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Welcome to Gospel Desk

By Chad Whitacre ❧ Published on February 20, 2024
Gospel Desk is an Orthodox Christian blog by Chad Whitacre, to participate in the life of the Church.

Greetings! Welcome to Gospel Desk. My purpose with this blog is to participate in the life of the Orthodox Church, sharing observations from the Gospels, the wider Scriptures, and the Fathers. I hope to further the Great Commission. Perhaps I will engage with contemporary issues, though that is not my primary interest. This introductory post offers a sketch of my background, and an explanation for why I am finally starting this blog after sitting on it for years.

A Brief Biography

My name is Chad Whitacre. I am an Orthodox Christian, a member of St. Nicholas, McKees Rocks, a vibrant parish of the Orthodox Church in America under His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisidek. My father, Rod Whitacre, was an Anglican priest and New Testament scholar with Orthodox sympathies. Though baptized and raised an Anglican, my dad made sure I knew he had given me a pre-Schism saint’s name in case I ever needed it. I cashed it in after 43 years, chrismated by the grace of God on February 20, 2022 by Fr. Tom Soroka, with St. Chad as my patron and Dr. Edith Humphrey as one of my two godparents. Glory to Jesus Christ!

In fact, the Domesday book of 1086 mentions one of “the Whitacres,” a group of villages which likely lay in the Diocese of Mercia when St. Chad founded its cathedral at Lichfield in 669. How fun to suppose my ancestors were also under my patron! St. Chad, pray for us!

For my part, I started out in my dad’s footsteps, studying Ancient Languages (Greek and Hebrew) and Theology at Wheaton College. It’s hard to support a family reading Greek, and I also inherited a technical bent from my mother, a math and science teacher, so I embarked on a self-taught career in software, particularly Open Source. I do love to read and write theology, though, and I do love the Church. Gospel Desk is an outlet for that.

The Role of Gospel Desk in My Conversion

Studying the Gospels was an important part of my conversion to Orthodoxy. I want to worship and follow the God I find there, to inhabit the world they present, and to participate in the community they point to, i.e., the Church.

I almost converted to Orthodoxy in college, in about 1998, but stuck with Protestantism. In time, I asked the question: what does a good defense before the dread judgement seat of Christ look like? I sought an answer in the Gospels. For we find there stories of individuals encountering Christ, and each such meeting is a judgement. The Centurion had faith not found in all Israel, while the Rich Young Ruler went away sad. In 2008, I determined that St. Justa, the Canaanite Woman, is the person most successful in surviving the encounter. I called her the “winner” of the Gospels. In 2018, I further discovered that there are exactly twelve individuals whom Christ explicitly praises for their faith in the Gospels. Imagine! Exactly twelve! Twelve Tribes of Israel, Twelve Minor Prophets, Twelve Apostles, Twelve Great Feasts … and now Twelve Faithful Servants!?

This felt worth sharing. I had already published an edition of the Gospels back in 2010, and I thought I would start a website to promote that and offer this vision of the Twelve Faithful Servants. I settled on the name Gospel Desk to reflect my love of purposeful study, centered on the Gospels.

But with whom to share? Not the academy, largely aloof from faith when not outright antagonistic. Not a general American Christian audience, which might perhaps have found interest in a book of devotional meditations, but whose interest would quickly wane. I wanted to bring this gift—if it be a genuine gift—to the Church, and though I was Anglican, I knew it was the Orthodox Church whose verdict mattered.

I decided to commission icons. Consulting with Andrew Gould of the Orthodox Arts Journal, he off-handedly remarked that what I had undertaken was “just an Anglican art project,” that these were “not truly liturgical objects.” It’s not wholly false to say that I converted to Orthodoxy to prove Andrew wrong. Thanks be to God!

Gospel Desk Today and Tomorrow

Today is two years since my chrismation. Having studied the Gospels for decades as an Anglican, it has been wonderful to begin to fully inhabit the Gospel in the Church, to explore the foothills of the “butter mountain,” to acquire in small and growing measure the mind of the Fathers through study, sacraments, and struggle in the desert of my heart.

By the grace of God, six icons are now complete and in rotation at my parish. The longing I began feeling six years ago to bring the Twelve Faithful Servants to the awareness of the Church is finding its fulfillment. My priest is acknowledging them from the ambon. My fellow parishioners are venerating their icons. They are beginning to be seen for us as great witnesses to faith in Christ.

St. Zacchaeus's icon is ready to go for this past Zacchaeus Sunday.

God willing, with the blessing and guidance of my bishop, my priest, my godparents, and the Faithful Servants themselves, I am ready to engage a wider audience, to participate more fully in the life of the Orthodox Church both within and beyond my parish.

The Twelve Faithful Servants are one offering, but there are others. I republished my edition of The Gospels, and I followed it up with a mobile app. That has put me in touch with Brian Glass of, a project to which I hope to contribute. I am working through a patristics reading plan, which I aim to say more about in a future post. I already have one additional discovery to share, a prayer of St. John of Damascus.

I hope what I write will build up the Church. As I indicated, I am not here for an academic exercise. I want to study with due rigor, yet I want my reading and writing to be a gift I receive from, and offer back to, God and His Church—not because you or God need my amateur scholarship, but because I find a talent in my hand, and I want to make the most of it. “[I]t is the conscience of the offerer that sanctifies the sacrifice when it is pure, and thus moves God to accept the offering as from a friend” (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.16.4). May God in His mercy grant me, an unworthy sinner, a pure conscience to bring Him an acceptable offering.

I am roused by the Parable of the Talents and the Great Commission. I am encouraged by my bishop, priest, godparents, and friends. I trust that God will prosper what is worthwhile in my efforts, and what is unworthy will be corrected or forgotten. I covet your prayers and welcome your feedback, and I thank you for reading. May you find something helpful here.

Glory to Jesus Christ! ☦️ 💃