Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has voted to honor one of its most visible alumni, notable author and pastor Charles Stanley, with an endowed chair in their evangelism school.
Last week, the SWBTS Board of Trustees voted to approve the creation of the Charles F. Stanley Chair for the Advancement of Global Christianity, which will be part of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.
The establishment of the chair was supported through a donor agreement between SWBTS and the In Touch Foundation, the charitable arm of Stanley’s In Touch Ministries.
SWBTS President Adam Greenway told The Christian Post in an interview Tuesday that he believed Stanley “may be one of our most prominent visible alumni in the history of Southwestern Seminary.”
“He and his ministry were looking for a way to honor his legacy, certainty a worthy legacy of honoring, and they saw that Southwestern Seminary was a fitting institution to partner with to do something that would be significant in terms of their investment,” explained Greenway.
“And significant in terms of an opportunity to have Dr. Stanley’s name and his commitment to global missions and evangelism honored in perpetuity.”
The chair honoring Stanley is the first endowed chair at Southwestern to be fully funded at $2 million, which Greenway labeled a “significant accomplishment” that shows an academic commitment.
“We all know that one of the significant challenges is how to pay for the costs of seminary education today,” he continued. “The proceeds of an endowed chair support the salary of a professor who will be named to the chair, and the more of those endowed chairs a seminary has, the more likely it is it will be able to sustain its academic mission long into the future.”
In a statement included in the official seminary announcement, Stanley said that he is “honored to think of all the pastors, professors, and even founders of seminaries, who will be trained through the World Christian Studies program at Southwestern Seminary.”
“When I was a young man just starting out, a pastor helped me so I could receive a scholarship and get an education. It is a joy to think In Touch is partnering with Southwestern to do that for young men and women all over the world,” Stanley stated.
In September of last year, Stanley announced that he was stepping down as senior pastor at First Baptist Church Atlanta, Georgia, a position that he had held for nearly 50 years.
A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Stanley became pastor emeritus of the congregation. He was officially replaced by Anthony George, who had assisted Stanley as the church’s associate pastor since 2012.