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Bishop Carlton Pearson dies at 70 after battle with cancer. | Image via Facebook/Carlton D. Pearson

Bishop Carlton Pearson Passes Away, At 70, After Battle With Cancer

The family of Bishop Carlton Pearson announce his passing. Image via Facebook/Carlton Pearson

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, a prominent and influential preacher whose message of unconditional love and acceptance resonated across America and around the world.

Bishop Pearson peacefully departed from this world on the night of November 19, 2023, at the age of 70, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer, a foe he had courageously faced and conquered two decades ago. Surrounded by his beloved family, he transitioned from this life with the same grace and love that defined his impactful ministry. The announcement was made via social media on Monday (Nov. 20) morning.

Pearson, in August, posted a social media video from what appeared to be a hospital room and he said he had been fighting cancer for 20 years.

In a second video posted in September, he said was diagnosed with prostate cancer two decades ago but was diagnosed with bladder cancer over the summer.

I am facing death … I’m not afraid of death, I’m not even afraid of dying,” Pearson said.

Bishop Pearson’s journey in spreading the message of love and acceptance began in 1971 when he moved to Tulsa to study at Oral Roberts University. His talents were recognized by Oral Roberts, who invited him to join the World Action Singers on nationally aired TV specials. By 1975, Bishop Pearson became an associate evangelist with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.

In 1977, Bishop Pearson founded his ministry, Higher Dimensions, Inc., and in 1981, with the support of his college roommate Gary McIntosh, he established the Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center. What started with 75 attendees in Jenks, Oklahoma, grew into a thriving congregation of over 5,000 members at 8621 South Memorial Drive in Tulsa, embodying an integrated, multi-ethnic, cross-cultural community.

His impact expanded further through the mid-1980s with the launch of the national television program “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right,” making him one of only two African American preachers with a nationwide television ministry. The annual AZUSA Conference, initiated in 1988, became an international movement that brought together believers of all denominations, cultures, races, and walks of life. This conference, attended by tens of thousands, not only enriched the spiritual lives of attendees but also contributed significantly to the local economy.

Bishop Pearson’s musical contributions were also notable, with his “Live at AZUSA” albums receiving multiple Dove and Stellar Awards, including three Stellar Awards for “Carlton Pearson Live at AZUSA 2: Precious Memories.”

In 1996, during the AZUSA Conference, Bishop Pearson was recognized as a bishop in the Lord’s church. The following year, he was officially consecrated as the Presiding Bishop of the AZUSA Interdenominational Fellowship of Christian Churches and Ministries, overseeing thousands of churches and ministries worldwide.

Beyond his spiritual leadership, Bishop Pearson counseled numerous U.S. Presidents and international leaders, winning them over with his intelligence, charm, humor, and kindness.

However, Bishop Pearson’s journey took a profound turn when he underwent a theological shift at the height of his popularity. He began preaching the message that Jesus did not only die for Christians but for all mankind, challenging traditional beliefs about hell. This shift, known as “The Gospel of Inclusion,” led to the closure of churches, the end of his annual conference, and a significant decrease in his congregation.

This theological transformation was later dramatized in the Netflix film “Come Sunday,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, LaKeith Stanfield, and Martin Sheen.

Despite criticism and the label of “heretic” from some in the Christian community, Bishop Pearson’s message of unconditional love opened new doors for him. His teachings resonated with non-Christians and individuals who had left the church due to hurts, abuse, and hypocrisy. Bishop Pearson’s legacy is one of love, healing, and restoration, touching the lives of thousands and leaving an indelible mark on the world.

The Pearson family extends their gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support during this challenging time. They kindly request privacy as they navigate through their grief. Details about memorial services are pending.

As we remember Bishop Carlton Pearson, let us honor his legacy by continuing to spread love, acceptance, and understanding in our communities and beyond.


Fharnell M.

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