Sunday, April 06, 2008


Over at Bellarmine Forum Question 58 addresses the disagreement between Mark Shea and Dr. Robert Sungenis over covenants. Sungenis adheres to supersessionism, claiming that the Jewish Covenant has been superseded by the covenant centered on Jesus Christ, and argues against Mark Shea's adherence to the theology presented in the CCC.

The CCC No. 839 tells us:

"Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "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"; "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." [bolding mine]

At the Bellarmine website Sungenis argues that "Shea has been warned repeatedly of this error in his teaching, but he stubbornly refuses to correct it, and in fact, he is now trying to indoctrinate children to his heresy, let alone adults.":

Of course, if Mr. Shea had told these children the truth by saying "God is still faithful to the New Covenant (that means "agreement") he made with them" then that wouldn't make the Jews a "special people today" above the rest of the world. It is obvious that Mr. Shea purposely left out the words "New Covenant" abecause he knows that the New Covenant does not apply exclusively to the Jews.

By the same token, Mr. Shea didn't say: "God is still faithful to the Old Covenant (that means "agreement") he made with them" because he knows that the Old Covenant has been superseded (which is why in other places Shea says that the Old Covenant is only in force to condemn the Jews not save them).

But how can Sungenis force his argument to accommodate Romans XI in the Douay Rheims which addresses directly this argument about two covenants, indicating that it is one covenant which includes Jews and Gentiles. From the Douay Rheims:

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, so is the lump also: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken, and thou, being a wild olive, art ingrafted in them, and art made partaker of the root, and of the fatness of the olive tree, 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then: The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well: because of unbelief they were broken off. But thou standest by faith: be not highminded, but fear.

20 "Thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear"... We see here that he who standeth by faith may fall from it; and therefore must live in fear, and not in the vain presumption and security of modern sectaries.

21 For if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest perhaps he also spare not thee. 22 See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the wild olive tree, which is natural to thee; and, contrary to nature, were grafted into the good olive tree; how much more shall they that are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in.

22 "Otherwise thou also shalt be cut off"... The Gentiles are here admonished not to be proud, nor to glory against the Jews: but to take occasion rather from their fall to fear and to be humble, lest they be cast off. Not that the whole church of Christ can ever fall from him; having been secured by so many divine promises in holy writ; but that each one in particular may fall; and therefore all in general are to be admonished to beware of that, which may happen to any one in particular.

26 And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is to them my covenant: when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are most dear for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as you also in times past did not believe God, but now have obtained mercy, through their unbelief;

29 "Are without repentance"... his repenting himself of them; for the promises of God are unchangeable, nor can he repent of conferring his gifts.

31 So these also now have not believed, for your mercy, that they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he may have mercy on all. 33 O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him?

32 "Concluded all in unbelief"... He hath found all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, in unbelief and sin; not by his causing, but by the abuse of their own free will; so that their calling and election is purely owing to his mercy.

Since the Douay Rheims is prior to any argument about Vatican II, I conclude that this passage trumps Sungenis' argument and validates Shea's.

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