Charles Stanley Biography

Charles Stanley
Bill Fairchild

Dr. Charles Frazier Stanley is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta (FBCA) and founder of In Touch Ministries. His popular radio and television broadcast, “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley,” can literally be heard around the globe in every nation and in more than 50 languages.

In the mid 1980s, Dr. Stanley also served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. His long-held goal and the mission statement of In Touch Ministries is "to lead people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and to strengthen the local church." Charles Stanley is best-known for providing solid biblical truth through his practical teaching style that can be applied to everyday life.

Date of Birth

September 25, 1932

Family and Home

Born in Dry Fork, Virginia, Charles Stanley's childhood was marked by the tragic death of his father, Charley, at a very early age. He recalls feeling the support of God during that difficult time, chiefly though the strong example of his young, widowed mother, Rebecca Stanley, and his godly grandfather who instilled in him a desire to trust and obey God's Word.

Education and Ministry

By the age of 14, Charles Stanley had begun to sense a call to follow God in full-time Christian ministry. First, he earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Richmond in Virginia and later a bachelor of divinity degree at Southwestern Theological Seminary in Texas. He obtained his master of theology and doctor of theology degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Georgia.

By 1971, Dr. Stanley had become the senior pastor at FBCA. Soon after that he began a radio broadcast that eventually grew into the world reaching initiative known as In Touch Ministries. This gospel program which features "the message of Christ’s sufficiency for life’s demands" is now heard internationally on about 1800 radio and television outlets.

Dr. Stanley's troubled marriage became the source of much controversy among Southern Baptist leaders when it became public in the 1990s. During this time, in an interview with Baptist Press News, Stanley said, "The most difficult painful years of my life have been the past five, but they have been the most profitable, the most productive in every single way ... I thought what would have appeared to have caused people to walk away from me, drew them by the hoards."

In 2000, following several separations and attempts at reconciliation, Charles Stanley and his wife, Anna J. Stanley, divorced after 44 years of marriage. Many prominent ministers, including Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and even his own son Andy, called for Dr. Stanley to step down as pastor for a time of "personal repentance and healing." However, with the support of his congregation (then numbering 13,000), Dr. Stanley retained his position as senior pastor of FBCA.

He told Baptist Press News that these personal struggles have made his messages more credible to people who are hurting. "None of us have it all together," he said. "You and I live in a world of needy people, and when you and I start meeting people's needs where they're living, they're coming to hear what you have to say." Through his ordeal with a publicly controversial divorce, Stanley said he has learned to let God fight his battles.

Today in the United States, Dr. Stanley's television program airs on 204 channels and seven satellite networks. His radio show is heard on 458 stations as well as shortwave radio and his church membership now numbers 15,000. The ministry also produces a popular daily devotional magazine called In Touch. In his personal biography, Stanley says he models his ministry according to this message from Paul to the Ephesians: "Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love." (Acts 20:24, The Living Bible)


Charles Stanley has written more than 45 books including:

  • A Man's Touch (1992)
  • Handle With Prayer (1992)
  • Into His Presence (2000)
  • Handbook for Christian Living (2000)
  • The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life (1995)
  • The Blessing of Brokenness (1997)
  • How to Listen to God (2002)
  • Eternal Security (2002)
  • The Gift of Forgiveness (2002)
  • How to Handle Adversity (2002)
  • Success God's Way (2002)
  • God Is in Control (2003)
  • The Source of My Strength (2005)
  • When the Enemy Strikes (2006)
  • Living the Extraordinary Life (2008)
  • In Step with God (2008)
  • How to Let God Solve Your Problems (2008)
  • God Has a Plan for Your Life (2008)


  • Inducted into the National Religious Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in 1988.
  • Named Clergyman of the Year in 1989 by the Religious Heritage of America.
  • In 1993 In Touch Ministries was honored with the Television Producer of the Year award and in 1999 received the Radio Program of the Year award by the National Religious Broadcasters.
  • Recently recognized by Thomas Nelson Publishing for selling more than 6.5 million copies of his books.


In cooperation with Templeton Tours, Inc., Charles Stanley hosts several Christian cruises and vacations including an Alaska Cruise, a Journeys of Paul Tour, and a Sailabration Bible Cruise to the Bahamas.

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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Charles Stanley Biography." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, Fairchild, Mary. (2023, April 5). Charles Stanley Biography. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Charles Stanley Biography." Learn Religions. (accessed May 30, 2023).