You've probably been on the receiving end of the relatively recent, yet enthusiastic, advertising blitz sponsored by The Church of Christ, Scientist. Their campaign has included brief radio testimonials, signs in store windows for spirituality.com, and even strategically placed kiosks in malls, peddling church material.
One item regularly promoted by the church is a paperback text entitled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The text was authored and published by the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in 1875. Today, the Christian Science organization claims that over ten million copies have been sold, that the book has “transformed the lives of millions,” and that it will "provide fuel for your spiritual journey."
Over the years we have corresponded, and become personally acquainted, with a number of folks affiliated with Christian Science. Some read our thoughtletters regularly. In almost every case we have found Christian Scientists to be sincere and gracious. However, sincerity and grace do not necessarily imply sound doctrine. It therefore seems important to press the issue by asking for answers to four hard questions.
Is the Christian Science text, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures (SHKS), really CHRISTIAN?
To be Christian, a work must conform to the teachings of Christ. Yet, consider just a few examples of discrepancies between what Jesus said and what Mary Baker Eddy wrote:
Concerning: The reality of evil and the Devil
In SHKS 469:13, Eddy writes: “…devil or evil…is not Mind, is not truth, but error, without intelligence or reality.”
Jesus said in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”
[LEARN MORE: The Bible says that Satan and his activity is real.]
Concerning: What Christ came to do about sin
a Christian Science Reading Room
SHKS 473:4 says: “Christ the ideal Truth came to destroy the belief of sin.”
Romans 8:3 says: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh…”
[LEARN MORE: The Bible says that Christ came to pay the penalty for our sins, ransoming us from the Curse and from the authority of the Law. GO]
Concerning: The nature of Jesus Christ
SHKS 473:4 says: “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.”
The Bible says: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
[LEARN MORE: Is Jesus Christ God? Answer / Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer / What is the Incarnation? / What is the Trinity? / Frequently asked questions about Jesus Christ]
Is the Christian Science text, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, really SCIENTIFIC?
SHKS readily acknowledges that “many of [Eddy's] ideas ran counter to the currents of 19th-century medicine, religion, and society.”
“Christian Science is the outcome of Eddy's involvement in mediumism and Quimbyism, and is open today to certain psychic abilities” (Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, 1999 Harvest House.).
“We have no more proof of human discord, sin, sickness, disease, or death …than we have that the Earth's surface is flat…” (Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 65.).
Is the Christian Science text, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, really HEALTHY?
No true Christian Science member should ever go to a doctor, hospital, or take any kind of medicine, for to do so is to deny “Divine Science.” (Christian Science Sentinel, May 9, 1942, p. 469.).
Studies comparing the cumulative death rates of practicing Christian Scientists with control groups have shown significantly higher death rates among [ill] Christian Scientists (Journal of the American Medical Assn.,
9/22-29/1989, pp. 1657-58; Morbidity Weekly Report, August 23, 1991, pp. 579-582). (www.watchman.org)
Is the Christian Science text, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, really SCRIPTURAL?
In actual practice Christian Scientists accept the Bible only as interpreted by Mary Baker Eddy…[who] taught that the Bible has been corrupted… Science & Health is the “first book” which has been “uncontaminated by human hypotheses.” (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 115; SHKS). (www.watchman.org)
There is evidence that much of what Eddy wrote was plagiarized from Hegel, Quimby, Lieber, and others. Regardless, SHKS, what Eddy claims about it, and what it affirms itself, is in clear violation of the standard set in Galatians 1:6-9.
[LEARN MORE: Inspiration of Scripture / When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, does that imply that it is completely accurate, or does it contain insignificant inaccuracies in details of history and science? Answer / How do we know the Bible is true? Answer]
Also read: An open letter to followers of the Christian Science movement - GO
Author: Daryl E. Witmer of AIIA Institute
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