Robert A. Sungenis (born 1955) is an American Catholic author of apologetic and polemical works critiquing the Protestant doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura. He is also known for his advocacy of geocentrism and his controversial beliefs about Jews, Judaism, and Holocaust revisionism.
Robert Sungenis was raised in a Catholic family, but became a Protestant at age nineteen. 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 religious studies from the Calamus International University (CIU), a private, unaccredited distance-learning institution located in the Republic of Vanuatu that has been characterized as a diploma mill. In the state of Texas, it is a class B misdemeanor to use a degree from CIU. His 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. In January 2006, Sungenis' website indicated that he was about to receive a doctorate from Maryvale Institute. Since 2010, his website has indicated that he is a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Maryvale Institute.
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 Angelica 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 alleged 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 Not By Faith Alone in which he asserted that Sola Fide is not biblical. 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 wilful sin will be eternally condemned. His book has received praise from S. M. Hutchens (Senior Editor of Touchstone Magazines) and an endorsement from Fabian Bruskewitz (Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska), but criticism from Robert N. Wilkin (Editor of Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society).
Jews and Judaism
Sungenis's controversial views of the Jewish people and Judaism have been sharply criticized by fellow Catholics and by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being anti-semitic. In 2002, he claimed it was a fact that no one had ever proven that 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust and that demographic statistics show no real difference in the number of Jews living before and after World War II. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he also "repeated a series of ancient anti-Semitic canards" and later wrote about the involvement of Jews and Israel in a Zionist Satanic conspiracy aimed at Satan ruling the world. Sungenis has also claimed that Israel orchestrated the JFK assassination in retaliation for the president's opposition to Israeli nuclear weapons.
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. In 2007, Sungenis' bishop, Kevin C. Rhoades, directed Sungenis to stop writing about the Jewish people and Judaism. He also threatened to remove the name "Catholic" from Sungenis's organization, if he did not comply. In 2008, Rhoades denounced Sungenis's views of the Jewish people and Judaism as "hostile, uncharitable, and unchristian". According to a September 2008 report in The Washington Post, Bishop Rhoades made Sungenis remove the name "Catholic" from his organization.
Sungenis claims the assumptions made by the cosmological principle can be ignored and the observable universe would fit a geocentric model of the universe, with the Earth immobile at the barycenter and everything else revolving around it. He believes those assumptions have ideological motivations, and claims that if one adopts the contrary axiomatic premises provided by the Bible, physics shows that the universe rotates, with the Earth immobile at the center. His views are often confused with the Ptolemaic System, where Earth is at the center of the solar system, with the sun and all planets revolving around it, but they more closely resemble the Tychonic System. Sungenis published 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.
In 2014, Sungenis funded the production of a film called The Principle, which features an interview with Lawrence Krauss. Krauss has since stated that he was featured in the film without permission and agrees with the scientific community that geocentrism has been thoroughly debunked. Krauss said of the film that if people ignore it, “Maybe then it will quickly disappear into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.” Kate Mulgrew, who narrated the trailer, released a public statement on her Facebook page disavowing the film, saying she was "a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that." Several other scientists featured in the film came forward to say that they had been misled about its true agenda, and that they would never have taken part in it had they known its aim.
- 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, ISBN 978-0-9841859-9-3.
- The Gospel According to John, CAI Publishing, Inc. copyright 2011, 497 pages, ISBN 978-0-9841859-1-7.
- Krauss, Lawrence (8 April 2014). "I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary". Slate. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Gray, Sarah (8 April 2014). "Scientist has no clue how he ended up in Holocaust-denier’s creationism documentary". Salon. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Biography. Catholic Apologetics International. Retrieved 2010-12-13. (Note: Site for Catholic Apologetics International, catholicintl.com, re-directs to Mr Sungenis' own website.)
- "Colleges and universities not accredited by an accrediting body of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation". State of Michigan. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. (list is no longer being maintained)
- Claxton, Matthew (16 April 2014). / "To Boldly Go Where Science Fears to Tread". Richmond News. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- "Institutions Whose Degrees Are Illegal to Use in Texas". Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
- Douglass, Ben (January 2006). "CAI: Question 54: Quick Questions". Catholicintl.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "BTF Staff Page". Catholicintl.com. September 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- 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. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- Burke, Daniel (September 13, 2008). "Catechism Edit 'Troubling,' Jewish Leaders Say Deletion of Passage on Moses in Catholic Handbook Questioned". The 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.
- Robert Sungenis Has Disobeyed No Binding Precept Of His Bishop
- "Interview Request from Der Spiegel in Germany on Geocentrism". Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Gray, Sarah (8 April 2014). "Scientist has no clue how he ended up in Holocaust-denier’s creationism documentary". Salon. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Mulgrew, Kate. "Official Facebook". Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Israel, Josh (2014-04-08). "‘Orange Is The New Black’ Star Duped Into Narrating Film That Says The Sun Revolves Around The Earth". Think Progress.
- Bellarmine Theological Forum, Robert Sungenis' website
- Galileo Was Wrong, Sungenis' book on geocentrism