Emergent and postmodern theologians accuse those of us who believe that the Bible speaks clearly, inerrantly, and authoritatively of being “naive.” They prefer a conversation that begins with the premise that our knowledge of the Bible has been filtered through so many cultural grids that our theological beliefs cannot have been gained directly through Biblical interpretation. Stanley Grenz and John R. Franke make that very claim:

At the same time, however, the unidirectional pattern that moves from biblical studies to theology suffers from several debilitating difficulties. Not the least of these is its naivete that is indicative of the Enlightenment or modernist hermeneutics assumptions from which it operates.

Theirs is a fancy way of stating, “Has God Said?” The ideas that what God has said must be known and believed in order to avoid deception, sin, and all the attendant consequences did not arrise from the Enlightenment – it is found in Genesis! God Expects what He said to be known, understood and believed. The result is true “theology” (belief about God and His will). Eve’s theology ran amok because her conversation with Satan was predicated on the idea that what God said was questionable.

I do not sensationalize when I state that Emergent/postmodern theology has taken on the Serpent’s role of questioning the objectivity of God’s word. For example, an Emergent writer in [An Emergent Manifesto of Hope] rejects “dogmatic” statements: “The problem with orthodoxy or authoritative dogmatic claims is that they are conversation stoppers.” But “The day that you eat from it you will surely die” was intended to be an authoritative dogmatic claim, and had it been a “conversation stopper” world history would not abound with evil, sin and death. 

Grenz and Franke attempt to rescue a meaningful Bible by employing the old neo-orthodox approach that claims the Holy Spirit is at work in the reading of the Bible (at least in a group) in order to supply meaning. They claim that the meaning of the Holy Spirit-inspired authors cannot be known by any valid hermeneutic; instead meaning is found through the reading process. Do not be fooled. Sophisticated as it may sound, it still questions “has God said.” In their version, God has not yet spoken until a community reads.  (The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity, 99, 100, 101)