Andy had to act, but how? His answer came in the form a slim book he happened to pick up one day, "A Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards.
The book explored the story of a biblical soap opera, the relationship between David and King Saul, Israel's first king. Saul descended into jealousy and paranoia because he was threatened by David. David eventually left King Saul's kingdom and abandoned the spoils that came with it.
Andy's eyes stopped on one line in the book:
"Beginning empty handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them."
That line clinched it for Andy. He would walk away from his father empty-handed -- no church, no salary, no health benefits.
He would turn his back on the unspoken dream.
Now he had to relay that message to his father.
That day remains vivid. He drove to his father's office filled with anxiety. When he saw his father sitting behind his massive desk, he knew he wasn't going to take it well.
"He was in his stern, commando mode," Andy says.
His father reacted by staring at him in silence. Then he accused him of joining his enemies.
He finally rose slowly from his desk, walked over and embraced him.
Both men cried before regaining their composure.
"It was really bad. It was horrible. But you know what? I had perfect peace," Andy says. "I've never been so sure of a decision even when the whole world blew up all around us."
Andy says he could not have stayed at his father's church, no matter how much money or fame he stood to gain.
"My dad taught me to be better than that," he says. "Seeing him get punched when I was in the eighth grade -- all that was clear to me. You trust God with all the consequences."
News of Andy's resignation spread.
Reggie Joiner was on First Baptist's staff at the time. He would later help found North Point and now runs Orange, a nonprofit that teaches churches how to reach and keep young people. He remembers meeting with Charles after his son resigned.
"I sat in his office for two hours and he talked about Andy being his legacy," Joiner recalls.
Later, he called another leader at First Baptist to tell him that Andy had resigned. The stunned church leader said he had never heard of a young pastor walking away from such a prominent ministry.
The man paused before finally telling Joiner:
"I think I could follow that guy anywhere."
Communion over chips and salsa
Charles Stanley was alone. His marriage was ending. Pastors were publicly calling for him to step down. People within his church were trying to get rid of him.
His enemies were coming after him, and his son wasn't stepping in front of his father to meet the blows.
That's how Charles saw it. He says his son could have prevented some of that pain. He was the one person who could have stopped the congregation from calling for his divorce because he had earned so much respect.