Simply put, the so-called “Emerging Church” has no way to fend off heresy. The movement itself grew out of postmodern presuppositions about truth and assurance that make any kind of vigorous, biblical defense of the faith impossible.
Scan the Emerging neighborhoods in the blogosphere, and you’ll see profoundly disturbing doctrinal notions being floated more frequently and more brashly. Here are three samples:
Pelagius redux. John O’Keefe explains why he can’t stomach the doctrine of original sin: “When we start with the fall we never pick ourselves up.” Of course, Christianity has never been about “pick[ing] ourselves up.” In fact, the gospel message points 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Socinus redux. In an excerpt from his new book promoting a home-brew brand of universalism, Spencer Burke (creator of “The Ooze”) writes: “I want to explore what it means to move beyond religion—particularly Christianity.” The excerpt is fittingly titled, “Who wants to be a heretic?” Commenter number 3 in the thread writes, “I wanna be a heretic!! yeah yeah yeah.”
Derrida redux. At “Out of Ur,” David Fitch begins a series of diatribes against expository preaching by declaring: “The historical-critical method in the hands of individuals has not yielded a singular meaning as ‘intended by the author’ in over 100 years.”
The main problem with the dominant Emerging approach to dialogue, debate, Christian fellowship, and truth itself is this: the ground rules for the conversation apparently rule out ever identifying any ideas as heresy (except in the way Spencer Burke employs the term: either in jest, or with a tone of smug arrogance.)