Raphael Warnock Accused of Heresy After Tweeting on Easter That Believers and Nonbelievers Can Save Themselves “Through a Commitment to Helping Others”
Raphael Warnock, pastor and US senator from Georgia, has deleted an Easter Sunday tweet following widespread accusations of heresy and false teaching.
But the internet is forever. Ryan Saavedra tweeted a screenshot of Warnock’s now deleted Easter message.
“The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Warnock said Sunday morning. “Whether you are a Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves.”
Why the accusations of heresy and false teaching? First off, Warnock’s claim that “the meaning of Easter transcends the resurrection of Jesus Christ” makes little sense. Christians celebrate Easter precisely because of Christ’s resurrection and its role in our salvation. St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Allie Beth Stuckey points out that “there is nothing more transcendent than the resurrection of the God-man, Jesus. Literally: his resurrection transcends our finite conceptions of science & rationality.”
Secondly—and this may clarify how Warnock thinks Easter “transcends” the resurrection—he implies that doing good works, regardless of faith, is the driving force behind the salvation of our souls. But this is profoundly anti-scriptural. The Georgia State University College Republicans quoted Ephesians 2:8-10 in response: “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.”
Reverend Warnock should know better. It is unclear, however, if he deleted the tweet because of the backlash or because he realized it was an unbiblical message.