Dr. Charles Frazier Stanley, influential pastor, author and Christian broadcaster, has died.
He passed away peacefully at his home Tuesday morning.
Rev Stanley was the founder of In Touch Ministries, a global evangelical broadcasting powerhouse. He pastored at First Baptist, one of Atlanta’s leading churches for more than 50 years. His sermons are broadcast in 180 nations and translated into 55 languages.
He is survived by his son Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries and his daughter Becky Stanley Brodersen. His former wife Anna Johnson Stanley, died in 2014.
A statement from First Baptist Church of Atlanta read: “Our hearts are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Charles Stanley. In this time of loss, we are comforted in knowing that his faith has now become sight. The glories of heaven are now his, a reality he taught us and millions of others around the world throughout his years of faithful preaching.”
The Atlanta pastor lived by the motto “Obey God and leave all the consequences to him.” That kind of obedience wouldn’t come without cost, Stanley said, but God rewards stubborn faith.
“Granddad told me, ‘Charles, if God tells you to run your head through a brick wall, you head for the wall,’” he wrote in his 2016 memoir, “‘and when you get there, God will make a hole for it.’”
Stanley was born Sept. 25, 1932, in Dry Fork, Virginia, near Danville during the height of the Great Depression. Money was tight for the small family. His father, the son of a Pentecostal evangelist, worked in a textile mill and died of kidney disease when Stanley was nine months old. He was raised by his mother, Rebecca, who worked in a factory, earning about $9 per week.
When she wasn’t working, she took her son to a Pentecostal church and taught him to read the Bible and to pray.
“I can still hear her voice calling my name to God and telling him that she wanted me to follow him in whatever he called me to do,” Stanley once said.
They moved 17 times in the first 16 years of his life. He wrote about spending time with his grandfather and their conversations about obeying God. By the time he was 12, Stanley recognised what God was calling him to do. He then got his degree in divinity from Texas. He moved to Atlanta to get his doctorate in theology.
Stanley attended the University of Richmond on a scholarship his mother prayed for, where he met and married an art student from North Carolina, Anna Margaret Johnson. They were married in 1955.
Stanley preached all over the country – from Ohio to Florida before landing in Atlanta.
“I consider the gift Jesus has given — dying on the cross to forgive our sins and restore our relationship with God — the greatest gift ever given,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Why wouldn’t I want to give my life sharing that with others?”
His show, “The Chapel Hour,” aired on 11Alive in the ’70s. The show was later syndicated nationwide. It was renamed to “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley,” where he taught the country about the bible.
Today, the program In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley – reaches almost every major market in the United States, broadcasting to more than 115 million households domestically. Over 4,000 television, radio, and satellite networks and stations worldwide carry the program. Dr. Stanley’s sermons have been translated into 127 languages.
According to In Touch Ministries, Stanley was the country’s longest-serving pastor with a continuous weekly broadcast program. At the time of his death, he could be heard in every nation on Earth by radio, shortwave, or television broadcast. The Atlanta pastor brought many closer to their faith with daily devotional readings, prayers and practical advice.
A prolific writer, Stanley authored more than 70 books, several landing on the New York Times bestseller list. He has sold more than 10 million copies of his books.
He published his last book this year.
Memorial services will be a private, family-only gathering. For the public, Stanley will lie in repose from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church Atlanta, 4400 North Peachtree Rd. Those who would like to pay their respects in person can do so then.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to In Touch Ministries.
(Picture Courtesy: In Touch Ministries)