church or sect… or something else?

October 25, 2008

In a recent article by LeRon Schults he points to two definitions by Ernst Troeltsch:

  • that type of organization which is overwhelmingly conservative, which to a certain extent accepts the secular order, and dominates the masses; in principle, therefore, it is universal, i.e., it desires to cover the whole life of humanity.
  • aspire after personal inward perfection [and] aim at a direct personal fellowship between the members of each group… they are forced to organize themselves in small groups and to renounce the idea of dominating the world… they have no desire to control and incorporate [secular, political] forms of social life.

Schults himself, and probably you as well, noticed that neither of these definitions seem to fit exactly with your view of what church is supposed to be. If you had to, which one would you choose? The first is Troeltsch’s definition of church, the second of sect. If I were forced to choose, I’d probably choose the sect…

But OK, I’m not forced, and since neither work for me, I guess I’ll have to create something which doesn’t fit with what exist.

OK, will blog some more on his article later or on another day. Still need to finish the article.

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