Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is David Barton Still Speaking to Missouri Southern Baptists Tomorrow?

David Barton will be speaking tomorrow at the "Turning America Conference" at Second Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. George Barna of the marketing research firm The Barna Group will be the other keynote speaker at this event.  The event is sponsored by Missouri Southern Baptists.

Barton's visit to Springfield raises a couple of questions for me:
  • Why is David Barton being promoted as an historian?  So much of what he has written has been discredited by reputable source after reputable source.  Why aren't there more reputable Christian historians in Missouri speaking out about this?  I am afraid this has the potential of hurting the larger Christian witness of Southern Baptist Church in Missouri.
  • Why is George Barna participating in this event?  Many evangelical groups rely on the Barna Group to obtain information about the state of Christianity in America.  What does his appearance with Barton at an event like this tell us about his firm's research?  Maybe nothing. But when I saw that he is speaking at an event with Barton I wondered what kind of political or religious motivations might be behind the things the Barna Group produces. Again, perhaps Barna had no idea that Barton would also be speaking at this event, but I highly doubt that since he and Barton have written a book together.   Maybe I am late to this conversation.  I would love to get some sociologists to chime in here.  Or better yet, maybe someone from the Barna Group can explain this.  
By the way, I have written a few things about Barton.  You can find them all here.  And then there is this piece from 2011: "Should Christians Trust David Barton?"

Addendum:  In the couple of hours since I wrote this post several people have sent me to this critique of Barna from Baylor sociologists Rodney Stark and Byron Johnson.