Iconic Southern Baptist Pastor Charles F. Stanley, who led the 13,000-member First Baptist Church Atlanta in Georgia for more than 40 years before retiring last September, wants the world to know that he has not started a CBD oil business, and any claims that he has can be dismissed as a “scam.”
“In Touch Ministries has received reports that scammers have been posting Dr. Charles Stanley’s image, falsely reporting that Dr. Stanley is beginning a new business venture in CBD oil. Some of the articles even utilize fake Fox News headers to appear more convincing. However, none of it is true. IT IS A SCAM. Dr. Stanley has not begun any new venture,” the ministry founded by Stanley announced in a statement over the weekend.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, the "second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis," also known as marijuana. While it's an "essential component of medical marijuana, it's derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant," according to Harvard Health. Even though CBD is one of hundreds of components found in marijuana, taken alone, it does not cause a “high.”
Stanley’s team urged followers to avoid sharing any personal information with websites connected with the “deceptive posts” that have been exploiting his likeness.
“PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON THESE DECEPTIVE POSTS, EMAILS, TEXTS, OR WEBSITES. Scammers are attempting to trick you into giving your personal information or infect your electronic devices by using Dr. Stanley’s image,” the ministry warned.
On Dec. 10, 2017, Stanley announced a succession plan for his ministry, naming Anthony George as the church’s future pastor. Approximately three years later, as COVID-19 marched across the nation killing hundreds, Stanley announced in September 2020 that he would retire and become pastor emeritus.
“I have no doubt there are many great days ahead for the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. My hope is that the greatest days are still ahead,” he said.
Stanley became senior pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta in 1971 after a hard fought battle for the position, according to CNN.
His son, Andy Stanley, was once his father's heir apparent, but later founded his own church and is senior pastor of the multi-campus North Point Community Church in Georgia, one of the largest churches in the country.
The elder Stanley met another hurdle when the veteran preacher's wife, Anna, officially divorced him after 40 years of marriage in 2000, saying she experienced "many years of discouraging disappointments and marital conflict. ... Charles, in effect, abandoned our marriage. He chose his priorities, and I have not been one of them."
While many in the Southern Baptist Convention called on him to step down over his divorce, Stanley refused to give up his role as senior pastor.
"God said you keep doing what I called you to until I tell you to do something else," he told CNN. "I got that straight from the Lord. ... I was simply obeying God."