Dr. Charles Stanley, Prominent Christian Leader, Has Died

Dr. Charles F. Stanley passed away at the age of 90 years. Dr. Stanley, who had been Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Atlanta for over fifty years and a revered leader within the Southern Baptist Convention,  “passed away peacefully this morning at home,” the church said in a statement. “We are forever grateful for his enduring legacy of faithful leadership and spiritual guidance.”

Possessed with vision and energy and propelled by faith, Dr. Stanley also founded “In Touch Ministries,” one of the world’s largest and most respected Christian teaching ministries. In his obituary published by In Touch, Dr. Stanley’s work is described as having been “Known to audiences around the world through his wide-reaching TV and radio broadcasts.” Dr. Stanley’s work is presented as modeling “his 65 years of ministry after the apostle Paul’s message in Acts 20:24: “Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.”

Background information provided about Dr. Stanley’s development into a prominent religious leader discloses that he was born Sept. 25, 1932 in Dry Fork, Virginia, during the height of the Great Depression. Dr. Stanley was raised by a single mother after his father died when Stanley was only nine months old.

He “received a call to ministry at the age of 14.” Thereafter, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, and a Bachelor of Divinity at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. As reported, Dr. Stanley “later went on to earn the distinctions of Master and Doctor of Theology from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta.”

Dr. Stanley assumed his longtime role as senior pastor of First Baptist Atlanta in 1971. He then “launched his foray into broadcast ministry with a 30-minute program, The Chapel Hour, on Atlanta-area TV stations WXIA and WANX (now WGCL).” As described, The Chapel Hour—renamed In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley—went nationwide in 1978 after the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) contacted Stanley. Fortuitously for Dr. Stanley, CBN was “looking for a practical, Bible-teaching program for its new satellite distribution network.” The “broadcast grew from 16,000 local viewers to a nationwide audience in just one week. Stanley was the country’s longest-serving pastor with a continuous weekly broadcast program.”

By 1982, reporting discloses, In Touch Ministries was incorporated and the In Touch radio broadcast entered syndication. “During the 1980s, the In Touch program penetrated almost every major market in the United States, reaching more than 1 million households.” At the time of his death, Stanley’s messages “were heard in more than 127 languages around the world via radio, shortwave, the Messenger Lab project, or TV broadcasts.”

Dr. Stanley is alleged to have often stated that people are to “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” Dr. Stanley’s focus for his preaching has been characterized as “practical, Christ-centered, biblically based principles for everyday life.” He “tackled” a diverse spectrum of topics, such as “parenting, finances, personal crises, emotions and relationships, prayer, the character of God and how to seek and obey God through adversity and personal hardships.”

Among his many accolades and honorifics, Dr. Stanley “served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1985 and 1986, was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1988 and named Clergyman of the Year in 1989 by Religious Heritage of America.” As a prolific author, “Most recently, Stanley was recognized for selling more than 10 million copies of his more than 70 books, the latest of which was published in 2023.

D & B Staff

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Episode 64