Your Sunday Sermon from JanieBelle.
For the wages of sin is death… – Romans 6:23
For the wages of love and inclusion is ex-communication, branding as a heretic, loss of income, suppression of speech, ridicule, slander, abandonment, and eternal torment. – Modern Christianity to Carlton Pearson
I just happened on the story of Bishop Carlton Pearson, a Pentecostal pastor who has fallen from grace. Seems like it may have been the best thing that could have happened to him.
Bishop Carlton Pearson was once the typical Pentecostal Evangelical Fundy preacher. In fact, having been under the personal tutelage of Oral Roberts he was more than typical, he was evangelical fundyism personified.
He preached the ultimate fundy gospel with all the trimmings. All the division, all the fire, all the brimstone. Roberts must have been proud as punch of Pearson.
But one day Pearson had an epiphany, ironically similar to the one Saul claimed to have on the road to Damascus. Pearson’s best friend had confessed he was gay.
Apparently, the shock precipitated the epiphany. Pearson began to consider things a bit more personally. Gradually, Bishop Pearson’s beliefs and message became more and more tolerant, and eventually downright inclusive. No longer was homosexuality an unforgivable affront. No longer was hatred and bigotry the bedrock of his gospel.
Pearson’s gospel morphed into a “Gospel of Inclusion” as he calls it. There is no single path to God, no hell, and even Satan could ask forgiveness.
This was simply too much for the leaders of Christianity. For his egregious crimes of inclusion and love extended to all, Pearson has been branded a heretic.
“We do hereby declare that the doctrine of Inclusionism is an unorthodox teaching and shall be classified as a heresy by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress,” wrote Bishop Clifford Leon Frazier, chairman of the joint college’s doctrinal commission, in a March 29 report released to Religion News Service.
“Because of our concern for the many people that could be influenced to adopt this heresy and in so doing put at risk the eternal destiny of their souls, we are compelled to declare Bishop Carlton Pearson a heretic.” – (as reported by Adelle M. Banks of Religion News Service)
Frazier summed up his thoughts on Pearson even more succinctly for the Dallas Morning News: “He’s crazy.”
I applaud Bishop Pearson’s inclusiveness. I cheer his standing up to the hate mongers. I hope his message shakes the foundations of religious fundamentalism in America and spreads across the globe, bringing the monolithic church to the ground.
Unfortunately it’s an unlikely outcome. There is big money in spreading hate against “the other”. There is a drunkenness on power in religion against which Bishop Pearson simply cannot stand. There is too much self-satisfaction to be had by self-important, self-aggrandizing, self-righteous church leaders when they can pontificate on the fate of other human beings who will not blindly do as they are told.
Make no mistake, the Christian church will use every means at its disposal to squash Bishop Pearson like a bug. His message will be eradicated before it can spread. The leaders of Christianity cannot have people think for themselves, cannot have a world with no enemies to hate and make war against, cannot have a peaceful planet where they are ignored.
That would be a fate worse than death. For such people it would in fact, be Hell.