I watched the movie “Come Sunday” last night and I have to admit it struck a real and urgent cord in me. It is the true story about Carlton Pearson, an internally known minister who became branded as a heretic in the Pentecostal Church.
Carlton Pearson had a revelation which tore him from the underpinnings of church doctrine. He saw a TV show about the Rwandan crisis where the Hutus attacked the Tutsi ethnic group and in the course of a month killed over 800,000. It was a horrific act of genocide that decimated the country and created refugees who were starving, injured, and homeless if they lived at all.
When Carlton saw the show he had a revelation and heard a voice telling him the Rwandans who had never been “saved” would be going to heaven, that one needn’t know and believe in Jesus to go the heaven. He brought this message to his Higher Dimensions congregation of 6,000 plus a TV audience and promptly lost half of them.
If you’ve read my writings over the years you know I have talked a lot about my questions on religion and spirituality and in Jesus and God. I believe in God and the Holy Spirit, which I have experienced in my life. However, questions remain about Jesus and the resurrection.
One of my biggest issues about Christianity and most major religions is regarding the inclusivity of the Church. The belief that you could only get to Heaven if you believed in Jesus. I’ve wondered myself about the billions of good people in the world that supposedly could not enter Heaven because they weren’t Christian. It has always struck me as unfair in the extreme. Goodness deserves its own reward. Carlton Pearson’s message struck me as a truth.
I’ve always had an issue with organized religions because of inclusivity. There is an inherent arrogance in organized religions. The “I am right, You are wrong” attitude is not loving or forgiving. When others talk to me about the need to be “saved” I want to believe, I want that comfort in absolutism, but I can’t make that leap of faith for to me it isn’t fair or just.
I know believing in inclusivity can invalidate the Church in most eyes but to me, it is not mutually exclusive. We each have our paths to God. Belief in God is the objective, no matter where you live or what your avenue to worship. Being a good person is paramount. Being a light of God is essential. Maybe you don’t have to be “saved” to make it to heaven.