What is Christian Science?

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The heart of Christian Science is Love. It’s about feeling and understanding God’s goodness. It’s based on the Bible and is explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy. It shows the practicality of better understanding God, Christ Jesus, good and evil, life and death, sacrament, salvation, and more. Anyone can find God to be “a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

Basic Teachings
Christian Science is Christian. It’s based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, who said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also…” (John 14:12). Mary Baker Eddy said, “these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural…” (Science and Health, p.xi:14). This 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. But Christian Science is so much more than a system of self-help or health care. Ultimately, it is a way to draw closer to our loving Father-Mother, God, as well as all of humanity.

Church Services
Christian Science services include hymns, prayers, and warm fellowship. Also, instead of ministers giving personal sermons, democratically elected laypeople read quotes or “readings” from our “pastor,” which is the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Every church around the world will feature similar readings on Sundays. They may also simultaneously offer classes for Sunday School students under the age of 20. At Wednesday testimony meetings, the readings are unique from one church to the next, and participants are invited to spontaneously share gratitude and testimonies of healing.

Common Confusions
Christian Science is sometimes confused with Scientology, New Age practices, faith healing, and Eastern religions. It has also been called un-Christian or labeled a cult. Actually, Christian Science is none of the above. The inspiration it offers runs deeper than positive thinking. It is deeply Christian. 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.

What is God?
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (Psalm 103:2-6). There are many inspiring references like this in the Bible, and from them, Christian Science derives a definition of God as “The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence” (Science and Health, p.587). God, our all-powerful, ever-present, tenderly loving Father-Mother, maintains our wholly spiritual identity and relationship with Him as forever perfect, made in His “image” and “likeness” (See Genesis 1:26).

StJohnsAshfield_StainedGlass_GoodShepherd_PortraitFollowing Christ Jesus
Jesus inspires us to rise up and follow him. In Christian Science, this is more than worship. His love was so powerful that it rouses us to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Learning from Jesus evokes a desire to obey him and emulate his works. This includes healing the sick by becoming so filled with the eternal Christ spirit that all fear and doubt vanish. Christ is that Word of God lived so abundantly by Jesus that we can discern it in all ages. Christ, the title given to Jesus, is the healing power that dissolves suffering in exchange for the profound feeling of being loved and being well. Mary Baker Eddy finds in Scriptures evidence that Jesus was human—among us—but he was the divinely appointed Messiah, or as he said himself, “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:16).

SHORPY_4a18063aHistory of Christian Science
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, “to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” (Church Manual, p.17). Though it is not necessary to be a church member to study Christian Science, today, there are members in over 130 countries and democratically run churches in over 70 countries.

mary-baker-eddy-black-white200x240_imagelargeMary Baker Eddy—Discoverer, Founder, Author
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) discovered and founded Christian Science. Raised in a Puritan home, she loved and studied the Bible throughout her life. Often ill growing up, she experimented unsuccessfully with multiple healthcare systems. A turning point occurred in 1866 when she had a severe fall. After three days her health was not improving, so she asked for her Bible and became completely well after reading two of Jesus’ healings. Throughout her life she’d been able to heal others, but now she began to understand the science behind the activity. Often asked how she was able to heal, Eddy explained and documented it in her primary work, Science and Health, and named her discovery Christian Science. Eddy became a public speaker, teacher, and best-selling author. She founded a college for teaching Christian Science healing, an international church, and multiple publications, including the award-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. For more on Mary Baker Eddy, click here.

science_and_health_1024x1024How can I learn more?
The best way to understand Christian Science is to delve into the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Science and Health. Take in the spirit, follow your inspiration, and put it into practice. For an example of how Eddy’s thought relates to the Bible, read her spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer and how her understanding of divine Love enlightens the 23rd Psalm (Science and Health pp.16-17, p.578). Other resources for study include the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson and The Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel. Plus, there are many ways for you to contact people and ask questions in person and online. You’ll know you’re getting an accurate impression of Christian Science if you’re feeling loved and closer to God.

1361329304Talk with a Christian Scientist
Each of us has an individual relationship with God, the ability to communicate with Him, and a heart to understand His message of the Christ. At the same time, it’s often helpful to share ideas with others. Stop by a local church or Reading Room, call or email a Christian Science practitioner or teacher anywhere in the world. People will be glad to hear from you and are ready to help you if you need it. A list and contact information of Christian Science practitioners and teachers worldwide is published online in The Christian Science Journal Directory and in the monthly magazine The Christian Science Journal. You can get a copy of the Journal at a Christian Science Reading Room or by subscribing. Listings of practitioners and teachers speaking a language other than English can be found in the various editions of The Herald of Christian Science, in addition to their listing in the Journal. The greater-Mobile area is also home to two Journal-listed Christian Science practitioners, June Clark (pictured) and Peggy Probst.

How Do Prayer and Healing Work?
Through prayer, we can learn more of God’s nature and ability to touch and heal our lives and the world. If God is divine Love and has infinite wisdom, how could He cause sin or sickness? If God is all powerful and ever present, is there anything He can’t address? Jesus’ life and works showed how God helps us through prayer, and Mary Baker Eddy explains that how this works is similar to the way light dissolves darkness. Studies show that increasing numbers of people are discovering how prayer and health are related. Many Christian Scientists find that prayer consistently results in healing. If you would like to talk about this idea or have someone pray with you for more light, health, and inspiration, Christian Science practitioners and teachers are available to help.

prayer-620x415How Could Christian Science Help Me?
When asked why they love Christian Science, people say things like: “It works!” “I’m never alone.” “I always feel safe.” “I feel God’s tender presence more than ever.” “I feel loved, without judgment, unconditionally.” “It comforts me in any circumstance.” “It makes Jesus’ life and teachings relevant to me today.” “It brought peace and harmony to my life” “It opens up the Bible for me.” “It’s my opportunity to bless others.” Christian Science is studied and practiced by people all over the world and it can help you and others in the same way it has helped these people. Here are links to some examples of healing and ways that people are praying about personal and global issues.

Relationship with Western Medicine
It’s up to each person who practices Christian Science to choose the form of health care he or she wants. Many Christian Scientists decide to pray first about every challenge—including health issues—and find it effective. Many health care professionals today are recognizing options outside of conventional medicine. Christian Scientists recognize and respect the interests of medical professionals and don’t oppose them. We all care about the preventive and curative aspects of health care. Like all systems of healing, the track record for Christian Science isn’t perfect. But, over 80,000 Christian Science healings have been published throughout the past 140 years, including severe cases.

motherly-love-2Caring for children
Christian Science parents care deeply for their children. They want the best for them in every aspect of their lives, at home, church, school, and everywhere they go. Parents often pray about the quality of their children’s relationships, safety, health, and more. There’s a duty to practice all types of health care reasonably—including Christian Science—especially when it comes to children. Many Christian Scientists have found Christian Science to be a quick and effective healing option for their children. Protecting children’s lives and promoting their health and wellbeing is a standard parents should all be held to no matter what means of health care they choose. You’re invited to explore the wide variety of free activities and resources available to support youth, teens, kids, toddlers, and infants.