In the Netflix original film ‘Come Sunday,’ the compelling life story of Carlton Pearson, an evangelical preacher, unfolds on the screen. The film delves into Pearson’s tumultuous journey from 2004 to 2006, when his different interpretation of scripture led to his ostracization by his church.
The film premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2018, and was made available for streaming on April 13, 2018, captivating audiences with its thought-provoking exploration of theological themes.
Carlton Pearson, portrayed by the talented Chiwetel Ejiofor, is introduced as a charismatic pastor leading the popular Higher Dimensions church. After sharing his belief in the absence of Hell during a plane ride, Pearson’s church experiences a surge in popularity and success. However, his newfound popularity comes at a hefty price.
Pearson’s reluctant decision to refuse helping his uncle, Henry, with bail ultimately leads to devastating consequences. Trapped in prison, Henry experiences immense despair and tragically takes his own life. This event weighs heavily on Pearson’s heart, stirring guilt and sparking deeper introspection into his faith.
When Pearson witnesses the suffering in Africa, he becomes plagued with questions about the fate of those affected in the afterlife. These questions lead him to challenge the belief in Hell during his sermons, causing confusion and discord among his congregation. His church leaders, including the influential Oral Roberts, rebuke him for undermining faith in God.
Unwilling to compromise his convictions, Pearson finds himself at odds with many members of his congregation who are unable to accept his new interpretation of scripture. As a result, numerous individuals decide to leave the church, causing financial strain that eventually leads to the closure of Higher Dimensions. Pearson is left grappling with the weight of his decisions and struggling to cover the costs.
Determined to find answers and defend his beliefs, Pearson engages in spirited debates with African pastors who vehemently oppose his interpretation of Hell. These encounters challenge him intellectually and fuel his desire to continue preaching and spreading God’s message of love.
Despite the setbacks and personal loss he endures, Pearson comes to the realization that challenging traditional beliefs can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of faith. The film beautifully portrays his journey as a prominent figure learns from his mistakes, finds inspiration, and evolves in his understanding of spirituality.
In conclusion, ‘Come Sunday’ offers a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of Carlton Pearson’s life and his controversial beliefs. The film’s examination of theological themes raises important questions about the nature of faith and the consequences of questioning long-held doctrines. With outstanding performances, including Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of Pearson, ‘Come Sunday’ is a must-watch for those seeking to understand the power of questioning and the resilience of faith.