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Christian Science

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Cults By Rev. Paul Seiler

Christian Science

8.1 INTRODUCTION

Christian Science is one of the most difficult cults to understand because it is a mass of contradictions. The most fundamental premise upon which all its doctrines are built is that matter does not really exist. This premise is clearly in conflict with the Bible, which teaches that God did create a real world of material things.

8.2 THE ORIGIN OF THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CULT.

Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy, who was born on July 16th 1821, in the town of Bow, in the State of New Hampshire, U.S.A. Like many of the cult leaders she came from a very religious home. Her father was a strict Calvinist, but it seems that Mary was never in agreement with her father. She argued a great deal with her father over such doctrines as: the day of judgement; eternal punishment; and God's wrath against sinners. During her childhood, Mary was frequently ill, and consequently she missed much schooling. Most of her education resulted from her own efforts to learn. At 22 she married George Glover, but he died only six months after their marriage. Soon after the death of her husband, Mary gave birth to a son whom she named George. Ten years later, in 1853, Mary married Daniel Patterson, a dentist. After thirteen years of marriage Mary divorced him, claiming that he had been unfaithful to her.110

Mary's life was filled with much physical and mental suffering, which caused her to be very preoccupied with the subject of health. While living at Portland, in the State of Maine, she came into contact with Dr Quimby. She went to him to receive help in relation to a spinal inflammation. She became very impressed with him and claimed that he had healed her of her sickness.111 She became convinced that he had rediscovered the healing techniques of Jesus, and became his ardent disciple. She was so taken by his healing techniques, that she began to use them on others. In fact many of the ideas which she presents in her book Science and Health were gained from Dr Quimby. This is strongly denied by Christian Science today. Walter Martin, who was a leading expert on the cults, made a thorough study of the documentation available and shows conclusively the Mary Baker Eddy plagiarised much of her material from Quimby. He presents the evidence for his case in his book The Christian Science Myth.112

After a while Mary lost interest in Quimby and she launched out on her own career.113 Shortly after Quimby's death in 1866, Mary slipped on an icy pavement and was hurt badly. She later claimed that the doctors had diagnosed her injury as fatal. She claims that having read Matthew 9:2-8 , in which Jesus healed the paralytic man, she experienced healing herself. She maintained that it was at this point in her life that she discovered the great truth of healing; which is the focus of Christian Science. However, an examination of her claims proves that she did not give an accurate account of the actual events. In actual fact, the doctor who examined her, Dr Alvin Cushing, swore in an affidavit written on August 13th 1904 that he had never diagnosed Mary as critically ill after her fall.114 So, Mary Baker Eddy, like Joseph Smith and Charles Russell, was a liar.

In 1870 Mary began a teaching series, in which she taught her ideas. She charged $300 to do this course of 12 lessons, which was a considerable amount of money in those days. Mary finished writing her book, Science and Health in 1875. Since no publisher would publish her book, three of her associates helped her publish it. In 1877 she was married to Asa Gilbert Eddy, a former student. He was the first person to be granted the title Christian Science Practitioner. The Church was incorporated on August 23rd 1879, in Charlestown Massuchusetts U.S.A. The headquarters were set up in Boston in 1892. Mrs Eddy became its first pastor. She continued to lead the cult up until her death on 3rd of December 1910.115

8.3 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SOURCES OF AUTHORITY.

Christian Scientists do not regard the Bible as the ultimate source of authority, but place Mrs Eddy's book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures in this position. Mrs Eddy believed that her insights were given to her by God, and were divinely inspired:

"All Science is divine. Human thought never projected the least portion of true being. Human belief has sought and interpreted in its own way the echo of Spirit, and so seems to have reversed it and repeated it materially; but human mind never produced real tone nor sent forth positive sound."116

Even though the above quote is difficult to fully understand it does demonstrate that Mrs Eddy believed her system of science to be of divine origin.

The Christian Scientist's view of the Bible:

Christian Scientists assert their belief in the Bible, and claim to regard it as God's word. Mrs Eddy herself made a statement to this effect. Note her words:

"The Bible has been my only authority. I have no other guide in 'the straight and narrow way' of Truth."117

This sounds very good, however on examining her writings more fully it becomes clear that it is not true. For she made other statements that demonstrate no regard for the Bible's authority. Note the following statements made by her concerning the teaching of Genesis chapter two:

"The reader will naturally ask if there is nothing more about creation in the book of Genesis. Indeed there is, but the continued account is mortal and material. The Science and truth of the divine creation have been presented in the verses already considered, and not the opposite error, a material view of creation, is to be set forth. The second chapter of Genesis contains a statement of this material view of God and the universe, a statement which is the exact opposite of scientific truth as before recorded...."118

Commenting on Genesis 2:7 , she said:

"Is this addition to His creation real or unreal? Is it the truth, or is it a lie concerning man and God? It must be a lie, for God presently curses the ground. Could God evolve its opposite, matter, and give matter the ability to sin and suffer? Is Spirit, God, injected into dust and eventually ejected at the demand of matter? Does Spirit enter dust, and lose therein the divine nature and omnipotence? Does mind, God, enter matter to become there a mortal sinner, animated by the breath of God? In this narrative the validity of matter is opposed, not the validity of Spirit or Spirit's creations."119

It is clear, from the quotes above, that Mary regarded the second chapter of Genesis as presenting a "material view of God and the universe." While it is difficult to follow the meaning of the statements above, it is clear that she was not happy about the teaching of Genesis chapter two. In the above quote she appears to be saying that Genesis 2:7 does not teach that God really made man from the dust of the ground, for such a thing is impossible. In her understanding it was impossible to put Spirit into dust. She clearly did not like the plain teaching of Scripture, and so she added her own meaning to the Scriptures. In this Mary Eddy demonstrated a very low view of Scripture. She constantly twisted the meaning of Scripture to something entirely different from its true meaning. For example, the Bible indicates that the tree of life was a literal tree, as was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, Mrs Eddy had different ideas:

"The first mention of evil is in the legendary Scriptural text in the second chapter of Genesis. God pronounced good all that He created, and the Scriptures declare that He created all. The "tree of life" stands for the idea of Truth, and the sword which guards it is the type of divine Science. The "tree of knowledge" stands for the erroneous doctrine that the knowledge of evil is as real, hence as God-bestowed, as the knowledge of good. Was evil instituted through God, Love? Did He create this fruit-bearer of sin in contradiction of the first creation? This second biblical account is a picture of error throughout."120

It is evident from the above quote that in Mrs Eddy's mind the tree of knowledge and the tree of life were not literal trees at all. Nor was the garden a literal garden. Now these things were merely symbols of truth and error. Mrs Eddy did not believe the plain teaching of the Bible. She read into the Bible what she wanted to find there. Note the following statement made by her:

"The material record of the Bible is no more important to our well-being than the history of Europe and America; but the spiritual application bears upon our eternal life."121

This really reveals that Mary Eddy did not believe the historical portions of the Bible were at all important to our spiritual well being. In her mind the important thing was the "spiritual application" of the text. This is just a clever way of spiritualising away the meaning of Scripture. So it made no difference to Mrs Eddy whether there was a literal Adam and Eve, or a literal Abraham or Moses, what mattered was only the spiritual meaning beneath the text. Such a treatment of the Bible indicates that Mrs Eddy did not regard the Bible as her only authority at all, but she twisted the teaching of the Bible to suit her own warped ideas.

Anyone familiar with the practices of Christian Scientists will have discovered that they do not regard the Bible as their final authority. Rather they regard the Bible as an authority, which should be read in the light of Mrs Eddy's book Science and Health. If you happen to have a Christian Science Sentinel, which is a periodical, produced by Christian Science, you will observe that there are usually far more quotes from Mrs Eddy's book, Science and Health, than there are from Scripture

8.4 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HAS A FAULTY VIEW OF GOD.

It is not always easy to determine what Mrs Eddy taught, since her writings are often lacking in sense. If you find her writings hard to understand you are not alone. However, through an examination of her many statements it becomes evident that she had a heretical view of the nature of God. In her thinking God could best be described as whatever is good. Her thinking can best be described as pantheistic, in that, she regarded God as divine Mind, and regarded matter as simply an expression of this divine Mind. Pantheism is the belief that everything that exists is God. Pantheism makes no distinction between the Creator and the Creation. Note the following statement made by Mrs Eddy:

The Scriptures imply that God is All-in-all. From this it follows that nothing possesses reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His ideas. The Scriptures also declare that God is Spirit. Therefore in Spirit all is harmony, and there can be no discord; all is Life, and there is no death. Everything in God's universe expresses Him. God is individual, incorporeal. He is divine Principle, Love, the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence. He is all-inclusive, and is reflected by all that is real and eternal and by nothing else. He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind. Hence all is Spirit and spiritual. 122

This statement sounds very much like Pantheism. According to Mrs Eddy nothing exists except divine mind. Now, such a view is far removed from the Biblical view of God. For the Bible does not teach that everything in God's universe is divine mind. It teaches that there is a distinction between God and His creation. In fact if everything in the universe is God, then it follows that God must be both good and evil. Since evil most certainly exists.

Christian Science denies the personality of God.

Mrs Eddy's writings indicate that she understood God to be an impersonal being. Throughout her book Science and Health, she repeatedly refers to God in abstract terms. Note the following statements made by her:

"We must learn that God is infinitely more than a person, or finite form, can contain; that God is divine Whole, and All, an all-pervading intelligence and Love, a divine, infinite Principle." 123

"God is individual and personal in a scientific sense, but not in any anthropomorphic sense. Therefore man, reflecting God, cannot lose his individuality; but as material sensation, or a soul in the body, blind mortals do lose sight of spiritual individuality. Material personality is not realism; it is not the reflection of likeness of Spirit, the perfect God. Sensualism is not bliss, but bondage. For true happiness, man must harmonise with His Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ. According to divine Science, man is in a degree as perfect as the Mind that forms him. The truth of being makes man harmonious and immortal, while error is mortal and discordant." 124

From the above quotes, it is evident that Mrs Eddy taught that God has a personality only in a "scientific sense." What she appears to have meant by this statement is that God is not really a person at all, but an infinite principle.

In teaching this Mrs Eddy proved herself to be in conflict with the teaching of the Bible. For the God, who reveals Himself in the Scriptures, is most certainly a personal God. He loves, He gets angry, He wills and He thinks. He loved this world so much, that He gave His only begotten Son to die on a cross, in order to save us from our sin. The God of the Bible is not some impersonal force operating in the universe.

Christian Science denies the Trinity.

One of the prominent traits of all the cults is the denial of the Trinity. Christian Scientists make no apology about denying the trinitarian nature of God. Their view of the Christian view of the Trinity is evident in the following statements made by Mrs Eddy.

"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." 125

"Life, Truth, Love constitute the triune Person called God, that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one, - the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite."126

It is quite evident from the quotes above that Mrs Eddy's doctrine of God bears no resemblance to the biblical doctrine of God. She did not teach that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit where three persons in one God, as is taught in orthodox Christianity. She taught that such a view was polytheism. Her trinity was comprised of Life, truth and love.

8.5 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HAS A DEFECTIVE CHRISTOLOGY.

Defective views of Christ have been a problem confronting the Church from the first century. The apostle John wrote his Gospel in order to combat the certain erroneous teachings about the person of Christ. One of the earliest heresies to arise concerning Jesus was the proposal that one should distinguish between Jesus the man, and the Christ Spirit. Some of the early heretics in the church suggested that the "Christ-Spirit" did not enter into Jesus until the time of his baptism and then left Him again before He died. While differing in certain respects to this, Christian Science perpetuates a similar heresy about Jesus Christ.

Christian Science makes a distinction between Jesus the man and Christ.

Christian Scientists make a distinction between the historical Jesus, and what they call "Christ." Note what Mary Eddy said about Jesus:

"Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God, healing the sick and the sinning and destroying the power of death. Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ." 127

"What, now, is the relation between these two: Jesus and Christ? The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master's ascension."128

It is evident from these quotes that Mary Eddy made a distinction between the historical Jesus and the Christ. She regarded Jesus as merely the appearance of bodily existence. Since matter does not really exist then the historical Jesus did not really exist - He was a mere appearance. Her conception of Christ is that of a divine idea. For Christian Science, Jesus Christ is not the historical person who lived and walked in Palestine two thousand years ago. Rather he is "the divine idea." Note this following statement made by Mrs Eddy,

"The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, - the reflection of God, - has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ which baptised these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love."129

These references indicate that Christ principle was in the world prior to the appearance of Jesus in history. If Christ principle was in the world before the Christian era, what then did the historical Jesus do? According to Mrs Eddy, Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ to be the divine idea of God.

Such a view of Christ is far removed from the teaching of the Bible. In the Bible the term "Christ" is never used of some abstract notion, rather it is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word "Messiah." From Genesis through to Malachi there are repeated predictions of the coming of a personal Messiah. None of these predictions, speak of some abstract principle. All the Messianic predictions in the Old Testament speak of a person, who would be Prophet, Priest and King. The Messiah is never presented in Scripture as some sort of abstract principle or power. The Biblical Christ is Jesus of Nazareth, as Peter so clearly testified of Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (Matt. 16:16 )

Christian Science denies the deity of Christ.

Christian Science also denies the deity of Jesus Christ. Note the following statement written by Mrs Eddy:

"The Christian who believes in the First Commandment is a monotheist. Thus, he virtually unites with the Jew's belief in one God, and recognises that J esus Christ is not God, as Jesus Himself declared, but is the Son of God. This declaration of Jesus, understood, conflicts not at all with another of his sayings: "I and my Father are one," - that is, one in quality, not in quantity. As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being."130

Mary Eddy boldly stated that Jesus Christ is not God. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus is God. Christians have always accepted Jesus' claim to be God.

8.6 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE DENIES THE REALITY OF MATTER.

Among the most peculiar and strange teaching of Christian Science is their denial of the reality of the material universe. Mrs Eddy regarded all matter as a mere illusion. In her mind, matter had no objective reality. Note the following quotes made by Mrs Eddy:

"There is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is all in all Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual." 131

"My first plank in the platform of Christian Science is as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal."132

As can be observed in the quotes above, Mary Eddy regarded matter as a "mortal error," and as being "unreal," whereas "spirit is the real and eternal." The concept that matter is a mere illusion was not a new idea concocted by Mrs Eddy. It is a philosophical concept with a long history. In philosophy, this approach to the world is called "Idealism." Colin Brown says this about Idealism:

"The term Idealism is an elastic one. In its widest sense it denotes the view that the mind and spiritual values are more fundamental than material ones."133

The obvious objection to this view of the world is that it is in conflict with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. God, in the book of Genesis, tells us that He created the world. He pronounced the world "very good." Did God simply create an illusion? No! There is no evidence anywhere in the Bible that would indicate that creation does not have objective existence. Also, her denial of the objective existence of matter involves a denial of the true humanity of Christ, and also in a denial of the real existence of sin.

Furthermore, Mrs Eddy's position involves her in a logical contradiction. If matter is simply an illusion, then she undermines her own position. For if matter is not real, and our senses deceive us, then how can we be sure that her book is real. If what Mrs Eddy said is true, then Christian Science becomes an illusion. If our senses are unreliable and deceive us about the nature of reality, then the sense of sight with which we read Mary Eddy's book Science and Health also deceives us. If this is true then we can learn nothing whatever about the truth.

Man has no material body.

As we have already discovered, Mary Eddy did not believe that matter really existed. If this is so, then it follows logically that the human body does not really exist. We find that this is precisely what Mrs Eddy taught:

"Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image of Love; he is not physique. He is compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal; that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker." 134

From the above statement, we are led to believe that man is not material in any sense; he has no bones, nor blood, or any material parts whatsoever. According to Christian Science, the existence of man's body is merely an illusion. Our bodies do not really exist at all. We are deceived by our senses into believing that our bodies do exist, but it is a deception.

The denial of the real existence of the human body is a denial of the teaching of Holy Scripture. For the Bible teaches that God made man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7 ). Mary Eddy got around this difficulty by denying the reliability of the second chapter of Genesis.

Christians Science denies the reality of sickness.

If the body does not really exists, then it follows logically that the sicknesses does not exist, since sickness is confined to the physical body. Mary Baker was logically consistent in denying the reality of sickness. Note the following statements made by her:

"The cause of all so-called disease is mental, mortal fear, a mistaken belief or conviction of the necessity and power of ill-health; also a fear that Mind is helpless to defend the life of man and incompetent to control it. Without this ignorant human belief, any circumstance is of itself powerless to produce suffering. It is latent belief in disease, as well as the fear of disease, which associates sickness with certain circumstances and causes the two to appear conjoined, even as poetry and music are reproduced in union by human memory."135

It is evident from the above that Mary Baker denied the existence of sickness. She regarded diseases as an illusion and a delusion, that do not exist in reality. In denying the existence of matter it was only logical to deduce that any malfunctions that occur in the non existent human body are mere delusions. Sickness, then, is due only to "ignorant human belief." Sickness is really a mental problem not a physical problem at all. According to Mrs Eddy the remedy for all sickness is to deny its reality.

It is difficult to understand how members of Christian Science can consistently hold to such a view of physical sickness. It goes without saying, that they do suffer physical pain like everyone else. There is nothing imaginary about pain and whether you are a member of Christian Science or not, you will suffer pain at some time or other. So I suppose that when a member of this cult is suffering pain, they simply regard it as evidence of a lack of faith on their part. I wonder what the Christian Science Pastor says to someone who is sick in hospital. Does he tells them that their pain is all imaginary? If he is true to his conviction, then he will tell them to get out of their hospital bed and go home. He will counsel them to realise that their sickness has no objective existence.

Christian Science denies the reality of physical death.

If the body does not really exists then physical death does not really exists, since a body that does not exist cannot die. In this Mrs Eddy proved herself again to be consistent, since she did deny the existence of physical death. Note the two following statements made by Mrs Eddy:

"DEATH. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life. Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual fact of being."136

"If it is true that man lives, this fact can never change in Science to the opposite belief that man dies ... Death is but another phase of the dream that existence can be material ...The dream of death must be mastered by Mind here or hereafter ... Life is real, and death is the illusion."137

It is clear from these quotes that Mrs Eddy did not believe in the reality of physical death. In her thinking death was simply part of the illusion.

The denial of physical death is a complete rejection of the most clear Biblical teaching on the subject of death. The Bible makes it very clear that both physical death and spiritual death are the result of sin. (Romans 6:23 ) Death is real, otherwise why did Jesus weep at the death of Lazarus. Furthermore, if physical death is not real then Jesus did not die and His death on the cross was an illusion.

8.7 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HAS AN HERETICAL DOCTRINE OF SIN.

Mary Baker Eddy taught an heretical doctrine of sin, in that she denied its real existence. Note what she wrote:

"Question. - Is there no sin? Answer. - All reality is in God and His creation, harmonious and eternal. That which He creates is good, and He makes all that is made. Therefore the only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise."138

"But if sickness and sin are illusions, the awakening is the forever coming of Christ, the advanced appearing of Truth, which casts out error and heals the sick."139

"To hold yourself superior to sin because God made you superior to it and governs man, is true wisdom. To fear sin is to misunderstand the power of Love and the divine Science of being in man's relation to God, - to doubt His government and distrust His omnipotent care."140

As the preceding quotes indicate, Mary Eddy taught that sin was really only an illusion. In her view, there is no such thing as evil or sin. This means that the fall of Adam was an illusion, it never really occurred.

Mrs Eddy also had a very novel way of dealing with sin. In her understanding all that was necessary was to deny its existence. In the first quote above she says that sin, along with death and sickness are unrealities due to erring belief. So all that one has to do to be free from sin is to deny its existence.

Such a view of sin is a serious departure from the teaching of the Bible. Sin is so serious in God's eyes that He punished His own Son on the cross in the place of the elect. God certainly treats sin as something real and something that is very evil.

It is difficult to understand how such a doctrine works out in practice. I cannot help but wonder how members of Christian Science are able to follow this doctrine in practice. For it seems to me that if a member of the Christian Science cult had his daughter raped or his son shot by a criminal, he would find it extremely difficult to consider such things as mere illusion. How would his pastor counsel him, would he tell him not to worry since his son or daughter do not really exist. It is a wonder that any rational person could ever get caught up with such a cult.

8.8 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE'S DOCTRINE OF CHRIST.

Christian Science denies the incarnation of Christ.

As we have already seen, Christian Science denies the existence of matter, and the reality of our human bodies. It necessarily follows from this, that they would also deny the truth that God became flesh. It is no surprise, then, to find them do just that. Note the following statements made by Mrs Eddy:

"A portion of God could not enter man; neither could God's fullness be reflected by a single man, else God would be manifestly finite, lose the deific character, and become less than God."141

It is evident in this quote that Mrs Eddy did not believe that God's fullness was reflected by Jesus. Yet the writer of Hebrews said this: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being.." (Hebrews 1:3 ) Mrs Eddy obviously did not believe the Bible's teaching about Christ. This is equally evident in her treatment of the virgin birth. While she did not reject the virgin birth, she did distort it into something quite foreign to the Christian doctrine. Note the following quote:

"Those instructed in Christian Science have reached the glorious perception that God is the only author of man. The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus - that is, Joshua or Saviour. The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of the Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever and idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed. Man as the offspring of God, as the idea of Spirit, is the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and man eternal. Jesus was the offspring of Mary's self-conscious communion with God."142

It is apparent from the above quote that Mary Eddy did not believe in the literal virgin birth. This is of course consistent with her denial of matter. She understood the virgin birth as being the birth of an idea - "The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God." Mary Eddy did not believe in a true historical virgin birth, and Christian Science today denies it. They do not believe that God became flesh and dwelt among us. In their view, the historical Jesus was not God in the flesh. So it is evident that the teaching of Christology of Christian Science is a serious departure from the Christology of the Bible.

Christian Science teaches that Jesus was a fallible person.

Christian Science also teaches that Jesus was fallible and that He was frequently wrong about certain things:

Jesus bore our sins in His body. He knew the mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life, nor had he risen to his final demonstration of spiritual power.143

It is evident from this statement that Mary Eddy considered that Jesus was capable of erroneous beliefs. She also held that Jesus encouraged mistaken beliefs in others. Note the following quote:

"Sometimes Jesus called a disease by name, as when he said to the epileptic boy, "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you, come out of him, and enter no more into him." It is added that "the spirit [error] cried, and rent him sore and came out of him, and he was as one dead," - clear evidence that the malady was not material. These instances show the concessions which Jesus was willing to make to the popular ignorance of spiritual Life-laws."144

According to this statement, Jesus actually misled His disciples, and encouraged their wrong beliefs. The Jesus of Christian Science, therefore, is not the Jesus of the Bible, who was the spotless Lamb of God.

Christian Science teaches that the human Jesus Christ dissolved when He ascended into heaven.

Christian Science teaches that the humanity of Jesus, which is really only an illusion, was dissolved when He ascended into heaven. Mrs Eddy said, concerning Christ, at His ascension:

"The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master's ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science, taking away sins of the world, as the Christ has always done, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to mortal eyes."145

In the above quote Mrs Eddy wrote, "the material concept or Jesus, disappeared," by which she meant that there never really was a human Jesus, as such, just the appearance of one. This means that there is now no human/divine Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The human Jesus is no more, according to Christian Science, He has been annihilated. Such statements have serious consequences. For example, if Jesus is no more then He cannot return. It also means that Christians will not dwell with Jesus throughout all eternity.

We must reject the Christology of Christian Science as being utterly incompatible with the teaching of the Bible. For the Bible clearly teaches that when Jesus took upon Himself the nature of a man, He took it on permanently. He will always remain the God-man. And when we get to heaven we shall see Jesus, we will be able to see the nail prints in His hands and feet.

8.9 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE'S DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT.

The Scriptures teach us that Jesus was a propitiation for our sins. That means that He was our substitute, He died in our place and was punished for the evil that we have done. Isaiah spoke of how it pleased God to punish Jesus (Isaiah 53 ). This does not mean that God was delighted to see Jesus hang on a cross, but it does mean that God willed to punish Jesus in our place. Mrs Eddy, however, taught that suffering is an error of the sinful sense. So then when Jesus suffered on the cross it was not as a substitute for the elect, but rather it was due to an error in His senses. If Jesus had been able to raise Himself above the mistaken notion of suffering, He would never have suffered. Note the following statements made by Mrs Eddy:

"The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice. The efficacy of Jesus' spiritual offering is infinitely greater than can be expressed our sense of human blood. The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon "the accursed tree" than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father's business. His true flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat his flesh and drink his blood, who partake of that divine Life."146

"Jesus bore our sins in His body. He knew the mortal errors which constitute the material body, and could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life, nor had he risen to his final demonstration of spiritual power."147

These quotes make it very clear that Mrs Eddy did not hold a Biblical view of the atonement. She did not believe that the physical blood of Christ was efficacious to cleanse us from our sins. She believed that Jesus suffered on the cross only because He was not able to overcome the false belief of pain. Such a view of the death of Christ is far removed from the teaching of the Bible.

Christians Science deny the reality of Jesus' death.

As we have already discovered about the teachings of Christian Science, they do not believe in the reality of death. Death is one of those figments of our imagination that we need to dispel. If this is the case, then it follows that Jesus did not die on the cross, which is precisely what Christian Science teaches:

"Jesus' students, not sufficiently advanced to understand their Master's triumph, did not perform many wonderful works, until they saw him after his crucifixion and learned that he had not died. This convinced them of the truthfulness of all that He had taught."148

It is apparent from this that Mrs Eddy did not believe that Jesus had really died at all. This is clearly in conflict with the teaching of the Bible. Jesus death was very real, it was the supreme demonstration of God's love for the elect.

8.10 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE DENIES THE RESURRECTION.

Since Jesus did not really die, then he could hardly be raised from the dead. Christian Science, starting from its basic premise of the unreality of matter, denies the resurrection. It stands to reason that a body that does not exist cannot be raised. Note the following statement made by Mrs Eddy:

"Our Master reappeared to his students, - to their apprehension he arose from the grave, - on the third day of his ascending thought."149

You will notice that Mrs Eddy believed that Jesus' reappearance was not a resurrection from the dead, but something which only took place in the apprehension of His disciples. In her mind, Jesus never rose from the dead because He was never really a physical person anyway.

This erroneous doctrine of the resurrection is clearly rejected by Scripture. The apostle Paul taught the importance of the doctrine of physical resurrection. He said, that if Christ is not raised, then our preaching is in vain, and our faith is useless. Indeed, he says that those who deny the resurrection of Christ are false witnesses (I Corinthians 16:12-18). So then, in denying the resurrection of Christ, Mrs Eddy proved herself to be a false witness.

8.11 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HAS AN UNBIBLICAL VIEW OF SALVATION.

Mary Eddy had a very different concept of salvation from that which one derives from the Scripture. In her understanding salvation is not the forgiveness of sins. It is not the gift of eternal life, through Jesus Christ. Rather, for Mrs Eddy salvation was deliverance from false beliefs. In Mrs Eddy's thinking man's chief problem is his mistaken view about the nature of reality. When he can overcome this mistaken view of reality, he is saved. Note what she says about the way to be rid of sin:

"To get rid of sin through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind or reality, and never to admit that sin can have intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You conquer error by denying its verity. Our various theories will never lose their imaginary power for good or evil, until we lose our faith in them and make life its own proof of harmony and God." 150

According to this, to get rid of sin is to divest it of any supposed reality. In other words all one has to do to be free from sin is to come to the recognition that it does not exist. This is far removed from the biblical doctrine of sin, which most certainly does exist. Sin is rebellion against God and Jesus paid a very great price for our sins.

8.12 CONCLUSION

The Christian Science cult interprets the Bible in terms of the heretical views of Mrs Mary Baker Eddy. As we have seen in considering many of her statements, she did not believe the orthodox doctrines of the Christian Church. She twists every doctrine of the Bible into something quite different. Her whole system is built on a false foundation. The foundation that the material universe does not really exist, and that our senses deceive us.

This foundation is completely contrary to the teaching of God's word. For the Bible does teach us that God created the material universe. Furthermore, the Bible gives sufficient evidence that we can trust our senses not deceive us. God did not create a lie or a dream. He created a material world. There really is an objective world and pain and suffering are very real, so also are sin and death very real.

110ibid p.172

111Walter Martin Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.112

112Walter Martin The Christians Science Myth Zondervan Publishing House, 1955.

113A.A Hoekema op cit p.172

114Fritz Ridenour So What's The Difference op cit p.118

115ibid p.120

116ibid p.126

117Mary Baker Eddy Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures Published by the Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G Eddy Boston, U.S.A. 1934, p.126

118ibid p.521

119ibid pp. 524,525

120ibid p.526

121A.A Hoekema op cit p.185 (Quoted from Miscellaneous Writings Boston, 1896, p.171)

122ibid p.331

123A.A Hoekema op cit p.190 (Quoted from Miscellaneus Writings p.16)

124Mary Baker Eddy Science and Health op cit pp. 336,337

125ibid p.256

126ibid p.331,332

127ibid p.473

128ibid p.334

129ibid p.333

130ibid p.361

131ibid p.468

132A.A Hoekema op cit p.186 (Quoted from Miscellaneous Writings p.21)

133Colin Brown Philosophy and the Christian Faith A historical sketch from the Middle Ages to the Present Day, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1979, p.117.

134Mary Eddy Science and Health op cit p.475

135ibid pp.377,378

136ibid p.584.

137ibid p.427,428

138ibid p.472

139ibid p.230

140ibid p.231

141ibid p.336

142ibid p.29,30

143ibid p.53

144ibid p.398

145ibid p.334

146ibid p.25

147ibid p.53

148ibid p.45,46

149ibid p.509

150ibid pp 339,340

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 12:45  

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