Came across the following set of notes from Dr. Thomas White’s 2:00pm Open Forum on July 17. They are *paraphrased* notes, and should therefore NOT be treated as unbiased or verbatim, but we nevertheless believe they give an accurate and concerning picture of Dr. White’s vision for Cedarville’s future. Especially concerning elements are in red text below.
We invite your feedback to these notes in the comment section, especially if you were in attendance at the Open Forum last Wednesday!
Q: Will we become a Southern Baptist University?
A: No. In a Southern Baptist University, the trustees are decided by the national convention. Our trustees like their position and refuse to give that up to the Convention. We will, however, become more “baptistic” in nature, just broader. As long as you agree with the doctrinal statement you’re still welcome here. Is a personal friend of Jason Lee (new dean of Bible dept.)
Q: What does this mean for fac/staff of other denominations? What about the Methodists, Mennonites, Presbyterians? Will the doctrinal statement be clarified?
A: I don’t know the rules yet. Thats up to the trustees. I do want you to know that the rules will be strictly enforced. Every fac/staff member must obey it. I believe that many of you (the faculty and staff) don’t agree with the doctrinal statement, but I believe you should obey it because you should obey the Bible.
Q: What opportunities for women will be available under your administration?
A: I am a complimentarian. Don’t get me wrong, I love women. I married one. I like strong, smart women. All my life I’ve been surrounded by strong godly women to advise me. Women are good advisers at home, work, etc. I want my wife to teach at Cedarville. We need more women to work at Cedarville. That said, I don’t want women preaching in chapel or in church. Men must always lead. Thats what the Bible says. I’ve read the Bible and I know what it says about this. I stand by what I believe so that some day I can stand before God and say I did my best to obey the Bible.
To make this clear, we need no new opportunities. We’re good right now. I believe the “cultural climate of the day” is bad and it is pushing us in the wrong direction. I don’t wanna go there. The Bible is what I follow instead. I believe men and women are “equal but different”. You cannot have a female pastor or even a female president at Cedarville because that would require her to preach in chapel. The Bible makes it clear that only men can do that. I will not fire women professors for teaching the Bible. There is one in the Bible dept and I will not fire her for teaching the Bible. We need more female Bible professors to work with women in the Bible dept. Its okay to teach, but not to preach.
Additionally, I am concerned about federal stipulations that we must teach about homosexuality and approve of it to receive public funding. I will end public funding if that is the case. I realize that student loans, pell grants, etc are all dependent on that funding but I will sacrifice those before I allow this university to approve of homosexuality.
Q: What about same-sex students?
A: We must expel students who practice same-sex practices. If you are experience same-sex attraction then we want to sit down, talk with you, and discuss the Bible. I don’t like the term “sexual minority” because we are all “in Christ” regardless of identities or labels. Also, I don’t like to focus on same-sex attraction too much because the bigger issue is porn. We need to fight this sin more than anything else.
Q: What will Cedarville do to expand its diversity as a whole?
A: I admit that Cedarville is not diverse. We have way too few African Americans here and need to reach out to them specifically. We need to take some “big action” early on in the school year to draw them in and then discuss from there how to continue that success.
Q: What will you do about the “Cedarville Bubble?”
A: Students need to join local churches! Otherwise, I don’t know how to help them.
So heres what I want to do to help the Cedarville community. My 100 day plan is to meet with every faculty member and learn what each of you like about Cedarville and what you would like to change. Please email me about this!
I do not want a legalistic system. We’re not gonna start measuring girls skirts or anything. Don’t worry, we won’t let it get that bad. Haha. But I understand that many students are not saved here. So I’m gonna make sure we preach about salvation regularly in chapel so we can say with confidence that they heard the gospel here at Cedarville.
Q: How do we balance reaching the culture with not being the culture either?
A: First, we cannot look like the culture. We must look different. Second, we can’t become monastic. Third, we must recognize that it is Christ, not us, that transforms the culture. Fourth, I want to leave the bubble every two years to evangelize. I want to bring students with me too. It could be anything from an overseas missions trip to just meeting with a motorcycle rally and talking to people about Christ there. This is because missions work will change how you teach every single subject. It will change how you see the world.
I like to make my students buy a conservative textbook and a liberal one and then read both for my classes. This way they can see the clear difference between the two and why the conservative view is correct. We need Cedarville to be strong- both academically and conservatively.
Q: What will you do about financial growth? As a business professor, I believe international students are the key to increasing revenue. What would you do for international students and how would you draw them to Cedarville as opposed to secular schools?
A: I don’t like debt. We need to be responsible. We won’t spend money unless we already have it. We need more donors. I refuse to build the kingdom on the backs of students currently at Cedarville. This doesn’t mean tuition won’t go up though! But I don’t want that to happen.
I don’t feel that we need to draw international students. Its hard for them to afford the transfer. And its hard to work in America because the law says they can only work 20 hours a week. So I don’t think we need to focus on them.
Q: Its not true that Cedarville doesn’t attract colored students. The problem is that they leave within the first year of enrollment. This is why our numbers are so low. How do we address this issue.
A: We need more faculty and staff of color. We need to be more personal. We need to teach everyone the Bible and keep the Bible minor. I want the administrative faculty and staff to join me on each of these panels. I will hold four each year so that everyone can see the administration as a whole.
(***LTBL NOTE: Based on feedback we’ve received so far, we believe the word “color” (as in “of color”), but not “colored” was used by Dr. White in the question/answer.***)
Q: What will you do about sports at Cedarville and increase our standing in the NCAA?
A: I love sports. We need to have the best sports teams. We need the Godliest sports teams. I want, now I’m not promising anything, but I have asked the director of athletics to conduct a football feasibility study. We’ll attract lots of new students and that should pay for the expenses. I would love to see Cedarville become the best athletically. In addition, we need a swimming pool and swim team. I want to make sure all of this is funded by donors, not students though.
Q: What will you do for the music and art departments?
A: I will not comment on that. But I haven’t commented on a lot of things. For example, I bet you didn’t know that I like hunting!
Q: What about the White Papers?
A: White Papers are always necessary to explain the Doctrinal Statement. We need these. Now about the doctrinal statement, I think it should be stricter. We need to uphold the inerrancy of scripture and that salvation is only through Christ. I want special focus on those two issues.
Q: Is it okay to attend other denominations? I’m not a baptist. Secondly, will there be any bureaucratic changes in the way this institution is run?
A: Your church must meet the doctrinal statement. If they don’t agree then you have no place at this institution.
Now in the administration, I want to streamline everything. We must have fewer meetings, less red tape, we must eliminate unnecessary positions in administration.
Again, please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section.