Bishop Carlton Pearson died Sunday night in hospice care in Tulsa due to cancer. In a somber moment for the international Christian community, Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, an esteemed pastor and LGBTQ ally, breathed his last on Sunday night, November 19, at the age of 70. His passing occurred while under hospice care in Tulsa, after a battle with cancer that marked the conclusion of a remarkable life dedicated to ministry and advocacy.
Pearson’s journey in ministry began in 1971 when he relocated to Tulsa to pursue studies at Oral Roberts University. Notably, Oral Roberts himself recognized Pearson’s potential, inviting him to join the World Action Singers on nationally-aired TV specials.
This marked the inception of Pearson’s association with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, eventually leading to the launch of his own ministry, Higher Dimensions, Inc., in 1977.
Bishop Carlton Pearson died Sunday night in hospice care in Tulsa due to cancer. “Bishop Pearson’s message and example of unconditional love, though it gained him the moniker of ‘heretic,’ had a whole new world opened to him as a result.” – Family Statement
As the founder of Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center, Pearson cultivated a congregation that transcended boundaries, becoming an integrated, multi-ethnic, cross-cultural assembly of over 5,000 members. His impact extended beyond local boundaries through the national television program “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right,” making him one of the few African-American preachers with a nationwide television ministry in the mid-1980s.
A significant turning point in Pearson’s theological beliefs came in the early 2000s when he embraced “The Gospel of Inclusion.” He asserted that Jesus’ salvation extended to all of humanity, challenging the traditional concept of hell. This shift led to both acclaim and condemnation, with Pearson facing criticism and the declaration of heresy by some congregations.
Pearson’s theological evolution was later portrayed in the Netflix film “Come Sunday,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. Despite facing opposition, Pearson continued his advocacy for inclusive Christianity. In 2007, he joined clergy members nationwide in urging Congress to pass the Equality Act, aiming to eliminate job discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Openly queer Rev. Brandan Robertson, reflecting on Pearson’s impact, stated, “Bishop Pearson was kicked out of his denomination for declaring that God’s love would win in the end. He showed me that there was a better and truer way to be Christian.”
In a family statement released by his agent Will Bogle, Pearson was remembered for his “message and example of unconditional love,” which, though deemed heretical by some, resonated with a broad audience seeking healing and acceptance.
Bishop Carlton Pearson is survived by his mother, Lillie Ruth Pearson, his son Prince Julian Pearson, and his daughter Majesté Pearson. His legacy remains woven into the fabric of inclusive Christianity, touching the lives of thousands through his impartation of grace and mercy.
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