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Basic Facts Christian Science
(Church of Christ, Scientist)
In 1879 in the U.S.A, a group of Fifteen people under the leadership of Mary Baker Epy (1821-1910), voted to organise a church designed to commemorate the work and words our Master Jesus Christ, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.
Mary Baker Epy is known as the “Mother” and the “Discoverer and Founder” of Christian Science.
The Mother Church is in Boston U.S.A
At the local level, a Christian Society can be formed with a minimum of two members of the Mother Church, and at least one practitioner (a Christian Scientist who is devoted full time to the healing ministry).
A Branch Church is required to have a minimum of sixteen members. A person becomes a member by signing a six-point statement composed by Mrs. Epy.
The first Science service was held in Melbourne in 1898.
There are Christian Science Churches and Societies in all States and the A.C.T.
According to the followers, the essence of Christian Science is contained in the first Chapter of the Bible – God made everything and made it “very good”, and that He made human beings in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, 31)
Christian Scientists do not believe God to be personal in the usual senses, but prefer to use the term individual, infinite spirit. God is pure Spirit, therefore his offspring are wholly spiritual and must be incapable of evil as God.
The material realm (and the many associated problems) is illusionary.
Healings arise from bringing thought and action into harmony with God’s purpose for human beings.
Healings then are not through faith, but are the inevitable result of gaining a proper understanding of God.
Where does one gain this proper understanding of God? – from the writings of Mrs. Epy.
Whilst this group calls itself “Christian” there are some very fundamental differences between the writings of Mrs. Epy and accepted Christian teaching.
SOME MAJOR DIFFERENCES
1. AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE
Whilst Christian Scientists affirm the Bible is God’s word and quote Mrs. Epy to prove it, they need someone to interpret the Bible and Mrs. Epy is the divinely appointed person to do this.
For a Christian Scientist, the Word of God alone is not sufficient to make us “wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY AND THE DEITY OF CHRIST
Mrs. Epy wrote “the theory of three persons in one God suggests heathen gods rather than the one ever present I Am. (Science & Health p.256), and “Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus Himself declared, but is the Son of God. (Science & Health p.361)
A distinction is drawn between the eternal Christ, always present to heal, ad the human Jesus, who revealed the Christ Spirit, in his thinking and His life-style and He became the “Way-Shower”.
Jesus did not die for our sins, but suffered because of the erroneous thinking of those who viewed matter, not spirit, as the true reality. His post-crucifixion appearances and ascension were a testimony to all that he had conquered the error that matter has any real existence.
This is a contradiction with traditional Christian teaching of our need of the personal Jesus as our personal Saviour because of our sins.
3. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD THE FATHER
Mrs. Epy used the terms Life, Truth, Love, Principle, Mind, Substance, Intelligence, as well as God. God is therefore impersonal.
The God of the Bible is a personal God who remembers, knows, has a will etc…
4. THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Mrs. Epy denied the personality and office of the Holy Spirit and defined the Holy Spirit as “Divine Science” – the development of Life, Truth, and Love, (Science & Health p.55)
In the Bible, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter and used the masculine pronoun, “he”.
Mrs. Epy wrote that the traditional form of prayer to a personal God is a waste of time, and a hindrance to spiritual growth.
”If we pray to God as a corporeal person, this will prevent us from relinquishing the human doubts, and fear attend such a belief…”(Science & Health p.13), and, “We can do no more for ourselves by humble fervent petitions”. (Science & Health p.2)
Her statements contradict the teaching of Jesus who apresses his Father as a personal “Our Father in Heaven…” And instructed his disciples to do the same. Paul instructs us to “let your requests be made known unto God” and to “pursue everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving.”
It is important to understand the basics of Mrs. Epy because ignorance can blur the fundamental differences. Christian Science does not bear resemblance to the historic Christian faith.
Mary Baker Epy Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures
Walter R. Martin The Kingdom of the Cults
J Gordon Melton The Encyclopedia of American Religions. (Third Ed)
Roland Ward, Robert Humphreys Religious Bodies in Australia. (Third Ed)
Published by CCG Ministries