CHARACTERISTICS OF A SECT
Christianity is made up of denominations. To be denominated means to be named. Any group which has a particular name, not common to all believers, is a division or a sect. If you are a Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Episcopalian, such a name is a sign that you are in a division.
Some groups may not have a distinctive name, yet they hold to a special doctrine. They may insist that all their members be immersed. They may even require a certain style of immersion before they will receive you as a brother. This is sectarian.
Other groups practice a special fellowship. Some Pentecostalists, for example, will not accept you into their circle unless you speak in tongues.
To have a name, to have a special teaching, and to have a restricted fellowship are the characteristics of a sect. What is our name? What is the name of the church in your locality? We have no special name. The term church includes all believers, not a select number. If it is in Boston, it is the church in Boston. We could compare it to the moon; no matter what part of the earth the moon is over, it is still the moon. If we were to take a particular name, we would become a sect. Further, we have no particular teaching. We are not a tongues-speaking church, though many of us may have spoken in tongues in the past. Neither our teaching nor our fellowship are particular. We accept as brothers all those who believe in the Lord and are saved.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR DIVISION
Many Christians choose to hold on to their divisive name, their special doctrine, or their particular fellowship. Some have tried to bring tongues-speaking into the church, but if we become a tongues-speaking church we become a sect. Others may believe in pre-tribulation rapture. It is all right for them to hold this doctrine, but if they try to preach it and make the whole church believe this way, such an attempt would lead to division.
For the oneness of the church, we must be common and general. Those Christians who insist on their special teaching or requirement for fellowship must bear the responsibility for the division that exists. When we came into the recovery, many of us dropped our particular teachings in order to share the common oneness with the saints. We are still learning not to be particular but to receive all real Christians and thus keep the oneness.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)