Wow! For some reason the local NPR chose to re-air the amazing story of Carlton Pearson, the charismatic mega-church black minister and evangelical bishop who lost everything when he dared to reveal what God told him in his heart. I just happened to catch it and was so inspired! Through the 1990's Carlton built a massive following preaching the fear of hell to audiences of 5,000 every Sunday. This is how he was raised, that God was going to punish you for eternity if you didn't accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior before you die.
Then one day Carlton was watching the TV with his family, and saw starving children in Africa. He realized that so many would die without being reached in time by missionaries. He looked to his plump infant daughter, then back to the TV, and thought how can God send these poor children to hell just for having never heard of Jesus Christ? And God spoke in his heart and said, is that what you think I'm doing? And God went on to say to Carlton, all people are saved and loved and going to my heaven, but you have misrepresented me, that is why people fear me and have religious wars. Hell is made by people, not by me, and I am asking you to help me change this world to be the heaven it was meant to be.
And from that day forward Carlton renounced hell and the need to go to church to be saved. He lost everything, as he built his new doctrine of inclusion that said hell is here on Earth right now, and we have to change the church. He went down from preaching to 5000 to just 200 of the faithful, as he was branded a heretic and scorned by the fire and brimstone crowd that grew up on the fear of hell as the sole/soul motivator. He became poor and befriended by the outcasts, the gays and alternative believers who had been hated and cast out of their own fundamentalist families. Carlton said the Bible was written by people with political designs and not always correct, as he became a new kind of evangelical. He still preaches for the saving power of the blood of Christ, but not because you’re going to hell if you don’t believe, but because you’re loved and destined for heaven, and you need to feel more loved in this world.
I love this guy! Listen to the story online here.