Life Christian University Confirms David Barton's "Earned Doctorate"

Over a month ago, religious right luminary and self-styled historian David Barton bragged for one day in a video that he had an “earned doctorate.” Although he hid the diploma on the video, the doctorate appeared to come from Life Christian University, a school in FL which gives degrees in consideration for ministry experience. The day after he posted the video on Facebook and YouTube, Barton removed it from social media.  He has not commented since about the video or “earned doctorate.”
Now it seems sure that the degree Barton called earned was given to him by LCU. According to a statement to Christian Today from Life Christian University president Douglas Wingate, Barton’s written history works were considered as an aspect of awarding a doctorate. Wingate was quoted in an article today by Mark Woods at Christian Today.

Christian Today asked whether Barton had a PhD from LCU. Wingate appears to imply he does, saying: “All of the candidates work is thoroughly examined before credit is awarded and it is clearly identified on their transcript. That is certainly the case with Dr David Barton, whose work in comparison to the revisionist historians, make[s] them look completely foolish.”

Reviewing the full statement from Wingate, it seems that Barton’s work in history was used as a basis for his “earned degree.” Wingate said:

It seems that questions have arisen concerning various well-known ministers of the Gospel who we refer to as Distinguished Degree holders. These ministers are not graduates of LCU but are those for whom we recognize the comparable academic work in their published teaching materials, many of which we use as texts in our university, and we have matriculated degrees for their work. As with any regularly enrolled student, when we do an assessment on the former education that a student desires to transfer into LCU, we consider any former Bible School credit, liberal arts school credit, Bible School teaching credit and Published Works credit. It is a common practice for even secular liberal arts institutions to offer Life Experience credit.
When a minister has enough credit beyond their customary transfer credit, LCU is able to matriculate degrees for each of the various levels of credit. The first degree is the Bachelors degree, then the Masters degree, then the Doctor of Ministry degree and finally the Ph.D. The necessary credit hours of study that match these degrees is 120 credits of undergraduate study for the Bachelors degree, 36 credit hours of graduate study for the Masters degree, 15 hours of post-graduate study plus a 30 credit dissertation for the D.Min. and 15 hours of post-graduate study plus a 30 credit dissertation for the Ph.D. Again, these degrees may consist of transfer credit, and previously published works. This work, of course, must be for that which falls into the disciplines traditionally offered by the university, but an exception can be made for some work that is outside of, but related to those disciplines. One such discipline would be in Christian American History, which falls into the category of Modern Church History. All of the candidates work is thoroughly examined before credit is awarded and it is clearly identified on their transcript. That is certainly the case with Dr. David Barton, whose work in comparison to the revisionist historians, make them look completely foolish.

The crux of the problem is in Wingate’s description of “matriculated degree.”

These ministers are not graduates of LCU but are those for whom we recognize the comparable academic work in their published teaching materials, many of which we use as texts in our university, and we have matriculated degrees for their work.

A matriculated student is one who is enrolled in a degree program. Wingate says these “distinguished degree holders” didn’t graduate. Elsewhere Wingate has said they didn’t attend. If they didn’t attend or graduate, there is no meaningful way to describe their degree as “matriculated.” In short, he just added up any previous academic work somewhere else and added enough credit to get to a PhD without any attendance at LCU. By federal definition, this is what diploma mills do.
In light of the LCU statement, let’s review Barton’s claim
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ivAbp6vX-0[/youtube]
No wonder Barton wanted to hide the LCU degree behind one of his honorary degrees. If words mean anything, the degree can’t be considered earned.
Of course another problem with the degree is that it may be in Christian American History. One wonders who at LCU is qualified to judge whether or not Barton’s history is accurate. The answer is no one, because LCU president Wingate allowed the student to be the teacher. Here is what Wingate said about Barton in relationship to his critics.

One such discipline would be in Christian American History, which falls into the category of Modern Church History. All of the candidates work is thoroughly examined before credit is awarded and it is clearly identified on their transcript. That is certainly the case with Dr. David Barton, whose work in comparison to the revisionist historians, make (sic) them look completely foolish.

A little later in the statement, Wingate admits that LCU doesn’t offer liberal arts courses.

We do not offer any liberal arts in our programs, nor are we in competition with any liberal arts institutions, and therefore do not receive any government monies for our educational programs. In a way you could say we also believe in the separation of church and state. We simply believe that the state should not be involved in the church’s ministry education. In reality, since the first institutions of higher learning in America originated in the church, it seems that the liberal arts institutions should have to come to the church for accreditation. It would certainly change things if they had to meet our standards of spirituality and morality.

How could Barton get a degree in history from an institution which doesn’t offer history courses? As an exempt from licensing school in FL, LCU can’t offer degrees in anything other than ministry.
Perhaps, Barton took the video down because the use of a fake or misleading degree is illegal in Texas and other states. In any case, he has some explaining to do.