Is Life Christian University the Source of David Barton’s PhD?

Today, religious right activist and self-styled historian, David Barton placed a video on his YouTube account where he claims to have two honorary doctorates and an earned PhD. About a year ago, he said he didn’t have a PhD. Now he says he does and has been hinting at this for weeks. The video appears to have three degrees in the background. The first one appears to be his honorary degree from Pensacola Christian College and the third appears to be from Ecclesia College. The mystery “earned degree” appears to be the one which is partially hidden in the background. Watch (UPDATE 9/8/16: Barton first set the video to private and then made it unavailable. However, I have it here:

Looking closer at it, I think it is a degree from the unaccredited prosperity gospel fave school Life Christian University (click for larger image).

Let’s recall that this is the same fellow who is reportedly a favorite historian of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On September 13 & 14, he will be hosting legislators at his Washington DC pastors’ briefing and leading a tour of the Capitol, hosted by a member of Congress.Barton Life University Seal
Now look a little closer at the reflection on the glass case, what appears to be half of the crest which goes on the LCU degrees and the signatures. The title and format of Barton’s diploma are nearly identical to those elements on the diplomas displayed on the LCU website.
Here is the reflection of the school name reversed. It sure looks like Life Christian University to me.
LCU reversed

I can’t find a listing of faculty and the doctorates offered are in theology and ministry, not history and/or education. According to Guidestar, LCU is actually a church.

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because it is a church.

That seems a little shady.

The requirements have no doubt been slipped for some of those distinguished graduates and may have been in Barton’s case. The requirements say that a student must first get a masters and DMin to go for the PhD. Did Barton do that? He has never said he had anything other than a BA from ORU. The school is not accredited by a regional accrediting body which is perhaps why he didn’t name it in his video. Here is what the LCU website says about “Distinguished Degree Holders:”

The distinguished ministers shown on this page are some of the most renowned preachers and teachers in the world today. Many are recognized throughout the entire world, but all of them are famous in heaven. It has been the privilege of Life Christian University to recognize their published works, along with their lifetime ministry achievements in consideration for earned degrees from LCU. The Doctor of Ministry, the Doctor of Missiology, the Doctor of Theology and the Doctor of Philosophy are all earned degrees, recognized for the highest level of academics and spirituality. LCU is honored to be associated with God’s greatest ministry gifts given to the Body of Christ today.

Sounds like their published words and ministry achievements were used “in consideration for earned degrees.” In other words, they didn’t take courses, they were given a degree because they were famous. Is this how Barton got his degree? He needs to clear this up.

Barton’s smug rebuke depends entirely on what degree he actually has. It appears his degree comes from the same school which awarded Joyce Meyers and Benny Hinn a PhD in theology. The school does not award degrees in history which Barton should have disclosed.

Barton’s video raised more questions than it answered. Mr. Barton, from where did you get your MA and PhD and what did you major in? Why did you hide part of the diploma in the middle? Why didn’t you just tell your audience in the video? These questions aren’t hard or unreasonable.



Life Christian University acknowledged giving David Barton a degree without any course work.