Charles Frazier Stanley (born September 25, 1932) is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in northern Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and president of In Touch Ministries and also served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984 to 1986. He has an evangelical and dispensationalist theology.
Charles Frazier Stanley was born on September 25, 1932, in Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, just nine months before his father, Charley, 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 mastersTh.M. and doctorate Th.D. degrees in theology from Luther Rice Seminary, in Florida (which later relocated to Lithonia, Georgia).
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. He has written, "I began to apply the principles of that book to my endeavors as a pastor, and I discovered they worked!" He 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."
Stanley has been criticized by theologian Charles Marsh for supporting the invasion of Iraq and for theological error in regards to violence. Marsh charges that Stanley interprets Jesus and the role of the church too closely with government aims while avoiding military service in his own life.
In addition to his work in Christian ministry, Stanley is an avid photographer. Much of his photographic work is featured in the In Touch magazine, as well as in other materials printed by the ministry (such as the In Touch wall and desk calendars).
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 First Baptist Atlanta's bylaws, Stanley will be able to keep his post 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 also has a daughter named Becky, whom Stanley has occasionally mentioned in his sermons.
Stanley's wife of more than 40 years, Anna J. Stanley, originally filed for divorce on June 22, 1993, following their separation in 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. Even though this was not the end of the marriage, the Moody Radio Network station in Atlanta (then-WAFS) took Stanley's daily broadcast off the air during that time, as managers concluded there was no sign of reconciliation. The Stanleys were legally separated at the time that divorce papers were filed for the last time on February 16, 2000. The judge signed the final divorce decree on May 11, 2000.
Anna Johnson Stanley died on November 10, 2014.
|1972||The Chapel Hour||Host|
|1983–1985||The Breakfast Club||Host|
|1990–pres.||In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley||Host|
|2002||TBN's Praise the Lord||Guest|
|2011||19 Kids and Counting||Episode: "Donating Duggars"|