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The Fragmentation of a Sect
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The Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God

David V. Barrett


The Worldwide Church of God was a largely American 20th century Christian sect (or new religious movement: NRM) with heterodox beliefs and practices. It was Sabbatarian, millenarian, British Israelite and legalistic. After the death of its charismatic founder Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986 his successor changed the Church’s distinctive doctrines, leading it towards an increasing convergence with mainstream Evangelical Christianity. Ministers and members faced massive cognitive dissonance: whether to accept or reject the authority of the Church leadership which had abandoned the authority of the ... More

Keywords: Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, new religious movement, Sabbattarian, millenarian, British Israelite, schism, legitimation of authority, founder’s death, rational choice, moral capital

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199861514
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199861514.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David V. Barrett, author