Manning completes rewrite of religion textbook

Release Date: January 8, 2010     

PLAINVIEW – When Wayland Baptist University Professor of Religion Dr. Gary Manning began his sabbatical and book project, he classified it as a labor of love. Next Friday, his hard work will culminate in a presentation and book signing.

A former student of Dr. Nat Tracy at Howard Payne University, Dr. Manning has used a book written by Tracy as a text in one of his religion courses for years. The book, however, was never published. With permission from Dr. Tracy’s family, Manning took it upon himself to revise, rearrange, update and edit the copy in order to pursue publication. With the project complete, the book, A Search for Authentic Christianity, is now available for purchase. Published by Trafford Publishing, the book is available for $31 and may be purchased through the Trafford Web site, on, or at the Wayland bookstore.

On Friday, Jan. 15, Manning will present an overview of the book to the university community and the public at 2 p.m. in Wayland’s McClung University Center, Room 211. Following the presentation, Manning will be available to sign copies of the book at 3:30 p.m. in the University Store. 

Having used the book as an influence and teaching tool throughout his career, Dr. Manning said Tracy asks the question, “Have we come dangerously near to missing authentic Christianity?” The book looks at Christians’ journey toward Christlikeness and how Christianity should be more of a partnership with God.

“It will be a book that people will struggle with, and it will be challenging,” Manning said. “But it will be worth it to work through it. For too long we have looked at Christianity through man’s perspective and it comes out as a very selfish thing. If we look at it from God’s perspective, it becomes a Gospel that says God is transforming us, not just making a place for us in heaven.”

Dr. Manning, who has taught at Wayland for the last 25 years, uses the book as a text for his Spiritual Transformation course. He says it has also influenced his life from his days in class at Howard Payne throughout his preaching and career.

“[Dr. Tracy’s] teaching has really transformed my understanding, philosophy and ministry,” Manning said. “To be able to make it more accessible to anyone who desires a deeper and closer walk with Christ is just a thrill. It really is a sense of honor and accomplishment to be able to work with this book and Dr. Tracy’s thoughts.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Dr. Manning’s work or in purchasing a copy of the book is invited to attend the presentation at 2 p.m. on Friday.