Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

165 Sect


A collective term, comprehending all such as follow the doctrines and opinions of some divine, philosopher, &c. The word sect, says Dr. Campbell, (Prelim. Diss.) among the Jews, was not in its application entirely coincident with the same term as applied by Christians to the subdivisions subsisting among themselves. We, if I mistake not, invariably use it of those who form separate communions, and do not associate with one another in religious worship and ceremonies. Thus we call Papists, Lutherans, Calvinists, different sects, not so much on account of their differences in opinion, as because they have established to themselves different fraternities, to which, in what regards public worship, they confine themselves; the several denominations above-mentioned having no inter-community with one another in sacred matters. High church and low church we call only parties, because they have not formed separate communions. Great and known differences in opinion, when followed by no external breach in the society, are not considered with us as constituting distinct sects, though their differences in opinion may give rise to mutual aversion. Now, in the Jewish sects (if we except the Samaritans,) there were no separate communities errected. The same temple, and the same synagogues, were attended alike by Pharisees and by Sadducees: nay, there were often of both denominations in the Sanhedrim, and even in the priesthood.–Another difference was also, that the name of the sect was not applied to all the people who adopted the same opinions, but solely to the men of eminence among them who were considered as the leaders of the party.

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary