“The Gospel of Inclusion” Bishop Carlton Pearson (Atria Books, 275 pages, $24)
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Pentecostal Bishop Carlton Pearson admits he was nervous a few years ago when he first went public with his belief in the “Gospel of Inclusion,” the belief that all mankind will go to heaven no matter what. But he's apparently over his initial anxiety and now he wants to get the word out to everyone with, among other things, a new book, “The Gospel of Inclusion: Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism to the True Love of God and Self.”
In it, Pearson — as he has done in numerous sermons and public appearances — explains his unexpected and eyebrow-raising move from a hard-line Pentecostal preacher to one who believes and teaches that God will accept anyone into heaven even if they don't specifically ask to go.
He writes about how wounded he was when friends in the ministry, and even members of his well-known Tulsa, Okla., church, distanced themselves from him. He also writes about how much better the world would be if other ministers of the Gospel would quit portraying God “as an angry deity with a customized torture chamber called hell.”
Some of the criticism that Pearson has faced has come from those who question how he could use the same Bible that talks of eternal damnation for nonbelievers to support his theory that such a place doesn't exist. But he contends that the “Gospel of Inclusion” is “consistent with the words of Jesus,” and it would be impossible to explain his theory — which he accurately notes is not new — without the use of Scriptures.
Depending on your religious leanings, or lack thereof, Pearson's book will either make you think — or make you sick.
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