Terry Mattingly was raised as a Southern Baptist, the son of a Southern Baptist preacher. He was a Southern Baptist for a long time as an adult, but eventually left the Southern Baptist Convention. He is now an Eastern Orthodox Christian.
From: Uwe Siemon-Netto (UPI religion correspondent), "Eastern rite lures Western seekers", published 1 August 2001, posted on Orthodox Online website (http://www.orthodoxonline.com/seekers.htm; viewed 15 July 2005):
Outsiders have three principal motives for the conversion of Western Christians to Orthodoxy, according to journalism professor and religion columnist Terry Mattingly, a Southern Baptist pastor's son, who has himself journeyed this way.From an autobiographical sketch posted on Terry Mattingly's official website (http://www.gospelcom.net/tmattingly/tmatt/tmatt.php):
"First, people allege that converts are those who could not live without certainty," he said. "Second, there is supposed to be the attraction of the liturgical beauty, the smells and bells, the icons.
"But in my case, the third reason applies: the beauty of the doctrine and faith."
Purity is what Mattingly's former pastor, Father Gregory of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church outside Baltimore, was seeking. Luke, whose congregation, like so many Antiochian parishes in the U.S., consists predominantly of converts, was once Gary Mathewes-Green, an Episcopal priest.
His wife, Frederica, a prolific writer, described in one of her books how he became a "spiritual wanderer," to use Mattingly's words.
She wrote, "It became fashionable to doubt Jesus' miracles, the Virgin birth, even the bodily resurrection ... Gary at last decided he could no longer be under the authority of apostate bishops."
Terry Mattingly writes the nationally syndicated "On Religion" column for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., and is associate professor of media and religion at Palm Beach Atlantic College. He also is a senior fellow for journalism at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.From: Terry Mattingly, "Why I Am No Longer A Southern Baptist (1982)", posted on Terry Mattingly's official website (http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/tmatt/freelance/xbapt.php; viewed 14 July 2005):
Mattingly's father was a pastor and his mother is a language arts teacher. Thus, it's no surprise that Mattingly is a journalist and teacher who focuses on religion and that he continues to study both subjects.
He has worked as a reporter and religion columnist at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Charlotte Observer and the Charlotte News. In 1991, Mattingly began teaching at Denver Seminary and, later, was a founding member of the Association for Communications and Theological Education.
While teaching, he has continued to write the weekly "On Religion'' column for the features department of the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., which is sent to about 350 newspapers in North America. His writing also appears in Current Thoughts & Trends, Beliefnet.com, Touchstone, The Lookout, the Amy Foundation Syndicate and numerous other publications.
In addition to his classroom duties, Mattingly lectures at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., the Torreys Honors Program at Biola University, Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and in other settings across the nation. Mattingly serves as co-director of the CCCU's Summer Institute of Journalism, a four-week undergraduate program in late May and early June at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Prof. Mattingly [and his] wife, Debra Bridges Mattingly... are members of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Several weeks ago, I burned a bridge in my head and in my heart. I made a decision that only sounds simple. I have decided that I will never join another Southern Baptist church.From: Terry Mattingly, "A 1995 POSTLUDE: For online friends", which accompanies Mattingly's essay "Why I Am No Longer A Southern Baptist (1982)", posted on Terry Mattingly's official website (http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/tmatt/freelance/xbapt.php; viewed 14 July 2005):
Being a Southern Baptist has always been a major part -- perhaps the major part -- of my sense of identity. I am a Southern Baptist preacher's kid. I am a graduate of the world's largest Southern Baptist university. I was ordained a deacon in a Southern Baptist church while in my mid-20s.
Not long ago, I returned to Baylor University in Waco, Texas. While walking around the campus, I felt like I might as well have been at Brigham Young University [the largest university run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].
In the years since I left Waco, I have changed and Baylor has changed. I expected that. But, during my short visit, another set of feelings washed over me. By Southern Baptist standards, Baylor is an open -- and to use an SBC buzz word -- "moderate" campus.
What I was feelings was stronger than the musings of a disenchanted graduate wishing for a return to the good old days. I realized that if I was rejecting Baylor, and Baylor rejecting me, then I was much further out of the mainstream of Southern Baptist life than I had ever dreamed. I asked myself, "If Baylor is left of center in the SBC, where does that leave me?"
...In the past decade, I have been influenced the most by great Christian writers such as C.S. Lewis, Garry Wills, Martin E. Marty, Frederich Buechner, Andrew M. Greeley, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkein, Charles Williams and Dorothy Day. There are no Southern Baptists in that list...
I am tired of being in a proud, defiant, rejected minority of people who believe they are the "only true Baptists left." I want to be in a church in which I fit in, in which I can focus on the positive.
And maybe I'm not even a "true Baptist."
[Mattingly continues with a detailed explanation of spiritual and cultural reasons why he decided he could no longer be a Southern Baptist.]
This article was written in spring of 1983, about the time that my wife, Debra, and I left the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., one of the few Baptist congregations in the world that can accurately be called "liberal," and began attending St. Mark's Episcopal Church. We left Myers Baptist Baptist, in large part, due to a conflict over the church's proclamation of universalism.
...It is very ironic that my upbringing in Southern Baptist life had left me cut off from mainstream evangelical life and thought, as well as that in historic churches. In the past, Southern Baptists have been pretty much a kingdom unto themselves -- cut off from everyone.