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Robert A. Sungenis (born 1955), is the founder of the Bellarmine Theological Forum. Sungenis is known for his works in apologetics critiquing the Protestant doctrines of Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura. More recently, he has become known for his advocacy of geocentrism and also for views of Jews and Judaism that have created controversy.

Biography

Robert Sungenis was raised in a Catholic family, but became a Protestant in 1975, aged nineteen.[1] He held various posts (e.g., elder, preacher, adult Sunday school director) in several Protestant Churches including a two-year employment under Harold Camping of Family Radio.[2] He obtained his B.A. in Religion from George Washington University in 1979, and an M.A. in theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1982.

Sungenis reverted to Catholicism in 1992 at the age of thirty-seven. In 1994 he was the principal author of a book critiquing the eschatological views of Harold Camping and a number of prominent Protestant preachers.[3] The story of his conversion to Catholicism is chronicled in the first of the Surprised By Truth books[4] edited by Catholic apologist and author Patrick Madrid. He has debated many Protestant apologists, including James R. White, Dave Hunt, Michael Horton, Robert Godfrey and Robert Zins on doctrinal, theological, and historical issues such as Sola Scriptura, the Papacy and papal infallibility, Salvation and Justification.

Sungenis has become known for controversial views of the Jewish people and Judaism that have been sharply criticized by some of his fellow Catholics and by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as being anti-Semitic.[5][6] Facing such criticism in 2002, Sungenis stated that he is against Zionism, but that he is not anti-semitic. "Anti-semitism is a hatred for the Jewish race. There isn't a bone in my body that feels that way about Jewish people," he wrote.[7] In 2008, Sungenis' bishop, Kevin C. Rhoades, denounced his views of the Jewish people and Judaism as "hostile, uncharitable, and un-Christian" and required Sungenis to stop writing about them. He also directed him to stop using the word "Catholic" in his organization's name.[5] Sungenis has stated that he will only comply with Bishop Rhoades' directive to stop writing about Jews and Judaism if he is forced to do so "under the aegis of a canonical trial".[8]

In 2008, Sungenis took credit for the fact that the U.S. bishops voted to remove a sentence from the next printing of the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults that involves the Jewish people and the Mosaic covenant ("Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them"). The bishops proposed to replace it with a sentence from the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church.[5][9] Sungenis expressed concerns about the original sentence at his website and said he wrote to the Vatican about it.[10] The executive director of evangelization and catechesis for the USCCB's committee on the catechism denied that the change occurred because of Sungenis' intervention.[5]

Sungenis has also become known for his advocacy of geocentrism. He believes that physics and the Bible prove that the sun and all the planets orbit the Earth and that the Earth does not rotate. In support of his beliefs, Sungenis published the book Galileo Was Wrong in the hope that people will "give Scripture its due place and show that science is not all it's cracked up to be." [11]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Biography, Catholic Apologetics International, http://www.catholicintl.com/aboutus/b-robert.htm, retrieved 2007-07-17  
  2. ^ Sungenis, R., Rebuttal ... Concerning the Doctrine of Purgatory (page3), Catholic Apologetics International, http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/lastthings/rebutal-white-purgatory3.htm, retrieved 2007-07-17  
  3. ^ Sungenis, R.; Temple, S.; Lewis, D.A. (1994), Shockwave Two Thousand! The Harold Camping 1994 Debacle, New Leaf Press, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shockwave-Two-Thousand-Camping-Debacle/dp/0892212691  
  4. ^ Madrid, P. (1994), Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic, Basilica Press, http://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Truth-Converts-Biblical-Historical/dp/0964261081  
  5. ^ a b c d Burke, Daniel (September 13, 2008;). "Catechism Edit 'Troubling,' Jewish Leaders Say Deletion of Passage on Moses in Catholic Handbook Questioned". Washington Post. pp. B09. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091203077_pf.html. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  
  6. ^ "The Dirty Dozen". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center). Winter 2006. http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=1297. Retrieved 2009-04-10.  
  7. ^ Sungeris, Robert (October 15, 2002). "Uncorking the Erroneous Teachings, False Allegations and Liberal Agenda of William Cork". web.archive.org. http://web.archive.org/web/20021117112639/www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/uncorking.asp. Retrieved 2009-04-14.  
  8. ^ Sungenis, R. (February 9, 2008). "The Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked (p. 11)". Bellarmine Theological Forum. http://www.catholicintl.com/articles/The%20Old%20Covenant%20Revoked%20or%20Not%20Revoked%20for%20Culture%20Wars.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-24.  
  9. ^ "To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, 'belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ.")
  10. ^ "Letter to Cardinal Levada". CAI. September 5th, 2007. http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissues/Letter%20to%20Levada%20re%20US%20Catechism%202.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-16.  
  11. ^ Bible Proves Earth is at Center of Universe, Writer Claims, Dru Sefton, Times-Picayune, 6 May 2006.

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