That’s the question I attempted to answer to Lily (6) as we walked out of my Super Seminar, “What in the World Is the Emerging Church and What Does It Mean for Me?” at the National Youth Workers Convention. She asked because a guy named Leo from a place called Severn Church decided — after hearing me speak for about two hours — that I am outside the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy. During the Q&A time, he raised his hand, told me and a crowd of a couple hundred (including Lily) a few things that he agreed with me on, then said, “However, sir, the heresy you’re teaching is that no truth can be known by theology.”
Of course, I’ve never said such a thing, and I told him so. Then I asked him, “Are you calling me a heretic?”
“Yes, sir, I am,” he responded.
Now, I could go on and on about his heresies and my orthodoxy, but I’ve made that case in my coming book, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, so I’m not going to do it here.
More interesting to me were a couple other comments. Leo came up to me after the session to “apologize” and then when on to continue the argument with me. Daniel King, a friend of mine, interrupted at one point to tell Leo that I’ve shown him a great deal of love. Leo retorted, “He may show you love, but you are following a false teacher.” Of course, the warnings against false teachers in scripture have nothing to with epistemological positions, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Leo thinks he’s showing love to everyone who listens to me (including my daughter) by warning them about me.
The other comment came from Daniel’s dad, Mike King, one of my best friends in the world. As we were walking down the hall, on the way to dinner (at a wonderful French restaurant), he answered Lily’s question before I could. “It’s what someone says,” Mike told her, “when they’re trying to hurt and silence someone else. It’s been used a lot in history, and often against people who are really onto something.” (That’s a paraphrase. Mike said it better.)