"The best way in the world to deceive believers is to cloak a message in religious language and declare that it conveys some new insight from God." -- Charles Stanley
Charles Frazier Stanley (born September 25, 1932) is the senior pastor of megachurch First Baptist Church Atlanta in northern Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and president of In Touch Ministries. Dr. Stanley also served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984-1986.
"A Christian has no right being in a fight unless it's a spiritual fight.""An unschooled man who knows how to meditate upon the Lord has learned far more than the man with the highest education who does not know how to meditate.""God will never tell us to do something that gratifies the flesh.""God's voice is still and quiet and easily buried under an avalanche of clamour.""He wants you all to Himself to put His loving, divine arms around you.""His voice leads us not into timid discipleship but into bold witness.""I'm convinced that the man who has learned to meditate upon the Lord will be able to run on his feet and walk in his spirit. Although he may be hurried by his vocation, that's not the issue. The issue is how fast his spirit is going. To slow it down takes a period of time.""If we rationalize our problems when He points them out, we will spend less and less time meditating because we won't want to face God in that area of our lives.""Of all the things Christ wants for us, loving Him and focusing our attention on Him are the most important.""Since God knows our future, our personalities, and our capacity to listen, He isn't ever going to say more to us than we can deal with at the moment.""The amount of time we spend with Jesus - meditating on His Word and His majesty, seeking His face - establishes our fruitfulness in the kingdom.""To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God's responses.""We are either in the process of resisting God's truth or in the process of being shaped and molded by his truth.""We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.""When God speaks, oftentimes His voice will call for an act of courage on our part.""Yieldedness is vital in listening to what He has to say."
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 age 12, young Charles became a born-again Christian. And at age 14, Stanley was called to work in Christian ministry. Later, he graduated from the University of Richmond. He received a divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Fort Worth, Texas. Finally, he received his Masters and Doctorate, both in theology - Th.M. and Th.D., respectively - from Luther Rice Seminary, in Florida (later relocated to Atlanta).
Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. The next year, 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 and Trinity Broadcasting Network. Dr. 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, Dr. 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 Dr. Stanley alone. In early 2007, Dr. 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."
In addition to his work in Christian ministry, Dr. 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).
Dr. 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 was 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, Dr. Stanley will remain eligible to be pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta as long as he does not remarry. Dr. 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.