The divorce of Charles Stanley and Anne Stanley caused a stir in the community, especially among his parishioners. The world-famous evangelist and writer shared excerpts from his experiences during the divorce.
Many of their followers questioned them to find out what happened to them after the failed divorce.
Who is Anna Stanley?
The theologian Charles Stanley got engaged in 1955. He married Anne Stanley after they were introduced by a deacon of the church. Charles has often said that she was not the type he would have chosen.
Anne was beautiful, bright, and artistic. Above all, she had a deep passion for God. After the wedding, she went to work while the pastor finished his seminary training.
The couple has two children together, Andy Stanley and Becky Stanley. Andy is the founder and senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. Becky Stanley has kept her life a secret, but she is married and has two children.
Who is Charles Stanley?
Charles Frazer Stanley was born on 25 September 1932 in Dry Fork, Virginia, to parents Rebecca and Charles Stanley. He grew up on the outskirts of Danville. Sadly, his father died when Stanley was only nine months old.
Stanley, 88, became a born-again Christian at the age of 12 and joined the ministry as a young pastor when he was 14. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and then went on to earn a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.
Charles earned a second Master of Divinity degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Florida. He later studied for a doctorate in theology. Founder of In Touch Ministries.
Charles Stanley and Anna Stanley’s Marriage Ended
Charles and Anna Stanley seemed to be enjoying a blissful marriage, but all was not as it seemed. In his 1991 book, How to Handle Adversity, the pastor shares how he became smitten when they moved to Atlanta.
He says he had married into ministry and began to neglect his family. He says this caused Anna tremendous hurt and rejection. It took him several years to realize the damage he had done. The details of the intimacy during this period are not public knowledge, but the couple’s children have tried to share them.
In his book “Deep and Wide”, Andy Stanley takes a look at his parents’ marriage. He tells us that the union was dead long before his parents chose the path of divorce. Andy describes his long efforts at marriage counseling with trained therapists and doctors.
However, he also writes that despite the prevailing problems, his parents were against divorce, so neither of them wanted to initiate it.
The process of divorce
In 1993, Anna Stanley decided to start divorce proceedings. She filed for divorce but later amended it to request “separate maintenance, “, a form of legal separation. Anna and Stanley were unable to agree on terms, so in 1995 she filed again, requesting a jury trial. Relentless efforts to reconcile the couple failed to produce any results.
The separation caused great tension in the Christian community and especially in Stanley’s local church. Neither of them disclosed the details of what led them to it, but there seemed to be no other way.
The divorce process was long and exhausting, and it affected the First Baptist Church where he was serving at the time. Stanley was determined to resign as soon as the divorce was final, but his congregation voted overwhelmingly for him to remain as pastor until he remarried.
The divorce process was finally finalized in 2000 when it was officially announced. Despite calls from some clergy, Stanley continued his ministry, saying that he should step down for a time to get his life in order. Charles Stanley resigns.
Charles Stanley steps down
In 2020, Charles Stanley resigned as senior pastor of First Baptist Church. He announced that it was time for him to do so, and his long-time assistant, George, would take the helm. When he visited Dr. Charles Stanley in the hospital, George told him that the two of them had had several conversations in which the senior pastor had hinted that he wanted to leave.
However, he didn’t feel the timing was right. Charles Stanley has not been married since the divorce. He is still busy writing books and ministering in his church. His home is in Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently lives.
Anna stayed out of the limelight but continued to be active in various churches. Anna Stanley remained unmarried until her death.
What happened to Anna Stanley?
Sadly, Anne Stanley died in November 2014 at the age of 83 after an unexplained illness. She and Charles rarely spoke after the end of their marriage.
Even in more recent publications, compared to his earlier works, Anna is not mentioned. Anne is survived by two children, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and two sisters.
Two decades later, the divorce of Charles Stanley is still a subject of much debate. The religious fundamentalist has remained silent about his marital problems but continues to serve his church faithfully.
What Are the Reasons for Dr. Charles Stanley and Anna Stanley’s Divorce?
Dr. Charles Stanley’s divorce from his wife in 2000 was reportedly caused by what his ex-wife described as years of marital frustration and conflict.
Anna Stanley initially filed for divorce in June 1993, but Charles Stanley persuaded her to change it to legal separation. Anna Stanley filed for divorce again in 1995, officially declaring that their marriage of more than 40 years had broken down irretrievably.
Dr. Charles’ divorce also caused An unfortunate misunderstanding between Andy and Charles forcing Andy to leave his dad’s church.
Andy’s talent as a preacher was revealed when he took over one of his father’s satellite churches. Soon he had to turn away members of the congregation because there was no room in the church for them to sit.
In some ways, Charles and Andy looked like a father-son duo working together, but in others, they looked like competitors.
Almost 20 years later, when asked in a CNN interview if he was in competition with his father, Andy replied, “Not intentionally, but I felt like what we were doing was better.”
When Charles abdicated, Andy was seen as the heir to his father’s throne. It was widely expected that Charles would resign because of the divorce, but he was not about to do so.
Andy did not want his father to resign, but Charles believed that Andy supported his resignation because of a misunderstanding. Andy chose to leave Charles’ church after his father confronted him about siding with his enemies.
“It was really bad,” Andy told CNN. “It was horrible. But you know what? I had perfect peace. I’ve never been so sure of a decision even when the whole world blew up around us.“
Charles and Andy rebuilt their relationship by spending time together and seeking advice from a counselor. In the end, they reconnected with a bond they had mistakenly broken.
In 1995, Andy and a group of friends started North Point Community Church. When Charles heard the news, he interrupted his normal worship routine one Sunday morning to tell the congregation: “And he has my blessing,” said.