Charles Stanley Kind of Blows it on Suicide Sermon – Also blows it on Anxiety Sermon

Charles Stanley Kind of Blows it on Suicide Sermon – and Anxiety

(Edited to add: I was writing this blog page as I was watching the sermon on television)

(Another edit:, dated Jan 2015: There is another edit below where I briefly discuss Stanley’s awful sermon about Anxiety.)

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Edit 2. // Dec 27, 2014. 

Tonight, Charles Stanley’s show is re-running an older sermon on suicide. It might be the same one I critique below, and it’s called “The Impact of Suicide on Believers.”

Stanley’s show aired a few snippets from the episode before the sermon itself airs in full, and it sounds rather victim-blaming.

Stanley tells people on this episode that if they take their own life, they “short circuit” God’s plan for their life, and they may therefore not get whatever rewards in the afterlife that God had intended for them.

Listen, someone whose depression is at such a low point they are contemplating suicide are in such emotional pain, the are not going to care AT ALL about heavenly rewards, or if they are disappointing God. Stanley just doesn’t get it.

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Stanley’s sermon on TV tonight is about suicide. You can probably find video of this sermon on You Tube (aired August 3, 2013, “In Touch” program – if it’s not on You Tube now, wait a few weeks, you can probably find it later; EDIT, Sept 2013: I think I have found the episode, I have embedded it below, please scroll down to view that video). I am blogging this as I am watching the show.

Stanley said suicide is ingratitude towards God and it is usurping God’s authority in the person’s life – both interpretations sound pretty insensitive to me.

But then, Stanley has been an insensitive butthead towards Christians who suffer from anxiety, too, so I guess I should not be surprised his views on suicide are similarly insensitive.

Stanley is saying God permits times of pain and loneliness in your life to teach you lessons. A person who is suicidal is not going to find that a reason to go on, but to end things quicker.

Oh no. Stanley is quoting one of my most disliked Bible verses: Romans 8:28. One of the most over-used Bible verses parroted at hurting Christians. It has become an empty cliche’.

Stanley says taking your life is an expression of selfishness.

News flash: when someone is in such deep pain they are toying with killing themselves, they don’t much frame it in terms of “how is my death going to affect person A, B, C,” which is in part what Stanley means by it “being selfish.”

Oh please. Stanley just said if you are a Christian and kill yourself, this hurts your testimony to Non Christians because they will think, “If Jesus could not help you, what makes you think he could help me?”

That is insensitive of Stanley. He’s showing more concern for regular people than the person watching his show who may be suicidal right now.

Stanley said, “without Jesus as your Savior, you’re not going to make it.” I’m not sure what he meant by that; if he meant is in regards to suicide: he is wrong.

Even Christians commit suicide. I had a Christian friend who committed suicide several years ago. “Knowing Jesus” is not a guarantee that a person can, or will, be able to resist suicide.

Jesus does not magically heal or help every single person with a problem. Prayers go unanswered. It’s wrong to shame Christians out of suicide by telling them, “Think about what kind of witness you’re giving to Non Christians with that.”

I think Stanley is at the end of the sermon and will be answering viewer e-mails in a minute.

All in all, that was a downer sermon. I can’t imagine many suicidal Christians finding solace or hope in it.

I can only assume Stanley gave this sermon because Rick Warren’s son killed himself a few months ago, and the SBC has been putting pressure on SBs to speak out about mental health.

Southern Baptists SUCK at stuff like this. SBs totally SUCK at offering comfort and hope to people. Their standard, automatic response is to condemn, judge and be legalistic. The less SBs say about suicide and other sensitive topics the better, since they are usually incapable of showing compassion.

—–Edit 4, Jan 3, 2015.—–

ANXIETY SERMON

Tonight, TBN is re-airing a Charles Stanley sermon about anxiety. I don’t wish to spend very long on this.

Stanley’s sermon on anxiety is just as insensitive and victim-blaming as his one on depression and suicide. (By the way, it’s quite common for people who have depression to also have anxiety.)

One thing he said is that “anxiety is a choice.” No, it’s not – not for all people in all situations. Some people who have anxiety have it due to biological reasons, not due to “choice” or a lack of faith in Jesus.

Some people, both Christian and Non, have to take medication to cope with anxiety. To shame people for having anxiety or attribute it to lack of faith is very insensitive and is not helpful, nor is it even always accurate.

If you are a Christian struggling with depression or anxiety, please seek professional, medical help – do not be guilt tripped or shamed out of seeing a secular pyschologist, or a psychiatrist or from taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications by Charles Stanley or any other preacher, church, denomination or well-meaning Christian lay person!

You are no more a spiritual failure for taking doctor prescribed medications for anxiety or depression than you are when you take Tylenol for a headache, Visine eye drops for itchy eyes, or Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach.

You deserve to be treated with compassion for your struggle with anxiety, not condemned over it or told you’re not trusting God hard enough or whatever. Part of that compassion means acknowledging that faith alone cannot always conquer conditions such as depression, anxiety, etc, and sometimes these things need medications or therapy.

VIDEO: In Touch episode where Charles Stanley discusses suicide:
I found parts of this sermon insensitive, and it does not truly understand the emotional pain people with depression and suicidal ideation are in.

Stanley attempts to shame or guilt those with suicidal ideation into staying alive. That is not compassionate and completely misunderstands how depressed people think.

(Edit 2. The original video about suicide was removed from You Tube. I am not sure if this one I replaced it with is the same exact one; he has given two or three sermons about suicide before. I assume this is the same one, but it might not be. Should this video be pulled, simply go to You Tube and type in “Charles Stanley suicide” and you should be able to find another copy):

(Edit 3, July 2014. Good gravy. This is the second or third Charles Stanley video on sucide that has been removed due to “copyright violation.” Does Stanley’s church run around ordering people to yank his videos? Let me see if I can find another copy – again, I am not sure if this is the same exact sermon I was reviewing above, because he has done two or three sermons on suicide, if I am not mistaken):

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From The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Or visit their page if you are having thoughts of suicide:

(Link): I Am Struggling

Another resource:

(Link): National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Related posts this blog:

(Link):  How Laypersons Can Minister to Depressed / Suicidal People

(Link): Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness

(Link): Bayless Conley and Depression – Sorry, dude, but depression can’t be cured by will power & sometimes not even by faith

(Link): The Gospel Doesn’t Deliver People From Depression – brief critique of Chris Rosebrough’s comments / Chuck Collins blog

Confusing or Downer Messages from Charles Stanley (TV Baptist Preacher) Why I no longer watch In Touch that often

Confusing or Downer Messages from Charles Stanley (TV Baptist Preacher) Why I no longer watch In Touch that often

Charles Stanley certainly sends mixed messages. In a broadcast tonight, he said God wants believers to “prosper,” but on previous episodes, Stanley has mentioned God doesn’t care if followers are “happy.” I see the two as being similar; to be prosperous is to be happy. Maybe the concepts are not alike 100% of the time, but they are a little synonymous.

The entire message of his sermon tonight was something like, “The Courage to Obey.”

On Stanley’s weekly TV show, he frequently repeats a line he heard from his grandpa or someone when he was a kid, which was: “Obey God, and leave all the consequences to him.”

Not only am I becoming more agnostic as time goes by, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stomach watching Christian TV shows I used to rather enjoy, including Stanley’s “In Touch” program.

I’ve noticed Stanley has the extremely annoying habit of blaming hurting people for their problems in life (when they write him on his TV show with questions about problems they are having), in addition to his preoccupation with having people “obey” God.

I read a few years ago that Stanley’s yearly income from his church is $300k – $400,000.

I understand the man grew up in poverty:

    That survival spirit was second nature for Charles, whose father died when he was 9 months old and who grew up so poor that he learned about Santa Claus the Christmas morning he discovered in his stocking the orange that had been in the refrigerator the night before. He lived in 17 homes by his 8th birthday.

    (Source: CNN article)

But it’s rather unseemly that someone earning 400k a year, who has been earning that amount for several years now, is and has been lecturing people who are unemployed or under-employed on tithing (Stanley has actually said on prior shows that people who don’t tithe are probably “living in sin”), or on tonight’s show, he sort of nit picked people for not tithing, saying they don’t trust God, so that is why they don’t give their funds to a church.

Considering that (if there is a God), God’s answer is sometimes “NO” to people’s petitions, I don’t blame people for not trusting God with their finances, or with other things.

Stanley is also horrible on mental health topics, and he has gone 180 degrees on that topic.

At one point, Stanley expressed sympathy for folks who have depression and anxiety and who need to see a medical doctor and take pills for it, but in broadcasts in the past few years, he has come out in complete opposition to those views: he chides Christians who have mental problems who see doctors and who take anti- depressant, anti- anxiety medications.

Stanley’s show used to be a bit encouraging, but in the past 5 – 7 years, his sermons have gotten depressing, and he blames people for their problems more and more, even if they did nothing to cause their problems.

There is more emphasis in Stanley’s attitudes and sermons on what YOU can do for God than on what Jesus did for you at the cross.

I’m not sure why I even bother to occasionally flip the channel to watch his show anymore. There are weekeneds when I have skipped it altogether.

Joseph Prince (despite being a WOFer) at least preaches regularly on the grace of God via Jesus.

And for all the lambasting he gets from conservative Christians, at least 90% of Joel Osteen’s sermons remind you that God loves you and is on your side. I’d much rather hear those types of upbeat sermons than depressing, semi-legalistic, “God doesn’t care about your happiness, you need to obey God, and what have you done for God lately” type sermons one gets from Charles Stanley, or John Hagee and others.

Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried – Charles Stanley on Singleness – Unanswered Prayer

Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried

Hats off to these guys – preacher Charles Stanley’s Baptist church in Atlanta – for at least attempting to de-focus on the usual evangelical, fundamentalist, and Baptist favored demographic of “young married couples with kids.”

This Stanley led Atlanta church is focusing on widows, “the needy” (their phrase), prisoners, and one or two other, usually- neglected- by- Christian groups. That is all fine and dandy, but I see no acknowledgement of un-married people in the list of people they hope to cater to.

Almost half the adult American population is single. A lot of Christians are in that figure, too. Where are the programs and appeals to unmarried adults in this “Missing Person” ministry by Baptist Church of Atlanta? Here is a link to their ministry:

(Link): Missing Persons Ministry (Atlanta Baptist Church, Charles Stanley preacher)

SINGLES

See the bottom of that page for the categories of people they are hoping to serve and reach – it includes “The Disabled,” “The Widows,” “The Orphans,” etc, but no mention of never-married adults past 30.

In last night’s broadcast of Stanley’s “In Touch” program, where he talked about people’s desire to be loved, he got on to this spiel about people who are still single, who would like to be married.

Stanley said it’s far better to be single than to be married to the wrong person. This is a common saying spouted off at discontent, unhappy singles, and does nothing to cheer us up.

I was engaged several years to an idiot, so I know that “being with the wrong person” can be worse than being single. But I do not appreciate my desire to still be married brushed off as though it’s unrealistic, stupid, or immature, and that is what that bit of common wisdom does.

Continue reading “Atlanta Baptist Church Missing Person Project Missing the Unmarried – Charles Stanley on Singleness – Unanswered Prayer”

Large Atlanta Church Starts New Outreach To Get Missing or Forgotten Members to Attend

Charles Stanley’s Ministry Launches ‘Missing Persons Project’ to Regain ‘Forgotten Members’

This is all fine and dandy, but why is this church in Atlanta not including older singles, childless (or child free), and former members who are disgruntled and disillusioned by church life in its concerns?

How about making more of an effort of allowing women (both married and single) to contribute in more meaningful ways in church life, instead of permitting that hideous, sexist “submission” doctrine and similar ones, to keep women from leading, teaching, and putting their skills and gifts to use within church?

If churches keep telling women, “Sorry, we will not allow you to lead, teach, or serve in a meaningful fashion and/or in an area that interests YOU, and we will continue to severely limit what roles you can fill in church,” they will continue to lose female members.

Even with titles such as “Missing” and “Forgotten,” older single Christians still can’t win; they get left off the list of consideration. How can Christians be so lovey-compassionate about some groups and continue to totally overlook and neglect (Link): one of the most neglected groups in Christianity?

One of the few positive things I can say about this Atlanta church’s new outreach effort is I am glad they are not focusing on how to draw teen-agers and 20-somethings into their church, but appear to be interested in ADULTS (e.g., widows, and prisoners – most of whom I’m going to assume are over 30 years old).

(Link): Charles Stanley’s Ministry Launches ‘Missing Persons Project’ to Regain ‘Forgotten Members’

    By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post

    The teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, has launched a “Missing Persons Project” campaign to encourage local faith communities to “recognize and receive [their] forgotten members,” those who might be considered social outcasts or even marginalized by their churches.

    “Today, the Body of Christ is missing many of its members. Too often we’re guilty of assigning greater value to one part than the others,” says Stanley in an introductory video on In Touch Ministries’ website.

    … The “Missing Persons Project” website has as five target groups: the Disabled, Widows & Orphans, Prisoners, the Needy and the Searchers.

    Currently live on In Touch Ministries’ website are stories from families with a member living with a disability. “People with disabilities are made in God’s image, yet churches are often slow to welcome them. What we don’t realize is that their absence from our congregations weakens the body of Christ,” reads the featured, titled “The Disabled Body of Christ.” The feature also includes a call to action for readers who want to interact with others who are disabled as well as their families. The suggestions include things as simple as smiling and maintaining eye contact when interacting with disabled persons, while it also warns against offering words of pity to parents with disabled children.

Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

I don’t have any answers for these topics I’m raising; I’m only ranting about a couple of topics that have been annoying me the last few years.

I was watching Hal Lindsey’s Bible prophecy show this evening. I usually like this guy’s teachings (or used to; over the years, I’ve lost some interest in Bible prophecy. One can only stand hearing oh- so- many “the world is ending soon!” type lectures and attempts to figure out who the Anti Christ is before it all gets a little old).

Lindsey was explaining today why sometimes a Christian’s prayers may go unanswered – and I’ve also seen pastor Charles Stanley, other Christian television personalities, and Christians online say the same thing – that is, if your prayers are going unanswered, it could be because you have “unconfessed sin” in your life (they also dole out other possible reasons).

This is a variation of a troubling, annoying, infuriating theme I see among Christians from time to time, from preachers and from Christian family, friends, and acquaintances.

Blame The Victim

Any time one approaches these people with any of life’s disappointments, let downs, struggles, regrets, heart aches, and questions of, “Why doesn’t God do “X” for me, I’ve been praying about it for years?,” these sorts of Christians begin reeling off a list of reasons, such as, “You must have unconfessed sin in your life!,” “You must not have enough faith,” or some such rationale.
Continue reading “Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency”