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Date: Tue, 19 Mar
Carlton Pearson's 'Gospel of Inclusion' Cost Mayoral Bid
He says majority of Tulsa, Okla., churches decried his controversial doctrine
A well known Tulsa, Okla., Pentecostal pastor believes he recently lost a mayoral bid partly because a majority of local churches decried his controversial doctrine, which espouses that everyone is already saved -- they just don't know it.
A conservative Republican and founder of the 4,500-member, multiracial Higher Dimensions Family Church, Carlton Pearson said he failed to win last month's Republican primary due to his new theology called "the Gospel of Inclusion," which also questions the existence of a literal hell.
"The Christian turnout is usually 15 percent...but some of them just didn't vote at all because they weren't sure that they should risk putting somebody like me in office," Pearson, 48, told Charisma News Service.
o known as universalism, the theology says that Jesus has died and paid everyone's sins, but not everyone realizes that gift is available. Traditional Protestant theology teaches man is separated from God by sin and destined for hell, unless he believes in Jesus' redemptive work to gain a place in heaven.
Pearson said he first started thinking about the doctrine after reading some of E.W. Kenyon's writings more than 25 years ago, which focused on the finished work of Christ. He began studying it in-depth seven years ago, and has been preaching it for the last three years.
"A careful study of what I have taught will reveal that it is entirely scriptural, logical and theologically sound," Pearson said. "So-called false teaching does not necessarily make a person a heretic, but an evil heart and attitude can make any doctrine heretical. That's why the World Trade Center isn't standing today and 3,000 people are dead."
But according to "The Tulsa Beacon," Pearson has been confronted over his teaching by televangelists John Hagee, Marilyn Hickey and his mentor, Oral Roberts. Roberts sent Pearson a 12-page response after he sent him details on the teaching.
"He corrected everything he thought was wrong and told me to change my vernacular," said Pearson, who relocated to Tulsa from San Diego 30 years ago to attend Oral Roberts University, the "Beacon" reported.
Roberts, Hagee and Hickey, as well as other ministers who know Pearson and several Tulsa pastors refused to talk to Charisma News about the subject. However, Pearson noted that fellow black preachers, including Charles Blake, G.E. Patterson and T.D. Jakes, are familiar to some extent with inclusionism.
"These are my friends," Pearson told Charisma News. "They discern my heart, even though they may not discern my head. They're not bothered by this." Bishop John Vincent, pastor of Tulsa's 300-member Fellowship Church Ministries and a friend of Pearson since 1975, admitted that he doesn't "totally understand his theory."
"Positionally, all people are saved through Jesus Christ," Vincent, 55, told Charisma News. "I believe it's not automatic. There's a step that each of us must take. It's called the born-again experience. I don't believe that being born again is a corporate experience. I believe there is a heaven and hell."
Pearson claims that inclusionism was the predominant thought during the first 500 years of the Christian church, until Augustine introduced the concept of hell with fire and demons from Africa.
"We've misinterpreted hell; it's unknown," Pearson said. "I think there's people in hell. I'm trying to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don't see God that bitter."