Schism as Identity Transformation in Early Christianity: Sociological Observations on a Most Consequential Intra-Faith Rupture

BY Joseph Bryant

An example from early Christian history shows how socio-historical circumstances during the Roman empire shaped the organization and policies of the early Church.

The social advance of a new religious movement is largely determined by its capacity to carry out adjustments in belief and practice, as changing socio-historical circumstances require. Those adaptive modifications, however, typically provoke dissention and division within the membership ranks, as traditionalists resist or reject the accommodating measures proposed by reformers and moderates. W... View Full Summary