On Monday, Freshman congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) received heavy criticism on social media after he revealed in a recent interview that he has tried to convert Jews to Christianity.
In an interview with the Jewish Insider, the 25-year-old congressman discussed his devout Christian faith and noted that he has tried to evangelize to Jews and Muslims.
Six years ago, Cawthorn was paralyzed from the waist down following a near-fatal car accident. Following the crash, he started preaching in North Carolina churches. Cawthorn noted that his accident “really gave me a great platform to really share my testimony.”
While noting his strong faith and being well-rooted in God’s Word, Cawthorn added that he’s also read through the Torah and the Quran along with “just about every single religious work there is.”
Cawthorn explained that studying the Quran would help him in talking to a practicing Muslim who expressed interest in Christianity. So far, he has successfully led "several Muslims to Christ” through sharing the Gospel, he said in the interview.
For Jews, however, the young congressman has been unsuccessful in reaching them with Christ. He explained how Muslims are more receptive to Christianity than Jews based on their views of Jesus.
Cawthorn said that Muslims believe that Jesus “is a real person” and that he was a prophet. When leading an atheist or traditional Jew to Christ, however, he noted that “you have to sell Jesus a lot, because, one, they don't really believe that, you know — some very devout Jews just think he's kind of a good guy.”
He added that the Muslims already believe that Christ was somewhat divine, and so all you have to do is just be like, he wasn't just a good man, he was a god, and now if you can submit to that then you believe in Christ.”
While Cawthorn noted that he has led many “culturally Jewish people” to Christ, he said that reaching more orthodox Jews was difficult because he had a harder time connecting with them.
He also stressed the importance of evangelism as a calling and a mark for every true Christian.
"If all you are is friends with other Christians, then how are you ever going to lead somebody to Christ?" Cawthorn asked. "If you're not wanting to lead somebody to Christ, then you're probably not really a Christian."
After the interview was published, on Monday, Cawthorn’s name began trending on Twitter as many labeled him an anti-Semite for sharing his faith with Jews, The Blaze reports.
“The new darling of the GOP folks. Anti-Semite, Hitler fanboy who lied about being admitted to the Naval Academy,” Fred Wellman, Senior Advisor for Veterans Affairs for the Lincoln Project, wrote.
The new darling of the GOP folks. Anti-Semite, Hitler fan boy who lied about being admitted to the Naval Academy. https://t.co/1r3r1SxRgi— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) November 16, 2020
Writer for the Houston Chronicle Evan Mintz added, “This new congressman doesn't think people should be Jewish and is actively trying to make there be fewer Jews in America.”
This new congressman doesn't think people should be Jewish and is actively trying to make there be fewer Jews in America. https://t.co/hbCR1GSFUb— Evan (@evan7257) November 16, 2020
Conversely, others came to Cawthorn’s defense and commended him for sharing the Gospel in light of the Great Commission, where Jesus commands his disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
“Good on @CawthornforNC for sharing the good news of the Gospel!” Twitter user Joe Bourne commented. “Nothing to ‘admit’ here.”
Good on @CawthornforNC for sharing the good news of the gospel! Nothing to ‘admit’ here 🤷🏻♂️— Joe Bourne (@JoeB_in_NC) November 17, 2020
“Well done @CawthornforNC!” wrote Phil Hunt. “The difference is we don’t try to convert others over the barrel of a gun, or with the threat of withholding good. We love Jews and Muslims and want them to experience the joy, peace, and forgiveness that is found only in Jesus Christ! #unapologetic”
Well done @CawthornforNC! The difference is we don’t try to convert others over the barrel of a gun, or with the threat of withholding good. We love Jews and Muslims and want them to experience the joy, peace, and forgiveness that is found only in Jesus Christ! #unapologetic https://t.co/UJv7HETiTO— Philip Hunt (@zambiahunt) November 17, 2020
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Handout
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.