Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

Want to receive Fire in My Bones by email? Sign up here

We Need Tough Love

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.

 

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this blog? Click here to receive it by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit