Fragmentation of a Sect: Schisms in the Worldwide Church of God by David B. BarrettFragmentation of a Sect: Schisms in the Worldwide Church of God by David B. Barrett

Fragmentation of a Sect: Schisms in the Worldwide Church of God

byDavid B. Barrett

Paperback | July 29, 2016

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In the mid-1930s Herbert W. Armstrong, an unsuccessful American advertising executive, founded a millennialist Sabbatarian Christian sect with a heterodox theology. Over the next half century, despite a number of setbacks, scandals, criticisms, and attacks from former members andanti-cultists, Armstrong's organization, the Worldwide Church of God, grew to around 100,000 baptized members with a world circulation of over six million for its flagship monthly magazine Plain Truth. In January 1986, Armstrong died. His successor changed most of the church's distinctive doctrines,leading it towards an increasing convergence with mainstream Evangelical Christianity. This created a massive cognitive dissonance in ministers and members: should they accept or reject the authority of the church leadership which had abandoned the authority of the founder's teachings? Groups ofministers left the religion to form new churches, taking tens of thousands of members with them. These schismatic churches in turn faced continuing schism, resulting in over 400 offshoot churches within little more than a decade.In this major study David V. Barrett tells the story of the Worldwide Church of God. He examines the processes involved in schism and the varying forms of legitimation of authority within both the original church and its range of offshoots, from hardline to comparatively liberal. His book extendsthe concepts of rational choice theory when applied to complex religious choices. He also offers a new typological model for categorizing how movements can change after their founder's death, and explores the usefulness of this model by applying it not only to the Worldwide Church of God but also toa wide variety of other religions.
David V. Barrett has been writing about new religions and esoteric movements for many years. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion from the London School of Economics.
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Title:Fragmentation of a Sect: Schisms in the Worldwide Church of GodFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.03 inPublished:July 29, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190492899

ISBN - 13:9780190492892

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Table of Contents

Author's NoteAcknowledgmentsLists of photographs, tables and figuresList of abbreviations1. The Fragmentation of a Sect: an IntroductionPART ONE: THE STORY2. Doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God3. Origins and History of the Worldwide Church of God4. Schism and scandals in the Seventies5. Revolution and Schism6. Continuing Schism in the offshootsPART TWO: THE ANALYSIS7. Authority in the Churches of God8. After the Founder Dies - How movements change9. Who went Where and Why10. Fragmentation in a Sect - a ConclusionAPPENDICES1. Sect, cult, new religious movement2. Theoretical basis and methodology3. Literature and other sources4. Church affiliation of respondents5. Demographics of respondents6. The future state of schismBibliography