Charles Stanley and False Assurance of Salvation

Posted on May 8, 2012

The following is a guest post from Shawn Pander addressing Charles Stanley’s unbiblical view of sanctification and assurance of salvation.

Brethren, as a born again follower of Jesus Christ I have realized it is usually acceptable with many believers to expose the teachings of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, or Rob Bell. However, there are many believers who feel it is taboo to expose the teachings of Charles Stanley, who is very well-known in the Southern Baptist arena. This article is intended to compare his teachings with the Word of God.

When the Lord saved me, I was immediately given and encouraged from a family member to read a book by Charles Stanley called Eternal Security. Of course, since I was a new believer in Christ, I didn’t want any outside books filling my mind. I just wanted the Word of God. After reading my Bible daily for several months, I decided to see what this book had to say. Sadly, I was very shocked and disgusted by the teachings of this book.

This is not an easy article to write as Dr. Stanley has been a pastor for 40+ years, and is well-respected in the Southern Baptist church. However, when we die and stand before the Lord, the writings of Dr. Stanley or any other well known evangelical leader is not going to matter. The only thing that is going to stand is the Word of God, and what the Lord taught us in His Word.

Below is a list of quotes from Dr. Stanley’s book Eternal Security, each followed by a rebuttal from Scripture:

1.  “Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy” (Chapter 10, p. 93).

Here is what God says in His Scripture:

Matthew 10:22 – And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”

2.  “And last, believers who lose or abandon their faith will retain their salvation, for God remains faithful” (p. 94).

Here is what God says in His Scripture:

1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

3.  “Christ will not deny an unbelieving Christian his or her salvation because to do so would be to deny Himself” (p. 94).

Here is what God says in His Scripture:

Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

4. In regards to the parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14-30, Stanley writes:

The final verse of this parable is so severe that many commentators assume it is a description of hell. It is not. (p. 124) Where is this place represented by the “outer darkness” in Jesus’ parable? To be in the “outer darkness” is to be in the kingdom of God but outside the circle of men and women whose faithfulness on this earth earned them a special rank or position of authority. (p. 126)

Here is what God says in Scripture:

Matthew 25:30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

5.  Additionally, below is a list of quotes from Dr. Stanley’s book Handbook for Christian Living:

You and I are not saved because we have enduring faith. We are saved because at a moment in time we expressed faith in our Lord (p. 190).

Discipleship has nothing to do with whether you will go to heaven or not (p. 505).

It is possible to be a child of God and never a disciple of Christ. We can live the Christian life with the assurance of heaven as our ultimate destiny but miss the process of maturing as a disciple (p. 505).

Contrary to Dr. Stanley’s teachings, a Christian is a disciple as we see in Acts 11:26:

…And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

Moreover, we see the demands and admonitions of Christ concerning true and false disciples in the following verses:

Luke 14:25-33 – Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple…So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Luke 6:46-49 – “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.c 49But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Brethren, we may disagree on secondary issues such as end-times prophecy, but we must not be wrong with the Gospel. Dr. Stanley’s teachings do not match up when compared to the Word of God. Dr. Stanley’s teachings are deceptive and can give an assurance of salvation to those who should not have it. Sadly, this type of teaching is very popular and typical in most evangelical churches today. However, this teaching is bad theology and denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it perverts the Gospel, and I believe is one of the many broad roads leading to destruction that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14. Anyone teaching such heresy should tremble at Galatians 1:8-9.

Please note, I have emailed Dr. Stanley at In Touch Ministries in regards to this matter about a year ago, and I have still have not received a response.

I pray you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ

In Him, Shawn

Shawn Pander lives in Mount Holly, North Carolina with his wife Lisa and attends Lincoln Community Bible Church. He is a member of The Speak:Truth Project where he proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the streets in the Charlotte area.

Recommended Reading

What Is Wrong with NON-Lordship Salvation?

Gutless Gracers’ Easy-Believism

Biblical Assurance of Salvation