From the Editor’s Notebook: Cults, part 2

From the Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey

Capsule Comments On The Cults
(Part 2)

Christian Science

Of Christian Science, Walter R. Martin has said, “This unusual system of theology is a mixture of absolute Idealism, Hinduism, Hypnosis, auto-suggetion and metaphysics all rolled into one homogenized unit, welded together by its extremely clever ‘founder,’ Mary Baker Eddy, and dressed up in Christian terminology for consumption by the gullible.”1

The very name of this cult is a deception, A. C. Gaebelein having said of Christian Science that “It is neither Christian, nor scientific.”

Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) emerged from a humble New England background and became a remarkable woman. She cleverly pyramided the teachings of an “old Main healer,” P. P. Quimby, into a personal multi-million dollar fortune and developed a religion all her own that today deifies her writings and reveres her memory as few persons have ever been revered.

She was a sickly child from her youth, and early she relied on hypnosis for relief from spasms of neurotic rage and emotional upsets. She had three husbands. The first one died after only six months from the time they were married.

The second marriage ended in divorce ten years later, and it was during this second marriage to Dr. Daniel Patterson, a dentist, that she became interested in Spritivalism and first visited P. P. Quimby. Her third husband, Asa G. Eddy, died in 1882. Thus her full name was Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy.

In 1875 she published what has become the Christian Science Bible — Science and Health, With a Key to the Scriptures. Though utilizing one of his manuscripts, she abandoned allegiance to P. P. Quimby, changing his system’s name from “the Science of Christ” to “Christian Science.” She claimed that her system of religion came to her by direct revelation and, that her book was written under divine dictation, though she conceded that a minister edited its poor grammar. While Mrs. Eddy affirmed the inspiration of the Scriptures, she made the same affirmation for her own book “which takes priority over Scripture with its not-to-be-changed-or-doubted key to the Scriptures. There are more than 2,000 Church of Christ, Scientist groups in the USA, and fewer than 1,000 in the rest of the world. The Mother Church is in Boston.”2

It has been estimated recently that the average age of present-day members of Christian Science is 60, this having come about simply because today’s young people are not attracted to its fold.

Mrs. Eddy died on December 3, 1910, in her 90th year, leaving a potential of a million followers, the adherents of this cult being among the proudest people to be found anywhere in the world.

Some of the chief errors of Christian Science are as follows:

1. Mrs. Eddy denied the existence of a personal God. Instead He is defined as a divine principle, harmonious mind, divine metaphysics, or as stated in her book, “God is mind.”

“Christian Science’s one truth is that God as Spirit is All in All. Everything is Mind or Spirit — or, rather, there is no reality except Mind or Spirit. Mind, or Spirit, is Truth, Love, Power, Life, Goodness. Materiality is evil, sin, sickness, death, unreality. Since God is All, man is coexistent with God and His being, therefore, resides eternally in, and is not to be differentiated from, God’s being.”3

2.Christian Science teaches that Christ was “an idea in the bosom of God, his birth was merely an idea of communion in the mind of Mary.” Therefore, Christ is looked upon only as a divine idea.

3. The Church of Christ, Scientist teaches that Jesus as a man is forever dead, and only divine principle remains. Because Jesus was a physical man, He is not to be identified with God at all, for only Christ, as the Principle of Mind, is identified with God. It is also taught that Jesus neither died on the cross or arose from the dead, and that He left the grave knowing that He had not died, and that no man can die. As to the resurrection, Jesus simply ascended “above the physical knowledge of His disciples.”

4. It is taught that the Holy Spirit is the “divine idea of God,” and that the Jehovah of Israel was a “tribal God.”

5. Mrs. Eddy claimed that sin does not exist. “Sin has no reality — it is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.”

6. Satan is an illusion, “an illusive personification,” therefore, not a real person.

7. Angels are “exalted thoughts.”

8. Man is the expression of infinite mind, and he was not created as Genesis records his creation. He is God’s spiritual idea.

9. Heaven is not an actual place, but “a divine state of mind, harmony, the atmosphere of the soul.”

10. Hell is not a place, but “mortal belief.”

11. Sickness and disease are not real, but merely “mental error.” Therefore, there is no sickness. Man can never be sick, for “Divine mind” cannot be sick.

12. Death is only a “mortal dream” and has no reality.

13. Mrs. Eddy, though married three times and the mother of one son, denounced marriage as evil. She said some day marriage would be abolished by mind and the race perpetuated without sex. Children would be produced as a result of “mental operation” only.

The enumeration of the foregoing teachings of Christian Science are sufficient to demonstrate that everything true Christianity stands for and proclaims in terms of the Bible’s teaching about creation, the fall of man, and redemption, Christian Science declares to be unreality.

An unusual feature of Christian Science is that it is never preached. The church has no preachers and, as a result, there are no sermons. Instead, each church has a First and Second Reader whose responsibility it is to read a selection of Scripture and a selection from Science and Health. Mrs. Eddy decreed that no comments, explanation, or interpretive remarks are permitted. She is the first and last word on Christian Science, and in this way she received and maintains its final meaning, as well as having protected her own special status by excluding the possibility of another greater than she arising.4

As a close to his comments in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, James Daane wrote:

“It is a mistake to think of Christian Science as a faith-healing religion. It does not claim to heal sickness, for it claims sickness is an illusion. Nor does Christian Science claim to save men, for it teaches that all which men could be saved from is unreal. It takes neither sickness nor sin seriously. One might add that if Christian Science took itself seriously, it could dispense not only with Readers as well as preachers, but also with its key to the Scriptures as well as with Scripture, and no less with Mary Baker Eddy herself. The latter’s claim to fame rests on her use of both these writings to overcome what by Christian Science’s own claim is really nothing at all. For God is All.”5

Two key Bible texts to keep in mind in relation to Christian Science, and for virtually all of the cults, are from the pen of the Apostle John:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4: 1) .

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).

1 Martin, The Christian and the Cults, p. 24.

2 The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 221.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid., p. 222.