Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic U.S. senator from Georgia and pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has removed a controversial Easter tweet stating that even non-Christians can save themselves by doing good.
“The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Warnock wrote on Twitter Easter Sunday. “Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves.”
After backlash, the tweet was removed from Warnock’s social media page.
The tweet caused some to accuse the 51-year-old reverend who won a Senate runoff election in January and propel Democrats to the Senate majority of heresy.
“Warnock deleted his heretical tweet,” President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Jenna Ellis responded by tweeting. “He should delete Reverend in front of his name too.”
In an earlier tweet, Ellis said that Warnock’s tweet was “false gospel and heresy.”
“We cannot save ourselves,” she wrote. “The absolute truth and only meaning of Easter that matters is the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we must accept Him as Lord and Savior.”
Ellis challenged Warnock to “read Romans.”
MSNBC host Joy Reid came to Warnock's defense in response to Ellis’ tweets.
“This lady is literally calling the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church -- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s church -- a heretic,” Reid wrote. “This actually happened today. Madame, I'm gonna take @ReverendWarnock's take, as a pastor and a scholar on the Word over yours, if you don't mind.”
The College Republicans at Georgia State University quoted Ephesians 2:8-10 in a tweet.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast,” the organization tweeted. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey argued that “There is nothing more transcendent than the resurrection of the God-man, Jesus.”
“Literally: his resurrection transcends our finite conceptions of science & rationality,” Stuckey wrote in a tweet. “That the Word became flesh, dwelt among us, then was slain for our sins only to conquer death 3 days later?”
This is not the first time Warnock, a longtime civil rights activist and Georgia’s first black senator, has faced criticism for controversial comments.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the founder of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, responded in an op-ed for The Christian Post to comments Warnock made in the past referring to Jesus as a “poor Palestinian prophet.”
“The word Palestine does not appear one time throughout the New Testament and the Philistines referenced in the Old Testament became extinct during Biblical times,” wrote Cardoza-Moore, who leads an evangelical Christian organization that encourages Christians to stand with Israel and the Jewish People against the rise of global anti-Semitism
“It appears that Warnock is more interested in pushing a subversive political agenda than teaching God’s word,” she remarked. “Warnock’s teachings are a fusion of two anti-Semitic doctrines that have led to the murder of countless Jews throughout history: Replacement Theology and Liberation Theology.”
She added, “The fact that Warnock pushes the Palestinian Jesus narrative is indicative of his broader perspective.”
“His spin doctors are working around the clock to cover his past and paint him as an heir of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, a Zionist and staunch ally of Israel, when he is actually cut from the same cloth as his teacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright,” Cardoza-Moore stated.
Wright, a pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and former pastor of President Barack Obama, has made his own controversial remarks, including that blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but “God damn America.”