Like any other profession, preachers in Oklahoma have seen their share of scandal. But, the events that rocked Tulsa's Higher Dimensions Church were about a different kind of controversy altogether. The News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports, in a preview to her special report, that Carlton Pearson was a 4th generation Pentecostal preacher and rising star among evangelicals, but he carried a secret doubt that would ultimately bring down his church and shake the foundations of faith for thousands of Tulsans.
â€œHuman beings being human was never acceptable to us. There was so much self-loathing rather than self-loving in the culture. I was struggling and strangling with that. And did for decades,â€ said Carlton Pearson.
The preacher carried the seeds of doubt right from the beginning. He came to Tulsa to attend Oral Roberts University 35 years ago, after growing up in a household where even lipstick was considered a sin. He became the protÃ©gÃ© of Oral Roberts, and before long, had started his own church.
Higher Dimensions soon had a congregation of about 5,000 and was bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in monthly collections. But by the late 1990s, Pearson's seeds of doubt were beginning to blossom. He began to question the existence of Hell and even the literal truth of the Bible.
His congregation was stunned.
â€œThere was a lot of splintering. There were lots of relationships that were fragmented and there were lots of ties that were severed that none of us thought would be severed,â€ said Carlton Pearson.
â€œHe makes me live. He makes me want to grab life and live it. And, that's what I'm doing,â€ said Teresa Reed.
Reed and Beverly Kelley were among the handful in Pearsonâ€™s congregation who stuck by his side. The group, which is slowly growing, now meets at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa.
But, most in the Higher Dimensions congregation followed the example of Rhonda McDaris, who believes Carlton Pearsonâ€™s new path is a dangerous one.
â€œI love the man. He was my pastor, but the message itself comes down to this: at the end if the Universalist view is wrong, how many people will be in Hell because they were never told the truth?â€ asked Rhonda McDaris.
Watch the video: News On 6 Sits Down With Controversial Preacher