Lots of people have asked if the audio from my Truth Unites videos could be made into a podcast. It is truly my intention that Truth Unites is a ministry that serves you all, and meets as many needs as possible.
So: nothing will change to my YouTube videos. If that is what you enjoy, just keep going with it. But the audio will start being available in podcast format as well. That way it allows for maximum access and ease on your end as listeners/viewers. The link is here: https://anchor.fm/truth-unites (also available on spotify).
If you are willing to support this channel on patreon, it would truly be a blessing and enables me to do more with this ministry. You also get early access to videos, and entrance into my patron community where I prioritize questions, suggestions, etc. However, feel no obligation. This is only for those who feel a desire or leading to that. Another way you can help is watching, listening, sharing, commenting, engaging, etc.
Special thanks to my friend Clau who has helped my YouTube channel in this way and so many others. May the Lord bless you for blessing others, Clau!
Thanks everyone for watching and engaging my content. May it be honoring to Christ, clarifying to the truth, and edifying to people.
I hope you and the family are well in Ojai. I love the work you are doing and am excited to see the audio will be available. Do you plan to make these available through the Podcast app on apple devices? I am not finding it when I search.
hey Andy, great to hear from you! Hope you guys are doing well! Say hi to your family. As of now, it just available on anchor and spotify. It should start showing up soon on spotify. Apologies if that does not meet your need…
It may be on Spotify, but I’m not seeing it on google/android podcast feeds. They use the RSS feeds that are on apple Podcasts so my guess would be that it isn’t feeding to Apple Podcasts right now! Can’t wait to hear your stuff on podcasts! Thanks for this.
Hi Gavin! Will your podcast be available through apple podcasts, overcast, etc.? Or will it just live on anchor and Spotify?
Also, I love your content! Keep up the good work.
glad you like it! Right now its on a bunch of different platforms but not apple podcasts, sorry. Hopefully I can do that in the future if it would be helpful.
Dear Gavin, Please allow me to introduce myself quickly – I’m Dr. David C. Ford, Professor of Church History at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary, located in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, where I’ve been teaching for over 30 years. And let me thank you very much for your interest in Orthodox Christianity, which I’ve just come upon last night and today through your interviews with Joshua Schooping and Craig Truglia. May I say right away that I’m profoundly chagrined and scandalized at their assertion that the Orthodox Church teaches that only Orthodox Christians can be saved. This is a profound error, a severe misinterpretation of St. Cyprian’s statement that there’s no salvation outside the Church. And just now I’ve heard your excellent explanation to Craig Truglia of the proper way to interpret those words through a careful study of the context in which he said them – so thank you very much for that! I teach strongly in my Church History courses about the dangers of what I call the ”’Sectarian Mindset,” which so much centers on an Us vs. Them, overly simplistic black and white mentality. To talk further about this and other issues, I would very much enjoy having a phone conversation with you, if that might be possible. Please contact me through St. Tikhon’s Seminary if that would be of interest to you! Thanks! With love, in Christ, Dr. David Ford
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Thank you David for this kind comment and for watching the videos! I would love to talk sometime.
Thanks for this quick, positive reply! How about if you send me an e-mail message, so we can set up a time for a phone call? dcford@stots,edu
Dear Pastor Gavin,
Your ministry has been refreshing and encouraging to me! Thank you for your irenic and humble tone. If there is any way you could post your podcast on apple podcasts, it would make it much easier for me to engage with your work in my normal podcast workflow.
thanks Seth! Unfortunately I hit a roadblock trying to do that, maybe I can get it done in the future. so glad the podcast has been of use to you!
As a rejoinder to Dr. Ford, what he is saying is fundamentally inconsistent with every explicit answer to the question of salvation of those outside the Church ever written by a saint (and yes, I am aware of the softer statements from those like Saint Filaret of Moscow, which is why I said “explicit.”)
Orthodoxy is the religion of the saints and dictated by the saints, which to make it clear to outsiders, these saints are with the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church. There is more to it but it is beyond our purposes here.
It is never good for evangelism or the salvation of souls to not state plainly the historic Orthodox doctrine, despite how “out of step” it sounds to the modern sensibility of the week.
With sincere Christian love,
Dear Craig, I very much admire all your enthusiasm for Christ and His Holy Church. But may I respectfully try to make things a bit clearer regarding your assertion that there is no possibility of salvation outside the boundaries of the Orthodox Church. Such a view is simply another version of the medieval Roman Catholic view that no one could be saved except for those living in subjection to the authority of the Roman Papacy; and it’s also a variant of the view of Calvin and Luther that every single human being will be damned to hell eternally except for those whom God predetermines will be saved, regardless of whatever anyone believes and does during their lifetimes.
These are the words of the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem in 1672 (also known as the Creed of Dositheos) excoriating that false view:
“To say, as the most wicked heretics do, that God, in predestinating, or condemning [the non-elect], had no regard whatsoever to the works of those predestined, or condemned [to hell], we know to be profane and impious. . . . To affirm that the Divine Will is thus solely and without any other cause the author of their condemnation, what greater calumny can be fixed upon God? And what greater injury and blasphemy can be offered to the Most High? For that the Deity is not tempted by evils, and that He equally wills the salvation of all, since there is no respect of persons with Him, we do know. For those who through their own wicked choice, and their impenitent heart, have become vessels of dishonor, there is, as is justly decreed, condemnation. But of eternal punishment, of cruelty, of pitilessness, and of inhumanity, we never, never say God is the author, Who tells us that there is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents. Far be it from us, while we have our senses, thus to believe, or to think.
And we do subject to an eternal anathema those who say and think such things; and we esteem them to be worse than any infidels.”
Isolated comments made by only a few Saints, which can only be properly understood when the full context is considered, do not define the understanding of the entire Orthodox Church and its 2000-year-old Tradition on this matter. The Orthodox Church as a whole has never speculated on the eternal state of those dying outside Her boundaries, leaving this mystery in His Hands; and while praying in the Liturgy for the salvation of all, we trust that He will work everything out in accordance with the spiritual state of each unique person. But we do know for certain that our Lord Jesus Christ is “The Good God Who Loves Mankind” (as we hear so frequently in our hymnography), “Who desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Knowing of this Divine Love, and of this Divine desire for the salvation of everyone, the Orthodox Church adamantly rejects any assertion that our All-Loving and All-Merciful LORD would ever unequivocally condemn to hell all those who have never heard of Him, or all those who have only ever heard false teachings about Him. As the Creed of Dositheos declares, such ideas about our True God are profane, impious, and blasphemous, reflecting a slanderous view of God as being cruel, pitiless, and inhuman.
So please, dear Craig, if I may humbly give you some advice. Along with all your wonderful enthusiasm for Christ and His Holy Church, please be guided by our Orthodox Tradition as a whole, and not by only a few isolated statements that need careful explanation. And as I hope you realize, the Orthodox never claim that every Saint never made a mistake. This is why we always consider and humbly hold fast to the entire Tradition, which includes all the Church Fathers and Saints as a whole–“for in the multitude of counselors, there is wisdom” (Prov. 15:22).
Dr. Ford, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Please forgive me, but it *appears* (perhaps not intentionally) you are framing what I said as “fringe” or heterodox. It is not my intent to argue with you, but please permit me to defend even against the semblance of such.
You assert that “no salvation outside the Church” is “medieval Roman Catholic.” However, saints before medieval times asserted the doctrine. Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe stated plainly: “Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (PL 65:704–https://archive.org/details/patrologiaecurs126unkngoog/page/n357/mode/2up)
This is the original Latin of the entirety of Cap. 38, so I am not quoting something “out of context”: Firmissime tene, et nullatenus dubites, non solum omnes paganos, sed etiam omnes iudseos, et omnes haercticos atque schimaticos , qui extra Ecclcsiam catholicam pnescntcm finiunt vitam, in ignem aeternum ituros, qui paratos est diabolo et angelis ejus.
You also claim that “no salvation outside the Church” is “also a variant of the view of Calvin and Luther that every single human being will be damned to hell eternally except for those whom God predetermines will be saved.” We are not discussing predestination, so this seems to me to be some sort of guilt by association (i.e. Calvinists and Luther are wrong about predestination and, therefore, there must be salvation outside the Church). This does not appear to me be very sensible.
Your quoting of the Council of Jerusalem (1672) also appears to me to be counter-productive for your purposes, as while our discussion has nothing to do with predestination, it has everything to do with who is a properly a Christian and thereby saved. The council on this note states: “That the dignity of the Bishop is so necessary in the Church, that without him, neither Church nor Christian could either be or be spoken of.” (Decree 10) Most Protestants do not have an episcopal structure, so by default this would cast all of them outside of the Church. But more than this, the council approvingly quotes an “orthodox” (small o) homily of Cyril Lucaris exactly on this topic as follows:
“…a boat, which is the Church of Christ. Many endeavour to sail across it [the sea]; such are the impious and all the heretics, who are not within the Church of God, but they are all drowned. When God made the Ark, all that were within escaped, while those that were without perished. The Church of God is this Ark.” (p. 25 of https://books.google.com/books?id=G1h5ijh3YcwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false)
Any impartial observer would reject your contention that the Council of Jerusalem teaches anything other than “no salvation outside the Church.” I gave citations and I have read these sources in their entirety. Nothing is out of context and everyone reading this is free to check it.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that “comments made by only a few Saints, which can only be properly understood when the full context is considered, do not define the understanding of the entire Orthodox Church and its 2000-year-old Tradition on this matter.” I assert that it is your view which ignores proper context and, forgive me for saying this, cherrypicks a statement here or there that whispers something that *maybe* can imply such. Contrarily, “no salvation outside the Church” is the explicit consensus of the saints. Not one saint rejects it. Several clarify matters, for example, warning us not to judge individuals outside the Church categorically. But none question the doctrine. As we see above, we have a Pan-Orthodox council explicitly affirming the doctrine. I wager you this: the few saints with vague statements which you take as sympathetic of your view *implicitly* must be harmonized with the *explicit* statements of many more saints and the weight of the aforementioned council. Not the other way around.
And so, I implore you, permit me to say the following at the risk of sounding patronizing. Being that you yourself asked for me to “please be guided by our Orthodox tradition as a whole,” I would respond this is exactly how I feel about you on this point (I do not judge anything else about you). Submit your reason and mind to the council and the fathers! “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8) I understand you reject what appears to you as foolishness, but “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” (1 Cor 1:25) By imposing interpretations of the fathers completely inconsistent with what they literally say and how they have always been interpreted, east and west, we run the hazard of violating God’s command: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone.” (Prov 22:28)
I leave it for everyone here to read the sources you have cited, their surrounding context, and mine. The fathers clearly expound what I have been saying, which is why, despite my own personal disagreement, I have submitted myself to the Church, “the pillar and ground of truth.” (1 Tim 3:15) My desire is that all will do the same. The Church is the Ark and one is only saved from the floods of judgement in Her.
For those curious is Cap 37- 40 from Fulgentius in their entirety:
For the most part, and no doubt, that every baptized person outside the Catholic Church can not be shed for the act of life, if before the end of this life the Catholic Church has not been restored and in the corporate Church: because if I have any faith, says the Apostle. But if I have all faith and knowledge, but I have no love for the men, I am nothing. For even in the words of the flood we read that no one could have saved the ark.
Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For the most part, and no doubt, that every baptized person outside the Catholic Church can not be shed for the act of life, if before the end of this life the Catholic Church has not been restored and in the corporate Church: because if I have any faith, says the Apostle. But I have no love for the Onovernomniasacr^men, I am nothing (1 Cor xoi»2). For even in the words of the flood we read that no one could have saved the ark
First, then, and no one was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit, if the Catholic Church was not united, however many alms of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit were baptized; For every man who is not united to the Catholic Church, neither baptized, nor clergy, however plentiful, nor accepts death for the name of Christ, can he progress to salvation, as long as the heretical or schismatic depravity persists in him or in the death of Christ?
Firmly hold, and never doubt, that not all who are baptized within the Catholic Church will receive eternal life, but those who live rightly baptized, that is, who are free from their vices and desires. For just as unbelievers will not have a kingdom, heretics and schismatics will not be able to possess the name of a criminal.
“But I have no love for the Onovernomniasacr^men, I am nothing (1 Cor xoi»2). ” should be “if I have all faith and knowledge but have no love for men, I am nothing.” I pasted the wrong thing from Google translate. I do not know Latin, but I make available the Latin above for all who thing that so much can be “out of context,” “translated wrong,” or whatever else.
Hi Pastor Ortlund,
I just listened to your podcast on the positive unifying principles of protestantism. I agree that Christianity as a whole, every denomination, is damaged by schism. However, respectfully, I’m not sure sola fide and sola scriptural are sufficient unifying principles -at least not at this day and age.
Without further definition, sola fide seems to invite word concept fallacies. A Roman Catholic can affirm sola fide when initial justification is distinguished from final justification. However, many protestants would have too strong a view of assurance to claim common cause with the Catholic. Some protestant churches have such a strong concept of assurance that “once saved always saved” is preached from the pulpit. Many protestants reject “once saved always saved.” There doesn’t seem to be a unified understanding of sola fide from my point of view.
Similarly, sola scriptura seems insufficient because every denomination claims the most correct interpretation of scripture. Sola scriptura seems a better recipe for schism than unity. Without additional authority, anyone with a new interpretation of the bible can start his own church. How many schisms are there in Lutheranism? Calvinism? How many different flavors of evangelical are there? Didn’t Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the “radical reformers” fight bitterly over doctrine? Rome and Greece haven’t mastered unity/catholicity, far from it, but they definitely seem more united than protestantism as a whole to me.
Further, any attempt to clarify definitions approaches a no true Scotsman fallacy. We all agree that there are people who claim the title Christian who fall outside the bounds of orthodoxy, but there doesn’t seem to be an objective way to draw the line based on the solas. I appreciate your work on triage, but unless you are the pope it is just another subjective point of view amongst many- even if it is the most logical and reasonable approach.
If differences are ignored, then the truth of the church becomes diluted to the point of meaninglessness. The common denominator, in practice, between all who claim to be protestant seems very limited.
Also, if protestantism is best conceived of as a journey rather than a destination, how do you know it is heading in the right direction? Are all
protestant denominations converging or diverging? An evolutionary process of divergent churches, where the fit survive by God’s providence, doesn’t seem like what our Lord wanted.
Thank you, if you read this. I promise I am not here to troll. I am someone who was baptized relatively recently as a “mere Christian” and who is seeking the most authentic church available.
Please correct me where I am wrong.
Hello Dr. Ortlund, was curious when your new book on the case for Protestantism is coming out? If you can’t share that information I totally understand. God bless🙏