With his passing, Carlton Pearson, a well-known and significant person in the American religious community, left a lasting impression on the religious and spiritual scene.
Well-known for his engaging preaching and progressive theological stances, Pearson’s transformation from a well-liked Pentecostal bishop to a contentious supporter of inclusivity and global reconciliation upended established ecclesiastical conventions.
His passing signifies the end of a period defined by his distinctive approach to spirituality and faith, which had a profound impact on his followers and sparked conversations about how religious beliefs are changing in today’s world. Pearson’s lasting impact on religious philosophy and practice is demonstrated by his legacy.
Carlton Pearson Death
Bishop Carlton Pearson passed away on Sunday night, November 19, 2023, while receiving hospice care in Tulsa. Pearson was seventy years old.
He was seen as a rising star on the Pentecostal preaching circuit early in his ministry and frequently made appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which exposed him to a global audience.
After beginning a ministry in 1977, Pearson established Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa in 1981. This church subsequently changed its name to New Dimensions Church and had roughly 6,000 members by the turn of the century.
By 2008, membership had fallen to a few hundred as a result of Pearson’s teachings of universalism that rejects hell, or what he dubbed “the gospel of inclusion.”
“We are saddened to inform you that Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, one of the most popular and influential preachers in America and around the world, who sacrificed everything for a message of unconditional love and acceptance by God, died peacefully the night of November 19, 2023, at the age of 70, after a brief battle with cancer that had returned after first defeating it 20 years ago,” read the post on Pearson’s Facebook page.
According to Bogle, Pearson informed him that he didn’t think his theological shift was a mistake. In 2007, Pearson spearheaded a national movement of hundreds of clergy members to push Congress to enact historic anti-discrimination and anti-hate crime laws for the LGBT community.
After being labeled a heretic and rejected by fellow evangelical leaders, Pearson went on to become a preacher of the United Church of Christ. After Higher Dimensions’ facility was lost to foreclosure, Pearson gave his last sermon there in September 2008, the same month that the church was taken over by Tulsa’s All Souls Unitarian Church.
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When he founded the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in Jenks, Oklahoma, in 1981, 75 people showed up for the inaugural service. The center outgrew Jenks and moved to South Memorial, where it grew to over 5,000 members in an integrated, multiethnic, and cross-cultural congregation.
Being one of only two African American preachers with a nationwide television industry, Pearson’s influence grew in the 1980s when he appeared on the nationally televised show Everything’s Gonne Be Alright.
Pearson is particularly well-known for his “Gospel of Inclusion” sermons, which hold that Jesus died not only for Christians but for all people. Plans for the funeral are still pending.