Johnnie Moore was only 14 when he first stayed in the dorms at Liberty University, and since then, he's pretty much remained at the school that Jerry Falwell founded 41 years ago in Lynchburg, Virginia. Moore and his single-mom family briefly lived in the dorms after his parents' divorce and a temporary stretch of homelessness; now 28, the Liberty grad spends much of his time at the school as a campus pastor, shepherding students in the faith and in missions.
When Moore's parents split—and when the pastor who urged them to stay together was later found guilty of adultery with another pastor's wife—Moore's faith was rocked. But today he says his doubts helped him work through some hard questions and ultimately claim his parents' beliefs as his own. He chronicles that story in Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe (Harvest House), which National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson calls "first-century Christianity in 21st-century narrative."
In the book, Moore tackles issues of pharisaism—in the church, in politics, in everyday life. He's acutely aware of the irony of a hypocrite opining on the topic: "One reason I wrote it is because I was disappointed with my own hypocrisy. I'm the first to admit it. I'll probably be a hypocrite five times again before next week, or by the end of the day."
How did you end up as a campus pastor?
When I was a student at Liberty, I heard Jerry Falwell ask in a sermon: "What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?" It was a vision question. I told him after the service, "Dr. Falwell, I would try to reach the other [secular] colleges and students in Lynchburg with the gospel." We scheduled a meeting and talked about it, and a year later, while I was ...