Carlton Pearson, a high-profile pastor who lost 90 percent of his church's 5,000 members after publicly teaching that everyone will eventually be saved, held the final service in his church building on New Year's Eve.
With its property lost in foreclosure and sold to an investment company, Higher Dimensions Family Church now meets as New Dimensions Worship Center on Sunday afternoons at an Episcopal church.
Higher Dimensions, founded by Pearson in 1981, was one of Tulsa, Oklahoma's largest and most prosperous churches. Its high-energy, sharply dressed pastor appeared regularly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and at national conferences, wrote several books, and hosted an annual Azusa Street conference that drew national figures such as T. D. Jakes.
Pearson also ran for mayor of Tulsa, earned a Grammy nomination, and met with President Bush in a small group of black church leaders.
Higher Dimensions' slide began about four years ago when Pearson began preaching a form of universalism that alienated his Pentecostal/evangelical followers. His "gospel of inclusion"that Christ died for the sins of the world, and therefore the whole world will be saveddenied the classic Christian belief that salvation involves turning from sin and accepting God's forgiveness through faith in Jesus.
His alma mater, Oral Roberts University, banned his church buses from the campus. National church leaders and publications condemned him. His own denomination, the Church of God in Christ, the nation's largest Pentecostal group, Pearson said, denounced "my doctrine, but not me." Still, Pearson said, "[I am] as confident and resolute as I've ever been."
"This is the price we paid for presenting the unconditional love of Jesus Christ," Pearson ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more