Charles Stanley
Charles Stanley
ChurchFirst Baptist Church (Atlanta)
Personal details
Charles Frazier Stanley

(1932-09-25)September 25, 1932
DiedApril 18, 2023(2023-04-18) (aged 90)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
DenominationBaptist (Southern Baptist Convention)
ParentsCharles Stanley
Rebecca Stanley
Anna Johnson Stanley
(m. 1955; div. 2000)
Alma mater

Charles Frazier Stanley Jr. (September 25, 1932 – April 18, 2023) was an American Southern Baptist pastor and writer. He was senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta for 49 years and took on emeritus status in 2020.[2][3][4] He founded and was president of In Touch Ministries which widely broadcasts his sermons through television and radio. He also served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, from 1984 to 1986.[citation needed]

Early life and education

On September 25, 1932 (91 years ago) (1932-09-25), Stanley was born in Dry Fork, an unincorporated community of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.[5] His father, also named Charles, died nine months later. Charles Stanley Jr.s mother, Rebecca, and the rest of the family moved frequently during his childhood.[5]

At the age of 12, around 1944, Charles Stanley Jr. became a born-again Christian, and at age 14 he began his life's work in Christian ministry.[6]

Stanley graduated in 1956 at the age of 23, from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, earning a Master of Divinity.[5] He also earned a Master of Theology and a Doctorate of Theology degree from Luther Rice Seminary (at the time located in Jacksonville, Florida).[5]


Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971.[7][8]

In 1972, Stanley launched a half-hour religious television program called The Chapel Hour. In 1977, he founded In Touch Ministries with the mission to lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church.[9] The Christian Broadcasting Network began televising In Touch in 1978.[10] The show has since been translated in 50 languages.[11] 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, along with other audio and video programming, are available on the In Touch website. The ministry also publishes In Touch magazine. In Touch uses tools like radio, television, magazines and digital media in its effort to advance the Gospel as quickly as possible.[12] Stanley took the ministry name In Touch from a Living Bible he owned.[13]

Stanley's writings and broadcasts address issues such as finances, parenting, personal crises, emotional matters, relationships, and Protestantism. The In Touch website said, "Dr. Stanley fervently believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, a belief strongly reflected in his teaching."[14]

In 1985, Charles Stanley was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.[9]

In 2017, Stanley named Anthony George to succeed him as senior pastor of First Baptist Church at some point in the future.[15] On September 13, 2020, Stanley announced his retirement as senior pastor and transition to pastor emeritus, but noted that he would continue to work at In Touch Ministries.[16]

Influences and theology

With regard to theology Stanley was a conservative evangelical,[17][5] and his eschatology was dispensationalist.[18] Over the course of his ministry, Stanley developed "30 Life Principles" that he felt were essential.[19][20] He credited his pentecostal grandfather, George Washington Stanley, with inspiring one of the most referenced principles of the thirty: “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him."[21] In his book Courageous Faith: My Story from a Life of Obedience, Stanley said: "Granddad told me, 'Charles, if God tells you to run your head through a brick wall, you head for the wall, and when you get there, God will make a hole for it.'"[22]

Stanley also addressed his influences and philosophy when he wrote in 2009 that he "began to apply the principles of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich to my endeavors as a pastor, and I discovered they worked!... For years, I read [it] 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."[23]

Personal life

Stanley had a daughter named Becky.[24] Stanley's son, Andy, is the pastor of North Point Community Church in nearby Alpharetta.[25] In addition to his work in Christian ministry, Stanley was 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 including the In Touch wall and desk calendars.[14][26]

Anna J. Stanley was married to Charles Stanley Jr. for more than 40 years; she filed for divorce on June 22, 1993, after they separated in the spring of 1992. The two of them agreed that 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) took Stanley's daily broadcast off the air during the time, as managers concluded that there was no sign of reconciliation.[27] The Stanleys were legally separated at the time that divorce papers were filed for the last time on February 16, 2000. A judge signed the final divorce decree on May 11, 2000.[28][29][27]

Their divorce caused a minor controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention. The matter was complicated by reports that Stanley had said he would resign as pastor if he got divorced. At the time of their separation, he said he did not believe it would result in divorce; however after he was divorced, the members of his church overwhelmingly voted to keep him as their pastor. According to First Baptist Atlanta's bylaws, Stanley was allowed to remain as pastor as long as he did not remarry.[30][27] Anna Stanley died on November 10, 2014.[31]

Stanley served on the board of the Moral Majority political organization; he was a close friend of the entity's founder, Jerry Falwell.[32]


Charles F. Stanley Jr. died at his home in Atlanta on April 18, 2023, at age 90.[5] No cause of death was released.[33]



Year Title Notes
1972 The Chapel Hour [13] Host
1983–1985 The Breakfast Club[34] Host
1990–2023 In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley[35] Host
2002 TBN's Praise the Lord[36] Guest
2011 19 Kids and Counting[37] Episode: "Donating Duggars"
2012 Monica's Closeups[38] Guest

Awards and honors

See also


  1. ^ Synan, Vinson (2020). "Charles Stanley's Pentecostal Roots". Spiritus. 5 (2): 280. ISSN 2573-6345. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  2. ^ "Charles Stanley to step down at First Baptist Church Atlanta, become Pastor Emeritus". 95.5 WSB. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  3. ^ Poole, Shelia. "Charles Stanley steps down as senior pastor at First Baptist". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Dr. Charles F. Stanley - First Baptist Church Atlanta". Archived from the original on March 21, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Poole, Shelia (April 18, 2023). "Charles Stanley, well-known preacher and evangelical broadcaster, dies at 90". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  6. ^ "Meet Dr. Charles Stanley". Archived from the original on September 24, 2022. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  7. ^ Buck Lanford, Dr. Charles Stanley honored for 50 years of ministry,, US, October 7, 2019
  8. ^ Shelia Poole, Atlanta Pastor Charles Stanley's 'Life Principles Bible' hits 1 million mark,, US, December 19, 2017
  9. ^ a b Emily McFarlan Miller, Influential pastor, Charles Stanley, steps down at First Baptist Church Atlanta after 50 years,, US, September 14, 2020
  10. ^ Mark Ward Sr., The Electronic Church in the Digital Age: Cultural Impacts of Evangelical Mass Media , ABC-CLIO, US, 2015, p. 289[ISBN missing]
  11. ^ Patricia Holbrook, Dr. Charles F. Stanley leads life of unwavering faith,, US, September 15, 2017
  12. ^ "Station Finder". Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "Meet Dr. Charles Stanley". Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  14. ^ a b "About Dr Stanley". In Touch. Archived from the original on August 22, 2010.
  15. ^ Shelia Poole, Who is Anthony George, the successor for Atlanta megachurch pastor Charles Stanley?,, US, December 13, 2017
  16. ^ Press, Scott Barkley-Christian Index / Baptist (September 13, 2020). "Charles Stanley Stepping Down After 50 Years as Pastor". News & Reporting. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  17. ^ Sandomir, Richard (April 21, 2023). "Charles Stanley, Atlanta Pastor Who Preached to the World, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  18. ^ David Roach (December 30, 2009). "End Times: Scholars Differ on What Bible Says About Subject". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on January 5, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  19. ^ Charles Stanley (March 22, 2007). "The 30 Life Principles" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  20. ^ "30 Life Principles". Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  21. ^ Kumar, Anugrah (April 24, 2023). "Potential 2024 presidential candidate reflects on Charles Stanley's legacy". The Christian Post. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  22. ^ Silliman, Daniel (April 18, 2023). "Died: Charles Stanley, In Touch Preacher Who Led with Stubborn Faith". News & Reporting. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  23. ^ Charles Stanley, 2009, How to Reach Your Full Potential for God, p. 224, Thomas Nelson Publishers, ISBN 978-1-4002-0092-4
  24. ^ Elizabeth (December 22, 2021). "Becky Stanley: Child of Pastor Charles Stanley Life & Career Journey". Insiderlyfe. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  25. ^ "Charles Stanley, pivotal SBC president, TV preacher, dies | Baptist Press". Baptist Press. April 18, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  26. ^ Many of his photographs from Alaska are featured in the ITM Photo Gallery[full citation needed] Archived June 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ a b c "Charles Stanley, wife divorce; Atlanta church affirms pastor | Baptist Press". Baptist Press. May 23, 2000. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  28. ^ Staff (January 16, 2012). "Charles Stanley, wife divorce; Atlanta church affirms pastor". Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  29. ^ Blake, John (November 17, 2012). "Two preaching giants and the 'betrayal' that tore them apart". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  30. ^ Baptist Press (May 31, 2000). "Charles Stanley, wife divorce – Atlanta church affirms pastor". The Layman Online. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  31. ^ News & Observer Staff (November 12, 2014). "Anna J. Stanley (Obituary)". The News & Observer. Raleigh, N.C. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  32. ^ Sandomir, Richard (April 21, 2023). "Charles Stanley, Atlanta Pastor Who Preached to the World, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  33. ^ "Charles Stanley, whose Christian broadcasts spanned the world, dies at 90". NPR. April 19, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  34. ^ "Media Appearances". March 16, 2020. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  35. ^ "Charles Stanley, influential Baptist preacher, dies at 90". AP NEWS. April 18, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  36. ^ TBN. "Praise the Lord". Trinity Broadcasting Network. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  37. ^ TBN. "Praise the Lord". Trinity Broadcasting Network. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  38. ^ "Channel 2 Presents A Special Edition of Monica's Closeups". WSB-TV Channel 2 - Atlanta. December 21, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  39. ^ NRB (April 18, 2023). "NRB Mourns the Passing of World-Renowned Pastor and Broadcaster Dr. Charles F. Stanley". NRB. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  40. ^ "Nationally known faith leader Dr. Charles Stanley passes away at the age of 90". April 18, 2023. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  41. ^ a b "Dr. Charles Stanley - Alumni - Luther Rice College & Seminary". Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  42. ^ "Dr. Charles F. Stanley and Thomas Nelson celebrate 1 million Bibles sold". Rush To Press. January 2, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
Religious titles Preceded byJames T. Draper Jr. President of the Southern Baptist Convention 1984–1986 Succeeded byAdrian Rogers