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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Preacher Who Went Through Hell

(Video from NBC Dateline-Part 1)

(Video from NBC Dateline-Part 2)

Carlton Pearson was a superstar preacher. For 30 years, he preached a charasmatic message to what would eventually become thousands of followers. He had the ear of presidents. He had it made.

But it all came crashing down around him when he proclaimed that God had spoken to him and given him a radical message: There is no such place as Hell. After seeing the misery and suffering all around the world, Pearson began to preach that hell is here on earth, and that everyone had been saved by God's love and would go to heaven, not just the small minority of people who had been "born again."

Well, that just pissed off a whole lot of Christians, who were invested in the idea that God was a sadistic torturer who stood ready to send billions of people to a fiery eternal damnation in the pits of Hell. He was condemned as a heretic and became a pariah. His flock deserted him and he pretty much lost everything he had built up over the last 30 years.

But the preacher man is making a comeback. His "Gospel of Inclusion" message has reached out to gays and lesbians and others who have been made to feel less than welcome in the evangelical Christian community. He's gaining new converts and feels that, even though he had to go through hell, he would do it all again.

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