Stanley, SBC leader and longtime pastor, dies at age 90

Stanley, SBC leader and longtime pastor, dies at age 90

Stanley, SBC leader and longtime pastor, dies at age 90

Dr. Charles Stanley, the Atlanta-based Southern Baptist pastor who founded In Touch Ministries, died Tuesday morning. He was 90.

In Touch confirmed his death in a statement that said the pastor and author is “receiving the joy of his soul – seeing his Savior face-to-face.”

A graduate of Southwestern Theological Seminary, Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church in 1969. He became senior pastor in 1971 until he retired, at age 88, in 2020.

What many now know as “In Touch” began in the 1970s as “The Chapel Hour.”

In obits about Stanley’s passing, religious and secular media outlets are recalling what many have forgotten: Dr. Stanley stood with other prominent SBC leaders in the 1980s to fight and defeat ear-tickling liberal theology that has decimated other denominations since then.

That commitment to biblical orthodox, and refutation of liberalism, has become known as the “Conservative Resurgence.”  

“Dr. Stanley really became, over the course of his ministry, the Southern Baptist's pastor,” Dr. Richard Land, himself a Southern Baptist leader, says of the now-departed theologian. 

Dr. Robert Jeffress, who pastors First Baptist Church in Dallas, recalls one personal memory of Dr. Stanley that he still remembers and appreciates to this day. 

“When I was thinking about resigning from a church that was filled with problems,” Jeffress tells AFN, “a cassette tape by Dr. Stanley, about his own experience at First Baptist Atlanta, encouraged me to stay in the ministry.”

In a statement from National Religious Broadcasters, NRB president Troy Miller said Dr. Stanley left behind a "lasting legacy" by sharing the Gospel through Christian broadcasting across the world. "In Touch" is seen on 204 television stations and heard on 458 radio stations just in the U.S. Across the globe, it is heard in 50 languages. 

"Although we mourn his loss in this life, it is a joy to know that he is with his Lord and Savior," Miller said. 

"I have one goal: Get the truth of the Gospel to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, as simply as possible, in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God," Stanley said in 2010, when he was honored at a luncheon at Southwestern.