Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do Any Christian Colleges or Universities Teach David Barton's View of American History?

David Barton is very influential among the Christian Right rank and file, but I wonder if there is any self-identified Christian college or university in the country that uses Barton's books to teach American history?

I don't think any of the schools affiliated with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) use his stuff.  But what about Liberty University, Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, Moody Bible Institute, Patrick Henry, Regent University, or other non-CCCU Christian schools?

Does anyone know if Barton's views are embraced by any institution of higher education?  And I am not talking here about schools that invite Barton to speak.  I am talking about his impact on history curriculum.

19 comments:

Paul M. said...

I watched a Barton dvd in a Political Science course while an undergrad at BJU (07'), but the History faculty were skeptics.

John Fea said...

Thanks, Paul. I was hoping that you would weigh in on this. I am finding that there are very few, if any, historians who teach at Christian colleges who endorse Barton's views.

historyguy67 said...

Having taught at both Pepperdine University and Westmont College, I can say that Barton's "ideas" have no adherents at either school.

Brenda T said...

I'm a professor at BJU, and I do not teach from Barton or ascribe to his views (in general).

tony said...

I taught history at a Texas Christian college for 15 years and we did not use any Barton stuff. As Arts and Science division chair, I had to ask a Government andjunct to not use Barton. He is big among home schoolers.

John Fea said...

Brenda: Thanks for responding. This is really fascinating. I don't think that there is a Christian college out there who uses or endorses the work of Barton. This is very interesting.

John Fea said...

Tony: Thanks for the post. It seems that any home schooler who comes to embrace the views of Barton will not have a Christian college to attend where his views are upheld.

John Fea said...

Does anyone know anyone from Pensacola Christian College? I think they gave Barton an honorary doctorate. Would the history department there embrace Barton's views?

It seems that in some places the administration endorse Barton's views, but the history departments do not.

Nicholas said...

To my knowledge (I graduated a few years ago) the history professors at Patrick Henry College do not use or endorse Barton.

John Fea said...

Thanks, Nicholas. I did not think Patrick Henry used Barton, but I do not know anyone there in the history department so I wasn't sure.

John Fea said...

On my Twitter feed I heard from a history prof at Evangel College in Missouri. (Assembly of God) Their department does endorse Barton. This is interesting because I know many AG folks who do support his views.

I also heard from a graduate of Pensacola Christian College who did not remember reading Barton and could not find any reference to his books in the history curriculum. If anyone knows anything about PCC's History Department, please let me know.

I have heard that they use Barton at Liberty, but he is used in the Law School and, from all reports, not endorsed by the History Department.

What about Tennessee Temple University? Anyone?

Peter Gurry said...

When I was at Moody about 6 years ago, I never heard Barton's name and his views were not taught in our history classes. Our provost at the time taught our "Christianity in America" class and did not espouse Barton's views. Quite the opposite. He gave an open lecture once that I went to on the topic "Was American Founded as a Christian Nation?" His answer was, in a nutshell, no. As a homeschooler, that was the first time I had every heard that answer from a Christian and yet I found his lecture convincing.

For what it's worth.

John Fea said...

Thanks for the comment, Peter. I was pretty sure that Moody was not peddling Barton, but one never knows.

Jonathan said...

As a former homeschooler who used A Beka books and videos, I would be surprised to hear that Pensacola owes anything directly to Barton; PCC reached the same general ideas earlier, probably from sources they have in common. I don't remember any direct references to him in any PCC materials (during the late 90s and early 2000s).

John Ragosta said...

John: Very good question. We can disagree on how to read the evidence, as you and I have, but Barton simply says what he wants about the evidence. (Who said that "you're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.") I do hope this makes a crack in his popularity. Particularly pleased to see Throckmorton from GCC's work (a "scholarly veg-o-matic"???!! -- I'd use that as a blurb to promote the book). I have been no fan of GCC since I graduated from there during a fit of fundamentalism from faculty and administration, but very glad to see the devotion to academic integrity. (By the way, my new book -- Religious Freedom: Jefferson's Legacy, America's Creed -- will be out in March. I'm sure that we can talk about it then!) John

John Fea said...

John:

I do not think that our disagreements over evidence are that great. I am really looking forward to reading your new book on Jefferson. If you would be willing to get your publisher to send me a copy I would be happy to do a review at the blog.

And I did not know that you were a GCC graduate.

Thanks for the post.

John Ragosta said...

You're probably right John (although wait until you see the new book).

I don't tend to publicize GCC a lot; we had some truly fundamental disagreements on principle. (As I said, I am told that it is quite a different place now.)

Gregg Frazer said...

Given the subject and content of my book, we obviously do not use Barton's materials or espouse his views at The Master's College. All of our history and political studies faculty are together on this. We are committed to going where the evidence leads without a pre-determined agenda.

Benjamin said...

I am a master's student in history at Liberty University. I can say that my history department does not use Barton's book. In fact, I enjoyed a presentation from a colleague who ripped apart one of his books in class very thoroughly. Any respectable historian knows his work is irresponsible.