I’m not sure exactly sure what the author of this question means by the “mainstream Church of Christ”. To me the “mainstream Church of Christ” has meant the constituency comprising the Churches of Christ that uses cups and classes merely because of their greater numbers. As I grew older I never considered the one cup, no classes Church of Christ to be mainstream although the leaders of this sect probably thought of their constituency as the mainstream. I’m sure what I have considered “mainstream Church of Christ” in no way thought of themselves as “subservient to the counsel and council of the OPA and its writers and policy makers. Probably “its writers and policy makers” thought they should be as they had the truth and espoused it.
Is the one cup, no classes Church of Christ “as a whole subservient to the counsel and council of the OPA and its writers and policy makers?” Obviously the editor and publisher and staff and writers of the OPA would deny that they exerted such control, but they did and do, although some serious inroads have been made in recent times. Besides my own personal experiences, I can cite you numerous other examples of cases where brethren have “challenged” or questioned what is essentially taught through the OPA and that leadership, and that seeking to be free in Christ and to study and draw your own conclusions was a “death blow” to the active participation of those persons in the one cup, no classes Church of Christ. Congregations that exercised their autonomy were shunned and excluded from the directory of faithful one cup, no class congregations. Only this last year, a former editor of the OPA and a beloved, esteemed preacher in the one cup, no classes segment had his heart broken by writing in the OPA relative to exclusion of congregations in the directory. If the word gets out that an individual or a congregation might be, or is thinking “contrary” to the party line or practice, it doesn’t take long for the fearful gossipers to spread the word and those alleged guilty persons or congregations are marked and avoided. Seldom is the reaction a loving, scriptural response, but a condescending threat. Seldom is the reaction a formal, public withdrawal of fellowship based upon scripture and a thorough investigation and seeking to reconcile, but is most often a cowardly blackballing.
The OPA and the influence its editor and publisher, staff and writers exert is a vestige of what occurred after the death of Alexander Campbell in 1866. A plethora of papers came and went over the years that were controlled by what Leroy Garrett calls “Editor Bishops”. The persons who controlled and owned these papers represented a sect in the Churches of Christ who were willing to divide the churches if brethren were not considered in agreement with or “loyal” to the identifying doctrines and practices of the party.
For the most part the writings of these papers were exclusive, one-sided, and slanted. They were often attacking of individuals without permitting rebuttals or responses by those attacked. I can speak personally to this. Years ago I was written up on the front page of the OPA and I asked to respond in writing. I was denied. Some of these papers like the OPA still exist, but they are becoming less influential.