American Ethicist and Writer, namesake of the T.B. Maston Foundation
One of the most marked differences is their attitude toward the world. The churchly denominations largely represent groups that have made their peace with the world and have considerable stake in the world.
In contrast, the sects more or less reject the world. The more extreme even seek, as far as possible, to live in distinct communities apart from the world. They maintain more or less consistently their distinctive customs. The Amish Brethren are possibly the best known of such groups in the United States.
Other sectarian groups are less extreme and emphasize moral and spiritual separation and a distinctive lifestyle. This is true of the various contemporary "holiness" groups and has been true to a considerable degree of Southern Baptists.
While theology and ethics are closely related, they do have some distinctive emphases and functions. To a degree, they supplement one another. Ethics looks back to theology; theology looks forward to ethics.
The fact that man is created in the image of God provides a solid basis for respect for all men and women. One who has been created in the image of God should always be respected as an end of infinite value and never as a mere means. They are never to be manipulated or used to attain selfish ends.
It is particularly important for human relations that all persons are created in the image of God. Here in the beginning, it says, "male and female created he them." The man and the woman are equally created in the image of God. The same can be said for any distinctive racial or cultural group. It was on the basis of this and the provision of the grace of God for all people that Paul could say, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female...
The most significant thing about man is the fact that he was created in the image of God. What does this mean? One thing that it clearly means is that, since God is a person, man is also a person. What is distinctive about a person? A person can think, feel, will; he has a capacity for self-knowledge and self-determination. Possibly no one thing is more characteristic of a person than the fact that his very nature demands communication with other persons. In other words, there is no person without other persons.
Segregation in the church violates something that is basic in the nature of the church. How can a church exclude from “the church of God” those who are children of God? How can it, as “the body of Christ,” withhold the privilege of worship from those who have been brought into union with Christ.