Stanley Divorces, Remains Pastor

Charles Stanley, senior pastor of the 14,000-member First Baptist Church of Atlanta, has announced that he and his wife have divorced after 44 years of marriage. The couple had been separated for seven years. Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, once told his congregation he would resign if he ever divorced, but he says he has been encouraged to continue.Speaking to worshipers after the announcement, administrative pastor Gearl Spicer said, "It is my biblical, spiritual, and personal conviction that God has positioned Dr. Stanley in a place where his personal pain has validated his ability to minister to all of us." The congregation responded with a standing ovation.

Church's Revoked Tax Status Affirmed

Because of its partisan political activities in 1992, The Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton, N.Y., must operate without tax-exempt status. So ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, upholding a federal court's decision and the Internal Revenue Service's original revocation.The court ruled that the church can reapply for tax-exempt status, however, and said churches can form separate 501(c)(4) organizations "for the promotion of social welfare," which includes participating in political campaigns. The American Center for Law and Justice, the church's legal counsel, is suing the IRS on behalf of the Christian Coalition, which also lost its tax-exempt status (CT, July 12, 1999, p. 9).

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