Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Defender’s Voice is about defending the faith in these turbulent days. Please visit our website www.doctorpaul.org. Our ministry is focused on evangelism, medical missions and orphan homes. Consider helping this ministry with a tax-deductible donation. Let us see today’s question.
Now, Charles Stanley is dead, what do you say about his life, good or bad?
Excellent question. Charles Stanley went to be with the Lord. Humanly speaking, that is a sad news. But from a Christian viewpoint, that is a good thing. Apostle Paul said, ‘With Christ, which is far better’ (Philippians 1:23). With Christ is far better. From this sin-stricken world, he entered into the glory of God.
He gave his life to the Lord when he was just 12 years old, started his ministry when was 14 years old. For almost 50 years, he was the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta. He founded In Touch Ministries. He also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I enjoyed listening to his sermons on television and radio. He was great in expository preaching. He would explain the Bible passages with great clarity. Sadly, biblical preaching has been disappearing from many churches in the last few decades. But Charles Stanley kept preaching the Word.
Coming to the controversies of his life, three things stand in prominence: Divorce and tolerance of sexual abuse. These two topics became highly controversial in our time. First his divorce. He got divorce from his wife, Anna Stanley after 40 years of marriage. Many people criticized him for his divorce. Some broadcasters stopped broadcasting his sermons after his divorce. Now, if your spouse leaves you and stays away separately, then the divorce is not sinful.
You can read 1 Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbeliever leaves,
let it be so. The brother or the sister
is not bound in such circumstances;
God has called us to live in peace.
1 Corinthians 7:15
Apostle Paul says, if the unbeliever wants to leave, let her go, or let him go. God wants every marriage to last till death. But in some circumstances like domestic abuse, staying in a marriage is not safe. If your spouse does not want to live with you in peace and would like to leave you, let him or her go. Note those words, ‘The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace’. So, God permits divorce when the unbeliever leaves you. If that happens, God also permits remarriage.
Charles Stanley was permitted to get divorce but he was not permitted to remarry. That is not biblical. If there are scriptural grounds for divorce, one should have liberty to remarry.
If Anna Stanley wanted to leave Charles, we should not blame him for the divorce. But if he wanted to leave her while she was in love with him, then that would be sinful. We don’t know the exact reasons for their divorce, so, we should leave it to God.
Second, his tolerance of sexual abuse. There are allegations that he turned a blind eye when men under his watch were abusing women and children. Every pastor should take sexual harassment and abuse charges seriously. Because a pastor is like a father to a family or a shepherd to a flock. Every pastor should ensure the safety of his congregation. If there are reports of sexual abuse, he should immediately investigate them, fire the individuals from the ministry and report them to the law enforcement. If the allegations against Charles Stanely are true, then Mr.Stanley failed as a pastor. We don’t know the exact details about how Mr.Stanley handled these incidents, so, I don’t like to judge him at this point.
If you balance good and bad, overall, if you take a big picture, I would say, Charles Stanely lived a good life. He preached the Word of God faithfully and He followed the Lord closely. We should thank God for his ministry.