The Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked?
A Review of the PBS Documentary:
Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith
By Robert A. Sungenis, Ph.D.
More and more Catholics, Protestants and Jews are seeking to overturn 2000 years of Christian teaching concerning the Old Covenant. Although the Church has always taught that the Old Covenant is revoked, what we are now being told by theologians, clerics and lay persons in high places is that it has NOT been revoked. These critics, who refer disparagingly to the traditional doctrine by such names as “supersessionism,” “replacement theology,” “revocation theology,” etc., are all seeking for one thing – to establish the position that: (a) the Jews retain legal possession of the Old Covenant; (b) that this covenant is independent of, but runs concurrently with, the New Covenant; and (c) most hold that the Old Covenant is the means by which God provides salvation to the Jews. We are hearing this new teaching from almost every quarter of the religious world and it is one of the fastest growing problems the Church has ever confronted. At its root, it emasculates the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and does so for the people who need it the most – the Jews.
Although I am reluctant to borrow an axiom from one of the Enlightenment’s icons, his words are quite apropos in this case. Voltaire once said: “If you wish to converse with me, first define your terms.” As is almost always the case with heterodoxy, the purveyors have a vested interest in confusing the terms, for they know that once the cloak is taken off and the illusion exposed, the game is over. For the last several decades the term “Old Covenant” has been the victim of this shell game. Ever since the dance between the devil and Eve, the best chance heresy has of getting a foothold in a confused mind is by mixing a lot of error with a little truth. Needless to say, this is precisely what has happened in the case of the now popular belief: “The Old Covenant has not been revoked.” Unfortunately, many well-meaning but unsuspecting Catholics have been unduly influenced by its tentacles, and in this essay for Culture Wars we will do our best to untie its deadly grip.