Vol.XIII No.X Pg.2
December 1976

Big Daddy Or Grow Up?

Robert F. Turner

Remember the way you felt when your teenager took the family car on his first solo drive? You wanted him to become an independent driver; you knew he was big enough to drive, and you felt his knowledge of the mechanics of driving were sufficient — but could he handle that powerful machine?

Sometimes I have the feeling that truly independent congregations are about like that teenager. In earlier years Big Daddy was by their side — in the form of policy making papers, influential preachers, prevailing winds generated in colleges, etc. If some church had a problem, Big Daddy could answer it, and bring pressure to see that the answer stuck. Churches used the song books Big Daddy recommended, and were Premillennial if they did otherwise. They bought the literature Big Daddy sold, read the books he recommended, and branded as digressive or anti those whom Big Daddy reviewed as such. Dont blame it all on Daddy! Sincere efforts to preserve soundness have been misused by immature churches, happy to be babied.

But developments of the past twenty-five years, resulting in liberal-conservative separation, have established a different clime among conservative churches. They have been made painfully aware of the danger of Big Daddy to their congregational independence. Sermons on institutional issues have persuaded them to think for themselves — you can drive solo!

Do you know of a single project among conservative brethren, necessitating a form of brotherhood acceptance, but that is weak or has failed? At this point I am not questioning their legitimacy. I am simply saying that many conservative brethren have rejected Big Daddy centers of influence, legitimate or otherwise.

The results? A lot of bent fenders and some serious wrecks. Independent churches are running amuck in weird self-driving attempts; and concerned but frustrated former centers of influence are wringing their hands. Would it have been better to have encouraged a central brotherhood paper that (Sort of) kept brethren in line? Well, preachers have gone off the deep end, country-western music has invaded our singing, and foolish questions are dividing churches — but we are driving the road, independently. There are some fine independent churches, working at home, supporting foreign work, serving the Lord.

Where Gods plan seems to have failed, is it not possible that we are not spiritually mature enough to drive alone? Grow up brethren!!