Writing at the Pietist Schoolman blog, Grace College history professor Jared Burkholder penned an open letter to Tim and David Barton in response to the Bartons’ claim that Christian historians don’t rely on primary sources (see these links for more on the Bartons’ claim). The letter begins:
Dear David (and now Tim) Barton,
Maybe you can clarify something for me. Why do you continue to insist that because you read primary sources you have a unique voice when compared to professional Christian historians like me, who you say fail to make use of original sources?
I am hardly the first to be annoyed by this, but suffice it to say this is utterly incomprehensible to me. Primary sources are to historians what hammers are to carpenters; what keyboards are to composers; what language is to writers. They are the tools of our trade, the most basic implements we learn to use.
Go read the entire letter, it is a hammer. Burkholder concludes:
Whatever the reason, stop lying. Stop using this absurd line that citing primary sources and original documents somehow means you are unique or magically makes you an authority. We all use original documents. It is so routine that it’s difficult to believe this requires being said at all. It is literally what we do for a living.
Jared’s letter is important business. Barton’s work has been used by Eric Metaxas and is reportedly consulted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Not only is he reaching millions with false stories, he trashes legitimate historical work done by actual historians, including many Christians. His defamation of academic historians has caused widespread confusion (read the comments) about who people can trust to tell them the truth about American history.