Breakpoint: David Barton Gave Us What We Wanted

The first article on the front page of the Breakpoint website is an article by Tom Gilson, titled, “He Gave Us What We Wanted.” In this article, Gilson lays responsibility at the feet of the evangelical community for failure to examine the claims of David Barton because “he gave us what we wanted.” Gilson writes:

I am no historian, so I am in no position to form an independent judgment of his [Barton’s] veracity. Few of us are. But that doesn’t excuse our eager acceptance of his inaccuracies. With a bit of care, any of us could have known of the serious questions that have surrounded Barton’s work for a long time. These recent revelations are nothing new, except in the degree to which conservative Christian scholars are involved in calling him to account.

Nevertheless we became for him a devoted cadre of disciples. We knew our country’s founding principles were vitally important. However, so is historical accuracy. It looks as if Barton compromised one to make a case for the other.

If the signs have been there for some time, why then did we love Barton so? And is it possible that we share the blame?

Gilson concludes:

To accept any human teacher without checking on his message with due diligence is to abandon our responsibility to the truth. David Barton’s errors are not only his. They also belong to those of us who bought his message carelessly, unquestioningly, too eagerly, and too comfortably.

These are stunning and important admissions from one of the evangelical world’s flagship ministries. While I expect that Barton will continue with ad hominem attacks, there is now no doubt that his accusations are false.