When I first read the article by Chris Pinto about David Barton I was awash with disbelief. Honestly, I thought this Pinto guy was off his rocker. To explain why, here is my excuse: I was homeschooled, and therefore not indoctrinated by the public school system, and since we believed that the public school system is wrong in their teaching that the founding fathers were atheists, we were supportive of David Barton and his products. We believed that what he said was the truth that the world didn't want you to hear. So you can understand my reluctance to accept Mr. Pinto's claims. It was a sort of 180. In my loyalty to what I thought was the “truth” I immediately set out to disprove these assertions. Before I go any further I want to add that I am not saying that that is what Mr. Pinto concludes, and I myself am not going to conclude that the public system is correct. I do not believe the founding fathers were atheists, though whether some where agnostics or not I do not know.
First on my mission, I located the full letter on David Barton's site, Wallbuilders, and then found the series of letters in question, thanks to Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. I read Adams' letter to Rush first with the belief that Barton was correct and then I read it again with the assumption Pinto was. At first, I thought without knowing the mood in which Adams writes it is hard to tell whether he speaks in sarcasm or whether he truly believes what he says. But one cannot always assume the writer is speaking sarcastically and, besides, I'm no history professor. It took a careful study for me to get the meaning and, on the letters alone, I have come to the conclusion that John Adams was a Unitarian, therefore he did not believe what the Bible says about the Trinity, though whether he believed in Jesus as the Messiah or called himself a Christian, I do not know. I do know that I greatly disagree with what he says about the Trinity. Furthermore, his wife says very plainly: "I acknowledge myself a Unitarian”. And who can argue with such a clear profession? Barton paints a pretty picture of the Founding Fathers that is not altogether true, I have found, but in my opinion his fault lies in his definition of what a Christian is, which is somewhat lacking in Biblical principals. This is a point I arrived at after hearing David Barton talk on his own radio show, Wallbuilders-Live, about the genuineness of Glenn Beck's faith while still remaining a Mormon. To hear it for yourself, click here. Barton argues that Beck's testimony is authentic because he openly professes it, and by his “fruit”, quoting Romans 19: 9,10, and Acts 16:31. He also says, “Glenn says he's Mormon, that's fine,” calling it nothing more than a label. What is a label but that which describes a person? I disagree entirely with him. Besides, Mormonism and Christianity are polar opposites; they cannot coexist. If you question this then read the remarks of a former Mormon and his response to a similar claim by Joel Osteen about Mitt Romney. Mormonism is nothing more than a cult, though I digress. My subject is David Barton and the truth about John Adams.
So, first of all, David Barton's idea of what defines a Christian is unbiblical. Anyone can make a claim, and anyone can do a good thing. These, at least in my book, are not what the Bible means by “fruits”. Second, Barton claims Unitarianism has changed in its meaning since the days of John Adams, and declares that Unitarians once believed in the Trinity. The opposite of a Unitarian is a Trinitarian, the names tell all. But just in case your not sure you believe me, here is the definition for them both: A Unitarian is “a person who maintains that God is one being, rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity”, and Trinitarianism is “believing in or adhering to the doctrine of the Trinity”. Now I don't doubt that many words have changed in their meaning since their creation but here's an article that helps reinforce the aforesaid: David Barton on John Adams – The Trinity. In this article by Warren Throckmorton, he quotes Holley Ulbrichs, author of The Fellowship Movement, and member of the Universalist Unitarian church, saying, (and I shall paraphrase) that Unitarians are just what they have always been, and that is people who believe in God but not the Trinity. If you are still not convinced read Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson, contained in the article mentioned just above. John Adams, his wife Abigail, and Thomas Jefferson, all use the same phrase as proof of their beliefs,”one is not three, and the three are not one”, using the belief that God gave humans the ability to reason, which I agree with, but saying reason denies belief in the Trinity. One thing I fail to understand is how someone can believe one principle from the bible and discredit another.
Now that I have come to these conclusions more questions come to mind. For example: Who then of our Founding Father's were Christian's? And if most of them were not, then why has God blessed America so much? If this is so then there is no point in “returning to the faith of our Fathers”, is there? Or as David Barton puts it, “Bringing America back to its roots”. Is everything that we thought was true nothing but hot air created by good feelings and well-wishes? Until next time, when hopefully I can answer some of these questions...