In Touch Ministries, the world broadcasting ministry founded by Charles Stanley in 1977, donated $ 2 million to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to create an endowed chair in Stanley’s name.
The Charles F. Stanley Chair in the Advancement of Global Christianity is the “first fully funded and endowed chair in the history of Southwestern Seminary at the current funding level of $ 2 million,” President Adam Greenway told Trustees.
At the dawn of the so-called “conservative resurgence” of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979, Stanley was one of America’s best-known Baptist pastors, although he was not involved in denominational affairs.
Nonetheless, he reluctantly became the fourth in a line of conservatives elected to lead the SBC during its years of schism, first in 1984 and again in 1985. His call as a well-known television preacher drew supporters to attend SBC annual meetings and vote for the conservative agenda.
Stanley’s second term as SBC chairman was won at the 1985 annual meeting in Dallas, which, with 45,431 registered messengers, remains SBC’s largest annual meeting in history. This is where the Georgia pastor defeated Winfred Moore, the brilliant pastor of the First Baptist Church of Amarillo and the person SBC moderates saw as their best hope of blocking the Tory juggernaut.
Stanley’s reelection bid was also aided by Billy Graham’s endorsement.
According to most accounts, Stanley’s two-year-old as the SBC chairman consolidated the Conservatives’ hold over the convention infrastructure, including his agency and seminary boards. His first election in 1984 was later described in a BNG analysis as “the year of the pivot”. At the 1985 convention where he was re-elected president, the messengers also created the SBC Peace Committee, which ultimately failed to create peace or unity.
Thirty-seven years ago, when Stanley – now 89 – was first elected president of the SBC, he and his historic church in downtown Atlanta were considered lesser Southern Baptists. than loyal by denominational traditionalists. One of their main accusations was that the church had donated less than 2% of its non-designated income to SBC causes, when the expected norm was at least 10%.
As an internationally renowned television and a radio preacher, Stanley operated in his own orbit and did not need the SBC as a platform. Nonetheless, after initially declining to be nominated, he allowed himself to be nominated twice, and his presidency became the hinge in the dramatic right turn that captured the SBC from 1979 to 2000.
Since the Pressler-Patterson coalition took full control of the denomination, Stanley has continued to be revered as a hero of the movement, even as he retreated into his own international ministry. He was one of 40 heroes of the movement who were enshrined in stained glass windows in the new chapel at Southwestern Seminary – until those stained glass panels were recently removed.
Stanley received a BA in Divinity – the precursor to an MA in Divinity – from Southwestern in 1957.
Current president of the seminar Adam Greenway called Stanley “one of the best-known and most prolific Southwesterns in our history.”
“There may be a liberal drift somewhere, but I’m thankful Charles Stanley knows that doesn’t happen at Southwestern Seminary,” Greenway said. “He and his ministry want to identify with Southwestern Seminary and put their resources into an institution that is committed to helping people come to know Christ, here and in the world.
The $ 2 million donation technically comes from the In Touch Foundation, the charitable subsidiary of In Touch Ministries. For 2019, the most recent year of IRS filings available, the foundation reported total assets of $ 34.7 million and annual revenue of $ 11 million.
The foundation boards approved full funding for the endowed academic chair “as an expression of appreciation for Dr. Stanley’s love for Christ, for Christian education and for seminary ministry,” according to the agreement establishing the chair.
The Stanley Chair will operate out of the Seminary’s Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. A press release from the seminar said that the first occupant of the endowed chair will be named later.
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