NATIONAL NEWS

Charles Stanley, influential Baptist preacher, dies at 90

Apr 18, 2023, 1:08 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — Charles Stanley, a prominent televangelist who once led the Southern Baptist Convention, died Tuesday at his home in Atlanta at age 90, In Touch Ministries announced.

No cause of death was announced.

Born in rural Dry Fork, Virginia, Stanley was senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta for 50 years. The church grew rapidly after he became its leader in 1971, moving from central Atlanta to a suburban campus in 1997 to accommodate a growing flock in the sprawling urban area.

“We are forever grateful for his enduring legacy of faithful leadership and spiritual guidance,” the church said in a social media post.

But his greatest fame came from his role in hosting “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley,” a Christian teaching program that began airing on the newborn Christian Broadcasting Network in 1978. That led to the creation of a separate nonprofit, In Touch Ministries, that sent Stanley’s broadcasts across the nation and world through radio and television. It even created solar-powered audio players containing the Bible, some of Stanley’s sermons and other materials that are available in more than 100 languages. Stanley also wrote more than 40 books.

When Stanley stepped down from First Baptist as senior pastor in 2020, he said he wasn’t planning to stop preaching, instead focusing his energies on In Touch Ministries.

“I’ll continue to preach the gospel as long as God allows, and my goal remains the same: to get the truth of the gospel to as many people as possible as quickly as possible in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God,” Stanley said in a video message to the church when he took on the title of pastor emeritus.

Stanley served two one-year terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1985 and 1986, at the peak of a time when theological conservatives were fighting to oust more moderate leaders from leadership roles in the convention and its seminaries, saying the church needed to be truer to Biblical authority.

“My election infuriated the opposition and ultimately revealed many of the underlying problems that had existed in the convention for a long time but had either been ignored or denied,” Stanley wrote in a 2016 autobiography. “All the liberal and moderate political forces of the Southern Baptist Convention were against me, which included seminary presidents and state convention newspapers.”

In his first term, Stanley helped stop congregations from ordaining women. His second election in 1985 was bolstered by a last-minute telegram of support from famous evangelist Billy Graham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“After Stanley’s election, the battle subsided and eventually the moderates moved on from the fight or away from the denomination,” Ed Stetzer, executive director of Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, told the newspaper.

Stanley was also a devoted photographer of nature and the outdoors, with many of pictures reproduced by In Touch publications.

Stanley separated from his longtime wife, Anna, in the 1990s, before divorcing in 2000. Although First Baptist had barred divorced men as ministers, and Stanley had once said he would resign if his wife left him, the church affirmed him remaining pastor.

Some other evangelical Christians panned the decision. Dissenters included his son, Andy Stanley, who said he wanted his father to offer to quit and let the church decide. Instead, it was Andy Stanley who left the congregation and founded Northpoint Ministries, a network of eight evangelical Christian churches in Atlanta and its suburbs. He and his sister Becky survive Charles Stanley,

Despite the split, Andy Stanley told WAGA-TV that his father was a role model for pastors.

“Not just how to preach or how to build a church,” said Andy Stanley. “But how to get to a finish line with integrity and to be able to look back and be proud of everything that came before, and unfortunately that’s increasingly rare.”

National News

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

5 hours ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

5 hours ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

5 hours ago

An image of President Joe Biden is projected on a screen during the final night of the 2024 Republi...

Associated Press

Biden’s ability to win back skeptical Democrats tested at a perilous moment for his campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a week of campaign stops, interviews and a determined insistence he is the best candidate to confront Republican Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s efforts to revive his reelection bid and win over skeptical Democrats have done little to soften the push for him to exit the 2024 race. Biden has weighty […]

5 hours ago

Charles Stanley, influential Baptist preacher, dies at 90