Dr. Charles Frazier Stanley died on December 28, 2023 as one of the greatest icons of Southern Baptist Life, leaving behind an indelible mark as an author, pastor and leader that touched numerous lives throughout his lifetime. We look back here on his achievements as well as reflect upon his journey and circumstances surrounding his controversial divorce proceedings.
Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church Atlanta in Atlanta began serving God through ministry at an early age in 1971; becoming its senior pastor only nine years later in 1971. Dr. Charles Stanley will retire as senior pastor at First Baptist Atlanta on 2020 after almost 50 years as its Senior Pastor; Anthony George will take his place.
Establishing In Touch Ministries
Stanley was also involved with creating In Touch Ministries as well as his pastor duties, dedicating it to spreading his messages via different media platforms allowing him to impact lives beyond his local community.
Leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention
Stanley was President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1984-1986, holding this office for two consecutive terms and further expanding his influence in this denominational body.
Charles Stanley had an unstable personal life. Divorce proceedings between himself and Anna Stanley caused much debate within the Southern Baptist Community.
Marriage and Separation
Dr. Charles Stanley and Anna Stanley married in 1955 and had two children: Andy and Becky. However, due to stress caused by Dr. Stanley’s ministry activities, their marriage began strained over time, ultimately leading them to part ways by 1992; Anna filed for a divorce petition shortly thereafter in June.
Reconciliation Attempts and Divorce Final Anna Stanley tried unsuccessfully to reconcile with her former spouse by changing their legal separation agreement into legal separation papers in an effort to reconcile. When this effort ultimately failed, Anna divorced again in March 1995 with official papers being signed by a judge on May 11, 2000.
Stanley’s Pastoral Role and its Impact Stanley was affected by personal turmoil surrounding his divorce; although he said he’d leave as pastor if ever married again, when asked for their vote his congregation decided against this action and kept Stanley as their pastor regardless of this decision.
Dr. Charles Stanley lived his life to serve others and demonstrate faith despite many personal difficulties, leaving a significant mark on Southern Baptists throughout his ministry; even with his passing away his impact will endure for years to come.