Notes on the Sect System
S. M. Hutchens on the Unchristian Maneuvers of the Sectarian Mind
The New Testament canon, arising as a mysterious unity from the experience of the primitive Church, describes its faith with a depth and complexity that defies all attempts at isolation of the germinal religious elements upon which every sect is founded, defined as the sect is by its refusal to recognize in the whole an antidote to the dominance of its elect parts.
The birth of every sect identifying itself as Christian is attended by an error or cluster of errors that can be identified by anyone with an attentive student's knowledge of Scripture. It is the internal dynamic of the sect that binds its adherents and sustains its doctrine, along with the interpretational imperative its life requires, not the Scriptures themselves, which make it easy to avoid sectarian preoccupations by providing the teachings that contradict them.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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