Charles the Tree and Andy the Apple

Obey God and Leave the Consequences to HimCharles Stanley

There is probably no greater insult the child of a revered parent can recieve than “The apple has fallen far from the tree.”. As someone born in the early 1980s, I can think of no preacher more revered than Charles Stanley. For decades, Charles Stanley was the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. His preaching ministry was ubiquitous. In the days before the internet and podcasts, Stanley’s messages were broadcast worldwide over the airwaves, both radio and television. In contrast to the charismatic prosperity pimp televangelists who also rose to prominence in those days, Charles Stanley presented practical messages grounded in scripture. Charles Stanley was not one to tickle ears. Time and time again, Stanley would preface a challenging statement in a sermon with “the Bible says.”. The same cannot be said for his son, Andy. The younger Stanley’s constant downplaying of the authority of scripture provides a sharp contrast to the preacher of his father. So, has the apple fallen far from the tree?

Prior to founding North Point Community Church, Andy was the Associate Pastor and Minister to Students at First Baptist Church in Atlanta. Stanley left First Baptist Atlanta after a sharp disagreement with his father. Since leaving and founding his own churh, Andy Stanley’s influence has grown to be even greater than that of his father. There was a time of estrangement between the two but that time has long been over. Unfortunately, rather than rebuking the unbiblical and downright heretical methods of his son, the elder Stanley has chosen to endorse Andy. For example, Charles Stanley endorsed Andy’s book Deep and Wide, along the well-known evangelical scoundrels Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and Louie Giglio. Time after time, Charles Stanley has chosen to be supportive of Andy. Charles Stanley gave Andy his respected name as well a start in vocational ministry at First Baptist Atlanta. Frankly, Charles Stanley unleashed on the visible church at large one of the most dangerous heretics of modern times. Despite his position of influence, Charles has done nothing to warn the world about Andy. Sadly, he’s done quite the opposite.

So, while it would seem that the apple has fallen far from the tree regarding the younger Stanley, the truth is they are thick as theives. Charles Stanley held onto his pastorate after a bitter divorce, refusing to step down. Andy Stanley holds on to a pastorate despite a clear rejection of biblical doctrine. He didn’t roll far from the tree; that tree was rotten all along.

If you check out this short video from Jordan Riley, you might not be so surprised at the direction of Stanley’s son:

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant