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The Gospel of Inclusion: Reaching Beyond Religious Fundamentalism to the True Love of God

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
?As Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, these are my Theses, nailed to the door of today's religious culture.? Speak the name ?Carlton Pearson? and you will get one of two reactions: ?heretic? or ?prophet.? Pearson was a Christian mega-star, host of his own TV show, traveling in private jets to speak at evangelical Christian gatherings. His ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published April 30th 2007 by Azusa (first published 2007)
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Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
"Scripture never declares that Jesus is the personal lord and savior of anyone. It does declare that Jesus is lord and savior of the universe, the world, and the whole of humankind," says Carlton Pearson, a former bishop in the Pentecostal Church.

He changed his mind about God sending people to hell, causing him to lose his position in the church. He now believes there is a kind of salvation called "redemption" that is given to all humankind, whether they are Christians or not. Faith "simply ackn
Jay Medenwaldt
Jan 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I recommend not wasting your time on this book. I can think of a lot of people that might enjoy this book, but I can't think of anyone that would benefit from reading it.

I listened to it because the title made it seem like it could be helpful for me and Christianity For Everyone in learning how to make the Gospel message more inclusive. It was not helpful in this way because it simply espoused universalism (everyone goes to heaven, regardless of what they believe). I must admit, there was a time
Jun 07, 2010 rated it liked it
I would give this book more stars for its ideas than for the actual writing, which was pretty repetitive. But it's real food for thought. Many Christians will disagree with his simple premise, which is that Jesus's death reconciled all humankind to God. Not just those who invite Him into their lives, but everyone. So we're all "saved," and let's get on with the business of God's work on earth, and not argue about who's going to heaven. I like this guy.
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Perhaps it's because I went to a seminary that focused on Biblical Criticism, much of what he wrote was not surprising. I was hoping the bulk of the book would be his story before and after the change in theological belief. Rather the text is primarily an explanation of what Inclusion Gospel is.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the book by Bishop Carlton Pearson who was, originally, an evangelist type of preacher, going along with the hellfire-if-you're-not-perfect type of philosophy held by so many of the Christian right. Then he had a revelation and realized that, in his words, everyone had already been saved by Christ, and there was no hell and no need to always emphasize the worst in humans.

Rather, he believes in expanding Christian spirituality (not religion) to include everyone, including gays, lesbians,
Carolyn Lind
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Bishop Carlton Pearson was a powerful, respected leader in the Charismatic/Pentecostal community, “a respected child of the Oral Roberts tradition.” When he embraced the Gospel of Inclusion, his community rejected and persecuted him.

A few quotes to sample the flavor:

“I could no longer hide my personal theological crisis in the success of my ministry. I felt what I was hearing was important and from God; disruptive and insurrectionist, to be sure, but necessary, right and irresistible. Sometimes
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
I made it halfway through this book. I could mark it "abandoned," but I think I read enough for my conscience to call it read. Candy & I heard this guy interviewed on the radio years ago, and were interested in his book. Then it sat on our shelf for a long time. I finally picked it up, planning to read it all the way through.

It's from a guy that was STEEPED in fundamentalist, evangelical theology--even a church leader in that community--who started asking himself theological, moral, and phil
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this on audio from Audible -- an abridged version, which I don't normally go for, but after I heard him on "This American Life" I wanted more, and wanted it now. I grew up in an evangelical religion that is heavy on the hellfire, and after many years came to the conclusion I don't believe in hell. When you have this kind of upbringing and come to that sort of conclusion, you feel like you're swinging out there in the breeze without much backup. Friends with that upbringing may stil ...more
Dan Gray
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This man truly lives this - at all costs (and they are huge). If this book doesn't knock your socks off, the story of how this book came to be should. It's a true rags to riches to rags story where the hero, one of the top Pentecostal preachers/scholars of his era and fresh with epiphany, thought he had what it took to revolutionize the Pentecostal tradition by challenging exclusivity. It cost him nearly everything as thousands of devoted followers abandoned him. He found refuge at All Souls Chu ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An important and surprising book!

Bishop Pearson was a an evangelical pastor high in the Pentecostal Church hierarchy, when he realized that a God of love would not condemn His beloved children. But when he started to preach this message of love he was rebuked, ostracized and shunned on a national level. His congregants left by the thousands as and he soon lost his mega-church. He courageously stood by this gospel of love and has found new faith, followers and family among people who were hungry
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not a Christian and not interested in joining the club (but not really interested in any labels or organized religion, period, so it's not really personal.)

However, I have massive respect for Christians like Rob Bell, Bishop John Shelby Spong, and now I can add Carlton Pearson to that list. Huge respect. This is the direction I feel Christianity should go in if it wants respect instead of the scorn most of us have for the vast majority of it.

Pearson elevates the Christian faith into something a
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I found this book at the right time in my life. Many of my own questions about God and religion were asked by Carlton Pearson and answered by him as well. I found this to be a well written and informative book and his style easy to digest and understand. I prefer an author to explain his beliefs to me in a style as if he were talking to a friend rather than talking down to me and telling me that if I don't believe as he does I am wrong and going to Hell. This was a wonderful book and brought me ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
What if everyone everywhere were "saved" already, and there was no hell or wrathful God? What if God is not a Christian -- or Moslem or Hindu -- and religious institutions and doctrines are man-made? An exposition of these ideas by a former Fundamentalist/Evangelical bishop who no longer accepts exclusivity, unquestioning belief, or attempts to control people through fear; aimed largely at Christians, his arguements most often use Christian scriptures.
Dec 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 24-books-in-2009
I thought the "This American Life" segment on this guy was WAY more interesting than his book. On a theological level, I like some of the points Bishop Pearson makes, but thought his conclusions were a mixed bag--some good, some less convincing. If you are interested in this topic, instead of reading this book, I would highly recommend Brian McLaren's "The Last Word and the Word After That" which is the third book of his "New Kind of Christian" series (a series best read in order, I think).
While I cannot subscribe to all Pearson says, found some of his tenets heretical for me, wished he had discussed prayer, church attendance, and heaven, he does bring up some interesting points worthy of consideration. I found his writing repetitive, however, and his tendency to attack whatever is in the Bible that disagrees with his religious philosophy annoying (especially since he uses the Bible as his foundation).
Sondra Jones
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book for its ideas and Pearson's courage. I'd like to get a printed version as a jumping-off point for more exploration of the ideas and sources.

Having grown up in the Pentecostal church and having struggled what I was taught about God, Jesus, sin and "the world", Pearson's views get a big "YES!" from me.

I'm so happy to discover someone from the inside speaking out and describing a different path based on reason and the unconditional love of God.
Richard Kirkwood
Excellent book, a real eye opener, I recommend this book to anyone that feels the need to know that God is more than what the religious establishment has been teaching this world, that he is a loving and inclusive God no matter where your beliefs may lie.
Dec 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard this guy on 'This American Life' (I think), and so far, his book is pretty interesting.
Mitchell26 McLaughlin
See my note on Pearson's other book.
Apr 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I had the pleasure of hearing Bishop Pearson speak at my church a few weeks ago. It was an inspiring event. All fundamentalist communities should really look at what he has to say.
John Woods
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
What an incredible man, full of integrity and has truly emulated the example of Jesus of Nazareth, by giving up all he has in order to follow truth.
Oct 14, 2009 added it
I have been a fan of Carlton Pearson ever since I heard him on This American Life/NPR a long time ago (two or three years?). So far, the book is energizing and inspiring.
Dec 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Read just a few pages -- my impression was that he's preaching the Nehor philosophy of "lift up your head and rejoice for all will be saved at the last day.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Contrary to other reviews, I found this book to be refreshingly open, honest, and straightforward. It does reiterate a few points, but it is helpful and contextual.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
I liked his theology, but found his focus on his own troubles a little annoying at times. Especially the part about no longer getting free dry cleaning.
Ron Starbuck
rated it really liked it
May 24, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2009
rated it it was ok
Jul 31, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2011
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“The English word salvation has in it the root salve, which is a soothing ointment or balm applied to a wound, or in a larger meaning, a soothing application, influence, or agency. The loving parent we imagine God to be could not view His children as diseased with a terminal illness called sin and not apply a healing salve to all of them.” 0 likes
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