Citation
The Way

Material Information

Title:
The Way an analysis of religious organizational theory
Creator:
McNaught, David Alger
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
vii, 125 leaves. : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Alienation ( jstor )
Bible ( jstor )
Cults ( jstor )
Mathematical variables ( jstor )
Religion ( jstor )
Religiosity ( jstor )
Religious organizations ( jstor )
Social responsibility ( jstor )
Sociology of religion ( jstor )
Spiritual belief systems ( jstor )
Evangelicalism -- United States ( lcsh )
Sects -- United States ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 118-124.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Alger McNaught.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright David Alger. McNaught. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
022829279 ( ALEPH )
14101414 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
















THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY







By



DAVID ALGER McNAUGHT











A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1974































Copyright-1974

David Alger McNaught









































To Mrs. D. R. McNaught--it's all yours.













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



Special thanks are given to all the people who helped

me in the production of the manuscript. Dr. Wilbur Bock and Dr. Benjamin Gorman are thanked for their astute assistance in the writing of this dissertation and in the organization of the entire program from research to the finished copy.

Also, a special appreciation is felt for the members of my committee, who assisted me throughout my graduate program

-- Dr. Gerald Leslie, Dr. Gary Spencer, Dr. Wilbur Bock, Dr. Benjamin Gorman, Dr. Alfonso Damico, Dr. Mary Anna Baden, and Mr. Charles Robbins.

Thanks also to my excellent typist, Mrs. Elizabeth Godey.























iv














TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .......... ....... . iv

ABSTRACT ................... .... vi

CHAPTER

I INTRODUCTION AND THEORY ........... 1

The Church-Sect Taxonomy ......... 4

II THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE . .. 24 III THE WAY MINISTRY ............... 38

IV CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION ....... 49

Power for Abundant Living ......... 57 Are the Dead Alive Now? . . . . . 62
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today . . . 63
The Bible Tells Me So; The New,
Dynamic Church; and The Word's Way . . 66

V PLACEMENT OF THE WAY ............. 67

VI HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS ........... 69

Operationalization of Concepts and
Statement of Hypotheses ......... 74
Findings . . . . . . . . 82
Discussion of Results . . . . . . 88

VII CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . ... 98

APPENDIX

A QUESTIONNAIRE ............... 107

REFERENCES ................... ... 118

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .... ............. 125




V









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY


By

David Alger McNaught

December, 1974

Chairman: Dr. E. Wilbur Bock Major Department: Sociology

This work is a presentation of research collected on a

contemporary Christian sect. The purpose of the research was to assess the limitations and utilities of contemporary religious organizational theory. The theory postulates a functional unity between structural characteristics of the religious unit and attributes of the members of the unit.

The organization under study was defined by its structural characteristics to be a sect (on the church-sect continuum), becoming an established sect. As groundwork for

such a definition the dissertation discusses thoroughly the evolution of the theory and its contemporary state, and then discusses the nature of the specific unit being researched.

The study provides a concise look at the variables of

the church-sect taxonomy as they related to this specific sect. The taxonomy is a continuum comprised of six elements ranging from ecclesia to cult. All of the six loci are "property sets" 'based on functional unity. The properties are of two


vi









types: structural attributes of the organization (e.g., extent of bureaucratization in the unit), and constituent attributes of the members (e.g., socio-economic status).

In this work, The Way is defined by its structural properties to be a sect. Due to this placement several hypotheses relating to characteristics of the sectarian personality were drawn and tested. Nine hypotheses were derived from the

continuum's postulate of "functional unity" between the types of properties.. The hypotheses were predictions on the comparison of this sect with a denominational sample. They predicted differences in the numerous membership traits under study.

On the basis of independent, two-sample tests of significance the hypotheses were tested. Positive relationships were found between sectarianism and authoritarianism, social responsibility and the five dimensions of religiosity. A negative relationship was found between sectarianism and alienation.

These independent tests were then unified in a multivariate analysis. This analysis was comprised of a series of multiple regression equations with sectarian membership as the dummy independent variable. Each of the remaining variables was then controlled by the equations. This further analysis revealed some questions in the taxonomy and about the relationships of the various variables with sectarianism.



vii













CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION AND THEORY


Perhaps the single greatest problem in the sociology of religion is that the literature is so diffuse, not united into a general theory. In many cases the literature and research are divergent because of a lack of consensus as to what constitutes this or that aspect of religion (Glock, 1959). The state of the specific taxonomy to be tested by this work (church-sect continuum) is as nebulous as the rest of the field. This work postulates that this body of theory is disorganized, even contradictory at times; it is hoped that this dissertation will begin the process of unifying much of that taxonomy by analyzing one religious organization in terms of numerous variables. The primary quest of this work is to analyze and unify the general church-sect taxonomy by research of a multiplicity of variables relative to one organization.

The church-sect continuum, developed in the classic

works of Ernst Troeltsch and Max Weber, has become a topic of increasing concern to sociologists. The continuum is composed of six elements ranging from ecclesia to cult. All

of the six loci are "property sets" based on functional unity. By functional unity, the author means that certain


1






2

phenomena are integrated relative to one another to formulate each point on the continuum; i.e., certain characteristics of the membership are necessarily conjunct with structural characteristics of the organization. Thus, point one on the

continuum might be made up of properties A, B, C, D, etc., while pint two would differ in these properties as A2, B2, C2, D2, etc. On the basis of one property, one may predict

the occurrences of other properties in the given organization. The properties are of two types: structural attributes of the organization (e.g., extent of bureaucratization in the unit) and constituent attributes of the members (e.g.,

socio-economic status).

This dissertation studies one particular organization

in terms of this typology. It will assess the structural

properties of The Way Ministry in comparison with those associated with the various loci of the continuum, and thus assign

the ministry, as firmly as possible, to a particular point on

said continuum.

\ The major variables upon which the church-sect distinction is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious

group is inclusive of a society's members; (b) the extent to which secular values and structures are accepted and adhered

to or to which they are rejected; (c) the amount of professional clergy (supported by the religious organization

itself); and (d) the extent of bureaucracy within the organization. As with all ideal types, this church-sect typology

is defined and constructed for the purpose of clarifying






3


differences between religious organizations rather than as a means for classification.

Through observation of The Way Ministry and careful

study of its organization with regard for the above-mentioned variables, the ministry is placed somewhere between established sect arid sect on the continuum. The basis for this placement should become increasingly obvious with the material presented in Chapters II through IV of this work where the organizational and ideological structure of the ministry is discussed.

Due to this placement, one may now predict the other

properties of the organization's membership. The theoretical literature asserts that certain constituent attributes of members would be expected in a unit with the structural properties of a sect (e.g., members of a sect should score higher on authoritarianism scales than members of a denomination). These assertions will serve as hypotheses, and will be tested with the sectarian membership. Thus, support of the hypotheses will be support for the postulate as it stands; denial of these hypotheses will suggest that the contention of functional unity of properties, especially the linkages between structural and individual attributes, is incorrect or in

need of amendment.

In the first chapter of the dissertation, the continuum will be reviewed and its ramifications made clear. In Chapter II the author will develop a series of background discussions on the relationship of The Way to both the historical






4


and contemporary religious scenes. This background leads to the third and fourth chapters' discussion of the particular

unit under study, The Way Ministry, and its relationship to a secular world. In Chapter V The Way is defined as a sect on the basis of this material in Chapters I through IV, thus giving'a foundation for several hypotheses to be tested and analyzed in the closing chapters.



The Church-Sect Taxonomy


The church-sect distinction is one of the oldest analytic approaches in the scientific study of religious behavior. The typology dates back to the work of two of the foremost theorists of sociological thought, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch.

Ernst Troeltsch, concentrating on Christianity, noted that since its earliest days its structure had developed in three main types: the church, sect and mysticism (the last most commonly referred to now as the cult).

The first is organized as a single central unit of salvation for the masses. The sect is a voluntary society comprised of strict, disciplined individual
believers bound to each other by the single fact
that each has experienced the 'new birth.' The
third is based on a purely inward, singular and personal experience, thus weakening the unit's own
structure, organization, doctrine and worship
(Troeltsch, 1911:993).

Weber simultaneously was making his classic statement on the taxonomy. He notes the universal dominion of the church; all people are subject to its discipline, a fact not true in the sect. Weber cites four elements as central to









the distinction. First there is the rise of the professional

clergy; second, the church claims to dominate the other levels of social organization; next, the dogma and rights must be rationalized in accordance with the society at large (thus not to conflict too greatly with secular values and ideas); and last, the church has a formal organization in that charisma is now associated with the office rather than with the particular individual.

This typology both in its historical inception and in

its subsequent development has often been criticized unfairly because it was not seen as an ideal type as was intended.

Theologians and church historians discounted
Troeltsch's theory because of its sociological
method and because it did not provide for denominationalism, seen as the distinctive form of
Christianity in the United States. Furthermore,
sociologists of religion, such as Johnson, Wilson, and Berger have come to criticize the typology as
not especially helpful in concrete situations.
Many of the critics have not grasped Troeltsch's use of 'ideal types,' which he borrowed from Max
Weber. The types are meant to clarify, not to
classify specific religious movements (Durnbaugh,
1968:23).

This does not discount the criticisms of Berger and others who have been instrumental in the contemporary development of these terms. Rather, it is significant only to note the basic use as ideal types for Troeltsch and Weber. This point should be remembered when noting the effort of the paper to classify The Way Ministry in accordance with this theory. The aims of this author are to develop a more useful perspective of the typology.






6


Originally the taxonomy was based on the type of religious leadership found in the organization. Weber and Troeltsch were emphasizing the priest-prophet distinction and their discussions are analogous to Weber's theory on the types of political authority. In the case of the priest the charisma has been routinized and is no longer associated with personal magnetism but is tied to a particular office or position in the church hierarchy. Thus, the type of leader will vary with the type of organization. Perhaps one of the greatest dilemmas that a cult or charismatic group faces is how to retain its power once the leader, the possessor of personal magnetism, dies. Though in its earliest form the church-sect distinction was simply a derivation of religious leadership, it has since become used more commonly as a distinction of group structure of which leadership is only one aspect.

In building this typology, it is important to remember that the emphasis is on the differences of religious groups and not their similarities. Consider Gilbert Murray's idea,

Take three orthodox Christians, enlightened according to the standards of their time, in the fourth,
the seventeenth, and the twentieth centuries
respectively. I think you will find more profound
differences of religion between them than between a Methodist, a Catholic, a Free-thinker, and even perhaps a well-educated Buddhist or Brahmin at the present day, provided you take the most generally enlightened representatives of each class (Murray,
1925:212).

Troeltsch began with a twofold typology but because of confusion as to the points between sect and church he added








a third point, mysticism, to create a trichotomy. The greatest shortcoming of these early statements was that they made no effort to explain what social and personal factors precipitated the evolution of the different types of religious organization. Also, Troeltsch limitd his discussion to the Christian organizations. These problems and others have been somewhat met by contemporary extensions of the theory which will be discussed following a thorough clarification of the dichotomy as developed by Ernst Troeltsch.

The church as a type of a religious body that
recognizes the strength of the secular world and,
rather than either abandoning the attempt to
influence it or losing its position by contradicting the secular powers directly accepts the
main elements in the social structure as proximate goods. The church is built, therefore, on compromise; it is mobile and adaptive; 'it dominates the
world and is therefore dominated by the world'
(Yinger, 1970:253).

The church becomes an integral unit of society at large, submitting to the "powers that be" even in times of war as well as peace. The church in its claim of universality is an inherited right. Individuals are born into the church, whereas most sects emphasize the necessity of rebirth and are an organization of converted membership or voluntary association.

The church stresses ritual and creed rather than action. To the early theorist a primary facet of the distinction is that the church is the bearer of the idea of mass salvation whereas the sectarian view is one of individual salvation.

The church therefore must be open to all of society's alternative behaviors and must be willing to compromise extensively






8


on its moral prescriptions to gain the masses. The most important ramification of this is that salvation to the church is based on reception of the sacraments (ritual) and acquiescence to the creeds (ideological), whereas in the sect, salvation is based on ethical behavior and moral purity.

The church is concerned with the function of social cohesion and social order. This is its primary function, however latent it may be, and it implies that

a religious system in which the church-type organization is predominant will serve to reinforce the
power situation of the dominant classes of a
society. In the logical extreme, the church type
lends itself to the support of an authoritarian
pattern of order. This is the product of the compromises that are forced on a church when it tries
to organize the whole of society (Yinger, 1970:253).

If it is assumed that the church is generally used to meet the integrative requirements of a social system, then one could easily meet the aforementioned primary criticism of Troeltsch's work. While Troeltsch himself did not illustrate all of the ramifications of his typology, he does give us the lead as to what factors lead to the formation of different religious organizations. A religious system would be primarily church-like in societies where the function of integration was not well met by existing alternative structures. In societies where many religious expressions are found there will be less service as an integrative factor. Societies characterized by high degrees of alienation, frustration, or stress, will be less inclined to see religion

as a tradition than as a means of self-expression and escape.






9


When one applies this aspect of function to Troeltsch's dichotomy it becomes possible to elucidate the personal and social factors which influence the structure of religious systems and other organizations in the social system at large. Some of these speculations already touched on by this theory will relate directly to the hypotheses tested in the following chapters.

The sect is usually founded on dissent by a perspicacious leader, who seeks to resolve the dilemma posed by doctrinal compromise or submission to secular powers. The sect is trying more to meet the needs of individual believers. Sects arise in communities where the traditional religious expression has been so strongly integrated into the social system that it fails to change in ritual and belief as is required by personal events and needs; thus, many individuals and

groups are not satisfied.

The sect was noted by the early theorists as being a

response to the specific needs of the economic realm. This is not, of course, the only genre of needs which individuals have found satisfied in religious splinter groups, but it is one of the most obvious and persistent sources of religious dissatisfaction. Traditionally, most sectarian movements have been sponsored by the lower socio-economic strata. The splinters often broke away due to the failure of the church to satisfy the emotional and psychological needs of members from lower strata. Also, members of the lower strata of society would be more prone to reject the status quo and to






10


denounce the evils and injustices of a society which suppresses them. Therefore, they cannot succumb to the secular

world as frequently as the church is able.

Troeltsch notes that the sect is rejecting not only

society but the church as well, which they perceive as the arm of'the secular world. After rejecting society and isolating themselves, sectarians develop a sense of pride, almost

arrogance (hubris) in refusing to compromise about doctrine or ideology. Once this is done, they have nothing left to trust except scripture; thus they usually adopt a literal,

strict interpretation of the Bible.

In opposition to the pure type church, Troeltsch noted

that the sect was a small membership drawn primarily from the lower classes. The church, on the other hand, is quite dependent on the upper classes (both economic and power) for support. The members of a sect are "reborn Christians" who are

converted into the sect rather than gaining membership through inheritance. The idea of rebirth is central to the sect. The sect traditionally emphasizes individual perfection in ethics and sponsors withdrawal from secular society. One's full commitment is sought in the sect but such is not true in the church. The sect also makes efforts to differentiate itself in ritual from its predecessor in religious organization. (Note here that the author is speaking only of Christian sects or others which are splinters from some larger obvious organization, and not those which have sprung up as totally new means of religious expression. The latter here








might be noted as related to Troeltsch's third ideal type, Mysticism.)

Most important in the distinction between church and sect is the fact that the sect is founded in conflict. It is at best indifferent to, and most often in conflict with, established secular societies. It finds no need to submit to any authority in this world and is a matter of individual union with the divine. This freedom allows the sectarian to have a varietyof alternatives of expression. He may retreat from the world in "other-worldly aceticism," or he may aggressively attack society as a radical.

They do not wish to be popular churches, but rather
Christian denominations composed of 'saints.' The sects are small groups which exist alongside of the
State and Society. They also maintain that they
possess the absolute truth of the Gospel, but they claim this truth is far bey.ond the spiritual grasp .of the masses and of the State, and therefore they
desire to be free from the State. Further, since it is precisely this absolute Gospel which forbids
them to use force, authority, or law they also must renounce forcing their opinions upon anyone, either
within or without their community. Hence they
demand external toleration, the religious neutrality
of the State (Troeltsch, 1911:993).

However, Troeltsch notes that within the confines of the sect

there is a demand of strict adherence to the doctrine and morals.

The sect is seen by Troeltsch as being of a single generation duration and involved in conflict with society. Werner Stark follows this definition by noting that the sect is a protest movement which expresses itself religiously (Stark, 1967). The sect is not in only slight disagreement with






12

society but rather feels an acute sense of alienation from the established religious system.

With the sect defined as a short-lived religious protest there was really no category to entail many expressions of religion. Mysticism was an effort by Troeltsch to broaden his own- typology but this too was fairly inadequate. Mystic religion is such a completely personal experience that such groups would be destined to die out as they have no permanent form. Troeltsch goes on to illustrate how the point of view of the mystics differs from that of the sectarian. From the perspective of the mysticism type

the truth of salvation is inward and relative, a
personal position which is unutterable, and lies unspoken beneath all literal forms. The merely relative significance of the Biblical, dogmatic
or religious form in which Truth is expressed
makes mysticism independent of all historic forms, and the inner Unity of the Spirit quite naturally
unites all souls in the common truth which is purely spiritual and impossible to formulate
(Troeltsch, 1911:999).

Max Weber's work was closely tied to the efforts of

Troeltsch though his major concern was the various relationships of different religious organizations to the state. He illustrates that in the sect religious leaders may exercise power only if they have the charisma, whereas in the church this charisma has been institutionalized.

This typology, like many of the topics of the sociology of religion, fell from prominence in the field's literature. Only in the past fifteen years has there been a revival of interest both in the sociology of religion at large and in





13

this particular issue. The typology has been criticized and refined quite thoroughly and yet remains troublesome in terms of research. It is the central sociological significance of this work to aid in the further refinement of the taxonomy. Hopefully, the research presented in the subsequent chapters will redefine the utilities of this theory.

In efforts to refine the taxonomy some have even made the distinction more simplistic, thus giving the researcher greater ease, yet depriving the theorist of very adequate or meaningful data as it would lump together religious organizations which are quite heterogeneous. One example of such a taxonomy is developed by Benton Johnson, who bases a typology on only a single characteristic. He posits that we should

use as the single variable, the degree to which a group accepts or rejects secular values and activities. Peter Berger postulates that we base the taxonomy on the "inner meaning" of religious activities of groups (Berger, 1954). Therefore, the sect would be any religious organization which felt that the spirit was immediately present, whereas the church would be an organization which held the spirit to be remote. From this classification Berger suggests other related issues may be established, i.e., world view, leadership, education. Each of these positions has been helpful in both theology and sociology; however, each is to this writer less adequate than those originally suggested by Troeltsch. They do not provide a thorough enough basis for studying and researching variations in religious organizational






14


structure. The same criticism is leveled at the typology of Elmer Clark's The Small Sects in America (Clark, 1949). Clark fails to attach enough significance to the relationships that various religious organizations have with the social system. This was an element central to the work of Weber and Troeltsch and should be retained in the dichotomy. Pfautz's fivefold typology comes a little closer to acceptability but it too is overly narrow as it tries to distinguish organizations on the degree of secularization (Pfautz, 1955).

These are only some of the efforts of sociologists to build an adequate taxonomy. In the past years extensive efforts to make this typology thorough yet clear have not succeeded. The typology remains a difficult obstacle in the social research of religion. Therefore, the reader must remember that at best the typology offers a tenuous base for the comparison of various religious units rather than a definite means of classification.

Of the many efforts to construct a typology, the most

successful has been developed by Milton Yinger (Yinger, 1970). He develops a fivefold taxonomy on the basis of three variables. The three variables of religious organization which Yinger sees as the basis for comparison are: (1) the degree to which the particular group is inclusive of the total membership of a society, (2) the extent to which the group accepts or rejects the secular values and structures of society, and (3) the extent to which, as an organization, it integrates a number of units into one structure, develops






15


professional staffs, and creates a bureaucracy. Yinger admits readily that his taxonomy cannot handle every form of religious organization found in the world. He borrows C. K. Yang's idea of "universal diffused" church in order to provide a frame of reference for the entire typology (Yang, 1961)-. This church differs from the universal institutionalized church in that it is not an institution but rather is

the religion of a tribal society in which a member of the society is automatically a member of the religion. There are no alternative organizations. The lack of alternatives is also true in the case of the universal institutionalized church, both include the populace (ideally) as a whole.

The spectrum of his fivefold typology, from ecclesia to cult, falls in between the institutionalized church and the diffused church according to the third variable, the extent of organization, complexity, and separateness of religious structures. Because both churches are universal religious systems the first two variables are fully accounted for and unchanging. The religious structures are completely inclusive of the total society's members in both cases, and there is no alienation from secular values as each is the source of its own secular world. These second two variables provide the basis for differentiating the five other types of religious organizations. The cult and sect showing the highest alienation from societal values and being the least inclusive of society's members are at one end of the scale with the ecclesia manifesting the opposite traits at the other end.






16


The cult and sect also show the least degree of organizational complexity and thus are more like the universal diffused church, while the ecclesia approximates the universal institutionalized church. Yinger points out that this paradigm will not account for all types of religious organizations, but that those which are not easily placed on the continuum

somewhere among the five points of reference will seldom occur.

Yinger draws his first term, ecclesia, from Howard

Becker. The ecclesia is like the universal churches in that

it attempts to cross all social boundaries, yet it differs in that it has not been able to incorporate all of the sectarian tendencies in a society. So much of the time the ecclesia is

attempting to adapt to society's more "important" interests that it fails to meet the needs of its adherents; thus, there is considerable sectarian protest. Becker, like Troeltsch,

was confining his work to Christianity and Yinger makes the subtype distinction of ecclesia to point out that in some societies its structure is institutionalized completely whereas in other cases it is partially a diffused structure. This enables one to make a distinction important in some religious systems though not to the Western Christian tradition.

The second category of religious organization is the

denomination or class church. It still resembles the church in Troeltsch's sense in that it is at peace with the secular powers. It is considerably less extensive than the ecclesia






17


because it is affected by class boundaries and other elements of social inequality. The denominational range in modern American religion from Congregationalism (predominantly sectarian) to Episcopalism (much more church-like) covers much of the continuum. Nonetheless, the denomination is more conservative and respectable than is the sect and it is less inclusive of society's members than is the ecclesia. The singular unique quality of the denomination is tolerance, both among members and towards other organizations. In his work on the denomination, David Martin notes that the level of external tolerance (towards other religious groups) does not increase along the continuum from church to sect but

rather is at its peak in the middle levels around denomination while both poles exhibit little tolerance. He even suggests that this may provide an adequate basis for determining whether a particular group might be best classified as a denomination or as a sect. One could ask if the particular group was amenable to intergroup religious activities -- the denomination of course being the most amenable, whereas the sect more frequently would seek to isolate itself from other groups of religious purpose. Yinger also feels it is worthwhile to make a distinction between diffused and institutionalized denominations, analogous to Yang's discussion of churches.

The reader should also consider that many of the contemporary denominations started out as sects. They have varied in their degree not only of institutionalization but also of






18


the other two variables of concern. More will be said at the close of this chapter concerning the possibility of organizational survival and likelihood of change taking place in a religious organizational structure.

The next category on the continuum, the established

sect, is unique to Yinger's typology. This point has been developed to provide for sect-like religions which have survived in the religious scene without becoming a denomination. It is not so alienated as, nor is its conflict with secular society so acute as that of, the classic sect. These are more stable in nature and much larger than the small, uncompromising sects discussed by Ernst Troeltsch. While the direct aggression against the social system has died, these groups have not fully become a denomination. One question about these groups is why have certain sects developed fully into denominations while others have remained an established sect. Yinger illustrates that what makes one become a denomination is not "status improvement," as others suggest (Glock and Stark, 1965). Instead, he notes that the basic difference between sects which influences their subsequent development is the degree to which they originally isolate themselves from society and the degree to which they are persecuted. The persecution, he argues, is a result of the original type of protest expressed by the sect. Middle-class sects are formed not in protest of social ills but more out of personal needs; these fairly easily make the transition to denomination (e.g., Methodism). On the other hand, if a






19


sect is formed in response t6 needs for social reform, then it tends to withdraw and isolate themselves into isolated units, often ignoring demands and political obligations of

society. Niebuhr points out that religious leadership is

a most important aspect because it will influence the proselytizingand eventually the sort of members who will then in

turn influence the doctrine of the sect (Niebuhr, 1946).

Yinger makes an additional qualification on established sects

by the term "lay established sects." These are established

sects which have more closely maintained the idea that all

believers are the priesthood. They have resisted more

strongly the need for professional leadership and complexity of organization. Paradoxically, however, these are the sects

with the greatest tendencies otherwise towards denominationalism. Bryan Wilson notes this dilemma that seems to say if

a sect hopes to survive without becoming a denomination it

will need to develop some sort of professional clergy (Wilson,

1967:44).

SYinger notes that the established sect is possible just

as it is possible for a church to become disestablished. The

established sect is the result, then, of a lower-class sectarian protest, which maintains a continual isolation from and opposition to society and the formal religious system.

These levels of sect, established sect, and denominations should remain as guidelines to illustrate differences in various religious organizations,not as a clear-cut set of

categories for the placement of such groups.






20


The sect remains fairly much the same as it was designated by Ernst Troeltsch. Yinger does note, however, some important distinguishing factors. First, he notes that some sects begin with a hierarchy already established; these he calls a "sect movement." This type may, in most cases, be a sect after several years of development and is compared to the most transitory of the elements, the charismatic sect. The charismatic sect has a minimal extent of organizational complexity; it is the smallest and least successful at meeting the needs for or developing a heterogeneous following, and it shows the greatest degree of alienation from societal

values and structures.

Charles Glock and Rodney Stark in Religion and Society

in Tension develop a theory about the origin of different types of religious organization (Glock and Stark, 1965). The theory seems to be unnecessarily restrictive. Briefly, they note five forms of religious movements, each as a response to a specific deprivation: sect as responding to economic deprivation, cult to psychic deprivation, church to social deprivation, healing movements to organismic deprivation and reform movements to ethical deprivation. This limits the definition of sect too strictly as it would be simpler to subtype various sects in terms of the specific need they meet for sects are not always simply responses to economic deprivation.

Yinger notes that sects have three avenues of means to social reform. These three responses to society are






21


manifested in sects at both the individual and group levels. The first of these are the acceptance sects which are defined by Bryan Wilson as "Gnostic" sects (Wilson, 1967). These sects essentially accept the goals of their society and so are usually characterized by a middle class or upwardly mobile 'lower class. These sectarians do not perceive society as the villain but rather find a suitable way to participate through the sect itself. The basic deprivation here seems to be individual morals or social integration for given people. These people are self-estranged as well as socially alienated.

The second means of response is aggression. The aggressive sects are responses to a deprivation of structural social power and an effort to obtain said power. The sect provides these individuals with a hope of fulfillment here in this life. Basically, these sects see the society as evil and see it as their duty, as bearers of the true-religion, to reform the social order. According to Wilson, there are two subtypes of these sects which seek to reorganize society. They are the "conversionist" sects which seek to change man,

and through this, change the world; and the "adventist" sects which foresee great apocalyptic change to society and seek to prepare men for this change. The latter is obviously a far more pessimistic group than is the former.

Finally, the third type of sect is the avoidance sect. These people are unable to accept society and yet feel no hope of changing it themselves. For them there is no response but to disavow connection to this world and through personal,






22


inward experience put faith in a supernatural world. The sect allows these individuals to attain a certain peace of mind through a communion with those sharing the belief. Elmer Clark notes that many Pentecostal sects seek to avoid the world more symbolically than physically by trances, speaking in tongues, etc. (Clark, 1949).

These three subtypes of sects, like the larger churchsect taxonomy, are not a means for classification but rather present ideal -types to provide contrast and to illustrate variables which influence sect organization.

The final element of the continuum is the cult. A cult differs from a sect in the sense that it claims to be a completely new syncretist movement, whereas the sect claims only to be a new interpretation of the established religion. It is symbolic of the sharpest break with traditional society and its religious system. The cult is the diametric opposite of the church. It is small, personal, has no bureaucratic structure, demands a charismatic leader, and is the most highly alienated group from social structures and values. One final aspect or dimension which is a factor is the length of duration. A church would be the longest -lived, while the cult would be most likely to survive for the least amount of time.

It is not relevant to this dissertation per se, but the reader should be aware that some criticisms and defense of the concept of cult have been written (Becker, 1932; Nelson, 1968). Geoffrey Nelson has even posited that cults, like






23


sects, may become permanent and established. Also, cults, like sects, may be in a stage of transition, especially in

societies where the established religious systems are dying out.

In the next chapter, The Way Ministry will be discussed relative to the general religious scene in America both historically and currently. This discourse, coupled with a description of the particular unit, will give basis for relating this unit with the theory just reviewed. Such a placement will give rise to numerous testable hypotheses.













CHAPTER II

THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE



The contemporary religious scene in America would be at best a difficult topic to discuss. America is both the most religious and yet secular of nations in the world. Is America in a religious upswing? Is there a gradual decline in religiosity in America? Is there no change at all in the religiosity of Americans? Due to inconsistent theory and research in the field of sociology of religion, these questions and others have yet to be satisfactorily answered. The American religious world is so filled with diverse movements and expression that the layman frequently groups together very different phenomena.

As Robert S. Ellwood notes, there are thousands of religious sects and cults flourishing in our society (Ellwood, 1972). He says about walking down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles,

This fabled street, its sidewalks set with the
names of movie stars, has long been a haven for
current, emergent, counter, or stillborn cultural variants. I passed occult bookstores, head-shops and purveyors of the herbs and oils of Witchcraft.
Nearby was an apartment where I had once visited a
conference of ceremonial magicians and Satanists;
not far away was a hall where I had seen disciples
of Gurdijieffian techniques endeavoring to chart and exercise themselves into the Fourth State of
Consciousness. On this street the colorful
saffron-robed devotees of Krishna had often danced
and sung (Ellwood, 1973:ix).
24






25


The Jesus movement became an addition to this religious scene in the seventies. Young people from all walks of life began to reject not only the established religions (and various brands of Christianity) but also the far out religions of the "counter culture." The Jesus movement emerged everywhere, with its message carried by modern day evangelical preachers. The Jesus movement is a part of the psychedelic revolution, offering its followers a new and better "high."

Evangelicalism in modern Christianity is not a denomination (though it may have been basic to the formation of many); it is more of a tempo or style of Christianity which demands of its adherents a strong personal communication with God. Like all things in the counter culture, the Jesus movement has been confused by the public and by mass media. Just as it would be absurd to assume that all long-haired males are heroin addicts, so it would be equally absurd to assume all young evangelists preach the same beliefs.

Its (evangelicalism's) most potent institutions,
whether the old time revival or the coffeehouse of
the present Jesus movement, have had few denominational ties and have drawn persons to its central experience from all churches or from none. Evangelicalism's most effective continuing organizations, from the old National Holiness Alliance to
the modern Campus Crusade for Christ, have been organized independently of denominations and are
cross-denominational in support (Ellwood, 1973:25).

The Way Ministry not only is independent of denominational ties but in fact openly rejects the forms of contemporary Christianity. The central thesis of Evangelical Christianity is that the person have an intense personal communication






26


with God. While this much is expected of the members of The Way Ministry, that conversion need not occur so much in one sudden rush as is expected in most evangelical worship. In

evangelicalism, the establishment of this personal relationship is most often

. attained in a single powerful experience.
Whether it is coming forward during an invitational hymn at a church service or revival meeting or in deep prayer alone, somewhere a person
will have his hour with God when he will sense the deep power of the Holy Spirit stir within
him and will see the cross before his mystic eyes
and will know that the past is past and all his
scarlet sins are made white as snow (Ellwood,
1973:30).

This is the key to the major distinction of The Way from other evangelist religious expressions. Most evangelical

religions place greater emphasis on experiential rather thanon ideological or intellectual dimensions of religiosity. The Way places extreme emphasis on these two dimensions as well as

on experiential and sees one as attaining salvation only through a lengthy process of psychic restructuring. An obvious result of this is that there is a decrease in the pressure of conversion and proselytizing. The Way does not

attempt to flood the street with handouts nor to push its religion on people. Instead, their techniques are considerably more gradual, unlike most of the evangelist movements which try to build any sermon to an emotional peak so that one is excited enough to make the sudden conversion. The Way is likely to create a much more restrained and less tense situation. Conversion is not a compulsion to the people of





27


the ministry. Rather, conversion is the choice of individuals; there is no pressure among the members to try to convert outsiders. Their job is simply to carry out the message to people and then leave the choice up to them. While The Way Ministry does not use pressure conversion tactics nor is it forced to take a purely apocalyptic stand, it does, like the other evangelical units, reduce spiritual dilemmas to one: the complete acceptance or rejection of the Bible as the word of God.

In spite of this key difference, The Way is quite similar to other evangelical movements. While it is not true that the Ministry makes any violent denunciation of the established culture, it is true that it sees reality as composed of two separate worlds, with one being definitely dominant over the other. Scripture is seen as infallible and sets the rules of life for the Minister. He does not have any support of external aids in his effort to live as an example of Christ. He does not wear special clothes, cut his hair in a unique style, nor does he talk or gesture in any peculiar fashion. His visual symbols as aids are limited both in his day-to-day life and in the ritual observances of the Ministry.

Another interesting similarity with evangelical groups is in the personality of the Ministry's founder. Consider Robert Ellwood's description of evangelical leaders,

The shaman-evangelist is a man of the people. He
does not descend with priestly blessing, or smelling of the library, as from a higher sphere. He should
have a background similar to that of the ordinary
people to whom he speaks; he should use the same






28


vocabulary, tell the same kind of jokes, talk about
crops and money or the street scene, in the same
way they do, only better (Ellwood, 1973:38).

Ellwood goes on to point out that this leader does not, having received his charisma, move above the people; but rather, he remains accessible to them, so while a great man with great power of believing, he is still only a man. HIe also notes that if this person should have a degree or formal education, he conceals the fact to some extent. Up to the final point this description fits the founder of he Way, V. P. Wierwille. All of Wierwille's books and essays are written for the people in a simple fashion. However, his education, including his doctoral degree which was not from an accredited institution, is played up frequently and emphasized. This may be done because of the Ministry's emphasis on the ideological and intellectual elements of religion and because the appeal of the Ministry is directed at an educated audience in part. Thus, the education of Mr. Wierwille is used as a device of sanction for the ministry.

Another striking similarity between The Way and other

evangelical groups is their central motif. Almost all religions have some concept of evil to complement that which they conceive of as good. Each sees some problems or unsatisfactory elements within the established society which he

would prefer to change. The basic symbol of evil for the Jesus movement, and for The Way Ministry as well, is that there is so great a multiplicity of choices for human belief. For the movement at large it is the widespread religious






29


variety which is available; whereas for The Way, the supreme evil is found in the various interpretations of scripture. For the individual who is yet to be converted, life is chaotic due to the multiplicity of countless options and viable paths. The source of the evil, according to the Ministry, is the god of this world, Satan. Satan not only creates these additional paths but makes them alluring. While members of the Ministry feel they "see a highway of diamonds with nobody on it," they

feel the rest of the populace is racing to inhabit infertile fields and impassable roads. The Jesus movement and The Way Ministry give a direct and clearcut answer to the seeker, they stand out from the rest of the alternatives as "the one way." They provide the seeker with a black and white world view which shuts out the world of unlimited choice. The seeker is given an escape from his freedom; now the Bible can give him the answers for his choices.

The next element and perhaps the most important and

consistent is the similarity of type of person found in The Way Ministry to those found in other evangelical religious movements. Like most of the other factions of the Jesus movement, the adherents of The Way are mostly young people in their late teens and early twenties. As Ellwood notes,

. mature faith rarely has the pristine glow,
the fiery absoluteness, or the life-forming
totality of the adolescent conversion. It is then that people see what it seems has never
been seen before, feel raptures they believe
have never been so deeply felt--certainly not in their families--and leave all to join monasteries or to seek the feet of a guru (Ellwood,
1973:51-52).






30


Ellwood also notes that the leader of the Jesus movement today is not the neatly trimmed, pious man from an evangelical family but rather is probably long-haired, and "hip" in his dress. Most important, though, is the fact that he probably has not led a purely conservative life.

The Way is over thirty years old and has actually seen both types of evangelists. The conservative, pious image

can be associated with its earlier years,

Most of the people in those days (1961-65) were
local--fr6m Columbus, Indiana, and the Toledo area.
We had a great vision then of the Word reaching out over Ohio. We were all pretty straight--no
long hairs--more adults than young people
(Whiteside, 1972:47).

However, by the late sixties the movement was being

embodied to a great extent by the young counter culture evangelist. Consider the following account from one of the leading members of the ministry:

I grew up in Oklahoma, was in and out of trouble
through high school, and ended up in reform school for a couple of years. When I was sixteen, I ran
away from home and lived around with aunts and uncles. But by 18 I was into some heavy scenes
with my friends. We attempted some robberies and got caught. So I was brought up before the judge,
and he gave us a choice of prison for juvenile delinquents or joining the service (Whiteside,
1972:37).

The respondent goes on to recount a story of getting in and out of the service (by playing insane), then deep into the California drug scene, and even riding with the Hell's Angels. Finally, he and some friends "found themselves" through the Ministry's classes.






31


The members of the Ministry have a sort of aura of invulnerability. They see the world basically in terms of black

and white but are not fanatical. They have been attracted to

the Ministry from a variety of despondent life styles. The

Ministry provides them with a sense of protective community

like the protection and security which a child feels in the

arms of a parent. One is reminded of the two realms of life

confronted by Sinclair in Hesse's novel Demian.

The realms of day and night, two different worlds
coming from two opposite poles, mingled during
this time. My parents' house made up one realm, yet its boundaries were even narrower, actually
embracing only my parents themselves. This realm
was familiar to me in almost every way--mother
and father, love and strictness, model behavior,
and school. It was a realm of brilliance, charity,
and cleanliness, gentle conversations, washed hands,
clean clothes, and good manners. Straight lines
and paths led into the future: there was duty and guilt, bad conscience and confession, forgiveness
and good resolutions, love, reverence, wisdom, and
the words of the Bible.
The other realm however, overlapping half our
house, was completely different; it smelled different, spoke a different language, promised and
demanded different things. The second world contained servant girls and workmen, ghost stories,
rumors of scandal. It was dominated by a loud
mixture of horrendous, intriguing, frightening,
mysterious things, including slaughter houses and
prisons, drunkards and screeching fishwives, calving cows, horses sinking to their death,
tales of robberies, murders and suicides (Hesse,
1965:5,6).

The members of The Way Ministry most often try to project a sense of confidence, serenity, and supreme satisfaction with life. Showering visitors with greetings and salutations of love with a sprinkling of "God Blesses," they

display their inner peace and community with God. For them






32


this is more than just a facade as they have attained a sense of inner peace due to their communion with God (whether real or imagined). The members have created an alternative world in which to escape modern society. They are isolated in a spiritual sense from those who don't accept such things as spiritual communion with God, God's word, miracles, rebirth, etc. In this world, the member can dwell with conviction, trust, confidence and peace of mind. He has attained a community of fellowship with others of his belief.

This body of people has rejected the material world,

both its secular and sacred institutions, in lieu of a life of dedicated study to know the Bible. They are detached from society but do not disown it. They hope to make their knowledge of the Bible available to all people and through this knowledge all may find abundant lives. We have discussed the Ministry's similarities to the contemporary Jesus movement, its aims to be like the first century church, and its efforts to disavow denominational affiliation. The final segment of the chapter will be to discuss The Way (and evangelicalism in general) as a part of the history of Christianity.

The strongest source of American evangelicalism is the Methodism of John Wesley who preached the
necessity of an experience of personal conversion and the 'holiness' doctrine of possible perfection to the lower classes of eighteenth century England
(Ellwood, 1973:39).

In America the revivalistic Christianity really began on the frontier where the more generally accepted movements were





33


abandoned for Wesleyan conversion. The frontier was a hard and lonely life and, more than anything, the pioneer sought a convincing converting experience with God.

Many new denominations sprang up but the most successful of all was Methodism. The ideas of Methodism were right for

the frontier as they offered an individualistic appeal to God and possible perfection for man, a new way of life, just as the frontier itself had been. This evangelicalism seems a

conservative theology; however, in truth it probably led to greater social change through individual conversion than did

the liberal denominations with their alleged ideas of equality among people. Consider that in spite of all the denominational preaching of religious equality, the first racially

integrated churches in the South from 1910 to present were the pentecostal organizations.

Beginning in the 1900's was a new facet of the Jesus

movement which is closely related to The Way Ministry, Pentecostalism. The Way, like many Pentecostals, believes that following conversion one is blessed with a second gift of the Holy Spirit which enables one to live a life free of sin. The Way and Pentecostals alike take on all the marks of the New Testament Church: powers of healing, miracles and, most important, the ability to speak in tongues. This phenomenon is not new with the Ministry or with evangelical religion of the present, but it too goes back to the frontier revivals

in the form of dog-like barking (to chase the devil up a tree). While speaking in tongues is found even in sects of






34


medieval Europe, it was never fully incorporated into a consistent system until the turn of the twentieth century. Speaking in tongues was born on the American scene in Kansas in 1901. The real center of the Pentecostal movement is found in the famous Azusa Street meetings, where W. J. Seymour, black preacher, began a tremendous revival on speaking-in-tongues.

This whole tradition, like The Way Ministry, focuses on the two worlds., with the importance of this world being subject to the power of the second world. Nonetheless, to the minister of The W'ay as to the Pentecostalist the image of God has power now. "He is benign and can accomplish great transformations now. Even now a person can attain salvation and supernatural powers"(Ellwood, 1973:47). However, this world is not important to the Pentecostalist as it is to the Adventist, for example. Gary Schwartz, in comparing the two, noted that the Pentecostalist is not worried about his station in this world, as the Adventist is (Schwartz, 1970). The evangelical movement plays for the youth of today the same role it played for other alienated types of people: frontiersmen, southerners during the restoration, blacks, and the lower socio-economic classes.

Speaking in tongues is a part of the ministry's worshipping, thus The Way could be associated with the Pentecostal churches. However, to The Way, speaking in tongues is characterized by a quiet devotional style of prayer and worship rather than by the loud shouting and ecstatic movement






35


characteristic of Pentecostal worship. The Way Ministry is not a Pentecostal affiliate formally and in fact might more

easily be labeled a Holiness sect.

Services are more holiness than Pentecostal in that they do follow a definite order, eschewing the freewheeling 'do your own thing' of the latter.
Informal songs are sung by the congregation mostly cdhcerning Jesus and his imminent return to earth.
Prayers for the sick are offered and testimonies
are heard. The ubiquitous 'one way' sign (extended
index finger with clenched fist) shows the congregation approval of various elements of the services
(Adams and Fox, 1973:51).

This description would apply to The Way services except that

the sign is three extended fingers like a "W" for "Word over the World."

Essentially, The Way Ministry can be seen as one alternative in the "Evangelical Jesus movement," which, like the movement at large, is a blend of the tradition and the theologies of Pentecostal and Holiness sects. It differs from the other elements of the movement primarily, in that it is not organized as a religious worship unit so much as it is a

biblical research group.

One final group to relate the Ministry to is The Believer's Church. The "Believer's Church" was a term developed by Max Weber in his work on the Protestant Ethic to help define the Quakers and Anabaptists. According to Weber these groups did not want "an institution necessarily including both the just and the unjust" but rather a "community of personal believers of the reborn, and only these" (Weber, 1958:144). The Way Ministry and Believer's Church alike reject the idea






36


of a church as some sort of physical structure and see it as being the body of believers.

While the idea of the Believer's Church is one of a noncreedal nature, it does have confessions of faith and does not necessarily entail a rejection of doctrinal formulations. In fact, the whole idea of the Believer's Church stresses the communal nature of the belief. The Believer's Church in the sectarian sense is a Church which has allegedly survived (though not always in an organized sense) in the persons of believers in Christ since the inception of Christianity in Jerusalem. The dual existence of this church with that of the institutional church is noted in Ernst Troeltsch's work Social Teachingsof the Christian Church (Troeltsch, 1911). This is only one of the three theories of the origin of the Believer's Church but is the most applicable to The Way Ministry, particularly since they themselves see their church as being united with the First Century Church. The "Social Gospel" movement may be seen as a renewal of this sectarian idea applied to the whole of society. The Way Ministry and the Jesus movement at large are significant proponents of this sectarian tradition despite the fact that they don't accredit their predecessors. Like those in the "Anabaptist" tradition, members feel there is no line of apostolic descent and that their Church is a return to a belief rarely known since the first century A.D.

Seven elements define the Believer's Church; one cannot help noting the similarity with those beliefs of The Way to






37


be discussed in Chapter III. The seven elements are: first,

conversion is founded only in an adult acceptance of Christ (i.e., no infant baptism); second, a communion is made between themselves and God and they reject the secular world. Third, they perform Christian works, similar to the Way's advice to "walk on the Word of God." They accept that they must learn to love as Christ and be reborn. They also believe in sharing their worldly goods with others. There is neither formal nor spontaneous religion completely but a combination of the two, thus the structure evolves along with the group. Last and most important both to The Way and to the Believer's Church is the word of God is the sole authority. Appearing similar to The Way,

The Believer's Church is the covenanted and discipled community of those walking in the way of
Jesus Christ. Where two or three such are
gathered, willing also to be scattered in the
work of their Lord, there is the believing people
(Durnbaugh, 1968:32-33).

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the relationship of The Way Ministry to some other religious expression both contemporary and historical. The Way is not to be seen as identical with any other formal organization; however, the similarity of its structures and beliefs allows one to consider a similarity between its membership and the membership of other elements of the Jesus movement. In the next

two chapters, the specific ideology of the Ministry and its structure will be examined in order to establish a placement

on the continuum to be made in Chapter V.














CHAPTER -II

THE WAY MINISTRY



Zarathustra speaks of the death of God and proclaims the overman. Faith in God is dead as a
matter of cultural fact, and any meaning of life
in the sense of a supernatural purpose is gone
(Nietzsche, 1966:3).

Perhaps for existentialists such as Nietzsche, Zarathustra's words are the amplification of man's only soul. However, on at least one farm in New Knoxville, Ohio, Nietzsche's words would be seen as the greatest of folly.1 This farm is the center for a widespread and growing ministry of the Bible. To the members of this community and various branches across the country and the world, God is far from dead, "the Word of God is sown here, nourished, watered and grown in the hearts of believing peoples" (Whiteside, 1972:1).

The Way Ministry is an organization designed for spreading the "proper" interpretation of the Bible. Believing fully that the Bible in its original "God breathed" form is the word of God, the Ministry has made extensive efforts to study it and to read it as they feel it was first written,

No translation, let alone a version, may properly be called the Word of God. . To get the Word
of God out of any translation or out of any version,
we have to compare one word with another word and

1All assertions concerning the Ministry are based on personal observation by the author.

38





39


one verse with another verse. We have to study
the context of all the verses. If it is the Word
of God, then it cannot have a contradiction, for God cannot contradict Himself (Wierwille, 1971c:
128).

The major function of the Ministry has been to reconstruct the Bible. This ability is taught to the people through the Ministry's various branches.

The Ministry also strives to make a return to the first century church. There are no actual rites of passage to say when one is or, is not "in the Ministry." The church also is not defined as some sort of edifice but rather it is the collection of believers.

Following the prophetic lead of Victor Wierwille, the

Ministry has grown for the last thirty years. After completing his formal education at Princeton Theological Seminary, Wierwille practiced the ministry in Ohio, serving sixteen years as a pastor. He found that the "abundant" life proclaimed in the Bible was frequently lacking in Christian communities. Thus, he set out on a determined quest for Biblical enlightenment, with the aid of European, Far Eastern and American scholars. Finally, in 1953 he felt confident enough to begin his classes on the Power for Abundant Living. In these highly concentrated sessions one is taught how to read the Bible "correctly" and supposedly how to receive the gifts which God has to offer. Eventually, these classes and his Bible research consumed so much of his time and energy that Wierwille resigned his local pastorate and devoted his full attention towards these ends. Since its inception, the






40


Ministry has expanded from its home in Ohio to an extensive national and even international following. While proselytization will be more thoroughly and specifically discussed in the fourth chapter, a brief explanation of the structure of the organization will reveal the means by which the word is spread."

The Way is a fellowship, not a church or denomination, but a union of all those who follow Jesus Christ. Preceding the evolution pf the term Christians and the development of the many contemporary denominations and churches, the followers of Christ were referred to as the "followers of The Way." Now, in twentieth century America, this organization is attempting to found itself on the principles of the first century Christians. Thus, in keeping with the book of Acts, they have named the fellowship "The Way." The Way is an international organization of biblical research and a teaching ministry which is designed to know and teach the Bible in every detail. The Way acclaims itself as a nondenominational church of believers who minister the word to people and then allow people the autonomy of deciding how they will use it.

The Way describes itself as being similar to a tree and thus has named its sub-units: the root, the trunk, limbs, branches, and twigs. The twigs, being the smallest units, are also the most important units for sustaining the group identification. They are the most personal and most frequent in meeting. A twig is defined as a fellowship of three or more members in a specific local area, which meets nightly






41


or at least once a week. Twig fellowships meet in'The Way Home" with a family-like atmosphere. The basic purpose of the fellowships is to "manifest" together and to study the basic principles of Christianity. Here the "abundant life" is supposedly made manifest. Twigs are designed to meet the personal needs of those in the meeting as each member can voice his feelings on whatever may be his problems. The meetings also hopefully will help build the Christian character and manifest the love for all others. One final purpose and a most important purpose is to expose the knowledge of the Bible to possible converts.

These meetings are governed by a strict normative code. The followships must always be warm, personal, positive and unified. Prayers are always conducted in unison. As the fellowships are frequently a vehicle for proselytization, members must always appear positive, understanding and noncritical. Tolerance and openmindedness are expected as is a thorough understanding of scripture.

The above rules define how the twig fellowships must

operate if they are to express through membership the characteristics of the true Christian, as defined by the Ministry.

The other units, while not so important on a personal basis, are still necessary for proper functioning of the organization at large. The branch is a fellowship of all the twigs in a local community area which meets monthly. While its formal meetings are not so frequent, the branch still is a very personal unit. The branch under study has a






42


large, beautiful home in the heart of the community. There is not an evening when it is not the center of a great deal of activity and the meeting place of many more people than the few who actually live there. The limb, which is more formal and structured, is a fellowship meeting of all of the

branch es within a given state which meets every six months or annually. Finally, the trunk is the fellowship of limbs in an entire nation which meets every three years.

The root .is composed of three major segments which meet every five years together. The three segments are: (1) a board of three trustees, (2) the international headquarters, or a fellowship of the head presbyter of each trunk, and

(3) the board of directors, or a fellowship of the head presbyters of each limb and branch.

Each of the sub-units, except the root and twigs, is

composed of a variety of offices. First, the head presbyter or ruling elder is an overseer who observes and guides the fellowships. He is qualified spiritually as a leader. The elder of each twig fellowship is selected by the branch presbyter and by approval of the limb, trunk, and root. Each unit also selects from its members an honorary treasurer. Other positions occur in certain situations. Each unit is self-creating, governing, supporting and sustaining in cooperation with its respective over-unit.

In discussing a group such as this, one inevitably comes to the questions of organizational dilemmas. While this is not the focus of the dissertation, answering these problems






43


will enable the reader to further understand the structure

and function of this group as a whole and its sub-units. The

following discussion relates generally to Parsonian concepts

but specifically to Rosabeth Kanter's work on communes

(Kanter, 1972). While there are some elements of communal living' in the branch of the Ministry here under study, one

would not simply classify the organization as a commune.

Therefore, it is not the purpose to discuss the aspects of

commune living,but simply to use it as a model to illustrate how this particular organization handles the problems encountered by any social system.

Kanter elects to ignore the most obvious of Parsons

systems theories in lieu of his social action schemata.

While the A-G-I-L provides one avenue for system analysis,

she notes that communes are essentially held together on the basis of personal commitment of the members. Kanter isolates

six basic organizational problems of communities, all of which

relate to the central dilemma faced by any community, i.e., how to make themselves more permanent. Kanter reduces these

six dilemmas to three problems of commitment. Basically, she feels organizational problems can be resolved if the

commitment is high enough. One will note that there are a variety of structures within The Way which keep the commitment of members quite high. Kanter then turns to Parsons for her three types of commitment which provide the resolution of

the three dilemmas. All three of these dilemmas do apply to

The Way as they do to communes. Discussion of the three






44


problems and the means by which this organization handles each should help to describe the order, personal relationships, structures, etc., which are found in the Ministry.

First is the problem of retention of members. This problem is solved by cognitive or instrumental commitment to the community. The person feels committed if the community is doing something for him. Therefore, it is necessary that The Way have some sort of structural mechanisms which make it fruitful for the individual to complete whatever duties are expected of him without coercion. The structures in the Ministry (often found in religious groups) which provide instrumental satisfaction are built into the belief system. In other words, one gains one's rewards not in a material fashion but in the spiritual. Also, because the individual is allowed a say in most of the decision-making he feels somewhat insured that the decisions will reflect the wants of all. The promise of spiritual union with God is enough but if it were not manifest in the actions of the members then it would be difficult to gain followers. Thus, the behavior, not only of twig fellowships, but all around "the Home" is rigidly disciplined. Rules of conduct are strictly adhered to: no criticism, exaggerated warmth, etc. Therefore, by maintaining at least a facade of interpersonal warmth the community is able to reach prospective initiates and convince them of their own spiritual unity with God. Apparently the warmth is more than a facade to the members, as the majority of memberships are enduring. In fact, perhaps






45


the single strongest function of the religious group is to establish a social community among the believers.

The Ministry seems to have its greatest appeal among young people from the ages of thirteen to twenty. In our society one is (while at this age) encumbered with a critical morality and the problem of giving intellectual consent to his life. Up until adolescence, children are relatively free from any intellectual pressures, but suddenly, at around age fifteen,most individuals are expected to defend their beliefs. This critical morality may unbridle the mind but it may be frustrating; as one of Kenniston's students at Harvard noted, "One does not rejoice on learning that God is dead" (Kenniston, 1965). For most young people this is a most trying situation because our society seems to demand that one believe in something. Like Sinclair in Demian the young person begins to want an answer now that he has pulled apart from the herd.

And when you will say 'I no longer have a common conscience with you,' it will be a lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the
common conscience, and the last glimmer of that
conscience still glows on your affliction
(Nietzsche, 1966:62).

A little learning is a dangerous thing and so it goes with a little victory. Having emerged victorious in battles against the herd, one is instilled with such great confidence that he feels he has won the war and that whatever he may now choose to believe, he should not doubt. The war is long and arduous; at the first paradox that is met, most people find they must have an answer. When a person needs an answer he shall find one.





46


The purpose of this digression was to explain why young people more than others find cognitive satisfaction by being able to rejoin themselves to the herd.

In the early years of the 1970's the Jesus movement was one of the most talked about of American religious phenomena. Young people in considerable numbers were rejecting both conventional Christianity and 'counter culture' religions to take up
with evangelical Christianity (Ellwood, 1973:ix).

Robert Ellwood draws a strong parallel between the Jesus culture and the psychedelic culture. For both subcultures, subjectivity is the key to reality. The goal in life is a "high." There is provided a sense of separateness from established society, a reaction against science and technology, and a reaction against history (excluding the Bible). One should not confuse The Way with other segments of the Jesus movement, but it is valid to note that the culture of the Ministry is founded on the basic tenets just listed. Thus, The Way is able to provide individuals with a new culture which allows autonomy, yet defines the world and allows the same escape from "the establishment." It also gives one community support as a defense mechanism for his system of beliefs, values, and social behavior.

The foregoing discussion illustrates that the structure of the Ministry will satisfy the need for cathectic (affective) commitment and for evaluative (moral) commitment as it does for the cognitive needs. The second problem for Kanter's study was that of group cohesiveness, a problem which is resolved by the cathectic commitment. Much of the foregoing






47


discussion implicitly applies to this dilemma as it did to the first. Most important to this type of commitment in the Ministry are the structures which heighten and enhance community boundaries. While there is no specific membership ritual which denotes acceptance ineo the group, there are many covert factors involved. The group is tightly unified in that most of the members are communally involved with one another. The Way is not a "once a week thing" but more an every-night affair. Any outsider is always welcomed yet he is always known and observed. The most important group boundary is that of religious rebirth. Having been reborn one is immediately in the group. The group values and beliefs are constantly expressed and enforced within the home; thus, each individual will learn the "will of God" and should he choose to ignore it then he will know its punishment. This provides an indirect sanction from the group.

The third problem (solved by evaluative commitment) to

consider is that of social control or how to insure agreement about community values. According to the Ministry, it is only through the Bible that man becomes able to live the abundant life. The Way is based on the idea that the word can transform people's lives from one of fear, hate and negative thinking and living into lives of ecstacy, love and positive thinking and living. The one primary structure that the Ministry has of reaching people once conversion is underway is the Power for Abundant Living course. The class, which is administered over a period of three weeks at a cost






48


of eighty-five dollars, consists of thirty-three hours of taped teaching lectures by V. P. Wierwille. The class is designed to teach people the will of God by teaching them how to read, study and understand scripture. With this ability one can allegedly know the will of God as it was originally given to man. The course as well as the fellowships teach the members the "accuracy" of the Bible and thus develop one (the only possible) interpretation. This interpretation, then, is the basis for a shared morality within the group as well as a singular world view and shared communal goals. It is through this shared morality that the evaluative or moral commitment is fostered and sustained in individuals, thus maintaining a singular powerful commitment to the goals and aims of the community at large. The Ministry is a highly structured organization which has been able to control the commitment of its members to a great extent and, at least to the present, it has been able to cope with the situational problems which any such organization must necessarily confront.

This chapter has introduced to the reader the specific

unit under study. This aim will be expanded by the discussion of conversion and proselytization in Chapter IV.














CHAPTER IV

CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION



According to John Lofland's book on the Divine Precepts, Doomsday Cult, there are three major problems (two of which are relevant to this description) encountered by any religious splinter group (Lofland, 1966). The first is the problem of conversion. How do individuals become so involved with "far out" activities? The second question, the problem of proselytization, focuses on the methods of the group. It is necessary to look at the "conversion-proselytization" process from both the individual and group perspectives; of most concern here is what social factors precipitate membership in a religious splinter group.

Lofland notes, in answer to the first dilemma, seven

necessary characteristics for conversion. All are seemingly present in the membership of this community. All of the members felt acute tensions with society and saw the tensions as being solved by religion. Each defined himself as a seeker of truth and encountered the group at a time of crisis or indecision in his life. A strong bond has been formed due to intensive interaction; this is illustrated by the extreme religious communality expressed by group members. Also, the external attachments are extremely low for the members of the Ministry. A strong religious communality, coupled with 49






50


a significant decrease in alienation upon entering the Ministry, will imply that the seven personal factors necessary for conversion were very much present among the membership of this organization.

The second question one must ask is, how a deviant group recruits and inducts members. Lofland notes that there are two sequential phases to this process. First, how do missionaries gain access to and attention of nonbelievers, and secondly, how are they able to promote the cultist (or sectarian) world view? The first is the strategy of the group and the second is tactics, "maneuvering of forces in face of the enemy."

The problem of strategy for The Way is solved through

embodied access or face-to-face encounters with nonbelievers. In the central headquarters of The Way in Ohio, the techniques employed are probably considerably more diverse. However, in the local branch there has been little use of mass media or disembodied access in strategy. The tactics, however, utilize a tremendous amount of disembodied techniques in carrying out

full-scale promotion of conversion.

The most concrete evidence of disembodied access employed in the past year was the presentation of the film "Rock of Ages."

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard?
Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth,
and their words unto the ends of the world (Romans
X:xvii-xviii).






51


Post cards, pamphlets, and flyers bearing this and other scriptural messages were circulated as announcements before the one campus presentation of the film. The first "Rock of Ages" was held in 1972 and has become an annual event on Dr. Wierwille's 150-acre farm. It is publicized as "a festival of light and sound to celebrate the accomplishment of the word over the world in our time."

"Rock of Ages" was a rock festival, interspersed with

speeches on the beliefs of the Ministry. It lasted two days and two nights and was filmed by a professional film company. The film was distributed to the branches around the country and was shown on the East Carolina University campus by the local branch in the spring of 1973. Even the showing of the film was in essence an embodied form of proselytizing in that the film was entirely an attempt to project the festival as a personal, intimate atmosphere. As supplement to the film, a flyer of introduction to the Ministry was distributed. As the majority of the viewers were already members of The Way there was no difficulty in establishing personal contact with all of the prospective converts who were present. All were invited to The Way Home for refreshments and further entertainment. Having seen the film, the prospective convert was expected to be awed by the ubiquitous love and brotherhood it displayed. Once brought to the Home itself, the real proselytizing takes place.

The Way's strategy is almost entirely embodied because they hope to be an example and expression of the power of






52


God's word so that they will be sought out rather than "out seeking." This is not to say, either, that The Way does not go out to share its beliefs or that they employ no disembodied strategy. They do utilize a limited number of flyers, which are distributed to interested people rather than being handed out indiscriminately; most of these give a brief description of The Way's beliefs, programs, goals and activities.

The Way Ministry makes great efforts to share their message with the -world of nonbelievers. Rather than trying to be in a specific (religious or secular) setting in order to meet possible converts, The Way ministers go about their daily lives, attempting (most often in a covert fashion which is soon uncovered) to influence those closest to them.

The embodied access is carried out most specifically by the WOW (Word Over the World) Ambassadors. This program was begun in 1971 and it sent at that time nearly 100 people into communities throughout the country in order to teach other individuals what they have learned about Christ. By the fall of 1972 the Headquarters had sent more than 250 Ambassadors across the country into 24 states and into five foreign countries.

A flyer describes the WOW Ambassadors as living a life of study and dedication. They must support themselves by working at a secular employment for four hours a day and then they are able to devote the remainder of their time to teaching the word, witnessing, running the Power for Abundant Living classes, and undershepherding. (Witnessing is





53

basically embodied proselytizing, where the members of the Ministry go out on the street to find possible converts. Undershepherding is the tactics of proselytization where once a prospective convert is won over, he is then visited nightly by the members and brought to the Homne.) They may work on college campuses, sometimes in prisons, or most often, just out on the street where they can reach the people. To be eligible to be a WOW Ambassador for The Way one must have graduated from both the foundational and intermediate classes on the Power for Abundant Living (fully discussed below). He must attend the one-week-long WOW Ambassador training seminar given biannually in New Knoxville, Ohio. The candidate must be a high school graduate and cannot leave any prior commitments for The Way without approval of the Limb Elder. Finally, he will be required to give 48 hours a week for approximately one year in the area(s) to which he is assigned.

To the Ambassadors and in fact to every individual in the Ministry, the first duty is a personal spreading of the word. Through this embodied proselytization, prospective converts are brought into the fold as guests at Sunday worships, or to twig fellowships, or just over to "the Home." Once at "the Home" the full-scale conversion efforts take place. The tactics are both embodied and disembodied. At The Way Home there is always someone who is ready to tell you about his beliefs. Conversion is an everywhere present process.





54


The Ministry has a number of books for sale which should initiate conversion. Free flyers and pamphlets explaining the organization, its ideals and its functions, are also available. Most of the books are written by V. P. Wierwille; however, the first book given to prospectives as an introduction to-the Ministry is Elena Whiteside's book, The Way: Living in Love. Miss Whiteside narrates a day spent at The Way International Headquarters in New Knoxville. One is invited not to see God but to be shown ". God working and living in people. People who believe in God and act on that believing. People acting on the Word of God and living according to His Word" (Whiteside, 1972:5). Again, even in this first disembodied text, the real emphasis is on the personal expression of God's word. The reader sees an "idyllic" life on the farm at Headquarters and at the same time he is learning some of the major beliefs of the organization. Here he is introduced to Wierwille, other important figures in the Ministry and a variety of individuals now in the Ministry. The diversity within the membership is stressed so that each prospective initiate might feel welcome. The reader sees young people and old people, long-haired drug freaks (now conformed) and super-straights, poor people with socially tragic pasts and wealthy people who have realized their psychic deprivation. The reader is encouraged to believe that, whoever he may be, he can find fellowship, friendship,

and community here.






55


In the book one is also introduced to the various activities and programs with which the people work. The people encountered in the text are all shown as having a meaning in their lives. The various activities include the twig fellowships, the Ambassador program, and all of the proselytization efforts (printing, art work, taping, etc.). There is the intensive summer program for leadership which includes various classes and seminars. The Way corps is an advanced work-study program where the students study, eat and sleep with their teacher. There is the college and correctional out-reach which includes twig fellowships and the taped classes on the "Power for Abundant Living" taught in federal and state prisons and on many college campuses. Allegedly the programs sponsored by The Way are leading to positive rehabilitation by giving purpose and direction to life.

Among the publications by the American Christian Press (owned and operated by the Ministry) is the bimonthly magazine, The Way, which is usually filled with articles expressing the "accuracy" of God's word, the commitment that some person has made to the word, or explanations of how to use God's gifts. Inevitably, parts of the magazine are written by Wierwille and/or some of the other leaders. The magazine serves to keep the membership abreast of current activities and as a stimulant to the fellowship meetings.

The Ministry also publishes several small booklets

called "studies in Biblical accuracy." For the most part these are written by Wierwille although some are done by






56

other figureheads of the ministry. Most of the branches do small-scale publishing to publicize events within the local area. The particular branch under study has a monthly published flyer called the "Grapevine."

The most important element of tactics in proselytization is the class on Power for Abundant Living. The class is composed of 12 three-hour sessions. It is presented to the students either live or on 16 mm color sound film tapes. In it, one covers several books which were written by Wierwille. Wierwille is the teacher of the course which explains all of the keys in the word of God and instructs the individual in ways to conquer the problematic situations of life. In addition to this class there is an intermediate and finally an advanced class.

All of the contemporary denominations present the Bible as being inconsistent. Wierwille, assuming that the Bible was the word of God, felt that it must be consistent and accurate. After developing his interpretation of the Bible, he began to fulfill his main purpose as a bearer of the message. In 1953 he began teaching the first classes on the Power for Abundant Living. He has published six books which thoroughly encompass the teaching of the Ministry and the programs of the various classes. Each of the books will be discussed in the following pages and should provide a thorough understanding of The Way's belief system. The final three books are a re-publication of the aforementioned "studies in Biblical accuracy." The first three books are





57


the most important for the presentation of the Ministry's beliefs, ideals and Biblical perspective.



Power for Abundant Living


This book is the basic text for the Ministry. It is

divided into five sections which explain the various keys for using the Bible. "The first and most basic key for power for abundant living is that the Bible is the revealed Word and Will of God" (Wierwille, 1971c:5). In the first section the reader learns that in order to properly follow the word, one must first learn what God makes available for people, how to receive it and finally how to use His gifts. The basic gifts which God makes available include prosperity and good health, sufficiency in all things and inner strength. The power of inner strength comes to us with the fullness of God gained when our spirit is reunited with His. Wierwille says,

Let's be sure in our Biblical quest for the more
abundant life that we first find out what is
available so that we as God's people will not be destroyed because we lack knowledge. When
we know what is available, then we can learn the other principles that are involved in making our
life more abundant so that we can manifest the
greatness of the power of God (Wierwille, 1971c:5).

He continues by saying,

I do not tell you that you ought to read the Bible; I teach you how to read it. I do not
tell you that you ought to pray; I tell you how
to pray. I do not tell you that you should
believe; I tell you how to believe (Wierwille,
1971c:15).

As it is in the material realm so it is in the spiritual. One may well know what is available but he must learn how to






58


receive it. Throughout our lives we have been educated, gradually learning, how to obtain material things but we get little or no instruction as to how to gain the spiritual

things which are available.

First one finds out what is available, second how to

obtain"it, and last he finds out how to use it. One may have a material object such as a book made available to him. Next he may learn how to obtain it, for instance, by using the public library.. Still the gift has no value at all to him unless he knows how to read. The word not only tells one how he might use the gifts but also tells the purpose that God intends. Wierwille explains that God's gifts are without repentence;. what is promised will be fulfilled.

This book presents the most interesting aspect of the belief system. According to the Ministry, one is able to receive the gifts of God simply by believing. Like the power of positive thinking, "Before one receives anything, he must act as though he already has it and then he receives it"

(Wierwille, 1971c:29).

Wierwille points out that believing is the key and not in whom or what you believe. Both in this book and in The Way (magazine) he discusses believing and gives examples to illustrate that the power of believing is not limited to those believing in Christ. This power has unlimited potential. He relates a story in The Way magazine concerning two men's'use of this power for financial gain. The point of the narrative is that the men don't attend church, don't






59


believe in Jesus, don't believe in God, and yet they are able to capitalize on the power of believing.

Once one accepts that believing is a law, then it is a short step to understanding that one will receive as he believes. If he believes positively then he will act and receive positively. If, however, he believes negatively or has fear, then his believing will have negative results. Thus, when we fear something strongly enough it too will come to pass. Wieriwille states that because most of us dwell in fear constantly, we will suffer its consequences.

Once this law has been sufficiently drilled into the reader, he is led into the next phase, what to believe in. This phase of the book tells the reader how to read in the Bible.

Every man in the Bible who wrote the Word of God
had the spirit from God on him. There is only one author of the Bible and that is God. There are many writers but only one author (Wierwille,
1971c:79).

It is man's job to live up to the word of God. It has been given and man must now choose to accept or ignore it. The idea is something like the Kantian idea of a mental truth which exists whether we perceive it or not. The word is there, it is the truth and will be true whether or not men live by it. Ideally, the purpose of man is to affect a junction between the mental truth and the physical world through his reason. To have the sanction of God ultimately the follower must give account for himself and what better way to do this than to make his actions consonant with his Bible.






60


Thus the follower must study the Bible and learn fully the meaning of God's word. According to Wierwille, the word of God has been greatly confused due to the efforts of man to use it.

God gave the original Word. He is not at all responsible for the error that men have introduced by
their chapter headings or by their center references or by their paragraph markings. Man made all
those mistakes (Wierwille, 1971c:133).

Even with all of the errors of man, Wierwille felt it was not impossible for the Bible to be reconstructed. In phase three the reader is taught how to use the Bible. He is shown that the Bible interprets itself fully. First of all, in its verse the Bible is usually clear. One must first be aware of the meanings of definitions of words at the time of translation, as words often change or become more diffuse or specific in meaning over a period of time. Next the reader can learn the meaning of obscure verses by relating it to other verses on the same topic. Essentially, it is assumed that the word of God must always be consistent and thus through studying various accounts or verses which are similar, we may augment our understanding of the event considerably. Finally, a verse must be understood as part of a narrative framework and to be a fully understood verse it must be seen relative to the other passages on the event.

Many of the denominational splits in Christianity are based on variances in interpretation of the word. There should be no variance if one understood the meaning of the word. Finally, Wierwille notes that for one to really





61


understand the word, he must realize that different parts of the Bible were written to different people, and while they can carry some significant meaning for us, they are written to someone else.

Once one realizes that scripture interprets itself, he is ready to begin working with the word so as to manifest it practically in his life, to be reborn.

In the beginning, the spirit in man made it possible for God to talk to him and for man, in turn, to talk
to God. The natural man of body and soul only has his five senses whereby to acquire knowledge. In
contrast, the first man not only could acquire knowledge through his five senses, but he could also
attain knowledge through his communication with God, made possible by God's spirit within him. Adam had
two ways whereby he could know things, and he had the
freedom of will to choose whether he was going to gather knowledge by his five senses or by spirit-God's speaking to him (Wierwille, 1971c:250).

Wierwille speaks of natural man as being man as we know him after the original sin. This is man of body and soul but without spirit or communion with God. It is man's job to become reborn in spirit and become perfect again. According to Wierwille, God had to come into a physical, incarnate form so that natural man might see with his senses and then believe.

Man's rebirth gives him unconditional reunion with God in spirit whereas Adam had conditional spirit; however, Adam had the advantages of having a renewed mind. According to the text, one's mind is not renewed by rebirth. Our mind is renewed only when we are able to put our thoughts and actions forever in harmony with the word, when we are able to manifest the power in the physical world.






62


In the concluding pages of the text, Wierwille explains the obligations of the reborn. They are to spread the word of God as warriors. Once you believe in Christ you are reconciled to the Ministry.

Finally, the reader learns the nine manifestations of the holy spirit which God gave on the Pentecost. The nine are of three basic categories: inspirational, informative, and power-impartation manifestations. The first includes prophesy or a inessage in a believer's meeting from God in the language of those present, speaking in tongues or bringing a message from God in a language not known by the speaker (usually in private prayer) and interpretation of tongues. The second category includes word of knowledge from God unknowable by the five senses, Word of wisdom or how to use

knowledge and discerning or recognition of spirits, their presence and identity. The last category is composed of faith, miracles, and healing. Each of these manifestations

are the power of any reborn Christian.



Are the Dead Alive Now?


This text is centered around the nature of life after death. God made, formed and created man in body, soul and spirit, respectively. Life after death is purely a spiritual matter; thus, if one is not reborn in spirit how can he have

it after he has died in body and soul. Wierwille argues that






63


many "Christians" believe that the dead are now alive in the kingdom of God. According to the Bible this is not true. No one is alive until the first resurrection when Christ comes for His Church (body of believers) and then after some time (not specified) Christ will be resurrected again to come with His Church to make all alive.

There are two antithetical powers in our lives, God and Satan (God of this world). In the spiritual realm God is King; however, Satan has powers by which he is able to deceive people. Wierwille suggests that it is the power of Satan which fools people in seances, and other supernatural rituals, into believing that the dead are alive elsewhere.

In this book, as in all of his works, Wierwille illustrates an extensive command of Scripture. With a most impressive amount of research he draws conclusively the position of the Bible on this question. He shows that this position is accurate and consistent with respect to even the most troublesome passages.



Receiving the Holy Spirit Today


This third book by Wierwille is basically a "how-to-doit" book on receiving the holy spirit from God. As was seen in the discussion of the first text, there are nine fundamental manifestations of the holy spirit. Perhaps the most elusive and fascinating is that of speaking in tongues. Wierwille answers a series of questions about this and the other manifestations.






64


How do we receive the spirit or gift of God? It does

not automatically come with salvation or rebirth but through believing we are able to manifest the power of God. The continual emphasis on positive believing reminds one of John Milton's passage, "The mind is a place within itself and can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven" (Milton, 1950:110). What things keep us from receiving the spirit? In general, we are kept from receiving this gift of God by our fears, fears which usually arise out of a wrong or lacking knowledge of the word, according to Wierwille. By believing in God we can gain these gifts; we need not be good first for it is through receiving the gifts that we are able to become good.

Speaking in a tongue is the believer's external
manifestation in the senses world of the internal
reality and presence of the power of the holy
spirit. Speaking in tongues is a constant reminder
even in the hours of bereavement and sorrow, temptation and trouble, that Christ by way of God's
power is in you. Therefore, you have victory over the enemy in every situation because as I John 4:4 states, '. .. greater is he that is in you, than
he that is in the world' (Wierwille, 1972:41).

Speaking in tongues is a gift from God to this Church of believers; it is the spiritual food for us. We are built up spiritually by speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is only possible for those who have been born again and who have the holy spirit permanently within.

The art of speaking in tongues is done by Man's will;

however, what he speaks is where the supernatural is involved. The supernatural does not possess a man and force him to speak in tongues. We can start or stop at any time as our






65


will is in control. Speaking in tongues is the spirit speaking through us and may or may not be understood at all in the senses world. The holy spirit can be manifested without the laying on of hands or without others present, but on no occasion can it occur without believing. Wierwille gives the reader four factors to consider when trying to take on the holy spirit. First, we must be quiet and calm; we must not beg God for the gift as it is already here and available; we must concentrate on in-breathing (breathing in the spirit); and finally, the fourth step is a prayer, "Father, I now receive the holy spirit, the power from on high, which you made available through Jesus Christ" (Wierwille, 1972:62).

The ability to speak in tongues along with the other

manifestations of God's gifts was given to the apostles and to us on the Pentecost, thus salvation is available to us immediately. He discusses each of the gifts and each of the

manifestations.

These three books are the core of the Ministry's beliefs; the final three to be mentioned briefly are studies in Biblical accuracy which are used to teach the student different parts of the Bible and to illustrate its accuracy and consistency. All of the books are the foundation for the three major classes offered by the Ministry.





66


The Bible Tells Me So; The New, Dynamic
Church; and The Word's Way


Each of these three volumes is a collection of short essays on various topics of Christianity, worship, God, believing, spiritual fulfillment, etc., which are founded with extensive scriptural research. The three books provide excellent support for the three courses offered by the Ministry. The first course, as was previously discussed, is the Power for Abundant Living class. In it the member learns that the word of God is God's will and that the word is the Bible. In the second course on the interpretation of tongues and prophesy, he learns how to use and manifest the gift of God and what these manifestations do for the church. In the final advanced class, he learns the other six manifestations of the gift (revelation and power) and how to walk on the word of God.

This chapter has discussed the various techniques and tools of proselytizing that are employed by the members of The Way Ministry. It has also given a basic inspection of the system of beliefs incorporated in the Ministry. The following brief chapter will conclude the description of the Ministry by placing it on the theoretical continuum under study.













CHAPTER V

PLACEMENT OF THE WAY


The material discussed in the first four chapters has laid the proper groundwork for relating the organization to the continuum. The Way can best be defined as a charismatic sect rapidly becoming an "established sect." The Ministry's major purpose is conversion, and yet they really could not be classified as an aggressive sect. Rather, this sect is an intreversionist-avoidance sect which makes efforts, neither significantly optimistic nor pessimistic, towards converting the nonbeliever.

To summarize a brief support for this placement some of the more salient sect-like features can be listed as characteristic of the Ministry.

The Way is not composed of an inherited membership but of a "reborn" constituency. With the rebirth is a full commitment to the ideology. A sect is a purist organization, seeing the world as more black and white than do denominations. It provides the follower with an answer and gives meaning to a life formerly dominated by meaninglessness. In the ideological system of The Way the reader should note a second key similarity to the sect type in addition to the idea of rebirth. The Way rejects not only the secular


67






68

preoccupation of most of society's members, but also rejects other contemporary religious units. They expect a strict adherence to the interpretation, yet show outward tolerance with no hint of coercion. The Way is relatively small. The leader is charismatic; as much of a1is appeal is due to his personal flamboyance as to his message. As the organization becomes more structured, this charisma is being routinized and is passed on to the organization's other leaders.

The only negative, or non-sect-like, quality of the

Ministry is its extensive bureaucracy. This characteristic is necessary to any established unit which hopes to survive its charismatic leader.

This placement has been founded on the structural characteristics of the Ministry. On the basis of this placement various characteristics of the members of the Ministry may now be predicted. Members of a sect should be intensely religious on all of religiosity's dimensions. They should also exhibit a high degree of religious communality. Due to the placement of a unit as a sect, one may also expect its members to display religious intolerance.

These all generate hypotheses directly from the taxonomy. In addition to developing and testing these hypotheses, Chapters VI and VII will also consider several hypotheses on attitudinal traits of the members which can be indirectly related to the typology. These traits include alienation, self-esteem, social responsibility, and authoritarianism.













CHAPTER VI

HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS



In this chapter the data will be used to draw a comparison between sect and denominational affiliations. The data will not contribute any more than a minimal addition to the general empirical evidence on the church-sect theory, but they will provide a concise look at the major variables of the taxonomy as well as a look at some variables heretofore not seen in conjunction with the taxonomy. The current state of the taxonomy postulates a functional unity between attributes of members and structural traits of the unit. As yet, such a postulate has never been reduced to hypotheses and tested. The aim, then, of this research is to test a series of hypotheses drawn from this postulate of functional unity in a single religious organization. This work should unify the theory by analyzing just one religious organization in terms of variables which were previously researched only in scattered unrelated studies. As well, it will introduce new relationships as part of the taxonomy.

Although The Way Ministry is a nationally, and in fact even slightly internationally, organized religious body, the research was confined to only one branch of the organization. The branch, located in Greenville, North Carolina, is one of


69





70


the largest and most developed units which stem from a central headquarters. It is comprised of 65 members, 30 of whom are enrolled at the local East Carolina University.

The entire population of this unit was sampled and used for a brief forthcoming socio-descriptive discussion of The Way's population. However, for use in the sociological analysis of the church-sect theory, only the thirty subjects who are enrolled in college here were used. They would comprise the experimental group of sectarians, while a matched sample of denominational affiliates would be used as the control group. The total for each of the two samples is 30. The matching of the groups will be on a frequency basis with regard to some primary sociological variables which should be controlled: age, year in school, school major, sex, and marital status. Essentially, the argument for matching these characteristics is that several of them might cause spurious findings in the data. Each of these factors could cause apparent relationships among the variables being tested when actually sectarianism would itself not be involved. The matching then functions as a means of controlling to insure at least somewhat that we are observing the relationships of sectarianism with the tested variables. As well as matching to control certain variables, the control sample was drawn from introductory sociology sections.

All members of this "accidental-quota" sample have

answered affirmatively to a question of denominational affiliation. When the other variables (above) had been controlled





71


for, the respondents were given the survey instrument (questionnaire of 8 pages). The groups were then seen in comparison illustrating the differences between the sectarian and the denominationalist.

The questionnaire includes an e tensive survey of significant background information, some questions concerning social liberalism (sex, drugs, etc.), and a variety of scales, all previously used, to measure alienation, authoritarianism, self-esteem, social responsibility, religiosity and its various dimensions, and religious communality.

A brief description of the membership of the local branch of the Ministry will assist the reader. The data collected on the Ministry were gathered in the fall of 1972 on what was probably close to 80 percent or better of those active in this branch, N = 52. Of the fifty-two in the total there were 28 females and 24 males, 30 college students (14 sophomores, 8 juniors, 5 freshmen, and 2 seniors). Of the 30 college students, twelve were male and eighteen female.

For the most part, if they had declared a major at all,

it was either in the social sciences, fine arts, or education. Ten of the non-college respondents were from Greenville, while the other thirteen were from scattered home towns. Only four of the college sample were residents of Greenville but all but seven were from the state and most of those seven (five) were from Virginia or Maryland. The parents of only one of the 30 students were indicated to be something other than a nondenominational Christian or one of the major






72


denominations; they were Greek Orthodox. The majority indicated that their parents were either affiliates of the Baptist or Methodist denominations. All except 3 of the 29 saw their parents as at least moderately devout. Almost the entire sample of students had a family situation where the father was the head of the household and the parents were still together. In twenty-four of the student responses, the parents supported the member's involvement in the Ministry, while four others were indifferent, one unaware, and only one was opposed. Most of the student respondents seemed to be from a fairly immobile family life as most indicated less than one move of more than forty miles.

The membership of the local branch is not the "freakedout" seeker but a fairly conservative group of young people who.have found an accepted way to live; accepted by peers and parents alike. A few of the respondents indicated some limited use of drugs (one or two indicated extensive use), but the vast majority do not use drugs, drink alcoholic beverages only occasionally, and do not have pre-marital or extra-marital sexual relations.

There is no need for comparison with the denominational sample as they too are fairly conservative. The majority of students expressing a definite religious affiliation, whether in an accepted denomination or with part of a sect, are conservative. The purpose of this digression was to describe the members of the local branch. Because they are at least partially atypical of the Jesus Movement and even of the






73


total Ministry, inferences to larger populations are severely limited.

The data collected from the Ministry were gathered with full support of its leadership. All of the scales and measuring techniques used in the instrument were previously tested. Because a great many data were sought, one of the primary concerns in operationalizing concepts was brevity. The single independent variable was sectarian membership, while the majqr dependent variables under study which are reflected in the following hypotheses included: socioeconomic class, authoritarianism, self-esteem, religious communality, religious tolerance, religiosity (five dimensions), social responsibility, and alienation.

At present, causation is a somewhat theoretically premature concern. This work represents a case study of the taxonomy as it stands. A series of hypotheses will be stated, tested, either confirmed or rejected and finally discussed. The statistical analysis is a comparison of the sectarian and denominational samples by the use of difference of means tests.

In conjunction with these measures, multivariate analysis was employed in order to institute a control for each of the other primary variables in determining the actual relationship between sectarianism and the given variable. Thus, a series of multiple regressions were run. Sectarian membership was a dummy independent variable, with eight of the nine other variables as independent variables. The last






74


variable, each in turn, was used as the dependent variable. For each variable, the proportion of variance explained by sectarian membership could be determined. The nine variables tested in this fashion include: the five dimensions of religiosity, alienation after joining, self-esteem, authoritarianism, and social responsibility.

Discussion of each of the nine major hypotheses will be made after the hypotheses have been stated and the findings on verificatima or rejection of each hypothesis has been given. Then, Chapter VII will attempt to unify these independently tested variables through the multiple regressions.



Operationalization of Concepts
and Statement of Hypotheses


Religiosity has been a very difficult concept to measure for many years. One of the most important causes for the weakness of research and the apparent conflicts of various researches was that religiosity for so long was a nebulous concept. Different sociologists operationalized religiosity in so many ways that research could never be compiled for any sort of general theory. In recent years, however, theorists have responded to the need and have effected adequate (but by no means foolproof) means of defining religiosity.

Returning to the classical theories of Durkheim,the

basis of a suitable definition was found. Durkheim felt that all religions were composed of two aspects, belief and ritual (Durkheim, 1947). From there it is a short step to the






75


theories of five-dimensional religiosity (Glock and Stark, 1965:18-38). The five dimensions grant that religion is different things to different people and that people may be more or less religious in a variety of ways. The first dimension is the intellectual dimension; there is a certain body of knowledge which the member of a religious group is expected to know. Second is the ideological dimension which illustrates that members of a religious organization will vary in the degree to which they adhere to the beliefs and dogmas of the group. These two are extensions of Durkheim's belief aspect of religion, the following two are extensions of the ritual.

Dimension number three is the ritual dimension which

measures how much practitioners or believers actually participate in the religious rituals of the organization. The fourth is the dimension of experiential (one where a sect should score quite high) which basically measures the idea of religious experience with God. This particular element of religiosity is broken down by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark into subtypes of experience which illustrate differences not only in the occurrence of the experience but its intensity and significance as well (Glock and Stark, 1965:30-32). The last element of religiosity is perhaps the most difficult of the five to measure. It is the consequential dimension or a measurement of the degree to which one's religious commitment influences his secular activities.






76


The measures are based on the theory of five-dimensional religiosity as developed by Glock and Stark. As with most of the scales used in this research, these are scales developed in previous research. Four of the five dimensions measured here were developed by Joseph E. Faulkner and Gordon F. DeJong into scales. Each of the subscales may be used separately, as they are here, in research concerned with a more detailed view of religious commitment.

There has been some criticism of this and other uses of "5-D" religiosity (Clayton, 1972). Clayton, for example, notes that the scales are by no means independent of one another. He also argues that while each of the scales has many points of adequate measurement of religiosity, there is so much overlapping that the scales are not really able to be compared; that, in fact, they are measuring the same thing and not various dimensions. While it is true that all the dimensions are moderately correlated with each other, there is evidence that none of the dimensions was the same as any other (Faulkner and DeJong, 1966). Faulkner and DeJong also illustrate that the ideological dimension must be the central element of religiosity as it is most highly correlated with the other dimensions and that the consequential dimension is the least correlated, thereby implying that ethical views of the secular world are largely independent of religious beliefs.

There is some question, theoretically speaking, about

the validity of the general theory of five-dimensional religion as a means of interpreting religiosity and even beyond





77


that there is a question as to whether or not these particular scales are the most suitable measures of the dimensions. Even though some more substantial checks are needed on the reliability of these measures, it is felt that they will be adequate here for comparing sectarian, and denominational religiosity. In fact, such a comparison may further illustrate the validity of the dimensions of religiosity or some of the weaknesses of these scales.

In genera., this dissertation hypothesizes that the sectarian sample will score higher on overall religiosity and higher on each of the various dimensions, most significantly on the dimensions of experiential, consequential, and intellectual. While it is possible to compare the groups, there is some danger in the use of these scales. A failing of the scale of experiential is that it does not account for the subtypes of religious experience. The major dilemma, however, in using the scales to measure differences of religiosity among groups is that the groups often differ in what elements of Christian ideology, ritual and so forth they emphasize. It is felt that the sectarian will exhibit greater religiosity on each of the scales for the simple fact that religion to him is through conversion and calls for total commitment. While to many of the denominationalists this is also true, there are a great number who have inherited their religion and, while not actively rejecting it, they have never actively understood their acceptance of it. Acceptance was to them analogous to the sociologists' treatment of a






78


null hypothesis: they simply "failed to reject it." It may

be that this casual commitment to religion will show up in

one of the dimensions but certainly not all. It would be

most expected to appear in the ritualistic scale as this is

a major element of denominations' institutionalized religion.
The only scale of the five dimensions of religiosity

not borrowed from Faulkner and DeJong is the scale on intellectual religiosity (Qucs. 25-30, Appendix A). This scale

was developed.as a measure for one of eleven dimensions

measured by King, 1967. These questions tend to focus on

whether or not intellectual knowledge of the Bible is

esteemed rather than asking about specific scriptural passages.

The other four scales all come from Faulkner and DeJong's

work and may be found in Appendix A, respectively: ideological, questions 31-33; ritualistic, questions 34-38; experiential, questions 39-43; and consequential, questions 44-46.

Some small but necessary word changes were made in these

scales to insure standardization and applicability to both N samples.

The measure of alienation used was a scale developed by

R. Middleton (1963). Though some of the other scales of

alienation might have been more thorough and directly applicable than this one, it was the most concise. The scale was

given to the respondents twice; once for present responses,

and once for recall of perceptions prior to joining their

respective religious groups. There were so many "no

responses" among the denominationalists due to the fact that






79


many of them were life affiliates, that only the one measure could be compared to the Way members. The questions used are questions 71-78, Appendix A.

The social responsibility scale (Berkowitz and Lutterman, 1968) was comprised of an eight-question scale (Appendix A, Ques. 48-54). The authoritarian scale (Schuman and Harding, 1962) was a forced choice F-scale (Appendix A, Ques. 55-64). It should be noted that this forced choice format reduces the validity of the scale as a measure of unconscious personality trends as it encourages conscious reflection on the questions. The brevity of the scale made it the most suitable for this instrument. The scale for self-esteem (Campbell et al., 1960) was also borrowed (Appendix A, Ques. 77-84).

Advisedly, the researcher avoided questions of parental income, and used the other two primary dimensions of status, occupation and education,as a basis for operationalization. Parental education was measured ordinally by two forced choice questions (Appendix A, Ques. 9-10), while occupation status was based on the interval level data of the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago (Appendix A, Ques. 10a).

For all of the above scales, the reader should consult the source article for a more thorough discussion of the validity and reliability of the given scale.

The major variables upon which a church-sect distinction is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious organization is inclusive of society, (b) the extent to which






80


secular values and structures are accepted and adhered to or rejected, and (c) the extent of complexity of the organization's structures. On the basis of observation of the Way Ministry with regard to these variables, it has been placed on the continuum between the types of Established Sect and Charismatic Sect. Such a placement is only relative to other religious organizations; however, it is a safe enough application of the "ideal types."

If The Way Ministry, with regard to its structural properties, does occupy such a position on the continuum, then predictions of characteristics of the membership of this organization follow, due to the functional unity postulated by previous work on the continuum. The following hypotheses will be tested. Each of these hypotheses is derived from the postulate that, if a religious unit is of a certain structural nature, then the members of that unit will exhibit certain

personal traits. Thus, as The Way has been defined as a sect, on the basis of its structural properties, numerous correlational predictions may be made about its members in comparison to the members of the denominational sample.

(1) The Way members will score higher on measures of religious communality than will the denominational members.

Although the church or denomination is characterized by an inherited rather than converted membership, the sectarian appears to be finding community in his religion while the denominationalist may be simply using church as one element

of his social life and not totally immersing himself in it.






81

(2) The Way members will score lower on religious tolerance than will denominational affiliates. According to the typology, sectarians usually tend to be less tolerant of other religious expressions than do denominationalists.

(3) a. The Way members will score higher on the intellectual dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.

b. The Way members will score higher on the ideological dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.

c. The Way members will score higher on the ritualistic dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.

d. The Way members will score higher on the experiential dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.

e. The Way members will score higher on the consequential dimension of religiosity than will denominational members. These five separate hypotheses are made because sectarians are more immersed in religion and specifically see themselves as ministers of their religion, thus it is expected that the sectarian will be quite well versed in the intellectual and ideological aspects of religion.

(4) The Way members will be of a lower socio-economic strata than will the denominational affiliates. Sectarian religion is most often seen as a lower-class religious expression, and frequently is a response to economic deprivation.






82


These hypotheses all come directly from the theory of the church-sect continuum. In addition, this research will test the following hypotheses on variables not so directly related to the theory.

(5) The Way members will score lower on present alienation than on perceived alienation prior to joining the Ministry. While sects should draw from the alienated strata of society, the classic syndrome of alienation will be lacking as the member will be so well integrated into his subcultural situation.

(6) The Way members will score lower on alienation than will denominational members.

(7) The Way members will score higher on social responsibility than will the denominational members. This prediction is based on the fact that the sect is so conversion-oriented.

(8) The Way members will score higher on authoritarianism than will the denominational members. The constituent elements of the authoritarian mentality closely parallel those of the sectarian mind.

(9) The Way members should score lower on self-esteem than the denominational members.



Findings


The first hypothesis to consider is that comparing the religious communality of the sectarian and the denominationalist. Table 1 displays a far greater degree of religious






83


communality for the sectarian, confirming the first hypothesis. The hypothesis is confirmed by a series of "differenceof-proportions tests" which produced significant "z" scores. The concept of religious communality (Lenski, 1961) was operationalized by four questions as to whether the subject's spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) and his three closest friends were members of the same religious unit.



Table 1

Comparison of Religious Communality Between the Way Ministry
and Denominational Affiliates


Way Denominational
Percent Percent
Communal Communal
(N) Members (N) Members Z P< Spouse (or
boy- or girlfriend) (21) 62.0 (22) 32.0 1.9 .05 Friend 1 (27) 92.6 (30) 23.3 5.0 .01 Friend 2 (24) 79.1 (29) 14.0 4.6 .01 Friend 3 (24) 62.5 (28) 11.0 3.6 .01




Hypothesis two concerns the elusive concept of religious tolerance, here operationalized by a series of forced choice questions about several predominant religions (see questionnaire, Appendix A, Ques. 18).

On this hypothesis, due to the level of measurement, a difference of proportions test was used in place of a






84


difference of means test. The information was reduced from the questionnaire so that responses one and two were defined as tolerant. Seven independent difference of proportions tests were run, yielding six significant "Z" scores, as illustrated by Table 2. The data confirm the hypothesis; The Way membership is less tolerant than the denominational.



Table 2

A Comparison of Religious Tolerance
Between Members of the Way
and the Denominational Members


Way Denominational
Percent Percent
Religious Tolerant Tolerant
Organization Responses Responses Z P< Baptist 40.0 83.3 3.3 .01 Buddhist 0.0 20.0 2.5 .01 Catholic 10.0 70.0 4.7 .01 Hindu 0.0 20.0 2.5 .01 Lutheran 13.3 80.0 5.1 .01 Methodist 26.7 83.3 4.3 .01 Campus Crusade 40.0 46.7 1.0 N.S.




The third hypothesis is broken down into five subhypotheses, each of which will be independently tested. Table 3 represents five tests of significance. Hypotheses 3a-3d were all confirmed; the only dimension of religiosity which showed no significant variation between the Way and the denominations was the consequential.






85


Table 3

Differences Between Way and Denominational Members
in Means on Several Dimensions of Religiosity


Way Denominational
Hypothesis Variable Mean (N) Mean (N) t P<

3a Intellectual 6.97 (29) 10.76 (29) 5.57 .001
Religiosity

3b Ideological 4.20 (30) 7.93 (29) 14.23 .001
Religiosity

3c Ritualistic 6.83 (30) 8.23 (30) 3.40 .001
Religiosity

3d Experiential 5.47 (30) 9.40 (30) 7.71 .001
Religiosity

3e Consequential 6.26 (27) 6.95 (28) 1.31 N.S.
Religiosity




Hypothesis four was not confirmed by the data. Two different tests of significance were run because of the dual operationalization of the data. Ordinal data were collected on the questions of parential education; thus, a KolmogrovSmirnov test (Table 4a) was run. Table 4b represents the results from the difference of means test on parental occupation.






86


Table 4a

Results of Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test of Differences
Between the Way and Denominational Members
on Measure of Parental Education


Way Denominational
Hypothesis Variable (N) (N) d P<

4 Parental 30 30 1.01 N.S.
Education






Table 4b

Differences Between the Way and Denominational Members in Mean Scores on Parental Occupation


Way Denominational
Hypothesis Variable Mean (N) Mean (N) t P<

4 Parental 46.7 (30) 51.0 (30) 1.10 N.S.
Occupation



Hypothesis five suggests that Way members will show a

reduction in present alienation from that which they perceived prior to entering the Ministry. This hypothesis was confirmed by data in Table 5.






87


Tab le 5

Differences Between the Way Members Mean Scores
on Perception of Alienation Now and Before Entering the Ministry


Now Before
Hypothesis Variable Mean (N) Mean (N) t P<

5 Alienation 19.41 (29) 13.24 (29) 8.60 .001
Reduction




Hypotheses six through eight were confirmed and hypothesis 9 was not as is illustrated by Table 6.



Table 6

Differences Between the Way and Denominational
Members in Mean Scores on Several Attitudinal Variables


Way Denominational Hypothesis Variable Mean (N) Mean (N) t P<

6 Alienation 19.41 (29) 14.26 (30) 3.39 .001 7 Social 32.38 (29) 23.66 (30) 4.49 .001
Responsibility

8 Authori- 27.31 (29) 8.64 (30) 5.86 .001
tarianism

9 Self-esteem 18.93 (27) 18.43 (20) 0.48 N.S.






88


Discussion of Results


The first hypothesis tested and confirmed asserted that Way members would exhibit a greater degree of communal religiosity than denominational members. One of the primary functions that religions meet is in social integration, allowing the individual to develop a personal identification through unity with the group. Just as individuals will vary in their need for this identification, so too different religious groups will vary in their efforts to fulfill this function. Sects gain their following from the socially weak and estranged. This powerless stratum abounds with various types of alienation. Alienation is seen as something to avoid, a hazard of life. Generally looked on as a bad state of mind by philosophy and society in general because it threatens the social system, alienation is something individuals are taught to fear.

When one craves (not seeks) an answer he will find one, and the primary demand of this answer is not that it be correct but that it comfort and calm the individual. Sects seek to provide such confort for lost or alienated people and the easiest way is through a bond of friendship. The alienated seeker is a lonely person who finds that the sect provides him with a total life, not unlike a "total institution." Thus, one expects such a unit to have a great deal of communality. The religious unit is the sole answer to the sectarian and he immerses himself in religion. Most of his daily






89


life is conducted through this organization; therefore, the majority of close ties will quite likely be involved with the sect.

The second hypothesis also seems a product of the sectarian's purist mind. Denominations often begin as sects but due to"the weakness of the conflict they become established compromising institutions. The sect becoming a denomination does not view the secular world as a great wrong to be overcome, but rather sees itself as a part of the total society and while it conflicts against an established religious tradition it still maintains harmony with the society at large. One of the foremost thoughts of the denominationalist idea is that they be free to express a new and somewhat different interpretation of religious life without persecution; thus a major tenet of their doctrine is tolerance of religious expression. Essentially, because they want to maintain their position in society, they will make certain compromises with the religious tradition and with society.

On the other hand, the sectsare not generally concerned with secular, social or even religious acceptance. Thus, they emphasize separateness, social isolation and the uniqueness of their religion. They are the only way and thus do not particularly value tolerance as they are more of a priest religious group. Also in conjunction with the earlier discussions, the sects are trying to supply followers with a "Weltanschauung" or world perspective; thus; they must sell themselves as confident, correct, and as separate from the established society.






90


Hypothesis three was concerned with the five dimensions

of religiosity. All of the sub-hypotheses were confirmed with the exception of consequential religiosity which showed no significant difference between sectarian and denominationalist. One would expect the Way members to score as highly as they did on the intellectual dimension as the ministry is defined as a "biblical research" organization.

The second major dimension measured is that of ideology. The most significant statistic of all those tested was found on this dimension. This finding might have been well anticipated by the aforementioned fact that "ideology" was the central component of the religiosity scales. The Bible is the central element, the core of life and the source of all doctrine and belief for The Way Ministry. It demands a total commitment to the "Will of God;" thus, it is a reasonable expectation that the membership of the Ministry will score extremely high on ideological religiosity.

The next dimension to consider is the ritualistic dimension or a scale measuring one's adherence to rituals of the religious organization. As was predicted, the ritualistic was one of the least significant of the tests run. This is due possibly to the fact that, as noted before, the sect is a more individualistic unit stressing experience over group ritual. Even though the Way exhibits a greater religiosity on each of the religious dimensions, this particular element would be less important or "significant" statistically.






91


To the denominationalist, ritual is a very important part of religion. As religion is only one institution of his life, his adherence to its ritual serves to confirm its importance to him without demanding persistent, time-consuming attention. Religion to him, it would seem, would be of a casual concern rather than a daily challenge to his secular activities. He is able to separate the religion from the secular world; putting it aside except for certain occasions and situations characterized by ritualistic expressions of religion. Thus, ritual is the foremost element of religion to the casual practitioner (to the denominationalist relative to the sectarian), and it is not surprising to find that the difference-of-means statistic here is not as significant as on the other dimensions.

The experiential dimension, which it was thought would produce the most significant statistic, did illustrate a dramatic relationship with sectarian membership. The "t" score was the second highest score among the various dimensions of religiosity. One of the primary characteristics of the "sect" type in the church-sect continuum was the emphasis on spiritual rebirth which usually is the result of experiencing a communion with God.

This trait is no less prominent or necessary to the

members of The Way Ministry than it is in other sects. The Way points out that man has been separated from God (lost his spirit) due to the original sin. Man must be reborn in order to effect a spiritual union with God which ultimately makes






92


him able to fulfill his potential and to walk on the word of God. One cannot even know the will of God until he is complete, and to be made complete he must be reborn. Through this rebirth men are able to realize the gift of the Holy Spirit and to experience Him within themselves.

This would lead one to expect a most significant difference between the sect and non-sect; however, reducing the predicted disparity is the fact that most of our modern denominations were at one time sects and they too consider a

personal experience with God to be an important aspect of one's religious efforts. Another factor causing some reduction of the prediction would be that this particular scale seems to measure more than religious experience and does not distinguish the various subtypes of religious experience. The scale seems to measure not only experience with God but focuses even more directly on whether or not the respondent feels that religion gives man a way-of-life and security. This scale certainly needs to be made more unidimensional or specific. Its focus is on related points but not directly on experiencing the divine.

The final dimension of religiosity, the consequential,

was the only one of the dimensions which was not significantly related to sectarianism. The insignificance on this particular scale score may be attributed to one or two factors. First, as was mentioned above, the consequential was the least significantly correlated element of the religiosity cluster. This may be due to the fact that the ethical






93


decisions are separate from religious belief; however, it could be more a result of the fact that the consequential dimension as measured here would be high for a person of casual religion as it would for one of the total religion. One may expect high scores on this scale by anyone involved in Christian religion because the secular points brought up in the scale are derived so directly from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Now atten.tion should be turned to other (non-religious) nominal attributes of the members of the sectarian unit. lHypotheses suggested by the taxonomy include those on alienation, social responsibility, self-esteem, authoritarianism and socio-economic status. The first of these hypotheses is perhaps the most paradoxical initially. While alienation from established society is one of the basic elements producing a sect, alienation is one of the things a sect should be overcoming for its membership. This proved true when the membership of the sectarian community was tested against itself as the members perceived themselves to be prior to taking up the Ministry.

The findings illustrate that the Ministry had been

successful in easing the alienation of its converts as they perceive it. Quite likely this is biased due to the peculiar mode of getting the data; however, the significant response is demonstration that the sect had given meaning to the convert's life and illustrated to him that he could affect the world in a meaningful way.




Full Text
94
Following this measurement, it is easy to assume that
the sectarian would be even less alienated than the denomi-
nationalist. While it is true that in the definition of sec
tarian religion a primary component is alienation from pre
vailing cultural structures, alienation as a classic psycho
logical syndrome may be negatively related to certain types
of sects. This assertion is founded on the idea that a
person committed to a sect may be quite well integrated into
his sub-cultural unit and yet maintain a stance of opposition
toward the established culture. Thus, a member would not
likely exhibit the traits of social isolation or self
estrangement. Members of a sect which is conversion oriented
will probably not exhibit other traits of the alienation
syndrome, powerlessness and meaninglessness. Also, reducing
the likelihood of these traits as well as feelings of norm-
lessness is the fact that the sect provides the follower with
a world view.
Hypothesis seven is that a conversion oriented sect like
The Way Ministry may even show greater social responsibility
than denominationalists. The Way Ministry as a conversionist
sect seeks to change the people. In order to produce such
change, or even to attempt it, the members must see the
world's problems as being somehow potentially solved. This
leads to a demand of the members that they take some of the
burden of responsibility on their shoulders. Many of the
denominationalists who were not so involved in their religion
remain alienated from and apathetic about social problems.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTER
I INTRODUCTION AND THEORY 1
The Church-Sect Taxonomy 4
II THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE .... 24
III THE WAY MINISTRY 38
IV CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION 49
Power for Abundant Living 57
Are the Dead Alive Now? 62
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today 63
The Bible Tells Me So; The New,
Dynamic Churchy and. The Word's Way .... 66
V PLACEMENT OF THE WAY 6 7
VI HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS 69
Operationalization of Concepts and
Statement of Hypotheses 74
Findings 82
Discussion of Results 88
VII CONCLUSIONS 98
APPENDIX
A QUESTIONNAIRE 107
REFERENCES 118
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 125
v


29
variety which is available; whereas for The Way, the supreme
evil is found in the various interpretations of scripture.
For the individual who is yet to be converted, life is chaotic
due to the multiplicity of countless options and viable paths.
The source of the evil, according to the Ministry, is the god
of this world, Satan. Satan not only creates these additional
paths but makes them alluring. While members of the Ministry
feel they "see a highway of diamonds with nobody on it, they
feel the rest of the populace is racing to inhabit infertile
fields and impassable roads. The Jesus movement and The Way
Ministry give a direct and clearcut answer to the seeker,
they stand out from the rest of the alternatives as "the one
way." They provide the seeker with a black and white world
view which shuts out the world of unlimited choice. The
seeker is given an escape from his freedom; no\v the Bible can
give him the answers for his choices.
The next element and perhaps the most important and
consistent is the similarity of type of person found in The
Way Ministry to those found in other evangelical religious
movements. Like most of the other factions of the Jesus
movement, the adherents of The Way are mostly young people
in their late teens and early twenties. As Ellwood notes,
. mature faith rarely has the pristine glow,
the fiery absoluteness, or the life-forming
totality of the adolescent conversion. It is
then that people see what it seems has never
been seen before, feel raptures they believe
have never been so deeply felt--certainly not
in their families--and leave all to join mon
asteries or to seek the feet of a guru (Ellwood,
1973:51-52).


79
many of them were life affiliates, that only the one measure
could be compared to the Way members. The questions used
are questions 71-78, Appendix A.
The social responsibility scale (Berkowitz and Lutterman,
1968) was comprised of an eight-question scale (Appendix A,
Ques. 48-54). The authoritarian scale (Schuman and Harding,
1962) was a forced choice F-scale (Appendix A, Ques. 55-64).
It should be noted that this forced choice format reduces
the validity of the scale as a measure of unconscious person
ality trends as it encourages conscious reflection on the
questions. The brevity of the scale made it the most suit
able for this instrument. The scale for self-esteem (Campbell
et_ al_. 1960) was also borrowed (Appendix A, Ques. 77- 84).
Advisedly, the researcher avoided questions of parental
income, and used the other two primary dimensions of status,
occupation and education,as a basis for operationalization.
Parental education was measured ordinally by two forced choice
questions (Appendix A, Ques. 9-10), while occupation status
was based on the interval level data of the National Opinion
Research Center of the University of Chicago (Appendix A,
Ques. 10 a).
For all of the above scales, the reader should consult
the source article for a more thorough discussion of the
validity and reliability of the given scale.
The major variables upon which a church-sect distinction
is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious organi
zation is inclusive of society, (b) the extent to which


77
that there is a question as to whether or not these particu
lar scales are the most suitable measures of the dimensions.
Even though some more substantial checks are needed on the
reliability of these measures, it is felt that they will be
adequate here for comparing sectaria^ and denominational
religiosity. In fact, such a comparison may further illus
trate the validity of the dimensions of religiosity or some
of the weaknesses of these scales.
In general, this dissertation hypothesizes that the
sectarian sample will score higher on overall religiosity
and higher on each of the various dimensions, most signifi
cantly on the dimensions of experiential, consequential, and
intellectual. While it is possible to compare the groups,
there is some danger in the use of these scales. A failing
of the scale of experiential is that it does not account for
the subtypes of religious experience. The major dilemma,
however, in using the scales to measure differences of reli
giosity among groups is that the groups often differ in what
elements of Christian ideology, ritual and so forth they
emphasize. It is felt that the sectarian will exhibit
greater religiosity on each of the scales for the simple fact
that religion to him is through conversion and calls for
total commitment. While to many of the denominationalists
this is also true, there are a great number who have inherited
their religion and, while not actively rejecting it, they have
never actively understood their acceptance of it. Acceptance
was to them analogous to the sociologists' treatment of a


9
When one applies this aspect of function to Troeltsch's
dichotomy it becomes possible to elucidate the personal and
social factors which influence the structure of religious
systems and other organizations in the social system at large.
Some of these speculations already touched on by this theory
will relate directly to the hypotheses tested in the follow
ing chapters.
The sect is usually founded on dissent by a perspicacious
leader, who seeks to resolve the dilemma posed by doctrinal
compromise or submission to secular powers. The sect is try
ing more to meet the needs of individual believers. Sects
arise in communities where the traditional religious expres
sion has been so strongly integrated into the social system
that it fails to change in ritual and belief as is required
by personal events and needs; thus, many individuals and
groups are not satisfied.
The sect was noted by the early theorists as being a
response to the specific needs of the economic realm. This
is not, of course, the only genre of needs which individuals
have found satisfied in religious splinter groups, but it is
one of the most obvious and persistent sources of religious
dissatisfaction. Traditionally, most sectarian movements
have been sponsored by the lower socio-economic strata. The
splinters often broke away due to the failure of the church
to satisfy the emotional and psychological needs of members
from lower strata. Also, members of the lower strata of
society would be more prone to reject the status quo and to


34
medieval Europe, it was never fully incorporated into a con
sistent system until the turn of the twentieth century.
Speaking in tongues was born on the American scene in Kansas
in 1901. The real center of the Pentecostal movement is
found in the famous Azusa Street meetings, where W. J. Sey
mour, a'black preacher, began a tremendous revival on speak
ing-in-tongues .
This whole tradition, like The Way Ministry, focuses on
the two worlds., with the importance of this world being sub
ject to the power of the second world. Nonetheless, to the
minister of The Way as to the Pentecostalist the image of
God has power now. "He is benign and can accomplish great
transformations now. Even now a person can attain salvation
and supernatural powers"(Ellwood, 1973:47). However, this
world is not important to the Pentecostalist as it is to the
Adventist, for example. Gary Schwartz, in comparing the two,
noted that the Pentecostalist is not worried about his sta
tion in this world, as the Adventist is (Schwartz, 1970).
The evangelical movement plays for the youth of today the
same role it played for other alienated types of people:
frontiersmen, southerners during the restoration, blacks,
and the lower socio-economic classes.
Speaking in tongues is a part of the ministry's worship
ping, thus The Way could be associated with the Pentecostal
churches. However, to The Way, speaking in tongues is char
acterized by a quiet devotional style of prayer and worship
rather than by the loud shouting and ecstatic movement


31
The members of the Ministry have a sort of aura of invul
nerability. They see the world basically in terms of black
and white but are not fanatical. They have been attracted to
the Ministry from a variety of despondent life styles. The
Ministry provides them with a sense of protective community
like the protection and security which a child feels in the
arms of a parent. One is reminded of the two realms of life
confronted by Sinclair in Hesse's novel Demi an.
The realms of day and night, two different worlds
coming from two opposite poles, mingled during
this time. My parents' house made up one realm,
yet its boundaries were even narrower, actually
embracing only my parents themselves. This realm
was familiar to me in almost every way--mother
and father, love and strictness, model behavior,
and school. It was a realm of brilliance, charity,
and cleanliness, gentle conversations, washed hands,
clean clothes, and good manners. Straight lines
and paths led into the future: there was duty and
guilt, bad conscience and confession, forgiveness
and good resolutions, love, reverence, wisdom, and
the words of the Bible.
The other realm however, overlapping half our
house, was completely different; it smelled differ
ent, spoke a different language, promised and
demanded different things. The second world con
tained servant girls and workmen, ghost stories,
rumors of scandal. It was dominated by a loud
mixture of horrendous, intriguing, frightening,
mysterious things, including slaughter houses and
prisons, drunkards and screeching fishwives,
calving cows, horses sinking to their death,
tales of robberies, murders and suicides (Hesse,
1965:5,6).
The members of The Way Ministry most often try to pro
ject a sense of confidence, serenity, and supreme satisfac
tion with life. Showering visitors with greetings and salu
tations of love with a sprinkling of "God Blesses," they
display their inner peace and community with God. For them


81
(2) The Way members will score lower on religious toler
ance than will denominational affiliates. According to the
typology, sectarians usually tend to be less tolerant of
other religious expressions than do denominationalists.
(3) a. The Way members will score higher on the intel
lectual dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
b. The Way members will score higher on the ideologi-
cal dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.
c. The Way members will score higher on the ritual
istic dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
d. The Way members will score higher on the experi
ential dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
e. The Way members will score higher on the conse
quential dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members. These five separate hypotheses are made because
sectarians are more immersed in religion and specifically see
themselves as ministers of their religion, thus it is expected
that the sectarian will be quite well versed in the intellec
tual and ideological aspects of religion.
(4) The Way members will be of a lower socio-economic
strata than will the denominational affiliates. Sectarian
religion is most often seen as a lower-class religious
expression, and frequently is a response to economic depri
vation.


105
Just as Demerath found that socio-economic status was
negatively related to sect-like religion and positively
related to church-like religiosity, when up to that point the
empirical efforts of the field could reveal no consistent
relationship between religiosity and social class, sociolo
gists may now break down sect-like religion in an effort to
illustrate that perhaps modern sectarian movements are appeal
ing more and more to the upper and middle classes as well as
to the economically deprived strata of our society. As is
implied above, there may be as well various subtypes of
denominations, cults and so forth which it also would be
fruitful to conceptualize.
In summarizing the findings, the research reveals a gen
eral support of the typological structure. The frame provides
an adequate reference but in no way should it be seen as a
basis for classification as it merely explicates several of
the important variables of religious organizational structure
which are interrelated and allows the theorist and researcher
a standard for comparison.
The few variances from the ideal concept of sect do not
indicate any general incorrectness of the taxonomy as they
rather illustrate its limitations and also hint at which may
be some statistically significant elements for furthering
(through subdivisions) our range of analysis of religious
organizations.
The Way Ministry was placed on the continuum and in
contrast to the denominationals produced a significant


52
God's word so that they will be sought out rather than "out
seeking." This is not to say, either, that The Way does not
go out to share its beliefs or that they employ no disembodied
strategy. They do utilize a limited number of flyers, which
are distributed to interested people rather than being handed
out indiscriminately; most of these give a brief description
of The Way's beliefs, programs, goals and activities.
The Way Ministry makes great efforts to share their mes
sage with the -world of nonbelievers. Rather than trying to
be in a specific (religious or secular) setting in order to
meet possible converts, The Way ministers go about their
daily lives, attempting (most often in a covert fashion which
is soon uncovered) to influence those closest to them.
The embodied access is carried out most specifically by
the WOW (Word Over the World) Ambassadors. This program was
begun in 1971 and it sent at that time nearly 100 people into
communities throughout the country in order to teach other
individuals what they have learned about Christ. By the fall
of 1972 the Headquarters had sent more than 250 Ambassadors
across the country into 24 states and into five foreign
countries.
A flyer describes the WOW Ambassadors as living a life
of study and dedication. They must support themselves by
working at a secular employment for four hours a day and then
they are able to devote the remainder of their time to teach
ing the word, witnessing, running the Power for Abundant
Living classes, and undershepherding. (Witnessing is


120
dock, Charles.
1959 "The sociology of religion." Robert Merton et al.
(ed.), Sociology Today. New York: Harper and-Row,
Inc.
1973 Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co.
dock, Charles and Rodney Stark.
1965Religion and Society in Tension. Chicago: Rand
McNally Co.
Goode, Erich.
1967- "Some critical observations on the church sect
dimension." Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 6:69-77.
Gorman, Benjamin.
1966"The Relationship of Authoritarianism to the
church-sect typology." (Unpublished)
Gustafson, Paul.
1967"UO-US-PS-PO: A restatement of Troeltsch's church-
sect typology." Journal for the Scientific Study
of Religion 6:64-68.
Hesse, Herman.
1965 Demian. New York: Harper and Row.
Johnson, Benton.
1952
"A critical appraisal
American Sociological
of the
Review
church-sect typology.
22 : 88-92.
1963
"On church and sect."
Review 28:539-549.
Ameri
can Sociological
Kanter, Rosabeth M.
1972 Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in
Sociological Perspective. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard Univ. Press.
King, M.
1967 "Measuring the religious variable: Nine proposed
dimensions." Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 6:173-190.
Kennis ton,
1965
Kenneth.
The Uncommitted.
World.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and
Lehman, Harvey C. and Paul A. Witty.
1931 "Scientific eminence and church membership."
Scientific Monthly 33:544-549.


75
theories of five-dimensional religiosity (dock and Stark,
1965:18-38). The five dimensions grant that religion is dif
ferent things to different people and that people may be more
or less religious in a variety of ways. The first dimension
is the intellectual dimension; there is a certain body of
knowledge which the member of a religious group is expected
to know. Second is the ideological dimension which illus
trates that members of a religious organization will vary in
the degree to which they adhere to the beliefs and dogmas of
the group. These two are extensions of Durkheim's belief
aspect of religion, the following two are extensions of the
ritual.
Dimension number three is the ritual dimension which
measures how much practitioners or believers actually partic
ipate in the religious rituals of the organization. The
fourth is the dimension of experiential (one where a sect
should score quite high) which basically measures the idea
of religious experience with God. This particular element
of religiosity is broken down by Charles Glock and Rodney
Stark into subtypes of experience which illustrate differences
not only in the occurrence of the experience but its intensity
and significance as well (Glock and Stark, 1965:30-32). The
last element of religiosity is perhaps the most difficult of
the five to measure. It is the consequential dimension or a
measurement of the degree to which ones religious commitment
influences his secular activities.


123
Troeltsch, Ernst.
1911 Social Teachings of the Christian Church.
London: George Allen and Lenewin, Inc.
1969 Protestantism and Progress. Boston: Beacon Press.
Watts Allen.
1972 "The Jesus freaks and Jesus." The New York Times
(March 29).
Weber, 'Max.
1958 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Translated by T. Parsons. New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons.
The Sociology of Religion. Boston: Beacon Press.
Elena S.
The Way: Living in Love. New Knoxville, Ohio:
American Christian Press.
Wierwille, V. P.
19
71a
Are the Dead Alive
Now?
New Knoxville
, Ohio:
Arne rican
Christ! an
T G S S

19
71b
The Bible
Tells Me
So.
New Knoxville,
Ohio:
American
Christian
Pres s

19
71c
The Power
for Abun
d an t L
iving.
New Kn
oxville,
Ohio: Arne
rican Chr
is tian
Press.
19
72
Receiving
the Holy
Spiri
t. New
Knoxvi
lie, Ohi
American
Christian
Press
Wilson, Bryan.
1961 Sects and Society. London: William Heinemann, Ltd.
1967 Patterns of Sectarianism Organization and Ideology
in Social and Religious Movements. London:
Wi Hi am He inemann Ltd .
Wuthnow, Robert.
1973 "Religious commitment and conservatism: In search
of an elusive relationship." In Charles Y. Glock
(ed.), Religion in Sociological Perspective.
Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 117-132.
Yang, C. K.
1961 Religion in Chinese Society. Berkeley, Calif.:
Univ. of California Press.
1
1969
Whiteside,
1972


57
the most important for the presentation of the Ministry's
beliefs, ideals and Biblical perspective.
Power for Abundant Living
This book is the basic text for the Ministry. It is
divided into five sections which explain the various keys for
using the Bible. "The first and most basic key for power for
abundant living is that the Bible is the revealed Word and
Will of God" (Wierwille, 1971c:5). In the first section the
reader learns that in order to properly follow the word, one
must first learn what God makes available for people, how to
receive it and finally how to use His gifts. The basic gifts
which God makes available include prosperity and good health,
sufficiency in all things and inner strength. The power of
inner strength comes to us with the fullness of God gained
when our spirit is reunited with His. Wierwille says,
Let's be sure in our Biblical quest for the more
abundant life that we first find out what is
available so that we as God's people will not
be destroyed because we lack knowledge. When
we know what is available, then we can learn the
other principles that are involved in making our
life more abundant so that we can manifest the
greatness of the power of God (Wierwille, 1971c:5).
He continues by saying,
I do not tell you that you ought to read the
Bible; I teach you how to read it. I do not
tell you that you ought to pray; I tell you how
to pray. I do not tell you that you should
believe; I tell you how to believe (Wierwille,
1971c:15) .
As it is in the material realm so it is in the spiritual.
One may well know what is available but he must learn how to


40
Ministry has expanded from its home in Ohio to an extensive
national and even international following. While proselyti-
zation will be more thoroughly and specifically discussed in
the fourth chapter, a brief explanation of the structure of
the organization will reveal the means by which the word is
spread."
The Way is a fellowship, not a church or denomination,
but a union of all those who follow Jesus Christ. Preceding
the evolution of the term Christians and the development of
the many contemporary denominations and churches, the followers
of Christ were referred to as the "followers of The Way." Now,
in twentieth century America, this organization is attempting
to found itself on the principles of the first century Chris
tians. Thus, in keeping with the book of Acts, they have
named the fellowship "The Way." The Way is an international
organization of biblical research and a teaching ministry
which is designed to know and teach the Bible in every detail.
The Way acclaims itself as a nondenominational church of
\ believers who minister the word to people and then allow
people the autonomy of deciding how they will use it.
The Way describes itself as being similar to a tree and
thus has named its sub-units: the root, the trunk, limbs,
branches, and twigs. The twigs, being the smallest units,
are also the most important units for sustaining the group
identification. They are the most personal and most frequent
in meeting. A twig is defined as a fellowship of three or
more members in a specific local area, which meets nightly


63
many "Christians" believe that the dead are now alive in the
kingdom of God. According to the Bible this is not true. No
one is alive until the first resurrection when Christ comes
for His Church (body of believers) and then after some time
(not specified) Christ will be resurrected again to come
with His Church to make all alive.
There are two antithetical powers in our lives, God and
Satan (God of this world). In the spiritual realm God is
King; however, Satan has powers by which he is able to deceive
people. Wierwille suggests that it is the power of Satan
which fools people in seances, and other supernatural rituals,
into believing that the dead are alive elsewhere.
In this book, as in all of his works, Wierwille illus
trates an extensive command of Scripture. With a most impres
sive amount of research he draws conclusively the position of
the Bible on this question. He shows that this position is
accurate and consistent with respect to even the most trouble
some passages.
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today
This third book by Wierwille is basically a "how-to-do
it" book on receiving the holy spirit from God. As was seen
in the discussion of the first text, there are nine funda
mental manifestations of the holy spirit. Perhaps the most
elusive and fascinating is that of speaking in tongues.
Wierwille answers a series of questions about this and the
other manifestations.


72
denominations; they were Greek Orthodox. The majority indi
cated that their parents were either affiliates of the Baptist
or Methodist denominations. All except 3 of the 29 saw their
parents as at least moderately devout. Almost the entire
sample of students had a family situation where the father
was the head of the household and the parents were still
together. In twenty-four of the student responses, the
parents supported the member's involvement in the Ministry,
while four others were indifferent, one unaware, and only one
was opposed. Most of the student respondents seemed to be
from a fairly immobile family life as most indicated less
than one move of more than forty miles.
The membership of the local branch is not the "freaked-
out" seeker but a fairly conservative group of young people
who have found an accepted way to live; accepted by peers and
parents alike. A few of the respondents indicated some
limited use of drugs (one or two indicated extensive use),
but the vast majority do not use drugs, drink alcoholic
beverages only occasionally, and do not have pre-marital or
extra-marital sexual relations.
There is no need for comparison with the denominational
sample as they too are fairly conservative. The majority of
students expressing a definite religious affiliation, whether
in an accepted denomination or with part of a sect, are con
servative. The purpose of this digression was to describe
the members of the local branch. Because they are at least
partially atypical of the Jesus Movement and even of the


4
and contemporary religious scenes. This background leads to
the third and fourth chapters discussion of the particular
unit under study, The Way Ministry, and its relationship to
a secular world. In Chapter V The Way is defined as a sect
on the basis of this material in Chapters I through IV, thus
giving a foundation for several hypotheses to be tested and
analyzed in the closing chapters.
The Church-Sect Taxonomy
The church-sect distinction is one of the oldest analytic
approaches in the scientific study of religious behavior. The
typology dates back to the work of two of the foremost theo
rists of sociological thought, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch.
Ernst Troeltsch, concentrating on Christianity, noted
that since its earliest days its structure had developed in
three main types: the church, sect and mysticism (the last
most commonly referred to now as the cult).
The first is organized as a single central unit of
\ salvation for the masses. The sect is a voluntary
society comprised of strict, disciplined individual
believers bound to each other by the single fact
that each has experienced the 'new birth.' The
third is based on a purely inward, singular and per
sonal experience, thus weakening the unit's own
structure, organization, doctrine and worship
(Troeltsch, 1911:993).
Weber simultaneously was making his classic statement
on the taxonomy. He notes the universal dominion of the
church; all people are subject to its discipline, a fact not
*
true in the sect. Weber cites four elements as central to


116
83. I have always felt pretty sure my life would work out
the way I want it to.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
84. I seem to be the kind of person that has more bad luck
than good luck.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
85. I never had any trouble making up my mind about impor
tant decisions.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
86. I have always felt that I have more will power than most
people have.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
87. I nearly always feel pretty sure of myself even when
people disagree with me.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
88. There's not much use for me to plan ahead because theres
usually something that makes me change my plans.
Agree a lot Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
89. I have often had the feeling that it is no use to try
to get anywhere in this life.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
90. What do you hope will be your future occupation?
91. List any groups or organizations (in or out of school)
with which you are associated.
92. How often do you drink alcoholic beverages?
Never ; Only an occasional drink ; Only social
drinking to relax ; Frequently get high ; Drink
often ; I get drunk occasionally .
93. Do you smoke marijuana or hashish?
Yes ; No ; If yes, how often


110
29.The true Christian is likely to have sincere and search
ing questions about the nature of a life of faith in God.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree somewhat
Disagree strongly
30. I enjoy the intellectual st mulation of learning about
the Bible and about the history and doctrines of the
church. Statement is Accurate ; Somewhat accurate ;
Only slightly accurate ; Inaccurate
31. The true Christian person is sure that his beliefs are
correct. Yes ; No
32. My interest in and real commitment to Christ is greater
now than when I first began attending church on my own
(instead of purely parental obedience).
Yes ; No
33. Do you believe that the world will come to an end accord
ing to the word of God?
Yes, I believe this ; I am uncertain about this ;
No, I do not believe this
34. Which of the following statements most clearly describes
your idea about the Deity?
I believe in a Divine God, Creator of the Universe, who
knows my innermost thoughts and feelings, and to Whom
one day I shall be accountable ; I believe in a power
greater than myself, which some people call God and some
people call nature ; I believe in the worth of humanity
but not in a God or A Supreme Being ; The so-called
universal mysteries are ultimately knowable according
to the scientific method based on natural laws ; I am
not quite sure what I believe ; I am an atheist .
35. Do you believe that it is necessary for a person to
repent before God will forgive his sins?
Yes, God's forgiveness comes only after repentance ;
No, God does not demand repentance ; I am not in need
of repentance ; Have no opinion
36. Which one of the following best expresses your opinion
of God Acting in history?
God has and continues to act in the history of mankind
God acted in previous periods but is not active at the
present time ; God does not act in human history ;
Have no opinion
37. Which of the following best expresses your view of the
Bible in its original form?
The Bible is God's work and all it says is true ; The
Bible was written by men inspired by God, and its basic
moral and Christian teachings are true, but because


society but rather feels an acute sense of alienation from
the established religious system.
12
With
there was
religion.
the sect defined as a short-lived religious protest
really no category to entail many expressions of
Mysticism was an effort by Troeltsch to broaden
his own' typology but this too was fairly inadequate. Mystic
religion is such a completely personal experience that such
groups would be destined to die out as they have no perma
nent form. Troeltsch goes on to illustrate how the point of
view of the mystics differs from that of the sectarian. From
the perspective of the mysticism type
the truth of salvation is inward and relative, a
personal position which is unutterable, and lies
unspoken beneath all literal forms. The merely
relative significance of the Biblical, dogmatic
or religious form in which Truth is expressed
makes mysticism independent of all historic forms,
and the inner Unity of the Spirit quite naturally
unites all souls in the common truth which is
purely spiritual and impossible to formulate
(Troeltsch, 1911:999).
Max Weber's work was closely tied to the efforts of
\
Troeltsch though his major concern was the various relation
ships of different religious organizations to the state. He
illustrates that in the sect religious leaders may exercise
power only if they have the charisma, whereas in the church
this charisma has been institutionalized.
This typology, like many of the topics of the sociology
of religion, fell from prominence in the field's literature.
Only in the past fifteen years has there been a revival of
interest both in the sociology of religion at large and in


62
In the concluding pages of the text, Wierwille explains
the obligations of the reborn. They are to spread the word
of God as warriors. Once you believe in Christ you are recon
ciled to the Ministry.
Finally, the reader learns the nine manifestations of
the holy spirit which God gave on the Pentecost. The nine
are of three basic categories: inspirational, informative,
and power-impartation manifestations. The first includes
prophesy or a .message in a believer's meeting from God in
the language of those present, speaking in tongues or bring
ing a message from God in a language not known by the speaker
(usually in private prayer) and interpretation of tongues.
The second category includes word of knowledge from God
unknowable by the five senses, Word of wisdom or how to use
knowledge and discerning or recognition of spirits, their
presence and identity. The last category is composed of
faith, miracles, and healing. Each of these manifestations
are the power of any reborn Christian.
Are the Dead Alive Now?
This text is centered around the nature of life after
death. God made, formed and created man in body, soul and
spirit, respectively. Life after death is purely a spiritual
matter; thus, if one is not reborn in spirit how can he have
it after he has died in body and soul. Wierwille argues that


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY
By
David Alger McNaught
December, 1974
Chairman: Dr. E. Wilbur Bock
Major Department: Sociology
This work is a presentation of research collected on a
contemporary Christian sect. The purpose of the research was
to assess the limitations and utilities of contemporary reli
gious organizational theory. The theory postulates a func
tional unity between structural characteristics of the reli
gious unit and attributes of the members of the unit.
The organization under study was defined by its struc
tural characteristics to be a sect (on the church-sect con
tinuum), becoming an established sect. As groundwork for
such a definition the dissertation discusses thoroughly the
evolution of the theory and its contemporary state, and then
discusses the nature of the specific unit being researched.
The study provides a concise look at the variables of
the church-sect taxonomy as they related to this specific sect.
The taxonomy is a continuum comprised of six elements ranging
from ecclesia to cult. All of the six loci are "property
sets" based on functional unity. The properties are of two
vi


16
The cult and sect also show the least degree of organizational
complexity and thus are more like the universal diffused
church, while the ecclesia approximates the universal insti
tutionalized church. Yinger points out that this paradigm
will not account for all types of religious organizations,
but that those which are not easily placed on the continuum
somewhere among the five points of reference will seldom
occur.
Yinger draws his first term, ecclesia, from Howard
Becker. The ecclesia is like the universal churches in that
it attempts to cross all social boundaries, yet it differs in
that it has not been able to incorporate all of the sectarian
tendencies in a society. So much of the time the ecclesia is
attempting to adapt to society's more "important" interests
that it fails to meet the needs of its adherents; thus, there
is considerable sectarian protest. Becker, like Troeltsch,
was confining his work to Christianity and Yinger makes the
subtype distinction of ecclesia to point out that in some
societies its structure is institutionalized completely
whereas in other cases it is partially a diffused structure.
This enables one to make a distinction important in some
religious systems though not to the Western Christian tradi
tion .
The second category of religious organization is the
denomination or class church. It still resembles the church
in Troeltsch's sense in that it is at peace with the secular
powers. It is considerably less extensive than the ecclesia


CHAPTER VI
HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS
In this chapter the data will be used to draw a compari
son between sect and denominational affiliations. The data
will not contribute any more than a minimal addition to the
general empirical evidence on the church-sect theory, but they
will provide a concise look at the major variables of the
taxonomy as well as a look at some variables heretofore not
seen in conjunction with the taxonomy. The current state of
the taxonomy postulates a functional unity between attributes
of members and structural traits of the unit. As yet, such
a postulate has never been reduced to hypotheses and tested.
The aim, then, of this research is to test a series of
hypotheses drawn from this postulate of functional unity in
a single religious organization. This work should unify the
theory by analyzing just one religious organization in terms
of variables which were previously researched only in scat
tered unrelated studies. As well, it will introduce new
relationships as part of the taxonomy.
Although The Way Ministry is a nationally, and in fact
even slightly internationally, organized religious body, the
research was confined to only one branch of the organization.
The branch, located in Greenville, North Carolina, is one of
69


5 3
basically embodied proselytizing, where the members of the
Ministry go out on the street to find possible converts.
Undershepherding is the tactics of proselytization where once
a prospective convert is won over, he is then visited nightly
by the members and brought to the Heme.) They may work on
college campuses, sometimes in prisons, or most often, just
out on the street where they can reach the people. To be
eligible to be a WOW Ambassador for The Way one must have
graduated from both the foundational and intermediate classes
on the Power for Abundant Living (fully discussed below). He
must attend the one-week-long WOW Ambassador training seminar
given biannually in New Knoxville, Ohio. The candidate must
be a high school graduate and cannot leave any prior commit
ments for The Way without approval of the Limb Elder. Finally,
he will be required to give 48 hours a week for approximately
one year in the area(s) to which he is assigned.
To the Ambassadors and in fact to every individual in
the Ministry, the first duty is a personal spreading of the
word. Through this embodied proselytization, prospective
converts are brought into the fold as guests at Sunday wor
ships, or to twig fellowships, or just over to "the Home."
Once at "the Home" the full-scale conversion efforts take
place. The tactics are both embodied and disembodied. At
The Way Home there is always someone who is ready to tell you
about his beliefs. Conversion is an everywhere present
process.


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID ER0L5GPH7_L7DRTT INGEST_TIME 2015-03-25T20:18:42Z PACKAGE AA00029741_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES


2
phenomena are integrated relative to one another to formulate
each point on the continuum; i.e., certain characteristics of
the membership are necessarily conjunct with structural char
acteristics of the organization. Thus, point one on the
continuum might be made up of properties A, B, C, D, etc.,
while point two would differ in these properties as B2,
C2 D2, etc. On the basis of one property, one may predict
the occurrences of other properties in the given organiza
tion. The properties are of two types: structural attri
butes of the organization (e.g., extent of bureaucratization
in the unit) and constituent attributes of the members (e.g.,
socio-economic status).
This dissertation studies one particular organization
in terms of this typology. It will assess the structural
properties of The Way Ministry in comparison with those asso
ciated with the various loci of the continuum, and thus assign
the ministry, as firmly as possible, to a particular point on
said continuum.
\ The major variables upon which the church-sect distinc
tion is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious
group is inclusive of a society's members; (b) the extent to
which secular values and structures are accepted and adhered
to or to which they are rejected; (c) the amount of pro
fessional clergy (supported by the religious organization
itself); and (d) the extent of bureaucracy within the organ
ization. As with all ideal types, this church-sect typology
is defined and constructed for the purpose of clarifying


95
Their negativism may be interestingly noted when compared to
the strong tenet of positivism which is a core belief to The
Way Ministry.
Authoritarianism is the most evident in sociological
theory of the concepts used in this research. The reason for
this predicted relationship was because the constituent ele
ments of authoritarianism, including marginality, antiscien
tism, rigidity, and bigotry (intolerance), may well be seen
as important elements of the sectarian mentality. There is
only one major element of the "authoritarian cluster" that
is lacking, patriotism. However, this element may be replaced
in the sectarian mentality by the loyalty to the sect. This
is reasonable if one assumes that a religious perspective
may be a structural alternative to a humanistic (political)
perspective (dock and Stark, 1965). Thus, one may find that
the item in the "authoritarian cluster" of highly nationalis
tic attitudes might disappear in the otherwise "authoritarian"
sect member. One may here note the possibility of sect and
cult differences in that the cultist shows a low degree of
loyalty (H. T. Dohrman, 1958).
Self-esteem is the other variable for which there was
predicted a negative relationship with sectarianism. This,
however, was not the case as there was no significant differ
ence between the sect members and non-members. The opposite,
a high positive relationship, could have been predicted due
to the idea that the individuals of a sectarian community
feel themselves to be select people. Thus, one could have


19
\
sect is formed in response t needs for social reform, then
it tends to withdraw and isolate themselves into isolated
units, often ignoring demands and political obligations of
society. Niebuhr points out that religious leadership is
a most important aspect because it will influence the prose
lytizing and eventually the sort of members who will then in
turn influence the doctrine of the sect (Niebuhr, 1946).
Yinger makes an additional qualification on established sects
by the term "lay established sects." These are established
sects which have more closely maintained the idea that all
believers are the priesthood. They have resisted more
strongly the need for professional leadership and complexity
of organization. Paradoxically, however, these are the sects
with the greatest tendencies otherwise towards denomination-
alism. Bryan Wilson notes this dilemma that seems to say if
a sect hopes to survive without becoming a denomination it
will need to develop some sort of professional clergy (Wilson,
1967:44).
Yinger notes that the established sect is possible just
as it is possible for a church to become disestablished. The
established sect is the result, then, of a lower-class sec
tarian protest, which maintains a continual isolation from
and opposition to society and the formal religious system.
These levels of sect, established sect, and denominations
should remain as guidelines to illustrate differences in
various religious organizations,not as a clear-cut set of
categories for the placement of such groups.


113
54. Our country would be a lot better off if we didn't have
so many elections and people didn't have to vote so
often.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
55. Letting your friends down is not so bad because you
can't do good all the time for everybody.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
56. It is the duty of each person to do his job the very
best he can.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
57. People would be a lot better off if they could live far
away from other people and never have to do anything
for them.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
58. At school I usually volunteered for special projects.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
59. I feel very bad when I have failed to finish a j ob I
promised I would do.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
Circle either (a) or (b) 60-69
60. (a) It would be a good thing if people spent more time
thinking and talking about ideas just for the fun
of it.
(b) If people would talk less and work more, everybody
would be better off.
61. (a) There is hardly anything lower than a person who
does not feel a great love, gratitude, and respect
for his parents at all times.
(b) Most honest people admit to themselves that they
have sometimes hated their parents.
62.
(a) Insults to our honor are not always important enough
to bother about.
(b) An insult to our honor should always be punished.
63. (a) It's only natural for people to sometimes have
thoughts about hurting a close friend or relative,
(b) No sane, normal, decent person could ever think of
hurting a close friend or relative.


115
73. I am not much interested in the TV programs, movies, or
magazines that most people seem to like.
Agree strongly ; Agree ; Disagree somewhat ;
Disagree strongly
74. I often feel lonely.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ^Disagree strongly
75. I don't really enjoy most of the work that I do, but I
feel that I must do it in order to have other things
I need and want.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
BEFORE
76. There is not much that I can do about most of the impor
tant problems that we face today.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
77.Things have become so complicated in the world today
that I really don't understand what is going on.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
78.In order to get ahead in the world today, you are almost
forced to do some things which are not right.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
79. I am not much interested in the TV programs, movies, or
magazines that most people seem to like.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
80. I often feel lonely.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
81.I don't really enjoy most of the work that I do, but I
feel that I must do it in order to have other things
that I need and want.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
82.I would rather decide things when they come up rather
than always try to plan ahead.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree little
Disagree a lot


117
94. Have you previously used marijuana or hashish and have
you quit?
Yes ; No
95. Have you tried any of the heavier drugs (e.g., cocaine,
heroin, LSD, mescaline, etc.)?
Yes ; No ; If yes, specify which ones and approxi
mate amount of use
96. Have you had sexual intercourse outside the bond of
marriage?
Yes ; No ; If yes, indicate approximate frequency
97.Do you feel that each individual should choose for him
self on the following behavior alternatives or do you
believe that the acts referred to are inherently evil.
(Check (1) if it is
behavior is evil.)
an individual act; check (2) if
1
1
"1
'1
2 a. To use heavy drugs.
2 b. To indulge in drinking alcoholic beverages
2 c. To have premarital sexual intercourse.
2 d. To commit murder.
2 e. To worship Satan.


23
sects, may become permanent and established. Also, cults,
like sects, may be in a stage of transition, especially in
societies where the established religious systems are dying
out.
In the next chapter, The Way Ministry will be discussed
relative to the general religious scene in America both
historically and currently. This discourse, coupled with a
description of the particular unit, will give basis for relat
ing this unit }vith the theory just reviewed. Such a place
ment will give rise to numerous testable hypotheses.
\


73
total Ministry, inferences to larger populations are severely
limited.
The data collected from the Ministry were gathered with
full support of its leadership. All of the scales and mea
suring techniques used in the instrument were previously
tested;' Because a great many data were sought, one of the
primary concerns in operationalizing concepts was brevity.
The single independent variable was sectarian membership,
while the major dependent variables under study which are
reflected in the following hypotheses included: socio
economic class, authoritarianism, self-esteem, religious com-
munality, religious tolerance, religiosity (five dimensions),
social responsibility, and alienation.
At present, causation is a somewhat theoretically pre
mature concern. This work represents a case study of the
taxonomy as it stands. A series of hypotheses will be
stated, tested, either confirmed or rejected and finally dis
cussed. The statistical analysis is a comparison of the
sectarian and denominational samples by the use of difference
of means tests.
In conjunction with these measures, multivariate analy
sis was employed in order to institute a control for each of
the other primary variables in determining the actual rela
tionship between sectarianism and the given variable. Thus,
a series of multiple regressions were run. Sectarian mem
bership was a dummy independent variable, with eight of the
nine other variables as independent variables. The last


93
decisions are separate from religious belief; however, it
could be more a result of the fact that the consequential
dimension as measured here would be high for a person of
casual religion as it would for one of the total religion.
One may expect high scores on this scale by anyone involved
in Christian religion because the secular points brought up
in the scale are derived so directly from the Judeo-Christian
tradition.
Now attention should be turned to other (non-religious)
nominal attributes of the members of the sectarian unit.
Hypotheses suggested by the taxonomy include those on aliena
tion, social responsibility, self-esteem, authoritarianism
and socio-economic status. The first of these hypotheses is
perhaps the most paradoxical initially. While alienation
from established society is one of the basic elements pro
ducing a sect, alienation is one of the things a sect should
be overcoming for its membership. This proved true when the
membership of the sectarian community was tested against
itself as the members perceived themselves to be prior to
taking up the Ministry.
The findings illustrate that the Ministry had been
successful in easing the alienation of its converts as they
perceive it. Quite likely this is biased due to the peculiar
mode of getting the data; however, the significant response
is demonstration that the sect had given meaning to the con
vert's life and illustrated to him that he could affect the
world in a meaningful way.


CHAPTER II
THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE
The contemporary religious scene in America would be at
best a difficult topic to discuss. America is both the most
religious and yet secular of nations in the world. Is Amer
ica in a religious upswing? Is there a gradual decline in
religiosity in America? Is there no change at all in the
religiosity of Americans? Due to inconsistent theory and
research in the field of sociology of religion, these ques
tions and others have yet to be satisfactorily answered. The
American religious world is so filled with diverse movements
and expression that the layman frequently groups together
very different phenomena.
As Robert S. Ellwood notes, there are thousands of reli
gious sects and cults flourishing in our society (Ellwood,
\
1972). He says about walking down Hollywood Boulevard in
Los Angeles,
This fabled street, its sidewalks set with the
names of movie stars, has long been a haven for
current, emergent, counter, or stillborn cultural
variants. I passed occult bookstores, head-shops
and purveyors of the herbs and oils of Witchcraft.
Nearby was an apartment where I had once visited a
conference of ceremonial magicians and Satanists;
not far away was a hall where I had seen disciples
of Gurdijieffian techniques endeavoring to chart
and exercise themselves into the Fourth State of
Consciousness. On this street the colorful
saffron-robed devotees of Krishna had often danced
and sung (Ellwood, 1973:ix).
24


97
involvement and naturally appeals to higher educational
strata than do most sects.


108
10. (b) Mother's highest level of education (Check one)
Less than high school ; High school ; Vocational
training after high school ; More than one year of
college without degree ; College graduate ;
Professional postgraduate training
11. Parent's religious preference (Check one)
Catholic ; Lutheran ; Baptist ; Episcopalian ;
Presbyterian ; Methodist ; Jewish ; Other (specify)
; None
12. Do you perceive your parents in following their religious
affiliation as being:
Very devout ; Moderately devout ; Indifferent ;
Hypocritical
13. Do your parents generally support your attendance at
your church?
Yes ; No ; Indifferent ; Unaware
14. Do you perceive your parents as strict or liberal disci
plinarians? (Circle one number on scale--both parents
togethe r)
Strict 12345 Liberal
15. How do you think your parents voted in the recent presi
dential election?
Nixon ; McGovern ; Didn't vote
16. While you were growing up, how often did your family
make a move of 40 miles or more? (Not vacation but as
a move to a new household)
17. What is your grade point average in college? (Check one)
Below 2. ; 2.0-2.4 ; 2.5-2.9 ; 3.0-3.5 ;
3.6-4.0
18.What were your college board (SAT) scores (total)?
Below 800 ; 800-900 ; 900-1000 ; 1100-1200
120 0 or above
19.Signify for each of the following groups whether or not
you feel that their beliefs offer a reasonable perspec
tive of life and if through these beliefs one could
attain the same relationship with God that one can
attain through the beliefs of your religious organization.
For each group place the number of the following alter
natives on the corresponding blank.
1. Relationship easily attainable.
2. Relationship could be attained with effort.
3. Relationship would be attainable only with
extreme modification of groups beliefs.


102
significant predictor of the dependent variable. The "F"
scores on the "beta weights" from above were all insignifi
cant with the exception of ideological religiosity and social
responsibility, both of which were significant well beyond
the .01 level.
The data illustrate, then, that the theory of the con
tinuum which postulates an extensive functional unity does so
in a misleading fashion. Social responsibility was the only
variable which seemed to be explained by sectarian membership
and the other variables all exhibited stronger ties with one
another than with sectarian membership.
While one can predict the occurrence of certain attri
butes among members of a group with the structural properties
of a sect, it must be done with consideration for a possible
intervening variable of social responsibility. For example,
a possible explanation might be that, as a sect leads to an
increase in social responsibility, then it would lead to
increases in these other member traits.
As was previously stated, causality would be a tenuous
project at best. Numerous causal models might well be con
structed through the use of path analysis; however, its
assumption of linearity could hardly be made. Likewise, no
convincing model could be constructed as all of the variables
are so highly intercorrelated.
The purpose of this research has been to illustrate the
weaknesses of past research on the typology. This taxonomy
has asserted a functional unity of numerous properties but


r
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
m ii nuil ii mi
3 1262 08552 8486


13
this particular issue. The typology has been criticized and
refined quite thoroughly and yet remains troublesome in terms
of research. It is the central sociological significance of
this work to aid in the further refinement of the taxonomy.
Hopefully, the research presented in the subsequent chapters
will redefine the utilities of this theory.
In efforts to refine the taxonomy some have even made
the distinction more simplistic, thus giving the researcher
greater ease, yet depriving the theorist of very adequate or
meaningful data as it would lump together religious organiza
tions which are quite heterogeneous. One example of such a
taxonomy is developed by Benton Johnson, who bases a typology
on only a single characteristic. He posits that we should
use as the single variable, the degree to which a group
accepts or rejects secular values and activities. Peter
Berger postulates that we base the taxonomy on the "inner
meaning" of religious activities of groups (Berger, 1954).
Therefore, the sect would be any religious organization which
felt that the spirit was immediately present, whereas the
church would be an organization which held the spirit to be
remote. From this classification Berger suggests other
related issues may be established, i.e., world view, leader
ship, education. Each of these positions has been helpful
in both theology and sociology; however, each is to this
writer less adequate than those originally suggested by
Troeltsch. They do not provide a thorough enough basis for
studying and researching variations in religious organizational


7
a third point, mysticism, to create a trichotomy. The great
est shortcoming of these early statements was that they made
no effort to explain what social and personal factors pre
cipitated the evolution of the different types of religious
organization. Also, Troeltsch limited his discussion to the
Christian organizations. These problems and others have been
somewhat met by contemporary extensions of the theory which
will be discussed following a thorough clarification of the
dichotomy as developed by Ernst Troeltsch.
The church as a type of a religious body that
recognizes the strength of the secular world and,
rather than either abandoning the attempt to
influence it or losing its position by contra
dicting the secular powers directly accepts the
main elements in the social structure as proximate
goods. The church is built, therefore, on compro
mise; it is mobile and adaptive; 'it dominates the
world and is therefore dominated bv the world'
(Yinger, 1970:253).
The church becomes an integral unit of society at large, sub
mitting to the "powers that be" even in times of war as well
as peace. The church in its claim of universality is an
inherited right. Individuals are born into the church, where
as most sects emphasize the necessity of rebirth and are an
organization of converted membership or voluntary association.
The church stresses ritual and creed rather than action.
To the early theorist a primary facet
that the church is the bearer of the
whereas the sectarian view is one of
The church therefore must be open to
native behaviors and must be willing
of the distinction is
idea of mass salvation
individual salvation,
all of society's alter-
to compromise extensive
iy


119
Cox, Harvey.
1967 On Not Leaving It to the Snake. New York: The
Macmillan Co.
1965The Secular City. New York: The Macmillan Co.
Demerath, N. J.
1965 Social Class and American Protestantism. Chicago:
Rand McNally and Co.
Dohrman-; H. T.
1958 The California Cult. Boston: Beacon Press.
Durkheim,,Emile.
1947 The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York:
The Free Press.
Durnbaugh, D. F.
1968 The Believers Church: The History and Character of
Radical Protestantism. London: The Macmillan Co.
Dylan, Bob.
1973 Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Dynes, Russell.
1955 "Church-sect typology and socio-economic status."
American Sociological Review 20:555-560.
Ellwood, Robert S.
1973 One Way: The Jesus Movement and Its Meaning.
Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hal1.
1972 Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America.
Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.
\ Enroth, R. M. E. E. Erickson and C. B. Peters.
1972 The Jesus People: Old Time Religion in the Age of
Aquarius. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co.
Faulkner, Joseph and Gordon DeJong.
1966"Religiosity in 5-D: An empirical analysis."
Social Forces 45:2.246-254.
Glenn, Norval and Ruth Hyland.
1967"Religious preference and worldly success: Some
evidence from national surveys." American Socio
logical Review 32:73-75.


21
manifested in sects at both the individual and group levels.
The first of these are the acceptance sects which are defined
by Bryan Wilson as "Gnostic" sects (Wilson, 1967). These
sects essentially accept the goals of their society and so
are usually characterized by a middle class or upwardly
mobile 'lower class. These sectarians do not perceive society
as the villain but rather find a suitable way to participate
through the sect itself. The basic deprivation here seems to
be individual morals or social integration for given people.
These people are self-estranged as well as socially alienated.
The second means of response is aggression. The aggres
sive sects are responses to a deprivation of structural
social power and an effort to obtain said power. The sect
provides these individuals with a hope of fulfillment here
in this life. Basically, these sects see the society as evil
and see it as their duty, as bearers of the true religion, to
reform the social order. According to Wilson, there are two
subtypes of these sects which seek to reorganize society.
They are the "conversionist" sects which seek to change man,
and through this, change the world; and the "adventist" sects
which foresee great apocalyptic change to society and seek to
prepare men for this change. The latter is obviously a far
more pessimistic group than is the former.
Finally, the third type of sect is the avoidance sect.
These people are unable to accept society and yet feel no
hope of changing it themselves. For them there is no response
but to disavow connection to this world and through personal,


104
discussions were not conclusive enough to allow for extensive
inference to wider populations, this work should contribute
something to the community of scholarly research in the field
of sociology of religion.
The second goal was not a single-handed effort on this
writer's part to correct and affirm the church-sect theory
but was rather a demonstration of its purpose. The true
validity of theory is found in its applicability to scientific
research and empirical study. Granted the theory under study
has numerous limitations, however, it is through work such
as this that the theory can ultimately be made more satis
factory.
The church-sect typology was useful in making certain
predictions on the sample once one could make an adequate
placement on the continuum. Significant statistics were
found on almost all of the predictions made. The most obvious
problem of the taxonomy lies in the fact that at least the
category of sect, and perhaps each category of the continuum,
is too static. As is revealed by the findings of this re
search, there should be more efforts made to conceptualize
the subdimensions of each category in the typology and to
establish an explanation of evolution of organizations along
the continuum. The predicted relationships of sectarianism
with self-esteem and with socio-economic status which did
not result in this research are probably the most important
signs of the necessity for expansion of the typology.


types: structural attributes of the organization (e.g.,
extent of bureaucratization in the unit), and constituent
attributes of the members (e.g., socio-economic status).
In this work, The Way is defined by its structural prop
erties to be a sect. Due to this placement several hypothe
ses relating to characteristics of the sectarian personality
were drawn and tested. Nine hypotheses were derived from the
continuum's postulate of "functional unity" between the types
of properties.-. The hypotheses were predictions on the com
parison of this sect with a denominational sample. They pre
dicted differences in the numerous membership traits under
study.
On the basis of independent, two-sample tests of sig
nificance the hypotheses were tested. Positive relationships
were found between sectarianism and authoritarianism, social
responsibility and the five dimensions of religiosity. A
negative relationship was found between sectarianism and
alienation.
^ These independent tests were then unified in a multi
variate analysis. This analysis was comprised of a series
of multiple regression equations with sectarian membership
as the dummy independent variable. Each of the remaining
variables was then controlled by the equations. This
further analysis revealed some questions in the taxonomy and
about the relationships of the various variables with sec
tarianism.
vi 1


27
the ministry. Rather, conversion is the choice of individ
uals; there is no pressure among the members to try to con
vert outsiders. Their job is simply to carry out the message
to people and then leave the choice up to them. While The
Way Ministry does not use pressure conversion tactics nor is
it forced to take a purely apocalyptic stand, it does, like
the other evangelical units, reduce spiritual dilemmas to one:
the complete acceptance or rejection of the Bible as the word
of God.
In spite of this key difference, The Way is quite simi
lar to other evangelical movements. While it is not true
that the Ministry makes any violent denunciation of the estab
lished culture, it is true that it sees reality as composed
of two separate worlds, with one being definitely dominant
over the other. Scripture is seen as infallible and sets
the rules of life for the Minister. He does not have any
support of external aids in his effort to live as an example
of Christ. He does not wear special clothes, cut his hair
in a unique style, nor does he talk or gesture in any peculiar
fashion. His visual symbols as aids are limited both in his
day-to-day life and in the ritual observances of the Ministry.
Another interesting similarity with evangelical groups
is in the personality of the Ministry's founder. Consider
Robert Ellwood's description of evangelical leaders,
The shaman-evangelist is a man of the people. He
does not descend with priestly blessing, or smelling
of the library, as from a higher sphere. He should
have a background similar to that of the ordinary
people to whom he speaks; he should use the same


78
null hypothesis: they simply "failed to reject it." It may
be that this casual commitment to religion will show up in
one of the dimensions but certainly not all. It would be
most expected to appear in the ritualistic scale as this is
a major element of denominations' institutionalized religion.
The only scale of the five dimensions of religiosity
not borrowed from Faulkner and DeJong is the scale on intel
lectual religiosity (Ques. 25-30, Appendix A). This scale
was developed.as a measure for one of eleven dimensions
measured by King, 1967. These questions tend to focus on
whether or not intellectual knowledge of the Bible is
esteemed rather than asking about specific, scriptural passages.
The other four scales all come from Faulkner and DeJong's
work and may be found in Appendix A, respectively: ideologi
cal, questions 31-33; ritualistic, questions 34-38; experien
tial, questions 39-43; and consequential, questions 44-46.
Some small but necessary word changes were made in these
scales to insure standardization and applicability to both
\ samples.
The measure of alienation used was a scale developed by
R. Middleton (1963). Though some of the other scales of
alienation might have been more thorough and directly appli
cable than this one, it was the most concise. The scale was
given to the respondents twice; once for present responses,
and once for recall of perceptions prior to joining their
respective religious groups. There were so many "no
responses" among the denominationalists due to the fact that


47
discussion implicitly applies to this dilemma as it did to
the first. Most important to this type of commitment in the
Ministry are the structures which heighten and enhance com
munity boundaries. While there is no specific membership
ritual which denotes acceptance inco the group, there are
many covert factors involved. The group is tightly unified
in that most of the members are communally involved with one
another. The Way is not a "once a week thing" but more an
every-night affair. Any outsider is always welcomed yet he
is always known and observed. The most important group
boundary is that of religious rebirth. Having been reborn
one is immediately in the group. The group values and beliefs
are constantly expressed and enforced within the home; thus,
each individual will learn the "will of God" and should he
choose to ignore it then he will know its punishment. This
provides an indirect sanction from the group.
The third problem (solved by evaluative commitment) to
consider is that of social control or how to insure agreement
about community values. According to the Ministry, it is
only through the Bible that man becomes able to live the
abundant life. The Way is based on the idea that the word
can transform people's lives from one of fear, hate and nega
tive thinking and living into lives of ecstacy, love and
positive thinking and living. The one primary structure that
the Ministry has of reaching people once conversion is under
way is the Power for Abundant Living course. The class,
which is administered over a period of three weeks at a cost


10
denounce the evils and injustices of a society which sup
presses them. Therefore, they cannot succumb to the secular
world as frequently as the church is able.
Troeltsch notes that the sect is rejecting not only
society but the church as well, which they perceive as the
arm of "the secular world. After rejecting society and isolat
ing themselves, sectarians develop a sense of pride, almost
arrogance (hubris) in refusing to compromise about doctrine
or ideology. Once this is done, they have nothing left to
trust except scripture; thus they usually adopt a literal,
strict interpretation of the Bible.
In opposition to the pure type church, Troeltsch noted
that the sect was a small membership drawn primarily from the
lower classes. The church, on the other hand, is quite depen
dent on the upper classes (both economic and power) for sup
port. The members of a sect are "reborn Christians" who are
converted into the sect rather than gaining membership through
inheritance. The idea of rebirth is central to the sect.
The sect traditionally emphasizes individual perfection in
ethics and sponsors withdrawal from secular society. One's
full commitment is sought in the sect but such is not true
in the church. The sect also makes efforts to differentiate
itself in ritual from its predecessor in religious organiza
tion. (Note here that the author is speaking only of Chris
tian sects or others which are splinters from some larger
obvious organization, and not those which have sprung up as
totally new means of religious expression. The latter here


59
believe in Jesus, don't believe in God, and yet they are able
to capitalize on the power of believing.
Once one accepts that believing is a law, then it is a
short step to understanding that one will receive as he
believes. If he believes positively then he will act and
receive positively. If, however, he believes negatively or
has fear, then his believing will have negative results.
Thus, when we fear something strongly enough it too will come
to pass. Wierwille states that because most of us dwell in
fear constantly, we will suffer its consequences.
Once this law has been sufficiently drilled into the
reader, he is led into the next phase, what to believe in.
This phase of the book tells the reader how to read in the
Bible.
Every man in the Bible who wrote the Word of God
had the spirit from God on him. There is only
one author of the Bible and that is God. There
are many writers but only one author (Wierwille,
1971c:79) .
It is man's job to live up to the word of God. It has
been given and man must now choose to accept or ignore it.
The idea is something like the Kantian idea of a mental truth
which exists whether we perceive it or not. The word is
there, it is the truth and will be true whether or not men
live by it. Ideally, the purpose of man is to affect a junc
tion between the mental truth and the physical world through
his reason. To have the sanction of God ultimately the
follower must give account for himself and what better way
to do this than to make his actions consonant with his Bible.


14
structure. The same criticism is leveled at the typology of
Elmer Clark's The Small Sects in America (Clark, 1949).
Clark fails to attach enough significance to the relation
ships that various religious organizations have with the
social system. This was an element central to the work of
Weber and Troeltsch and should be retained in the dichotomy.
Pfautz's fivefold typology comes a little closer to accepta
bility but it too is overly narrow as it tries to distinguish
organizations on the degree of secularization (Pfautz, 1955).
These are only some of the efforts of sociologists to
build an adequate taxonomy. In the past years extensive
efforts to make this typology thorough yet clear have not
succeeded. The typology remains a difficult obstacle in the
social research of religion. Therefore, the reader must
remember that at best the typology offers a tenuous base for
the comparison of various religious units rather than a
definite means of classification.
Of the many efforts to construct a typology, the most
\ successful has been developed by Milton Yinger (Yinger, 1970).
He develops a fivefold taxonomy on the basis of three vari
ables. The three variables of religious organization which
Yinger sees as the basis for comparison are: (1) the degree
to which the particular group is inclusive of the total
membership of a society, (2) the extent to which the group
accepts or rejects the secular values and structures of
society, and (3) the extent to which, as an organization,
H
it integrates a number of units into one structure, develops


26
with God. While this much is expected of the members of The
Way Ministry, that conversion need not occur so much in one
sudden rush as is expected in most evangelical worship. In
evangelicalism, the establishment of this personal relation
ship is most often
. attained in a single powerful experience.
Whether it is coming fori\rard during an invita
tional hymn at a church service or revival meet
ing or in deep prayer alone, somewhere a person
will have his hour with God when he will sense
the deep power of the Holy Spirit stir within
him and wj.ll see the cross before his mystic eyes
and will know that the past is past and all his
scarlet sins are made white as snow (Ellwood,
1973:30) .
This is the key to the major distinction of The Way from
other evangelist religious expressions. Most evangelical
religions place greater emphasis on experiential rather than on
ideological or intellectual dimensions of religiosity. The
Way places extreme emphasis on these two dimensions as well as
on experiential and sees one as attaining salvation only
through a lengthy process of psychic restructuring. An
obvious result of this is that there is a decrease in the
pressure of conversion and proselytizing. The Way does not
attempt to flood the street with handouts nor to push its
religion on people. Instead, their techniques are consider
ably more gradual, unlike most of the evangelist movements
which try to build any sermon to an emotional peak so that
one is excited enough to make the sudden conversion. The Way
is likely to create a much more restrained and less tense
situation. Conversion is not a compulsion to the people of


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Special thanks are given to all the people who helped
me in the production of the manuscript. Dr. Wilbur Bock and
Dr. Benjamin Gorman are thanked for their astute assistance
in the writing of this dissertation and in the organization
of the entire program from research to the finished copy.
Also, a special appreciation is felt for the members of
my committee, who assisted me throughout my graduate program
-- Dr. Gerald Leslie, Dr. Gary Spencer, Dr. Wilbur Bock,
Dr. Benjamin Gorman, Dr. Alfonso Damico, Dr. Mary Anna Baden,
and Mr. Charles Robbins.
Thanks also to my excellent typist, Mrs. Elizabeth Godey.
\
\
IV


83
communality for the sectarian, confirming the first hypothe
sis. The hypothesis is confirmed by a series of "difference-
of-proportions tests" which produced significant "z" scores.
The concept of religious communality (Lenski, 1961) was
operationalized by four questions as to whether the subject's
spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) and his three closest
friends were members of the same religious unit.
Table 1
Comparison of Religious Communality
Between the Way Ministry
and Denominational Affiliates
Way
Denominational
(N)
Percent
Communal
Members
(N)
Percent
Communal
Members
Z
P<
Spouse (or
boy- or girlfriend)
(21)
62.0
(22)
32.0
1.9
.05
Friend 1
(27)
92.6
(30)
23.3
5.0
.01
Friend 2
(24)
79.1
(29)
14.0
4.6
.01
Friend 3
(24)
62.5
(28)
11.0
3.6
.01
Hypothesis two concerns the elusive concept of religious
tolerance, here operationalized by a series of forced choice
questions about several predominant religions (see question
naire, Appendix A, Ques. 18).
On this hypothesis, due to the level of measurement, a
difference of proportions test was used in place of a


80
secular values and structures are accepted and adhered to or
rejected, and (c) the extent of complexity of the organiza
tion's structures. On the basis of observation of the Way
Ministry with regard to these variables, it has been placed
on the continuum between the types of Established Sect and
Charisifiatic Sect. Such a placement is only relative to other
religious organizations; however, it is a safe enough applica
tion of the "ideal types."
If The Way Ministry, with regard to its structural prop
erties, does occupy such a position on the continuum, then
predictions of characteristics of the membership of this
organization follow, due to the functional unity postulated
by previous work on the continuum. The following hypotheses
will be tested. Each of these hypotheses is derived from the
postulate that, if a religious unit is of a certain structural
nature, then the members of that unit will exhibit certain
personal traits. Thus, as The Way has been defined as a
sect, on the basis of its structural properties, numerous
correlational predictions may be made about its members in
comparison to the members of the denominational sample.
(1) The Way members will score higher on measures of
religious communality than xvi 11 the denominational members.
Although the church or denomination is characterized by an
inherited rather than converted membership, the sectarian
appears to be finding community in his religion while the
denominationalist may be simply using church as one element
of his social life and not totally immersing himself in it.


28
vocabulary, tell the same kind of jokes, talk about
crops and money or the street scene, in the same
way they do, only better (Eilwood, 1973:38).
Ellwood goes on to point out that this leader does not, hav
ing received his charisma, move above the people; but rather,
he remains accessible to them, so while a great man with
great power of believing, he is still only a man. He also
notes that if this person should have a degree or formal
education, he conceals the fact to some extent. Up to the
final point this description fits the founder of he Way,
V. P. Wierwille. All of Wierwille's books and essays are
written for the people in a simple fashion. However, his
education, including his doctoral degree which was not from
an accredited institution, is played up frequently and empha
sized. This may be done because of the Ministry's emphasis
on the ideological and intellectual elements of religion and
because the appeal of the Ministry is directed at an educated
audience in part. Thus, the education of Mr. Wierwille is
used as a device of sanction for the ministry.
Another striking similarity between The Way and other
evangelical groups is their central motif. Almost all reli
gions have some concept of evil to complement that which they
conceive of as good. Each sees some problems or unsatis
factory elements within the established society which he
would prefer to change. The basic symbol of evil for the
Jesus movement, and for The Way Ministry as well, is that
there is so great a multiplicity of choices for human belief.
For the movement at large it is the widespread religious


REFERENCE,
Adams, Robert and Robert Fox.
1973 "Mainlining Jesus: The new trip." Society 9:4.
50-56.
Becker, Howard.
1932 Systematic Sociology. New York: John Wiley and
Sons.
Berger, Peter.
1954
"The sociological study of sectarianism." Social
Research 21:467-485.
1958
"Sectarianism and religious sociation. American
Journal of Sociology 64:41-44.
1969
The Sacred Canopy. Garden City, New York :
Doxibleday and Co.
1970a The Noise of Solemn Assemblies. Garden City, New
York: Doubleday and Co.
1970b A Rumor of Angels. Garden City, New York:
Berkowitz,
1968
Double day and Co.
L. and K. Lutterman.
"The traditionally socially responsible person
ality." Public Opinion Quarterly 32:169-185.
Campbell, Angus, et_ al.
1960 The American Voter. New York: John Wiley and Sons
Carter, Paul.
1956
The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel:
Social and Political Liberalism in American Protes
tant Churches, 1920-1940. Ithaca, New York:
Cornell University Press.
Clark, Elmer.
1949 The Small Sects in America. Nashville: Abingdon
Press, Inc.
Clayton, Robert.
1972 "5-D or 1-D Journal for the Scientific Study
of Religion 10:1.37-40.
118


65
will is in control. Speaking in tongues is the spirit speak
ing through us and may or may not be understood at all in the
senses world. The holy spirit can be manifested without the
laying on of hands or without others present, but on no
occasion can it occur without believing. Wierwille gives the
reader four factors to consider when trying to take on the
holy spirit. First, we must be quiet and calm; we must not
beg God for the gift as it is already here and available; we
must concentrate on in-breathing (breathing in the spirit);
and finally, the fourth step is a prayer, "Father, I now
receive the holy spirit, the power from on high, which you
made available through Jesus Christ" (Wierwille, 1972:62).
The ability to speak in tongues along with the other
manifestations of God's gifts was given to the apostles and
to us on the Pentecost, thus salvation is available to us
immediately. He discusses each of the gifts and each of the
manifestations.
These three books are the core of the Ministry's beliefs;
the final three to be mentioned briefly are studies in Bib
lical accuracy which are used to teach the student different
parts of the Bible and to illustrate its accuracy and con
sistency. All of the books are the foundation for the three
major classes offered by the Ministry.


109
19.
(Continued)
4.
Relationship unattainable through
5.
Unaware of group beliefs.
A.
BAPTIST
B.
BUDDHISTS
C.
CATHOLICS
D.
HINDUS
E.
LUTHERANS
F.
METHODISTS
G.
"THE WAY"
What is
your religious affiliation?
such beliefs.
20. Does your husband (or wife) or boyfriend (or girlfriend)
share this affiliation?
Yes ; No ; Have no such relationship
21. Do your three best friends share this affiliation?
(answer for each separately)
a.
Yes
; No
; borderline
b .
Yes
; No
; borderline
c.
Yes
; No
; borderline
22. Do you feel that this religious affiliation has helped
you to meet the right kind of people?
Yes ; No
23. How often do you attend church? (Check one)
Almost always ; Frequently ; Occasionally ;
Once in a while
How many of the last 5 Sundays have you gone to church
24. How often do you take part in activities of the organi
zation other than meetings? (Specify)
25. How often do you pray?
26. When you have decisions in your everyday life, do you
ask yourself what God would want you to do?
Always ; Often ; Sometimes ; Rarely ; Never
27. My understanding of the Central doctrines of the church
has changed considerably since I first began attending
church. Statement is Accurate ; Somewhat accurate
Only slightly accurate ; Inaccurate
28. How often do you read religious non-fiction books,
other than the Bible?
Often ; Sometimes ; Rarely ; Never


41
or at least once a week. Twig fellowships meet in"The Way
Home" with a family-like atmosphere. The basic purpose of
the fellowships is to "manifest" together and to study the
basic principles of Christianity. Here the "abundant life"
is supposedly made manifest. Twigs are designed to meet the
personal needs of those in the meeting as each member can
voice his feelings on whatever may be his problems. The
meetings also hopefully will help build the Christian char
acter and mani.fest the love for all others. One final pur
pose and a most important purpose is to expose the knowledge
of the Bible to possible converts.
These meetings are governed by a strict normative code.
The fellowships must always be warm, personal, positive and
unified. Prayers are always conducted in unison. As the
fellowships are frequently a vehicle for proselytization,
members must always appear positive, understanding and non-
critical. Tolerance and openmindedness are expected as is a
thorough understanding of scripture.
The above rules define how the twig fellowships must
operate if they are to express through membership the charac
teristics of the true Christian, as defined by the Ministry.
The other units, while not so important on a personal
basis, are still necessary for proper functioning of the
organization at large. The branch is a fellowship of all
the twigs in a local community area which meets monthly.
While its formal meetings are not so frequent, the branch
still is a very personal unit. The branch under study has a


89
life is conducted through this organization; therefore, the
majority of close ties will quite likely be involved with the
sect.
The second hypothesis also seems a product of the sec
tarian's purist mind. Denominations often begin as sects but
due to'the weakness of the conflict they become established
compromising institutions. The sect becoming a denomination
does not view the secular world as a great wrong to be over
come, but rather sees itself as a part of the total society
and while it conflicts against an established religious tra
dition it still maintains harmony with the society at large.
One of the foremost thoughts of the denominationalist idea
is that they be free to express a new and somexdiat different
interpretation of religious life without persecution; thus a
major tenet of their doctrine is tolerance of religious
expression. Essentially, because they want to maintain their
position in society, they will make certain compromises with
the religious tradition and with society.
On the other hand, the sects are not generally concerned
with secular, social or even religious acceptance. Thus,
they emphasize separateness, social isolation and the unique
ness of their religion. They are the only way and thus do
not particularly value tolerance as they are more of a priest
religious group. Also in conjunction with the earlier dis
cussions, the sects are trying to supply followers with a
"Weltanschauung" or world perspective; thus; they must sell
themselves as confident, correct, and as separate from the
established society.


51
Post cards, pamphlets, and flyers bearing this and other
scriptural messages were circulated as announcements before
the one campus presentation of the film. The first "Rock of
Ages" was held in 1972 and has become an annual event on Dr.
Wierwille's 150-acre farm. It is publicized as "a festival
of light and sound to celebrate the accomplishment of the
word over the world in our time."
"Rock of Ages" was a rock festival, interspersed with
speeches on the beliefs of the Ministry. It lasted two days
and two nights and was filmed by a professional film company.
The film was distributed to the branches around the country
and was shown on the East Carolina University campus by the
local branch in the spring of 1973. Even the showing of the
film was in essence an embodied form of proselytizing in that
the film was entirely an attempt to project the festival as
a personal, intimate atmosphere. As supplement to the film,
a flyer of introduction to the Ministry was distributed. As
the majority of the viewers were already members of The Way
there was no difficulty in establishing personal contact with
all of the prospective converts who were present. All were
invited to The Way Home for refreshments and further enter
tainment. Having seen the film, the prospective convert was
expected to be awed by the ubiquitous love and brotherhood it
displayed. Once brought to the Home itself, the real prose
lytizing takes place.
The Ways strategy is almost entirely embodied because
they hope to be an example and expression of the power of


39
one verse with another verse. We have to study
the context of all the verses. If it is the Word
of God, then it cannot have a contradiction, for
God cannot contradict Himself (Wierwille, 1971c:
128).
The major function of the Ministry has been to reconstruct
the Bible. This ability is taught to the people through the
Ministry's various branches.
The Ministry also strives to make a return to the first
century church. There are no actual rites of passage to say
when one is or is not "in the Ministry." The church also is
not defined as some sort of edifice but rather it is the
collection of believers.
Following the prophetic lead of Victor Wierwille, the
Ministry has grown for the last thirty years. After complet
ing his formal education at Princeton Theological Seminary,
Wierwille practiced the ministry in Ohio, serving sixteen
years as a pastor. He found that the "abundant" life pro
claimed in the Bible was frequently lacking in Christian
communities. Thus, he set out on a determined quest for
Biblical enlightenment, with the aid of European, Far Eastern
and American scholars. Finally, in 1953 he felt confident
enough to begin his classes on the Power for Abundant Living.
In these highly concentrated sessions one is taught how to
read the Bible "correctly" and supposedly how to receive the
gifts which God has to offer. Eventually, these classes and
his Bible research consumed so much of his time and energy
that Wierwille resigned his local pastorate and devoted his
full attention towards these ends. Since its inception, the


44
problems and the means by which this organization handles
each should help to describe the order, personal relationships,
structures, etc., which are found in the Ministry.
First is the problem of retention of members. This prob
lem is solved by cognitive or instrumental commitment to the
community. The person feels committed if the community is
doing something for him. Therefore, it is necessary that The
Way have some sort of structural mechanisms which make it
fruitful for the individual to complete whatever duties are
expected of him without coercion. The structures in the
Ministry (often found in religious groups) which provide
instrumental satisfaction are built into the belief system.
In other words, one gains one's rewards not in a material
fashion but in the spiritual. Also, because the individual
is allowed a say in most of the decision-making he feels
somewhat insured that the decisions will reflect the wants
of all. The promise of spiritual union with God is enough
but if it were not manifest in the actions of the members
then it would be difficult to gain followers. Thus, the
behavior, not only of twig fellowships, but all around "the
Home" is rigidly disciplined. Rules of conduct are strictly
adhered to: no criticism, exaggerated warmth, etc. There
fore, by maintaining at least a facade of interpersonal
warmth the community is able to reach prospective initiates
and convince them of their own spiritual unity with God.
Apparently the warmth is more than a facade to the members,
as the majority of memberships are enduring. In fact, perhaps


96
expected them to score high on a measure of self-esteem or,
as in this case, a measure of personal confidence and yet
this also is not the case. This may be canceling the origi
nally hypothesized tendency.
The only remaining hypothesis, number four, concerned
socio-economic status. As this hypothesis was tested differ
ently than the others, it has been held to be treated last.
The literature in the sociology of religion has been exten
sive when concerned with social status relationship to reli
gion and its various dimensions or sub-units. According to
the church-sect taxonomy, the sect is often a response to
economic deprivation; therefore one would expect the sectar
ians to come from a loxver socio-economic background than the
denominationalists even though the sect may be one which
socializes its members to upward mobility.
However, it was noted that many sects are middle-class
and denomination-like, exhibiting a greater tendency than
other sects to become a denomination. The Way Ministry was
\ not a sect of this sort in that its goal is not in a pro
test of inadequacy of the church to meet individual needs so
much as it is a protest or conflict against the religious
establishment as the arm of a corrupt secular society.
Because of the nature of the sect, it was predicted that
there would be a negative relationship with socio-economic
status. Such a relationship was not found to be significant
on either of the two measures. Perhaps this is due to the
fact that this particular sect emphasizes intellectual


66
The Bible Tells Me So; The New, Dynamic
ChurcFT; and The Word's Way
Each of these three volumes is a collection of short
essays on various topics of Christianity, worship, God,
believing, spiritual fulfillment, etc., which are founded with
extensive scriptural research. The three books provide excel
lent support for the three courses offered by the Ministry.
The first course, as was previously discussed, is the Power
for Abundant hiving class. In it the member learns that the
word of God is God's will and that the word is the Bible. In
the second course on the interpretation of tongues and proph
esy, he learns how to use and manifest the gift of God and
what these manifestations do for the church. In the final
advanced class, he learns the other six manifestations of the
gift (Revelation ancj power) and how to walk on the word of
God.
This chapter has discussed the various techniques and
tools of proselytizing that are employed by the members of
\ The Way Ministry. It has also given a basic inspection of the
system of beliefs incorporated in the Ministry. The follow
ing brief chapter will conclude the description of the Minis
try by placing it on the theoretical continuum under study.


43
\
will enable the reader to further understand the structure
and function of this group as a whole and its sub-units. The
following discussion relates generally to Parsonian concepts
but specifically to Rosabeth Ranter's work on communes
(Ranter, 1972). While there are some elements of communal
living "in the branch of the Ministry here under study, one
would not simply classify the organization as a commune.
Therefore, it is not the purpose to discuss the aspects of
commune living, but simply to use it as a model to illustrate
how this particular organization handles the problems encoun
tered by any social system.
Ranter elects to ignore the most obvious of Parsons
systems theories in lieu of his social action schemata.
While the A-G-I-L provides one avenue for system analysis,
she notes that communes are essentially held together on the
basis of personal commitment of the members. Ranter isolates
six basic organizational problems of communities, all of which
relate to the central dilemma faced by any community, i.e.,
how to make themselves more permanent. Ranter reduces these
six dilemmas to three problems of commitment. Basically,
she feels organizational problems can be resolved if the
commitment is high enough. One will note that there are a
variety of structures within The Way which keep the commit
ment of members quite high. Ranter then turns to Parsons for
her three types of commitment which provide the resolution of
the three dilemmas. All three of these dilemmas do apply to
The Way as they do to communes. Discussion of the three


THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY
By
DAVID ALGER McNAUGHT
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1974


CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSIONS
In the preceding chapter a series of hypotheses were
generated, from the church-sect continuum's postulate of
unity. The hypotheses were supported by the data, excluding
*
those concerned with consequential religiosity, self-esteem,
and socio-economic status. To date this is the extent of most
of the research conducted on this postulate and is most mis
leading as the forthcoming multivariate analysis of this data
will illustrate.
To further illustrate the strength of the data a table
of correlation coefficients has been constructed. The reader
will note the strong correlation of each of the tested vari
ables with the Way. It should be clear that with such a
small number of cases and with data so heavily intercorrelated
analysis of any pair of variables alone is at best tenuous.
The multivariate analysis employed consisted of a series
of multiple regression analyses, each of which yielded a
"beta" weight for Way membership which was used as a dummy
independent variable in each equation. One at a time, the
nine other variables were rotated as the dependent variable
and the other eight were independent variables; thus, nine
independent regression analyses were run and the important
98


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Alfonso Damico
Assistant Professor of Sociology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and
Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1974
Dean, Graduate School


32
this is more than just a facade as they have attained a sense
of inner peace due to their communion with God (whether real
or imagined) The members have created an alternative world
in which to escape modern society. They are isolated in a
spiritual sense from those who don't accept such things as
spiritual communion with God, God's word, miracles, rebirth,
etc. In this world, the member can dwell with conviction,
trust, confidence and peace of mind. He has attained a
community of fellowship with others of his belief.
This body of people has rejected the material world,
both its secular and sacred institutions, in lieu of a life
of dedicated study to know the Bible. They are detached from
society but do not disown it. They hope to make thir knowl
edge of the Bible available to all people and through this
knowledge all may find abundant lives. We have discussed
the Ministry's similarities to the contemporary Jesus move
ment, its aims to be like the first century church, and its
efforts to disavow denominational affiliation. The final
segment of the chapter will be to discuss The Way (and evan
gelicalism in general) as a part of the history of Chris
tianity.
The strongest source of American evangelicalism
is the Methodism of John Wesley who preached the
necessity of an experience of personal conversion
and the 'holiness' doctrine of possible perfection
to the lower classes of eighteenth century England
(Ellwood, 1973:39).
In America the revivalistic Christianity really began on the
frontier where the more generally accepted movements were


106
religious distinction. The sectarian mentality is an impor
tant facet in understanding any religious super-structure,
especially as sectarianism and its humanistic alternatives
become more appealing to the dominant strata of the social
order. It may be found that sectarianism is related to cer
tain other psychological tendencies which vary within the
social system some of which were considered by this particu
lar research.
This paper is, in itself, not conclusive evidence of the
ideas just mentioned. It is an illustration of the use of
ideal types which provides the reader with some suggestions
and ideas as to how to augment the utility of the taxonomy.
In large part, the data serve as edification of the church-
sect continuum and pursue the idea of extending the typology.
They do this by providing a look, heretofore not found in the
literature, at some significant factors such as social
responsibility and authoritarianism. Sectarianism is a
broad concept but certainly does suggest something of the
"true believer" and may say something about our national
character, if in fact societies tend to exhibit greater or
lesser amounts of sectarianism. The data also served to
provide a thorough socio-descriptive analysis of one specific
branch of the massive "Jesus movement" in our culture. While
no inferences have been made to the movement as a whole this
research could provide initiative for further scientific
analysis of what appears to be one of the most viable forces
in the contemporary religious world.


37
be discussed in Chapter III. The seven elements are: first,
conversion is founded only in an adult acceptance of Christ
(i.e., no infant baptism); second, a communion is made between
themselves and God and they reject the secular world. Third,
they perform Christian works, similar to the Way's advice to
"walk on the Word of God." They accept that they must learn
to love as Christ and be reborn. They also believe in sharing
their worldly goods with others. There is neither formal nor
spontaneous religion completely but a combination of the two,
thus the structure evolves along with the group. Last and
most important both to The Way and to the Believer's Church
is the word of God is the sole authority. Appearing similar
to The Way,
The Believer's Church is the covenanted and dis-
cipled community of those walking in the way of
Jesus Christ. Where two or three such are
gathered, willing also to be scattered in the
work of their Lord, there is the believing people
(Durnbaugh, 1968:32 -33).
The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the relation
ship of The Way Ministry to some other religious expression
both contemporary and historical. The Way is not to be seen
as identical with any other formal organization; however,
the similarity of its structures and beliefs allows one to
consider a similarity between its membership and the member
ship of other elements of the Jesus movement. In the next
two chapters, the specific ideology of the Ministry and its
structure will be examined in order to establish a placement
on the continuum to be made in Chapter V.


THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY
By
DAVID ALGER McNAUGHT
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1974

Copyright -19 74
David Alger McNaught

To Mrs. D. R. McNaught--it's all yours.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Special thanks are given to all the people who helped
me in the production of the manuscript. Dr. Wilbur Bock and
Dr. Benjamin Gorman are thanked for their astute assistance
in the writing of this dissertation and in the organization
of the entire program from research to the finished copy.
Also, a special appreciation is felt for the members of
my committee, who assisted me throughout my graduate program
-- Dr. Gerald Leslie, Dr. Gary Spencer, Dr. Wilbur Bock,
Dr. Benjamin Gorman, Dr. Alfonso Damico, Dr. Mary Anna Baden,
and Mr. Charles Robbins.
Thanks also to my excellent typist, Mrs. Elizabeth Godey.
\
\
IV

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTER
I INTRODUCTION AND THEORY 1
The Church-Sect Taxonomy 4
II THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE .... 24
III THE WAY MINISTRY 38
IV CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION 49
Power for Abundant Living 57
Are the Dead Alive Now? 62
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today 63
The Bible Tells Me So; The New,
Dynamic Churchy and. The Word's Way .... 66
V PLACEMENT OF THE WAY 6 7
VI HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS 69
Operationalization of Concepts and
Statement of Hypotheses 74
Findings 82
Discussion of Results 88
VII CONCLUSIONS 98
APPENDIX
A QUESTIONNAIRE 107
REFERENCES 118
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 125
v

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE WAY: AN ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY
By
David Alger McNaught
December, 1974
Chairman: Dr. E. Wilbur Bock
Major Department: Sociology
This work is a presentation of research collected on a
contemporary Christian sect. The purpose of the research was
to assess the limitations and utilities of contemporary reli
gious organizational theory. The theory postulates a func
tional unity between structural characteristics of the reli
gious unit and attributes of the members of the unit.
The organization under study was defined by its struc
tural characteristics to be a sect (on the church-sect con
tinuum), becoming an established sect. As groundwork for
such a definition the dissertation discusses thoroughly the
evolution of the theory and its contemporary state, and then
discusses the nature of the specific unit being researched.
The study provides a concise look at the variables of
the church-sect taxonomy as they related to this specific sect.
The taxonomy is a continuum comprised of six elements ranging
from ecclesia to cult. All of the six loci are "property
sets" based on functional unity. The properties are of two
vi

types: structural attributes of the organization (e.g.,
extent of bureaucratization in the unit), and constituent
attributes of the members (e.g., socio-economic status).
In this work, The Way is defined by its structural prop
erties to be a sect. Due to this placement several hypothe
ses relating to characteristics of the sectarian personality
were drawn and tested. Nine hypotheses were derived from the
continuum's postulate of "functional unity" between the types
of properties.-. The hypotheses were predictions on the com
parison of this sect with a denominational sample. They pre
dicted differences in the numerous membership traits under
study.
On the basis of independent, two-sample tests of sig
nificance the hypotheses were tested. Positive relationships
were found between sectarianism and authoritarianism, social
responsibility and the five dimensions of religiosity. A
negative relationship was found between sectarianism and
alienation.
^ These independent tests were then unified in a multi
variate analysis. This analysis was comprised of a series
of multiple regression equations with sectarian membership
as the dummy independent variable. Each of the remaining
variables was then controlled by the equations. This
further analysis revealed some questions in the taxonomy and
about the relationships of the various variables with sec
tarianism.
vi 1

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION AND THEORY
Perhaps the single greatest problem in the sociology of
religion is that the literature is so diffuse, not united
into a general theory. In many cases the literature and
research are divergent because of a lack of consensus as to
what constitutes this or that aspect of religion (Glock,
1959). The state of the specific taxonomy to be tested by
this work (church-sect continuum) is as nebulous as the rest
of the field. This work postulates that this body of theory
is disorganized, even contradictory at times; it is hoped
that this dissertation xvill begin the process of unifying
much of that taxonomy by analyzing one religious organization
in terms of numerous variables. The primary quest of this
work is to analyze and unify the general church-sect taxonomy
by research of a multiplicity of variables relative to one
organization.
The church-sect continuum, developed in the classic
works of Ernst Troeltsch and Max Weber, has become a topic
of increasing concern to sociologists. The continuum is com
posed of six elements ranging from ecclesia to cult. All
of the six loci are "property sets" based on functional
unity. By functional unity, the author means that certain
1

2
phenomena are integrated relative to one another to formulate
each point on the continuum; i.e., certain characteristics of
the membership are necessarily conjunct with structural char
acteristics of the organization. Thus, point one on the
continuum might be made up of properties A, B, C, D, etc.,
while point two would differ in these properties as B2,
C2 D2, etc. On the basis of one property, one may predict
the occurrences of other properties in the given organiza
tion. The properties are of two types: structural attri
butes of the organization (e.g., extent of bureaucratization
in the unit) and constituent attributes of the members (e.g.,
socio-economic status).
This dissertation studies one particular organization
in terms of this typology. It will assess the structural
properties of The Way Ministry in comparison with those asso
ciated with the various loci of the continuum, and thus assign
the ministry, as firmly as possible, to a particular point on
said continuum.
\ The major variables upon which the church-sect distinc
tion is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious
group is inclusive of a society's members; (b) the extent to
which secular values and structures are accepted and adhered
to or to which they are rejected; (c) the amount of pro
fessional clergy (supported by the religious organization
itself); and (d) the extent of bureaucracy within the organ
ization. As with all ideal types, this church-sect typology
is defined and constructed for the purpose of clarifying

3
differences between religious organizations rather than as a
means for classification.
Through observation of The Way Ministry and careful
study of its organization with regard for the above-mentioned
variables, the ministry is placed somewhere between established
sect artd sect on the continuum. The basis for this placement
should become increasingly obvious with the material pre
sented in Chapters II through IV of this work where the organ
izational and ideological structure of the ministry is dis
cussed.
Due to this placement, one may now predict the other
properties of the organization's membership. The theoretical
literature asserts that certain constituent attributes of
members would be expected in a unit with the structural prop
erties of a sect (e.g., members of a sect should score higher
on authoritarianism scales than members of a denomination).
These assertions will serve as hypotheses, and will be tested
with the sectarian membership. Thus, support of the hypothe
ses will be support for the postulate as it stands; denial
of these hypotheses will suggest that the contention of func
tional unity of properties, especially the linkages between
structural and individual attributes, is incorrect or in
need of amendment.
In the first chapter of the dissertation, the continuum
will be reviewed and its ramifications made clear. In Chap
ter II the author will develop a series of background dis
cussions on the relationship of The Way to both the historical

4
and contemporary religious scenes. This background leads to
the third and fourth chapters discussion of the particular
unit under study, The Way Ministry, and its relationship to
a secular world. In Chapter V The Way is defined as a sect
on the basis of this material in Chapters I through IV, thus
giving a foundation for several hypotheses to be tested and
analyzed in the closing chapters.
The Church-Sect Taxonomy
The church-sect distinction is one of the oldest analytic
approaches in the scientific study of religious behavior. The
typology dates back to the work of two of the foremost theo
rists of sociological thought, Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch.
Ernst Troeltsch, concentrating on Christianity, noted
that since its earliest days its structure had developed in
three main types: the church, sect and mysticism (the last
most commonly referred to now as the cult).
The first is organized as a single central unit of
\ salvation for the masses. The sect is a voluntary
society comprised of strict, disciplined individual
believers bound to each other by the single fact
that each has experienced the 'new birth.' The
third is based on a purely inward, singular and per
sonal experience, thus weakening the unit's own
structure, organization, doctrine and worship
(Troeltsch, 1911:993).
Weber simultaneously was making his classic statement
on the taxonomy. He notes the universal dominion of the
church; all people are subject to its discipline, a fact not
*
true in the sect. Weber cites four elements as central to

5
the distinction. First there is the rise of the professional
clergy; second, the church claims to dominate the other
levels of social organization; next, the dogma and rights must
be rationalized in accordance with the society at large (thus
not to conflict too greatly with secular values and ideas);
and last, the church has a formal organization in that char
isma is now associated with the office rather than with the
particular individual.
This typology both in its historical inception and in
its subsequent development has often been criticized unfairly
because it was not seen as an ideal type as was intended.
Theologians and church historians discounted
Troeltsch's theory because of its sociological
method and because it did not provide for denomi-
nationalism, seen as the distinctive form of
Christianity in the United States. Furthermore,
sociologists of religion, such as Johnson, Wilson,
and Berger have come to criticize the typology as
not especially helpful in concrete situations.
Many of the critics have not grasped Troeltsch's
use of 'ideal types,' which he borrowed from Max
Weber. The types are meant to clarify, not to
classify specific religious movements (Durnbaugh,
1968:23).
This does not discount the criticisms of Berger and others
who have been instrumental in the contemporary development
of these terms. Rather, it is significant only to note the
basic use as ideal types for Troeltsch and Weber. This point
should be remembered when noting the effort of the paper to
classify The Way Ministry in accordance with this theory.
The aims of this author are to develop a more useful perspec
tive of the typology.

6
Originally the taxonomy was based on the type of reli
gious leadership found in the organization. Weber and
Troeltsch were emphasizing the priest-prophet distinction and
their discussions are analogous to Weber's theory on the
types of political authority. In the case of the priest the
charisma has been routinized and is no longer associated with
personal magnetism but is tied to a particular office or posi
tion in the church hierarchy. Thus, the type of leader will
vary with the type of organization. Perhaps one of the
greatest dilemmas that a cult or charismatic group faces is
how to retain its power once the leader, the possessor of
personal magnetism, dies. Though in its earliest form the
church-sect distinction was simply a derivation of religious
leadership, it has since become used more commonly as a dis
tinction of group structure of which leadership is only one
aspect.
In building this typology, it is important to remember
that the emphasis is on the differences of religious groups
and not their similarities. Consider Gilbert Murray's idea,
Take three orthodox Christians, enlightened accord
ing to the standards of their time, in the fourth,
the seventeenth, and the twentieth centuries
respectively. I think you will find more profound
differences of religion between them than between
a Methodist, a Catholic, a Free-thinker, and even
perhaps a well-educated Buddhist or Brahmin at the
present day, provided you take the most generally
enlightened representatives of each class (Murray,
1925:212).
Troeltsch began with a twofold typology but because of
confusion as to the points between sect and church he added

7
a third point, mysticism, to create a trichotomy. The great
est shortcoming of these early statements was that they made
no effort to explain what social and personal factors pre
cipitated the evolution of the different types of religious
organization. Also, Troeltsch limited his discussion to the
Christian organizations. These problems and others have been
somewhat met by contemporary extensions of the theory which
will be discussed following a thorough clarification of the
dichotomy as developed by Ernst Troeltsch.
The church as a type of a religious body that
recognizes the strength of the secular world and,
rather than either abandoning the attempt to
influence it or losing its position by contra
dicting the secular powers directly accepts the
main elements in the social structure as proximate
goods. The church is built, therefore, on compro
mise; it is mobile and adaptive; 'it dominates the
world and is therefore dominated bv the world'
(Yinger, 1970:253).
The church becomes an integral unit of society at large, sub
mitting to the "powers that be" even in times of war as well
as peace. The church in its claim of universality is an
inherited right. Individuals are born into the church, where
as most sects emphasize the necessity of rebirth and are an
organization of converted membership or voluntary association.
The church stresses ritual and creed rather than action.
To the early theorist a primary facet
that the church is the bearer of the
whereas the sectarian view is one of
The church therefore must be open to
native behaviors and must be willing
of the distinction is
idea of mass salvation
individual salvation,
all of society's alter-
to compromise extensive
iy

8
on its moral prescriptions to gain the masses. The most
important ramification of this is that salvation to the
church is based on reception of the sacraments (ritual) and
acquiescence to the creeds (ideological), whereas in the sect,
salvation is based on ethical behavior and moral purity.
The church is concerned with the function of social
cohesion and social order. This is its primary function,
however latent it may be, and it implies that
a religious system in which the church-type organi
zation is predominant will serve to reinforce the
power situation of the dominant classes of a
society. In the logical extreme, the church type
lends itself to the support of an authoritarian
pattern of order. This is the product of the com
promises that are forced on a church when it tries
to organize the whole of society (Yinger, 1970:253).
If it is assumed that the church is generally used to
meet the integrative requirements of a social system, then
one could easily meet the aforementioned primary criticism
of Troeltsch's work. While Troeltsch himself did not illus
trate all of the ramifications of his typology, he does give
us the lead as to what factors lead to the formation of dif
ferent religious organizations. A religious system would be
primarily church-like in societies where the function of
integration was not well met by existing alternative struc
tures. In societies where many religious expressions are
found there will be less service as an integrative factor.
Societies characterized by high degrees of alienation, frus
tration, or stress, will be less inclined to see religion
as a tradition than as a means of self-expression and
escape.

9
When one applies this aspect of function to Troeltsch's
dichotomy it becomes possible to elucidate the personal and
social factors which influence the structure of religious
systems and other organizations in the social system at large.
Some of these speculations already touched on by this theory
will relate directly to the hypotheses tested in the follow
ing chapters.
The sect is usually founded on dissent by a perspicacious
leader, who seeks to resolve the dilemma posed by doctrinal
compromise or submission to secular powers. The sect is try
ing more to meet the needs of individual believers. Sects
arise in communities where the traditional religious expres
sion has been so strongly integrated into the social system
that it fails to change in ritual and belief as is required
by personal events and needs; thus, many individuals and
groups are not satisfied.
The sect was noted by the early theorists as being a
response to the specific needs of the economic realm. This
is not, of course, the only genre of needs which individuals
have found satisfied in religious splinter groups, but it is
one of the most obvious and persistent sources of religious
dissatisfaction. Traditionally, most sectarian movements
have been sponsored by the lower socio-economic strata. The
splinters often broke away due to the failure of the church
to satisfy the emotional and psychological needs of members
from lower strata. Also, members of the lower strata of
society would be more prone to reject the status quo and to

10
denounce the evils and injustices of a society which sup
presses them. Therefore, they cannot succumb to the secular
world as frequently as the church is able.
Troeltsch notes that the sect is rejecting not only
society but the church as well, which they perceive as the
arm of "the secular world. After rejecting society and isolat
ing themselves, sectarians develop a sense of pride, almost
arrogance (hubris) in refusing to compromise about doctrine
or ideology. Once this is done, they have nothing left to
trust except scripture; thus they usually adopt a literal,
strict interpretation of the Bible.
In opposition to the pure type church, Troeltsch noted
that the sect was a small membership drawn primarily from the
lower classes. The church, on the other hand, is quite depen
dent on the upper classes (both economic and power) for sup
port. The members of a sect are "reborn Christians" who are
converted into the sect rather than gaining membership through
inheritance. The idea of rebirth is central to the sect.
The sect traditionally emphasizes individual perfection in
ethics and sponsors withdrawal from secular society. One's
full commitment is sought in the sect but such is not true
in the church. The sect also makes efforts to differentiate
itself in ritual from its predecessor in religious organiza
tion. (Note here that the author is speaking only of Chris
tian sects or others which are splinters from some larger
obvious organization, and not those which have sprung up as
totally new means of religious expression. The latter here

11
might be noted as related to Troeltsch's third ideal type,
Mysticism.)
Most important in the distinction between church and
sect is the fact that the sect is founded in conflict. It
is at best indifferent to, and most often in conflict with,
established secular societies. It finds no need to submit
to any authority in this world and is a matter of individual
union with the divine. This freedom allows the sectarian to
have a variety, of alternatives of expression. He may retreat
from the world in "other-worldly aceticism," or he may
aggressively attack society as a radical.
They do not wish to be popular churches, but rather
Christian denominations composed of 'saints.' The
sects are small groups which exist alongside of the
State and Society. they also maintain that they
possess the absolute truth of the Gospel, but they
claim this truth is far beyond the spiritual grasp
of the masses and of the State, and therefore they
desire to be free from the State. Further, since
it is precisely this absolute Gospel which forbids
them to use force, authority, or law they also must
renounce forcing their opinions upon anyone, either
within or without their community. Hence they
demand external toleration, the religious neutrality
of the State (Troeltsch, 1911:993).
However, Troeltsch notes that within the confines of the sect
there is a demand of strict adherence to the doctrine and
morals.
The sect is seen by Troeltsch as being of a single gener
ation duration and involved in conflict with society. Werner
Stark follows this definition by noting that the sect is a
protest movement which expresses itself religiously (Stark,
1967). The sect is not in only slight disagreement with

society but rather feels an acute sense of alienation from
the established religious system.
12
With
there was
religion.
the sect defined as a short-lived religious protest
really no category to entail many expressions of
Mysticism was an effort by Troeltsch to broaden
his own' typology but this too was fairly inadequate. Mystic
religion is such a completely personal experience that such
groups would be destined to die out as they have no perma
nent form. Troeltsch goes on to illustrate how the point of
view of the mystics differs from that of the sectarian. From
the perspective of the mysticism type
the truth of salvation is inward and relative, a
personal position which is unutterable, and lies
unspoken beneath all literal forms. The merely
relative significance of the Biblical, dogmatic
or religious form in which Truth is expressed
makes mysticism independent of all historic forms,
and the inner Unity of the Spirit quite naturally
unites all souls in the common truth which is
purely spiritual and impossible to formulate
(Troeltsch, 1911:999).
Max Weber's work was closely tied to the efforts of
\
Troeltsch though his major concern was the various relation
ships of different religious organizations to the state. He
illustrates that in the sect religious leaders may exercise
power only if they have the charisma, whereas in the church
this charisma has been institutionalized.
This typology, like many of the topics of the sociology
of religion, fell from prominence in the field's literature.
Only in the past fifteen years has there been a revival of
interest both in the sociology of religion at large and in

13
this particular issue. The typology has been criticized and
refined quite thoroughly and yet remains troublesome in terms
of research. It is the central sociological significance of
this work to aid in the further refinement of the taxonomy.
Hopefully, the research presented in the subsequent chapters
will redefine the utilities of this theory.
In efforts to refine the taxonomy some have even made
the distinction more simplistic, thus giving the researcher
greater ease, yet depriving the theorist of very adequate or
meaningful data as it would lump together religious organiza
tions which are quite heterogeneous. One example of such a
taxonomy is developed by Benton Johnson, who bases a typology
on only a single characteristic. He posits that we should
use as the single variable, the degree to which a group
accepts or rejects secular values and activities. Peter
Berger postulates that we base the taxonomy on the "inner
meaning" of religious activities of groups (Berger, 1954).
Therefore, the sect would be any religious organization which
felt that the spirit was immediately present, whereas the
church would be an organization which held the spirit to be
remote. From this classification Berger suggests other
related issues may be established, i.e., world view, leader
ship, education. Each of these positions has been helpful
in both theology and sociology; however, each is to this
writer less adequate than those originally suggested by
Troeltsch. They do not provide a thorough enough basis for
studying and researching variations in religious organizational

14
structure. The same criticism is leveled at the typology of
Elmer Clark's The Small Sects in America (Clark, 1949).
Clark fails to attach enough significance to the relation
ships that various religious organizations have with the
social system. This was an element central to the work of
Weber and Troeltsch and should be retained in the dichotomy.
Pfautz's fivefold typology comes a little closer to accepta
bility but it too is overly narrow as it tries to distinguish
organizations on the degree of secularization (Pfautz, 1955).
These are only some of the efforts of sociologists to
build an adequate taxonomy. In the past years extensive
efforts to make this typology thorough yet clear have not
succeeded. The typology remains a difficult obstacle in the
social research of religion. Therefore, the reader must
remember that at best the typology offers a tenuous base for
the comparison of various religious units rather than a
definite means of classification.
Of the many efforts to construct a typology, the most
\ successful has been developed by Milton Yinger (Yinger, 1970).
He develops a fivefold taxonomy on the basis of three vari
ables. The three variables of religious organization which
Yinger sees as the basis for comparison are: (1) the degree
to which the particular group is inclusive of the total
membership of a society, (2) the extent to which the group
accepts or rejects the secular values and structures of
society, and (3) the extent to which, as an organization,
H
it integrates a number of units into one structure, develops

15
professional staffs, and creates a bureaucracy. Yinger admits
readily that his taxonomy cannot handle every form of reli
gious organization found in the world. He borrows C. K.
Yang's idea of "universal diffused" church in order to pro
vide a frame of reference for the entire typology (Yang,
1961). This church differs from the universal institution
alized church in that it is not an institution but rather is
the religion of a tribal society in which a member of the
society is automatically a member of the religion. There are
no alternative organizations. The lack of alternatives is
also true in the case of the universal institutionalized
church, both include the populace (ideally) as a whole.
The spectrum of his fivefold typology, from ecclesia to
cult, falls in between the institutionalized church and the
diffused church according to the third variable, the extent
of organization, complexity, and separateness of religious
structures. Because both churches are universal religious
systems the first two variables are fully accounted for and
unchanging. The religious structures are completely inclu
sive of the total society's members in both cases, and there
is no alienation from secular values as each is the source of
its own secular world. These second tv^o variables provide
the basis for differentiating the five other types of reli
gious organizations. The cult and sect showing the highest
alienation from societal values and being the least inclusive
of society's members are at one end of the scale with the
ecclesia manifesting the opposite traits at the other end.

16
The cult and sect also show the least degree of organizational
complexity and thus are more like the universal diffused
church, while the ecclesia approximates the universal insti
tutionalized church. Yinger points out that this paradigm
will not account for all types of religious organizations,
but that those which are not easily placed on the continuum
somewhere among the five points of reference will seldom
occur.
Yinger draws his first term, ecclesia, from Howard
Becker. The ecclesia is like the universal churches in that
it attempts to cross all social boundaries, yet it differs in
that it has not been able to incorporate all of the sectarian
tendencies in a society. So much of the time the ecclesia is
attempting to adapt to society's more "important" interests
that it fails to meet the needs of its adherents; thus, there
is considerable sectarian protest. Becker, like Troeltsch,
was confining his work to Christianity and Yinger makes the
subtype distinction of ecclesia to point out that in some
societies its structure is institutionalized completely
whereas in other cases it is partially a diffused structure.
This enables one to make a distinction important in some
religious systems though not to the Western Christian tradi
tion .
The second category of religious organization is the
denomination or class church. It still resembles the church
in Troeltsch's sense in that it is at peace with the secular
powers. It is considerably less extensive than the ecclesia

17
because it is affected by class boundaries and other elements
of social inequality. The denominational range in modern
American religion from Congregationalism (predominantly sec
tarian) to Episcopalism (much more church-like) covers much
of the continuum. Nonetheless, the denomination is more
conservative and respectable than is the sect and it is less
inclusive of society's members than is the ecclesia. The
singular unique quality of the denomination is tolerance,
both among members and towards other organizations. In his
work on the denomination, David Martin notes that the level
of external tolerance (towards other religious groups) does
not increase along the continuum from church to sect but
rather is at its peak in the middle levels around denomina
tion while both poles exhibit little tolerance. He even
suggests that this may provide an adequate basis for deter
mining whether a particular group might be best classified as
a denomination or as a sect. One could ask if the particular
group was amenable to intergroup religious activities -- the
denomination of course being the most amenable, whereas the
sect more frequently would seek to isolate itself from other
groups of religious purpose. Yinger also feels it is worth
while to make a distinction between diffused and institution
alized denominations, analogous to Yang's discussion of
churches.
The reader should also consider that many of the contem
porary denominations started out as sects. They have varied
in their degree not only of institutionalization but also of

18
the other two trariables of concern. More will be said at
the close of this chapter concerning the possibility of
organizational survival and likelihood of change taking place
in a religious organizational structure.
The next category on the continuum, the established
sect, is unique to Yinger's typology. This point has been
developed to provide for sect-like religions which have sur
vived in the religious scene without becoming a denomination.
It is not so alienated as, nor is its conflict with secular
society so acute as that of, the classic sect. These are
more stable in nature and much larger than the small, uncom
promising sects discussed by Ernst Troeltsch. While the
direct aggression against the social system has died, these
groups have not fully become a denomination. One question
about these groups is why have certain sects developed fully
into denominations while others have remained an established
sect. Yinger illustrates that what makes one become a
denomination is not "status improvement," as others suggest
(dock and Stark, 1965). Instead, he notes that the basic
difference betitfeen sects which influences their subsequent
development is the degree to which they originally isolate
themselves from society and the degree to which they are per
secuted. The persecution, he argues, is a result of the
original type of protest expressed by the sect. Middle-class
sects are formed not in protest of social ills but more out
of personal needs; these fairly easily make the transition
to denomination (e.g., Methodism). On the other hand, if a

19
\
sect is formed in response t needs for social reform, then
it tends to withdraw and isolate themselves into isolated
units, often ignoring demands and political obligations of
society. Niebuhr points out that religious leadership is
a most important aspect because it will influence the prose
lytizing and eventually the sort of members who will then in
turn influence the doctrine of the sect (Niebuhr, 1946).
Yinger makes an additional qualification on established sects
by the term "lay established sects." These are established
sects which have more closely maintained the idea that all
believers are the priesthood. They have resisted more
strongly the need for professional leadership and complexity
of organization. Paradoxically, however, these are the sects
with the greatest tendencies otherwise towards denomination-
alism. Bryan Wilson notes this dilemma that seems to say if
a sect hopes to survive without becoming a denomination it
will need to develop some sort of professional clergy (Wilson,
1967:44).
Yinger notes that the established sect is possible just
as it is possible for a church to become disestablished. The
established sect is the result, then, of a lower-class sec
tarian protest, which maintains a continual isolation from
and opposition to society and the formal religious system.
These levels of sect, established sect, and denominations
should remain as guidelines to illustrate differences in
various religious organizations,not as a clear-cut set of
categories for the placement of such groups.

20
The sect remains fairly much the same as it was desig
nated by Ernst Troeltsch. Yinger does note, however, some
important distinguishing factors. First, he notes that some
sects begin with a hierarchy already established; these he
calls a "sect movement." This type may, in most cases, be
a sect after several years of development and is compared to
the most transitory of the elements, the charismatic sect.
The charismatic sect has a minimal extent of organizational
complexity; it is the smallest and least successful at meet
ing the needs for or developing a heterogeneous following,
and it shows the greatest degree of alienation from societal
values and structures.
Charles Glock and Rodney Stark in Religion and Society
in Tension develop a theory about the origin of different
types of religious organization (Glock and Stark, 1965). The
theory seems to be unnecessarily restrictive. Briefly, they
note five forms of religious movements, each as a response
to a specific deprivation: sect as responding to economic
deprivation, cult to psychic deprivation, church to social
deprivation, healing movements to organismic deprivation and
reform movements to ethical deprivation. This limits the
definition of sect too strictly as it would be simpler to
subtype various sects in terms of the specific need they
meet for sects are not always simply responses to economic
deprivation.
Yinger notes that sects have three avenues of means to
social reform. These three responses to society are

21
manifested in sects at both the individual and group levels.
The first of these are the acceptance sects which are defined
by Bryan Wilson as "Gnostic" sects (Wilson, 1967). These
sects essentially accept the goals of their society and so
are usually characterized by a middle class or upwardly
mobile 'lower class. These sectarians do not perceive society
as the villain but rather find a suitable way to participate
through the sect itself. The basic deprivation here seems to
be individual morals or social integration for given people.
These people are self-estranged as well as socially alienated.
The second means of response is aggression. The aggres
sive sects are responses to a deprivation of structural
social power and an effort to obtain said power. The sect
provides these individuals with a hope of fulfillment here
in this life. Basically, these sects see the society as evil
and see it as their duty, as bearers of the true religion, to
reform the social order. According to Wilson, there are two
subtypes of these sects which seek to reorganize society.
They are the "conversionist" sects which seek to change man,
and through this, change the world; and the "adventist" sects
which foresee great apocalyptic change to society and seek to
prepare men for this change. The latter is obviously a far
more pessimistic group than is the former.
Finally, the third type of sect is the avoidance sect.
These people are unable to accept society and yet feel no
hope of changing it themselves. For them there is no response
but to disavow connection to this world and through personal,

22
inward experience put faith in a supernatural world. The
sect allows these individuals to attain a certain peace of
mind through a communion with those sharing the belief.
Elmer Clark notes that many Pentecostal sects seek to avoid
the world more symbolically than physically by trances,
speaking in tongues, etc. (Clark, 1949).
These three subtypes of sects, like the larger church-
sect taxonomy, are not a means for classification but rather
present ideal -types to provide contrast and to illustrate
variables which influence sect organization.
The final element of the continuum is the cult. A cult
differs from a sect in the sense that it claims to be a com
pletely new syncretist movement, whereas the sect claims only
to be a new interpretation of the established religion. It
is symbolic of the sharpest break with traditional society
and its religious system. The cult is the diametric opposite
of the church. It is small, personal, has no bureaucratic
structure, demands a charismatic leader, and is the most
highly alienated group from social structures and values.
One final aspect or dimension which is a factor is the length
of duration. A church would be the longest -lived, while the
cult would be most likely to survive for the least amount of
time.
It is not relevant to this dissertation per se, but the
reader should be aware that some criticisms and defense of
the concept of cult have been written (Becker, 1932; Nelson,
1968). Geoffrey Nelson has even posited that cults, like

23
sects, may become permanent and established. Also, cults,
like sects, may be in a stage of transition, especially in
societies where the established religious systems are dying
out.
In the next chapter, The Way Ministry will be discussed
relative to the general religious scene in America both
historically and currently. This discourse, coupled with a
description of the particular unit, will give basis for relat
ing this unit }vith the theory just reviewed. Such a place
ment will give rise to numerous testable hypotheses.
\

CHAPTER II
THE WAY MINISTRY AND THE RELIGIOUS SCENE
The contemporary religious scene in America would be at
best a difficult topic to discuss. America is both the most
religious and yet secular of nations in the world. Is Amer
ica in a religious upswing? Is there a gradual decline in
religiosity in America? Is there no change at all in the
religiosity of Americans? Due to inconsistent theory and
research in the field of sociology of religion, these ques
tions and others have yet to be satisfactorily answered. The
American religious world is so filled with diverse movements
and expression that the layman frequently groups together
very different phenomena.
As Robert S. Ellwood notes, there are thousands of reli
gious sects and cults flourishing in our society (Ellwood,
\
1972). He says about walking down Hollywood Boulevard in
Los Angeles,
This fabled street, its sidewalks set with the
names of movie stars, has long been a haven for
current, emergent, counter, or stillborn cultural
variants. I passed occult bookstores, head-shops
and purveyors of the herbs and oils of Witchcraft.
Nearby was an apartment where I had once visited a
conference of ceremonial magicians and Satanists;
not far away was a hall where I had seen disciples
of Gurdijieffian techniques endeavoring to chart
and exercise themselves into the Fourth State of
Consciousness. On this street the colorful
saffron-robed devotees of Krishna had often danced
and sung (Ellwood, 1973:ix).
24

25
The Jesus movement became an addition to this religious scene
in the seventies. Young people from all walks of life began
to reject not only the established religions (and various
brands of Christianity) but also the far out religions of the
"counter culture." The Jesus movement emerged everywhere,
with its message carried by modern day evangelical preachers.
The Jesus movement is a part of the psychedelic revolution,
offering its followers a new and better "high."
Evangelicalism in modern Christianity is not a denomina
tion (though it may have been basic to the formation of many);
it is more of a tempo or style of Christianity which demands
of its adherents a strong personal communication with God.
Like all things in the counter culture, the Jesus movement
has been confused by the public and by mass media. Just as
it would be absurd to assume that all long-haired males are
heroin addicts, so it would be equally absurd to assume all
young evangelists preach the same beliefs.
Its (evangelicalism's) most potent institutions,
whether the old time revival or the coffeehouse of
the present Jesus movement, have had few denomina
tional ties and have drawn persons to its central
experience from all churches or from none. Evan
gelicalism's most effective continuing organiza
tions, from the old National Holiness Alliance to
the modern Campus Crusade for Christ, have been
organized independently of denominations and are
cross-denominational in support (Ellwood, 1973:25).
The Way Ministry not only is independent of denominational
ties but in fact openly rejects the forms of contemporary
Christianity. The central thesis of Evangelical Christianity
is that the person have an intense personal communication

26
with God. While this much is expected of the members of The
Way Ministry, that conversion need not occur so much in one
sudden rush as is expected in most evangelical worship. In
evangelicalism, the establishment of this personal relation
ship is most often
. attained in a single powerful experience.
Whether it is coming fori\rard during an invita
tional hymn at a church service or revival meet
ing or in deep prayer alone, somewhere a person
will have his hour with God when he will sense
the deep power of the Holy Spirit stir within
him and wj.ll see the cross before his mystic eyes
and will know that the past is past and all his
scarlet sins are made white as snow (Ellwood,
1973:30) .
This is the key to the major distinction of The Way from
other evangelist religious expressions. Most evangelical
religions place greater emphasis on experiential rather than on
ideological or intellectual dimensions of religiosity. The
Way places extreme emphasis on these two dimensions as well as
on experiential and sees one as attaining salvation only
through a lengthy process of psychic restructuring. An
obvious result of this is that there is a decrease in the
pressure of conversion and proselytizing. The Way does not
attempt to flood the street with handouts nor to push its
religion on people. Instead, their techniques are consider
ably more gradual, unlike most of the evangelist movements
which try to build any sermon to an emotional peak so that
one is excited enough to make the sudden conversion. The Way
is likely to create a much more restrained and less tense
situation. Conversion is not a compulsion to the people of

27
the ministry. Rather, conversion is the choice of individ
uals; there is no pressure among the members to try to con
vert outsiders. Their job is simply to carry out the message
to people and then leave the choice up to them. While The
Way Ministry does not use pressure conversion tactics nor is
it forced to take a purely apocalyptic stand, it does, like
the other evangelical units, reduce spiritual dilemmas to one:
the complete acceptance or rejection of the Bible as the word
of God.
In spite of this key difference, The Way is quite simi
lar to other evangelical movements. While it is not true
that the Ministry makes any violent denunciation of the estab
lished culture, it is true that it sees reality as composed
of two separate worlds, with one being definitely dominant
over the other. Scripture is seen as infallible and sets
the rules of life for the Minister. He does not have any
support of external aids in his effort to live as an example
of Christ. He does not wear special clothes, cut his hair
in a unique style, nor does he talk or gesture in any peculiar
fashion. His visual symbols as aids are limited both in his
day-to-day life and in the ritual observances of the Ministry.
Another interesting similarity with evangelical groups
is in the personality of the Ministry's founder. Consider
Robert Ellwood's description of evangelical leaders,
The shaman-evangelist is a man of the people. He
does not descend with priestly blessing, or smelling
of the library, as from a higher sphere. He should
have a background similar to that of the ordinary
people to whom he speaks; he should use the same

28
vocabulary, tell the same kind of jokes, talk about
crops and money or the street scene, in the same
way they do, only better (Eilwood, 1973:38).
Ellwood goes on to point out that this leader does not, hav
ing received his charisma, move above the people; but rather,
he remains accessible to them, so while a great man with
great power of believing, he is still only a man. He also
notes that if this person should have a degree or formal
education, he conceals the fact to some extent. Up to the
final point this description fits the founder of he Way,
V. P. Wierwille. All of Wierwille's books and essays are
written for the people in a simple fashion. However, his
education, including his doctoral degree which was not from
an accredited institution, is played up frequently and empha
sized. This may be done because of the Ministry's emphasis
on the ideological and intellectual elements of religion and
because the appeal of the Ministry is directed at an educated
audience in part. Thus, the education of Mr. Wierwille is
used as a device of sanction for the ministry.
Another striking similarity between The Way and other
evangelical groups is their central motif. Almost all reli
gions have some concept of evil to complement that which they
conceive of as good. Each sees some problems or unsatis
factory elements within the established society which he
would prefer to change. The basic symbol of evil for the
Jesus movement, and for The Way Ministry as well, is that
there is so great a multiplicity of choices for human belief.
For the movement at large it is the widespread religious

29
variety which is available; whereas for The Way, the supreme
evil is found in the various interpretations of scripture.
For the individual who is yet to be converted, life is chaotic
due to the multiplicity of countless options and viable paths.
The source of the evil, according to the Ministry, is the god
of this world, Satan. Satan not only creates these additional
paths but makes them alluring. While members of the Ministry
feel they "see a highway of diamonds with nobody on it, they
feel the rest of the populace is racing to inhabit infertile
fields and impassable roads. The Jesus movement and The Way
Ministry give a direct and clearcut answer to the seeker,
they stand out from the rest of the alternatives as "the one
way." They provide the seeker with a black and white world
view which shuts out the world of unlimited choice. The
seeker is given an escape from his freedom; no\v the Bible can
give him the answers for his choices.
The next element and perhaps the most important and
consistent is the similarity of type of person found in The
Way Ministry to those found in other evangelical religious
movements. Like most of the other factions of the Jesus
movement, the adherents of The Way are mostly young people
in their late teens and early twenties. As Ellwood notes,
. mature faith rarely has the pristine glow,
the fiery absoluteness, or the life-forming
totality of the adolescent conversion. It is
then that people see what it seems has never
been seen before, feel raptures they believe
have never been so deeply felt--certainly not
in their families--and leave all to join mon
asteries or to seek the feet of a guru (Ellwood,
1973:51-52).

30
Ellwood also notes that the leader of the Jesus movement
today is not the neatly trimmed, pious man from an evangeli
cal family but rather is probably long-haired, and "hip" in
his dress. Most important, though, is the fact that he
probably has not led a purely conservative life.
The Way is over thirty years old and has actually seen
both types of evangelists. The conservative, pious image
can be associated with its earlier years,
Most of the people in those days (1961-65) were
local--frm Columbus, Indiana, and the Toledo area.
We had a great vision then of the Word reaching
out over Ohio. We were all pretty straight--no
long hairs--more adults than young people
(Whiteside, 1972:47).
However, by the late sixties the movement was being
embodied to a great extent by the young counter culture evan
gelist. Consider the following account from one of the lead
ing members of the ministry:
I grew up in Oklahoma, was in and out of trouble
through high school, and ended up in reform school
for a couple of years. When I was sixteen, I ran
away from home and lived around with aunts and
uncles. But by 18 I was into some heavy scenes
\ with my friends. We attempted some robberies and
got caught. So I was brought up before the judge,
and he gave us a choice of prison for juvenile
delinquents or joining the service (Whiteside,
1972:37).
The respondent goes on to recount a story of getting in and
out of the service (by playing insane), then deep into the
California drug scene, and even riding with the Hell's Angels.
Finally, he and some friends "found themselves" through the
Ministry's classes.

31
The members of the Ministry have a sort of aura of invul
nerability. They see the world basically in terms of black
and white but are not fanatical. They have been attracted to
the Ministry from a variety of despondent life styles. The
Ministry provides them with a sense of protective community
like the protection and security which a child feels in the
arms of a parent. One is reminded of the two realms of life
confronted by Sinclair in Hesse's novel Demi an.
The realms of day and night, two different worlds
coming from two opposite poles, mingled during
this time. My parents' house made up one realm,
yet its boundaries were even narrower, actually
embracing only my parents themselves. This realm
was familiar to me in almost every way--mother
and father, love and strictness, model behavior,
and school. It was a realm of brilliance, charity,
and cleanliness, gentle conversations, washed hands,
clean clothes, and good manners. Straight lines
and paths led into the future: there was duty and
guilt, bad conscience and confession, forgiveness
and good resolutions, love, reverence, wisdom, and
the words of the Bible.
The other realm however, overlapping half our
house, was completely different; it smelled differ
ent, spoke a different language, promised and
demanded different things. The second world con
tained servant girls and workmen, ghost stories,
rumors of scandal. It was dominated by a loud
mixture of horrendous, intriguing, frightening,
mysterious things, including slaughter houses and
prisons, drunkards and screeching fishwives,
calving cows, horses sinking to their death,
tales of robberies, murders and suicides (Hesse,
1965:5,6).
The members of The Way Ministry most often try to pro
ject a sense of confidence, serenity, and supreme satisfac
tion with life. Showering visitors with greetings and salu
tations of love with a sprinkling of "God Blesses," they
display their inner peace and community with God. For them

32
this is more than just a facade as they have attained a sense
of inner peace due to their communion with God (whether real
or imagined) The members have created an alternative world
in which to escape modern society. They are isolated in a
spiritual sense from those who don't accept such things as
spiritual communion with God, God's word, miracles, rebirth,
etc. In this world, the member can dwell with conviction,
trust, confidence and peace of mind. He has attained a
community of fellowship with others of his belief.
This body of people has rejected the material world,
both its secular and sacred institutions, in lieu of a life
of dedicated study to know the Bible. They are detached from
society but do not disown it. They hope to make thir knowl
edge of the Bible available to all people and through this
knowledge all may find abundant lives. We have discussed
the Ministry's similarities to the contemporary Jesus move
ment, its aims to be like the first century church, and its
efforts to disavow denominational affiliation. The final
segment of the chapter will be to discuss The Way (and evan
gelicalism in general) as a part of the history of Chris
tianity.
The strongest source of American evangelicalism
is the Methodism of John Wesley who preached the
necessity of an experience of personal conversion
and the 'holiness' doctrine of possible perfection
to the lower classes of eighteenth century England
(Ellwood, 1973:39).
In America the revivalistic Christianity really began on the
frontier where the more generally accepted movements were

33
abandoned for Wesleyan conversion. The frontier was a hard
and lonely life and, more than anything, the pioneer sought
a convincing converting experience with God.
Many new denominations sprang up but the most successful
of all was Methodism. The ideas of Methodism were right for
the frontier as they offered an individualistic appeal to God
and possible perfection for man, a new way of life, just as
the frontier itself had been. This evangelicalism seems a
conservative theology; however, in truth it probably led to
greater social change through individual conversion than did
the liberal denominations with their alleged ideas of equal
ity among people. Consider that in spite of all the denomi
national preaching of religious equality, the first racially
integrated churches in the South from 1910 to present were the
Pentecostal organizations.
Beginning in the 1900's was a new facet of the Jesus
movement which is closely related to The Way Ministry, Pente-
costalism. The Way, like many Pentecostals, believes that
following conversion one is blessed with a second gift of the
Holy Spirit which enables one to live a life free of sin.
The Way and Pentecostals alike take on all the marks of the
New Testament Church: powers of healing, miracles and, most
important, the ability to speak in tongues. This phenomenon
is not new with the Ministry or with evangelical religion of
the present, but it too goes back to the frontier revivals
in the form of dog-like barking (to chase the devil up a
tree). While speaking in tongues is found even in sects of

34
medieval Europe, it was never fully incorporated into a con
sistent system until the turn of the twentieth century.
Speaking in tongues was born on the American scene in Kansas
in 1901. The real center of the Pentecostal movement is
found in the famous Azusa Street meetings, where W. J. Sey
mour, a'black preacher, began a tremendous revival on speak
ing-in-tongues .
This whole tradition, like The Way Ministry, focuses on
the two worlds., with the importance of this world being sub
ject to the power of the second world. Nonetheless, to the
minister of The Way as to the Pentecostalist the image of
God has power now. "He is benign and can accomplish great
transformations now. Even now a person can attain salvation
and supernatural powers"(Ellwood, 1973:47). However, this
world is not important to the Pentecostalist as it is to the
Adventist, for example. Gary Schwartz, in comparing the two,
noted that the Pentecostalist is not worried about his sta
tion in this world, as the Adventist is (Schwartz, 1970).
The evangelical movement plays for the youth of today the
same role it played for other alienated types of people:
frontiersmen, southerners during the restoration, blacks,
and the lower socio-economic classes.
Speaking in tongues is a part of the ministry's worship
ping, thus The Way could be associated with the Pentecostal
churches. However, to The Way, speaking in tongues is char
acterized by a quiet devotional style of prayer and worship
rather than by the loud shouting and ecstatic movement

35
characteristic of Pentecostal worship. The Way Ministry is
not a Pentecostal affiliate formally and in fact might more
easily be labeled a Holiness sect.
Services are more holiness than Pentecostal in that
they do folio;'/ a definite order, eschewing the free
wheeling 'do your own thing' of the latter. .
Informal songs are sung by the congregation mostly
concerning Jesus and his imminent return to earth.
Prayers for the sick are offered and testimonies
are heard. The ubiquitous 'one way' sign (extended
index finger with clenched fist) shows the congre
gation approval of various elements of the services
(Adams and Fox, 1973:51).
This description would apply to The Way services except that
the sign is three extended fingers like a "W" for "Word over
the World."
Essentially, The Way Ministry can be seen as one alter
native in the "Evangelical Jesus movement," which, like the
movement at large, is a blend of the tradition and the theolo
gies of Pentecostal and Holiness sects. It differs from the
other elements of the movement primarily, in that it is not
organized as a religious worship unit so much as it is a
biblical research group.
One final group to relate the Ministry to is The Believ
er's Church. The "Believer's Church" was a term developed by
Max Weber in his work on the Protestant Ethic to help define
the Quakers and Anabaptists. According to Weber these groups
did not want "an institution necessarily including both the
just and the unjust" but rather a "community of personal
believers of the reborn, and only these" (Weber, 1958:144).
The Way Ministry and Believer's Church alike reject the idea

36
of a church as some sort of physical structure and see it
as being the body of believers.
While the idea of the Believer's Church is one of a non-
creedal nature, it does have confessions of faith and does
not necessarily entail a rejection of doctrinal formulations.
In fact", the whole idea of the Believer's Church stresses the
communal nature of the belief. The Believer's Church in the
sectarian sense is a Church which has allegedly survived
(though not always in an organized sense) in the persons of
believers in Christ since the inception of Christianity in
Jerusalem. The dual existence of this church with that of
the institutional church is noted in Ernst Troeltsch's work
Social Teachings of the Christian Church (Troeltsch, 1911).
This is only one of the three theories of the origin of the
Believer's Church but is the most applicable to The Way
Ministry, particularly since they themselves see their church
as being united with the First Century Church. The "Social
Gospel" movement may be seen as a renewal of this sectarian
idea applied to the whole of society. The Way Ministry and
the Jesus movement at large are significant proponents of
this sectarian tradition despite the fact that they don't
accredit their predecessors. Like those in the "Anabaptist"
tradition, members feel there is no line of apostolic descent
and that their Church is a return to a belief rarely known
since the first century A.D.
Seven elements define the Believer's Church; one cannot
help noting the similarity with those beliefs of The Way to

37
be discussed in Chapter III. The seven elements are: first,
conversion is founded only in an adult acceptance of Christ
(i.e., no infant baptism); second, a communion is made between
themselves and God and they reject the secular world. Third,
they perform Christian works, similar to the Way's advice to
"walk on the Word of God." They accept that they must learn
to love as Christ and be reborn. They also believe in sharing
their worldly goods with others. There is neither formal nor
spontaneous religion completely but a combination of the two,
thus the structure evolves along with the group. Last and
most important both to The Way and to the Believer's Church
is the word of God is the sole authority. Appearing similar
to The Way,
The Believer's Church is the covenanted and dis-
cipled community of those walking in the way of
Jesus Christ. Where two or three such are
gathered, willing also to be scattered in the
work of their Lord, there is the believing people
(Durnbaugh, 1968:32 -33).
The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate the relation
ship of The Way Ministry to some other religious expression
both contemporary and historical. The Way is not to be seen
as identical with any other formal organization; however,
the similarity of its structures and beliefs allows one to
consider a similarity between its membership and the member
ship of other elements of the Jesus movement. In the next
two chapters, the specific ideology of the Ministry and its
structure will be examined in order to establish a placement
on the continuum to be made in Chapter V.

CHAPTER II
THE WAY MINISTRY
Zarathustra speaks of the death of God and pro
claims the overman. Faith in God is dead as a
matter of cultural fact, and any meaning of life
in the sense of a supernatural purpose is gone
(Nietzsche, 1966:3).
Perhaps for existentialists such as Nietzsche, Zarathus-
tra's words are the amplification of man's only soul. How
ever, on at least one farm in New Knoxville, Ohio, Nietzsche's
words would be seen as the greatest of folly.^ This farm is
the center for a widespread and growing ministry of the Bible.
To the members of this community and various branches across
the country and the world, God is far from dead, "the Word of
God is sown here, nourished, watered and grown in the hearts
of believing peoples" (Whiteside, 1972:1).
The Way Ministry is an organization designed for spread
ing the "proper" interpretation of the Bible. Believing
fully that the Bible in its original "God breathed" form is
the word of God, the Ministry has made extensive efforts to
study it and to read it as they feel it was first written,
No translation, let alone a version, may properly
be called the Word of God. To get the Word
of God out of any translation or out of any version,
we have to compare one word with another word and
'''All assertions
sonal observation by
concerning the Ministry are based on per-
the author.
38

39
one verse with another verse. We have to study
the context of all the verses. If it is the Word
of God, then it cannot have a contradiction, for
God cannot contradict Himself (Wierwille, 1971c:
128).
The major function of the Ministry has been to reconstruct
the Bible. This ability is taught to the people through the
Ministry's various branches.
The Ministry also strives to make a return to the first
century church. There are no actual rites of passage to say
when one is or is not "in the Ministry." The church also is
not defined as some sort of edifice but rather it is the
collection of believers.
Following the prophetic lead of Victor Wierwille, the
Ministry has grown for the last thirty years. After complet
ing his formal education at Princeton Theological Seminary,
Wierwille practiced the ministry in Ohio, serving sixteen
years as a pastor. He found that the "abundant" life pro
claimed in the Bible was frequently lacking in Christian
communities. Thus, he set out on a determined quest for
Biblical enlightenment, with the aid of European, Far Eastern
and American scholars. Finally, in 1953 he felt confident
enough to begin his classes on the Power for Abundant Living.
In these highly concentrated sessions one is taught how to
read the Bible "correctly" and supposedly how to receive the
gifts which God has to offer. Eventually, these classes and
his Bible research consumed so much of his time and energy
that Wierwille resigned his local pastorate and devoted his
full attention towards these ends. Since its inception, the

40
Ministry has expanded from its home in Ohio to an extensive
national and even international following. While proselyti-
zation will be more thoroughly and specifically discussed in
the fourth chapter, a brief explanation of the structure of
the organization will reveal the means by which the word is
spread."
The Way is a fellowship, not a church or denomination,
but a union of all those who follow Jesus Christ. Preceding
the evolution of the term Christians and the development of
the many contemporary denominations and churches, the followers
of Christ were referred to as the "followers of The Way." Now,
in twentieth century America, this organization is attempting
to found itself on the principles of the first century Chris
tians. Thus, in keeping with the book of Acts, they have
named the fellowship "The Way." The Way is an international
organization of biblical research and a teaching ministry
which is designed to know and teach the Bible in every detail.
The Way acclaims itself as a nondenominational church of
\ believers who minister the word to people and then allow
people the autonomy of deciding how they will use it.
The Way describes itself as being similar to a tree and
thus has named its sub-units: the root, the trunk, limbs,
branches, and twigs. The twigs, being the smallest units,
are also the most important units for sustaining the group
identification. They are the most personal and most frequent
in meeting. A twig is defined as a fellowship of three or
more members in a specific local area, which meets nightly

41
or at least once a week. Twig fellowships meet in"The Way
Home" with a family-like atmosphere. The basic purpose of
the fellowships is to "manifest" together and to study the
basic principles of Christianity. Here the "abundant life"
is supposedly made manifest. Twigs are designed to meet the
personal needs of those in the meeting as each member can
voice his feelings on whatever may be his problems. The
meetings also hopefully will help build the Christian char
acter and mani.fest the love for all others. One final pur
pose and a most important purpose is to expose the knowledge
of the Bible to possible converts.
These meetings are governed by a strict normative code.
The fellowships must always be warm, personal, positive and
unified. Prayers are always conducted in unison. As the
fellowships are frequently a vehicle for proselytization,
members must always appear positive, understanding and non-
critical. Tolerance and openmindedness are expected as is a
thorough understanding of scripture.
The above rules define how the twig fellowships must
operate if they are to express through membership the charac
teristics of the true Christian, as defined by the Ministry.
The other units, while not so important on a personal
basis, are still necessary for proper functioning of the
organization at large. The branch is a fellowship of all
the twigs in a local community area which meets monthly.
While its formal meetings are not so frequent, the branch
still is a very personal unit. The branch under study has a

42
large, beautiful home in the heart of the community. There
is not an evening when it is not the center of a great deal
of activity and the meeting place of many more people than
the few who actually live there. The limb, which is more
formal and structured, is a fellowship meeting of all of the
branches within a given state which meets every six months
or annually. Finally, the trunk is the fellowship of limbs
in an entire nation which meets every three years.
The root .is composed of three major segments which meet
every five years together. The three segments are: (1) a
board of three trustees, (2) the international headquarters,
or a fellowship of the head presbyter of each trunk, and
(3) the board of directors, or a fellowship of the head
presbyters of each limb and branch.
Each of the sub-units, except the root and twigs, is
composed of a variety of offices. First, the head presbyter
or ruling elder is an overseer who observes and guides the
fellowships. He is qualified spiritually as a leader. The
elder of each twig fellowship is selected by the branch
presbyter and by approval of the limb, trunk, and root. Each
unit also selects from its members an honorary treasurer.
Other positions occur in certain situations. Each unit is
self-creating, governing, supporting and sustaining in cooper
ation with its respective over-unit.
In discussing a group such as this, one inevitably comes
to the questions of organizational dilemmas. While this is
not the focus of the dissertation, answering these problems

43
\
will enable the reader to further understand the structure
and function of this group as a whole and its sub-units. The
following discussion relates generally to Parsonian concepts
but specifically to Rosabeth Ranter's work on communes
(Ranter, 1972). While there are some elements of communal
living "in the branch of the Ministry here under study, one
would not simply classify the organization as a commune.
Therefore, it is not the purpose to discuss the aspects of
commune living, but simply to use it as a model to illustrate
how this particular organization handles the problems encoun
tered by any social system.
Ranter elects to ignore the most obvious of Parsons
systems theories in lieu of his social action schemata.
While the A-G-I-L provides one avenue for system analysis,
she notes that communes are essentially held together on the
basis of personal commitment of the members. Ranter isolates
six basic organizational problems of communities, all of which
relate to the central dilemma faced by any community, i.e.,
how to make themselves more permanent. Ranter reduces these
six dilemmas to three problems of commitment. Basically,
she feels organizational problems can be resolved if the
commitment is high enough. One will note that there are a
variety of structures within The Way which keep the commit
ment of members quite high. Ranter then turns to Parsons for
her three types of commitment which provide the resolution of
the three dilemmas. All three of these dilemmas do apply to
The Way as they do to communes. Discussion of the three

44
problems and the means by which this organization handles
each should help to describe the order, personal relationships,
structures, etc., which are found in the Ministry.
First is the problem of retention of members. This prob
lem is solved by cognitive or instrumental commitment to the
community. The person feels committed if the community is
doing something for him. Therefore, it is necessary that The
Way have some sort of structural mechanisms which make it
fruitful for the individual to complete whatever duties are
expected of him without coercion. The structures in the
Ministry (often found in religious groups) which provide
instrumental satisfaction are built into the belief system.
In other words, one gains one's rewards not in a material
fashion but in the spiritual. Also, because the individual
is allowed a say in most of the decision-making he feels
somewhat insured that the decisions will reflect the wants
of all. The promise of spiritual union with God is enough
but if it were not manifest in the actions of the members
then it would be difficult to gain followers. Thus, the
behavior, not only of twig fellowships, but all around "the
Home" is rigidly disciplined. Rules of conduct are strictly
adhered to: no criticism, exaggerated warmth, etc. There
fore, by maintaining at least a facade of interpersonal
warmth the community is able to reach prospective initiates
and convince them of their own spiritual unity with God.
Apparently the warmth is more than a facade to the members,
as the majority of memberships are enduring. In fact, perhaps

45
the single strongest function of the religious group is to
establish a social community among the believers.
The Ministry seems to have its greatest appeal among
young people from the ages of thirteen to twenty. In our
society one is (while at this age) encumbered with a critical
morality and the problem of giving intellectual consent to
his life. Up until adolescence, children are relatively free
from any intellectual pressures, but suddenly, at around age
fifteen,most individuals are expected to defend their beliefs.
This critical morality may unbridle the mind but it may be
frustrating; as one of Kenniston's students at Harvard noted,
"One does not rejoice on learning that God is dead" (Kennis-
ton, 1965). For most young people this is a most trying
situation because our society seems to demand that one believe
in something. Like Sinclair in Demian the young person begins
to want an answer now that he has pulled apart from the herd.
And when you will say 'I no longer have a common
conscience with you,' it will be a lament and an
agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the
common conscience, and the last glimmer of that
conscience still glows on your affliction
(Nietzsche, 1966:62).
A little learning is a dangerous thing and so it goes with a
little victory. Having emerged victorious in battles against
the herd, one is instilled with such great confidence that he
feels he has won the war and that whatever he may now choose
to believe, he should not doubt. The war is long and arduous;
at the first paradox that is met, most people find they must
have an answer. When a person needs an answer he shall find
one.

46
The purpose of this digression was to explain why young
people more than others find cognitive satisfaction by being
able to rejoin themselves to the herd.
In the early years of the 1970's the Jesus move
ment was one of the most talked about of American
religious phenomena. Young people in considerable
numbers were rejecting both conventional Christian
ity and 'counter culture' religions to take up
with evangelical Christianity (Ellwood, 1973:ix).
Robert Ellwood draws a strong parallel between the Jesus cul
ture and the psychedelic culture. For both subcultures, sub
jectivity is the key to reality. The goal in life is a
"high." There is provided a sense of separateness from estab
lished society, a reaction against science and technology,
and a reaction against history (excluding the Bible). One
should not confuse The Way with other segments of the Jesus
movement, but it is valid to note that the culture of the
Ministry is founded on the basic tenets just listed. Thus,
The Way is able to provide individuals with a new culture
which allows autonomy, yet defines the world and allows the
same escape from "the establishment." It also gives one
community support as a defense mechanism for his system of
beliefs, values, and social behavior.
The foregoing discussion illustrates that the structure
of the Ministry will satisfy the need for cathectic (affec
tive) commitment and for evaluative (moral) commitment as it
does for the cognitive needs. The second problem for Ranter's
study was that of group cohesiveness, a problem which is
resolved by the cathectic commitment. Much of the foregoing

47
discussion implicitly applies to this dilemma as it did to
the first. Most important to this type of commitment in the
Ministry are the structures which heighten and enhance com
munity boundaries. While there is no specific membership
ritual which denotes acceptance inco the group, there are
many covert factors involved. The group is tightly unified
in that most of the members are communally involved with one
another. The Way is not a "once a week thing" but more an
every-night affair. Any outsider is always welcomed yet he
is always known and observed. The most important group
boundary is that of religious rebirth. Having been reborn
one is immediately in the group. The group values and beliefs
are constantly expressed and enforced within the home; thus,
each individual will learn the "will of God" and should he
choose to ignore it then he will know its punishment. This
provides an indirect sanction from the group.
The third problem (solved by evaluative commitment) to
consider is that of social control or how to insure agreement
about community values. According to the Ministry, it is
only through the Bible that man becomes able to live the
abundant life. The Way is based on the idea that the word
can transform people's lives from one of fear, hate and nega
tive thinking and living into lives of ecstacy, love and
positive thinking and living. The one primary structure that
the Ministry has of reaching people once conversion is under
way is the Power for Abundant Living course. The class,
which is administered over a period of three weeks at a cost

48
of eighty-five dollars, consists of thirty-three hours of
taped teaching lectures by V. P. Wierwille. The class is
designed to teach people the will of God by teaching them
how to read, study and understand scripture. With this
ability one can allegedly know the will of God as it was
originally given to man. The course as well as the fellow
ships teach the members the "accuracy" of the Bible and thus
develop one (the only possible) interpretation. This inter
pretation, then, is the basis for a shared morality within
the group as well as a singular world view and shared com
munal goals. It is through this shared morality that the
evaluative or moral commitment is fostered and sustained in
individuals, thus maintaining a singular powerful commitment
to the goals and aims of the community at large. The Ministry
is a highly structured organization which has been able to
control the commitment of its members to a great extent and,
at least to the present, it has been able to cope with the
situational problems which any such organization must
necessarily confront.
This chapter has introduced to the reader the specific
unit under study. This aim will be expanded by the discussion
of conversion and proselytization in Chapter IV.

CHAPTER IV
CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION
According to John Lofland's book on the Divine Precepts,
Doomsday Cult, there are three major problems (two of which
are relevant to this description) encountered by any reli
gious splinter group (Lofland, 1966). The first is the prob
lem of conversion. How do individuals become so involved with
"far out" activities? The second question, the problem of
proselytization, focuses on the methods of the group. It is
necessary to look at the "conversion-proselytization" process
from both the individual and group perspectives; of most
concern here is what social factors precipitate membership
in a religious splinter group.
Lofland notes, in answer to the first dilemma, seven
necessary characteristics for conversion. All are seemingly
present in the membership of this community. All of the
members felt acute tensions with society and saw the tensions
as being solved by religion. Each defined himself as a seeker
of truth and encountered the group at a time of crisis or in
decision in his life. A strong bond has been formed due to
intensive interaction; this is illustrated by the extreme
religious communality expressed by group members. Also, the
external attachments are extremely low for the members of
the Ministry. A strong religious communality, coupled with
49

50
a significant decrease in alienation upon entering the Minis
try, will imply that the seven personal factors necessary for
conversion were very much present among the membership of
this organization.
The second question one must ask is, how a deviant group
recruits and inducts members. Lofland notes that there are
two sequential phases to this process. First, how do mission
aries gain access to and attention of nonbelievers, and
secondly, how are they able to promote the cultist (or sec
tarian) world view? The first is the strategy of the group
and the second is tactics, "maneuvering of forces in face of
the enemy."
The problem of strategy for The Way is solved through
embodied access or face-to-face encounters with nonbelievers.
In the central headquarters of The Way in Ohio, the techniques
employed are probably considerably more diverse. However, in
the local branch there has been little use of mass media or
disembodied access in strategy. The tactics, however, utilize
a tremendous amount of disembodied techniques in carrying out
full-scale promotion of conversion.
The most concrete evidence of disembodied access employed
in the past year was the presentation of the film "Rock of
Ages."
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard?
Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth,
and their words unto the ends of the world (Romans
X:xvii-xviii).

51
Post cards, pamphlets, and flyers bearing this and other
scriptural messages were circulated as announcements before
the one campus presentation of the film. The first "Rock of
Ages" was held in 1972 and has become an annual event on Dr.
Wierwille's 150-acre farm. It is publicized as "a festival
of light and sound to celebrate the accomplishment of the
word over the world in our time."
"Rock of Ages" was a rock festival, interspersed with
speeches on the beliefs of the Ministry. It lasted two days
and two nights and was filmed by a professional film company.
The film was distributed to the branches around the country
and was shown on the East Carolina University campus by the
local branch in the spring of 1973. Even the showing of the
film was in essence an embodied form of proselytizing in that
the film was entirely an attempt to project the festival as
a personal, intimate atmosphere. As supplement to the film,
a flyer of introduction to the Ministry was distributed. As
the majority of the viewers were already members of The Way
there was no difficulty in establishing personal contact with
all of the prospective converts who were present. All were
invited to The Way Home for refreshments and further enter
tainment. Having seen the film, the prospective convert was
expected to be awed by the ubiquitous love and brotherhood it
displayed. Once brought to the Home itself, the real prose
lytizing takes place.
The Ways strategy is almost entirely embodied because
they hope to be an example and expression of the power of

52
God's word so that they will be sought out rather than "out
seeking." This is not to say, either, that The Way does not
go out to share its beliefs or that they employ no disembodied
strategy. They do utilize a limited number of flyers, which
are distributed to interested people rather than being handed
out indiscriminately; most of these give a brief description
of The Way's beliefs, programs, goals and activities.
The Way Ministry makes great efforts to share their mes
sage with the -world of nonbelievers. Rather than trying to
be in a specific (religious or secular) setting in order to
meet possible converts, The Way ministers go about their
daily lives, attempting (most often in a covert fashion which
is soon uncovered) to influence those closest to them.
The embodied access is carried out most specifically by
the WOW (Word Over the World) Ambassadors. This program was
begun in 1971 and it sent at that time nearly 100 people into
communities throughout the country in order to teach other
individuals what they have learned about Christ. By the fall
of 1972 the Headquarters had sent more than 250 Ambassadors
across the country into 24 states and into five foreign
countries.
A flyer describes the WOW Ambassadors as living a life
of study and dedication. They must support themselves by
working at a secular employment for four hours a day and then
they are able to devote the remainder of their time to teach
ing the word, witnessing, running the Power for Abundant
Living classes, and undershepherding. (Witnessing is

5 3
basically embodied proselytizing, where the members of the
Ministry go out on the street to find possible converts.
Undershepherding is the tactics of proselytization where once
a prospective convert is won over, he is then visited nightly
by the members and brought to the Heme.) They may work on
college campuses, sometimes in prisons, or most often, just
out on the street where they can reach the people. To be
eligible to be a WOW Ambassador for The Way one must have
graduated from both the foundational and intermediate classes
on the Power for Abundant Living (fully discussed below). He
must attend the one-week-long WOW Ambassador training seminar
given biannually in New Knoxville, Ohio. The candidate must
be a high school graduate and cannot leave any prior commit
ments for The Way without approval of the Limb Elder. Finally,
he will be required to give 48 hours a week for approximately
one year in the area(s) to which he is assigned.
To the Ambassadors and in fact to every individual in
the Ministry, the first duty is a personal spreading of the
word. Through this embodied proselytization, prospective
converts are brought into the fold as guests at Sunday wor
ships, or to twig fellowships, or just over to "the Home."
Once at "the Home" the full-scale conversion efforts take
place. The tactics are both embodied and disembodied. At
The Way Home there is always someone who is ready to tell you
about his beliefs. Conversion is an everywhere present
process.

54
The Ministry has a number of books for sale which should
initiate conversion. Free flyers and pamphlets explaining
the organization, its ideals and its functions, are also
available. Most of the books are written by V. P. Wierwille;
however, the first book given to prospectives as an introduc
tion to-the Ministry is Elena Whiteside's book, The Way:
Living in Love. Miss Whiteside narrates a day spent at The
Way International Headquarters in New Knoxville. One is
invited not tosee God but to be shown ". God working and
living in people. People who believe in God and act on that
believing. People acting on the Word of God and living
according to His Word" (Whiteside, 1972:5). Again, even in
this first disembodied text, the real emphasis is on the per
sonal expression of God's word. The reader sees an "idyllic"
life on the farm at Headquarters and at the same time he is
learning some of the major beliefs of the organization. Here
he is introduced to Wierwille, other important figures in the
Ministry and a variety of individuals now in the Ministry.
\ The diversity within the membership is stressed so that each
prospective initiate might feel welcome. The reader sees
young people and old people, long-haired drug freaks (now
conformed) and super-straights, poor people with socially
tragic pasts and wealthy people who have realized their
psychic deprivation. The reader is encouraged to believe
that, whoever he may be, he can find fellowship, friendship,
and community here.

55
In the book one is also introduced to the various activ
ities and programs with which the people work. The people
encountered in the text are all shown as having a meaning in
their lives. The various activities include the twig fellow
ships, the Ambassador program, and all of the proselytization
efforts (printing, art work, taping, etc.). There is the
intensive summer program for leadership which includes various
classes and seminars. The Way corps is an advanced work-study
program where the students study, eat and sleep with their
teacher. There is the college and correctional out-reach
which includes twig fellowships and the taped classes on the
"Power for Abundant Living" taught in federal and state pris
ons and on many college campuses. Allegedly the programs
sponsored by The Way are leading to positive rehabilitation
by giving purpose and direction to life.
Among the publications by the American Christian Press
(owned and operated by the Ministry) is the bimonthly maga
zine, The Way, which is usually filled with articles expres
sing the "accuracy" of God's word, the commitment that some
person has made to the word, or explanations of how to use
God's gifts. Inevitably, parts of the magazine are written
by Wierwille and/or some of the other leaders. The magazine
serves to keep the membership abreast of current activities
and as a stimulant to the fellowship meetings.
The Ministry also publishes several small booklets
called "studies in Biblical accuracy." For the most part
these are written by Wierwille although some are done by

56
other figureheads of the ministry. Most of the branches do
small-scale publishing to publicize events within the local
area. The particular branch under study has a monthly pub
lished flyer called the "Grapevine."
The most important element of tactics in proselytization
is the class on Power for Abundant Living. The class is com
posed of 12 three-hour sessions. It is presented to the
students either live or on 16 mm color sound film tapes. In
it, one covers several books which were written by Wierwilie.
Wierwille is the teacher of the course which explains all of
the keys in the word of God and instructs the individual in
ways to conquer the problematic situations of life. In addi
tion to this class there is an intermediate and finally an
advanced class.
All of the contemporary denominations present the Bible
as being inconsistent. Wierwille, assuming that the Bible
was the word of God, felt that it must be consistent and
accurate. After developing his interpretation of the Bible,
he began to fulfill his main purpose as a bearer of the
message. In 1953 he began teaching the first classes on the
Power for Abundant Living. He has published six books which
thoroughly encompass the teaching of the Ministry and the
programs of the various classes. Each of the books will be
discussed in the following pages and should provide a
thorough understanding of The Way's belief system. The
final three books are a re-publication of the aforementioned
"studies in Biblical accuracy."
The first three books are

57
the most important for the presentation of the Ministry's
beliefs, ideals and Biblical perspective.
Power for Abundant Living
This book is the basic text for the Ministry. It is
divided into five sections which explain the various keys for
using the Bible. "The first and most basic key for power for
abundant living is that the Bible is the revealed Word and
Will of God" (Wierwille, 1971c:5). In the first section the
reader learns that in order to properly follow the word, one
must first learn what God makes available for people, how to
receive it and finally how to use His gifts. The basic gifts
which God makes available include prosperity and good health,
sufficiency in all things and inner strength. The power of
inner strength comes to us with the fullness of God gained
when our spirit is reunited with His. Wierwille says,
Let's be sure in our Biblical quest for the more
abundant life that we first find out what is
available so that we as God's people will not
be destroyed because we lack knowledge. When
we know what is available, then we can learn the
other principles that are involved in making our
life more abundant so that we can manifest the
greatness of the power of God (Wierwille, 1971c:5).
He continues by saying,
I do not tell you that you ought to read the
Bible; I teach you how to read it. I do not
tell you that you ought to pray; I tell you how
to pray. I do not tell you that you should
believe; I tell you how to believe (Wierwille,
1971c:15) .
As it is in the material realm so it is in the spiritual.
One may well know what is available but he must learn how to

58
receive it. Throughout our lives we have been educated,
gradually learning, how to obtain material things but we get
little or no instruction as to how to gain the spiritual
things which are available.
First one finds out what is available, second how to
obtain "it, and last lie finds out how to use it. One may have
a material object such as a book made available to him. Next
he may learn how to obtain it, for instance, by using the
public library... Still the gift has no value at all to him
unless he knows how to read. The word not only tells one how
he might use the gifts but also tells the purpose that God
intends. Wierwille explains that God's gifts are without
repentencewhat is promised will be fulfilled.
This book presents the most interesting aspect of the
belief system. According to the Ministry, one is able to
receive the gifts of God simply by believing. Like the power
of positive thinking, "Before one receives anything, he must
act as though he already has it and then he receives it"
(Wierwille, 1971c:29) .
Wierwille points out that believing is the key and not
in whom or what you believe. Both in this book and in The
Way (magazine) he discusses believing and gives examples to
illustrate that the power of believing is not limited to
those believing in Christ. This power has unlimited poten
tial. He relates a story in The Way magazine concerning two
men's1use of this power for financial gain. The point of
the narrative is that the men don't attend church, don't

59
believe in Jesus, don't believe in God, and yet they are able
to capitalize on the power of believing.
Once one accepts that believing is a law, then it is a
short step to understanding that one will receive as he
believes. If he believes positively then he will act and
receive positively. If, however, he believes negatively or
has fear, then his believing will have negative results.
Thus, when we fear something strongly enough it too will come
to pass. Wierwille states that because most of us dwell in
fear constantly, we will suffer its consequences.
Once this law has been sufficiently drilled into the
reader, he is led into the next phase, what to believe in.
This phase of the book tells the reader how to read in the
Bible.
Every man in the Bible who wrote the Word of God
had the spirit from God on him. There is only
one author of the Bible and that is God. There
are many writers but only one author (Wierwille,
1971c:79) .
It is man's job to live up to the word of God. It has
been given and man must now choose to accept or ignore it.
The idea is something like the Kantian idea of a mental truth
which exists whether we perceive it or not. The word is
there, it is the truth and will be true whether or not men
live by it. Ideally, the purpose of man is to affect a junc
tion between the mental truth and the physical world through
his reason. To have the sanction of God ultimately the
follower must give account for himself and what better way
to do this than to make his actions consonant with his Bible.

60
Thus the follower must study the Bible and learn fully the
meaning of God's word. According to Wierwille, the word of
God has been greatly confused due to the efforts of man to
use it.
God gave the original Word. He is not at all respon
sible for the error that men have introduced by
their chapter headings or by their center referen
ces or by their paragraph markings. Man made all
those mistakes (Wierwille, 1971c:133).
Even with all of the errors of man, Wierwille felt it
was not impossible for the Bible to be reconstructed. In
phase three the reader is taught how to use the Bible. He
is shown that the Bible interprets itself fully. First of
all, in its verse the Bible is usually clear. One must first
be aware of the meanings of definitions of words at the time
of translation, as words often change or become more diffuse
or specific in meaning over a period of time. Next the reader
can learn the meaning of obscure verses by relating it to
other verses on the same topic. Essentially, it is assumed
that the word of God must always be consistent and thus
through studying various accounts or verses which are similar,
we may augment our understanding of the event considerably.
Finally, a verse must be understood as part of a narrative
framework and to be a fully understood verse it must be seen
relative to the other passages on the event.
Many of the denominational splits in Christianity are
based on variances in interpretation of the word. There
should be no variance if one understood the meaning of the
word. Finally, Wierwille notes that for one to really

61
understand the word, he must realize that different parts of
the Bible were written to different people, and while they
can carry some significant meaning for us, they are written
to someone else.
Once one realizes that scripture interprets itself, he
is ready to begin working with the word so as to manifest it
practically in his life, to be reborn.
In the beginning, the spirit in man made it possible
for God to talk to him and for man, in turn, to talk
to God. .The natural man of body and soul only has
his five senses whereby to acquire knowledge. In
contrast, the first man not only could acquire knowl
edge through his five senses, but he could also
attain knowledge through his communication with God,
made possible by God's spirit within him. Adam had
two ways whereby he could know things and he had the
freedom of will to choose whether he was going to
gather knowledge by his five senses or by spirit--
God's speaking to him (Wierwille, 1971c:250).
Wierwille speaks of natural man as being man as we know him
after the original sin. This is man of body and soul but
without spirit or communion with God. It is man's job to
become reborn in spirit and become perfect again. According
to Wierwille, God had to come into a physical, incarnate form
so that natural man might see with his senses and then believe.
Man's rebirth gives him unconditional reunion with God
in spirit whereas Adam had conditional spirit; however, Adam
had the advantages of having a renewed mind. According to
the text, one's mind is not renewed by rebirth. Our mind is
renewed only when we are able to put our thoughts and actions
forever in harmony with the word, when we are able to mani
fest the power in the physical world.

62
In the concluding pages of the text, Wierwille explains
the obligations of the reborn. They are to spread the word
of God as warriors. Once you believe in Christ you are recon
ciled to the Ministry.
Finally, the reader learns the nine manifestations of
the holy spirit which God gave on the Pentecost. The nine
are of three basic categories: inspirational, informative,
and power-impartation manifestations. The first includes
prophesy or a .message in a believer's meeting from God in
the language of those present, speaking in tongues or bring
ing a message from God in a language not known by the speaker
(usually in private prayer) and interpretation of tongues.
The second category includes word of knowledge from God
unknowable by the five senses, Word of wisdom or how to use
knowledge and discerning or recognition of spirits, their
presence and identity. The last category is composed of
faith, miracles, and healing. Each of these manifestations
are the power of any reborn Christian.
Are the Dead Alive Now?
This text is centered around the nature of life after
death. God made, formed and created man in body, soul and
spirit, respectively. Life after death is purely a spiritual
matter; thus, if one is not reborn in spirit how can he have
it after he has died in body and soul. Wierwille argues that

63
many "Christians" believe that the dead are now alive in the
kingdom of God. According to the Bible this is not true. No
one is alive until the first resurrection when Christ comes
for His Church (body of believers) and then after some time
(not specified) Christ will be resurrected again to come
with His Church to make all alive.
There are two antithetical powers in our lives, God and
Satan (God of this world). In the spiritual realm God is
King; however, Satan has powers by which he is able to deceive
people. Wierwille suggests that it is the power of Satan
which fools people in seances, and other supernatural rituals,
into believing that the dead are alive elsewhere.
In this book, as in all of his works, Wierwille illus
trates an extensive command of Scripture. With a most impres
sive amount of research he draws conclusively the position of
the Bible on this question. He shows that this position is
accurate and consistent with respect to even the most trouble
some passages.
Receiving the Holy Spirit Today
This third book by Wierwille is basically a "how-to-do
it" book on receiving the holy spirit from God. As was seen
in the discussion of the first text, there are nine funda
mental manifestations of the holy spirit. Perhaps the most
elusive and fascinating is that of speaking in tongues.
Wierwille answers a series of questions about this and the
other manifestations.

64
How do we receive the spirit or gift of God? It does
not automatically come with salvation or rebirth but through
believing we are able to manifest the power of God. The
continual emphasis on positive believing reminds one of John
Milton's passage, "The mind is a pxace within itself and can
make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven" (Milton, 1950:110)
What things keep us from receiving the spirit? In general,
we are kept from receiving this gift of God by our fears,
fears which usually arise out of a wrong or lacking knowledge
of the word, according to Wierwille. By believing in God we
can gain these gifts; we need not be good first for it is
through receiving the gifts that we are able to become good.
Speaking in a tongue is the believer's external
manifestation in the senses world of the internal
reality and presence of the power of the holy
spirit. Speaking in tongues is a constant reminder
even in the hours of bereavement and sorrow, temp
tation and trouble, that Christ by way of God's
poi^er is in you. Therefore, you have victory over
the enemy in every situation because as I John 4:4
states, '. greater is he that is in you, than
he that is in the world' (Wierwille, 1972:41).
Speaking in tongues is a gift from God to this Church of
believers; it is the spiritual food for us. We are built up
spiritually by speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is
only possible for those who have been born again and who have
the holy spirit permanently within.
The art of speaking in tongues is done by Man's will;
however, what he speaks is where the supernatural is involved
The supernatural does not possess a man and force him to
speak in tongues. We can start or stop at any time as our

65
will is in control. Speaking in tongues is the spirit speak
ing through us and may or may not be understood at all in the
senses world. The holy spirit can be manifested without the
laying on of hands or without others present, but on no
occasion can it occur without believing. Wierwille gives the
reader four factors to consider when trying to take on the
holy spirit. First, we must be quiet and calm; we must not
beg God for the gift as it is already here and available; we
must concentrate on in-breathing (breathing in the spirit);
and finally, the fourth step is a prayer, "Father, I now
receive the holy spirit, the power from on high, which you
made available through Jesus Christ" (Wierwille, 1972:62).
The ability to speak in tongues along with the other
manifestations of God's gifts was given to the apostles and
to us on the Pentecost, thus salvation is available to us
immediately. He discusses each of the gifts and each of the
manifestations.
These three books are the core of the Ministry's beliefs;
the final three to be mentioned briefly are studies in Bib
lical accuracy which are used to teach the student different
parts of the Bible and to illustrate its accuracy and con
sistency. All of the books are the foundation for the three
major classes offered by the Ministry.

66
The Bible Tells Me So; The New, Dynamic
ChurcFT; and The Word's Way
Each of these three volumes is a collection of short
essays on various topics of Christianity, worship, God,
believing, spiritual fulfillment, etc., which are founded with
extensive scriptural research. The three books provide excel
lent support for the three courses offered by the Ministry.
The first course, as was previously discussed, is the Power
for Abundant hiving class. In it the member learns that the
word of God is God's will and that the word is the Bible. In
the second course on the interpretation of tongues and proph
esy, he learns how to use and manifest the gift of God and
what these manifestations do for the church. In the final
advanced class, he learns the other six manifestations of the
gift (Revelation ancj power) and how to walk on the word of
God.
This chapter has discussed the various techniques and
tools of proselytizing that are employed by the members of
\ The Way Ministry. It has also given a basic inspection of the
system of beliefs incorporated in the Ministry. The follow
ing brief chapter will conclude the description of the Minis
try by placing it on the theoretical continuum under study.

CHAPTER V
PLACEMENT OF THE WAY
The material discussed in the first four chapters has
laid the proper groundwork for relating the organization to
the continuum. The Way can best be defined as a charismatic
sect rapidly becoming an "established sect." The Ministry's
major purpose is conversion, and yet they really could not be
classified as an aggressive sect. Rather, this sect is an
intreversionist-avoidance sect which makes efforts, neither
significantly optimistic nor pessimistic, towards converting
the nonbeliever.
To summarize a brief support for this placement some of
the more salient sect-like features can be listed as charac
teristic of the Ministry.
The Way is not composed of an inherited membership but
of a "reborn" constituency. With the rebirth is a full
commitment to the ideology. A sect is a purist organization,
seeing the world as more black and white than do denomina
tions. It provides the follower with an answer and gives
meaning to a life formerly dominated by meaninglessness. In
the ideological system of The Way the reader should note a
second key similarity to the sect type in addition to the
idea of rebirth. The Way rejects not only the secular
67

68
preoccupation of most of society's members, but also rejects
other contemporary religious units. They expect a strict
adherence to the interpretation, yet show outward tolerance
with no hint of coercion. The Way is relatively small. The
leader is charismatic; as much of nis appeal is due to his
personal flamboyance as to his message. As the organization
becomes more structured, this charisma is being routinized
and is passed on to the organization's other leaders.
The only negative, or non-sect-like, quality of the
Ministry is its extensive bureaucracy. This characteristic
is necessary to any established unit which hopes to survive
its charismatic leader.
This placement has been founded on the structural char
acteristics of the Ministry. On the basis of this placement
various characteristics of the members of the Ministry may
now be predicted. Members of a sect should be intensely
religious on all of religiosity's dimensions. They should
also exhibit a high degree of religious communality. Due to
the placement of a unit as a sect, one may also expect its
members to display religious intolerance.
These all generate hypotheses directly from the taxonomy.
In addition to developing and testing these hypotheses,
Chapters VI and VII will also consider several hypotheses on
attitudinal traits of the members which can be indirectly
related to the typology. These traits include alienation,
self-esteem, social responsibility, and authoritarianism.

CHAPTER VI
HYPOTHESES AND FINDINGS
In this chapter the data will be used to draw a compari
son between sect and denominational affiliations. The data
will not contribute any more than a minimal addition to the
general empirical evidence on the church-sect theory, but they
will provide a concise look at the major variables of the
taxonomy as well as a look at some variables heretofore not
seen in conjunction with the taxonomy. The current state of
the taxonomy postulates a functional unity between attributes
of members and structural traits of the unit. As yet, such
a postulate has never been reduced to hypotheses and tested.
The aim, then, of this research is to test a series of
hypotheses drawn from this postulate of functional unity in
a single religious organization. This work should unify the
theory by analyzing just one religious organization in terms
of variables which were previously researched only in scat
tered unrelated studies. As well, it will introduce new
relationships as part of the taxonomy.
Although The Way Ministry is a nationally, and in fact
even slightly internationally, organized religious body, the
research was confined to only one branch of the organization.
The branch, located in Greenville, North Carolina, is one of
69

70
the largest and most developed units which stem from a cen
tral headquarters. It is comprised of 65 members, 30 of whom
are enrolled at the local East Carolina University.
The entire population of this unit was sampled and used
for a brief forthcoming socio-descriptive discussion of The
Way's population. However, for use in the sociological
analysis of the church-sect theory, only the thirty subjects
who are enrolled in college here were used. They would com
prise the experimental group of sectarians, while a matched
sample of denominational affiliates would be used as the
control group. The total for each of the two samples is 30.
The matching of the groups will be on a frequency basis with
regard to some primary sociological variables which should
be controlled: age, year in school, school major, sex, and
marital status. Essentially, the argument for matching
these characteristics is that several of them might cause
spurious findings in the data. Each of these factors could
cause apparent relationships among the variables being tested
^ when actually sectarianism would itself not be involved.
The matching then functions as a means of controlling to
insure at least somewhat that we are observing the relation
ships of sectarianism with the tested variables. As well as
matching to control certain variables, the control sample
was drawn from introductory sociology sections.
All members of this "accidental-quota" sample have
answered affirmatively to a question of denominational affil
iation. When the other variables (above) had been controlled

71
for, the respondents were given the survey instrument (ques
tionnaire of 8 pages). The groups were then seen in compari
son illustrating the differences between the sectarian and
the denominationalist.
The questionnaire includes an extensive survey of sig
nificant background information, some questions concerning
social liberalism (sex, drugs, etc.), and a variety of
scales, all previously used, to measure alienation, authori
tarianism, self-esteem, social responsibility, religiosity
and its various dimensions, and religious communality.
A brief description of the membership of the local branch
of the Ministry will assist the reader. The data collected
on the Ministry were gathered in the fall of 1972 on what was
probably close to 80 percent or better of those active in
this branch, N = 52. Of the fifty-two in the total there
were 28 females and 24 males, 30 college students (14 sopho
mores, 8 juniors, 5 freshmen, and 2 seniors). Of the 30
college students, twelve were male and eighteen female.
For the most part, if they had declared a major at all,
it was either in the social sciences, fine arts, or education.
Ten of the non-college respondents were from Greenville,
while the other thirteen were from scattered home towns.
Only four of the college sample were residents of Greenville
but all but seven were from the state and most of those seven
(five) were from Virginia or Maryland. The parents of only
one of the 30 students were indicated to be something other
than a nondenominational Christian or one of the major

72
denominations; they were Greek Orthodox. The majority indi
cated that their parents were either affiliates of the Baptist
or Methodist denominations. All except 3 of the 29 saw their
parents as at least moderately devout. Almost the entire
sample of students had a family situation where the father
was the head of the household and the parents were still
together. In twenty-four of the student responses, the
parents supported the member's involvement in the Ministry,
while four others were indifferent, one unaware, and only one
was opposed. Most of the student respondents seemed to be
from a fairly immobile family life as most indicated less
than one move of more than forty miles.
The membership of the local branch is not the "freaked-
out" seeker but a fairly conservative group of young people
who have found an accepted way to live; accepted by peers and
parents alike. A few of the respondents indicated some
limited use of drugs (one or two indicated extensive use),
but the vast majority do not use drugs, drink alcoholic
beverages only occasionally, and do not have pre-marital or
extra-marital sexual relations.
There is no need for comparison with the denominational
sample as they too are fairly conservative. The majority of
students expressing a definite religious affiliation, whether
in an accepted denomination or with part of a sect, are con
servative. The purpose of this digression was to describe
the members of the local branch. Because they are at least
partially atypical of the Jesus Movement and even of the

73
total Ministry, inferences to larger populations are severely
limited.
The data collected from the Ministry were gathered with
full support of its leadership. All of the scales and mea
suring techniques used in the instrument were previously
tested;' Because a great many data were sought, one of the
primary concerns in operationalizing concepts was brevity.
The single independent variable was sectarian membership,
while the major dependent variables under study which are
reflected in the following hypotheses included: socio
economic class, authoritarianism, self-esteem, religious com-
munality, religious tolerance, religiosity (five dimensions),
social responsibility, and alienation.
At present, causation is a somewhat theoretically pre
mature concern. This work represents a case study of the
taxonomy as it stands. A series of hypotheses will be
stated, tested, either confirmed or rejected and finally dis
cussed. The statistical analysis is a comparison of the
sectarian and denominational samples by the use of difference
of means tests.
In conjunction with these measures, multivariate analy
sis was employed in order to institute a control for each of
the other primary variables in determining the actual rela
tionship between sectarianism and the given variable. Thus,
a series of multiple regressions were run. Sectarian mem
bership was a dummy independent variable, with eight of the
nine other variables as independent variables. The last

74
variable, each in turn, was used as the dependent variable.
For each variable, the proportion of variance explained by
sectarian membership could be determined. The nine variables
tested in this fashion include: the five dimensions of reli
giosity, alienation after joining, self-esteem, authoritar
ianism" and social responsibility.
Discussion of each of the nine major hypotheses will be
made after the hypotheses have been stated and the findings
on verification or rejection of each hypothesis has been
given. Then, Chapter VII will attempt to unify these inde
pendently tested variables through the multiple regressions.
Operationalization of Concepts
and Statement of Hypotheses
Religiosity has been a very difficult concept to measure
for many years. One of the most important causes for the
weakness of research and the apparent conflicts of various
researches was that religiosity for so long was a nebulous
\ concept. Different sociologists operationalized religiosity
in so many ways that research could never be compiled for any
sort of general theory. In recent years, however, theorists
have responded to the need and have effected adequate (but
by no means foolproof) means of defining religiosity.
Returning to the classical theories of Durkheim,the
basis of a suitable definition was found. Durkheim felt that
all religions were composed of two aspects, belief and ritual
(Durkheim, 1947). From there it is a short step to the

75
theories of five-dimensional religiosity (dock and Stark,
1965:18-38). The five dimensions grant that religion is dif
ferent things to different people and that people may be more
or less religious in a variety of ways. The first dimension
is the intellectual dimension; there is a certain body of
knowledge which the member of a religious group is expected
to know. Second is the ideological dimension which illus
trates that members of a religious organization will vary in
the degree to which they adhere to the beliefs and dogmas of
the group. These two are extensions of Durkheim's belief
aspect of religion, the following two are extensions of the
ritual.
Dimension number three is the ritual dimension which
measures how much practitioners or believers actually partic
ipate in the religious rituals of the organization. The
fourth is the dimension of experiential (one where a sect
should score quite high) which basically measures the idea
of religious experience with God. This particular element
of religiosity is broken down by Charles Glock and Rodney
Stark into subtypes of experience which illustrate differences
not only in the occurrence of the experience but its intensity
and significance as well (Glock and Stark, 1965:30-32). The
last element of religiosity is perhaps the most difficult of
the five to measure. It is the consequential dimension or a
measurement of the degree to which ones religious commitment
influences his secular activities.

76
The measures are based on the theory of five-dimensional
religiosity as developed by dock and Stark. As with most of
the scales used in this research, these are scales developed
in previous research. Four of the five dimensions measured
here were developed by Joseph E. Faulkner and Gordon F.
DeJong into scales. Each of the subscales may be used
separately, as they are here, in research concerned with a
more detailed view of religious commitment.
There has been some criticism of this and other uses of
"5-D" religiosity (Clayton, 1972). Clayton, for example,
notes that the scales are by no means independent of one
another. He also argues that while each of the scales has
many points of adequate measurement of religiosity, there is
so much overlapping that the scales are not really able to
be compared; that, in fact, they are measuring the same thing
and not various dimensions. While it is true that all the
dimensions are moderately correlated with each other, there
is evidence that none of the dimensions was the same as any
other (Faulkner and DeJong, 1966). Faulkner and DeJong also
illustrate that the ideological dimension must be the central
element of religiosity as it is most highly correlated with
the other dimensions and that the consequential dimension is
the least correlated, thereby implying that ethical views of
the secular world are largely independent of religious beliefs.
There is some question, theoretically speaking, about
the validity of the general theory of five-dimensional reli
gion as a means of interpreting religiosity and even beyond

77
that there is a question as to whether or not these particu
lar scales are the most suitable measures of the dimensions.
Even though some more substantial checks are needed on the
reliability of these measures, it is felt that they will be
adequate here for comparing sectaria^ and denominational
religiosity. In fact, such a comparison may further illus
trate the validity of the dimensions of religiosity or some
of the weaknesses of these scales.
In general, this dissertation hypothesizes that the
sectarian sample will score higher on overall religiosity
and higher on each of the various dimensions, most signifi
cantly on the dimensions of experiential, consequential, and
intellectual. While it is possible to compare the groups,
there is some danger in the use of these scales. A failing
of the scale of experiential is that it does not account for
the subtypes of religious experience. The major dilemma,
however, in using the scales to measure differences of reli
giosity among groups is that the groups often differ in what
elements of Christian ideology, ritual and so forth they
emphasize. It is felt that the sectarian will exhibit
greater religiosity on each of the scales for the simple fact
that religion to him is through conversion and calls for
total commitment. While to many of the denominationalists
this is also true, there are a great number who have inherited
their religion and, while not actively rejecting it, they have
never actively understood their acceptance of it. Acceptance
was to them analogous to the sociologists' treatment of a

78
null hypothesis: they simply "failed to reject it." It may
be that this casual commitment to religion will show up in
one of the dimensions but certainly not all. It would be
most expected to appear in the ritualistic scale as this is
a major element of denominations' institutionalized religion.
The only scale of the five dimensions of religiosity
not borrowed from Faulkner and DeJong is the scale on intel
lectual religiosity (Ques. 25-30, Appendix A). This scale
was developed.as a measure for one of eleven dimensions
measured by King, 1967. These questions tend to focus on
whether or not intellectual knowledge of the Bible is
esteemed rather than asking about specific, scriptural passages.
The other four scales all come from Faulkner and DeJong's
work and may be found in Appendix A, respectively: ideologi
cal, questions 31-33; ritualistic, questions 34-38; experien
tial, questions 39-43; and consequential, questions 44-46.
Some small but necessary word changes were made in these
scales to insure standardization and applicability to both
\ samples.
The measure of alienation used was a scale developed by
R. Middleton (1963). Though some of the other scales of
alienation might have been more thorough and directly appli
cable than this one, it was the most concise. The scale was
given to the respondents twice; once for present responses,
and once for recall of perceptions prior to joining their
respective religious groups. There were so many "no
responses" among the denominationalists due to the fact that

79
many of them were life affiliates, that only the one measure
could be compared to the Way members. The questions used
are questions 71-78, Appendix A.
The social responsibility scale (Berkowitz and Lutterman,
1968) was comprised of an eight-question scale (Appendix A,
Ques. 48-54). The authoritarian scale (Schuman and Harding,
1962) was a forced choice F-scale (Appendix A, Ques. 55-64).
It should be noted that this forced choice format reduces
the validity of the scale as a measure of unconscious person
ality trends as it encourages conscious reflection on the
questions. The brevity of the scale made it the most suit
able for this instrument. The scale for self-esteem (Campbell
et_ al_. 1960) was also borrowed (Appendix A, Ques. 77- 84).
Advisedly, the researcher avoided questions of parental
income, and used the other two primary dimensions of status,
occupation and education,as a basis for operationalization.
Parental education was measured ordinally by two forced choice
questions (Appendix A, Ques. 9-10), while occupation status
was based on the interval level data of the National Opinion
Research Center of the University of Chicago (Appendix A,
Ques. 10 a).
For all of the above scales, the reader should consult
the source article for a more thorough discussion of the
validity and reliability of the given scale.
The major variables upon which a church-sect distinction
is founded are: (a) the degree to which the religious organi
zation is inclusive of society, (b) the extent to which

80
secular values and structures are accepted and adhered to or
rejected, and (c) the extent of complexity of the organiza
tion's structures. On the basis of observation of the Way
Ministry with regard to these variables, it has been placed
on the continuum between the types of Established Sect and
Charisifiatic Sect. Such a placement is only relative to other
religious organizations; however, it is a safe enough applica
tion of the "ideal types."
If The Way Ministry, with regard to its structural prop
erties, does occupy such a position on the continuum, then
predictions of characteristics of the membership of this
organization follow, due to the functional unity postulated
by previous work on the continuum. The following hypotheses
will be tested. Each of these hypotheses is derived from the
postulate that, if a religious unit is of a certain structural
nature, then the members of that unit will exhibit certain
personal traits. Thus, as The Way has been defined as a
sect, on the basis of its structural properties, numerous
correlational predictions may be made about its members in
comparison to the members of the denominational sample.
(1) The Way members will score higher on measures of
religious communality than xvi 11 the denominational members.
Although the church or denomination is characterized by an
inherited rather than converted membership, the sectarian
appears to be finding community in his religion while the
denominationalist may be simply using church as one element
of his social life and not totally immersing himself in it.

81
(2) The Way members will score lower on religious toler
ance than will denominational affiliates. According to the
typology, sectarians usually tend to be less tolerant of
other religious expressions than do denominationalists.
(3) a. The Way members will score higher on the intel
lectual dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
b. The Way members will score higher on the ideologi-
cal dimension of religiosity than will denominational members.
c. The Way members will score higher on the ritual
istic dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
d. The Way members will score higher on the experi
ential dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members.
e. The Way members will score higher on the conse
quential dimension of religiosity than will denominational
members. These five separate hypotheses are made because
sectarians are more immersed in religion and specifically see
themselves as ministers of their religion, thus it is expected
that the sectarian will be quite well versed in the intellec
tual and ideological aspects of religion.
(4) The Way members will be of a lower socio-economic
strata than will the denominational affiliates. Sectarian
religion is most often seen as a lower-class religious
expression, and frequently is a response to economic depri
vation.

82
These hypotheses all come directly from the theory of the
church-sect continuum. In addition, this research will test
the following hypotheses on variables not so directly related
to the theory.
(5)The Way members will score lower on present aliena
tion than on perceived alienation prior to joining the
Ministry. While sects should draw from the alienated strata
of society, the classic syndrome of alienation will be lack
ing as the member will be so well integrated into his sub
cultural situation.
(6)The Way members will score lower on alienation than
will denominational members.
(7)The Way members will score higher on social responsi
bility than will the denominational members. This prediction
is based on the fact that the sect is so conversion-oriented.
(8)The Way members will score higher on authoritarian
ism than will the denominational members. The constituent
elements of the authoritarian mentality closely parallel
those of the sectarian mind.
(9)
The Way members should score lower on self-esteem
than the
denominational members.
The
Findings
first hypothesis to consider is that comparing the
religious communality of the sectarian and the denomination-
alist. Table 1 displays a far greater degree of religious

83
communality for the sectarian, confirming the first hypothe
sis. The hypothesis is confirmed by a series of "difference-
of-proportions tests" which produced significant "z" scores.
The concept of religious communality (Lenski, 1961) was
operationalized by four questions as to whether the subject's
spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) and his three closest
friends were members of the same religious unit.
Table 1
Comparison of Religious Communality
Between the Way Ministry
and Denominational Affiliates
Way
Denominational
(N)
Percent
Communal
Members
(N)
Percent
Communal
Members
Z
P<
Spouse (or
boy- or girlfriend)
(21)
62.0
(22)
32.0
1.9
.05
Friend 1
(27)
92.6
(30)
23.3
5.0
.01
Friend 2
(24)
79.1
(29)
14.0
4.6
.01
Friend 3
(24)
62.5
(28)
11.0
3.6
.01
Hypothesis two concerns the elusive concept of religious
tolerance, here operationalized by a series of forced choice
questions about several predominant religions (see question
naire, Appendix A, Ques. 18).
On this hypothesis, due to the level of measurement, a
difference of proportions test was used in place of a

84
difference of means test. The information was reduced from
the questionnaire so that responses one and two were defined
as tolerant. Seven independent difference of proportions
tests were run, yielding six significant "Z" scores, as
illustrated by Table 2. The data confirm the hypothesis; The
Way membership is less tolerant than the denominational.
Table 2
A Comparison of Religious Tolerance
Between Members of the Way
and the Denominational Members
Religious
Organization
Way
Percent
Tolerant
Responses
Denominational
Percent
Tolerant
Responses
Z
P<
Baptist
40.0
83. 3
3. 3
.01
Buddhist
0.0
20.0
2.5
.01
Catholic
10.0
70.0
4.7
.01
Hindu
0.0
20.0
2.5
.01
Lutheran
13.3
80.0
5.1
.01
Methodist
26.7
83.3
4.3
.01
Campus Crusade
40.0
46.7
1.0
N.S.
The third hypothesis is broken down into five sub
hypotheses, each of which will be independently tested.
Table 3 represents five tests of significance. Hypotheses
3a-3d were all confirmed; the only dimension of religiosity
which showed no significant variation between the Way and the
denominations was the consequential.

85
Table 3
Differences Between Way and Denominational Members
in Means on Several Dimensions of Religiosity
Way Denominational
'thesis
Variable
Mean
(N)
Mean
(N)
t
P<
3a -
Intellectual
Religiosity
6.97
(29)
10.76
(29)
5.57
.001
3b
Ideological
Religiosity
4.20
(30)
7.93
(29)
14.23
.001
3c
Ritualistic
Religiosity
6.83
(30)
8.23
(30)
3.40
.001
3d
Experiential
Religiosity
5.47
(30)
9.40
(30)
7.71
.001
3e
Consequential
Religiosity
6.26
(27)
6.95
(28)
1.31
N.S.
Hypothesis four was not confirmed by the data. Two dif
ferent tests of significance were run because of the dual
operationalization of the data. Ordinal data were collected
on the questions of parential education; thus, a Kolmogrov-
\ Smirnov test (Table 4a) was run. Table 4b represents the
results from the difference of means test on parental occupa
tion.

86
Table 4a
Results of Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test of Differences
Between the Way and Denominational Members
on Measure of Parental Education
Way
Denominational
Hypothesis
Variable
(N)
(N) d P<
4
Parental
30
30 1.01 N.S.
Education
Table 4b
Differences Between the Way and Denominational
Members in Mean Scores on Parental Occupation
Way
Denominational
Hypothesis
Variable
Mean (N)
Mean (N) t P<
4
Parental
Occupation
46.7 (30)
51.0 (30) 1.10 N.S.
Hypothesis five suggests that Way members will show a
reduction in present alienation from that which they perceived
prior to entering the Ministry. This hypothesis was confirmed
by data in Table 5.

87
Table 5
Differences Between the Way Members Mean Scores
on Perception of Alienation Now and Before
Entering the Ministry
Now
Before
Hypothesis
Variable
Mean (N)
Mean (N) t
P<
5
Alienation
Reduction
19.41 (29)
13.24 (29) 8.60
.001
Hypotheses six through eight were confirmed and hypoth
esis 9 was not as is illustrated by Table 6.
Table 6
Differences Between the Way and Denominational
Members in Mean Scores on
Several Attitudinal Variables
Hypothesis
6
7
8
Way
Denominational
Variable
Mean
(N)
Mean
(N)
t
P<
Alienation
19.41
(29)
14.26
(30)
3.39
.001
Social
Responsi-
bility
32.38
(29)
23.66
(30)
4.49
.001
Authori-
tarianism
27.31
(29)
8.64
(30)
5.86
.001
Self-esteem
18.93
(27)
18.43
(20)
0.48
N.S.
9

88
Discussion of Results
The first hypothesis tested and confirmed asserted that
Way members would exhibit a greater degree of communal reli
giosity than denominational members. One of the primary
functions that religions meet is in social integration,
allowing the individual to develop a personal identification
through unity with the group. Just as individuals will vary
in their need for this identification, so too different reli
gious groups will vary in their efforts to fulfill this func
tion. Sects gain their following from the socially weak and
estranged. This powerless stratum abounds with various types
of alienation. Alienation is seen as something to avoid, a
hazard of life. Generally looked on as a bad state of mind
by philosophy and society in general because it threatens
the social system, alienation is something individuals are
taught to fear.
When one craves (not seeks) an answer he will find one,
and the primary demand of this answer is not that it be cor
rect but that it comfort and calm the individual. Sects
seek to provide such confort for lost or alienated people and
the easiest way is through a bond of friendship. The alien
ated seeker is a lonely person who finds that the sect pro
vides him with a total life, not unlike a "total institution."
Thus, one expects such a unit to have a great deal of commun-
ality. The religious unit is the sole answer to the sectar
ian and he immerses himself in religion. Most of his daily

89
life is conducted through this organization; therefore, the
majority of close ties will quite likely be involved with the
sect.
The second hypothesis also seems a product of the sec
tarian's purist mind. Denominations often begin as sects but
due to'the weakness of the conflict they become established
compromising institutions. The sect becoming a denomination
does not view the secular world as a great wrong to be over
come, but rather sees itself as a part of the total society
and while it conflicts against an established religious tra
dition it still maintains harmony with the society at large.
One of the foremost thoughts of the denominationalist idea
is that they be free to express a new and somexdiat different
interpretation of religious life without persecution; thus a
major tenet of their doctrine is tolerance of religious
expression. Essentially, because they want to maintain their
position in society, they will make certain compromises with
the religious tradition and with society.
On the other hand, the sects are not generally concerned
with secular, social or even religious acceptance. Thus,
they emphasize separateness, social isolation and the unique
ness of their religion. They are the only way and thus do
not particularly value tolerance as they are more of a priest
religious group. Also in conjunction with the earlier dis
cussions, the sects are trying to supply followers with a
"Weltanschauung" or world perspective; thus; they must sell
themselves as confident, correct, and as separate from the
established society.

90
Hypothesis three was concerned with the five dimensions
of religiosity. All of the sub-hypotheses were confirmed with
the exception of consequential religiosity which showed no
significant difference between sectarian and denomination-
alist. One would expect the Way members to score as highly
as they did on the intellectual dimension as the ministry is
defined as a "biblical research" organization.
The second major dimension measured is that of ideology.
The most significant statistic of all those tested was found
on this dimension. This finding might have been well antici
pated by the aforementioned fact that "ideology" was the
central component of the religiosity scales. The Bible is
the central element, the core of life and the source of all
doctrine and belief for The Way Ministry. It demands a total
commitment to the "Will of God;" thus, it is a reasonable
expectation that the membership of the Ministry will score
extremely high on ideological religiosity.
The next dimension to consider is the ritualistic dimen
sion or a scale measuring one's adherence to rituals of the
religious organization. As was predicted, the ritualistic
was one of the least significant of the tests run. This is
due possibly to the fact that, as noted before, the sect is
a more individualistic unit stressing experience over group
ritual. Even though the Way exhibits a greater religiosity
on each of the religious dimensions, this particular element
would be less important or "significant" statistically.

91
To the denominationalist, ritual is a very important part
of religion. As religion is only one institution of his life,
his adherence to its ritual serves to confirm its importance
to him without demanding persistent, time-consuming attention.
Religion to him, it would seem, would be of a casual concern
rather than a daily challenge to his secular activities. He
is able to separate the religion from the secular world;
putting it aside except for certain occasions and situations
characterized by ritualistic expressions of religion. Thus,
ritual is the foremost element of religion to the casual prac
titioner (to the denominationalist relative to the sectarian),
and it is not surprising to find that the difference-of-means
statistic here is not as significant as on the other dimen
sions .
The experiential dimension, which it was thought would
produce the most significant statistic, did illustrate a
dramatic relationship with sectarian membership. The "t"
score was the second highest score among the various dimen
sions of religiosity. One of the primary characteristics of
the "sect" type in the church-sect continuum was the emphasis
on spiritual rebirth which usually is the result of experi
encing a communion with God.
This trait is no less prominent or necessary to the
members of The Way Ministry than it is in other sects. The
Way points out that man has been separated from God (lost his
spirit) due to the original sin. Man must be reborn in order
to effect a spiritual union with God which ultimately makes

92
him able to fulfill his potential and to walk on the word of
God. One cannot even know the will of God until he is com
plete, and to be made complete he must be reborn. Through
this rebirth men are able to realize the gift of the Holy
Spirit and to experience Him within themselves.
This would lead one to expect a most significant differ
ence between the sect and non-sect; however, reducing the
predicted disparity is the fact that most of our modern
denominations \vere at one time sects and they too consider a
personal experience with God to be an important aspect of
one's religious efforts. Another factor causing some reduc
tion of the prediction would be that this particular scale
seems to measure more than religious experience and does not
distinguish the various subtypes of religious experience.
The scale seems to measure not only experience with God but
focuses even more directly on whether or not the respondent
feels that religion gives man a way-of-life and security.
This scale certainly needs to be made more unidimensional or
specific. Its focus is on related points but not directly
on experiencing the divine.
The final dimension of religiosity, the consequential,
was the only one of the dimensions which was not significantly
related to sectarianism. The insignificance on this particu
lar scale score may be attributed to one or two factors.
First, as was mentioned above, the consequential was the
least significantly correlated element of the religiosity
cluster. This may be due to the fact that the ethical

93
decisions are separate from religious belief; however, it
could be more a result of the fact that the consequential
dimension as measured here would be high for a person of
casual religion as it would for one of the total religion.
One may expect high scores on this scale by anyone involved
in Christian religion because the secular points brought up
in the scale are derived so directly from the Judeo-Christian
tradition.
Now attention should be turned to other (non-religious)
nominal attributes of the members of the sectarian unit.
Hypotheses suggested by the taxonomy include those on aliena
tion, social responsibility, self-esteem, authoritarianism
and socio-economic status. The first of these hypotheses is
perhaps the most paradoxical initially. While alienation
from established society is one of the basic elements pro
ducing a sect, alienation is one of the things a sect should
be overcoming for its membership. This proved true when the
membership of the sectarian community was tested against
itself as the members perceived themselves to be prior to
taking up the Ministry.
The findings illustrate that the Ministry had been
successful in easing the alienation of its converts as they
perceive it. Quite likely this is biased due to the peculiar
mode of getting the data; however, the significant response
is demonstration that the sect had given meaning to the con
vert's life and illustrated to him that he could affect the
world in a meaningful way.

94
Following this measurement, it is easy to assume that
the sectarian would be even less alienated than the denomi-
nationalist. While it is true that in the definition of sec
tarian religion a primary component is alienation from pre
vailing cultural structures, alienation as a classic psycho
logical syndrome may be negatively related to certain types
of sects. This assertion is founded on the idea that a
person committed to a sect may be quite well integrated into
his sub-cultural unit and yet maintain a stance of opposition
toward the established culture. Thus, a member would not
likely exhibit the traits of social isolation or self
estrangement. Members of a sect which is conversion oriented
will probably not exhibit other traits of the alienation
syndrome, powerlessness and meaninglessness. Also, reducing
the likelihood of these traits as well as feelings of norm-
lessness is the fact that the sect provides the follower with
a world view.
Hypothesis seven is that a conversion oriented sect like
The Way Ministry may even show greater social responsibility
than denominationalists. The Way Ministry as a conversionist
sect seeks to change the people. In order to produce such
change, or even to attempt it, the members must see the
world's problems as being somehow potentially solved. This
leads to a demand of the members that they take some of the
burden of responsibility on their shoulders. Many of the
denominationalists who were not so involved in their religion
remain alienated from and apathetic about social problems.

95
Their negativism may be interestingly noted when compared to
the strong tenet of positivism which is a core belief to The
Way Ministry.
Authoritarianism is the most evident in sociological
theory of the concepts used in this research. The reason for
this predicted relationship was because the constituent ele
ments of authoritarianism, including marginality, antiscien
tism, rigidity, and bigotry (intolerance), may well be seen
as important elements of the sectarian mentality. There is
only one major element of the "authoritarian cluster" that
is lacking, patriotism. However, this element may be replaced
in the sectarian mentality by the loyalty to the sect. This
is reasonable if one assumes that a religious perspective
may be a structural alternative to a humanistic (political)
perspective (dock and Stark, 1965). Thus, one may find that
the item in the "authoritarian cluster" of highly nationalis
tic attitudes might disappear in the otherwise "authoritarian"
sect member. One may here note the possibility of sect and
cult differences in that the cultist shows a low degree of
loyalty (H. T. Dohrman, 1958).
Self-esteem is the other variable for which there was
predicted a negative relationship with sectarianism. This,
however, was not the case as there was no significant differ
ence between the sect members and non-members. The opposite,
a high positive relationship, could have been predicted due
to the idea that the individuals of a sectarian community
feel themselves to be select people. Thus, one could have

96
expected them to score high on a measure of self-esteem or,
as in this case, a measure of personal confidence and yet
this also is not the case. This may be canceling the origi
nally hypothesized tendency.
The only remaining hypothesis, number four, concerned
socio-economic status. As this hypothesis was tested differ
ently than the others, it has been held to be treated last.
The literature in the sociology of religion has been exten
sive when concerned with social status relationship to reli
gion and its various dimensions or sub-units. According to
the church-sect taxonomy, the sect is often a response to
economic deprivation; therefore one would expect the sectar
ians to come from a loxver socio-economic background than the
denominationalists even though the sect may be one which
socializes its members to upward mobility.
However, it was noted that many sects are middle-class
and denomination-like, exhibiting a greater tendency than
other sects to become a denomination. The Way Ministry was
\ not a sect of this sort in that its goal is not in a pro
test of inadequacy of the church to meet individual needs so
much as it is a protest or conflict against the religious
establishment as the arm of a corrupt secular society.
Because of the nature of the sect, it was predicted that
there would be a negative relationship with socio-economic
status. Such a relationship was not found to be significant
on either of the two measures. Perhaps this is due to the
fact that this particular sect emphasizes intellectual

97
involvement and naturally appeals to higher educational
strata than do most sects.

CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSIONS
In the preceding chapter a series of hypotheses were
generated, from the church-sect continuum's postulate of
unity. The hypotheses were supported by the data, excluding
*
those concerned with consequential religiosity, self-esteem,
and socio-economic status. To date this is the extent of most
of the research conducted on this postulate and is most mis
leading as the forthcoming multivariate analysis of this data
will illustrate.
To further illustrate the strength of the data a table
of correlation coefficients has been constructed. The reader
will note the strong correlation of each of the tested vari
ables with the Way. It should be clear that with such a
small number of cases and with data so heavily intercorrelated
analysis of any pair of variables alone is at best tenuous.
The multivariate analysis employed consisted of a series
of multiple regression analyses, each of which yielded a
"beta" weight for Way membership which was used as a dummy
independent variable in each equation. One at a time, the
nine other variables were rotated as the dependent variable
and the other eight were independent variables; thus, nine
independent regression analyses were run and the important
98

T ab 1 e 7
Correlation Coefficients Among Way Membership
and All Attitudinal Measures
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1.
Way
.64
. 79
.57
. 72
.20
. 73
- .60
.08
. 44
2.
Intellectual Religiosity
. 72
.55
. 74
. 19
.63
-.60
. 10
. 34
3.
Ideological Religiosity
.63
. 80
.18
. 66
-.69
. 14
.44
4.
Ritualistic Religiosity
.56
.13
. 46
- 38
.16
. 49
5.
Experiential Religiosity
.17
.63
- 55
. 10
.45
6.
Consequential Religiosity
.24
- 35
.01
.22
7.
Social Responsibility
- .54
. 13
. 37
8.
Alienation
-.00
-.34
9.
Self-esteem
.08
10. Authoritarianism

100
"beta" weight extracted from each to form the table below.
(The use of the terms "independent" and "dependent" variables
in this context is necessitated by the methodology employed.
No direct assessment of causality will be made.)
T ab 1 e 8
"Beta" Weights of Way Membership with Indicated
Variable as Dependent in a Multiple Regression
and All Remaining Variables as Competing
Independent Variables in the Equation
Dependent Variable Way's beta F P<
Intellectual Religiosity
Ideological Religiosity
Ritualistic Religiosity
Experiential Religiosity
Consequential Religiosity
Social Responsibility
Alienation
Self-esteem
Authoritarianism
-.03
.03
N.S.
+ .25
4.67
.01
+ .12
. 36
N.S.
+ .12
. 74
N.S.
-.02
.01
N.S.
+ .48
7.93
.01
-.08
.16
N.S.
-.16
. 32
N.S.
+ .10
.18
N.S.
These "beta" weights, or standardized coefficients, may
be squared to give the percent of variance in the dependent
variable explained by the given independent variable, in
each case, Way membership. Thus, there is an obvious reduc
tion in the relationships as they were illustrated in the
preceding chapter. On the basis of the first order

101
correlations illustrated in Table 7 of this chapter, one
would expect that the hypotheses as previously tested were
supported and did reveal a strong relationship with each vari
able and sectarian membership. However, the above data illus
trate that of the variance of social responsibility only 23
percent was explained by Way membership, and of ideological
religiosity Way membership explained only 6 percent. These
are the two strongest relationships after controls.
Each of the five dimensions of religiosity showed such
a great degree of interaction that it is difficult to assess
the significance of sectarian membership on each one. Only
in the regression equation on social responsibility did the
dummy variable (Way membership) have the greatest beta weight
of the independent variables.
The Way membership was among the least powerful vari
ables in explaining the variance in intellectual religiosity,
consequential religiosity, alienation, and authoritarianism.
It was, however, an important variable in explaining the
other three dimensions of religiosity, self-esteem and, of
course, social responsibility.
Such statements of comparison are made possible by the
use of "beta weights" which are pure numbers. Thus, the
researcher can decide which variables best explain the vari
ance of the given independent variables.
Another way of utilizing these standardized coefficients
is through a test of significance. Each "beta weight" yields
an "F" score which illustrates whether or not it is a

102
significant predictor of the dependent variable. The "F"
scores on the "beta weights" from above were all insignifi
cant with the exception of ideological religiosity and social
responsibility, both of which were significant well beyond
the .01 level.
The data illustrate, then, that the theory of the con
tinuum which postulates an extensive functional unity does so
in a misleading fashion. Social responsibility was the only
variable which seemed to be explained by sectarian membership
and the other variables all exhibited stronger ties with one
another than with sectarian membership.
While one can predict the occurrence of certain attri
butes among members of a group with the structural properties
of a sect, it must be done with consideration for a possible
intervening variable of social responsibility. For example,
a possible explanation might be that, as a sect leads to an
increase in social responsibility, then it would lead to
increases in these other member traits.
As was previously stated, causality would be a tenuous
project at best. Numerous causal models might well be con
structed through the use of path analysis; however, its
assumption of linearity could hardly be made. Likewise, no
convincing model could be constructed as all of the variables
are so highly intercorrelated.
The purpose of this research has been to illustrate the
weaknesses of past research on the typology. This taxonomy
has asserted a functional unity of numerous properties but

103
as yet has made no effort to ascertain what explanation there
is for it. From this research, the key variable related to
sectarianism is social responsibility. There the limitations
of the operationalization of sectarianism (members in the Way)
become most significant. Perhaps it is this factor of social
responsibility that causes a sect to become what Yinger calls
an established sect instead of evolving into a denomination.
In other words, social responsibility may not be the key vari
able of the taxonomy at large but may be the most influential
factor of the evolution of splinter groups.
Earlier in discussion of the taxonomy, it was noted that
both denominations and the various types of sects were splin
ters of major religious institutions. They differed due to
their evolution following separation from the institution,
largely because of how acute the tensions with the institu
tion and other secularized units were. The more socially
responsible individual may feel there is no compromise to be
made with the secular, and maintains an overtly opposed pos
ture towards society at large. Thus, he could not compromise
himself and his own duty by associating with an organization
which seems so malleable to society's wishes.
Basically the function of this text has been twofold.
One, it has been the initial socio-descriptive analysis of
The Way Ministry and, in fact, one of very few works ever
done on the contemporary Jesus movement. The second and
central thrust was in illustration of the utility of the
church-sect typology. While in either case the data and

104
discussions were not conclusive enough to allow for extensive
inference to wider populations, this work should contribute
something to the community of scholarly research in the field
of sociology of religion.
The second goal was not a single-handed effort on this
writer's part to correct and affirm the church-sect theory
but was rather a demonstration of its purpose. The true
validity of theory is found in its applicability to scientific
research and empirical study. Granted the theory under study
has numerous limitations, however, it is through work such
as this that the theory can ultimately be made more satis
factory.
The church-sect typology was useful in making certain
predictions on the sample once one could make an adequate
placement on the continuum. Significant statistics were
found on almost all of the predictions made. The most obvious
problem of the taxonomy lies in the fact that at least the
category of sect, and perhaps each category of the continuum,
is too static. As is revealed by the findings of this re
search, there should be more efforts made to conceptualize
the subdimensions of each category in the typology and to
establish an explanation of evolution of organizations along
the continuum. The predicted relationships of sectarianism
with self-esteem and with socio-economic status which did
not result in this research are probably the most important
signs of the necessity for expansion of the typology.

105
Just as Demerath found that socio-economic status was
negatively related to sect-like religion and positively
related to church-like religiosity, when up to that point the
empirical efforts of the field could reveal no consistent
relationship between religiosity and social class, sociolo
gists may now break down sect-like religion in an effort to
illustrate that perhaps modern sectarian movements are appeal
ing more and more to the upper and middle classes as well as
to the economically deprived strata of our society. As is
implied above, there may be as well various subtypes of
denominations, cults and so forth which it also would be
fruitful to conceptualize.
In summarizing the findings, the research reveals a gen
eral support of the typological structure. The frame provides
an adequate reference but in no way should it be seen as a
basis for classification as it merely explicates several of
the important variables of religious organizational structure
which are interrelated and allows the theorist and researcher
a standard for comparison.
The few variances from the ideal concept of sect do not
indicate any general incorrectness of the taxonomy as they
rather illustrate its limitations and also hint at which may
be some statistically significant elements for furthering
(through subdivisions) our range of analysis of religious
organizations.
The Way Ministry was placed on the continuum and in
contrast to the denominationals produced a significant

106
religious distinction. The sectarian mentality is an impor
tant facet in understanding any religious super-structure,
especially as sectarianism and its humanistic alternatives
become more appealing to the dominant strata of the social
order. It may be found that sectarianism is related to cer
tain other psychological tendencies which vary within the
social system some of which were considered by this particu
lar research.
This paper is, in itself, not conclusive evidence of the
ideas just mentioned. It is an illustration of the use of
ideal types which provides the reader with some suggestions
and ideas as to how to augment the utility of the taxonomy.
In large part, the data serve as edification of the church-
sect continuum and pursue the idea of extending the typology.
They do this by providing a look, heretofore not found in the
literature, at some significant factors such as social
responsibility and authoritarianism. Sectarianism is a
broad concept but certainly does suggest something of the
"true believer" and may say something about our national
character, if in fact societies tend to exhibit greater or
lesser amounts of sectarianism. The data also served to
provide a thorough socio-descriptive analysis of one specific
branch of the massive "Jesus movement" in our culture. While
no inferences have been made to the movement as a whole this
research could provide initiative for further scientific
analysis of what appears to be one of the most viable forces
in the contemporary religious world.

APPENDIX A
QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Age at nearest birthday.
2. Year in school: (Circle one)
Fresh. Soph. Jun. Sen.
If not in school
Occupation
3. College major: (Check one)
Humanities ; Social Sciences ; Physical Science
Fine Arts ; Undeclared ; Other (specify)
4. Sex: M or F (Circle)
5. Hometown: City and State
6. Approximate size of hometown (population)
less than 10,000
10,000-50,000
51,000-150,000
151,000-500,000
501,000-1 ,000,000
1,000,0 0 0-Mo re
7. Marital status (Check one)
Single ; Married ; Divorced ; Widowed
8.Parent's marital status (Check one)
Separated ; Divorced ; Widowed ; Deceased
Together
9. (a) Who is the head of the family household in which
you were raised?
Father ; Mother ; Grandparent ; Other
(b) What was this person's occupation
10. (a) Father's highest level of education (Check one)
Less than high school ; High school ; Vocational
training after high school ; More than one year of
college without degree ; College graduate ;
Professional postgraduate training
107

108
10. (b) Mother's highest level of education (Check one)
Less than high school ; High school ; Vocational
training after high school ; More than one year of
college without degree ; College graduate ;
Professional postgraduate training
11. Parent's religious preference (Check one)
Catholic ; Lutheran ; Baptist ; Episcopalian ;
Presbyterian ; Methodist ; Jewish ; Other (specify)
; None
12. Do you perceive your parents in following their religious
affiliation as being:
Very devout ; Moderately devout ; Indifferent ;
Hypocritical
13. Do your parents generally support your attendance at
your church?
Yes ; No ; Indifferent ; Unaware
14. Do you perceive your parents as strict or liberal disci
plinarians? (Circle one number on scale--both parents
togethe r)
Strict 12345 Liberal
15. How do you think your parents voted in the recent presi
dential election?
Nixon ; McGovern ; Didn't vote
16. While you were growing up, how often did your family
make a move of 40 miles or more? (Not vacation but as
a move to a new household)
17. What is your grade point average in college? (Check one)
Below 2. ; 2.0-2.4 ; 2.5-2.9 ; 3.0-3.5 ;
3.6-4.0
18.What were your college board (SAT) scores (total)?
Below 800 ; 800-900 ; 900-1000 ; 1100-1200
120 0 or above
19.Signify for each of the following groups whether or not
you feel that their beliefs offer a reasonable perspec
tive of life and if through these beliefs one could
attain the same relationship with God that one can
attain through the beliefs of your religious organization.
For each group place the number of the following alter
natives on the corresponding blank.
1. Relationship easily attainable.
2. Relationship could be attained with effort.
3. Relationship would be attainable only with
extreme modification of groups beliefs.

109
19.
(Continued)
4.
Relationship unattainable through
5.
Unaware of group beliefs.
A.
BAPTIST
B.
BUDDHISTS
C.
CATHOLICS
D.
HINDUS
E.
LUTHERANS
F.
METHODISTS
G.
"THE WAY"
What is
your religious affiliation?
such beliefs.
20. Does your husband (or wife) or boyfriend (or girlfriend)
share this affiliation?
Yes ; No ; Have no such relationship
21. Do your three best friends share this affiliation?
(answer for each separately)
a.
Yes
; No
; borderline
b .
Yes
; No
; borderline
c.
Yes
; No
; borderline
22. Do you feel that this religious affiliation has helped
you to meet the right kind of people?
Yes ; No
23. How often do you attend church? (Check one)
Almost always ; Frequently ; Occasionally ;
Once in a while
How many of the last 5 Sundays have you gone to church
24. How often do you take part in activities of the organi
zation other than meetings? (Specify)
25. How often do you pray?
26. When you have decisions in your everyday life, do you
ask yourself what God would want you to do?
Always ; Often ; Sometimes ; Rarely ; Never
27. My understanding of the Central doctrines of the church
has changed considerably since I first began attending
church. Statement is Accurate ; Somewhat accurate
Only slightly accurate ; Inaccurate
28. How often do you read religious non-fiction books,
other than the Bible?
Often ; Sometimes ; Rarely ; Never

110
29.The true Christian is likely to have sincere and search
ing questions about the nature of a life of faith in God.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree somewhat
Disagree strongly
30. I enjoy the intellectual st mulation of learning about
the Bible and about the history and doctrines of the
church. Statement is Accurate ; Somewhat accurate ;
Only slightly accurate ; Inaccurate
31. The true Christian person is sure that his beliefs are
correct. Yes ; No
32. My interest in and real commitment to Christ is greater
now than when I first began attending church on my own
(instead of purely parental obedience).
Yes ; No
33. Do you believe that the world will come to an end accord
ing to the word of God?
Yes, I believe this ; I am uncertain about this ;
No, I do not believe this
34. Which of the following statements most clearly describes
your idea about the Deity?
I believe in a Divine God, Creator of the Universe, who
knows my innermost thoughts and feelings, and to Whom
one day I shall be accountable ; I believe in a power
greater than myself, which some people call God and some
people call nature ; I believe in the worth of humanity
but not in a God or A Supreme Being ; The so-called
universal mysteries are ultimately knowable according
to the scientific method based on natural laws ; I am
not quite sure what I believe ; I am an atheist .
35. Do you believe that it is necessary for a person to
repent before God will forgive his sins?
Yes, God's forgiveness comes only after repentance ;
No, God does not demand repentance ; I am not in need
of repentance ; Have no opinion
36. Which one of the following best expresses your opinion
of God Acting in history?
God has and continues to act in the history of mankind
God acted in previous periods but is not active at the
present time ; God does not act in human history ;
Have no opinion
37. Which of the following best expresses your view of the
Bible in its original form?
The Bible is God's work and all it says is true ; The
Bible was written by men inspired by God, and its basic
moral and Christian teachings are true, but because

Ill
37. (Continued)
writers are men, it contains some human errors ; The
Bible is a valuable book because it was written by wise
and good men, but God had nothing to do with it ;
The Bible was written by men who lived so long ago that
it is of little value today ; Uncertain
38. Do you feel it is possible for an individual to develop
a well-rounded Christian life apart from the Christian
community? Yes ; Mo ; Uncertain
39. Hoxv much time during the week would you say you spend
reading the Bible and other religious literature?
Approximate number of hours
40. How many of the past four Sundays have you attended
church ?
Three or more ; Two ; One ; None
41. Which of the following best describes your participation
in the act of prayer?
Prayer is a regular part of my behavior ; I pray pri
marily in times of stress and or need, but not much
otherwise ; Prayer is restricted pretty much to formal
worship services ; Prayer is only incidental in my
life ; I never pray ; Other, explain
42. Do you believe that for your marriage the ceremony
should be performed by:
A religious official ; Either a religious official or
a civil authority ; A civil authority ; Formal
marriage ceremony unnecessary
43. Would you say that one's religious commitment gives life
a certain purpose which it could not otherwise have?
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Disagree
44. All religions stress that belief normally includes some
experience of "union" with the divine. Are there par
ticular moments when you feel "close" to the divine
Frequently ; Occasionally ; Rarely ; Never
45. Would you say that religion offers a sense of security
in the face of death which is not otherwise possible?
Agree ; Uncertain ; Disagree
46. How would you respond to the statement: "Religion pro
vides the individual with an interpretation of his exis
tence which could not be discovered by reason alone."
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Disagree

112
47. Faith, meaning putting full confidence in the things we
hope for and being certain of things we cannot see, is
essential to one's religious life.
Agree ; Uncertain ; Disagree
48.
What is your feeling ab
business on the Sabbath
They should not be open
They have a legitimate
out the operation of non-essential
?
; I am uncertain about this ;
right to be open .
49.A boy and a girl, both of whom attend church frequently,
regularly date one another and have entered into sexual
relations with each other. Do you feel that people who
give at least partial support to the church by attending
its worship services should behave in this manner? Which
of the following statements express your opinion con
cerning this matter?
People who identify themselves with the church to the
extent that they participate in its worship services
should uphold its moral teachings as well ; Sexual
intercourse prior to marriage is a matter~oY individual
responsibility .
50.Two candidates are seeking the same political office.
One is a member and a strong participant in a church.
The other candidate is indifferent, but not hostile, to
religious organizations. Other factors being equal, do
you think the candidate identified with the church would
be a better public servant than the one who has no
interest in religion?
He definitely would ; He probably would ; Uncertain
; He probably woTcT not ; He definitely would not
51.Suppose you are living next door to a person \\fho con
fides in you that each year he puts down on his income
tax a $50.00 contribution to the church in "loose change,"
even though he knows that while he does contribute some
money to the church in "loose change" each year, the
total sum is far below that amount. Do you feel that a
persons religious orientation should be reflected in
all phases of his life so that such behavior is morally
wrong--that it is a form of lying?
Yes ; Uncertain ; No
52.
It is no
affairs;
Strongly
Strongly
use worrying about current events or public
I can't do anything about them anyway.
agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree_
disagree
53. Every person should give some of his time for the good
of his state or country.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree
Strongly disagree

113
54. Our country would be a lot better off if we didn't have
so many elections and people didn't have to vote so
often.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
55. Letting your friends down is not so bad because you
can't do good all the time for everybody.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
56. It is the duty of each person to do his job the very
best he can.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
57. People would be a lot better off if they could live far
away from other people and never have to do anything
for them.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
58. At school I usually volunteered for special projects.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
59. I feel very bad when I have failed to finish a j ob I
promised I would do.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree ;
Strongly disagree
Circle either (a) or (b) 60-69
60. (a) It would be a good thing if people spent more time
thinking and talking about ideas just for the fun
of it.
(b) If people would talk less and work more, everybody
would be better off.
61. (a) There is hardly anything lower than a person who
does not feel a great love, gratitude, and respect
for his parents at all times.
(b) Most honest people admit to themselves that they
have sometimes hated their parents.
62.
(a) Insults to our honor are not always important enough
to bother about.
(b) An insult to our honor should always be punished.
63. (a) It's only natural for people to sometimes have
thoughts about hurting a close friend or relative,
(b) No sane, normal, decent person could ever think of
hurting a close friend or relative.

114
64. (a) Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as
they grow up they ought to get over them and settle
down.
(b) If it weren't for the rebellious ideas of youth
there would be less progress in the world.
65. (a) Human nature being what it is, there will always be
war and conflict.
(b) Human nature doesn't make war inevitable; men some
day may establish a peaceful world.
66. (a) What the youth needs most is strict discipline,
rugged determination, and the will to work and
fight for family and country.
(b) In the long run it is better for our country if
young people are allowed a great deal of personal
freedom and are not strictly disciplined.
67. (a) A person who has bad manners, habits, and breeding
can hardly expect to get along \\rith decent people,
(b) People should be willing to overlook failures in
the manners and unpleasant personal habits of other
people.
68. (a) There are times when it is necessary to probe into
matters that should remain personal and private,
(b) Certain matters that should remain personal and
private always.
69. (a) No weakness or difficulty can hold us back if we
have enough will power.
(b) There are many difficulties a person cannot overcome
no matter how much will power he has.
RESPOND TO EACH STATEMENT TWO TIMES. Once how you feel now
and secondly how you felt before joining the crusade. 70-81
NOW
70.There is not much that I can do about most of the impor
tant problems that we face today.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
71.Things have become so complicated in the world today
that I really don't understand what is going on.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
72.In order to socially succeed in the world today, you are
almost forced to do some things which are not right.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly

115
73. I am not much interested in the TV programs, movies, or
magazines that most people seem to like.
Agree strongly ; Agree ; Disagree somewhat ;
Disagree strongly
74. I often feel lonely.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ^Disagree strongly
75. I don't really enjoy most of the work that I do, but I
feel that I must do it in order to have other things
I need and want.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
BEFORE
76. There is not much that I can do about most of the impor
tant problems that we face today.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
77.Things have become so complicated in the world today
that I really don't understand what is going on.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
78.In order to get ahead in the world today, you are almost
forced to do some things which are not right.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
79. I am not much interested in the TV programs, movies, or
magazines that most people seem to like.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
80. I often feel lonely.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
81.I don't really enjoy most of the work that I do, but I
feel that I must do it in order to have other things
that I need and want.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
82.I would rather decide things when they come up rather
than always try to plan ahead.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree little
Disagree a lot

116
83. I have always felt pretty sure my life would work out
the way I want it to.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
84. I seem to be the kind of person that has more bad luck
than good luck.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
85. I never had any trouble making up my mind about impor
tant decisions.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
86. I have always felt that I have more will power than most
people have.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
87. I nearly always feel pretty sure of myself even when
people disagree with me.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
88. There's not much use for me to plan ahead because theres
usually something that makes me change my plans.
Agree a lot Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
89. I have often had the feeling that it is no use to try
to get anywhere in this life.
Agree a lot ; Agree a little ; Disagree a little ;
Disagree a lot
90. What do you hope will be your future occupation?
91. List any groups or organizations (in or out of school)
with which you are associated.
92. How often do you drink alcoholic beverages?
Never ; Only an occasional drink ; Only social
drinking to relax ; Frequently get high ; Drink
often ; I get drunk occasionally .
93. Do you smoke marijuana or hashish?
Yes ; No ; If yes, how often

117
94. Have you previously used marijuana or hashish and have
you quit?
Yes ; No
95. Have you tried any of the heavier drugs (e.g., cocaine,
heroin, LSD, mescaline, etc.)?
Yes ; No ; If yes, specify which ones and approxi
mate amount of use
96. Have you had sexual intercourse outside the bond of
marriage?
Yes ; No ; If yes, indicate approximate frequency
97.Do you feel that each individual should choose for him
self on the following behavior alternatives or do you
believe that the acts referred to are inherently evil.
(Check (1) if it is
behavior is evil.)
an individual act; check (2) if
1
1
"1
'1
2 a. To use heavy drugs.
2 b. To indulge in drinking alcoholic beverages
2 c. To have premarital sexual intercourse.
2 d. To commit murder.
2 e. To worship Satan.

REFERENCE,
Adams, Robert and Robert Fox.
1973 "Mainlining Jesus: The new trip." Society 9:4.
50-56.
Becker, Howard.
1932 Systematic Sociology. New York: John Wiley and
Sons.
Berger, Peter.
1954
"The sociological study of sectarianism." Social
Research 21:467-485.
1958
"Sectarianism and religious sociation. American
Journal of Sociology 64:41-44.
1969
The Sacred Canopy. Garden City, New York :
Doxibleday and Co.
1970a The Noise of Solemn Assemblies. Garden City, New
York: Doubleday and Co.
1970b A Rumor of Angels. Garden City, New York:
Berkowitz,
1968
Double day and Co.
L. and K. Lutterman.
"The traditionally socially responsible person
ality." Public Opinion Quarterly 32:169-185.
Campbell, Angus, et_ al.
1960 The American Voter. New York: John Wiley and Sons
Carter, Paul.
1956
The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel:
Social and Political Liberalism in American Protes
tant Churches, 1920-1940. Ithaca, New York:
Cornell University Press.
Clark, Elmer.
1949 The Small Sects in America. Nashville: Abingdon
Press, Inc.
Clayton, Robert.
1972 "5-D or 1-D Journal for the Scientific Study
of Religion 10:1.37-40.
118

119
Cox, Harvey.
1967 On Not Leaving It to the Snake. New York: The
Macmillan Co.
1965The Secular City. New York: The Macmillan Co.
Demerath, N. J.
1965 Social Class and American Protestantism. Chicago:
Rand McNally and Co.
Dohrman-; H. T.
1958 The California Cult. Boston: Beacon Press.
Durkheim,,Emile.
1947 The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York:
The Free Press.
Durnbaugh, D. F.
1968 The Believers Church: The History and Character of
Radical Protestantism. London: The Macmillan Co.
Dylan, Bob.
1973 Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Dynes, Russell.
1955 "Church-sect typology and socio-economic status."
American Sociological Review 20:555-560.
Ellwood, Robert S.
1973 One Way: The Jesus Movement and Its Meaning.
Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hal1.
1972 Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America.
Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.
\ Enroth, R. M. E. E. Erickson and C. B. Peters.
1972 The Jesus People: Old Time Religion in the Age of
Aquarius. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co.
Faulkner, Joseph and Gordon DeJong.
1966"Religiosity in 5-D: An empirical analysis."
Social Forces 45:2.246-254.
Glenn, Norval and Ruth Hyland.
1967"Religious preference and worldly success: Some
evidence from national surveys." American Socio
logical Review 32:73-75.

120
dock, Charles.
1959 "The sociology of religion." Robert Merton et al.
(ed.), Sociology Today. New York: Harper and-Row,
Inc.
1973 Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co.
dock, Charles and Rodney Stark.
1965Religion and Society in Tension. Chicago: Rand
McNally Co.
Goode, Erich.
1967- "Some critical observations on the church sect
dimension." Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 6:69-77.
Gorman, Benjamin.
1966"The Relationship of Authoritarianism to the
church-sect typology." (Unpublished)
Gustafson, Paul.
1967"UO-US-PS-PO: A restatement of Troeltsch's church-
sect typology." Journal for the Scientific Study
of Religion 6:64-68.
Hesse, Herman.
1965 Demian. New York: Harper and Row.
Johnson, Benton.
1952
"A critical appraisal
American Sociological
of the
Review
church-sect typology.
22 : 88-92.
1963
"On church and sect."
Review 28:539-549.
Ameri
can Sociological
Kanter, Rosabeth M.
1972 Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in
Sociological Perspective. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard Univ. Press.
King, M.
1967 "Measuring the religious variable: Nine proposed
dimensions." Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 6:173-190.
Kennis ton,
1965
Kenneth.
The Uncommitted.
World.
New York: Harcourt, Brace and
Lehman, Harvey C. and Paul A. Witty.
1931 "Scientific eminence and church membership."
Scientific Monthly 33:544-549.

121
Lenski Gerhard.
1961The Religious Factor. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday and Co., Inc.
Littel, Franklin H.
1957 The Free Church. Boston: Star King Press.
Lofland, John.
1966 The Doomsday Cult. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice-Hall.
Luckman, Thomas.
1967 The Invisible Religion. New York: The Macmillan
Co.
Martin, David.
1962"The denomination." British Journal of Sociology
13 : i-14.
Marx, Gary T.
1967 "Religion: Opiate or inspiration of civil rights
militancy among Negroes?" American Sociological
Review 32:64- 72 .
Middleton, Robert.
1963"Alienation, race, and education." American Socio
logical Review 23:973-977.
Milton, John.
1950 Paradise Lost in Complete Poetry and Selected
Prose. New York: The Modern Library, Random House
Moberg, David.
1958 "Social class and the churches." Information
Service (June 14):6-8.
\ Murray, Gilbert.
1925 The Five Stages of Greek Religion. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Nelson, Geoffery.
1968"Concept of cult." Sociological Review 16:351-362
Niebuhr, Reinhart.
1946 The Nature and Destiny of Man. New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons.
1929 The Social Sources of Denominationalism. New York
Holt, Reinhart, and Winston.
Nietzsche, Wilhelm Frederich.
1966 Thus Spake Zarathustra. Translated by Walter
Kaufmann. New York: The Viking Press, Inc.

122
Peterson, D. W. and A. L. Mauss.
1973 "The cross and the commune: An interpretation of
the Jesus people." In Charles Y. Glock (ed.),
Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 261-279.
Pfautz, Harold.
1955 "The sociology of secularization: Religious
groups." American Journal of Sociology 61:121-128.
Plowman-, Edward.
1971 The Jesus Movement in America. Elgin, Ill.:
David C. Cook Publishing Co.
Scanzoni, John.
1965 "A note on method for the church-sect typology."
Sociological Analysis 26:189-202.
Schaul, E. L.
1971 "The psychology of religion." In Orlo Strunk
(ed.), The Psychology of Religion. New York:
Abingdon Press. 1-16.
Schuman, H. and J. Harding.
1962 "Indirect measures of prejudice." (Unpublished
manus cript)
Schwartz, Gary.
1970 Sect Ideologies and Social Status. Chicago, Ill.:
Univ. of Chicago Press.
Stark, Rodney and Charles Y. Glock.
1968 American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California
Press.
1968 "Are we entering a post Christian era?" In Rodney
Stark and Charles Glock (eds.), American Piety:
The Nature of Religious Commitment, Los Angeles:
Univ. of California Press, pp. 204-224.
Stark, Werner.
1967 The Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom.
New York: Fordham University Press.
Steinberg, Stephen.
1973 "The changing religious composition of American
higher education. In Charles Y. Glock (ed.),
Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 102-116.

123
Troeltsch, Ernst.
1911 Social Teachings of the Christian Church.
London: George Allen and Lenewin, Inc.
1969 Protestantism and Progress. Boston: Beacon Press.
Watts Allen.
1972 "The Jesus freaks and Jesus." The New York Times
(March 29).
Weber, 'Max.
1958 The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Translated by T. Parsons. New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons.
The Sociology of Religion. Boston: Beacon Press.
Elena S.
The Way: Living in Love. New Knoxville, Ohio:
American Christian Press.
Wierwille, V. P.
19
71a
Are the Dead Alive
Now?
New Knoxville
, Ohio:
Arne rican
Christ! an
T G S S

19
71b
The Bible
Tells Me
So.
New Knoxville,
Ohio:
American
Christian
Pres s

19
71c
The Power
for Abun
d an t L
iving.
New Kn
oxville,
Ohio: Arne
rican Chr
is tian
Press.
19
72
Receiving
the Holy
Spiri
t. New
Knoxvi
lie, Ohi
American
Christian
Press
Wilson, Bryan.
1961 Sects and Society. London: William Heinemann, Ltd.
1967 Patterns of Sectarianism Organization and Ideology
in Social and Religious Movements. London:
Wi Hi am He inemann Ltd .
Wuthnow, Robert.
1973 "Religious commitment and conservatism: In search
of an elusive relationship." In Charles Y. Glock
(ed.), Religion in Sociological Perspective.
Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 117-132.
Yang, C. K.
1961 Religion in Chinese Society. Berkeley, Calif.:
Univ. of California Press.
1
1969
Whiteside,
1972

Yinger, J
1970
Younger,
1965
Zablocki ,
19 71
. Milton.
The Scientific Study of Religion. London: The
Macmillan Co.
George.
The Church and Urban Renewal. Philadelphia, P
J. B. Lippincott Co.
Benj amin.
The Joyful Community. Baltimore, Maryland:
Penguin Books.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
David Alger McNaught was born in Fort Bragg, North
Carolina. Raised in a military family, he traveled exten
sively before beginning college at Wake Forest University.
He was awarded a B.A. in Sociology in January, 1970, and
earned his M.A. in June of 1971. In September, 1971, he
began working toward a Ph.D. at the University of Florida
and was admitted to candidacy in July of 1972. Since then
he has been on the faculty at East Carolina University until
the fall of 1974. Having completed the requirements for a
Ph.D., he will be awarded the degree from the University of
Florida and will remain unemployed as of December, 1974.
125

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of Sociology
I certify that
opinion it conforms
presentation and is
as a dissertation fo
I have read this study and that in my
to acceptable standards of scholarly
fully adequate, in scope and quality,
r the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Sociology
I certify that
opinion it conforms
presentation and is
as a dissertation fo
I have read this study and that in my
to acceptable standards of scholarly
fully adequate, in scope and quality,
r the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Sociology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Many
Assis
ilkMAL
na Baden
ant Professor of Sociology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Alfonso Damico
Assistant Professor of Sociology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and
Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
December, 1974
Dean, Graduate School

r
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
m ii nuil ii mi
3 1262 08552 8486

r
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
m ii nuil ii mi
3 1262 08552 8486



112
47. Faith, meaning putting full confidence in the things we
hope for and being certain of things we cannot see, is
essential to one's religious life.
Agree ; Uncertain ; Disagree
48.
What is your feeling ab
business on the Sabbath
They should not be open
They have a legitimate
out the operation of non-essential
?
; I am uncertain about this ;
right to be open .
49.A boy and a girl, both of whom attend church frequently,
regularly date one another and have entered into sexual
relations with each other. Do you feel that people who
give at least partial support to the church by attending
its worship services should behave in this manner? Which
of the following statements express your opinion con
cerning this matter?
People who identify themselves with the church to the
extent that they participate in its worship services
should uphold its moral teachings as well ; Sexual
intercourse prior to marriage is a matter~oY individual
responsibility .
50.Two candidates are seeking the same political office.
One is a member and a strong participant in a church.
The other candidate is indifferent, but not hostile, to
religious organizations. Other factors being equal, do
you think the candidate identified with the church would
be a better public servant than the one who has no
interest in religion?
He definitely would ; He probably would ; Uncertain
; He probably woTcT not ; He definitely would not
51.Suppose you are living next door to a person \\fho con
fides in you that each year he puts down on his income
tax a $50.00 contribution to the church in "loose change,"
even though he knows that while he does contribute some
money to the church in "loose change" each year, the
total sum is far below that amount. Do you feel that a
persons religious orientation should be reflected in
all phases of his life so that such behavior is morally
wrong--that it is a form of lying?
Yes ; Uncertain ; No
52.
It is no
affairs;
Strongly
Strongly
use worrying about current events or public
I can't do anything about them anyway.
agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree_
disagree
53. Every person should give some of his time for the good
of his state or country.
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Undecided ; Disagree
Strongly disagree


11
might be noted as related to Troeltsch's third ideal type,
Mysticism.)
Most important in the distinction between church and
sect is the fact that the sect is founded in conflict. It
is at best indifferent to, and most often in conflict with,
established secular societies. It finds no need to submit
to any authority in this world and is a matter of individual
union with the divine. This freedom allows the sectarian to
have a variety, of alternatives of expression. He may retreat
from the world in "other-worldly aceticism," or he may
aggressively attack society as a radical.
They do not wish to be popular churches, but rather
Christian denominations composed of 'saints.' The
sects are small groups which exist alongside of the
State and Society. they also maintain that they
possess the absolute truth of the Gospel, but they
claim this truth is far beyond the spiritual grasp
of the masses and of the State, and therefore they
desire to be free from the State. Further, since
it is precisely this absolute Gospel which forbids
them to use force, authority, or law they also must
renounce forcing their opinions upon anyone, either
within or without their community. Hence they
demand external toleration, the religious neutrality
of the State (Troeltsch, 1911:993).
However, Troeltsch notes that within the confines of the sect
there is a demand of strict adherence to the doctrine and
morals.
The sect is seen by Troeltsch as being of a single gener
ation duration and involved in conflict with society. Werner
Stark follows this definition by noting that the sect is a
protest movement which expresses itself religiously (Stark,
1967). The sect is not in only slight disagreement with


8
on its moral prescriptions to gain the masses. The most
important ramification of this is that salvation to the
church is based on reception of the sacraments (ritual) and
acquiescence to the creeds (ideological), whereas in the sect,
salvation is based on ethical behavior and moral purity.
The church is concerned with the function of social
cohesion and social order. This is its primary function,
however latent it may be, and it implies that
a religious system in which the church-type organi
zation is predominant will serve to reinforce the
power situation of the dominant classes of a
society. In the logical extreme, the church type
lends itself to the support of an authoritarian
pattern of order. This is the product of the com
promises that are forced on a church when it tries
to organize the whole of society (Yinger, 1970:253).
If it is assumed that the church is generally used to
meet the integrative requirements of a social system, then
one could easily meet the aforementioned primary criticism
of Troeltsch's work. While Troeltsch himself did not illus
trate all of the ramifications of his typology, he does give
us the lead as to what factors lead to the formation of dif
ferent religious organizations. A religious system would be
primarily church-like in societies where the function of
integration was not well met by existing alternative struc
tures. In societies where many religious expressions are
found there will be less service as an integrative factor.
Societies characterized by high degrees of alienation, frus
tration, or stress, will be less inclined to see religion
as a tradition than as a means of self-expression and
escape.


54
The Ministry has a number of books for sale which should
initiate conversion. Free flyers and pamphlets explaining
the organization, its ideals and its functions, are also
available. Most of the books are written by V. P. Wierwille;
however, the first book given to prospectives as an introduc
tion to-the Ministry is Elena Whiteside's book, The Way:
Living in Love. Miss Whiteside narrates a day spent at The
Way International Headquarters in New Knoxville. One is
invited not tosee God but to be shown ". God working and
living in people. People who believe in God and act on that
believing. People acting on the Word of God and living
according to His Word" (Whiteside, 1972:5). Again, even in
this first disembodied text, the real emphasis is on the per
sonal expression of God's word. The reader sees an "idyllic"
life on the farm at Headquarters and at the same time he is
learning some of the major beliefs of the organization. Here
he is introduced to Wierwille, other important figures in the
Ministry and a variety of individuals now in the Ministry.
\ The diversity within the membership is stressed so that each
prospective initiate might feel welcome. The reader sees
young people and old people, long-haired drug freaks (now
conformed) and super-straights, poor people with socially
tragic pasts and wealthy people who have realized their
psychic deprivation. The reader is encouraged to believe
that, whoever he may be, he can find fellowship, friendship,
and community here.


CHAPTER IV
CONVERSION AND PROSELYTIZATION
According to John Lofland's book on the Divine Precepts,
Doomsday Cult, there are three major problems (two of which
are relevant to this description) encountered by any reli
gious splinter group (Lofland, 1966). The first is the prob
lem of conversion. How do individuals become so involved with
"far out" activities? The second question, the problem of
proselytization, focuses on the methods of the group. It is
necessary to look at the "conversion-proselytization" process
from both the individual and group perspectives; of most
concern here is what social factors precipitate membership
in a religious splinter group.
Lofland notes, in answer to the first dilemma, seven
necessary characteristics for conversion. All are seemingly
present in the membership of this community. All of the
members felt acute tensions with society and saw the tensions
as being solved by religion. Each defined himself as a seeker
of truth and encountered the group at a time of crisis or in
decision in his life. A strong bond has been formed due to
intensive interaction; this is illustrated by the extreme
religious communality expressed by group members. Also, the
external attachments are extremely low for the members of
the Ministry. A strong religious communality, coupled with
49


42
large, beautiful home in the heart of the community. There
is not an evening when it is not the center of a great deal
of activity and the meeting place of many more people than
the few who actually live there. The limb, which is more
formal and structured, is a fellowship meeting of all of the
branches within a given state which meets every six months
or annually. Finally, the trunk is the fellowship of limbs
in an entire nation which meets every three years.
The root .is composed of three major segments which meet
every five years together. The three segments are: (1) a
board of three trustees, (2) the international headquarters,
or a fellowship of the head presbyter of each trunk, and
(3) the board of directors, or a fellowship of the head
presbyters of each limb and branch.
Each of the sub-units, except the root and twigs, is
composed of a variety of offices. First, the head presbyter
or ruling elder is an overseer who observes and guides the
fellowships. He is qualified spiritually as a leader. The
elder of each twig fellowship is selected by the branch
presbyter and by approval of the limb, trunk, and root. Each
unit also selects from its members an honorary treasurer.
Other positions occur in certain situations. Each unit is
self-creating, governing, supporting and sustaining in cooper
ation with its respective over-unit.
In discussing a group such as this, one inevitably comes
to the questions of organizational dilemmas. While this is
not the focus of the dissertation, answering these problems


17
because it is affected by class boundaries and other elements
of social inequality. The denominational range in modern
American religion from Congregationalism (predominantly sec
tarian) to Episcopalism (much more church-like) covers much
of the continuum. Nonetheless, the denomination is more
conservative and respectable than is the sect and it is less
inclusive of society's members than is the ecclesia. The
singular unique quality of the denomination is tolerance,
both among members and towards other organizations. In his
work on the denomination, David Martin notes that the level
of external tolerance (towards other religious groups) does
not increase along the continuum from church to sect but
rather is at its peak in the middle levels around denomina
tion while both poles exhibit little tolerance. He even
suggests that this may provide an adequate basis for deter
mining whether a particular group might be best classified as
a denomination or as a sect. One could ask if the particular
group was amenable to intergroup religious activities -- the
denomination of course being the most amenable, whereas the
sect more frequently would seek to isolate itself from other
groups of religious purpose. Yinger also feels it is worth
while to make a distinction between diffused and institution
alized denominations, analogous to Yang's discussion of
churches.
The reader should also consider that many of the contem
porary denominations started out as sects. They have varied
in their degree not only of institutionalization but also of


CHAPTER V
PLACEMENT OF THE WAY
The material discussed in the first four chapters has
laid the proper groundwork for relating the organization to
the continuum. The Way can best be defined as a charismatic
sect rapidly becoming an "established sect." The Ministry's
major purpose is conversion, and yet they really could not be
classified as an aggressive sect. Rather, this sect is an
intreversionist-avoidance sect which makes efforts, neither
significantly optimistic nor pessimistic, towards converting
the nonbeliever.
To summarize a brief support for this placement some of
the more salient sect-like features can be listed as charac
teristic of the Ministry.
The Way is not composed of an inherited membership but
of a "reborn" constituency. With the rebirth is a full
commitment to the ideology. A sect is a purist organization,
seeing the world as more black and white than do denomina
tions. It provides the follower with an answer and gives
meaning to a life formerly dominated by meaninglessness. In
the ideological system of The Way the reader should note a
second key similarity to the sect type in addition to the
idea of rebirth. The Way rejects not only the secular
67


5
the distinction. First there is the rise of the professional
clergy; second, the church claims to dominate the other
levels of social organization; next, the dogma and rights must
be rationalized in accordance with the society at large (thus
not to conflict too greatly with secular values and ideas);
and last, the church has a formal organization in that char
isma is now associated with the office rather than with the
particular individual.
This typology both in its historical inception and in
its subsequent development has often been criticized unfairly
because it was not seen as an ideal type as was intended.
Theologians and church historians discounted
Troeltsch's theory because of its sociological
method and because it did not provide for denomi-
nationalism, seen as the distinctive form of
Christianity in the United States. Furthermore,
sociologists of religion, such as Johnson, Wilson,
and Berger have come to criticize the typology as
not especially helpful in concrete situations.
Many of the critics have not grasped Troeltsch's
use of 'ideal types,' which he borrowed from Max
Weber. The types are meant to clarify, not to
classify specific religious movements (Durnbaugh,
1968:23).
This does not discount the criticisms of Berger and others
who have been instrumental in the contemporary development
of these terms. Rather, it is significant only to note the
basic use as ideal types for Troeltsch and Weber. This point
should be remembered when noting the effort of the paper to
classify The Way Ministry in accordance with this theory.
The aims of this author are to develop a more useful perspec
tive of the typology.


121
Lenski Gerhard.
1961The Religious Factor. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday and Co., Inc.
Littel, Franklin H.
1957 The Free Church. Boston: Star King Press.
Lofland, John.
1966 The Doomsday Cult. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:
Prentice-Hall.
Luckman, Thomas.
1967 The Invisible Religion. New York: The Macmillan
Co.
Martin, David.
1962"The denomination." British Journal of Sociology
13 : i-14.
Marx, Gary T.
1967 "Religion: Opiate or inspiration of civil rights
militancy among Negroes?" American Sociological
Review 32:64- 72 .
Middleton, Robert.
1963"Alienation, race, and education." American Socio
logical Review 23:973-977.
Milton, John.
1950 Paradise Lost in Complete Poetry and Selected
Prose. New York: The Modern Library, Random House
Moberg, David.
1958 "Social class and the churches." Information
Service (June 14):6-8.
\ Murray, Gilbert.
1925 The Five Stages of Greek Religion. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Nelson, Geoffery.
1968"Concept of cult." Sociological Review 16:351-362
Niebuhr, Reinhart.
1946 The Nature and Destiny of Man. New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons.
1929 The Social Sources of Denominationalism. New York
Holt, Reinhart, and Winston.
Nietzsche, Wilhelm Frederich.
1966 Thus Spake Zarathustra. Translated by Walter
Kaufmann. New York: The Viking Press, Inc.


88
Discussion of Results
The first hypothesis tested and confirmed asserted that
Way members would exhibit a greater degree of communal reli
giosity than denominational members. One of the primary
functions that religions meet is in social integration,
allowing the individual to develop a personal identification
through unity with the group. Just as individuals will vary
in their need for this identification, so too different reli
gious groups will vary in their efforts to fulfill this func
tion. Sects gain their following from the socially weak and
estranged. This powerless stratum abounds with various types
of alienation. Alienation is seen as something to avoid, a
hazard of life. Generally looked on as a bad state of mind
by philosophy and society in general because it threatens
the social system, alienation is something individuals are
taught to fear.
When one craves (not seeks) an answer he will find one,
and the primary demand of this answer is not that it be cor
rect but that it comfort and calm the individual. Sects
seek to provide such confort for lost or alienated people and
the easiest way is through a bond of friendship. The alien
ated seeker is a lonely person who finds that the sect pro
vides him with a total life, not unlike a "total institution."
Thus, one expects such a unit to have a great deal of commun-
ality. The religious unit is the sole answer to the sectar
ian and he immerses himself in religion. Most of his daily


30
Ellwood also notes that the leader of the Jesus movement
today is not the neatly trimmed, pious man from an evangeli
cal family but rather is probably long-haired, and "hip" in
his dress. Most important, though, is the fact that he
probably has not led a purely conservative life.
The Way is over thirty years old and has actually seen
both types of evangelists. The conservative, pious image
can be associated with its earlier years,
Most of the people in those days (1961-65) were
local--frm Columbus, Indiana, and the Toledo area.
We had a great vision then of the Word reaching
out over Ohio. We were all pretty straight--no
long hairs--more adults than young people
(Whiteside, 1972:47).
However, by the late sixties the movement was being
embodied to a great extent by the young counter culture evan
gelist. Consider the following account from one of the lead
ing members of the ministry:
I grew up in Oklahoma, was in and out of trouble
through high school, and ended up in reform school
for a couple of years. When I was sixteen, I ran
away from home and lived around with aunts and
uncles. But by 18 I was into some heavy scenes
\ with my friends. We attempted some robberies and
got caught. So I was brought up before the judge,
and he gave us a choice of prison for juvenile
delinquents or joining the service (Whiteside,
1972:37).
The respondent goes on to recount a story of getting in and
out of the service (by playing insane), then deep into the
California drug scene, and even riding with the Hell's Angels.
Finally, he and some friends "found themselves" through the
Ministry's classes.


100
"beta" weight extracted from each to form the table below.
(The use of the terms "independent" and "dependent" variables
in this context is necessitated by the methodology employed.
No direct assessment of causality will be made.)
T ab 1 e 8
"Beta" Weights of Way Membership with Indicated
Variable as Dependent in a Multiple Regression
and All Remaining Variables as Competing
Independent Variables in the Equation
Dependent Variable Way's beta F P<
Intellectual Religiosity
Ideological Religiosity
Ritualistic Religiosity
Experiential Religiosity
Consequential Religiosity
Social Responsibility
Alienation
Self-esteem
Authoritarianism
-.03
.03
N.S.
+ .25
4.67
.01
+ .12
. 36
N.S.
+ .12
. 74
N.S.
-.02
.01
N.S.
+ .48
7.93
.01
-.08
.16
N.S.
-.16
. 32
N.S.
+ .10
.18
N.S.
These "beta" weights, or standardized coefficients, may
be squared to give the percent of variance in the dependent
variable explained by the given independent variable, in
each case, Way membership. Thus, there is an obvious reduc
tion in the relationships as they were illustrated in the
preceding chapter. On the basis of the first order


46
The purpose of this digression was to explain why young
people more than others find cognitive satisfaction by being
able to rejoin themselves to the herd.
In the early years of the 1970's the Jesus move
ment was one of the most talked about of American
religious phenomena. Young people in considerable
numbers were rejecting both conventional Christian
ity and 'counter culture' religions to take up
with evangelical Christianity (Ellwood, 1973:ix).
Robert Ellwood draws a strong parallel between the Jesus cul
ture and the psychedelic culture. For both subcultures, sub
jectivity is the key to reality. The goal in life is a
"high." There is provided a sense of separateness from estab
lished society, a reaction against science and technology,
and a reaction against history (excluding the Bible). One
should not confuse The Way with other segments of the Jesus
movement, but it is valid to note that the culture of the
Ministry is founded on the basic tenets just listed. Thus,
The Way is able to provide individuals with a new culture
which allows autonomy, yet defines the world and allows the
same escape from "the establishment." It also gives one
community support as a defense mechanism for his system of
beliefs, values, and social behavior.
The foregoing discussion illustrates that the structure
of the Ministry will satisfy the need for cathectic (affec
tive) commitment and for evaluative (moral) commitment as it
does for the cognitive needs. The second problem for Ranter's
study was that of group cohesiveness, a problem which is
resolved by the cathectic commitment. Much of the foregoing


86
Table 4a
Results of Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test of Differences
Between the Way and Denominational Members
on Measure of Parental Education
Way
Denominational
Hypothesis
Variable
(N)
(N) d P<
4
Parental
30
30 1.01 N.S.
Education
Table 4b
Differences Between the Way and Denominational
Members in Mean Scores on Parental Occupation
Way
Denominational
Hypothesis
Variable
Mean (N)
Mean (N) t P<
4
Parental
Occupation
46.7 (30)
51.0 (30) 1.10 N.S.
Hypothesis five suggests that Way members will show a
reduction in present alienation from that which they perceived
prior to entering the Ministry. This hypothesis was confirmed
by data in Table 5.


60
Thus the follower must study the Bible and learn fully the
meaning of God's word. According to Wierwille, the word of
God has been greatly confused due to the efforts of man to
use it.
God gave the original Word. He is not at all respon
sible for the error that men have introduced by
their chapter headings or by their center referen
ces or by their paragraph markings. Man made all
those mistakes (Wierwille, 1971c:133).
Even with all of the errors of man, Wierwille felt it
was not impossible for the Bible to be reconstructed. In
phase three the reader is taught how to use the Bible. He
is shown that the Bible interprets itself fully. First of
all, in its verse the Bible is usually clear. One must first
be aware of the meanings of definitions of words at the time
of translation, as words often change or become more diffuse
or specific in meaning over a period of time. Next the reader
can learn the meaning of obscure verses by relating it to
other verses on the same topic. Essentially, it is assumed
that the word of God must always be consistent and thus
through studying various accounts or verses which are similar,
we may augment our understanding of the event considerably.
Finally, a verse must be understood as part of a narrative
framework and to be a fully understood verse it must be seen
relative to the other passages on the event.
Many of the denominational splits in Christianity are
based on variances in interpretation of the word. There
should be no variance if one understood the meaning of the
word. Finally, Wierwille notes that for one to really


68
preoccupation of most of society's members, but also rejects
other contemporary religious units. They expect a strict
adherence to the interpretation, yet show outward tolerance
with no hint of coercion. The Way is relatively small. The
leader is charismatic; as much of nis appeal is due to his
personal flamboyance as to his message. As the organization
becomes more structured, this charisma is being routinized
and is passed on to the organization's other leaders.
The only negative, or non-sect-like, quality of the
Ministry is its extensive bureaucracy. This characteristic
is necessary to any established unit which hopes to survive
its charismatic leader.
This placement has been founded on the structural char
acteristics of the Ministry. On the basis of this placement
various characteristics of the members of the Ministry may
now be predicted. Members of a sect should be intensely
religious on all of religiosity's dimensions. They should
also exhibit a high degree of religious communality. Due to
the placement of a unit as a sect, one may also expect its
members to display religious intolerance.
These all generate hypotheses directly from the taxonomy.
In addition to developing and testing these hypotheses,
Chapters VI and VII will also consider several hypotheses on
attitudinal traits of the members which can be indirectly
related to the typology. These traits include alienation,
self-esteem, social responsibility, and authoritarianism.


103
as yet has made no effort to ascertain what explanation there
is for it. From this research, the key variable related to
sectarianism is social responsibility. There the limitations
of the operationalization of sectarianism (members in the Way)
become most significant. Perhaps it is this factor of social
responsibility that causes a sect to become what Yinger calls
an established sect instead of evolving into a denomination.
In other words, social responsibility may not be the key vari
able of the taxonomy at large but may be the most influential
factor of the evolution of splinter groups.
Earlier in discussion of the taxonomy, it was noted that
both denominations and the various types of sects were splin
ters of major religious institutions. They differed due to
their evolution following separation from the institution,
largely because of how acute the tensions with the institu
tion and other secularized units were. The more socially
responsible individual may feel there is no compromise to be
made with the secular, and maintains an overtly opposed pos
ture towards society at large. Thus, he could not compromise
himself and his own duty by associating with an organization
which seems so malleable to society's wishes.
Basically the function of this text has been twofold.
One, it has been the initial socio-descriptive analysis of
The Way Ministry and, in fact, one of very few works ever
done on the contemporary Jesus movement. The second and
central thrust was in illustration of the utility of the
church-sect typology. While in either case the data and


35
characteristic of Pentecostal worship. The Way Ministry is
not a Pentecostal affiliate formally and in fact might more
easily be labeled a Holiness sect.
Services are more holiness than Pentecostal in that
they do folio;'/ a definite order, eschewing the free
wheeling 'do your own thing' of the latter. .
Informal songs are sung by the congregation mostly
concerning Jesus and his imminent return to earth.
Prayers for the sick are offered and testimonies
are heard. The ubiquitous 'one way' sign (extended
index finger with clenched fist) shows the congre
gation approval of various elements of the services
(Adams and Fox, 1973:51).
This description would apply to The Way services except that
the sign is three extended fingers like a "W" for "Word over
the World."
Essentially, The Way Ministry can be seen as one alter
native in the "Evangelical Jesus movement," which, like the
movement at large, is a blend of the tradition and the theolo
gies of Pentecostal and Holiness sects. It differs from the
other elements of the movement primarily, in that it is not
organized as a religious worship unit so much as it is a
biblical research group.
One final group to relate the Ministry to is The Believ
er's Church. The "Believer's Church" was a term developed by
Max Weber in his work on the Protestant Ethic to help define
the Quakers and Anabaptists. According to Weber these groups
did not want "an institution necessarily including both the
just and the unjust" but rather a "community of personal
believers of the reborn, and only these" (Weber, 1958:144).
The Way Ministry and Believer's Church alike reject the idea


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of Sociology
I certify that
opinion it conforms
presentation and is
as a dissertation fo
I have read this study and that in my
to acceptable standards of scholarly
fully adequate, in scope and quality,
r the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Sociology
I certify that
opinion it conforms
presentation and is
as a dissertation fo
I have read this study and that in my
to acceptable standards of scholarly
fully adequate, in scope and quality,
r the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Sociology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Many
Assis
ilkMAL
na Baden
ant Professor of Sociology


Copyright -19 74
David Alger McNaught


22
inward experience put faith in a supernatural world. The
sect allows these individuals to attain a certain peace of
mind through a communion with those sharing the belief.
Elmer Clark notes that many Pentecostal sects seek to avoid
the world more symbolically than physically by trances,
speaking in tongues, etc. (Clark, 1949).
These three subtypes of sects, like the larger church-
sect taxonomy, are not a means for classification but rather
present ideal -types to provide contrast and to illustrate
variables which influence sect organization.
The final element of the continuum is the cult. A cult
differs from a sect in the sense that it claims to be a com
pletely new syncretist movement, whereas the sect claims only
to be a new interpretation of the established religion. It
is symbolic of the sharpest break with traditional society
and its religious system. The cult is the diametric opposite
of the church. It is small, personal, has no bureaucratic
structure, demands a charismatic leader, and is the most
highly alienated group from social structures and values.
One final aspect or dimension which is a factor is the length
of duration. A church would be the longest -lived, while the
cult would be most likely to survive for the least amount of
time.
It is not relevant to this dissertation per se, but the
reader should be aware that some criticisms and defense of
the concept of cult have been written (Becker, 1932; Nelson,
1968). Geoffrey Nelson has even posited that cults, like


61
understand the word, he must realize that different parts of
the Bible were written to different people, and while they
can carry some significant meaning for us, they are written
to someone else.
Once one realizes that scripture interprets itself, he
is ready to begin working with the word so as to manifest it
practically in his life, to be reborn.
In the beginning, the spirit in man made it possible
for God to talk to him and for man, in turn, to talk
to God. .The natural man of body and soul only has
his five senses whereby to acquire knowledge. In
contrast, the first man not only could acquire knowl
edge through his five senses, but he could also
attain knowledge through his communication with God,
made possible by God's spirit within him. Adam had
two ways whereby he could know things and he had the
freedom of will to choose whether he was going to
gather knowledge by his five senses or by spirit--
God's speaking to him (Wierwille, 1971c:250).
Wierwille speaks of natural man as being man as we know him
after the original sin. This is man of body and soul but
without spirit or communion with God. It is man's job to
become reborn in spirit and become perfect again. According
to Wierwille, God had to come into a physical, incarnate form
so that natural man might see with his senses and then believe.
Man's rebirth gives him unconditional reunion with God
in spirit whereas Adam had conditional spirit; however, Adam
had the advantages of having a renewed mind. According to
the text, one's mind is not renewed by rebirth. Our mind is
renewed only when we are able to put our thoughts and actions
forever in harmony with the word, when we are able to mani
fest the power in the physical world.


76
The measures are based on the theory of five-dimensional
religiosity as developed by dock and Stark. As with most of
the scales used in this research, these are scales developed
in previous research. Four of the five dimensions measured
here were developed by Joseph E. Faulkner and Gordon F.
DeJong into scales. Each of the subscales may be used
separately, as they are here, in research concerned with a
more detailed view of religious commitment.
There has been some criticism of this and other uses of
"5-D" religiosity (Clayton, 1972). Clayton, for example,
notes that the scales are by no means independent of one
another. He also argues that while each of the scales has
many points of adequate measurement of religiosity, there is
so much overlapping that the scales are not really able to
be compared; that, in fact, they are measuring the same thing
and not various dimensions. While it is true that all the
dimensions are moderately correlated with each other, there
is evidence that none of the dimensions was the same as any
other (Faulkner and DeJong, 1966). Faulkner and DeJong also
illustrate that the ideological dimension must be the central
element of religiosity as it is most highly correlated with
the other dimensions and that the consequential dimension is
the least correlated, thereby implying that ethical views of
the secular world are largely independent of religious beliefs.
There is some question, theoretically speaking, about
the validity of the general theory of five-dimensional reli
gion as a means of interpreting religiosity and even beyond


36
of a church as some sort of physical structure and see it
as being the body of believers.
While the idea of the Believer's Church is one of a non-
creedal nature, it does have confessions of faith and does
not necessarily entail a rejection of doctrinal formulations.
In fact", the whole idea of the Believer's Church stresses the
communal nature of the belief. The Believer's Church in the
sectarian sense is a Church which has allegedly survived
(though not always in an organized sense) in the persons of
believers in Christ since the inception of Christianity in
Jerusalem. The dual existence of this church with that of
the institutional church is noted in Ernst Troeltsch's work
Social Teachings of the Christian Church (Troeltsch, 1911).
This is only one of the three theories of the origin of the
Believer's Church but is the most applicable to The Way
Ministry, particularly since they themselves see their church
as being united with the First Century Church. The "Social
Gospel" movement may be seen as a renewal of this sectarian
idea applied to the whole of society. The Way Ministry and
the Jesus movement at large are significant proponents of
this sectarian tradition despite the fact that they don't
accredit their predecessors. Like those in the "Anabaptist"
tradition, members feel there is no line of apostolic descent
and that their Church is a return to a belief rarely known
since the first century A.D.
Seven elements define the Believer's Church; one cannot
help noting the similarity with those beliefs of The Way to


3
differences between religious organizations rather than as a
means for classification.
Through observation of The Way Ministry and careful
study of its organization with regard for the above-mentioned
variables, the ministry is placed somewhere between established
sect artd sect on the continuum. The basis for this placement
should become increasingly obvious with the material pre
sented in Chapters II through IV of this work where the organ
izational and ideological structure of the ministry is dis
cussed.
Due to this placement, one may now predict the other
properties of the organization's membership. The theoretical
literature asserts that certain constituent attributes of
members would be expected in a unit with the structural prop
erties of a sect (e.g., members of a sect should score higher
on authoritarianism scales than members of a denomination).
These assertions will serve as hypotheses, and will be tested
with the sectarian membership. Thus, support of the hypothe
ses will be support for the postulate as it stands; denial
of these hypotheses will suggest that the contention of func
tional unity of properties, especially the linkages between
structural and individual attributes, is incorrect or in
need of amendment.
In the first chapter of the dissertation, the continuum
will be reviewed and its ramifications made clear. In Chap
ter II the author will develop a series of background dis
cussions on the relationship of The Way to both the historical


To Mrs. D. R. McNaught--it's all yours.


84
difference of means test. The information was reduced from
the questionnaire so that responses one and two were defined
as tolerant. Seven independent difference of proportions
tests were run, yielding six significant "Z" scores, as
illustrated by Table 2. The data confirm the hypothesis; The
Way membership is less tolerant than the denominational.
Table 2
A Comparison of Religious Tolerance
Between Members of the Way
and the Denominational Members
Religious
Organization
Way
Percent
Tolerant
Responses
Denominational
Percent
Tolerant
Responses
Z
P<
Baptist
40.0
83. 3
3. 3
.01
Buddhist
0.0
20.0
2.5
.01
Catholic
10.0
70.0
4.7
.01
Hindu
0.0
20.0
2.5
.01
Lutheran
13.3
80.0
5.1
.01
Methodist
26.7
83.3
4.3
.01
Campus Crusade
40.0
46.7
1.0
N.S.
The third hypothesis is broken down into five sub
hypotheses, each of which will be independently tested.
Table 3 represents five tests of significance. Hypotheses
3a-3d were all confirmed; the only dimension of religiosity
which showed no significant variation between the Way and the
denominations was the consequential.


Ill
37. (Continued)
writers are men, it contains some human errors ; The
Bible is a valuable book because it was written by wise
and good men, but God had nothing to do with it ;
The Bible was written by men who lived so long ago that
it is of little value today ; Uncertain
38. Do you feel it is possible for an individual to develop
a well-rounded Christian life apart from the Christian
community? Yes ; Mo ; Uncertain
39. Hoxv much time during the week would you say you spend
reading the Bible and other religious literature?
Approximate number of hours
40. How many of the past four Sundays have you attended
church ?
Three or more ; Two ; One ; None
41. Which of the following best describes your participation
in the act of prayer?
Prayer is a regular part of my behavior ; I pray pri
marily in times of stress and or need, but not much
otherwise ; Prayer is restricted pretty much to formal
worship services ; Prayer is only incidental in my
life ; I never pray ; Other, explain
42. Do you believe that for your marriage the ceremony
should be performed by:
A religious official ; Either a religious official or
a civil authority ; A civil authority ; Formal
marriage ceremony unnecessary
43. Would you say that one's religious commitment gives life
a certain purpose which it could not otherwise have?
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Disagree
44. All religions stress that belief normally includes some
experience of "union" with the divine. Are there par
ticular moments when you feel "close" to the divine
Frequently ; Occasionally ; Rarely ; Never
45. Would you say that religion offers a sense of security
in the face of death which is not otherwise possible?
Agree ; Uncertain ; Disagree
46. How would you respond to the statement: "Religion pro
vides the individual with an interpretation of his exis
tence which could not be discovered by reason alone."
Strongly agree ; Agree ; Disagree


114
64. (a) Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as
they grow up they ought to get over them and settle
down.
(b) If it weren't for the rebellious ideas of youth
there would be less progress in the world.
65. (a) Human nature being what it is, there will always be
war and conflict.
(b) Human nature doesn't make war inevitable; men some
day may establish a peaceful world.
66. (a) What the youth needs most is strict discipline,
rugged determination, and the will to work and
fight for family and country.
(b) In the long run it is better for our country if
young people are allowed a great deal of personal
freedom and are not strictly disciplined.
67. (a) A person who has bad manners, habits, and breeding
can hardly expect to get along \\rith decent people,
(b) People should be willing to overlook failures in
the manners and unpleasant personal habits of other
people.
68. (a) There are times when it is necessary to probe into
matters that should remain personal and private,
(b) Certain matters that should remain personal and
private always.
69. (a) No weakness or difficulty can hold us back if we
have enough will power.
(b) There are many difficulties a person cannot overcome
no matter how much will power he has.
RESPOND TO EACH STATEMENT TWO TIMES. Once how you feel now
and secondly how you felt before joining the crusade. 70-81
NOW
70.There is not much that I can do about most of the impor
tant problems that we face today.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
71.Things have become so complicated in the world today
that I really don't understand what is going on.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly
72.In order to socially succeed in the world today, you are
almost forced to do some things which are not right.
Agree strongly ; Agree somewhat ; Disagree some
what ; Disagree strongly


58
receive it. Throughout our lives we have been educated,
gradually learning, how to obtain material things but we get
little or no instruction as to how to gain the spiritual
things which are available.
First one finds out what is available, second how to
obtain "it, and last lie finds out how to use it. One may have
a material object such as a book made available to him. Next
he may learn how to obtain it, for instance, by using the
public library... Still the gift has no value at all to him
unless he knows how to read. The word not only tells one how
he might use the gifts but also tells the purpose that God
intends. Wierwille explains that God's gifts are without
repentencewhat is promised will be fulfilled.
This book presents the most interesting aspect of the
belief system. According to the Ministry, one is able to
receive the gifts of God simply by believing. Like the power
of positive thinking, "Before one receives anything, he must
act as though he already has it and then he receives it"
(Wierwille, 1971c:29) .
Wierwille points out that believing is the key and not
in whom or what you believe. Both in this book and in The
Way (magazine) he discusses believing and gives examples to
illustrate that the power of believing is not limited to
those believing in Christ. This power has unlimited poten
tial. He relates a story in The Way magazine concerning two
men's1use of this power for financial gain. The point of
the narrative is that the men don't attend church, don't


64
How do we receive the spirit or gift of God? It does
not automatically come with salvation or rebirth but through
believing we are able to manifest the power of God. The
continual emphasis on positive believing reminds one of John
Milton's passage, "The mind is a pxace within itself and can
make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven" (Milton, 1950:110)
What things keep us from receiving the spirit? In general,
we are kept from receiving this gift of God by our fears,
fears which usually arise out of a wrong or lacking knowledge
of the word, according to Wierwille. By believing in God we
can gain these gifts; we need not be good first for it is
through receiving the gifts that we are able to become good.
Speaking in a tongue is the believer's external
manifestation in the senses world of the internal
reality and presence of the power of the holy
spirit. Speaking in tongues is a constant reminder
even in the hours of bereavement and sorrow, temp
tation and trouble, that Christ by way of God's
poi^er is in you. Therefore, you have victory over
the enemy in every situation because as I John 4:4
states, '. greater is he that is in you, than
he that is in the world' (Wierwille, 1972:41).
Speaking in tongues is a gift from God to this Church of
believers; it is the spiritual food for us. We are built up
spiritually by speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is
only possible for those who have been born again and who have
the holy spirit permanently within.
The art of speaking in tongues is done by Man's will;
however, what he speaks is where the supernatural is involved
The supernatural does not possess a man and force him to
speak in tongues. We can start or stop at any time as our


15
professional staffs, and creates a bureaucracy. Yinger admits
readily that his taxonomy cannot handle every form of reli
gious organization found in the world. He borrows C. K.
Yang's idea of "universal diffused" church in order to pro
vide a frame of reference for the entire typology (Yang,
1961). This church differs from the universal institution
alized church in that it is not an institution but rather is
the religion of a tribal society in which a member of the
society is automatically a member of the religion. There are
no alternative organizations. The lack of alternatives is
also true in the case of the universal institutionalized
church, both include the populace (ideally) as a whole.
The spectrum of his fivefold typology, from ecclesia to
cult, falls in between the institutionalized church and the
diffused church according to the third variable, the extent
of organization, complexity, and separateness of religious
structures. Because both churches are universal religious
systems the first two variables are fully accounted for and
unchanging. The religious structures are completely inclu
sive of the total society's members in both cases, and there
is no alienation from secular values as each is the source of
its own secular world. These second tv^o variables provide
the basis for differentiating the five other types of reli
gious organizations. The cult and sect showing the highest
alienation from societal values and being the least inclusive
of society's members are at one end of the scale with the
ecclesia manifesting the opposite traits at the other end.


101
correlations illustrated in Table 7 of this chapter, one
would expect that the hypotheses as previously tested were
supported and did reveal a strong relationship with each vari
able and sectarian membership. However, the above data illus
trate that of the variance of social responsibility only 23
percent was explained by Way membership, and of ideological
religiosity Way membership explained only 6 percent. These
are the two strongest relationships after controls.
Each of the five dimensions of religiosity showed such
a great degree of interaction that it is difficult to assess
the significance of sectarian membership on each one. Only
in the regression equation on social responsibility did the
dummy variable (Way membership) have the greatest beta weight
of the independent variables.
The Way membership was among the least powerful vari
ables in explaining the variance in intellectual religiosity,
consequential religiosity, alienation, and authoritarianism.
It was, however, an important variable in explaining the
other three dimensions of religiosity, self-esteem and, of
course, social responsibility.
Such statements of comparison are made possible by the
use of "beta weights" which are pure numbers. Thus, the
researcher can decide which variables best explain the vari
ance of the given independent variables.
Another way of utilizing these standardized coefficients
is through a test of significance. Each "beta weight" yields
an "F" score which illustrates whether or not it is a


45
the single strongest function of the religious group is to
establish a social community among the believers.
The Ministry seems to have its greatest appeal among
young people from the ages of thirteen to twenty. In our
society one is (while at this age) encumbered with a critical
morality and the problem of giving intellectual consent to
his life. Up until adolescence, children are relatively free
from any intellectual pressures, but suddenly, at around age
fifteen,most individuals are expected to defend their beliefs.
This critical morality may unbridle the mind but it may be
frustrating; as one of Kenniston's students at Harvard noted,
"One does not rejoice on learning that God is dead" (Kennis-
ton, 1965). For most young people this is a most trying
situation because our society seems to demand that one believe
in something. Like Sinclair in Demian the young person begins
to want an answer now that he has pulled apart from the herd.
And when you will say 'I no longer have a common
conscience with you,' it will be a lament and an
agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the
common conscience, and the last glimmer of that
conscience still glows on your affliction
(Nietzsche, 1966:62).
A little learning is a dangerous thing and so it goes with a
little victory. Having emerged victorious in battles against
the herd, one is instilled with such great confidence that he
feels he has won the war and that whatever he may now choose
to believe, he should not doubt. The war is long and arduous;
at the first paradox that is met, most people find they must
have an answer. When a person needs an answer he shall find
one.


82
These hypotheses all come directly from the theory of the
church-sect continuum. In addition, this research will test
the following hypotheses on variables not so directly related
to the theory.
(5)The Way members will score lower on present aliena
tion than on perceived alienation prior to joining the
Ministry. While sects should draw from the alienated strata
of society, the classic syndrome of alienation will be lack
ing as the member will be so well integrated into his sub
cultural situation.
(6)The Way members will score lower on alienation than
will denominational members.
(7)The Way members will score higher on social responsi
bility than will the denominational members. This prediction
is based on the fact that the sect is so conversion-oriented.
(8)The Way members will score higher on authoritarian
ism than will the denominational members. The constituent
elements of the authoritarian mentality closely parallel
those of the sectarian mind.
(9)
The Way members should score lower on self-esteem
than the
denominational members.
The
Findings
first hypothesis to consider is that comparing the
religious communality of the sectarian and the denomination-
alist. Table 1 displays a far greater degree of religious


92
him able to fulfill his potential and to walk on the word of
God. One cannot even know the will of God until he is com
plete, and to be made complete he must be reborn. Through
this rebirth men are able to realize the gift of the Holy
Spirit and to experience Him within themselves.
This would lead one to expect a most significant differ
ence between the sect and non-sect; however, reducing the
predicted disparity is the fact that most of our modern
denominations \vere at one time sects and they too consider a
personal experience with God to be an important aspect of
one's religious efforts. Another factor causing some reduc
tion of the prediction would be that this particular scale
seems to measure more than religious experience and does not
distinguish the various subtypes of religious experience.
The scale seems to measure not only experience with God but
focuses even more directly on whether or not the respondent
feels that religion gives man a way-of-life and security.
This scale certainly needs to be made more unidimensional or
specific. Its focus is on related points but not directly
on experiencing the divine.
The final dimension of religiosity, the consequential,
was the only one of the dimensions which was not significantly
related to sectarianism. The insignificance on this particu
lar scale score may be attributed to one or two factors.
First, as was mentioned above, the consequential was the
least significantly correlated element of the religiosity
cluster. This may be due to the fact that the ethical


25
The Jesus movement became an addition to this religious scene
in the seventies. Young people from all walks of life began
to reject not only the established religions (and various
brands of Christianity) but also the far out religions of the
"counter culture." The Jesus movement emerged everywhere,
with its message carried by modern day evangelical preachers.
The Jesus movement is a part of the psychedelic revolution,
offering its followers a new and better "high."
Evangelicalism in modern Christianity is not a denomina
tion (though it may have been basic to the formation of many);
it is more of a tempo or style of Christianity which demands
of its adherents a strong personal communication with God.
Like all things in the counter culture, the Jesus movement
has been confused by the public and by mass media. Just as
it would be absurd to assume that all long-haired males are
heroin addicts, so it would be equally absurd to assume all
young evangelists preach the same beliefs.
Its (evangelicalism's) most potent institutions,
whether the old time revival or the coffeehouse of
the present Jesus movement, have had few denomina
tional ties and have drawn persons to its central
experience from all churches or from none. Evan
gelicalism's most effective continuing organiza
tions, from the old National Holiness Alliance to
the modern Campus Crusade for Christ, have been
organized independently of denominations and are
cross-denominational in support (Ellwood, 1973:25).
The Way Ministry not only is independent of denominational
ties but in fact openly rejects the forms of contemporary
Christianity. The central thesis of Evangelical Christianity
is that the person have an intense personal communication


33
abandoned for Wesleyan conversion. The frontier was a hard
and lonely life and, more than anything, the pioneer sought
a convincing converting experience with God.
Many new denominations sprang up but the most successful
of all was Methodism. The ideas of Methodism were right for
the frontier as they offered an individualistic appeal to God
and possible perfection for man, a new way of life, just as
the frontier itself had been. This evangelicalism seems a
conservative theology; however, in truth it probably led to
greater social change through individual conversion than did
the liberal denominations with their alleged ideas of equal
ity among people. Consider that in spite of all the denomi
national preaching of religious equality, the first racially
integrated churches in the South from 1910 to present were the
Pentecostal organizations.
Beginning in the 1900's was a new facet of the Jesus
movement which is closely related to The Way Ministry, Pente-
costalism. The Way, like many Pentecostals, believes that
following conversion one is blessed with a second gift of the
Holy Spirit which enables one to live a life free of sin.
The Way and Pentecostals alike take on all the marks of the
New Testament Church: powers of healing, miracles and, most
important, the ability to speak in tongues. This phenomenon
is not new with the Ministry or with evangelical religion of
the present, but it too goes back to the frontier revivals
in the form of dog-like barking (to chase the devil up a
tree). While speaking in tongues is found even in sects of


122
Peterson, D. W. and A. L. Mauss.
1973 "The cross and the commune: An interpretation of
the Jesus people." In Charles Y. Glock (ed.),
Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 261-279.
Pfautz, Harold.
1955 "The sociology of secularization: Religious
groups." American Journal of Sociology 61:121-128.
Plowman-, Edward.
1971 The Jesus Movement in America. Elgin, Ill.:
David C. Cook Publishing Co.
Scanzoni, John.
1965 "A note on method for the church-sect typology."
Sociological Analysis 26:189-202.
Schaul, E. L.
1971 "The psychology of religion." In Orlo Strunk
(ed.), The Psychology of Religion. New York:
Abingdon Press. 1-16.
Schuman, H. and J. Harding.
1962 "Indirect measures of prejudice." (Unpublished
manus cript)
Schwartz, Gary.
1970 Sect Ideologies and Social Status. Chicago, Ill.:
Univ. of Chicago Press.
Stark, Rodney and Charles Y. Glock.
1968 American Piety: The Nature of Religious Commitment.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California
Press.
1968 "Are we entering a post Christian era?" In Rodney
Stark and Charles Glock (eds.), American Piety:
The Nature of Religious Commitment, Los Angeles:
Univ. of California Press, pp. 204-224.
Stark, Werner.
1967 The Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom.
New York: Fordham University Press.
Steinberg, Stephen.
1973 "The changing religious composition of American
higher education. In Charles Y. Glock (ed.),
Religion in Sociological Perspective. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 102-116.


70
the largest and most developed units which stem from a cen
tral headquarters. It is comprised of 65 members, 30 of whom
are enrolled at the local East Carolina University.
The entire population of this unit was sampled and used
for a brief forthcoming socio-descriptive discussion of The
Way's population. However, for use in the sociological
analysis of the church-sect theory, only the thirty subjects
who are enrolled in college here were used. They would com
prise the experimental group of sectarians, while a matched
sample of denominational affiliates would be used as the
control group. The total for each of the two samples is 30.
The matching of the groups will be on a frequency basis with
regard to some primary sociological variables which should
be controlled: age, year in school, school major, sex, and
marital status. Essentially, the argument for matching
these characteristics is that several of them might cause
spurious findings in the data. Each of these factors could
cause apparent relationships among the variables being tested
^ when actually sectarianism would itself not be involved.
The matching then functions as a means of controlling to
insure at least somewhat that we are observing the relation
ships of sectarianism with the tested variables. As well as
matching to control certain variables, the control sample
was drawn from introductory sociology sections.
All members of this "accidental-quota" sample have
answered affirmatively to a question of denominational affil
iation. When the other variables (above) had been controlled


56
other figureheads of the ministry. Most of the branches do
small-scale publishing to publicize events within the local
area. The particular branch under study has a monthly pub
lished flyer called the "Grapevine."
The most important element of tactics in proselytization
is the class on Power for Abundant Living. The class is com
posed of 12 three-hour sessions. It is presented to the
students either live or on 16 mm color sound film tapes. In
it, one covers several books which were written by Wierwilie.
Wierwille is the teacher of the course which explains all of
the keys in the word of God and instructs the individual in
ways to conquer the problematic situations of life. In addi
tion to this class there is an intermediate and finally an
advanced class.
All of the contemporary denominations present the Bible
as being inconsistent. Wierwille, assuming that the Bible
was the word of God, felt that it must be consistent and
accurate. After developing his interpretation of the Bible,
he began to fulfill his main purpose as a bearer of the
message. In 1953 he began teaching the first classes on the
Power for Abundant Living. He has published six books which
thoroughly encompass the teaching of the Ministry and the
programs of the various classes. Each of the books will be
discussed in the following pages and should provide a
thorough understanding of The Way's belief system. The
final three books are a re-publication of the aforementioned
"studies in Biblical accuracy."
The first three books are


71
for, the respondents were given the survey instrument (ques
tionnaire of 8 pages). The groups were then seen in compari
son illustrating the differences between the sectarian and
the denominationalist.
The questionnaire includes an extensive survey of sig
nificant background information, some questions concerning
social liberalism (sex, drugs, etc.), and a variety of
scales, all previously used, to measure alienation, authori
tarianism, self-esteem, social responsibility, religiosity
and its various dimensions, and religious communality.
A brief description of the membership of the local branch
of the Ministry will assist the reader. The data collected
on the Ministry were gathered in the fall of 1972 on what was
probably close to 80 percent or better of those active in
this branch, N = 52. Of the fifty-two in the total there
were 28 females and 24 males, 30 college students (14 sopho
mores, 8 juniors, 5 freshmen, and 2 seniors). Of the 30
college students, twelve were male and eighteen female.
For the most part, if they had declared a major at all,
it was either in the social sciences, fine arts, or education.
Ten of the non-college respondents were from Greenville,
while the other thirteen were from scattered home towns.
Only four of the college sample were residents of Greenville
but all but seven were from the state and most of those seven
(five) were from Virginia or Maryland. The parents of only
one of the 30 students were indicated to be something other
than a nondenominational Christian or one of the major


APPENDIX A
QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Age at nearest birthday.
2. Year in school: (Circle one)
Fresh. Soph. Jun. Sen.
If not in school
Occupation
3. College major: (Check one)
Humanities ; Social Sciences ; Physical Science
Fine Arts ; Undeclared ; Other (specify)
4. Sex: M or F (Circle)
5. Hometown: City and State
6. Approximate size of hometown (population)
less than 10,000
10,000-50,000
51,000-150,000
151,000-500,000
501,000-1 ,000,000
1,000,0 0 0-Mo re
7. Marital status (Check one)
Single ; Married ; Divorced ; Widowed
8.Parent's marital status (Check one)
Separated ; Divorced ; Widowed ; Deceased
Together
9. (a) Who is the head of the family household in which
you were raised?
Father ; Mother ; Grandparent ; Other
(b) What was this person's occupation
10. (a) Father's highest level of education (Check one)
Less than high school ; High school ; Vocational
training after high school ; More than one year of
college without degree ; College graduate ;
Professional postgraduate training
107


74
variable, each in turn, was used as the dependent variable.
For each variable, the proportion of variance explained by
sectarian membership could be determined. The nine variables
tested in this fashion include: the five dimensions of reli
giosity, alienation after joining, self-esteem, authoritar
ianism" and social responsibility.
Discussion of each of the nine major hypotheses will be
made after the hypotheses have been stated and the findings
on verification or rejection of each hypothesis has been
given. Then, Chapter VII will attempt to unify these inde
pendently tested variables through the multiple regressions.
Operationalization of Concepts
and Statement of Hypotheses
Religiosity has been a very difficult concept to measure
for many years. One of the most important causes for the
weakness of research and the apparent conflicts of various
researches was that religiosity for so long was a nebulous
\ concept. Different sociologists operationalized religiosity
in so many ways that research could never be compiled for any
sort of general theory. In recent years, however, theorists
have responded to the need and have effected adequate (but
by no means foolproof) means of defining religiosity.
Returning to the classical theories of Durkheim,the
basis of a suitable definition was found. Durkheim felt that
all religions were composed of two aspects, belief and ritual
(Durkheim, 1947). From there it is a short step to the


6
Originally the taxonomy was based on the type of reli
gious leadership found in the organization. Weber and
Troeltsch were emphasizing the priest-prophet distinction and
their discussions are analogous to Weber's theory on the
types of political authority. In the case of the priest the
charisma has been routinized and is no longer associated with
personal magnetism but is tied to a particular office or posi
tion in the church hierarchy. Thus, the type of leader will
vary with the type of organization. Perhaps one of the
greatest dilemmas that a cult or charismatic group faces is
how to retain its power once the leader, the possessor of
personal magnetism, dies. Though in its earliest form the
church-sect distinction was simply a derivation of religious
leadership, it has since become used more commonly as a dis
tinction of group structure of which leadership is only one
aspect.
In building this typology, it is important to remember
that the emphasis is on the differences of religious groups
and not their similarities. Consider Gilbert Murray's idea,
Take three orthodox Christians, enlightened accord
ing to the standards of their time, in the fourth,
the seventeenth, and the twentieth centuries
respectively. I think you will find more profound
differences of religion between them than between
a Methodist, a Catholic, a Free-thinker, and even
perhaps a well-educated Buddhist or Brahmin at the
present day, provided you take the most generally
enlightened representatives of each class (Murray,
1925:212).
Troeltsch began with a twofold typology but because of
confusion as to the points between sect and church he added


50
a significant decrease in alienation upon entering the Minis
try, will imply that the seven personal factors necessary for
conversion were very much present among the membership of
this organization.
The second question one must ask is, how a deviant group
recruits and inducts members. Lofland notes that there are
two sequential phases to this process. First, how do mission
aries gain access to and attention of nonbelievers, and
secondly, how are they able to promote the cultist (or sec
tarian) world view? The first is the strategy of the group
and the second is tactics, "maneuvering of forces in face of
the enemy."
The problem of strategy for The Way is solved through
embodied access or face-to-face encounters with nonbelievers.
In the central headquarters of The Way in Ohio, the techniques
employed are probably considerably more diverse. However, in
the local branch there has been little use of mass media or
disembodied access in strategy. The tactics, however, utilize
a tremendous amount of disembodied techniques in carrying out
full-scale promotion of conversion.
The most concrete evidence of disembodied access employed
in the past year was the presentation of the film "Rock of
Ages."
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by
the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard?
Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth,
and their words unto the ends of the world (Romans
X:xvii-xviii).


55
In the book one is also introduced to the various activ
ities and programs with which the people work. The people
encountered in the text are all shown as having a meaning in
their lives. The various activities include the twig fellow
ships, the Ambassador program, and all of the proselytization
efforts (printing, art work, taping, etc.). There is the
intensive summer program for leadership which includes various
classes and seminars. The Way corps is an advanced work-study
program where the students study, eat and sleep with their
teacher. There is the college and correctional out-reach
which includes twig fellowships and the taped classes on the
"Power for Abundant Living" taught in federal and state pris
ons and on many college campuses. Allegedly the programs
sponsored by The Way are leading to positive rehabilitation
by giving purpose and direction to life.
Among the publications by the American Christian Press
(owned and operated by the Ministry) is the bimonthly maga
zine, The Way, which is usually filled with articles expres
sing the "accuracy" of God's word, the commitment that some
person has made to the word, or explanations of how to use
God's gifts. Inevitably, parts of the magazine are written
by Wierwille and/or some of the other leaders. The magazine
serves to keep the membership abreast of current activities
and as a stimulant to the fellowship meetings.
The Ministry also publishes several small booklets
called "studies in Biblical accuracy." For the most part
these are written by Wierwille although some are done by


T ab 1 e 7
Correlation Coefficients Among Way Membership
and All Attitudinal Measures
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1.
Way
.64
. 79
.57
. 72
.20
. 73
- .60
.08
. 44
2.
Intellectual Religiosity
. 72
.55
. 74
. 19
.63
-.60
. 10
. 34
3.
Ideological Religiosity
.63
. 80
.18
. 66
-.69
. 14
.44
4.
Ritualistic Religiosity
.56
.13
. 46
- 38
.16
. 49
5.
Experiential Religiosity
.17
.63
- 55
. 10
.45
6.
Consequential Religiosity
.24
- 35
.01
.22
7.
Social Responsibility
- .54
. 13
. 37
8.
Alienation
-.00
-.34
9.
Self-esteem
.08
10. Authoritarianism


r
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
m ii nuil ii mi
3 1262 08552 8486


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
David Alger McNaught was born in Fort Bragg, North
Carolina. Raised in a military family, he traveled exten
sively before beginning college at Wake Forest University.
He was awarded a B.A. in Sociology in January, 1970, and
earned his M.A. in June of 1971. In September, 1971, he
began working toward a Ph.D. at the University of Florida
and was admitted to candidacy in July of 1972. Since then
he has been on the faculty at East Carolina University until
the fall of 1974. Having completed the requirements for a
Ph.D., he will be awarded the degree from the University of
Florida and will remain unemployed as of December, 1974.
125


18
the other two trariables of concern. More will be said at
the close of this chapter concerning the possibility of
organizational survival and likelihood of change taking place
in a religious organizational structure.
The next category on the continuum, the established
sect, is unique to Yinger's typology. This point has been
developed to provide for sect-like religions which have sur
vived in the religious scene without becoming a denomination.
It is not so alienated as, nor is its conflict with secular
society so acute as that of, the classic sect. These are
more stable in nature and much larger than the small, uncom
promising sects discussed by Ernst Troeltsch. While the
direct aggression against the social system has died, these
groups have not fully become a denomination. One question
about these groups is why have certain sects developed fully
into denominations while others have remained an established
sect. Yinger illustrates that what makes one become a
denomination is not "status improvement," as others suggest
(dock and Stark, 1965). Instead, he notes that the basic
difference betitfeen sects which influences their subsequent
development is the degree to which they originally isolate
themselves from society and the degree to which they are per
secuted. The persecution, he argues, is a result of the
original type of protest expressed by the sect. Middle-class
sects are formed not in protest of social ills but more out
of personal needs; these fairly easily make the transition
to denomination (e.g., Methodism). On the other hand, if a


CHAPTER II
THE WAY MINISTRY
Zarathustra speaks of the death of God and pro
claims the overman. Faith in God is dead as a
matter of cultural fact, and any meaning of life
in the sense of a supernatural purpose is gone
(Nietzsche, 1966:3).
Perhaps for existentialists such as Nietzsche, Zarathus-
tra's words are the amplification of man's only soul. How
ever, on at least one farm in New Knoxville, Ohio, Nietzsche's
words would be seen as the greatest of folly.^ This farm is
the center for a widespread and growing ministry of the Bible.
To the members of this community and various branches across
the country and the world, God is far from dead, "the Word of
God is sown here, nourished, watered and grown in the hearts
of believing peoples" (Whiteside, 1972:1).
The Way Ministry is an organization designed for spread
ing the "proper" interpretation of the Bible. Believing
fully that the Bible in its original "God breathed" form is
the word of God, the Ministry has made extensive efforts to
study it and to read it as they feel it was first written,
No translation, let alone a version, may properly
be called the Word of God. To get the Word
of God out of any translation or out of any version,
we have to compare one word with another word and
'''All assertions
sonal observation by
concerning the Ministry are based on per-
the author.
38


85
Table 3
Differences Between Way and Denominational Members
in Means on Several Dimensions of Religiosity
Way Denominational
'thesis
Variable
Mean
(N)
Mean
(N)
t
P<
3a -
Intellectual
Religiosity
6.97
(29)
10.76
(29)
5.57
.001
3b
Ideological
Religiosity
4.20
(30)
7.93
(29)
14.23
.001
3c
Ritualistic
Religiosity
6.83
(30)
8.23
(30)
3.40
.001
3d
Experiential
Religiosity
5.47
(30)
9.40
(30)
7.71
.001
3e
Consequential
Religiosity
6.26
(27)
6.95
(28)
1.31
N.S.
Hypothesis four was not confirmed by the data. Two dif
ferent tests of significance were run because of the dual
operationalization of the data. Ordinal data were collected
on the questions of parential education; thus, a Kolmogrov-
\ Smirnov test (Table 4a) was run. Table 4b represents the
results from the difference of means test on parental occupa
tion.


Yinger, J
1970
Younger,
1965
Zablocki ,
19 71
. Milton.
The Scientific Study of Religion. London: The
Macmillan Co.
George.
The Church and Urban Renewal. Philadelphia, P
J. B. Lippincott Co.
Benj amin.
The Joyful Community. Baltimore, Maryland:
Penguin Books.


48
of eighty-five dollars, consists of thirty-three hours of
taped teaching lectures by V. P. Wierwille. The class is
designed to teach people the will of God by teaching them
how to read, study and understand scripture. With this
ability one can allegedly know the will of God as it was
originally given to man. The course as well as the fellow
ships teach the members the "accuracy" of the Bible and thus
develop one (the only possible) interpretation. This inter
pretation, then, is the basis for a shared morality within
the group as well as a singular world view and shared com
munal goals. It is through this shared morality that the
evaluative or moral commitment is fostered and sustained in
individuals, thus maintaining a singular powerful commitment
to the goals and aims of the community at large. The Ministry
is a highly structured organization which has been able to
control the commitment of its members to a great extent and,
at least to the present, it has been able to cope with the
situational problems which any such organization must
necessarily confront.
This chapter has introduced to the reader the specific
unit under study. This aim will be expanded by the discussion
of conversion and proselytization in Chapter IV.


90
Hypothesis three was concerned with the five dimensions
of religiosity. All of the sub-hypotheses were confirmed with
the exception of consequential religiosity which showed no
significant difference between sectarian and denomination-
alist. One would expect the Way members to score as highly
as they did on the intellectual dimension as the ministry is
defined as a "biblical research" organization.
The second major dimension measured is that of ideology.
The most significant statistic of all those tested was found
on this dimension. This finding might have been well antici
pated by the aforementioned fact that "ideology" was the
central component of the religiosity scales. The Bible is
the central element, the core of life and the source of all
doctrine and belief for The Way Ministry. It demands a total
commitment to the "Will of God;" thus, it is a reasonable
expectation that the membership of the Ministry will score
extremely high on ideological religiosity.
The next dimension to consider is the ritualistic dimen
sion or a scale measuring one's adherence to rituals of the
religious organization. As was predicted, the ritualistic
was one of the least significant of the tests run. This is
due possibly to the fact that, as noted before, the sect is
a more individualistic unit stressing experience over group
ritual. Even though the Way exhibits a greater religiosity
on each of the religious dimensions, this particular element
would be less important or "significant" statistically.


20
The sect remains fairly much the same as it was desig
nated by Ernst Troeltsch. Yinger does note, however, some
important distinguishing factors. First, he notes that some
sects begin with a hierarchy already established; these he
calls a "sect movement." This type may, in most cases, be
a sect after several years of development and is compared to
the most transitory of the elements, the charismatic sect.
The charismatic sect has a minimal extent of organizational
complexity; it is the smallest and least successful at meet
ing the needs for or developing a heterogeneous following,
and it shows the greatest degree of alienation from societal
values and structures.
Charles Glock and Rodney Stark in Religion and Society
in Tension develop a theory about the origin of different
types of religious organization (Glock and Stark, 1965). The
theory seems to be unnecessarily restrictive. Briefly, they
note five forms of religious movements, each as a response
to a specific deprivation: sect as responding to economic
deprivation, cult to psychic deprivation, church to social
deprivation, healing movements to organismic deprivation and
reform movements to ethical deprivation. This limits the
definition of sect too strictly as it would be simpler to
subtype various sects in terms of the specific need they
meet for sects are not always simply responses to economic
deprivation.
Yinger notes that sects have three avenues of means to
social reform. These three responses to society are


87
Table 5
Differences Between the Way Members Mean Scores
on Perception of Alienation Now and Before
Entering the Ministry
Now
Before
Hypothesis
Variable
Mean (N)
Mean (N) t
P<
5
Alienation
Reduction
19.41 (29)
13.24 (29) 8.60
.001
Hypotheses six through eight were confirmed and hypoth
esis 9 was not as is illustrated by Table 6.
Table 6
Differences Between the Way and Denominational
Members in Mean Scores on
Several Attitudinal Variables
Hypothesis
6
7
8
Way
Denominational
Variable
Mean
(N)
Mean
(N)
t
P<
Alienation
19.41
(29)
14.26
(30)
3.39
.001
Social
Responsi-
bility
32.38
(29)
23.66
(30)
4.49
.001
Authori-
tarianism
27.31
(29)
8.64
(30)
5.86
.001
Self-esteem
18.93
(27)
18.43
(20)
0.48
N.S.
9


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION AND THEORY
Perhaps the single greatest problem in the sociology of
religion is that the literature is so diffuse, not united
into a general theory. In many cases the literature and
research are divergent because of a lack of consensus as to
what constitutes this or that aspect of religion (Glock,
1959). The state of the specific taxonomy to be tested by
this work (church-sect continuum) is as nebulous as the rest
of the field. This work postulates that this body of theory
is disorganized, even contradictory at times; it is hoped
that this dissertation xvill begin the process of unifying
much of that taxonomy by analyzing one religious organization
in terms of numerous variables. The primary quest of this
work is to analyze and unify the general church-sect taxonomy
by research of a multiplicity of variables relative to one
organization.
The church-sect continuum, developed in the classic
works of Ernst Troeltsch and Max Weber, has become a topic
of increasing concern to sociologists. The continuum is com
posed of six elements ranging from ecclesia to cult. All
of the six loci are "property sets" based on functional
unity. By functional unity, the author means that certain
1


91
To the denominationalist, ritual is a very important part
of religion. As religion is only one institution of his life,
his adherence to its ritual serves to confirm its importance
to him without demanding persistent, time-consuming attention.
Religion to him, it would seem, would be of a casual concern
rather than a daily challenge to his secular activities. He
is able to separate the religion from the secular world;
putting it aside except for certain occasions and situations
characterized by ritualistic expressions of religion. Thus,
ritual is the foremost element of religion to the casual prac
titioner (to the denominationalist relative to the sectarian),
and it is not surprising to find that the difference-of-means
statistic here is not as significant as on the other dimen
sions .
The experiential dimension, which it was thought would
produce the most significant statistic, did illustrate a
dramatic relationship with sectarian membership. The "t"
score was the second highest score among the various dimen
sions of religiosity. One of the primary characteristics of
the "sect" type in the church-sect continuum was the emphasis
on spiritual rebirth which usually is the result of experi
encing a communion with God.
This trait is no less prominent or necessary to the
members of The Way Ministry than it is in other sects. The
Way points out that man has been separated from God (lost his
spirit) due to the original sin. Man must be reborn in order
to effect a spiritual union with God which ultimately makes