On April 18, 2023, the world mourned the passing of Dr. Charles Stanley at the age of 90. A man of unwavering faith, Dr. Stanley leaves behind a remarkable legacy as a pastor, author, and Christian broadcaster. His life journey, marked by personal challenges and adversity, touched the lives of countless believers and will continue to inspire future generations.
Born in Dry Fork, Virginia, in 1932, Dr. Stanley’s childhood was far from idyllic. His mother remarried when he was a teenager, and his stepfather turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. However, God had already placed a calling on Charles’ heart. At the age of 12, he gave his heart to Jesus and felt led toward ministry. The trials he faced, including the violence from his stepfather, only served to strengthen his faith and resolve.
Driven by the motto “Obey God and leave all the consequences to him,” passed down from his grandfather, Dr. Stanley exhibited an obstinate faith that would go on to inspire thousands. Reflecting on his grandfather’s wise counsel, Dr. Stanley once 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.’”
Despite his unwavering faith, Dr. Stanley faced opposition in his ministry. When he joined First Baptist Church Atlanta as an associate minister, he was initially appointed as a temporary replacement for the senior pastor. However, the search committee voted against him when he applied to become the permanent replacement, even though Sunday service attendance swelled with Charles at the helm.
“People wanted to get rid of me,” he recalled. “They couldn’t tell me why. They just said all I preached about was how to get saved, the coming of Jesus, and how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I just laughed and thought, Well, God, I hope that’s true!”
In one heated meeting, a church board member cursed at Dr. Charles Stanley and even punched him in the face. His son, Andy Stanley, witnessed the event and later wrote about his father’s response, saying, “I saw my dad turn the other cheek, but he never turned tail and ran.”
Dr. Charles Stanley’s passion for sharing the Gospel led him to serve as the pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta for over 50 years. In 1977, he founded In Touch Ministries to reach a wider audience with his Bible teachings through radio and television broadcasts. His influence reached across the globe, with his sermons translated into 127 heart languages and broadcast on more than 4,000 networks and stations worldwide.
In Touch Family, this morning, God called our beloved pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, home to heaven. Dr. Stanley lived a life of obedience and is now receiving the joy of his soul—seeing his Savior face-to-face. Please join us in praying for the Stanley family. pic.twitter.com/8h2ROcoHuF
— In Touch Ministries (@InTouchMin) April 18, 2023
His impact can also be seen in the 70 books he authored, with over 10 million copies sold. His words have inspired countless people, offering encouragement and spiritual guidance. His legacy continues through his son, Andy Stanley, a prominent pastor and founder of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Dr. Charles Stanley’s dedication to his faith and ministry garnered high regard from other religious leaders, such as the late Billy Graham. Tributes to his life and work poured in upon news of his passing, with many sharing heartfelt memories and expressing gratitude for his spiritual influence.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California tweeted, “Charles Stanley went to Heaven today. He made his mark on this world for the Gospel and his incredible teaching of God’s Word. I like so many others was blessed by hearing his messages on the radio and TV, and he was a trusted voice we have all been encouraged by.”
Charles Stanley went to Heaven today. He made his mark on this world for the Gospel and his incredible teaching of God’s Word. I like so many others was blessed by hearing his messages on the radio and TV and he was a trusted voice we have all been encouraged… pic.twitter.com/E8qpVqQ1HS
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) April 18, 2023
Despite the hardships he faced, Dr. Charles Stanley’s unwavering devotion to God and his ministry serves as a testament to the power of faith. As he now rests in the eternal embrace of his Lord and Savior, his legacy of faith and determination will continue to inspire generations to come.
National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) President and CEO Troy A. Miller expressed his condolences, saying, “Dr. Stanley leaves behind a lasting legacy as a torch-bearer and trailblazer of Gospel ministry and Christian broadcasting. Our condolences and prayers are with Dr. Stanley’s family. Although we mourn his loss in this life, it is a joy to know that he is with his Lord and Savior.”
In the words of Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas, “Charles Stanley…a spiritual legacy that will last for generations. I am grateful for the preaching ministry of this man and his commitment to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. All the praise goes to Jesus.”