexuality and the views of modern "Christian" homosexuals is no accident. It is apparent that there must have been other members of the NIV committee who were like-minded with these modern "evangelical" sodomites. Michael Penfold's research has confirmed this, but the names of other NIV translators who were sympathetic with homosexual Christianity will possibly not be brought to light until the judgment seat of Christ.

THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY CAN BE CONDEMNED OUT OF THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, BUT IT IS NOT AS PLAIN AS IT IS IN THE AUTHORIZED VERSION. We have seen repeatedly that this is one of the devil’s tactics. He does not necessarily completely change or remove a doctrine; he merely tampers with it. In a fierce warfare, the difference between winning and losing often depends upon very small details. To clandestinely dull a warrior’s sword is tantamount to open sedition.

The sad fact which must be faced is this: IN SCHOLARLY EVANGELICAL CIRCLES, THE IDEA THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS SOMEHOW COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY IS GAINING A WIDENING SYMPATHY. The book by Virginia Mollenkott and Letha Scanzoni, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor (Harper & Row, 1978), received favorable reviews in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and The Christian Ministry. Joe Dallas, author of A Strong Delusion: Confronting the 'Gay Christian' Movement (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1996), made the following conclusion: "ENDORSEMENTS FROM SUCH RESPECTED CHRISTIAN PUBLICATIONS WAS PROOF THAT THE GAY CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT WAS GAINING MOMENTUM AND CREDIBILITY."

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Do YOU personally believe someone who cannot live by the written Word of God can be trusted to translate that Holy Word for you?  Would you sit under a Pastor who was a homosexual?

If the answer is NO, then why would you trust a bible that was in part translated, interpreted and rewritten by a homosexual? Personally, I don't trust anything that was written or translated by someone who is openly and blatantly living in  rebellion against the Word of God.

If they cannot FOLLOW the Word, it stands that they are corrupt enough to change the Word and corrupt enough to lead you astray, even unto "another Gospel". 

Next, Let's Look at the particular SIN of sodomy according to the Bible:

(Don't look for the word sodomy in the NIV, it's been removed) 

As we examine the usage of the word sodomy and the sin of sodomy as defined in the bible, we will also read some of the commentary provided by some of the NIV translators.  This should be an eye opener for you. 





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