Update: 17 January 2014
The fact that Charles Frazier Stanley, a prominent and senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, is such an influential Churchman with thousands who are guided by him in their path towards righteousness, got divorced from his wife, Anna , made it really difficult for people to forgive or condone him when they first got the shocking news about his divorce.
Charles Stanley was married to his wife Anna for almost forty-four years; they separated in 1992 and she filed for divorce in 1993. Through a mutual decision, the couple decided then that Anna would amend the lawsuit and seek a legal separation, that is ‘separate maintenance’ whilst they attempted a reconciliation. But, Anna finally decided, in 1995, to file for divorce.
Though, not much is known as to the reasons behind the split, which must have definitely come after a lot of soul searching as it was a step that was in direct opposition to everything Charles spoke about, preached or believed. There have been some disenchanted folks who talk about rumors regarding an alleged extra-marital affair on Charles’ part or even of his supposed cold-heartedness in never missing a day at his church right through the whole ordeal, while some have laid the blame squarely on Anna and have even said that she had lost her mind when she had taken the step.
There were the inevitable consequences to the divorce not only because of his status as a prominent evangelist, but also because of being a parent. The couple’s son Andy, who is now an equally prominent Church leader with an equally impressive following, realized that his parents were having problems when he was in the tenth grade. Though, outwardly to the world, Charles Stanley and Anna seemed perfectly fine together, the marriage was in fact slowly unraveling despite going to counselors, leading to Anna quietly moving out of her marital home and stopping to attend church with Charles. 1995, Anna cleared the air in a letter to her husband’s church and more or less blamed Charles for their marriage breaking up. Andy was affected by the break up and was more sympathetic towards his mother.
The churchgoers were also conflicted about the news, starting with rumors earlier on during that time that Charles Stanley would resign if divorce happened. During the years of separation, some pastors demanded that he step down while some simply shunned him. But, when the deed was done, the FBA members, his then 13,000 strong congregation members showed their total support and voted to keep him on as a pastor with the condition that he wouldn’t remarry.
Since then Charles and Andy have taken steps to get closer and bring a kind of peace to their relationship.