Dr. Charles F. Stanley, beloved Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Atlanta, passed away peacefully this morning at home. We are forever grateful for his enduring legacy of faithful leadership and spiritual guidance as Senior Pastor of First Baptist of Atlanta for over 50 years.
Dr. Stanely was Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta from 1971 to 2020 and President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984 to 1986.
Charles Frazier Stanley (September 25, 1932 – April 18, 2023) was an American Baptist pastor and writer. According to Wikipedia He was Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, after serving as senior pastor for 49 years. He founded and was president of In Touch Ministries, which widely broadcasted his sermons through television and radio. He also served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, from 1984 to 1986.
Early life and education
Stanley was born on September 25, 1932, in Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, Virginia. His father, also named Charles, died nine months later. Stanley grew up in rural Dry Fork on the outskirts of Danville. At the age of 12, he became a born-again Christian, and at age 14 he began his life’s work in Christian ministry.
He studied at University of Richmond and earned a Bachelor of Arts, then he studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and earned a Master of Divinity. He has also earned a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Theology degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Florida (now located in Lithonia, Georgia).
Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971.
In 1972, Stanley launched a half-hour religious television program called The Chapel Hour. In 1977, Stanley founded In Touch Ministries with the mission to lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church. The Christian Broadcasting Network began televising In Touch in 1978. The show has since been translated in 50 languages.
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 to advance the Gospel as quickly as possible. Stanley took the ministry name In Touch from a Living Bible he owned.
Stanley’s writings and broadcasts address issues such as finances, parenting, personal crises, emotional matters, relationships, and Protestantism. According to the In Touch website, “Dr. Stanley fervently believes the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, a belief strongly reflected in his teaching.”
In 1985, Charles Stanley was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In 2005, Stanley invited Lisa Ryan to co-host a question-and-answer segment called “Bring It Home”, which aired after his on-air sermon, a segment intended to help the audience better grasp the content of the sermon through questions the average listener might ask. Ryan’s participation ended in late 2006, the segment continuing with 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”.
In 2017, Stanley named Anthony George to succeed him as senior pastor of First Baptist Church at some point in the future. On September 13, 2020, Stanley announced his retirement as senior pastor and transition to pastor emeritus. However, Stanley has made it very clear he does not believe in retirement, so he will be continuing to work at In Touch Ministries.