The new holy clubs: Testing church-to-sect propositions

Roger Finke, Rodney Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The familiar sect-to-church theory holds that successful sects will gradually became more churchlike wer time, reducing the level of tension they hold with their environment. H. Richard Niebuhr (1929), the originator o/sect-to-church theory, took it for granted that transformation was possible only in the church-like direction -that churches could not reverse the process and become more sectlifce. Recent theoretical developments, however, suggest that under certain conditions, and where groups are market-dependent, religious organizations trill shift in the direction o/higher tension uith their environment (Starfc and Finke 2000). Using recent data from Methodist congregations, we test selected propositions/rom these new theoretical developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-189
Number of pages15
JournalSociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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