Pearson, who turned 70 in March, is an affiliate minister at All Souls Unitarian Church. He was once one of the most sought-after Pentecostal speakers in the United States before he lost his megachurch 20 years ago for declaring there is no hell. He still remains a respected voice in the Christian community, particularly among liberal thinkers.
“To all of you who love Carlton as a Friend, Teacher, Mentor, Pastor and Bishop: Our dear Carlton was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and was declared cancer free shortly thereafter,” his family posted on Facebook. “Just recently the cancer has returned and has been a significant challenge, especially in the last 120 days. Since his last post, we wanted you to be among the first to know that as a family we have invited comfort care on our team in this critical time. We have prayerfully and intentionally walked this journey with him as we all face our mortality.”
Pearson’s family said that despite his health challenge, he remains in good spirits.
“He is in good spirits and indeed a tough human being to be ‘yet holding on,’” they said. “Thanks for your continued prayers and love. Many of you have asked how you can support Bishop and his family. First, please continue to pray. Carlton has asked that people pray that he would live out the ‘full number of his days.”
Pearson whose life is documented in the Netflix film “Come Sunday,” was raised in the conservative Church of God in Christ, the world’s most prominent black Pentecostal denomination, and later founded Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in Tulsa in 1981. The church grew from 75 to more than 5,000 members, according to the Christian Research Institute.
In the late 1980s, he started the Azusa Conferences at Oral Roberts University and became a mainstay on Christian television. But after he challenged the biblical definition of hell, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress branded him a heretic in 2004 for preaching inclusionism, which the Christian apologetics ministry Got Questions calls the “old heresy of universalism re-packaged and given a new name.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice