Group Calls Tolerant Pentecostal Bishop Pearson A "Heretic"
Religion News Service
USA, April 1, 2004: A group of Christian Pentecostal bishops has declared that Bishop Carlton Pearson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a "heretic" because he preaches the controversial doctrine of "inclusionism."
"We do hereby declare that the doctrine of Inclusionism is an unorthodox teaching and shall be classified as a heresy by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress," wrote Bishop Clifford Leon Frazier, chairman of the joint college's doctrinal commission, in a March 29 report released to Religion News Service.
"Because of our concern for the many people that could be influenced to adopt this heresy and in so doing put at risk the eternal destiny of their souls, we are compelled to declare Bishop Carlton Pearson a heretic."
The strongly worded report--"Inclusionism: A Heresy Explored and Rejected"--comes more than a year after Pearson addressed the organization at a Washington doctrinal forum. At that forum, Pearson defended his "gospel of inclusion."
"A more careful study of Scriptures will reveal that salvation is also and, perhaps more often or more comprehensively, pictured in a universally inclusive way, in which God is redeemer of the whole world or creation, including all human beings," he told forum attendees in March, 2003.
The leaders of the joint college said they will now urge their colleagues not to welcome Pearson into their pulpits. They felt compelled to speak because they believe "the suggestion that all ways lead to God is false."
Prominent Pentecostal leaders and groups such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and Oral Roberts Ministries have distanced themselves from Pearson while more liberal Christians and non-Christians in the Tulsa area have appreciated his stand. In March, 2003, Pearson told RNS that he expected the Pentecostal group would not support his views.
"They're not my target audience, not them or their churches," he said at the time. "I'll continue preaching and reaching."