Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Christian Science

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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, a religious belief of which Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, of Boston, was the founder and chief apostle. Her disciples believe in God, in the Saviour, and in the Scriptures, and devote most of their efforts to healing the sick. They claim that matter is nonexistent and that, as God is spirit, and man, being made in His image, is, therefore also Spiritual and cannot suffer, disease is not actual, but a wrong belief, and can be cured by discarding such belief. Since the promulgation of this doctrine in 1875, its growth has been steady in the United States and its followers have large churches in various parts of the country. Flourishing churches have been organized in many other parts of the world. Many handsome church edifices have been built in different cities. The mother church is located in Boston, Mass., and those all over the country are its branches. The services are uniform, consisting of meetings on Sundays and on Wednesday evenings. No sermons are preached by a personal pastor, but a sermon made up of selections from the Bible and “Science and Health, with a Key to the Scriptures,” written by Mrs, Eddy, is read by two readers, called the first and second readers. This Church is emphatically a healing Church and many cases of restoration to health have been testified to, brought about by attendance at these meetings.

Christian Science, its adherents claim, is demonstrable Christianity. Through the spiritual understanding of the teachings of Christ Jesus, its followers are enabled to obey His command to “heal the sick,” and do the works that He and His disciples did. The omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God are proved to be true. Christian Science is not mind-cure, as that is popularly understood, because it recognizes but one mind, God. It is not faith-cure, because it does not perform its wonderful works through blind faith in a personal God, but through the understanding of man's relation to God. It is not mesmerism or hypnotism, because it denies absolutely the power of the human mind and human will, and claims no will but God's. Through recognizing the one mind, and man as the reflection of that mind, it forever establishes the brotherhood of man. It is the perfect salvation from the sin, disease, and death, Christ Jesus came to bring. In “Rudimental Divine Science,” Mrs. Eddy defined Christian Science as “the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the principle and rule of eternal harmony.” In 1919 the number of churches and societies in this and foreign countries was given as 1,741.

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