Sen. Raphael Warnock, an ordained minister, deleted an Easter Sunday tweet that drew accusations of heresy.
Warnock, D-Ga., used his Twitter account to claim Easter transcended the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that both Christians and non-Christians can save themselves by doing good.
"The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ," tweeted Warnock, who rose to national prominence as senior pastor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s former church in Atlanta. "Whether you are a Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves."
Warnock deleted the tweet several hours later after being lambasted on Twitter as a "phony pastor" and "false teacher," and for promoting "false doctrine," "blasphemy," and "unbiblical theology," according to The Washington Times.
Many Twitter users pointed out Warnock's remarks were "heresy," according to Townhall.
"This is a false gospel and heresy. We cannot save ourselves," attorney Jenna Ellis tweeted. "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."
The College Republicans at Georgia State University offered Warnock a refresher from Ephesians 2:8-10.
"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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them," the group tweeted.
Other Warnock critics also cited specific Bible verses.
"With all due respect, this is literally the opposite of what the Gospel says. Ephesians 2 states that clearly. Faith alone, Christ alone," former ESPN producer Jason Romano tweeted.
One self-identified Lutheran pastor said it was "disheartening" to read Warnock's comments.
"Rev. Warnock, with respect, the whole point of Easter is that Christ died to take away the sins of the world and rose to show they were sealed in the grave. Christ saves, nothing else. It’s disheartening to see you, a fellow clergyman, downplaying the central tenet of our faith," the pastor wrote.
Some people pointed out Warnock attended a college often criticized as a "bastion of liberal theology."
"He went to Union Theological Seminary, where their students confess their climate sins to plants," Daily Wire Joe Brown tweeted.
Easter is one of the year's holiest days for nearly 2.3 billion Christians around the world. The day celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. "In doing so, he conquered death and redeemed us from sin if we believe in Him," according to Christianity.com.
Allie Stuckey, an author and podcast host, tweeted, "There is nothing more transcendent than the resurrection of the God-man, Jesus. Literally: his resurrection transcends our finite conceptions of science & rationality. That the Word became flesh, dwelt among us, then was slain for our sins only to conquer death 3 days later?"
Warnock, pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, defeated incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in the Jan. 5 runoff senatorial election.
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