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Troeltsch: Distinguished between a church and sect
Church Sect
Large organisation Small, exclusive groups
High membership Hostile to wider society
Run by bureaucratic Lead by a charismatic
hierarchy of professional leader
Claim a monopoly of Claim a monopoly of
truth truth
Universalistic, aiming to Draw their members
include the whole of from the poor and
society oppressed
Place few demands on Expect a high level of
their members commitment…read more

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Niebuhr: Distinguished between a denomination and cult
Denomination Cult
Lying midway between Small groups around a
churches and sects shared interest
Membership is less Highly individualistic and
exclusive lose knit
Don't appeal to all of Led by `practitioners' or
society `therapist' who claim
special knowledge
Broadly accept society's Do not demand strong
values but are not linked commitment from
to the state followers
Impose minor restriction No common orientation
on member e.g. to wider society
Forbidding alcohol
Tolerant of other beliefs…read more

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· Since the 1960's, there has been a growth in the number of
`new religions'. There are three main types of groups;
World rejecting: Moonie, Children Of God, Mason Family
· A religious organisation with a clear notion of God
· Highly critical of the outside world
World Accommodating: Neo-Pentecostalists
· Breakaways from existing churches or denominations
· Neither reject nor accept the world rather they seek to restore
the spiritual purity of religion
World Affirming: Scientology, TM and Human Potential
· Offer their followers access to spiritual or supernatural
· Non-exclusive and tolerant of other religions but offer
additional knowledge
· Most are cults, entry is through training and carry little…read more

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Offers a useful way of classifying NRM
Useful way on analysing and comparing the significant
features of NRMS
It is not clear if he is categorising them to the movements
teachings or individual members beliefs
Ignores the diversity of beliefs within NRMS
Wallis himself recognises that not all NRMS fit into one
Some fit NRMS into all categories
Stark & Bainbridge: Reject the idea of constructing such
typologies altogether. We should distinguish between the
degree of conflict between the group and wider society…read more

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· Identify two type of organisations that are in conflict with
· Sects ­ results from schisms, splits in existing organisations.
They break away from churches usually due to
disagreements over doctrine
· Cults ­ New religions to society
· In general, they see sects as promising other-worldly
benefits to those suffering economic or ethical deprivation
· By contrast, cults offer this-worldly benefits to more
prosperous individuals who are suffering psychic and
organismic deprivation…read more

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