The overall purpose of Brethren for Biblical Authority is to provide a networking opportunity for like-minded leaders & churches within the Church of the Brethren. The Theological viewpoint for "B4BA" can be seen on the Faith Statement & supporters tab above.

A B4BA goal is to move beyond the distractions & struggles of the denomination and THRIVE, in spite of what's happening in the COB.


This site is independant & not affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, or any district.

Site Editor Contact:

revstiles@atlanticbb.net

Ambiguous, Authoritarian & Healthy Disciple Making

Prior to entering full-time time ministry, I spent over a decade of my life counseling teenagers and parents.  From that season of my life, I bring the experience of seeing the three basic styles of parenting.

First, there are the harsh, authoritarian type of parents.  These homes are run like boot camps.  Every expectation is clearly laid out, like a formula.  Discipline in these homes is harsh and comes quickly, when a line is crossed.  The results are often a lot of rebellion and strife as the children from these homes go through the process of developing who they are.

Second, there is what I will call ambiguous parenting.   These parents draw no clear lines and rarely embrace a set of expectations.  These homes are often full of strife, because the parents are very inconsistent.  Nothing is clear.  So, a child will begin “testing” and pushing the limits to see if there actually are any limits.  An incident of negative behavior from a child could yield no reaction from the parents.  Yet, a month later, the same behavior could trigger a harsh parental attempt to “crack down.”  These kids are a mess, because they never know what to expect.

Finally, the healthy style of parenting occurs when parents clearly and lovingly teach their children right and wrong.  The big rules of the house are clearly understood, but unique situations are talked through and children are given some opportunity to express their feelings.

When I look at the churches of America, I see the same kind of dysfunction in their processes of raising up disciples.  We have harsh, legalistic churches with lots of “rules” about what “good Christians” do and don’t do.   Again, discipline can be swift and harsh.  Honestly, I’ve helped several people over the years who have “escaped” from these “Stepford Christian” factories.

Then we have churches that are extremely ambiguous.   They stand behind the word “tolerance,” in order to justify their lack of clarity towards morality and Theology.  They are like the parents who want to be their children’s “buddies.”   Members of these churches often emerge with no absolute system of right and wrong on many simply and clear issues, because their leadership has swallowed the “everything is relative” attitude of academia.   The Bible is wide open to interpretation, and not seen as the absolute Word of God.  In these churches, people don't know what to believe.

Finally, we have churches that lead with grace and maintain the Bible as their moral compass.  Those who attend this type of church understand that foundational Biblical principles are not open for negotiation.   However, they also understand that forgiveness and restoration are a free gift that is available to all through Jesus Christ.   

For we all have indeed fallen and are not worthy to stand before God without Jesus.  It would seem that this is the “narrow way,” that our polarized churches need to discover.  In America, these are the churches that will survive in the 21st century.