Bishop Carlton D. Pearson died Sunday night at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer.
The news was posted on his Facebook account.
“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,” the post said.
All Souls, the church with which Pearson was affiliated at the time of his death, also mourned the bishop’s death in a statement.
“We hope, upon hearing this news, that you will take some time today to reflect on how Bishop Pearson has touched your life,” the church said. “Think about how you will pass on the love and wisdom he has imparted to you.”
Pearson moved to Tulsa in 1971 and studied at Oral Roberts University. Oral Roberts later invited Pearson to join the World Action Singers on his nationally aired TV specials.
In 1977, Pearson launched his own ministry called Higher Dimensions, Inc. allowing him to travel the country. And, in 1981, with the help of his college roommate, Gary McIntosh, Pearson started Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center, with 75 people attending the first service in Jenks. The church grew to a congregation of over 5,000 members.
Pearson reached national crowds in the mid-1980s with the TV show, “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right.” He also founded the AZUSA conference to give national exposure to gospel singers and preachers. The conference grew to bring 70,000 people to Tulsa annually.
Around this time, Pearson had a shift in his beliefs. He preached a sermon that no one goes to hell. This became known as “The Gospel of Inclusion. ” After this shift, churches closed doors to Pearson, his annual conference ended, and his church denomination shrank to only dozens of people.
In 2018, a film about Pearson’s rise and fall in the Christian world called “Come Sunday” came out on Netflix.
Pearson was notably depicted by Academy Award-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor in the film, with gospel artist Kevin Lemons playing Pearson’s singing voice in the movie.
Pearson also participated in the ongoing Real Talk Drives Real Change tour, which is the result of a partnership between NewsOne and Chevrolet to host panel discussions in front of live audiences on topics affecting Black Americans. The panel discussion in which Pearson took part happened last year in Philadelphia and broached a nuanced conversation that encouraged the audience to think a little deeper about how they are approaching their mental health.
Condolences for and tributes to Pearson poured in on social media.
The Pearson family thanked everyone for their prayers and continued support.
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