The Dynamics of Sects & NRMs
Niebuhr - denomination or death:
· Sects are world-rejecting organisations that have been created due to schism – splitting from an established church due to a disagreement.
· Sects are short-lived – so that in a generation they either die out, or they compromise with the world or they abandon their extreme ideas and become a denomination – because:
Ø The second generation – who are born into the sect, lack the commitment of their parents who consciously rejected the world and voluntarily joined.
Ø The ‘Protestant ethic’ effect – sects that praise asceticism tend to become prosperous. Members will be tempted to compromise with the world, so they will either leave it or abandon its beliefs.
Ø Death of the leader – either collapse, or a more formal bureaucratic leadership takes over, transforming it into a denomination.
Stark & Bainbridge - the sectarian cycle: