(Leonard) Carlyle Marney was born July 8, 1916 in Harriman, TN. He received his A.B. from Carson-Newman in 1938, having entered on a football scholarship in 1933. He would return with a firm calling to ministry after taking a year off to work. He earned his Th.M. (1943) and Th.D. (1946) from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, Wake Forest University, Johnson C. Smith University, and Kalamazoo College.
After briefly pastoring churches in Fort Knox, Beaver Dam and Paducah, KY, Marney pastored First Bapstist Church in Austin, TX from 1948-1958 and served as Professor of Christian Ethics and Westervelt Lecturer at Austin Presbyterian Seminary. He lectured and preached on many campuses including Duke, Princeton, Harvard and Yale. He was also Peyton Lecturer at Southern Methodist University, Wells Lecturer at Texas Christian University, Cunningham Lecturer at Austin College, Willson Lecturer at Texas Tech University and Trinity University. In addition, he preached at several Army and Air Force bases and served as the leader of seminars for active duty Navy chaplains.
From 1958-1967 Marney was the senior minister at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. He resigned to establish Interpreter’s House, an ecumenical study center for clergy and laity at Lambuth Inn, Lake Junaluska, NC.
The author of numerous books and articles, Marney also served on the Study Committees of the World Council of Churches, the Theological Commission of the Baptist World Alliance, Editorial Board of Religion in Life and was trustee for the Christian Century and member of the Editorial Council of Theology Today. He was also a member of the National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty and was vice-president-at-large of the National Council of Churches.
Marney died suddenly of a heart attack on July 3, 1978 in Lake Junaluska at the age of 61. He had been preparing to preach that week on various aspects of “The Christian Life Style” to more than 600 ministers at a Pastor’s School being held at Furman University.
On November 8, 1978 the Duke University Chapel and the Duke Divinity School communities offered a concert in memory of Carlyle Marney. In the program, the Rev. Dr. Stuart C. Henry wrote: “Of Marney the Man: Teacher, pastor, counselor, and friend – Carlyle Marney was all of these, and more. The unique experience of having known him is aptly described by Bunyan. When Christian, fleeing from the City of Destruction, happily arrived at the Interpreter’s House he discovered ‘excellent things’ which were ‘rare and profitable’ for his continuing journey. So it was with us who had the good fortune to encounter Marney. Revived by his spirit and instructed by his wisdom, we remember him gratefully and will think of him often, and always warmly.”
In the annual lecture series named for him and sponsored by the Center for Baptist Studies Steeple Committee, Carson-Newman seeks to celebrate the life of one of its most famous graduates who gave his life to the service of God’s kingdom.
Carlyle Marney Lecture Speakers
1990 Michael V. Carter
1991 Nancy Tatom Ammerman
1992 Martin E. Marty
1993 Wayne Flynt
1994 Grady Cothen
1995 Oliver Thomas
1996 James W. Fowler
1997 Ken Medema (*Co-sponsored with Staley Lecture Series program)
1998 Bob Agee
1999 Charles Marsh
2000 James S. Netherton
2001 Walter Shurden
2002 Ron Sider
2003 Stanley Hauerwas
2004 Charles Kimball
2005 Glen Stassen
2006 Timothy George and Bill J. Leonard
2007 Nancey Murphy
2008 Wayne Flynt
2009 Lyle W. Dorsett
2010 Carolyn D. Blevins
2011 Miyon Chung