Who is Charles Stanely?
Charles Stanley (1932-present) is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in northern Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and president of In Touch Ministries. Stanley also served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984 to 1986. Stanley has an evangelical, fundamentalist, dispensationalist theology.
Stanley was born in Dry Fork, Virginia, just nine months before his father died. Stanley grew up in rural Dry Fork in the outskirts of Danville. At the age of 12, Charles became a born-again Christian, and at age 14, began his life's work in Christian ministry. Stanley received his bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond.
He later obtained his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas. Lastly, he received his Masters and Doctorate, both in theology – Th.M. and Th.D., respectively – from Luther Rice Seminary, in Florida (which later relocated to Lilburn GA).
Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. As a young pastor, he was given the motivational book Think and Grow Rich. Stanley writes, "I began to apply the principles of that book to my endeavors as a pastor, and I discovered they worked!" Stanley also wrote, "For years, I read Think and Grow Rich every year to remind myself that the truth of God is not just for one career field. It is for all manner of work and ministry."
In 1972, Stanley launched a half-hour religious television program called The Chapel Hour. The Christian Broadcasting Network began televising this show in 1978. In 1982, Stanley founded In Touch Ministries, and its radio broadcasts began to be syndicated. During the 1980s, the ministry's broadcasts were available in nearly every major American media market, usually on Sundays. In 2006, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley could be heard in 107 languages.
Currently, it airs in more than 50 languages worldwide. In the United States, "In Touch" is broadcast on approximately 500 radio stations, 300 television stations and several satellite networks including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network. Stanley's sermons are also available on the In Touch Web site and are downloadable in the form of podcasts, along with other video and audio programming. In Touch also produces a free monthly magazine called the In Touch magazine.
Stanley's writings and broadcasts address issues such as finances, parenting, personal crises, emotional matters, relationships and Protestant Christianity. According to the ministry Web site, "Dr. Stanley fervently believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, a belief strongly reflected in his teaching."
In 2005, Stanley invited Lisa Ryan to co-host a question-and-answer segment called "Bring It Home," which aired after the sermon and advertisements. The Q&A segment was intended to help the audience better grasp the content of the sermon through the use of questions the average listener might ask.
The segment was discontinued in late 2006 and replaced by Stanley alone. In early 2007, Stanley began using the final segment of the "In Touch" TV and radio programs to teach on his "30 Life Principles." Related materials and teaching are available online through InTouch.org's "Life Principles Center."
Charles Stanley's divorce from his wife Anna in 2000 after several years of separation caused a minor controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention, a matter which was complicated by reports that Stanley had said he would resign as pastor if he became divorced. At the time, he did not believe his separation would result in divorce; however, when it did, the FBA members overwhelmingly voted to keep him on as pastor.
According to church bylaws, Stanley will remain eligible to be pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta as long as he does not remarry. Charles Stanley's son Andy Stanley is the pastor of North Point Community Church in nearby Alpharetta, Georgia.
Stanley's wife of more than 40 years, Anna J. Stanley, originally filed for divorce on June 22, 1993, following their separation in the Spring of 1992; but, the two of them agreed Anna would amend the lawsuit to seek a legal separation instead ("separate maintenance"), while seeking reconciliation. She again filed for divorce on March 20, 1995. The Moody Radio Network station in Atlanta (then WAFS-AM) took Stanley's daily broadcast off the air during that time, as managers concluded there was no sign of reconciliation.
- "Bill Hybels." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (with minor edits), under GFDL.