“For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: . . .”
Saint Paul warns Saint Timothy, bishop of Ephesus, against false teachers (rf. 1 Timothy 4:3) and he warns him about “profane novelties” (6:20). Not only does liberal theology go by its own form of Sola Scriptura, but it also quotes a lot of modern historical figures — some who are even pagans — such as Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, Rev. John Shelby Spong, Fr. Hans Küng, the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama and John Dominic Grossman instead of classical theologians such as Saints Augustine of Hippo, Leo the Great, Athanasius, Ambrose of Milan, Isidore of Seville, John of Damascus, Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Catherine of Siena, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. They have eliminated most of Christian history in favor of a select few theologians, activists and entertainers from mostly the 20th and 21st centuries who in addition take their own private interpretation of Scriptures rather than building upon each other. The Church Fathers and Doctors on the other hand build upon each other’s writings, remaining loyal to Sacred Tradition, and we can see what the early Christians believed from their writings as opposed to these 20th century figures who isolate Scriptures and quote theologians from the 20th century. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church preserved the living Tradition of the Church while these liberal theologians have not. Ultimately truth is defined by the Church through the Pope or through the Magisterium — the whole body of bishops in union with the Pope — not individual theologians and ultimately these theologians submitted to the authority of the pope and the bishops in communion with him, so while Catholic theologians disagreed with each other on some things ultimately the writings of the Ecumenical Councils, popes and bishops with him should be read for interpreting Scriptures and Tradition.
The Right Rev. John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark
They embrace the modernist heresies popes like Blessed Pius IX warned about in his Syllabus of Errors such as believing Saint Paul’s reference to sodomy refers only to male prostitutes (rf. Romans 1:25-26), the symbolism of the Eucharist as opposed to the Real Presence as shown by Church Fathers (see Saint Justin Martyr’s First Apology 66-67, Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Smyrnaeans 7:1), or abortion being a sane practice when early Christian writers condemned it (see The Didache 2:2). They quote a pagan such as Gandhi on bad Christians and while true many Christians are poor examples no Christian is perfect because we all have original sin and have sinned so we cannot compare to Christ who is God Incarnate. It is also no excuse for people to indulge in sin. I did not revert to Christianity because I saw perfect people; I reverted because of Christ. Likewise if Gandhi truly liked Christ, then he would have converted to Christianity, especially Catholicism, regardless if many Christians lead terrible lives because when you truly live the faith you don’t care if others live up to the same standard as you do. Only avoiding sin if others around you do is conditional love of God and you are rejecting sanctifying grace from bettering yourself. It not come to such a surprise therefore that for a large part those who obsess the most over hypocrisy are themselves the biggest hypocrites because they merely use the wrongdoings of those Christians to justify their own indulgence in sin.
Want to study Christian theology? Read from theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas.