A Year Ago Today David Barton Claimed to Have an Earned PhD

A year ago today, religious right activist and member of Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration David Barton posted the following video on his Facebook and YouTube accounts.

In the video, Barton chastises progressives for questioning his claim to have an earned doctorate. He said he has an earned doctorate but that he has chosen not to talk about it. However, the next day Barton chose to take the video off of both websites and chose not to talk about the reasons why.
Barton’s haughty claim to have an earned doctorate gave way to silence after it was revealed that the degree came from Life Christian University, a

Life Christian University diploma reflection
Life Christian University diploma reflection

diploma mill. According to the president of Life Christian University, Douglas Wingate, Barton didn’t attend the school but was given credit for his historical writings. Even though one cannot meaningfully call a degree earned when you don’t take any classes, that is exactly what LCU does with famous preachers and religious leaders.

The state of Missouri advised fellow LCU degree recipient Joyce Meyer that her claim of an earned PhD from the school was against state law. Meyer’s lawyer responded that Meyer had already decided that describing the LCU PhD as earned was false. Meyer now describes her LCU degree as honorary. Although that description is legal in Missouri, LCU’s is not accredited by a Department of Education recognized accrediting body and the status as a university is unusual since the school is registered with the IRS as a church.
Barton called his degree earned but sarcastically dismissed the honest reporting of what he called progressives. Barton has never explained or apologized for his demeaning and misleading statements. Yet, he still claims to be “America’s premier historian.” Would “America’s premier historian” try to pass off what can only be called an honorary degree as an earned one?

As of now, America’s premier historian has chosen not to talk about it.

Joyce Meyer Ministries: Life Christian University’s Description of Earned Doctorate Does Not "Accurately Reflect the Information Correctly"


On October 7, I reported that evangelist Joyce Meyer claimed to have an earned PhD in theology from Life Christian University. She claimed to be a graduate on a promotional video still housed on the LCU website (this video has been removedMeyer’s picture remains) and said the degree was earned on her website. On October 11, I filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s office in keeping with MO law which forbids the use of false and misleading degrees in connection with one’s business or profession.

Sometime after the initial post and the AG complaint was filed, Joyce Meyer Ministries changed the designation of the LCU degree from “earned” to “honorary.” I know the change happened after the complaint was filed because the degree was described as “earned” on October 15, 2016 (from the Wayback Machine on Oct. 15). I discovered the change in November.

Until recently, I did not know why Joyce Meyer Ministries changed the designation from “earned” to the more accurate “honorary.” A few days ago, I received an email from the MO AG office indicating that action had been taken on my complaint. Attached to email was a March 29, 2017 letter from an attorney for Joyce Meyer Ministries to the MO AG’s office indicating that the designation had been changed on the website because the description was inaccurate. About LCU’s description of an earned degree, the spokesman for Joyce Meyer Ministry wrote:

While we are aware that this is the verbiage that Life Christian University uses on their own website and literature, we simply felt it did not accurately reflect the information correctly. Because of this we took the initiative to change the wording on our website and literature from “earned” to “honorary” before this complaint was filed.

While it is a small point, the initial post was public and the complaint was filed before the change was made. Nevertheless, I commend Joyce Meyer Ministries for this change and for acknowledging the truth about the situation. This is much more than David Barton or other so-called “earned degree” holders have done. I now call on her to remove her endorsement of LCU which she has acknowledged incorrectly reflects information about the degrees given to LCU’s “distinguished degree holders.”

Missouri’s law is one of the toughest in the nation on false and misleading degrees. Other LCU “distinguished degree holders” from MO include Billye Brim and Larry Ollison.

Six Months Later David Barton Still Hasn’t Explained His Earned Doctorate

In early September of 2016, self-styled historian David Barton posted the following video:

The day after he posted the video, he removed it from his Wallbuilders website and Facebook page. He has never addressed why the video was up for a day and then gone.
Barton Life University Seal

Barton ridiculed progressives for disbelieving his claim to have an earned doctorate. Then all of a sudden the video was removed and he stopped talking about his doctorate. None of the people who rely on his work apparently care that he claimed to have an earned doctorate when in fact it came from diploma mill Life Christian University. The claim just vanished as if it never happened.

Will Barton ever address his claims?

For the rest of the story, see these posts.

David Barton's PhD School Life Christian University Claims America's Founding Is Church History

Nearly three months ago, David Barton proudly proclaimed that he had an earned PhD. The very next day he removed the video claim from his websites and never explained why. We later learned that Barton’s earned degree came from Life Christian University, a diploma mill based in Lutz, FL. Barton’s degree was given based on his published works in history which Life Christian considered to be part of Church history.
Now, via another statement from Life Christian University, more details are available about Barton’s so-called earned degree.  According to LCU, “earned” PhD degrees are awarded based on published works.

This is our process for awarding earned degrees based on published works:
1. We accept a student’s earned degrees from other institutions based on their official transcripts.
2. We award credit for published works commensurate with the amount of writing required for a Master’s Thesis or a Doctoral Dissertation.
Please note that earned degrees based on published works are all issued only from our Main Campus in Tampa, FL, and say that clearly on the degree certificate.

And so it appears that LCU accepted Barton’s BA from Oral Roberts University and considered his self-published books as meeting the writing requirement. The requirements are minimal:

The Doctoral-level dissertation must be a minimum of 150 pages in length. It should not exceed 160 pages.
The Master’s level thesis must be a minimum of 50 pages in length. It should not exceed 55 pages.

With those skimpy guidelines, anybody who has self-published a book would be eligible for LCU’s highest honor. The credit LCU awards for an earned degree don’t include any academic work as a part of a program. In other words, the degree is not actually earned and, if it has any status at all, it would have to be considered an honorary degree (as Joyce Meyer recently relabeled her LCU PhD as required by law in MO).
The guidelines don’t address what happens when an author’s book is pulled from publication due to errors.
If LCU was in compliance with FL law, no degrees outside of religious degrees would be offered. However, in Barton’s case, LCU has made an exception.

As a University with religious exemption, we only offer degrees that fall under that exemption.
Church History is part of our curriculum. Dr. Wingate feels that the founding of America and our country’s involvement in the unfolding of God’s plan for the nations of the world is one of the top topics of Church History for the last 400 years!

If America had a state church, then one might make this case. However, Wingate’s stretching of the truth is obvious for all to see. Furthermore, Barton claims expertise in “historical and constitutional issues,” not church history. A review of Barton’s books doesn’t turn up themes which comprehensively deal with the history of the church in America.
LCU only offers one course in Church History:

TH-431 CHURCH HISTORY This course teaches the student the origin of the Christian Church, its birth, and its development from the Day of Pentecost through modern times.

Obviously, this course does not address America’s political history. It also should be obvious that LCU’s faculty isn’t qualified to assess Barton’s work as a matter of history, church or otherwise.
How long will Barton and LCU carry on this charade?

Joyce Meyer No Longer Calls Her Life Christian University PhD an Earned Degree

After I pointed out that it is illegal in Missouri to claim an earned PhD when you don’t have one, mega evangelist Joyce Meyer has changed the description of her Life Christian University doctorate. Here is what she used to claim:
Joyce Meyer ministry PhD
She claimed that she had “an earned PhD in theology from Life Christian University…”
Now she accurately refers to the degree as honorary.
Joyce Meyer ministry PhD honorary
David Barton referred to his Life Christian University degree as earned but where it is illegal to do so, Joyce Meyer changed the description.