9. Knowing Sects 认识宗派

1) Q. My idea of a sect is something that is not positive. What is the exact meaning of a sect?
A. In Greek, the word for party or sect is the same as the word for heresy, which means to label something new in order to be different, resulting in a distinctive party—a sect.

2) Q. Besides being heretical, different and distinctive, in what other ways can you spot a sect?
A. There are three factors that constitute a sect—special creeds, special fellowships, and a special name.

3) Q. Some sects claim to be Christian and share the common faith. What is the common faith of true Christians?
A. The common faith of true Christians is unique. It includes the Triune God, the person and work of Christ, that is, the being of Christ and the doings of Christ, and the divine authority of the Bible.

4) Q. There are some groups who have the truths of the fundamental faith, yet make them special creeds. Is this okay?
A. Besides these truths of our fundamental faith, to consider other matters to be the Christian faith, and to make them special creeds is to label something new in order to be different and will result in sects.

5) Q. Different groups in Christianity have special creeds. Can these special creeds continue to exist?
A. With the existence of special creeds, Christians will be divided into different groups, having special fellowships in their different circles outside of the believers’ common fellowship.

6) Q. When these groups have a special fellowship, how do they affect those who practice them?
A. Such special fellowships cause those believers who practice them to be constituted as sects separate from the believers in general.

7) Q. Once a group has established a special creed, what else could this lead to?
A. Special creeds not only lead to special fellowships, but they also produce special names, such as the name of a certain denomination or a certain church.

8) Q. I don’t see why having a special name is a big deal. Isn’t a name just a name?
A. These special names, in a more tangible way, cause those who so label themselves to be constituted into named sects, resulting in denominations. A denomination is a named sect.

9) Q. If we want to know the Body of Christ, what should be our attitude toward special names?
A. Those who know the Body of Christ must never bear such special names.

10) Q. In addition to this, as members of the Body how should this truth affect our living?
A. We must endeavor to live in the Body of Christ to keep the oneness of the Body, not participating in any divisions, sects, or denominations.

Reference: Life Lessons, lesson. 13: (New Believers Series, Church Life, VII-19 Knowing the Sects)