Newly elected congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) is being called an anti-Semite after speaking about his Christian faith in a recent interview and describing his efforts to evangelize Jews and Muslims.
Cawthorn, 25, was profiled by the Jewish Insider in an article published Monday that discussed his background and noted that after he was paralyzed from the waist down in a near-fatal car accident six years ago, he began preaching in North Carolina churches. Cawthorn, a devout Christian, shared how speaking at churches "really gave me a great platform to really share my testimony."
"I would say I have a very, very, very strong faith and [am] very grounded in the actual word," he said, adding that he's read through the Torah and the Quran along with "just about every single religious work there is."
He explained that he's studied the Quran so that if he "ever was presented with the opportunity to speak to a practicing Muslim who was kind of thinking like, 'Hey, you know, I've kind of got a feeling in my heart, I'm interested in Christianity.'"
He described his previous attempts to evangelize Muslims before being interviewed about evangelizing Jews.
"The thing I found when I was actually reading through the Quran is that Christianity — that is a very easy switch to make to lead a Muslim to Christ," Cawthorn said.
"They believe Jesus is a real person," he said of Muslims. "They believe he was a prophet, though. And so when you're trying to lead an atheist to Christ, or, say, kind of a traditional Jewish person, you kind of have to make people really — 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. That's great. But, you know, the Muslims, they already believe that he 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."
Cawthorn told Jewish Insider that sharing the Gospel led "several Muslims to Christ," but that he's been less successful reaching Jews.
"I have, unsuccessfully. I have switched a lot of, uh, you know, I guess, culturally Jewish people. But being a practicing Jew, like, people who are religious about it, they are very difficult. I've had a hard time connecting with them in that way," Cawthorn said.
He described evangelism as a calling for all Christians.
"If all you are is friends with other Christians, then how are you ever going to lead somebody to Christ?" Cawthorn asked rhetorically. "If you're not wanting to lead somebody to Christ, then you're probably not really a Christian."
After Cawthorn's comments were published, he was immediately accused of bigotry and anti-Semitism for sharing his Christian faith.
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 (@Fred Wellman)1605551485.0
truly shocking rhetoric from kid who, uh, visited Hitler’s vacation home as part of his “bucket list” https://t.co/3vLAroSyJn— b-boy bouiebaisse (@b-boy bouiebaisse)1605554117.0
This new congressman doesn't think people should be Jewish and is actively trying to make there be fewer Jews in Am… https://t.co/lwOXmpi0UE— Evan (@Evan)1605550384.0
wow yet another reason to loathe this dude!!!!!!!! https://t.co/bYw5u6wsZN https://t.co/AiANgN8w3x— Talia Lavin (@Talia Lavin)1605549193.0
Christians believe God commands believers to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus commands his disciples in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus told his followers they would evangelize first to Jews, then to gentiles, saying, "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."