We Need Tough Love

by | Nov 30, 2005 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

The Apostle Paul wrote the Bible’s most eloquent words about Christian love. But when it came to the subject of heresy, he went into verbal-attack mode. He labeled those who were spreading false doctrines “dogs” (Phil. 3:2) and “liars” (1 Tim. 4:2), and he not only labeled heretics publicly but also “handed them over to Satan” in his prayers (see 1 Tim. 1:20, NASB). That doesn’t sound much like the “sloppy agape” we often model today.

Paul believed that when heresy goes unchecked it contaminates everyone. He warned his disciple Timothy that false teaching spreads “like gangrene” (2 Tim. 2:17). “Gangrene” can also be translated cancer.

Modern translation: False doctrine is malignant. Get the tumor out before it kills people.

It troubles me that many charismatic and Pentecostal church leaders today are not displaying the necessary backbone to label a heretic a heretic. We have become masters at soft-pedaling and inaction when the Lord requires us to confront.

Case in point: Bishop Carlton Pearson, who was raised in the nation’s largest Pentecostal denomination (the Church of God in Christ) and who once worked with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, began teaching what he calls “the gospel of inclusion” a few years ago. He has become a Universalist, claiming that people do not need conversion in order to be saved by Christ.

Pearson’s deception has been widely reported. In Charisma we followed Pearson’s demise and announced that one organization, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops’ Congress, labeled him a heretic in 2004. Since then Pearson has convened a national conference about Universalism that featured John Shelby Spong, an Episcopalian who affirms gay ordination and does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You would think that every charismatic leader in the United States would sever ties to Pearson until he renounces his apostasy. But that is not the case.

 

  • Popular gospel singer John P. Kee, who pastors New Life Fellowship Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, appeared on the program at Pearson’s Inclusion 2005 conference, which was held in Pearson’s Higher Dimensions Family church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June. Having Kee’s face on the program certainly gave the conference added credibility in the eyes of gospel music lovers.

     

  • Pearson was the featured speaker at Bishop Earl Paulk Jr.’s Atlanta-area church, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in May. Paulk then put Pearson back in the same pulpit in October.

     

  • The International Communion of Charismatic Churches (ICCC), which Paulk founded, still lists Pearson as a member. When I asked an ICCC leader why they did not remove him, he said the organization does not currently have any mechanism to restrict membership based on doctrinal or character issues.

    Huh? I think we’ve identified the root problem. In the loosey-goosey world of charismatic independence, we find it almost impossible to police our own. Everything is about “fellowship,” but we lack the teeth in our policies to ensure that we can properly discipline preachers who veer off into doctrinal error.

    When I bring up the issue of Pearson’s apostasy I usually get a lot of glazed looks from people who don’t want to believe that a brother has fallen into deception. “Don’t be so hard on the guy,” is a typical response. “Maybe we don’t understand his message.”

    I don’t need any more explanation. Pearson has a banner on his Web site that announces “God Is Not A Christian.” At press time, his church was to host a combined service on November 17 with a local Unitarian congregation in Tulsa. (Note: Unitarians are nice people, but they do not believe in the deity of Jesus.)

    I’m sorry I sound harsh. But I would not be walking in the love of God if I weren’t willing to issue this warning in order to protect vulnerable people. Sometimes we have to be willing to offend. “Love your brother” does not mean, “Always be nice.”

    We Christians don’t know how to handle it when the Bible requires tough love. It’s time for all of our congregations, denominations and church networks to raise the bar and defend the faith from those who pervert it.


    J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. His online column appears on Charisma’s Web site twice each week at www.charismamag.com. His ministry, The Mordecai Project, focuses on empowering women in ministry.

 

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest