Robert A. Sungenis (born 1955) is an American Catholic apologist. He is the founder of The Bellarmine Report, renamed from the Bellarmine Theological Forum in 2011. Sungenis is known for his apologetic works critiquing the Protestant doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura.
He is also known for his advocacy of geocentrism, for his controversial beliefs about Jews and Judaism, and for publicly criticizing a controversial sentence regarding the Mosaic Covenant found in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA).
Robert Sungenis was raised in a Catholic family, but became a Protestant Christian at age nineteen. He held various posts (e.g., elder, preacher, adult Sunday school director) in several Protestant churches including a two-year employment under prophecy teacher Harold Camping of Family Radio.[not in citation given] 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 obtained a Ph.D. in 2006 from the Calamus International University, a private distance-learning institution located in Republic of Vanuatu. His 700-page dissertation was on the subject of geocentrism and was then edited and self-published as the two-volume set, Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right. According to his website, he is presently seeking a doctorate in religious studies from Maryvale Institute an International Catholic Distance-Learning College.
Sungenis returned 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. The story of his conversion to Catholicism is chronicled in the first of the Surprised By Truth books edited by Catholic apologist and author Patrick Madrid. He has debated many Protestant apologists, including James R. White, Dave Hunt, Michael Horton, Robert Godfrey, Matt Slick and Robert Zins on doctrinal, theological, and historical issues such as sola scriptura, the papacy and papal infallibility, transubstantiation and the Mass, salvation and justification. His articles were published in Our Sunday Visitor, The Catholic Answer, Catholic Faith and Family, The Coming Home Journal, Envoy Magazine, This Rock, Catholic Family News, The Remnant, Latin Mass Magazine and reviews of his work appeared in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Touchstone Magazine, Culture Wars magazine and at Salon.com. In 2000, Sungenis wrote and hosted a 16-part series on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) titled, Justification: Not By Faith Alone. In 2001, he co-wrote and co-hosted with Patrick Madrid an 18-part series on EWTN titled, Not By Scripture Alone, both shows being based on his two published books, Not By Faith Alone and Not By Scripture Alone. Sungenis also made several appearances on EWTN’s Mother Angelical Live, The Journey Home and The Abundant Life. In August 2002, Sungenis was a guest on CNN International to debate the issue of women priests with guest Rea Howrath. In August 2006, Sungenis was a guest on the BBC’s “The Today Programme” debating modern cosmology against Bro. Guy Cosolmango of the Vatican Observatory. In 2006, Sungenis was a contributor to the documentary produced by The Fatima Center titled “Heaven’s Key to Peace,” concerning the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
Sungenis is known for his apologetic works critiquing the Protestant doctrine of "faith alone". In 1997, he published a 600+ page book Not By Faith Alone in which he asserted that Sola Fide is unbiblical. Sungenis is of the opinion that the word "faith" is never used in conjunction with the word "alone" by the apostle Paul, that by the phrase "the works of the Law" Paul only excluded works done outside of God's grace, that Paul spoke about all people having to eventually be judged by God based on their works, and that those who persist in willful sin will be eternally condemned. His book has received praise from S. M. Hutchens (Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazines) and an endorsement from Fabian W. Bruskewitz (Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska), but criticism from Robert N. Wilkin (Editor of Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society).
Views on Jews and Judaism
Sungenis has become known for controversial views of the Jewish people and Judaism that have been sharply criticized by fellow Catholics and by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being anti-semitic. In 2002 he questioned whether 6 million Jews could have died during the Holocaust, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "repeated a series of ancient anti-Semitic canards" and later wrote about the involvement of Jews and Israel in a New World Order Satanic conspiracy aimed at world domination.
Sungenis has responded 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. 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. 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".
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", see also Dual-covenant theology). The bishops proposed to replace it with a sentence from the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church. Sungenis expressed concerns about the original sentence at his website and said he wrote to the Vatican about it. The executive director of evangelization and catechesis for the USCCB's committee on the catechism denied that the change occurred because of Sungenis' intervention.
Sungenis is an advocate of geocentrism. He believes that physics and the Bible show that the sun and all the planets orbit the Earth and that the Earth does not rotate. Sungenis published a 1000+ page book Galileo Was Wrong The Church Was Right saying that it would "give Scripture its due place and show that science is not all it's cracked up to be." For several years, his website offered a $1000 reward to anyone who could prove heliocentrism and disprove geocentrism. Mainstream scientists reject this cosmological view as demonstrably false and untenable.
- Not By Faith Alone: The Biblical Evidence for the Catholic Doctrine of Justification, Queenship Publishing (1996), 774 pp. ISBN 1-57918-008-6
- Not By Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Queenship Publishing (1997), 650 pp. ISBN 1-57918-055-8
- How Can I Get to Heaven? The Bible's Teaching on Salvation Made Easy to Understand, Queenship Publishing (1997), 334 pp. ISBN 1-57918-007-8
- Not By Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Queenship Publishing (2000), 450 pp. ISBN 1-57918-124-4
- The Gospel According to Matthew (Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 1), Queenship Publishing (2003), 427 pp. ISBN 1-57918-236-4
- The Apocalypse of St. John (Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 2), Queenship Publishing (2007), 544 pp. ISBN 1-57918-329-8
- The Epistles of Romans and James (Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 3), CAI Publishing, Inc. (2009), 665 pp. ISBN 0-9818660-6-9
- The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1 – 11 (Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 4), CAI Publishing, Inc. (2009), 692 pp. ISBN 0-9818660-7-7
- The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, Vol. 5), CAI Publishing, Inc. (2009), 423 pp. ISBN 0-9818660-8-5
- Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right: The Scientific Evidence for Geocentrism, (CAI Pub. Inc, 2009, 653 pages). ISBN 0-9818660-4-2
- Speaking in Tongues: Sign of Blessing: Sign of Judgment: A Critical Analysis of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, (CAI Pub. Inc. 2010, 80 pages). ISBN 0-9841859-5-X
- Catholic/Jewish Dialogue: Controversies and Corrections, CAI Publishing, Inc. (2010), 734 pp. ISBN 0-9841859-3-3
- Bob's Dictionary of Big Words (smaller version), CAI Publishing, Inc. 2011 ISBN 0-9841859-8-4
- Bob's Dictionary of Big Words (larger version), CAI Publishing, Inc. 2011 ISBN 0-9841859-7-6
- The Consecration of Russia: How Seven Popes Failed to Heed Heaven’s Command and Brought Turmoil to the Church and the World, Hometown Publications, Inc. copyright 2013, 384 pages, ISBN13: 978-0-9841859-9-3.
- The Gospel According to John, CAI Publishing, Inc. copyright 2011, 497 pages, ISBN13:978-0-9841859-1-7.
- Biography. Catholic Apologetics International. Retrieved 2010-12-13
- Sungenis, R. Rebuttal ... Concerning the Doctrine of Purgatory (page3). Catholic Apologetics International. Retrieved 2007-07-17
- Sungenis, R.; Temple, S.; Lewis, D.A. (1994). Shockwave Two Thousand! The Harold Camping 1994 Debacle. New Leaf Press
- Madrid, P. (1994). Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic. Basilica Press. ISBN 978-0-9642610-8-2
- A Response To Robert Sungenis's Not By Faith Alone
- Faith Without Ethics
- Not By Faith Alone: The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification. (Interview). White Horse Inn. September/October 2007. pp. 42-46. http://www.modernreformation.org/digitaledition.php?issue=95. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Burke, Daniel (September 13, 2008). "Catechism Edit 'Troubling,' Jewish Leaders Say Deletion of Passage on Moses in Catholic Handbook Questioned". Washington Post. pp. B09. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "The Dirty Dozen". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center). Winter 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- Lipman, Jennifer. "Speaker row cancels Catholic conference". The Jewish Chronicle Online. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Sungenis, Robert (October 15, 2002). "Uncorking the Erroneous Teachings, False Allegations and Liberal Agenda of William Cork". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- Sungenis, R. (February 9, 2008). "The Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked (p. 11)". Bellarmine Theological Forum. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "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.")
- Sungenis, Robert (September 5, 2007). "Letter to Cardinal Levada". CAI. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- Sefton, Dru (6 May 2006). "In this world view, the sun revolves around the earth". Times-News,. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Bellarmine Theological Forum, Robert Sungenis' website
- Galileo Was Wrong, Sungenis' book on geocentrism
- Robert Sungenis profile and books on Goodreads