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The Theory of Church-Sect Essay

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2019

A number of religious scholars categorize religious movements through the methods of formation. The most expansively employed classification is the church-sect typology. The church-sect theory observes that churches, sects, and cults form a continuum, with a declining effect on society.

Groups that choose to secede from the mainstream spiritual organizations are referred to as sects. Therefore, sects are never in good terms with other religious organizations in society because their members are viewed as perverts. This explains why sects seem to be in continuous conflict with the society.

Sects are different from cults and spiritual movements since they do not have innovative traditions, but instead they simply depart from the traditions of the conventional church. Researchers analyze the feelings of sect members and their level of participation in society in order to establish their culture.

Many sociologists note that the church-sect conjecture is frequently utilized to distinguish sects from denominations and churches. The premise was derived from the works of Max Weber. As earlier observed, the church-sect assumption proposes that categorization of religions is a continuum that ranges from a protest-like sect to the regularity, which safeguards a certain belief.

The church portrays the spiritual standards and principles of society meaning that they are the janitors of faith in a particular society. In this regard, spiritual antagonism is not endured in such societies since it may bring about nervousness and suspicion. An ideal example of a church is the Islamic faith, which does not give room to spiritual freedom. Unlike sects, churches aver universality implying that each member of society should be incorporated into the mainstream belief.

Moreover, churches are dominant in society implying that they always try to eliminate all forms of rivalries. In fact, the church has the endorsement of the state because the state organs, such as the military, the judiciary, and the executive support it. During state functions, churches will always be invited to offer prayers and spiritual guidance.

It should be noted that denominations are different from sects, but almost similar to churches. Just like churches, denominations are always in good terms with the state and may even influence the government to implement its policies. Unlike churches, denominations tolerate theological diversity.

This means that members are free to criticize a certain belief. Moreover, they are permitted to suggest an amendment. Unlike sects, members of the denomination are not involved so much in its affairs. However, the level of involvement is intent as compared to that of churches.

Sects are new religious groups that are established by disgruntled individuals. They always come up with new teachings claiming that the mainstream church does not provide freedom and openness. Sects are differentiated from denominations because low class individuals from them. For instance, sects can discourage their members from wearing jewelry and expensive ornaments that are often associated with the rich.

After their establishment, sects take three major paths. One of them is dissolution path, which happens when members come to the realization that they cannot achieve their objectives by following the teachings of the sect. Another path is institutionalization, which happens when the sect is forced to embrace the features of the denomination in order to comply with the law. The third path is the development into a denomination, which happens when a sect finally becomes a denomination.

Religious Conflict

Inconsistencies in the church are palpable in all parts of the world. It is noted that all spiritual groups experience conflicts. For instance, Hindu, Islam, Christianity, and other traditional religions have been faced with serious conflicts. A number of factors cause these conflicts. If some individuals tend to control the affairs of the church, conflicts would be inevitable.

In India, the Hindu religion experienced conflicts because the son of the rajah tended to control the affairs of the mainstream religion. The leader was accused of favoring his relatives in the appointment of priests. In China, a different religious belief referred to as Taoism emerged to oppose Confucianism mainly because of personal differences.

In the bible, the apostles differed over some issues. For instance, the disciples of Jesus disagreed with the followers of John over induction. The apostles of Jesus believed that baptism would convince the followers to embrace the teachings of the bible. For the apostles of John, they believed that an individual had to repent before being baptized. The apostles of Jesus believed that an individual had to believe before being baptized. This means that repentance and belief were the causes of disagreement.

In the modern religion, there is an existing conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestantism. Catholicism believes that people should be loyal to the church because the pope is the representative of Jesus Christ on earth. Even though Protestantism concurs with Catholicism over a number of teachings, the main conflict centers on the Bible.

Protestants believe in the New Testament and have four major convictions. One of the beliefs is that an individual should relate directly with God as opposed to using priests. Moreover, the Bible should be perceived as the word of God. Protestants observe that God works through miracles

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