W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
Choices, christs and chalices
on the world screen
Concerning a report on what is called the
Conservative Vineyard Church
serves as a warning for all super-spiritual expertise,
which consults the heart, or the desire,
in preference to the word of the living God.
Faith is IN God, not in itself, or in its own works of animated belief in whatever
it chooses to grace with its presence.
Included in this Chapter also is a news item for this site, entitled
JESUS AND THE GENERATION THAT DROPS DILIGENTLY, at *4.
In consideration of an article by a theological professor, Scott Bader-Saye,
which is available, amongst other data, one may present what follows.
There is a pocket of sin, suffering, pain and presumption, which in divorce from the living God, pursues the penalty of god-production, of miscreancy and modelling even with God as its object!It infects churches, mars theologies, plays havoc with holiness.
Indeed, matters considered in the earlier chapters of this volume (opus 214), in the arena of pain, suffering and evil, are by no means simply abstractive in kind; for in much, there is a current counterpart. with very practical results. There is at work what Christ called a leaven, that is a wayward line of misguided and confused religious thinking. So do we have another such here. Not only is it impactive, but it progresses, though its direction is increasingly retrogressive, like an untreated ulcer - that is, it proceeds in the wrong way, making progress to its grievous end. It accumulates festering in the negative area of its being. In fact, it is coming towards a conclusion in both senses of the term.
Thus there is a movement in the area of the emergent church, the people-controlled church, the originative church, the church of things-to-be, like Europe, hardly now knowing what it is. This illustrates much, and conducts to more, mixed in this mêlée. This, is the alternative dynamic, the one that subsumes things under itself. Some like to think, as many others have done for long, of such a body as an incarnational church, making a species of human pantheism out of it, a species of sinner's parallel to the divine Prince of Peace. It moves towards the confusion of the work of the redeemed sinner with that of the Redeemer, redeemed people with Ransom Provider, as if innovation could touch up God, or man determine what is to be deemed divine.
Have a little liturgy, some Romanism, a touch of vision, symbols that are suggestive, flavours from theological ideas of former eras, like vintage and modern cars on museum display for contrast, the heart going here and there.
Idolatry is ever with us, till the end; and its startling variety is only equalled by its basic confinement to one theme: SOMETHING ELSE!
Consider now the article noted at the head of this Chapter. What appears to be the type of thing there reviewed ? Let us ponder material in the points made.
Here we have an irrational, cultural-psychic, tradition-utilising aspiration that both subordinates and misuses Christ in its completely self-absorbed endeavour to go beyond, while having no idea what that is.
What does this mean ? What is presented is not based on reason as warranting it, but on happening and desire. It looks to what it finds in a mixing of people seeking something beyond themselves, and it is not only innovative but looking back, as in a cooking recipe, taking a little of this and that, adding to specifications, or as flair suggests. Yet while it does all this, its own visions and virtues, desires and delights, feelings and gropings become central. Such is what almost appears as a quasi-divine manufacturing assembly, in the field of religion. Many churches have moved to some extent towards this, but this 'leaven' grows and expands its influence.
In its working, man becomes far more absorbed, not merely selective of components of his religion, but consciously and as it were, artistically so, finding what suits, among religious discards of yesteryear, or of some models still in vogue, combining, seeking something...
Where, as in the Athens of Paul, Mars Hill in fact, is SOME NEW THING; but it is inclined still to use the name of Christianity! It wants to be beyond the post-modern, post conservative, post liberal forms*1 and formulations, to generate church from all sides, marry symbols without so much as a service to do it, divorce and combine the past in essence, without any conception of what the essence is, and grasp and grapple with the future, without any guide as to what is real, what ephemeral, what solid and significant and substantial, and what mere glitter or twitter. It glints with glimmers, subsides with simmers, awakens without eyes and sees a kaleidoscopic turbulence like a storm, exulting to pass through it and finding the feeling strangely ennobling, though cognitively vacuous. Ideas team in vague manners, like strong winds blowing fitfully (Ephesians 4:14).
Indeed, does not Paul deal with just such a commotion or ideology, such concept, thrust or movement, in that place!
"That we be no more children, tossed to and fro,
and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men,
and cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive,"
and it readily becomes as in II Peter 2:1ff..
It is humanity itself at work, with hubris, psychically, in feeling, aspiration and flightiness, looking for the ground of its worship, providing it is not God as formerly known, envisaged or held to, found functional to faith, or shown by reason as manifest, but instead, somehow something within itself, within the congregation or those meeting, to do with its own essence, plotted and charted, yet without definition or determination.
It is a perfect prelude to the essentialising of A man (not the people this time, but their aspirant derivative, the thing they come to want to have, the person where fascination may be found), as they move towards whatever they may come to want God to be. In this, they seem to become manufacturers, blenders, innovators: looking and wanting to explode dumbly into the unthinkable, they yet find that corners and elements appear, to stir thought. These come, perhaps with the suddenness of ghosts, to point the way.
That is the anti-christ crusade, beginning to gain volume, though listening and looking beyond the current noise and vigour, into symbol, spiritistic volatility mixed with practical user-friendly touches that make life a medley of unknowns, great expectations ready for a seed, to crystallise it all. In this, it is just like a super-saturated solution of some chemical, ready for that single final crystal that brings it all down out of solution, into teeming a mass of little crystals. THAT is a matter of chemical law and pre-set fixtures; but this of the ultimate of lawlessness, which simply re-defines law and does not bother about it, unless it is willing to seep into a collective unconscious of components, flying like space debris, all round about.
Yet while conceivably usable with immense effort, these snippets and bits, of things past, present and futuristic in mode, do not provide too much in the way of articulable mental, spiritual or moral objects. It is like a cloud without water, teeming with hoped for potential, which passes by with due commotion.
The spiritual splendour of nothingness vaguely appears, like Banquo's ghost, but more heartily as they sing or roar, or thump, or alternate with mystic silence. It all flickers to bring passion to the soul, awaiting the MOMENT when the inexpressible becomes irrepressible. Then it so rules in and through its fooling and tooling of spiritual "acceptable" innovation and re-formation, as to subject the souls of the moment to a quasi-holy hubris, and reveal their man (as in II Thessalonians 2:4-10). .
In one sense, it is an enchantment from Kant*2, nothing quite there, but vaguely suggestive, a spiritual excursion based on going beyond, with no bearing, bases, limits but the scenarios of their psyches and the acceptance of their spirits. This is man as king, worship of himself and life as his fealty, and discovery in his own spirit, something more than humanistic naturalism, less than theological authority. Here is that hybrid of man's deepest past and most aspirant future, which falls between both. In the end, this knows - as so often in other movements of like kind in different format in the past, nothing but what passion at last confuses with reality, so becoming the torch with which to burn truth, and ignore God.
The alternative to this alternative pseudo-theological life-style, is Jesus Christ, the Lord, according to the Gospel, once given, once achieved, always the same, this the liner in the oceans of time, moving by logically arranged and divinely given chart to its appointed end, in God who gave it. When God gave man information, the word of God was naturally the product in view; and in this, Christ is the Saviour sent and the Bible is the placement, duly authorised, verified and validated, for that word*3. Neither Christ, the Son of God, nor the Bible, the word of God authorised for man, change.
There is no need for change in what God says, and in Him whom He sent. Of the services of the one and the grant of the other, there is however great need. The answer is always there; God has not forgotten us.
For further on the Emergent Church, see *4 below.
These terms need not deter simplicity. The idea is that some were conservative, not wanting to depart from certain norms, in one case, the Bible, in others, this plus tradition, making the word of God and that of man comparable in a re-fashioning enterprise of human wit and divine wisdom, inauspiciously married.
Some were liberal, that is, feeling free to make hay of the Bible, while the sun shines, and to find gems while discarding what is not desired, ostensibly for a reason, but in practice, such has never been found by this writer in any contest, at any time, anywhere, or in any field. It has consistently been a marvel that the obvious is not seen, as in Matthew 13:15ff..
People, the thrust of the terminology and usage is, got weary of both of these approaches, as also of modernism, that relish of new approaches that was superbly and in striking singularity of pseudo-superiority, up with it, up to date, free of bonds and fashioned with authority from the self, the psyche, society or anywhere else that seemed attractive.
There had to be something else, better perhaps, to be sought anyway, so went the roving spirit, for whom the word of God from first to last, in the Bible, had to be waived, as a lordly hand might waive some proffered service from an underling, offering to help.
These are not definitional models, but merely to give some sense of the movement and frustration of those who find nothing satisfactory, everything passé, like madam's fashions, so terribly déjà-vu. Thus bits and pieces of traditional symbols from the past, or new things, in music, like gnats grabbed from the air, and piled up in a heap, or fashion models used as stimulus, are put together, seeming as if the idea means something might be built up from the fragments.
If you want to explore this a little, you could check what is given below.
Kant was a German philosopher whom many delight in, but his works in important matters, were based on confusion in the last analysis. Thus he tried the idea of having our minds a crimping device, imparting this and that, so that we did not know what was really there. One of the parts of his system was to have what you could think of as mental spectacles, which coloured or shaped everything you see. Various things were thought of as put in your ideas, from your own mind, such as the concept of CAUSATION. That is, we think in terms of cause, but the theory is that this is just the way our minds are made. In that way, he made a system of JUST AS IF, and kept actuality at bay.
It was fundamentally impossible, since if you do not know reality, you cannot assess anything. You need it for the start, and exclusion prevents knowledge, including the IDEA that it is all shaped by the 'spectacles' he has in mind. If you cannot know the reality, then you cannot know THAT either, thus placing his theory is in ruins. It is commonplace in philosophy to have some idea like this, which is not applied to everything, but NOT to your OWN thoughts, which escape and become a dictator in the loose fashion. It is like removing the ground from the feet of someone, and then suggesting the person walk two paces to the left. But what you remove, of course, you cannot use!
In the case of causation, that is, the entire idea of cause and effect, the concept that for this to happen you need that, or that if this happens, then it causes that: Kant runs into systematic error further. He is trying to tell us how the idea of a cause arises, in the mind, from which it supposedly comes, rather than from what we are looking at. That is the same as telling what causes the idea of a cause, and that is quite simply to USE the idea of a cause in an effort to tell us how it came to be, how it was itself caused. That is illicit. If you have a fortune, you can use it to get something; but if you specifically EXCLUDE fortunes, then that road is out. If you are looking for the way the idea of CAUSE came, then you cannot USE it to get it. That is a little too ridiculous. See SMR Ch. 5 and Predestination and Freewill, Section 4. See also Cause.
You revert from Kant and cant, to reality, find the cause of things, and the ground for wings, that is, the thrust from reality itself, expressed in the word of God, and in practical terms in the Gospel.
In this, you gain power to understand, for God Himself HAS the understanding which has given to us OUR portion, and with this, first of all, our need and opportunity to know from Him, a correct understanding, true to creation, free from distortion, effectual, factual and confirmed.
Who Answers Riddles
And Where He is, Darkness Departs.
This was a news item provided for last year. As it is not currently found under News, it is presented below as dealing with the same KIND of phenomena, on the same line or direction, as that in this present Chapter. It has been somewhat augmented.
JESUS AND THE GENERATION THAT DROPS DILIGENTLY
The Week-End Australian Magazine
March 5, 2011
There is a so-called Y-generation (or Gen-Y) which seems to be concerned with Jesus-concentration, one which is modish, cool and accompanied by ecstatic vision, but which has a belief-in-God complement of something around 50% only. It has been compared to the Hippies in their Jesus-emphasis, and like that, is explicitly not too concerned about doctrine. It is strongly moving into social action, empathetic involvements, being real, avoiding mere formality, and thus some of its emphases appear like a rocket take-off where everyone is watching its flight, only to find a blunder has occurred and it is the wrong rocket - because they de-emphasised definition and wheeled out one for another purpose.
A Jesus in which there is but light involvement in the biblical portrait is rather like Muhammad's original effort, and in his indeed, the relationship to the historic record is so slight that he even has two versions of the matter of Christ's death, one in which it comes, the other in which it is said that it was, rather than was. He appears to dither on this point. He is doctrinally dogmatic of course in specifically denying the heart of the message of the Bible concerning Christ, while it seems doubtful that the Y-generation would bother to articulate so much. Both are innovative concerning a name which they dress up in their own clothes.
It is vastly important to note the extent to which this nescience of the Y's can go. For example, a pastor, one of the somewhat more thoughtful seeming among 'emergent'*1 churches, speaks of the fascination and joy many of the Y's have, but he appears to stress that there is something that sobers up the self-pre-occupation that seems so common in this movement,. It comes, he indicates, when - apparently in a comparatively rare reflective moment, they find that it all ends in the death of Jesus! They are said to 'discover' this, and perhaps it is in the same way that Hitler discovered compassion when he initiated the Holocaust.
Intended as a contrast with their emphasis on joy and contentment and action, this reveals a colossal gap. In fact, the account and the reality not only does not end up with the death of Jesus, but this is the lake at the bottom of the mountain, intensely beautiful and astonishingly restorative; for it has soaring above it, the range of the Resurrection.
Yes, it is with the resurrection of the body, that the Bible's message reverberates. Yes that epic and epochal event is in this world, and yes it is the very body of Christ which did not rot (Acts 2:31-32), so that though David's body (that of the one who wrote the Messianic Psalm 16, concerning Christ's body that would not rot) did rot, Christ's did not. Why ? It was because of its being raised, that it did NOT ROT. Further, it neither did nor could, being impervious to any lasting association with death, as clothing for deity, impregnable to ultimate desolation: for nothing can hold what is forged and formed for the Creator of and Redeemer for life, providing a sacrifice that being raised, closed animals sacrifice for ever (Acts 2:23, Hebrews 9).
What then of those who come to think of Jesus' dying as the end of the story ? What is it like ?
Omitting the 5th Act of a Shakespearian play and then commenting on that play in that truncated form as if the original, this would be marvellous accuracy compared with the omission of the point God makes, that of death He will be the destruction, and that in Christ, life and immortality are brought to light, that in Adam all die, while in Christ, all His are made alive, for death has been swallowed up in victory. Such is the gift to those receiving it.
So if such a report of the Y's be true, this appears to give some of the flavour of and attest something of the criteria of a cult. Superficially biblical if this be any index, in that case, it would be minting spiritual coinage with talk of Christ, that bears no relation to the realm of reality. To be sure, It appears that with an emphasis on practical action, it is intended to follow some follow some of the emphases of Jesus Christ, concern for others, a deep pursuit, all to the good, but this, without bothering to find His address, whose name they use, His permanent address, His meaning and gift .
There seems, indeed, to be indicated in the article's review, almost a de-emphasis on understanding according to the biography of Jesus Christ, set forth in God's name from the time where the report was made, so that while the name and the lustre of some of His works, and the launching of some of His crusades against hypocrisy is held dear, yet skimped or scamped, it seems, is the reality that it is as the exact image of God, the eternal One from Age to Age, that He comes as His domain, so that He who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14).It is thus that it is no one less than God Himself who through Him we know, and nothing less, the ultimate answer to and for all, brought to bear and to be seen on this earth.
But what of this Christ ? Not only was He deity, to show deity, so that He "led Him forth": (John 1:18), but He was so concerned to continue the previous revelation in its precision, that He would not even allow His own defence. As a lamb to the slaughter He had to come (Isaiah 53), and how, He asked, could the scriptures, the prophecies, the predictions concerning Him from the Jewish prophets be fulfilled, if force were to be used to stop His sacrifice, and preserve His body! Did He not have 12 legions of angels if He wanted to use them for defence and deliverance ?
But for this purpose He had come. It was to die sacrificially, to show declaratively the God who is there, who made and is sovereign over all, and to demonstrate His love and power in raising the sin-smitten body from the dead, perpetual index to the eternal life He had secured from His own redemptive act, for those who receive Him as He is (John 3, 6).
It was prelude, like the sinking of a ship, to His raising to break the power of death to bring man's guilt to mortality, and mortality itself as a funnel to immortality. It was like a ship sunk with foul cargo, so that the raising of the wreck, its refurbishing and restoration was wrought till it was far better than ever before, this providing an everlasting signal to all mariners to come.
So death is exiled in Christ, and though for a time before the general resurrection (I Corinthians 15:43ff., 57ff.), it lurks, yet it is beaten; and when the time comes, this too will be fulfilled as all believers are removed from an impossible world, made so by inglorious and recalcitrant sin, to the potent reality of His glory (I Thessalonians 4, Matthew 24:36ff.). Indeed, said the Christ of the Bible and of history, IF HE DID NOT RETURN, the human race would not be able to stay alive on earth any longer (Matthew 24:22).
We are approaching that. It is the power of truth which has it all covered from the first, fulfilled to this point to the last, awaiting the final consummation. Ignoring such a context in making a 'Jesus' to relate to history in part, is like making a chest for a new man, but forgetting the rest of the body, and then exclaiming what a fine chest it is.
*1 See Faithful is He who Calls You, Who also will Do IT, Ch. 2 in Possess Your Possessions Volume 5.
An excerpt, with some additions, follows below.
Elements in Decline
Emergent Agonies, The Emergent Pseudo-Church,
a Submersible Decadence and a Subversive Culture:
This is not All, nor any Excuse.
Thus when God is NOT made the centre of attention, the criterion of living, the source of commandments and the Lord of life, then life languishes. It may become a resource, like inherited capital, which had been abused, distorted, aborted, or for a time enjoyed in a benumbed sort of way, far below its capacities, capabilities and heights of constitution.
In the individual, it becomes almost like a thing of chance, because the purpose and principles being ignored, there is no way in which there can be a deft derivation for it: as if one took an exquisite motor vehicle and insisted on driving it over craggy mountains without track. There are ... challenges, opportunities for heroism, courage; but in the end, it does not fit the case. There is a possible combination of courage and determination, talk and intention but it merely allows an airliner, if you will, to taxi along the ground. It is vain and often vainglorious as it speaks volubly of the air, without flying. Such is the way of godless philosophy, always in controversy because ill-founded (Romans 1:17ff.).
A thing of chance then, for the ungodly way ? This is so, if rightly understood: in the sense only that it has no proper supervision and stature, provision and place, being dispossessed of Deity, its Creator. Thus it meets what is not fitting and moves where it is not apt. It may hunger for food, money, praise or gain, comfort or contentment, vengeance or glory, and this the more, and superficially get it; but there is a hollow within, as it has forsaken the actual glory behind life. It may seek such glory illicitly, in proud or spurious efforts to replace the reality; and this is the explanation of much of this world's militant religions. They seek this world. They are intoxicated with illicit desire, and have a lust in the thrust of their desire for glory, where it may not be obtained.
Hence violence adds to vileness, and the earth only writhes the more. These religions may be mystically secular or profanely sacred; but the result is in much the same.
The elements of human pathology, without the God of all grace, so far from being inexplicable, would be amazing were they absent! What then of the desire of the abstracted heart ? It may become simply sallow, but it may react into aggressive force. Its ways are unstable.
It may be mortified and flash in anger; but there are no rules for fools (Psalm 14:1), except what they make up. In other words, as Psalm 1 announces, this way is like the chaff which the wind blows. Is it so even for those in simple ignorance of God ? This however is partly a false designation, since there is nothing simple about ignorance of Him as in Romans 1-3! Moreover, while there are degrees of besottedness with nature and false gods, yet a key in an intricate lock is one thing, and many bashes at the keyhole are decidedly another. When the lock is that of God, the key is vital (John14:6). The Maker of life knows with what He deals.
In other words, life without God is subjected to what it is not subject to, in procedure but not in principle; and it is not subject to Him for whom it is subjectible, being His subject; and hence is intrinsically demeaned. It is not that it is absurd, such life, but this way in itself, is a distortion, contortion and abortion of life, and as to pathology, becomes in this indeed, the height of absurdity. That has nothing to do with life as made, and available; but only with life as detachable by will, but not in essence. The very thought of it is absurd. Yet God has made freedom for love to become shove, the free grace towards Him to become the disgrace, far from Him for no good reason.
Some philosophers mistake the disease for what bears it, as if to call leprosy absurd, rather than horrendous disfigurement; and this merely complicates the position, making the sin of man the would-be arbiter of life, instead of the recipient of its necessary cure from the only source capable of it, its Maker.
This entire world, indeed, taken as a pulsing unit, but now with special attention to its major grouping outside the God of creation and salvation, becomes a recipient in principle not only of the pangs of misuse, thKe agonies of abuse, the contrivances of deceit and the waverings of disappointed ambition, as now this and now the other form of fraud seeks to demonstrate its superiority (as if all students failing, selectively, became Lecturers), but of the institutionalisation of fraud. The UN is a perfect case, mouthing morals from no rational base, selecting what it wants and pretending it relates to reality, not desire. Such froth confuses confusion till it becomes the maestro in charge of the thoughts of many which, had they retained some little common sense, might have done far better; but now are they bewitched by this secondary infection.
More than this, false churches, as so often foretold (cf. Matthew 24, I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3-4, II Peter 2, Revelation 2-3, Jeremiah 23), add a voice of witless authority, taking the word of the living God, like a child taking a nuclear power station, and changing it to taste. This they do often by contradiction of what it declares, while even appealing to the seduced to follow them, where and as the dry wind blows (Ephesians 4:14*1A), to its own theological destiny amid delirium: man speaking for God without acknowledgement of the imposture (as in II Corinthians 11).
Such is the Emergent Church*2, which would be Protestant and Romanist, Biblical and Liberal, and anything else that some might want, so that in an array of mutual contradictory allegiances, its actual vacuity might have a name! Its name is confusion; and it submerges with the submersible world, a submarine source of subversion.
Culture acclaims it; politicians name it; it is convenient, it is a significant step toward the second beast of Revelation 13, the one which decides to make the religious bit a real winner, by planning and providing it formally, officially, and in the end, by compulsion. China has already shown the way in its Three Self Church, its specially protected, State nurtured, atheism-led institution of horror. Here in part is a prototype of what is to be. In the end, what is desired in religion by the authorities stomping in power as their privilege, will be compulsory for all, like other imperial things of the past.
Such a case was that of Imperial Rome, where the Emperor had to be worshipped. The famous case of Polycarp shows just how this works out, the venerable saint in his old age becoming quite willing, in a peaceable and friendly way, to suffer death, rather than worship the Emperor. He in fact declared that he could not so speak against his so faithful Lord whom he had known as such for so long, but that death was perfectly acceptable if so desired by the authors of State law!
It is... as Hitler and Stalin and Mao knew, convenient to have any forms of religion directly controlled, especially if they touch the quasi-integrity of the pollution (that is, the functional realities of its pollution) of the State. Since man IS religious, coming from God and always needing Him, and the denial of religion is largely what ended the USSR, thus even the limited spiritual intelligence of those who deny the God of creation and salvation, can and will see that you had better ... THIS time ... make it official and controlled. You might as well plan an atmosphere without air, otherwise ... So the second beast of Revelation 13, the specifically religious one, is to inspire th4 worship of the specious, and beguile and blast people into acceptance of the unspiritual, for their god! (II Thess. 2:4-10).
Many are the ingredients so promoted in pain with penalties not for the body, but for the soul (Revelation 13:11-14, 14:9-10). Trivialising God into some sort of social production, and so putting 'religion' under culture, by an amazing laxity in nomenclature, in the end demands payment, except repentance arrive in time! (cf. Pain, Suffering and Evil).
Much is the cause of sorrow, both for the race and the individual, for societies and their leaders, for the misled and the confused. Great is the suffering for truth, whether in mind or body, society or profession, sawn-off fellowship or insidious, sinuous slander. Vast is the peak of enterprise, for the kingdom of heaven, and soaring the eminences to be taken, as one seeks to effect the will of God with grace, patience and spiritual savour, for the Saviour, amid lowering lawlessness, seeking to organise and glorify itself.
These things are in one arena of pain, with glory, and profound is the love of the Lord which will not yield, but triumphs over multiple pressures; yet there is that other one. What of it ? What of the studiously inglorious ?
The pangs and pains of all of these combinations and permutations of pollution and loud, proud talk, denials of demonstrable reality (as in organic evolution cf. SMR pp.140ff., and above references to naturalism), assertions of demonstrable myth (cf. Secular Myths and Sacred Truth), are of their own kind, sui generis. There are here so many layers of deceit and deception, rejection and irrationalism, irrationally argued for, and against the nature of man, that his nurture becoming disfigurement, his whole civilisation reels, racked with a ruin first of all, psychic, then physical, mental, moral, spiritual and its aches like arthritis of the body; and this, will be sudden, variable and complex. Its sophisticated technology could not long last and the saints stay alive (Revelation 13:16); but they will be delivered, just as Israel was from Egypt. This time, however, it is to the haven of a heaven long prepared (John 14:13), their places paid for (Matthew 20:28, II Timothy 1:6ff)..
There is nothing in the least difficult to understand in all of this, concerning the nature of suffering, once you see its sources and the misuse of resources, its effects in spreading circles, like ripples in a lake where a stone is thrown, or vortices from suction in the ocean, where a vast liner sinks; but it is most difficult for this world and those of its citizens who are denizens of darkness by design, desire and blindness carefully nurtured (cf. Matthew 13:15ff.), to endure. The marvel is NOT that there is such suffering, as Machiavellian manipulators seek to move men like stubborn calves from their mothers, but that God tolerates it at all. Such is love, and so will He wait till all His people are saved. When you are blind, it is hard to see why the soldiers take so long; but when you see, you realise that ... there is a war on, and spiritual soldiering is not a meaningless but a deep duty, filled with power and sustained by a divine peace.
But what of the climax of the epic ? When they also curse the God whom they bypass, verbally, notionally, psychically or morally, then there is a new type of spiritual cancer, colonising throughout the nations, and it all so proceeds, with reminders of judgment even from the merciful God, that it becomes inextricably intermingled with ruin, hatred, boasting, roasting, toasting, odium, contempt and contemptibility that it writhes like an angry sea. In this, there is no rest, as Isaiah 58:19-21 points out.
The apostle Paul, in this verse, Ephesians 4:14, brings words of timeless aptitude to such a case, requesting the hearers to take care, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting..."
Instead, "speaking the truth in love," which itself is not without discipline (Hebrews 12:6), they are to "grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together," is completed. You do not rebuild a head, or replace it, once there is a living body! Hence the foulness of keeping the idea of the body, and fusing, confusing, replacing or qualifying ... the Head. That, alas, is simply to be headstrong, and wrongheaded both at the same time.
An informative article on the same is to be found in Israel, My Glory, September-October 2007. This in turn relates to Becoming Conversant With the Emerging Church by D.A. Carson and The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball.