Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Sectarianism (Part 1)
'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?'
Jesus said to him, ' 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'
Matthew 22:36-40 (NKJV)
What is a sect? A sect is 'a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination; a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership' (Random House Dictionary).
According to one or more of these definitions, all Christians are members of a sect.
What is sectarianism? Sectarianism is 'excessive devotion to a particular sect, especially in religion' (Random House Dictionary). Note the word 'excessive.' The World English Dictionary puts it this way: A 'sectarian' is 'narrow-minded, especially as a result of rigid adherence to a particular sect.'
If all Christians belong to a sect, how many are also sectarians?
Consider this data: 32% of the world's population call themselves Christians. In 2010, that was approximately 2.18 billion people.
'Christians are diverse theologically as well as geographically... About half are Catholic. Protestants, broadly defined, make up 37%. Orthodox Christians comprise 12% of Christians worldwide. Other Christians, such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, make up the remaining 1% of the global Christian population' (Pew Forum, Global Christianity).
The ten countries with the most Christians are the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, Nigeria, China, Congo, Germany and Ethiopia. Estimates from each nation vary--especially from China. Because of persecution, most Chinese Christians worship underground in house churches.
Among the 2.18 billion Christians worldwide are approximately 41,000 denominations, a.k.a. sects or sub-sects.
If all committed Christians follow the two basic rules of Jesus Christ, if the two basic rules of Jesus are to love God and one another, if this love covers the majority of the world's population, if the majority sets the direction for culture and government, why do we, the majority, participate in idol worship, fornication and human sacrifice?
To Be Continued...
Links to stats: http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm;
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sectarianism series.