Thomas Nelson publishing company to cease publication of David Barton’s book

The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.)

Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”

Thomas Nelson describes itself as “the world’s largest Christian publisher and one of the largest trade publishers in the United States.” (Last month, HarperCollins Publishers closed a deal to acquire Thomas Nelson.) Some Cincinnati-area pastors had announced on Aug. 1 that they were boycotting Thomas Nelson for publishing The Jefferson Lies.

World Magazine

Those who have named Barton “the greatest historian ever” (Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Liberty U’s Law School dean Mat Staver, Kirk Cameron, to only name a few) must be weeping tonight. Frankly I never understood how anyone could even read a “smidgen” of his completely revised, Christian nationalist version of America’s history, and not know he was making it all up. Maybe his staunch supporters did know, and just didn’t care. 

Mike Huckabee: People should be forced to listen to David Barton



17 comments on “Thomas Nelson publishing company to cease publication of David Barton’s book

  1. Men are prone to endorse lies if those lies support their version of anything. To suggest Jefferson was anything close to a believer is also to suggest Benjamin Franklin was chaste. But when you have a fanciful view of America, and when America has become your idol, then men like Barton can become a millionaire through the support of evangelical ministers. But let us also be very clear. Almost none of the “founding fathers” could be considered evangelical or born again believers.
    That does not mean none were saved, only God knows that. However even men like George Washington wrote about God in stilted and formal language and never with a genuine hint of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And Washington, the human idol in all of this, never once suggested that Franklin was not saved and never requested prayer for the salvation if his soul. Is that the heart of a man who is inhabited by the Spirit which seeks to save that which was lost?
    I have written about George Washington here –


    But to suggest that Jefferson was sympathetic toward Christ is not only disingenuous, but it is absurd. But watch what is happening. Nationalism is rapidly becoming a major bridge to all sorts of heresies. Mormonism is now embraced because of politics and nationalism. Health and wealth preachers are now invited into mainstream evangelicalism because they love America. Do you think the devil is content to use only the cults and liberals and the emergent movement as vehicles of deception? Nationalism is very subtle and seemingly innocuous and even portrayed as a piece in the divine puzzle, when in reality it just may turn out to be the greatest western deception of all.
    The antichrist just may be an evangelical American, and if so, he will have little trouble deceiving the church if he is openly patriotic.

    • Nationalism is very subtle and seemingly innocuous and even portrayed as a piece in the divine puzzle, when in reality it just may turn out to be the greatest western deception of all.

      Based on what we see today and where the “Christian Nationalist” movement is heading, i’d have to agree Rick. A picture of the cross held in one hand and the American flag in the other (held a little higher) has become the norm in America. The lengths which the ‘Patriotic/Nationalist Christian’ movement will go (of fabricating history) in order to ‘prove’ America was/is a Christian nation, has for me personally, been truly amazing to watch.

      (Thank you for the link!)

  2. Hi. I am a Christian in Tennessee. It was good to see David Barton finally get the spanking he deserves. His twisting, distorting, and outright lying (many believe) about American history have gone unknown and unchallenged for way too long. The thing that baffles me is how the major news media outlets (who are usually glad to find a bad guy to roast alive) have totally missed the Barton story for years, and years, and years.

    How did Barton get away with this for so long? That one is easy to answer in three parts:

    1). The problem always has been and still is Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.” The unofficial (and perhaps official in some cases) Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical position in the United States has been to interpret this verse as “turn off your brain when you enter the church doorway.” A true Christian’s purpose upon entering a church or opening a volume of Christian literature at home is to let their mind go blank, soak every word into the brain, and totally believe that every word is total and complete truth without any critical analysis, questioning, or personal research to see if what what was said or read is really true.

    2) I will do this one for you in Tennessee dialect because I grew up with it and am all too familiar with it:

    “Weez ones depends on our preachers to tells us whats right from wrong. They’ze all knows a whole lots more about God and the Bible ’cause theyze ones is been to preacher school for a real long time. When theyze ones tooks their preacher oath, they made a promise to never tells the lie to us or tells us anythin that haint right. So, weez ones jist knows that whatever is a said and done down at our church jist has to be right. Hit cain’t be any other way. So, whatever preacher says, emmuns airs what we does. Preacher knows all. He is the Lord’s on personal anointed one, given a holy trust to cunvay the truth to our souls. So, how could he ever give bad information to us. Hit jist ain’t possible.”

    I think the late Jerry Falwell said it best in this famous quote:

    “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.”

    3) Ministers of the gospel, especially the fat bellied ones down south hereabouts, depend upon each other without question. Here is how it works:

    Minister Joe: “Brother John Presley. How are you? I just read a great book by David Barton!!!

    John Presley: “Sounds wonderful and nice to see ya. I’d love to talk but am late for a meeting. Gotta run!!!”

    Later that night after a Bible study:

    Jo Anne: Pastor Presley. Have you ever heard of a fella by the name of David Barton who writes books on American history, and how we once had a Christian nation?

    John Presley: “Oh!!! I have it on good authority from a dear pastor friend of mine that David Barton is a wonderful Christian and a great man of God!!! You can’t go wrong by reading one of his books!!! You just go right out and buy one of them and get closer to the Lord!!!

    That’s how it works boys. I am an archaeologist, and I work with American history as part of my profession. In my honest personal opinion, David Barton is one of the greatest deceivers ever unleashed on the people of God. Numerous people have caught him in deception out here on the public street and in academia. Thomas Nelson was the first Christian organization to catch him. I hope it is not the last. Furthermore, in my opinion (even though he has never said it publicly that I am aware of), I strongly suspect that he is a closet follower of Rousas Rushdoony and his intellectual (if you can call them that) progeny.

    Please feel free to visit my WordPress blog at:


    • Thank you Dover 🙂

      Reading your words in Tennessee dialect was real easy for me. I live in Kentucky, aha! Felt like i was sitting in one of many churches i’ve visited through the years.

      And amen, i agree. It was high time someone finally (and publicly) ‘spanked’ David Barton. A good number of unknown Christian bloggers have been pointing out his obvious fabrications for years, but it took Thomas Nelson publishing company to finally get folks attention.

      Thanks for the link. Looking forward to checking it out!

    • Wonderful post. Thank you.

  3. Well,

    enough said then?

    I have had several encounters with David and his wife. The first time was way back in the late 1970s when he came through the area I live in promoting home schooling grounded in Truth. I had an opportunity to judge his character and didn’t see any flaws.

    The next time I encountered David and his wife was when they were appointed to the same advisory board I was appointed too. We met each year for several years in a row in the Washington D.C. area going into the White House on two occasions together. I didn’t sense any flaws with his character then, either.

    I then had an experience with David and his wife the likes of which I won’t soon forget.

    Ambassador and Dr. B.J. Wilhite, founder of the National Call to Prayer organization called for an invited to the event ninety hours of prayer at a conference center in Bradenton Sarasota Florida. This group were to pray for the first ninety hours of January one, two, three, four of 1990.

    It was there that I began to see some things that caused me some concern. Nothing great or obvious just notable to my spirit as I spent well over 100 hours together with David, his wife and about 110 others over that week.

    I don’t know much about history. What I do know I have too know as you do to about history is taking it all by “faith” believing the historian practices the same rules when reading and recording what they read of history.

    Even today, in our contemporary world, people don’t see the very same “facts” and “events” of history the same way recording them according to they particular bent and spin,

    Could it be that the great body of historical records read by the same group of men, historians and learned and lettered are coming down on varying sides?

    We have heard only one side now and this side seems to be growing momentum coming out clearly against David Barton’s historical record keeping.

    I caution you against that just because the Bible does too!

    Let’s give David an opportunity to come out and address the vigorous opposition and obvious embarrassment of being dropped by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

    Keep in mind that you reading this are maybe 100 years old and all of your collective knowledge was gained by hearing and reading and discussing the history in question.

    Who of you were actually there during the time Thomas Jefferson was alive doing what history records of him doing?

    Again, everything we know and believe is by Faith.

    The following words applies to us all and I will bet you dollars to donuts, some of you have enjoyed eating them glazed ones? 🙂

    Pro 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
    Pro 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.
    Pro 21:3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

    Just my own two cents on it!

    • Hi Michael! 🙂

      You’re right in saying none of us were there during Jefferson’s life. That can be said for any historical figure of the long-ago past. But what we do possess are eye-witness historical accounts written by those who were alive & personally knew him, plus, and most importantly, Jefferson’s own writings and many of his personal (verified) correspondence. In these he discussed a number of topics including religion, separation of church and state, etc etc.

      A great many of the claims Barton’s book on Jefferson made, were unsubstantiated and frankly, untrue. That is if you hold them up to Jefferson’s own words.

      It was there that I began to see some things that caused me some concern. Nothing great or obvious just notable to my spirit as I spent well over 100 hours together with David, his wife and about 110 others over that week.

      Praise the Lord for the inward witness of the Holy Spirit! He will let us know when something is ‘off’.

      Last evening i found myself thinking about this entire topic of what Franklin, or any other American historical figure believed, thought, etc. And you know what came to me? Why do we care.

      These people are dead and gone, having faced eternity with its rewards or losses along time ago. Does it really matter today, what they believed or thought about anything? I say no…it doesn’t. We are still here, alive, and should be more interested in those who are still facing the possibility of going out into eternity without Christ. – “Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God” – That particular scripture may not exactly fit the topic, but its what comes to me.

      As far as Barton, i don’t believe he is either stupid or ignorant. Which leaves us with two possibilities: He has knowingly and with forethought lied concerning many of the claims made in this book (and others), or he has deceived himself to the point in which he believes what he claims. If the latter is true, at some point in his life he “forsook the truth” to further a personal agenda, and consequently “God sent upon him” the spirit of “strong delusion, “that he should believe a lie”

  4. PJ,

    and at arms, no, at twenty yards length, I have to say I have been somewhat disappointed by Wallbuilders. I personally take the later, that is, he has deceived himself to the point in which he believes what he claims. I believe that to be the better of the two options you put forth because all of us have a pride issue that does seem to be a more difficult enemy to destroy from our personal lives?

    Anyway, I believe what Thomas Nielsen did was appropriate for them and for their integrity as publishers.

  5. I am not a perfect Christian like all of you and must confess that I have many faults and failures in my life each day. Be that as it may, I would nonethelss like to ask your kind prayers for a dear friend of mine who is in the hospital. The story is on my blog at


    In addition, I would like to point out to Michael that David Barton has been caught in other dubious historical claims long before this recent book on Thomas Jefferson. One of those is his famous claim about the signers of the Declaration of Independence, where he claimed that most were seminarians. Several years ago, I read an article stating that this fallacious claim had actually been pointed out to Barton in unmistakable terms and that he afterwards continued to make this claim in talks before church groups. This is what I would call a David Barton “classic.” You can read about it here:


    Personally, I do not know what is going on in Barton’s head. PJ may have hit the nail on the head from a Biblical perspective. One thing I do know for certain, which is rarely addressed, is the fact that Barton does not have any academic degree in history. None at all. Zero. Zip. Nada.

  6. Mr. Barton is known for his rapid-fire delivery and absolute air of certainty about his facts. He reminds me of the worst kind of salesman. If we “don’t know much about history” then we need to be especially careful with a revisionist like him.

    • If we “don’t know much about history” then we need to be especially careful with a revisionist like him.

      Amen Louise

  7. “Why do we care?”
    Exactly. The reason believers care is because they hold the nation called America as a divine vehicle apart from all other nations. That is called idolatry. And the first question that MUST be addressed is, “Where is the New Testament teaching that allows, much less encourages, followers of Jesus to kill people over taxes?” That was the question that triggered my exodus out of the patriotic clique.
    Forget about the “just war” discussion. That is for another day. But if we can find New Testament teachings that allow us to kill people over high taxes or even governmental persecution, then we can do two things:
    * Take up arms and kill all elected officials that vote for tax increases.
    * Send guns to our Chinese brothers and sisters and tell them to emulate the Revolutionary War.
    Many believers would say those things are absurd, however they accurately reflect the spirit of the Revolutionary War. And that spirit has infiltrated the church and significantly altered our way of thinking and behaving. David Barton’s eroneous teachings are just the natural product of a nationalistic spirit which continues to lead the church away from Christ and to a religious camp of our own design.

    • The reason believers care is because they hold the nation called America as a divine vehicle apart from all other nations. That is called idolatry.

      Amen, sadly that is true Rick.

      I cringe at certain phrases frequently tossed around today; American Exceptionalism is at the top of the list. It denotes a sense of superiority and promotes the ugliest type of Nationalism. And as you pointed out, for Christians, it is nothing short of idolatry.

  8. NPR ran an interesting piece on him the other day….


    Huckabee, Beck, Cameron, Barton…. all cut from the same cloth. Very dangerous and deceptive men. I’m afraid these days the average person seems unable to read through something and interact with it. They can’t weigh the arguments, determine if they’ve been proven, nor do they know enough about topics like history to have a frame of reference.

    Instead they go looking for histories, news outlets etc… that tell them what they want to hear.

    It’s a very dangerous time for the Church. Right now more than ever discernment is needed, but I find very little out there.

    I’ve mentioned this before by David Gordon (a Reformed guy) has talked about how the Reformation (which wasn’t perfect by any means) grew out of a cultural climate generated by the Renaissance. It was a time of learning and questioning…rethinking things. It was hardly all positive, but helped to foster a cultural, intellectual and academic environment that brought about change. *That doesn’t mean I endorse all the change.

    Nevertheless we don’t live in such a day. We’re surrounded by technology which gives us access to knowledge, but without wisdom it doesn’t help much does it? We have so many teachers, books, types of media…but people seem more ignorant and gullible than ever.

    I guess it’s a good thing if you’re Beck, Huckabee, Cameron, or Barton. They’ve all become quite wealthy haven’t they?

    The time does not seem to be ripe for Reformation or Revival in ways compatible with Scripture. The time seems ripe for….something else.

  9. This one is real easy to discern. Most people really don’t serve Jesus Christ, they warm pews. The Bible told us this would happen, it’s a very narrow gate sadly. People like Beck, Barton and the like remind me of the beginnings of the “Moral Majority” back in the 1970’s. Lets just re-write History to fit our political agenda. I think most American Christians think if you vote conservative, have a gun or two, hate abortion and stand up for Chicken sandwich sellers and of course value Biblical marriage then you are a tried and true, red white and blue Christian. Fat, apathetic and more worried about the upcoming football season than much else. I used to be the same way, if I watched Joyce Meyer every morning well then I had done my duty. Oh and read my “Daily bread” and a few verses here and there to pump me up before work I was a Christian. I hate to be so harsh here, but we are watching a very great delusion. I am so thankful that God has taken the scales from some of our eyes.

  10. I think Proto makes some important points. We are in a Dark Ages in many ways, where people do not think for themselves but follow after those who will do the thinking for them and thus herd them along in comfortable flocks. It is an age of widespread illiteracy in many ways; and where celebrity clergy manipulate the “laity.” Everyone is taking his cue from someone else who makes him feel good, or right, or affirmed, or on the cutting edge, or on a holy purpose, or in the majority, or in the persecuted minority–all things that satisfy our egos, our sentiments, our ambitions, or our securities. Very dangerous indeed!

    The only real and efficacious safeguard from deception is a LOVE of TRUTH. And Jesus is THE TRUTH. We can’t love a cause, or a nation, or a movement, or a ministry, or a religion, or tradition, or an ideology, or our own preferences–they will lead us astray. It may cost everything we’ve held dear to really follow Jesus; perhaps have to put years of sincere and well-intentioned learning and “service” in the dung heap, and nail our notions to the Cross, and eat crow over what we once said and promoted. (Oh–like Saul of Tarsus did???) That is–repent. Unless people are willing to repent and start afresh and be taught of the Lord, there will be no climate for
    reformation or revival.

    We must pray!

    Thanks for the good discussion here.

  11. Actually, the Apostle Paul wrote us a prescription for times like these. I cannot recall the exact words off hand, but I will paraphrase them:

    “I have determined to know NOTHiNG ELSE but Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

    I will never forget a Sunday school class in a Southern Baptist Convention Church. I was actually there that morning when a high school English teacher with two college degrees read the first verse in the Gospel of John. She then took her huge, black Bible in hand; hoisted it as high above her head as possible, and said, “See this. This IS GOD.”

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