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New Forms of Deviancy in a Fundamentalist Church: A Case Study

James T. Richardson
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 16, No. 2, Comparative and Longitudinal Studies (Winter, 1975), pp. 134-141
DOI: 10.2307/3510523
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3510523
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
New Forms of Deviancy in a Fundamentalist Church: A Case Study
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Abstract

The theorizing of Erikson (1966), Goffman (1961), Garfinkle (1956), and Becker (1963) is applied to an unusual case of deviancy that took place in an established fundamentalist church. The situation involved a prominent, articulate, and long-time member who differed with the pastor and a few other leaders over matters of fiscal policy. No important differences of opinion existed concerning doctrinal issues. The differences of opinion in matters of finance led to charges being brought against the member by self-appointed "fiscal entrepreneurs," and the church eventually voted that the man's name be stricken from the rolls of the church. The meaning of these actions is discussed in terms of labeling theory as well as the concepts of boundary maintenance, moral entrepreneurship, and degradation ceremonies. Attention is given to the implications for the institutional church of the fact that this modern counterpart of a heresy trial involved fiscal matters rather than doctrinal issues.

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