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Thread: Is Charles Stanley arminian or reformed?

  1. #1
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    Is Charles Stanley arminian or reformed?

    I ask this because I enjoy listening to his radio program everyday but
    not sure about his theology other than he is baptist. Is he reformed
    or arminian in his beliefs? Does anyone on PB find his program useful and
    if not what is wrong with his teachings?
    Joe
    4C's
    Boston, MA

  2. #2
    Arminian... he was involved with the John 3:16 Conference, which was specifically against Reformation Theology.
    Sean Caouette
    Independent Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Memphis, Tennessee

  3. #3
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    The other morning I heard him explaining that we must tithe so God will bless us and if we don't, bad things will start happening in our lives. So give to get something seemed to be the message. He seems to be a case of when higher-life teaching attacks!
    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
    Meg
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  4. #4
    Charles Stanley is directly in the line of Lewis Sperry Chafer's brand of Dispensationalism. He is Keswick with easy believism thrown in there, so he believes in eternal security without perseverance.
    Charlie Johnson
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    Typical southern baptist theology is to hold to perseverance of the saints and total depravity (though missing what that means) with varying shades of assent to unconditional election.

    Majority of southern baptists would not hold to limited atonement or irresistible grace.

    Though I've never heard Stanley identify his theology along tulip lines, the above scenario is what I'd guess to be pretty close to what he professes.

    But make no mistake, he ain't reformed.
    Ben Bush
    First Baptist Church (SBC)
    SW Georgia
    Pastor
    1689 BCF and BF&M 2000

  6. #6
    Let's not forget - and I want to really walk on eggshells here - that in my very limited understanding, Dr. Stanley is no longer the "husband of one wife", having gotten a divorce in 2000. The man had once stated that, should he and Anna ever get divorced, he would resign. When that day actually happened, however, he refused to do so.

    A word of extreme caution here - I don't know all the circumstances. Dr. Stanley could be completely innocent in all of this, and guilty of nothing except going back on his word to resign. I know of no details whatsoever that would cause me to doubt his sincerity or his love for Christ. His marriage, however, is less than an ideal example for his flock to follow.
    Jacob Mearse
    Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Olympia, WA
    Student, Reformed Theological Seminary (Virtual)
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  7. #7
    Jacob,

    The only thing I recall about this is that his son, Andy, publicly stated that his father should step down.
    Fred Greco
    Senior Pastor, Christ Church PCA (Katy, TX)
    Christ Church Blog

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    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    Joseph Grigoletti
    Presbyterian Church of America
    Bellingham, WA

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    I would pick Spongebob Squarepants over Joyce Meyer or Benny Hinn!
    Jacob Mearse
    Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Olympia, WA
    Student, Reformed Theological Seminary (Virtual)
    Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
    Husband to April; Daddy to Wesley, Cyrus, FaithMarie and SarahAnn.
    2 member(s) found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    Though not as glaring, I would toss him in with the same bunch...
    JC - PCA - PA...homesick for SC
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by fredtgreco View Post
    Jacob,

    The only thing I recall about this is that his son, Andy, publicly stated that his father should step down.
    Pastor Greco,

    Here's where I first read about what Stanley said (admittedly second hand):

    Baptist Press
    Wednesday, May 31, 2000
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ATLANTA – Charles Stanley and his wife, Anna, have divorced. According to an official of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Stanley will remain as senior pastor.

    Stanley, 67, told the congregation in a service May 21. Following his report, Gerald Spicer, church administrator, told the congregation Stanley would remain as senior pastor. The congregation rose in applause.

    According to the May 23 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Anna Stanley filed a petition as "A.J. Stanley" requesting a divorce from "C.F. Stanley" on Feb. 16 charging their marriage of 44 years was "irretrievably broken." An Atlanta judge signed the final decree May 11 following the execution of a property agreement by the Stanleys April 5.

    The Stanley's troubled marriage was made public in the 1990s and caused some struggles in the church because of an unwritten policy that First Baptist not allow divorced men to serve as ministers or deacons.

    Stanley told the congregation in 1995, "If my wife divorces me, I would resign immediately."

    "We hate it that things like this happen, but our church is moving right along," said the vice chairman of the church's deacons, Jerry Beal, according to the Atlanta newspaper. "He is our pastor, and he will remain our pastor."

    Pastor of the Atlanta church since 1972, Stanley is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and his In Touch television ministry is seen and heard around the world.

    According to the Atlanta newspaper, SBC President Paige Patterson said he is "deeply sympathetic with the sorrow I know all of the Stanley family must feel over this. It ought to be a wakeup call for America that if something like this can happen to the Stanley family, it shows how much society has lost its bearings."
    Jacob Mearse
    Reformation Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Olympia, WA
    Student, Reformed Theological Seminary (Virtual)
    Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LadyFlynt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    Though not as glaring, I would toss him in with the same bunch...
    As would I. His approach to sanctification and spirtual gifts is awful.
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

  13. #13
    It ought to be a wakeup call for America that if something like this can happen to the Stanley family, it shows how much society has lost its bearings.
    I mean like yeah. When people as perfect as they are have that happen, I know losers like me are doomed. I'll never be able to try as hard as them. Good thing I've got Jesus.

    Edit: How is it society's fault he and his wife didn't keep their marriage covenant?
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
    It ought to be a wakeup call for America that if something like this can happen to the Stanley family, it shows how much society has lost its bearings.
    I mean like yeah. When people as perfect as they are have that happen, I know losers like me are doomed. I'll never be able to try as hard as them. Good thing I've got Jesus.
    ^6
    Scott - Dallas, Texas - Faith OPC

    "It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do." - Edmund Burke

  15. #15
    he's also recently been pushing the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" junk as of late.
    Adam Leavelle
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    I know there are people out there that are "blessed" by Rick warren's messages or even Bentley.

    I'm not sure how any arminian teaching could be viewed as sound.

    Brian E
    Member Falls OPC
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paige Patterson
    According to the Atlanta newspaper, SBC President Paige Patterson said he is "deeply sympathetic with the sorrow I know all of the Stanley family must feel over this. It ought to be a wakeup call for America that if something like this can happen to the Stanley family, it shows how much society has lost its bearings."

    Want to talk about how "America has lost its bearing"? Continue blaming Divorce on "America" and not calling out those who divorce unrighteously for the sins they have committed.
    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
    Pastor, Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP
    Ellisville, Mississippi

    ‎‎""The Christian religion is the religion of sinners, of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells. The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin, of continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished for ever."
    -- Matthew Henry on 1 John 1:9


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    My father-in-law has been a very active member at FBC for more than 20 years. I attend almost every time I am in Atlanta, and I have heard dozens of his sermons.

    He is not only Arminian, he is anti-reformed.
    TE Kevin Rogers
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    Redeemer Community Church
    Moncton NB

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by bened View Post
    Typical southern baptist theology is to hold to perseverance of the saints and total depravity (though missing what that means) with varying shades of assent to unconditional election.

    Majority of southern baptists would not hold to limited atonement or irresistible grace.

    Though I've never heard Stanley identify his theology along tulip lines, the above scenario is what I'd guess to be pretty close to what he professes.

    But make no mistake, he ain't reformed.
    I agree with this assessment. The few times I've heard him speak (on tv) he was preaching the basic Southern Baptist beliefs.
    Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour
    IMHO he is much much closer to Reformed than Armenian, but like bened stated, not accepting "limited atonement"
    Rangerus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    My father-in-law has been a very active member at FBC for more than 20 years. I attend almost every time I am in Atlanta, and I have heard dozens of his sermons.

    He is not only Arminian, he is anti-reformed.
    You poor soul, I don't know how you bear up! He comes on right after R.C. Sproul, and I make it a point to either change the station or turn off the radio.
    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
    Meg
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  21. #21
    Stanley, as I understand him, is of the Arminian position though I don't know if he would claim that or not. I live blogged Stanley at the John 3:16 Conference. He really didn't say anything against Calvinists. He really just talked about how God has blessed his ministry throughout the years with some very poor theology, IMO, that bordered on prosperity.

    The reason his son Andy left to his father's church was because of the divorce if I recall Andy's message correctly. I heard Andy say it from the pulpit and this is one of the reasons why Andy took the stand to not over-commit his time to the church. He said he say what working 70+ (something like that) hours a week did to his parents' marriage.

    I believe Stanley is of the free grace, non-lordship camp. On page 29 of Eternal Security he's quoted saying:

    As we see throughout Faith Foundations, believers are redeemed only by the shed blood of Christ. When we receive Jesus as Lord, we experience the blessing and security of that redemption. However, when we walk away from that saving knowledge, we do not lose our redemption, only the security that comes from our faith in it. So, we cannot be redeemed a second time, because we never stopped being redeemed.
    Based on what Stanley said he would do upon divorce, his son's admissions and other issues surrounding Stanley I do not believe he should be in the pulpit. Regardless, I would not call him an expositor either.
    Mark
    Deacon at an SBC church
    Atlanta, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    My father-in-law has been a very active member at FBC for more than 20 years. I attend almost every time I am in Atlanta, and I have heard dozens of his sermons.

    He is not only Arminian, he is anti-reformed.
    You poor soul, I don't know how you bear up! He comes on right after R.C. Sproul, and I make it a point to either change the station or turn off the radio.
    Meg, you only know the half...
    TE Kevin Rogers
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  23. #23
    When I was pastoring an AG church Stanley was often brought up by the WoF folks as an example of how efficacious the WoF doctrine was; that it was not just a Pentecostal doctrine and worked whether it was taught in its fullness or not.
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  24. #24
    Isn't Stanley more of a semi-pelagian than an arminian?
    Mushroom

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra Marcion View Post
    Let's not forget - and I want to really walk on eggshells here - that in my very limited understanding, Dr. Stanley is no longer the "husband of one wife", having gotten a divorce in 2000. The man had once stated that, should he and Anna ever get divorced, he would resign. When that day actually happened, however, he refused to do so.
    Aside from Stanley’s theology, let me comment on this statement regarding his divorce.

    1) Dr. Stanley can not be accused of being the husband of more than one wife as he has never remarried.

    2) SBC practice is inconsistent and unbiblical on this for two reasons- a) they most often refuse to ordain or install officers who have been divorced, without regard to cause of the divorce or whether the person has remarried; and b) they do not acknowledge (as the WCF XXIV does) there are biblical grounds for divorce and remarriage.

    3) The Atlanta congregation seems to have made an exception for Dr. Stanley because of his prominence.

    4) He would not be bound to his previous statement if he was promising something unbiblical.

    5) If Stanley’s divorce could be regarded as biblically justified (and his wife is the one who refused reconciliation and pursued the divorce), the congregation goes beyond their biblical authority in requiring what amounts to a vow of future celibacy to continue in ministry as their pastor.

    6) To my knowledge, this was never handled by a church court, as might happen in a Presbyterian situation; so we can not judge whether Mrs. Stanley had biblical grounds to seek a divorce.

    7) I thank God for WCF XXIV and a system of ascending courts in Presbyterian polity.
    Glenn Ferrell
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  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    Don't take this personal but he is not cabable. His interpretation grid is full of theraputic deism. It is not Gospel centered but centered on individual experience much focusing on discerning hearing God's voice in everyday life. I have listened to dozens of his messages. You should too to get a more informed opinion. Many years ago before having been exposed to more I was a big fan of his radio program. But now when I listen to him I am left very dissapointed.
    Bruce
    PCUSA
    Ocean City NJ

  27. #27
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    Rev. Benjamin P. Glaser, M. Div, ARP
    Pastor, Ellisville Presbyterian Church, ARP
    Ellisville, Mississippi

    ‎‎""The Christian religion is the religion of sinners, of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells. The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin, of continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished for ever."
    -- Matthew Henry on 1 John 1:9


    Blogging at: Mountains and Magnolias and The Confessional ARP

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by ReformedWretch View Post
    he's also recently been pushing the "God has a wonderful plan for your life" junk as of late.
    THAT's the main thing that has saddened me over the years. Growing up, InTouch would come on the radio right before Sunday School/Morning Service, and my Mom and I would listen to it on the radio. Now whenever I listen, it sounds like everything else out there. What happened to the Charles Stanley I grew up with?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickened View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    I know there are people out there that are "blessed" by Rick warren's messages or even Bentley.

    I'm not sure how any arminian teaching could be viewed as sound.

    I agree
    Jeffrey Wilson
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  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra Marcion View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jogri17 View Post
    I prefer to not judge the man given He is clearly a capable expositor of the Bible. I know many reformed people here in Québec who are greatly blessed by his messages. He may be arminian but he is a sound evangelical. I will pick a charles stanley over a joyce myers or benny hinn any day.
    I would pick Spongebob Squarepants over Joyce Meyer or Benny Hinn!
    I would go to Mass before I would go to Benny Hinn.
    Zack Flummerfelt
    Evangel Presbyterian (PCA), layman
    Wichita, KS

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by KS_Presby View Post
    I would go to Mass before I would go to Benny Hinn.
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  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Ferrell View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra Marcion View Post
    Let's not forget - and I want to really walk on eggshells here - that in my very limited understanding, Dr. Stanley is no longer the "husband of one wife", having gotten a divorce in 2000. The man had once stated that, should he and Anna ever get divorced, he would resign. When that day actually happened, however, he refused to do so.
    Aside from Stanley’s theology, let me comment on this statement regarding his divorce.

    1) Dr. Stanley can not be accused of being the husband of more than one wife as he has never remarried.

    2) SBC practice is inconsistent and unbiblical on this for two reasons- a) they most often refuse to ordain or install officers who have been divorced, without regard to cause of the divorce or whether the person has remarried; and b) they do not acknowledge (as the WCF XXIV does) there are biblical grounds for divorce and remarriage.

    3) The Atlanta congregation seems to have made an exception for Dr. Stanley because of his prominence.

    4) He would not be bound to his previous statement if he was promising something unbiblical.

    5) If Stanley’s divorce could be regarded as biblically justified (and his wife is the one who refused reconciliation and pursued the divorce), the congregation goes beyond their biblical authority in requiring what amounts to a vow of future celibacy to continue in ministry as their pastor.

    6) To my knowledge, this was never handled by a church court, as might happen in a Presbyterian situation; so we can not judge whether Mrs. Stanley had biblical grounds to seek a divorce.

    7) I thank God for WCF XXIV and a system of ascending courts in Presbyterian polity.
    My first thought when I saw the title of the thread was to answer, "divorced." Yes, he is also very Arminian. But while we're casting stones about prominent "churchmen" getting away with things, let's remember that there are some prominent types in confesssional denominations who manage to break the second commandment with impunity.
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  33. #33
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    For the original question,

    Having listened to some of his programs years ago and from general knowledge:

    Arminian-influenced (probably 3 of 5 points Calvinist without fully comprehending the system) + dispensational + no confession of faith to bind.

    He preaches the gospel and God has used him to bring some people to Himself. He was president of the Southern Baptist Convention at least two terms.

    My impression (because I do not follow his teaching or activities now) is that he is trending farther away from teaching the full counsel of God's Word as are many within "broad evangelicalism."
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  34. #34
    [quote=Clay7926;573359]
    Quote Originally Posted by ReformedWretch View Post
    What happened to the Charles Stanley I grew up with?
    Perhaps you have grown and matured in the faith.
    Edward
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  35. #35
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  36. #36
    I started this with just looking at his website, but with the people that have listened to him, it might change the opinion. The only caveat I would say is he may have changed? Don't know, and because I have a lot of good people to listen to, I don't bother with those I don't know. (I don't have time to listen to everyone that hangs out a shingle as a pastor, which is another reason I like Presbyterian polity. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Javilo View Post
    Is he reformed or arminian in his beliefs?
    If he isn't reformed, he is real close. He holds to eternal security (what I would call God's preserving the saints).

    He also seems very close on election. On the "In Touch" website, he states:

    God chose to adopt you as His child before the foundation of the world. Why? For one reason and one reason only: He wanted to.
    Would he classify himself as reformed? I don't know, but I would think he is so close he might be at least a four and a half point Calvinist.

    -----Added 3/17/2009 at 10:44:01 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Contra Marcion View Post
    I would pick Spongebob Squarepants over Joyce Meyer or Benny Hinn!


    -----Added 3/17/2009 at 10:58:07 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    My father-in-law has been a very active member at FBC for more than 20 years. I attend almost every time I am in Atlanta, and I have heard dozens of his sermons.

    He is not only Arminian, he is anti-reformed.
    I'm surprised ... I went to the website and found what I thought were plenty of things that stated he had at least a view of election that predates creation, and that "eternal security" was a fact, that salvation was through adoption by God in his choice for no other reason than his own will. It took some digging, and there was at least some information that seemed to say there had been a change in his theology (especially concerning eternal security). I'm not sure of anything else, but if he holds that the only reason anyone is saved is because God chooses them from before the foundation of the earth by the council of his own will and no other reason, it sounds like the logical equivalent of total depravity, and at least "effectively limited atonement" (the atonement is at least not applied to anyone other than the elect).



    You've heard him many times ... that has to count more than what I am reading from his website (what a man says sometimes is a lot more than what he writes).
    Last edited by Brian Withnell; 03-17-2009 at 10:06 PM. Reason: Seeing other posts of people with direct experience.
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  37. #37
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    Brian please do not misunderstand me. FBCA is a positive force for the gospel in GA. And Bro. Stanley is a Brother in Christ. And Dr Stanley was used by God to help return the SBC to a more biblical foundation. And like most baptists they are right at least 2 times a day.

    However... the man himself, as well as his staff, hate the doctrines of grace, as we understand them.

    He has preached against, as have his staff, the doctrines of grace.

    My own family includes long time members & staff, and they have no doubt---Calvinism is a Heresy!
    TE Kevin Rogers
    MNA Church Planter
    Redeemer Community Church
    Moncton NB

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The PuritanBoard exists to promote robust discussion of theology in a Confessionally Reformed context. The modern trend of short statements of faith belies the many places where the Scriptures teach with great clarity. Though our respective Reformed confessions sometimes disagree, we believe that Churches have been given the gifts of teachers and elders to lead to the unity of the faith and the result of that unity is a Confessional Church confessing together: "This is what the Scriptures teach." The Confessions are secondary to the authority of Scripture itself but they arise out of Scripture as a standard exposition of the Word of God.