The Oklahoma Megachurch Founder Who Challenged Tradition
Bishop Carlton Pearson, the trailblazing Oklahoma megachurch founder who defied convention by rejecting the concept of hell and advocating for gay rights, has passed away at the age of 70.
Early Life and Rise to Prominence
Born on March 19, 1953, Carlton Pearson rose to prominence as a dynamic preacher and founder of the Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa in 1981.
His charismatic and impassioned sermons earned him international recognition within the Pentecostal preaching circuit.
Controversial Shift and Rejecting Hell
In a pivotal moment, Pearson experienced a profound shift in his beliefs, challenging the traditional doctrine of hell.
He began preaching the Gospel of Inclusion, asserting that a loving God would not condemn people to eternal damnation.
This stance led to his eventual break from mainstream evangelicalism.
New Dimensions Church and Acceptance
Pearson’s church, initially known as Higher Dimensions Family Church, later became New Dimensions Church.
Despite facing criticism and rejection from evangelical leaders, he continued his ministry and embraced a more inclusive and affirming theology.
Advocacy for Gay Rights
In addition to challenging traditional views on hell, Pearson became an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights within the church.
His support for an inclusive and compassionate approach towards the LGBTQ+ community further distanced him from the conservative evangelical establishment.
Transition to the United Church of Christ
As Pearson faced increasing opposition from his former peers, he transitioned to the United Church of Christ, a denomination known for its progressive stances on social issues.
This move allowed him to continue his ministry with a congregation that embraced his message of inclusion.
Passing and Legacy
Bishop Carlton Pearson passed away on Sunday night, succumbing to complications from cancer in hospice care in Tulsa.
His legacy is marked by courage, resilience, and a commitment to challenging entrenched beliefs.