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Original scientific paper

Soft Difference

Miroslav Volf ; Fuller Theological Seminary, CA, USA

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The main purpose of this article is to analyse distinctions between church and sect advocated by Ernst Troeltsch, Max Weber and many other thinkers. The author deals primarily with Christian identity defined by 1Peter. Crucial question is of the nature of Christian difference from the surrounding culture. Author develops key metaphor of “aliens” which 1Peter employs to express the Christian relationship to culture. Unlike other writers, author concludes that this difference is not to be considered as hard and negative one, but rather as soft and positive one, grounded in experience of new birth, which primarily means the difference from their old self, and then from a given culture. In conclusion is clearly shown that early Christian community does not fit in sociological categories of church or sect.


Church, Sect, Culture, First-Peter, Ernest-Troeltsch, Max-Weber

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