Bishop Carlton Pearson, the subject of the Netflix series Come Sunday, passed away on Sunday at the age of 70. The founder of a former megachurch in Oklahoma died on Sunday night from cancer while receiving hospice care in Tulsa, according to his agency.
His support for LGBT rights and rejection of the idea of damnation won him new followers and earned him the moniker of the heretic. A post on Pearson’s page read:
“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.”
How Did Bishop Carlton Pearson Die?
Carlton Pearson had an infection for two years, which led to sepsis and eventually cancer. September 2023 revealed that Pearson had cancer of the bladder lining. On March 19, 1953, Pearson was born in San Diego, California. See the Tweet about his Death:
Honored to have told Bishop Carlton Pearson’s story through wardrobe in Come Sunday for Netflix. He was a man who truly stood by what he believed. May his soul rest well. pic.twitter.com/OTzegaosBx
— Jazmine (@jmotleymaddox) November 21, 2023
While studying at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, where Oral Roberts served as his coach, he performed with the World Action Singers. Later on, he became an associate evangelist in the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. The God in Christ Church granted him a license and ordained him.
In the early years of his ministry, he was considered a rising star on the Pentecostal preaching circuit and regularly appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which exposed him to a worldwide population.
Pearson started the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in 1981, and it has grown to be one of the largest churches in Tulsa. Together with Dr. Frederick K. C. Price, he was once one of just two African-American pastors to conduct a weekly national television preaching program that drew millions or perhaps hundreds of thousands of people.
Not only that, but he was among the first black ministers in the country to host major conferences at arenas and stadiums. Leading a nationwide movement of hundreds of clergy members, Pearson pushed Congress to pass landmark legislation protecting the LGBT community from discrimination and hate crimes in 2007.
Pearson became a minister of the United Church of Christ after being considered a heretic and turned down by other evangelical leaders. Pearson gave his final sermon at Higher Dimensions in September 2008 before the congregation amalgamated into All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa.
In the end, Higher Dimensions lost its building to foreclosure. In addition, Pearson parted with evangelist and university founder Oral Roberts and resigned from the board of regents at his alma mater, Oral Roberts University, due to his principles.
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Bishop Carlton Pearson Obituary
In remembrance of Bishop Carlton Pearson, a visionary clergyman and the former founder of a megachurch in Oklahoma, who, at seventy, courageously fought against cancer before entering everlasting rest.
Once hailed as a rising star on the Pentecostal speaking circuit, Bishop Pearson encountered difficulties when he rejected conventional views of hell and adopted the “gospel of inclusiveness.”
Though branded a heretic, he never stopped inspiring others by promoting equality, love, and acceptance—particularly in relation to LGBT rights. The Netflix film “Come Sunday” depicted his journey and encapsulated his brave religious transformation.
Beyond the pulpit, Bishop Pearson made a difference in people’s lives as a kind life coach, leaving a legacy of inquiry and mutual understanding. His mother, a son, a daughter, and his ex-wife all survive him. May his soul rest in peace forever.
See the tweet about Bishop Carlton Pearson’s Obituary:
The loss of Bishop Carlton Pearson saddens my heart. The memories he created for thousands of us at the AZUSA Conference will never be forgotten. Even after starting AZUSA, he preached at my ministry in Austin, TX. Forever thankful for his support. Pray for the Pearson family pic.twitter.com/Z22dXQqZil
— Apostle Dr. Dana Carson (@drdanacarson) November 20, 2023
Carlton Pearson’s Wife and Children
In September 1993, Pearson, at forty years old, wed the former Gina Marie Gauthier; the couple is now parents to two children. Carlton and Gina Pearson separated officially on October 3, 2019, following Gina Pearson’s August 25, 2015, divorce filing.
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