What is Christian Science?
Christian Science is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. The life and teachings of Christ Jesus are central. The inspired events of Jesus’ life—his virgin birth, healing ministry, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension—reveal God as Love. Christian Science teaches, as Jesus did, that human regeneration from sin and the healing of sickness take place as we draw closer to divine Love, finding our true nature to be spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God.
The term Science indicates that Christ Jesus understood and acted in accord with the laws of this loving God, laws that may be proven by anyone who follows them. Many have found that when they better understand their relationship to God through this Science of Christianity, their characters are transformed and their health restored. Such spiritual growth inspires a heartfelt desire to help others know and experience how loved we all are by God.
What is the origin of Christian Science?
In 1866, a serious injury compelled Mary Baker Eddy, a child of New England Congregationalists with a deep love of the Bible, to turn wholeheartedly to God. She opened her Bible to an account of Jesus healing a man quickly and completely. A new sense of life in God, Spirit, as the only reality flooded her thought, and she was healed spontaneously. But she yearned to know how and why. For the next several years, she continued to search and find in the Bible the underlying laws of God that would form the basis of her teaching and practice of Christian Science.
What is the mission of the Christian Science Church?
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Jesus established his church and maintained his mission on a spiritual foundation of Christ-healing.” This healing mission includes salvation from sickness as well as sin.
In Christian Science, God is seen as always caring for and protecting His children, which includes supplying every human need, such as health and purpose. In this light, the power of prayer lies not in faith alone but in a deepening understanding of God’s love that embraces all humanity with the strength of divine law.
The practice of Christian healing through spiritual means is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. Thousands of first-hand accounts of physical and other healings across the spectrum of the human condition may be found online.
How does a Christian Scientist approach health and healing?
Christian Scientists normally turn to God in prayer for help. Because they see God as good, a loving Father, they reject the notion that God is ever the source of disease or that He upholds suffering. Instead they look to God as the dear Parent “who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalms 103:3). They pray to align themselves with the truth of God’s love and willingness to heal that rules out fear and sickness, and brings healing.
Christian Scientists may ask for prayer from a Christian Science practitioner, an individual who has committed his or her life to the ministry of healing through prayer. Christian Science nurses and nursing facilities are also available to provide non-medical care for those who need physical help.
Because the “Golden Rule” provides the standard and ethics of Christian Science, Christian Scientists are always free to make their own decisions about health care, and indeed, every aspect of their lives. They respect the individual rights and conscience of those who choose medical care, just as they respect the humanitarian motives of those who provide medical care.
What is a Christian Science practitioner?
A Christian Science practitioner is an experienced Christian Scientist who devotes himself/herself full time to helping others find healing through turning to God, as Christ Jesus did. They are located in many countries, and are available to all people seeking spiritual healing through prayer alone.
The ministry of Christian Science healing involves a practitioner’s deep commitment to God and the whole human family. Practitioners are not employed by the Church, but by the individuals they assist, and so charge modest fees for their work. Their primary service is providing Christian Science treatment through prayer, based on an understanding of the allness and goodness of God, the presence of divine Love and its power to heal all forms of suffering. This treatment does not include giving personal advice or physical diagnosis.
What is a Christian Science nurse?
A Christian Science nurse is a trained individual who helps those who need skillful physical assistance, while relying on Christian Science treatment for healing. Firmly grounded in Christian Science themselves, Christian Science nurses help foster a healing atmosphere to help people function as normally as possible while healing progresses. The non-medical care they provide can include such things as helping people bathe, preparing special modified foods, bandaging, and helping people who need assistance to move about. Christian Science nurses do not diagnose, administer drugs, or provide any sort of physical therapy or other medical treatment.
Who founded the Christian Science Church?
Mary Baker Eddy founded The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in 1879. Some years earlier, she experienced a seminal healing in her life through study of the Bible, and in the interim years wrote the Christian Science textbook and preached in various venues in the Boston area.
Her hope was that existing Christian churches naturally would adopt the discovery of the laws of Christian healing for this age, understood through her deep study of the Scriptures and, specifically, Christ Jesus’ teachings and works. To reinstate Christian healing, she went forward with the founding of the Church.
How is your Church governed?
The Manual of The Mother Church written by Mary Baker Eddy establishes the structure for the entire organization. It provides for the headquarters of the Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and a five-member Board of Directors, comprised of men and women who are experienced teachers and practitioners of Christian Science. This Board oversees church departments and activities, and makes policy following provisions in the Manual.
Branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, are lay churches, organized democratically. Men and women within each church serve and vote as equals. Each branch creates its own by-laws to address local conditions and needs, however those by-laws do not supersede the Manual and must be in harmony with its provisions.
What should I expect if I attend a service?
Christian Science churches hold regular Sunday worship services and Wednesday testimony meetings. Services include the Lord’s Prayer, hymns, and readings from the Bible and Science and Health. The church has no clergy, but relies on these two books as an impersonal Pastor, always at hand to provide guidance and inspiration.
On Sundays, a Bible Lesson-Sermon of passages from these books is presented by Readers. Wednesday services include topical readings and time for congregants to share how the study of Christian Science has illumined their relationship with God and brought about healing through prayer.
Christian Science is based on the Bible’s message of God’s love for man and specifically on the life and teachings of Christ Jesus and his followers. Christian Scientists consider Christ Jesus to be the Messiah, the Way-shower to a clearer understanding of God and to the practice of Christian love that heals naturally.
“Science” refers to the law of God that Christ Jesus practiced and taught to others. If Christianity is the Science of God, then God is knowable, and Christian teachings must be practical and demonstrable in daily life. Science means that spiritual healing itself isn’t miraculous, but demonstrates the divine Principle that is God.
Are Christian Science and Scientology the same thing?
No. Christian Science is a Christian denomination based on the Bible, founded almost 140 years ago.
Is Christian Science the same as New Age, faith healing, or positive thinking?
No. Christian Science sees God, the divine Mind, as the redeeming power in human life. The human mind, or mind over matter, or positive thinking is not a factor in spiritual healing. Nor do Christian Scientists accept suffering as God’s will. In turning to God, they not only trust His love and goodness, they seek to demonstrate it in lives redeemed from sin and sickness.