Deficient theology, Indeed!

Going to try to maintain the most charitable tone possible here.  In a post reviewing a book about homosexuality, Bob Hayton threw in this bit of a sidebar comment about Roman Catholicism:

I have but one small reservation with this book. Hill details both a Roman Catholic’s and Greek Orthodox’s struggle on this issue with no caution about the deficient theology of those churches. There may be genuine Christians who are RC or Orthodox, but they are the exception not the rule. Perhaps those faiths are more open to the struggle for faithful celibacy and so have something he can identify with. As a Protestant, I fear the Gospel can be at stake in so easily recommending Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy with their denial of justification by faith alone.

Joel, subsequently brought it to my attention (and has responded, a has Rod) because … well, I’m Catholic, and not just the kind that Joel says he is either ;-).

I’m only really going to say a few things about this.  A couple things in this statement, and especially some of the statements Bob made in the comments, hinted to me that Bob has never read a Catholic theologian about Catholicism, which you would think he would have read one before saying something like: “There may be genuine Christians who are RC or Orthodox, but they are the exception not the rule.”  I mean before you say something like over 1 billion people are going to die and go to hell, you might want to at least read one book if not more written by people from that group.

So, here was my response in the comments:

Can you please tell me which books you have read and by which Catholic theologians? Because several of your statements here cause me to doubt you’ve read very many serious Catholic theologians, but have gotten your understanding of Catholicism mostly from secondary, Protestant, apologetic sources.

Here is part of the response that I got:

Now, I admit, I haven’t read Catholic theologians. Recommend a good intro on the topic and I will make an attempt to do so. But I don’t think the Reformers and subsequent evangelical leaders are all totally off-base here.


Bob has said there are very few Christians among the world’s 1 billion Catholics, but admittedly “hasn’t read Catholic theologians.”  Recommend a book and “he’ll make an attempt” to read it. This is both intellectually dishonest and uncharitable.  Bob feels the need to call Catholicism out on the gospel.  Yet the Bible also has a few things to say about being dishonest and uncharitable.

In the comments, Bob has said that he might put up another post to open up a debate on the topic.  Now, I have no problem talking Catholicism with someone from a different perspective, even one who thinks I’m going to burn in hell, as long as they have put in the intellectual work necessary to hold that opinion with any kind of integrity.  But, this would just be continuing on the dishonesty.  Why would anyone take the time to debate someone who hasn’t even taken the time to understand them from their own perspective first?  I’m most certainly not going to spend any of my time doing it.