A Question I Was Asked:

What can you tell me about Charles Stanley, and can you give me an honest appraisal?

Charles Frazier Stanley, born 1932, is the senior pastor of a very large baptist church based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. His congregation was being described as 14,000 people strong by several internet sources in spring, 2008, whether that is still current information I have no idea. Stanley is also the founder and president of In Touch Ministries.

Dr Stanley is a dispensationalist in theology although I understand that some 'hard and fast' dispensational people have accused him of not always holding strongly to that.

I have heard Dr Stanley speak and there are many things which are certainly admirable about him; his commitment to the word of God is to be greatly admired.

Of course, my personal problem is with the confusion of dispensationalism and the assumptions which this form of theology makes. Nevertheless Stanley is baptist and his work certainly does not amount (at least, in the generally accepted sense), to being a cult or a sect.

However, my main problem with Charles Stanley's work is that old, old story of too much accent on money which is such a bane of the majority of American high-profile radio and television ministries. Certainly, Dr Stanley is no teacher of the prosperity gospel and that is good, nevertheless, as with so many similar ministries, money, donations and "tithing" still seem to play far too big a part. The very first time I ever heard Dr Stanley speak (on a video sermon) he attacked part of his congregation for not tithing regularly. Here in the UK we think that sort of thing is incredible and we really wonder how some of these pastors can get away with it - they mostly would not here in the UK. The New Covenant Christian church (I speak biblically, I don't care which denomination you want to talk about) has positively no mandate to impose tithing on anybody (my article on the tithing issue is here).

Of course, some might retort, 'But Dr Stanley has a huge world-wide ministry, how could everything be paid for without tithing?' That is a good point - how indeed? Yet, to my mind, that is not the point. Can tithing ever be justified when it is preached as a mandatory requirement when it plainly is not. Sincere Christians should not be encouraged in their confusion on this point.

Apart from the tithing issue, I have no reason to doubt the integrity of Stanley's In Touch Ministries.
Robin A. Brace, May 2008.