Christ and Covenants

In the July/August 2009 issue,  Lay Witness ran an article on the relationship between Christians, Jews, and God, especially as it pertains to the Old Covenant, the New Covenant, and evangelization (“All in the Family: Christians, Jews, and God”). Authors Michael Forrest and David Palm respond to two common errors and show that Christians have a responsibility to share the Gospel with the Jews and invite them to enter the Church.

In response, we received an interesting letter from Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg, PA. It appears in the upcoming issue of Lay Witness, but I thought it was worth posting for an advance read.

To Michael Forrest and David Palm:

Thank you very much for your article “All in the Family: Christians, Jews, and God” (July/August ’09). I appreciate your good scholarship and your fidelity to the teachings of the Church. Your reflections bring much-needed clarity to a complex topic. I believe your critique of both the dual covenant theory and extreme supersessionism is right on the mark.

I was also happy to support the Note on Ambiguities in “Reflections on Covenant and Mission” recently issued by the Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The conclusion of that Note states: “With Saint Paul, we acknowledge that God does not regret, repent of, or change his mind about the ‘gifts and the call’ that he has given to the Jewish people (Rom. 11:29). At the same time, we also believe that the fulfillment of the covenants, indeed, of all God’s promises to Israel, is found only in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, the right to hear this Good News belongs to every generation. Fulfilling the mandate given her by the Lord, the Church, respecting human freedom, proclaims the truths of the Gospel in love.”

Thank you for proclaiming the truths of the Gospel in love!

Gratefully yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Harrisburg, PA

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