Carlton Pearson’s ex-wife asks ‘people of God’ to prepare hearts ‘to release him’

Bishop Carlton Pearson poses for photos at the premiere of the Netflix project 'Come Sunday' in 2018.
Bishop Carlton Pearson poses for photos at the premiere of the Netflix project "Come Sunday" in 2018. | Flickr/Trey Jones

In an announcement she called a "slow motion update," Gina Gauthier, the ex-wife of former megachurch pastor Carlton Pearson, who is currently battling terminal cancer, called on the "people of God" Thursday to prepare their hearts "to release him."

"Even yet still, He's moving toward making his way to the vibration of 'Well done my good and faithful servant,'" wrote Gauthier, who was married to Pearson from 1993 to 2019 and had two kids with him, in a statement on Facebook.

"People of God, I ask that you prepare your hearts. Prepare to release him such that as he moves through that tunnel toward the light, he can ascend as quickly as possible and not be pulled back into this 3rd dimension realm feeling the pull of those he loved so much. Love lets go," she added.

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The update comes just over a week since the family announced that Pearson, 70, has moved to "comfort care" as his advanced prostate cancer remains a "significant challenge."

Several viral posts on social media had pronounced Pearson dead, but Gauthier said earlier this week that any official death announcement will come from the family.

"We are yet holding on! In spite of all that is unfolding in the world, we know there is not a spot where God is not. Being bombarded with calls and texts inquiring about Carlton's exit is overwhelming. Be not alarmed by inaccurate [sic] announcements made by uninformed [sic] sources," Gauthier wrote on Facebook Monday.

"We understand and appreciate your concerns. Thank you. My invitation is that you respect my family and I as we focus on Carlton's LIFE while we treasure each moment. You will be informed with an official announcement by the family through this medium and our other social media platforms."

The Netflix film 'Come Sunday' documents how Carlton Pearson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) risks his church, family and future when he questions church doctrine and finds himself branded a heretic.
The Netflix film "Come Sunday" documents how Carlton Pearson (Chiwetel Ejiofor) risks his church, family and future when he questions church doctrine and finds himself branded a heretic. | NETFLIX

Pearson, an affiliate minister at All Souls Unitarian Church, was once one of the most sought-after Pentecostal speakers in the U.S. But he lost his megachurch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 20 years ago for declaring there is no Hell and embracing a controversial theology called the "gospel of inclusion," which maintains that all have been saved, not just certain Christians.

"I exclude nobody from the redemptive work of the cross," a then 49-year-old Pearson told the Tampa Bay Times in 2005. "I believe that Jesus redeemed the entire world."

Pearson's life was documented in the Netflix film "Come Sunday." He was raised in the conservative Church of God in Christ, the world's most prominent black Pentecostal denomination. He founded the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center in Tulsa in 1981. The church grew from 75 to more than 5,000 members, according to the Christian Research Institute.

In the late 1980s, he started the Azusa Conferences at Oral Roberts University and became a mainstay on Christian television. But after he challenged the biblical definition of Hell and embraced the gospel of inclusion, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress branded him a heretic in 2004.

Christian apologetics ministry Got Questions calls inclusionism the "old heresy of universalism re-packaged and given a new name."

While Pearson remains a respected voice in the Christian community, particularly among liberal thinkers, his theology was publicly rejected by many mainstream Christian leaders, including televangelist T.D. Jakes, who Pearson is credited with introducing to the national stage.

"I emphatically and unequivocally repudiate the so-called doctrine of inclusion as heresy," Jakes said in a statement regarding Pearson's doctrine of inclusion, according to a 2002 Tampa Bay Times article. "While I do consider Carlton Pearson to be a friend, I believe this theology is wrong, false, misleading, and an incorrect interpretation of the Bible."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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