Bible Class Curricula - Denominational Doctrines (Part 1) - Lesson #11 - The Church of Christ, Scientist, Religion
- History of the Christian Science Movement
When did this denomination/cult start? The official statement from the Christian Scientist website says:
In 1866 , after many years of study, Mary Baker Eddy discovered what she considered to be the Science of the Christianity which Jesus taught and lived. She dedicated herself to teaching, preaching, and healing others through this system for applying spiritual laws – Christian Science – and in 1875 she published her primary book about it, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. By 1879 , she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist.1
- Where did the denomination start? Lynn/Boston, Massachusetts.
- Who founded this movement? Mary Baker Eddy is the sole founder of the Christian Science movement.
- Where are the headquarters of this denomination? Boston, Massachusetts.
- How did this movement come about? The seeds of this movement can be found in Mrs. Eddy’s constant struggles with pain and illness throughout her life. It is reported that she was a nervous child who missed much schooling. For years, she was a semi-invalid. Some believe that she had a spinal weakness which caused seizures and that eventually resulted in a complete nervous breakdown. Throughout her life, she continued to be in very poor health. On February 1, 1866 , she fell on icy pavement and was severely injured. She reported that the doctors had pronounced her injury fatal and that she had only a few days to live. Interestingly, she read the passage of the paralytic in Matthew 9:2-8 and took up her bed and walked with better health than she had ever experienced before.2 Mary Baker Eddy was plagued by (and apparently obsessed with) sickness. Eventually, she allowed that obsession (rather than the Bible) to direct her in religious matters.
- What is Christian Science? Christian Science says that believing on Jesus and following His works "can mean resolving difficult challenges with health, relationships, employment, and other personal and global issues through prayer. People who practice Christian Science are free to make their own choices about what to think and do in each situation, including health care. … Christian Science teaches that it’s never God’s will for anyone to suffer, be sick, or die. Instead, it shows how God is entirely good, and therefore His will for each of us is only health and life."3 This doctrine is a “health gospel.” If you have truth on your side, then you will be healthy in body.
Who is the head of this religious movement? Amazingly enough, Mary Baker Eddy is still the head of this church. Notice the following statement from the Church of Christ, Scientist, website:
The Church of Christ, Scientist and its officers are governed by the By-Laws in the Church Manual. … Everyone shares the same pastor, the Bible and Science and Health. … The First Church of Christ, Scientist was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. The church, its officers, and members will always be governed by the By-Laws in the Church Manual … and Christian Science churches and societies are democratically run.4
What is this denomination’s authority in religious matters?
The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures are the primary texts used for individual study and spiritual growth. Together, they form the foundation for Christian Science teaching and practice and are used during church services as well. Eddy ordained these books as a "dual and impersonal pastor" for these services. According to the church’s official website, followers use both books to "unlock the Bible. … It was the specific mission of Science and Health to give the world this key to the Scriptures to open up their treasures and enable everyone to use them."5
How many members does the Church of Christ, Scientist, have? Christian Science is in a strong state of decline among religious people.
According to its governing By-Laws, The Church of Christ, Scientist does not report for publication the number of its members. … Unofficial sources provide a variety of resources to suggest that the Church has been ina long period of decline. An unofficial web page traces the growth of the church from 8,724 members in 1890 to 55,000 members in 1906 . A special US Census in 1936 recorded 268,915 Christian Scientists. In the Spring 1992 edition of the Christian Research Journal, William Alnor states church membership had gone from 268,000 members in the 1930s to 150,000 members in 1992 . As an indirect measure of the Church’sstrength, that same article cites statistics showing that the circulation of the Church’s celebrated Christian Science Monitor decreased from 240,000 in the 1960s to 100,000 in 1992 .6
- Church of Christ, Scientist, Doctrines Examined in Light of Scripture
- The Bible’s Accuracy
Christian Science teaching about the Bible leaves a person with the impression that it is a book that contains errors and that does not present the full religious truth on all matters. Mrs. Eddy said:
The decisions by vote of Church Councils as to what should and should not be considered Holy Writ; the manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament, and the three hundred thousand in the New, these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening to some extend the inspired pages.7
- The Bible is not a book that has been tainted by man. It is the full and complete will of God and it is completely accurate (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:160; 2 Peter 1:19-21; John 8:32; 17:17; 2 Samuel 23:2).
- The Godhead’s Nature
- Christian Science completely denies the triune nature of God. Mrs. Eddy said, "The theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Tri-unity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I Am."8
- The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all part of the Godhead (Genesis 1:26-27; Matthew 6:9; John 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:30; Colossians 1:15-17; John 20:28; Titus 2:11-13; Hebrews 9:14).
- Christ’s Deity
- Christian Science teaches a false view of the deity of Christ. The textbook for Christian Science says, "Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God."9
- The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God (Matthew 1:19-21; Mark 2:3-10; John 1:1ff.; 8:58; 10:30; 20:28; Revelation 1:8).
- Jesus’ Sacrifice
Christian Science denies the ability of Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice to save. It's position:
One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made.10
- The above statement is in complete contradiction to what the Scriptures teach (Matthew 26:28; 27:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 2:9; 10:12; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:1-2; Revelation 1:5).
- Heaven vs. State of Mind
- Concerning Heaven, Christian Science says, "Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal."11
- The Bible teaches that Heaven is a real place of eternal bliss (Matthew 25:46; John 14:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:2; Philippians 1:20-21; Hebrews 4:9; Revelation 21:1-4).
- Final Judgment vs. Day-by-Day Judgment
- Christian Scientists do not believe that there is a final Judgment Day awaiting us. "No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error."12
- The Bible clearly teaches there is an appointed day that God will judge the world (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; John 5:28-29; Acts 17:30-31; 24:25; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 4:17; Revelation 20:12-15).
- Physical Sickness vs. State of Mind
- Christian Science affirms that sickness, pain, and other physical ailments are not a reality but only states of mind. They say, "Sickness and disease are illusory, the product of a false belief, and not an actual result of sin. The cause of all so-called disease is mental, a mortal fear, a mistaken belief."13 In fact, Mrs. Eddy taught that a person should not go to a doctor or take medicine.
- The Bible clearly teaches that sickness is real and that we all must face it (countless cases of sickness in Matthew-John; Acts 9:37; 2 Corinthians 12:7ff.; 2 Timothy 4:20; James 1:2-3; 5:13).
- The Bible’s Accuracy
- What led Mary Baker Eddy to found the Christian Science Movement? Is this a good reason to start a religious movement?
- What is the Christian Science movement all about? Is it what we would call a “health gospel”?
- Does the Church of Christ, Scientist, fit the divine blue print for the church? Show from Scripture what the divine blue print is and how the Church of Christ, Scientist, movement does not fit God’s pattern.
- Show from Scripture that sickness is not just “in your head.”
- Mrs. Eddy claimed that the Bible was full of many errors and had been corrupted by men. Show how her claims are both deceptive and contrary to the facts.
- Does the Bible teach there are three persons in the Godhead? Prove your answer from Scripture.
- How is the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus central to the gospel message? Can any group who denies this teaching be right with God?
- Christian Science teaches that Heaven is just a state of mind. What do you think would make a group teach this false doctrine?
- Do the Scriptures teach there is a day coming when all men will stand before God and be judged? Some groups teach that Hell and the Judgment are in conflict with the Love of God. Is this claim true?
- Online: (http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science#history-of-cs), retrieved May 20, 2014 .
- Hoekema, Anthony, The Four Major Cults (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1986), pp. 173–174.
- Online: (http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science), retrieved May 20, 2014 .
- Online: (http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/chrissci.html), retrieved August 29, 2006 .
- Eddy, Mary Baker, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Mary Baker Eddy Foundation Publishing, 1986 ed.), p. 139.
- Ibid., p. 256.
- Ibid., 361:12-13.
- Ibid., 23:3-7.
- Ibid., 291:13-16.
- Ibid., 291:28-31.
- Ibid., pp. 348, 377, 386.
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