Monday, December 3, 2007


Former Charismatic televangelist and fundamentalist pastor, Carlton Pearson, is being accused of heresy by many evangelical Christians (see article). He has recently experienced a larger vision of God's universal love, and has had the courage to speak out against the doctrine of Hell and the exclusivism of evangelical religion. This is my response to his detractors in their article . I know these Heresy Hunters all too well, I was once from their ranks. If my words seem emotional, direct and a bit harsh, it is because one must sometimes fight fire with fire. Even Jesus called the Pharisees a 'nest of snakes and painted tombs filled with rotting corpses.' There is a Hebrew Proverb which says, "Answer a foolish man as a fool." You see, I too was once a sectarin religious fool, spewing theological folly, until some brave warriors came at me with very challenging fire, exposing my folly. It worked. Their words shocked me into a new understanding. M. Scott Peck in his book, People of the Lie, says we must approach irrational and angry people with language they understand, namely force. Love is not always Hallmark cards and candy kisses. I know this contradicts New Age wisdom. Oh well. For those of you who are New Agers, at least enjoy my foolishness!!


Carlton Pearson is one of a growing number of modern reformers following in the Spirit-led tradition of Jesus and Martin Luther. Pearson woke up to the fact that human consciousness always expands by more clearly understanding the depth and breadth of God's universal, unconditional love. Pearson didn't fossilize in the evangelical church as many theologically trained ministers do. He understands the Bible as book of spiritual growth rather than a book of spiritual stagnation.

WATCHING GOD GROW UP - Expanding Awareness

You can't get around the fact that God changes as you read through the Bible. The angry and jealous God who destroyed the world with a flood and broke apart the tower of Babel in Genesis grew up to become the more oderly God of Law in Exodus, and then grew up to become the God of the New Covenant in Jeremiah, and eventually the God of universal grace in Jesus.

The old Christian Dispensationalists almost got it right. They brilliantly saw the radical shifts in God's attitudes and behaviors. Their mistake was in missing that the shifts in what they called dispensations reflected shifts in human understanding rather than in the ways God dealt with humans. The changes did not occur in God, but in human consciousness. I personally see the Bible as inspired in that it presents humans evolving through universal stages of spiritual development; from self centered egoism, to institutional law, to doubt and eventually to mystical universal grace.


Carlton Pearson undoubtedly recognized what many serious Bible students see, that the gospels of Jesus are different than the letters of the Apostle Paul. Paul was a Christian hating Jewish minister who was converted by a vision of the loving universal grace which Jesus taught. Like us all, after his spiritual experience, he was simply trying to make sense of his radical new encounter with God. Paul had graduated to another satge, or dispensation of consciousness. Paul never set out to write God's biography or the last word on cosmic redemption.

To the Heretic Hunters, I suggest you consider moving away from Paul and returning to the universal love of God as revealed by Jesus. Your 'expose' of Carlton Pearson's so called heresy reminded me of the Pharisees attacking Jesus with their legal 'text-pertise' and Torah-esque adherence to the heartless and rationalistic Law rather than to the infinite love of a truly incomprehensibly GRACIOUS God.


Please return to grace, and jettison your old resentment based atonement founded on Paul's Jewish theology which grew out of his Jewish culture, made even more retributive and obscene by Saint Anselm's theory of substitutionary atonement. A God who had to require Roman executioners to eviscerate and slaughter his son in order to appease his anger is neither gracious nor just, but akin to the likes of Saddam Hussein and other monstrous tyrants. How can you claim that Jesus taught us to love and forgive our enemies without retribution, and then teach that God requires an 'eye for an eye' in order to forgive? Your theology does not honor God's grace, but rather creates a God of resentment and retaliation.


Those of us stuck in the old Mosaic stage of wrathful justice must grow up in our understanding of the God revealed by Jesus in the Gospels! Many of us, even while evangelicals, knew in our heart at some level that our doctrines would not allow us true joy and freedom. Every evangelical minister I knew was secretly addicted to some substance or habit, and devoid of the spiritual fruit of power and joy. A person cannot walk in the Spirit, experience daily peace and have rivers of living water flowing from within when they believe in a God who has consigned the vast majority of humanity to everlasting, conscious punishment. Some part of me knew that God's love and communion was bigger than my narrow religious sytem, and that this Being would not send the masses to hell for not rationally assenting to a list of beliefs.

When I was entrenched in the sectarian system of this vindictive God, making my living off of these hateful, narrow doctrines as a paid minister, I often felt like the biblical character named Nicodemus. This popular Jewish minister was proclaiming his exclusivistic doctrines of moral 'light' while living in fearful darkness. He furtively sneaked out of his family home to meet with Jesus. Nicodemus told Jesus he found him intriguing, and that his miracles seemed to prove that Jesus was closer to the truth than the religious elite Nicodemus hung out with. Jesus nailed the cowering minister by telling him that he and the other sectarian religious leaders 'loved darkness rather than light.' I was like Nicodemus. For years I would not publically state my fundamental doubts. I finally did, and was excommunicated. Now Carlton Pearson has had the courage to do the same.

It is my prayer that more and more evangelicals will tell the truth and declare the really Good News of unconditional grace and acceptance of all human beings.


Michael Bogar

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