Saturday, September 08, 2007

What Do You Think of Charles Stanley?

This evening, I think of Charles Stanley. He was faithful. Yet, in 2000, his wife of 44 years just walked away and filed for divorce. He still prays for her to come back.

Large numbers left the church because of this. Radio stations in various areas cancelled his "In Touch" radio program. Various Christian leaders commented that he should be prohibited from further service. But his growing church, First Baptist Atlanta, still accepted him as pastor. And he remained at In Touch radio ministry to the present.

I find that some things are really hard to explain. Many of us may struggle with trying to understand what the Bible says in pastor Stanley's case. But it appears that he had been forced to live out a decision outside of God's design made by his loved one. That decision has placed him where he does not want to be. I can imagine how broken pastor Stanley has been.

Is it possible to have a sorrowful marriage while having a personal character that is above reproach? Well, I think of the prophet Hosea in the Bible. And yes, what about God? You will recall that He had a divorce from the nation Israel (Jer. 3:8)!

Continuing in ministry after the divorce was met with a lot of resistance in pastor Stanley's case. I think of Moses who was a murderer. David was an adulterer and murderer. The apostle Paul probably killed people. Were they still accepted by God to serve Him? Of course, there is always a time for repentance and healing. Yet after that, God sees no longer what a man was but what he now is.

I think of how pastor Stanley felt when even Christians started to judge and reject him. What do you do when the very place where you should receive help or grace is the very place where you get rejected even further? Someone said that the church is the only army that shoots its own soldiers! I think pastor Stanley should not get mad at God's children. They should know better, but they are also human.

I think God's promise to pastor Stanley and the rest of us in Hebrews 13:5 is in effect: "I will never leave you nor forsake you." God plus you is a majority!