Bishop Carlton Pearson Dies at 70
Bishop Carlton Pearson Dies at 70: Former megachurch pastor Bishop Carlton Pearson, who was known for his charismatic preaching and his unorthodox views on Hell, passed away at the age of 70 after a brief battle with cancer.
His demise was announced by his family in a Monday statement shared on his Facebook page.
“We are saddened to inform you that Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, one of the most popular and influential preachers in America and around the world, who sacrificed everything for a message of unconditional love and acceptance by God, died peacefully the night of November 19, 2023, at the age of 70, after a brief battle with cancer that had returned after first defeating it 20 years ago. He was surrounded by his family,” the statement read.
Pearson who was a gifted singer in the late 1980s founded his megachurch, Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in Jenks, Oklahoma in 1981. The megachurch which later was relocated to South Memorial Drive in Tulsa grew from 75 people attending its first service in Jenks to a congregation of more than 5,000 members.
Pearson became widely known to people all over the U.S. and the world in the mid-1980s, following the launch of “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right,” a national television program. At the time, he was one of only two African-American preachers with a nationwide television ministry.
His annual AZUSA Conference, which began in 1988 attracted as many as 70,000 people to Tulsa each year. “It generated tens of millions of dollars to the Tulsa economy during the week-long conference,” the statement from his family said.
“His ‘Live at AZUSA’ albums were nominated for multiple Dove and Stellar Awards, winning three Stellar Awards for “Carlton Pearson Live at AZUSA 2: Precious Memories.”
Pearson was once one of the most sought-after preachers in America, but he faced criticism and controversy after he began to question the traditional concept of Hell. He argued that God is a God of love and acceptance and that Hell is not a place of eternal punishment but rather a state of separation from God.
In 2004 the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress branded him a heretic for preaching inclusionism. Pearson’s views led to his departure from the megachurch he founded, but he continued to preach and teach his message of God’s love and acceptance until his death.