Cedarville University President Dr. Thomas White says he hired Dr. Anthony Moore in 2017 with the full knowledge and approval of Cedarville’s board of trustees. However, an email Dr. White sent to the trustees in July 2017, which I obtained yesterday, indicates otherwise.
Instead of telling the trustees that Moore had been fired from The Village Church for secretly making multiple videos of a youth pastor taking showers, White said Moore “acted in perversion technologically with another person.”
White also said in a recent blog post that according to the five-year restoration plan Cedarville gave Moore, Moore would not teach students during his first year at Cedarville. Yet that’s not what White communicated in the 2017 email to trustees.
Instead, White wrote that Moore would begin teaching online classes during his second semester and “perhaps co-teaching with Jason Lee,” dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies.
According to a current Cedarville student, Moore actually substitute taught a class during his first semester at Cedarville (fall 2017). And according to Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Apologetics Dr. Daniel DeWitt, Moore taught an online class the spring of 2018, and also substitute taught a class for DeWitt the same semester.
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DeWitt, however, says he didn’t know the details of Moore’s past.
In addition, a Bible professor told me that White’s assertion that Moore “told his story to the entire faculty in the School of Biblical and Theological Studies during a meeting and entertained questions” is not accurate. The professor said Moore merely disclosed to the Bible faculty that he had a moral failure but offered no specifics.
“Acted in Perversion Technologically”
The email Dr. White sent to the entire trustee board on July 3, 2017, specifically asks for their response to White’s plan to hire Dr. Anthony Moore, but never tells them specifically what Moore did.
White describes Moore in the email as a friend both he and Dr. Lee know “well” from their time at Southwestern Seminary. White served as vice president of communications and student life at Southwestern from 2006—2013 and Lee served as chair of the church history department. Moore got his PhD from Southwestern and Lee was Moore’s PhD supervisor.
White adds that Moore “is a conservative, evangelical African-American, with a winsome and charismatic personality, who has a PhD in theology.”
White mentions that Moore had a “moral failure” while serving as pastor at the Fort Worth campus of The Village Church, which caused Moore to step down. Yet, when describing that moral failure, White does not mention that Moore made multiple secret videos of his former youth pastor taking showers at Moore’s home—a fact that White told me last week he knew before hiring Moore. Instead, White writes:
His failure in general resulted from being sexually abused from the age of 4 to 8/9 which caused him to struggle with same-sex attraction. While he has a strong marriage and three kids, the scars of his past were never dealt with. During a dark moment of questions, temptation, and curiosity, he acted in perversion technologically with another person. There was never any physical contact, but these actions were wrong and caused him to step down.
White adds that Moore has since “engaged in numerous hours of counseling” and “obeyed all the instructions” for church discipline outlined by The Village Church. White says he has talked on the phone with the elders of The Village Church Fort Worth and expects a “letter of recommendation” from the main campus of The Village Church by Friday.
Both White and The Village Church have confirmed that The Village Church sent White a letter prior to Cedarville hiring Moore, but neither have been willing to release that letter.
However, the elders at The Village Church Fort Worth last week told me that they “thoroughly informed Dr. White and Cedarville University about the details of Anthony’s dismissal and our belief that Anthony was not fit for ministry of any kind.”
White also says in his email that he has “letters of support from two different counselors and from Sam Allberry who has worked with (Moore) from a distance.”
Allberry is the author of several books, including “Is God anti-gay?” He’s also an editor for The Gospel Coalition, global speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and a former visiting professor at Cedarville.
I contacted Allberry for comment and he responded via email, stating:
My understanding at the time of the letter was that Anthony Moore had developed an unhealthy friendship and that he was now deeply repentant. I thought that a clerical role at Cedarville would provide the accountability, supervision, and support to help him walk through that repentance. I was not aware at the time of the extent of his actions or any pattern of abusive behaviour, and would not have supported his move to Cedarville had I been so.
In White’s 2017 email, he also says he discussed his plan to hire Moore with the chairman and vice-chairman of the trustee board, as well as Dr. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Don Lough Jr., executive director of Word of Life Fellowship, and Dr. Paige Patterson, then the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
I reached out to Dr. Akin,Dr. Lough, and Dr. Patterson for comment. Only Akin responded, saying that the trustees have elected to allow Cedarville’s chairman to speak for the entire board. The current chairman is Chip Bernhard, senior pastor of Spring Creek Church in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. I reached out to Bernhard for comment, but he did not respond.
Moore Taught His First Year at Cedarville, Despite White’s Claims He Didn’t
According to White’s recent blog post, Cedarville’s five-year plan of restoration for Moore called for him to work his first year as a multicultural recruiter and biblical research fellow. “Anthony would be a staff member performing administrative responsibilities and doing whatever was needed to allow for more time between his sinful action and meaningful ministry,” White wrote.
White further stated that a letter he sent Moore “laid out the following expectations: year one, focus on getting Anthony healthy; year two, Anthony could begin some teaching.”
Yet this doesn’t match the expectations White communicated in his email to trustees in 2017. It said:
I have put together a 5 year plan that would begin with him working in a staff position this fall. We would use him in some online classes or perhaps co-teaching with Jason Lee in the Spring. The online classes monitor and record all communication so this would be a very safe format and co-teaching would allow further close interaction. In the fall of 2018 assuming the entire year of service, accountability, counseling, and mentorship on campus goes well, we would begin using him in a faculty position for strategically chosen classes.
The plan outlined in White’s blog also doesn’t match what actually occurred during Moore’s first year at Cedarville.
A current student, who did not want her name published for fear of retribution, said Moore substitute taught a class of hers in the fall 2017. (The student gave me her name and I independently verified that she is enrolled at Cedarville.)
The student said Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology Dr. J. Michael McKay was the regular instructor for the class and Moore’s substitution seemed premeditated. She said McKay informed the class in advance that Moore would be a one-time substitute.
I reached out to Dr. McKay to confirm, but he did not respond.
The student added that she is a rape victim and feels Cedarville’s decision to hire Moore “on the grounds of ‘restoration’ . . . invalidates and belittles his victim’s claims and his pain.
“It hurts me and others like me who have also been victims of sexual crime. We already have to sit by and watch our own abusers escape punishment. But to subject us to sit under one in class? Without our knowledge or consent? That hits a little too close to home.”
Another former Cedarville student, now a graduate, Deborah Longenecker, told me that Moore substitute taught her theology course during the spring 2018 semester.
In an email, she wrote, “I don’t remember what we were told about who Moore was, but I do remember being impressed by his teaching and refreshed by his perspective as a black man. I remember thinking how lucky his students would be to have him as a theology prof, if he ever taught a course by himself. How eerie, sickening, and confusing, looking back.”
The professor for Longenecker’s class was Dr. Daniel DeWitt, an associate professor and director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics & Public Christianity. I contacted DeWitt and he confirmed that Moore substituted for his Theology One course the spring of 2018. He added that Moore was teaching the same course online, so “it didn’t seem strange to me to ask him to give a guest lecture.”
DeWitt added that he also had Moore share his testimony of coming to faith with DeWitt’s evangelism class in the fall semester of 2017.
However, DeWitt said he knew only that Moore “had some sort of moral failure that resulted in him stepping down from ministry.” DeWitt said he and Moore “never discussed the details surrounding his moral failure.” And DeWitt said he trusted that “those details were considered and worked through by administration and trustees.”
26 thoughts on “Leaked Email Reveals Cedarville President Withheld Information From Trustees & Conflicts With Public Statements”
So….. Dr. White has consistently misled the CU trustees, faculty, students, parents, AND whoever read his press release/timeline. It’s all in writing.
How did he think his story was going pass??
Moore did not “step down” from his job at The Village Church; he was fired. Saying he stepped down makes it sound voluntary when in fact it was not.
Also, sounds like Dr. Lee was in cahoots with White on the whole saga and should be fired as well for putting CU students at risk. If I were a betting person, I would bet Dr. Lee knew everything from the get go.
All of us need to remember:
Proverbs 5:23 MSG: Mark well that GOD doesn’t miss a move you make;
he’s aware of every step you take.
The shadow of your sin will overtake you;
you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.
Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.”
“Perversion technologically with another person” implies consent. The perversion was not “with” another person. The person was a VICTIM and did NOT consent.
Yes. Apparently we need to carefully parse these statements . A key difference between Chandler’s statement and Dr. White’s email is that Chandler said “against” while Dr. White wrote “with.” To your point, “with” implies consent whereas “against” implies harm, though not strongly enough that it seems to have raised many eyebrows at the time. When the truth is obscured by cunning diction, it is easily missed.
I guess one lesson for us is that any and all future statements regarding resignations or other ministry departures need to be carefully scrutinized line-by-line to interpret the truth beneath precise yet intentionally ambiguous syntax, which is carefully arranged so as to avoid telling the truth while not strictly lying.
oh my word, yes. professional christians have trouble with transparency.
embroidering the truth, obfuscating the truth, half truths, sly and cunning and wording, all covered in plausible deniability (even, perhaps before God).
it is amazing to me the machinations and deception they rationalize away with perfect ease.
Thank you for your continued excellent reporting on this disturbing story, Julie Roys. Dr. White has proven himself a dishonest, insensitive, and negligent leader who must be fired immediately. And as a previous comment notes, it’s hard to believe Dr. Jason Lee didn’t also know the real story here; he, too, should be fired. Last, if the key leaders of the CU Board of Trustees also knew everything and agreed to this plan, they have sunk the university. What parent will send their children to CU if those key leaders willfully put their children at risk in order to hire a man guilty of sexual assault? Those trustees, too, should go.
Dr. White admits that bringing Dr. Moore to campus was a risk….”a calculated risk”……..with the CU students (my child). His role should be to protect CU students, not subject them to “calculated risks”.
Read the final non-redacted paragraph of Dr. White’s email again.
What does the sentence “I also recognize that one institution can only attempt a few such restoration cases at a time” imply but that, in July 2017, Cedarville had at least one other faculty member with a similar background to Dr. Moore?
I say faculty member as Dr. White clearly states he has not previously sought the Trustees’ input on staff hires before, implying that he has sought their input on faculty hires.
I also do not believe he would have mentioned Cedarville’s limited capacity for “a few such […] cases” if he had not previously successfully pitched the Trustees on at least one similar “restoration” proposal, which must have been at the faculty rather than staff level.
Julie – there is unfortunately more to this story.
Hope your Karen blog enjoys its short time in the sun. :)
Dr. White’s statement, “His failure in general…and he acted in perversion technologically”, should have demanded requests for specifics. He purposefully mislead the board. He should be terminated with cause.
And what was wrong with telling everyone the truth and letting them decide what to do? White lies are not the truth.
Giving the CU trustees some benefit of the doubt at the time they received this email, I don’t think it is unreasonable for a trustee to trust their appointed president to do his due diligence and submit his request for trustee approval in good faith.
As a former ministry board member, I would not have thought to parse every phrase and interrogate every word of my ministry leader had she (in my case, it was an executive director, not a president) sent an email such as this. Rather, I would have taken her words at face value, fully trusting her not to equivocate, obfuscate, or lie to me about such delicate yet important matters.
IMHO, Thomas White flat-out lied to his trustees in this email. Commenters “Sandra” and CUParent” show at least two of the most egregious fibs Thomas White told to his trustees. It doesn’t take a PhD to read that email now and see that Thomas White duped and manipulated his trustees into doing what he wanted them to do, namely, wedging Anthony Moore into the teaching faculty (not just the staff … there is a difference!) of Cedarville.
Now the responsibility falls squarely on the trustees. How can they ever trust their president again? If the Cedarville trustees keep Thomas White in the position of president, they are committing to parse every phrase he utters or writes, to interrogate him on every memo he sends to them, and basically act toward Thomas White like prosecuting attorneys instead of trustees. Why on God’s green earth the Cedarville trustees would want to hover over Thomas White like that is beyond me.
I hope Thomas White is a goner as president of Cedarville. But if the trustees don’t fire him for lying like this, then they are endorsing his sneaky, egregious behaviour and demonstrating to Cedarville students staff, and faculty that loyalty to Thomas White is more important than honesty and their safety.
I disagree – every trustee had more than enough information in this letter to object to this hire, in my opinion.
You all talk so eloquently about “scrutinizing line-by-line to interpret the truth beneath precise yet intentionally ambiguous syntax, which is carefully arranged so as to avoid telling the truth while not strictly lying.” Or “As a former ministry board member, I would not have thought to parse every phrase and interrogate every word of my ministry leader” and “I would have taken her words at face value, fully trusting her not to equivocate, obfuscate, or lie to me about such delicate yet important matters.” Obviously, I don’t know the politics of any of you, but so many Christians have no qualms accepting just such “intentionally ambiguous syntax” from Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, et al. How do you “parse” such hypocrisy amongst yourselves? Do you not see it? I am seriously asking. These people are being as deliberately untruthful as Dr. White, with consequences affecting the well-being of millions of Americans as well as hundreds of thousands of poverty stricken, persecuted,frightened people who “yearn to be free” from privation and fear just as the Pilgrims did. Some Democrats also do this, but I would ask you to do serious, unbiased research and tally up the count of blatant lies, and harm on both sides. I see Republicans grasping their spoils of money and medical insurance and pushing the hands of those drowning around them off the edges of their boats. How is this Christian? I see Democrats literally attempting to save lives, reaching out to give the poor and ill a helping hand through financial and medical support to get on their feet, trying to provide nutritious food to hungry children whose parents work two minimum wage jobs to merely keep a roof over their head, to extend the rights and freedoms we all cherish to everyone, regardless of their color, education, disability, gender, sex, or religion. These actions sound very Christ like to me. Explain this to me. If you agree with me, then shouldn’t you be speaking out and exposing these lies as well?
JChen, Many would agree with you on caring for the poor. But if for one moment you believe Democrats have not made an incredible amount of money on the healthcare industry, wall sreet or abortions. You are NUTS.
We need to pray about this situation that there will be a completely honest and wise ending to this . There should have been complete honesty in the beginning and this would have had a different ending. Anything done with the intent to deceive is a lie. Holleen Brazelton (mother of 2 former students)
My husband and I are both alumni of Cedarville, and our youngest daughter is a student there now. We love the school and our daughter is having a great experience. Cedarville has always held tight to the TRUTH of God’s Word and high standards of excellence in every area. I admire the intent and the process of restoring a brother in Christ. Jesus was all about forgiveness and restoration. However, the way Dr. White went about the restoration process shows a lack of good judgement and ethics. First of all, Dr. White was deceitful in not communicating the full truth of Moore’s past to all of the stakeholders involved. Secondly, the fact that Moore’s prior employer said that “Moore was not fit for ministry of any kind” is a huge red flag. Third, to place Moore who struggles with same sex attraction in a teaching role that included helping with the men’s basketball team shows a severe lack of judgement. Dr. White should take responsibility for his actions and resign from Cedarville. And we as parents, students, and faculty should forgive him, learn, and continue to promote “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” Phil. 4:8
Laura, we too have a daughter that is currently a student at Cedarville. I received the email from Dr. White yesterday. My first thought was, so he knew of 2 criminal sexually deviant behaviors over a very short period of time, but OH BOY, when that stretched to 5 criminal behaviors over 5 months, why, that was the last straw. I don’t buy that kind of explanation for a second. That explanation gives the appearance he was backed into a corner and threw Moore under the bus. One criminal act of a pastor taping a church worker in the shower is ENOUGH to warrant at least a sex offender registration.
I am also very concerned that we as parents were kept in the dark about this situation. I agree with you – Dr. White should resign.
I’m hopeful that the Moores, having been (sadly) shamed by this, would get the help they need, and the provision and employment in another setting where there is proper accountability, that does not include a vision to return to leadership ministry for some years.
Thank you for ending with the Scripture from Philippians 4:8. It’s too easy to dwell on things like this, and get our focus off the Lord Jesus, who died and rose again for us.
I wonder what is in the redacted section???
What if, hang with me for a minute, TVC didn’t tell CU everything in the transfer of Moore? Is there proof anywhere that shows that they did? I havnt crawled through every ounce of detail.
If White was passed along poor info, and TVC is just coming on strong with their statements now, this is an entirely different situation. TW looks pretty honest with everything if all he was told was that they were consensual videos.
Coffee, if you read the Christianity Today article, it says TVC told CU this assessment, and I quote: “The Village Church confirmed in a statement to CT that while the church kept aspects of Moore’s story confidential from the congregation at the direction of the victim, ‘we did thoroughly inform Cedarville University about all of the known details of Anthony’s offense and reiterated clearly that we did not believe he was fit for ministry of any kind.'”
According to TVC, CU was fully warned.
this claim has not been corroborated. Dr. White indicated support from TVC, so it’s he-said he-said right now. I believe the communications should be released.
Parent, Dr. White said Moore would be doing no teaching in a certain time period, and then there was teaching going on in that time period, including volunteer basketball coaching and being in the locker room with the young men (albeit with watchers), it kind of leads me to trust what TVC said to Christianity Today. I came on this subject because White sent out an email saying if only he’d known there were 5 instances of lewd, abusive video taping over 5 months instead of just 2 lewd, not-consented-to videos over a “short period of time” (whatever that means), then he wouldn’t have ever hired Moore. I’m well old enough to know when I’m being conned, and I’m not falling for that kind of explanation. He knowingly hired a sexually deviant man who abused at least one other. What actually transpired at Cedarville contradicts what White said about no teaching. Hence, I believe TVC. I agree, though, that the communications should be released.
TVC has repeatedly said they told CU everything to multiple reporters. If they want to clear their name that they did tell CU everything, then they should release the letter they sent to White, with the victim’s identity redacted of course.
Dr White stated that he knew that there were 2 videos taken of the VICTIM in the shower WITHOUT consent. What more do you need to know?
As a Cedarville alumnus, Dr. White, I urge you to own all that you have done to put vulnerable students, staff and faculty at incredible risk. Please do the honorable act of resigning before more damage is done to the testimony of Jesus Christ.
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