Reverend Raphael Warnock, the newly elected Democrat senator from Georgia, deleted an Easter tweet from his account after receiving significant backlash online.
“The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves,” said the original tweet, posted to his non-government account Sunday and removed later in the evening.
A source familiar with the tweet told TheWrap that it was posted by staff, without the senator’s approval.
Conservatives, particularly those on the religious right, quickly descended on the tweet. Jenna Ellis, who served as a lawyer for former president Donald Trump, fumed at the “heresy” of the statement.
“This is a false gospel and heresy. We cannot save ourselves. 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. Read Romans, ‘Reverend’ Warnock. You are a false teacher,” she wrote.
Benjamin Watson, a Christian author, also called the sentiment “heresy.”
“Easter is not a story for moral motivation toward good works. The resurrection reveals our INABILITY to save ourselves in this life or the next, proving Jesus alone holds that power. Urging people to help others need not come at the expense of doctrine. To do so is heresy,” he tweeted.
Others defended Warnock, who was elected during a run-off election in Georgia earlier this year in what was widely seen as a rebuke of Trumpian Republicanism as the state turned from red to blue, giving Democrats control of the Senate.
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan argued that Ellis, in particular, had no standing for criticizing Warnock, given her previous defenses of Trump, who, he said, “has said and done far more heretical and un-Christian things than Warnock.”