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Bishop Carlton Pearson - Come Sunday - FilmRych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
Bishop Carlton Pearson Discusses His Movie “Come Sunday.”
It is a warm, April afternoon as I arrived at the beautiful Sunset Bronson Studios in Hollywood. This newly constructed campus with sound stages and administrative offices has only been open since last year. One of the occupants on the lot is the Netflix Studios. I am greeted by a gracious company publicist and escorted via elevator to an interview room a couple of stories up. Upon entering, I am introduced to a man I have admired and followed for years. We’re talking the famed Bishop Carlton Pearson.
|Bishop Carlton Pearson|
As he is on camera, he was the same in person i.e., warm, cordial, relaxed and open for deep discussion. After introducing myself, we hit it off right away because I am one of the few who understood where he was coming from when he broke away from the traditional fire and brimstone, hallelujah, ‘you’re-going-to-hell’ philosophy and switched to an open dialog that questioned certain hard-core beliefs of dogmatic Christians.
After a series of spiritual revelations from having witnessed on TV the suffering caused by the genocide in Rwanda and a personal family incident where he wouldn’t write a letter of support to the parole board on behalf of his uncle who was trying to get out of prison that led to the uncle hanging himself in his cell while he was unsaved; Bishop Pearson said that God had revealed some concepts to him that prove highly controversial. In 1998, after years of spiting out the fire and brimstone message, the Bishop introduced the Doctrine of Inclusion that basically said there was no hell and because of God’s mercy and love, people did not have to be saved by Jesus to get to Heaven. God’s mercy and love for them alone was enough to get them into glory.
Well, suffice it to say, this philosophy did not mesh well at all with either Bishop Pearson’s Tulsa, Oklahoma 6,000-member Higher Dimensions Church or his fellow Bishops in The College of African American Pentecostal Bishops who excommunicated him with the added insulting label of being a "heretic." The Higher Dimensions congregation fell to less than 1,000 in very short time and was absorbed into the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa and Bishop Pearson became a United Church of Christ Minister.
The movie biopic “Come Sunday,” airing on Netflix chronicles the tumultuous ten-year journey of Bishop Pearson beginning in 1998 with his fall from mega church grace (only in the eyes of the closed minded, dogmatic Christians), to his reconstructed come back.
|Chiwetel Ejiofor as Bishop Pearson|
|Martin Sheen as Dr .Oral Roberts|
The TV movie stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Bishop Pearson and Martin Sheen as Dr. Oral Roberts. Both actors not only looked like the real-life people they portrayed but they acted and sounded exactly like them as well. Rounding out the cast was Condola Rashad as the Bishop’s wife Gina, Jason Segal, Stacey Sargeant and Lakeith Stanfield whom all played the core members of Bishop Pearson’s personal church team, Danny Glover who plays the suicide uncle and Lakeith Stanfield plays the church musician who is a closet gay man with aids. The film is directed by Joshua Marston.
One of the first things I discussed with Bishop Pearson is the fact that religious people are so dogmatic about their beliefs and the word believe has the word “LIE” in the middle of it. To believe and to know are two different things. Bishop Pearson responded by saying “If the saints knew that King James was gay, they would freak out They say of the King James Bible; if its good enough for Paul, its good enough for me. He was so gay they called him Queen James but that’s the word of God. A gay man gave it to us. Now freak out on that! God is no respecter of persons.”
Has the Bishop fully recovered from the events of 1998 – 2002? He ponders and says yes but not fully recovered because I lost everything. But this is the first time I’ve seen that the light at the end of the tunnel is supreme” Bishop Pearson has read several books by Catholic Bishop John Spong who also says there is no hell. It was created by the church for fear and control. Bishop Pearson agrees with Bishop Spong and has spoken with him.
|Catholic Bishop John Shelby Spong|
In terms of the bible, Bishop Pearson explains, “It took 300 years of men drinking wine, getting high, sometimes drunk, cussing, fussing and fighting physically to determine what would go in and what would stay out.” Bishop Pearson declares, “The bible is not the word of God. It is the inspired word of man about God and some of that knowledge expired. It is ineffective and ill relevant.”
Bishop Pearson is referring to the first of seven Ecumenical councils called by Roman Emperors that were held in the Eastern part of The Roman Empire over a time period close to 400 years. These councils included priest, bishops, theologians, politicians and academic scholars from the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches beginning with the famed First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. These European men disagreed and fought over concepts, doctrines and philosophies that were to be included in the so-called “Holy Book” (later referred to as THE BIBLE), that they were writing that “THEY” would declare to be the so-called “WORD OF GOD.”
With each additional Ecumenical Council (primarily the next six), these fellows became angry enough over their differences to begin splitting up into various sets, creating their own separate religions and denominations with their “Own Versions” of a bible they wrote that contained what they had agreed upon within their particular set. If you have ever wondered why their are so many different religions with so many different denominations within them, here is your answer. And each one claims to be the truth. This foolishness is still going on to this date with new versions of the bible continuously being written!
|Bishop Carlton Pearson|
So, does the Bishop go deeper and further from here?
He laughs, “I’m more into what I call Meta-Pentecostalism with the meta physics and the Pentecostal combined. It includes the science of mind and other disciplines.” Bishop Carlton Pearson is a pioneer fore runner of progressive spiritual thought and what may seem like concepts that are too way out to grasp now will be the norm in the future as the truth keeps emerging with better clarity to the masses seeking it. History will bare this out.
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