At getreligion.org, Terry Mattingly asks whether the Episcopal Church, increasingly isolated from the wider Anglican Communion, should be referred to as a sect:
Apologists for the Episcopal Church would argue that it is still a truly “Catholic” body that is part of historic Christianity, even claiming valid “apostolic succession” that links its ordained clergy to the great tree of the ancient churches. The Vatican and the churches of Eastern Orthodoxy disagree, of course.
On the other side, I think that most of the Episcopal Church’s critics would simply claim that it has—to put it bluntly—chosen to veer away from historic Anglicanism to become another liberal Protestant denomination. I know that some critics use stronger language than that, but that’s mere shouting.
But is the word “sect” appropriate? From the viewpoints of the critics, the U.S. church has “deviated” from historic Anglican traditions and, thus, have left to create a new body. But, still, does that mean that anyone would claim that the Episcopal Church has become a “sect”?
Read the full post here.