Charles Stanley's Visits To Chattanooga

  • Thursday, April 20, 2023
  • Earl Freudenberg
A young Dr. Stanley
A young Dr. Stanley

Dr. Charles F. Stanley spoke in Chattanooga at least twice during his 65-year plus ministry. Dr. Stanley was ordained August 19, 1956 after graduating from the University of Richmond. In 1957, Dr. Stanley received his Doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The late Dr. J.R. Faulkner said Highland Park Baptist Church pastor Dr. Lee Roberson invited Dr. Stanley to Chattanooga but he could not remember the exact year. Dr. Faulkner said, “As I recall Dr. Stanley presented a plain and simple message of the Gospel. It was in the early days of his ministry and we were very impressed with the pastor’s passion for evangelism.”

The Armed Forces Week Committee was looking for a speaker in 1985 for their Prayer Breakfast. Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and Vietnam POW Roger Ingvalson was chairman of the prayer breakfast committee. The name of Dr. Stanley was mentioned and Col. Ingvalson called the First Baptist Church, Atlanta, sent a follow up letter and Dr. Stanley accepted the invitation.

Dr. Stanley, who was president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the time, held a news conference in the pilots lounge at Lovell Field the day before his morning talk on May 14. Present at that news conference were Jim Ashley with the Chattanooga News Free Press, Ruth Robinson with the Chattanooga Times, and television and radio stations. Dr. Stanley answered all reporters’ questions that mostly centered on SBC issues.

The morning of his talk before nearly a thousand both military and civilians at the Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center, Dr. Stanley was introduced by Retired Col. Ingvalson. Dr. Stanley emphasized a strong United States military but presented a plain Gospel message of the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Dr. Stanley noted how much he enjoyed soloist Renee Sloan's patriotic selections. Following Dr. Stanley’s message, he received a standing ovation from the crowd. Friends said Dr. Stanley may have visited Chattanooga on other occasions including trips to some of the city’s attractions to make pictures. When Dr. Stanley wasn’t preaching he was making photographs as his hobby was photography.

A young Southern Gospel Singer, Mallory Ledford from Cleveland, Tn., was rising in popularity singing in churches in Tennessee and Georgia. She appeared at the National Quartet Convention and someone sent her name to Rodney Brooks, First Baptist Church Atlanta minister of music. Ms. Ledford was invited to the church and sang there twice in 2009 and 2010. She had her picture made with the nationally known television preacher. Ms. Ledford said, “Dr. Stanley liked my music and gave me lot of encouragement. It was something I’ll never forget.”

Dr. Stanley died on Tuesday, and will lie in repose on Saturday, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, Atlanta. There will be a Legacy Celebration the next day at the Church with reception to follow. Church officials said the public is invited to both events.

Listen to Dr. Stanley’s message May 14, 1985, by clicking here.

Dr. Stanley
Dr. Stanley
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