You may ask yourself whether it matters about Christian Science today. After all, aren’t the church numbers in decline? Aren’t the churches closing down and being resold? Isn’t Christian Science just a minority cult? Surely, it just isn’t a major issue for today?
It is true that membership is in decline, but to Christian Scientists, this just isn’t depressing. As far as they are concerned, in general, it just means that they need to work harder to make known the “good news” of Christian Science. It can be thought that it really doesn’t matter what “appears” to happen in this life. It is believed that on the next stages of so-called “existence” (after death) everybody will eventually turn to the essence and truth of Christian Science as people discover the need to “scientifically” work and heal themselves of disease. “Death will occur on the next plane of existence as on this, until the spiritual understanding of Life is reached.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy p 77)
Many Christian Scientists believe that it really will not matter as long as one has a copy of their textbook, Science and Health, one will, “Come to it” one day! To that end, according to www.aequus.org it is currently placing copies of Science and Health in hotel/motel rooms across the USA. Their target is all such rooms – much like the Gideon Bible placements.
However, in this life, Christian Scientists want to make known what they perceive to be truth and so they have attempted to make themselves more acceptable to the world through the New Age Movement. Dr Linda S Kramer has written an article entitled “Christian Science – Attempting a Comeback ” and this may be viewed on www.christianway.org. The buzzword of “spirituality” has been adopted by the Christian Science Church on its website www.spirituality.com
We also know that the presentation of Christian Science literature has been changed, to present a more contemporary image – both pictorially and by inclusion of quotes from Oprah Winfrey, for example. It is fair to say that the Christian Science Church considers it important and wants to be perceived as acceptable by mainstream Christianity. It was certainly a “coup” for them to be able to print an interview between themselves and Philip Yancey. (Christian Science Sentinel Apr.15 2002)
Christian Science display stands may be seen at the Mind/Body/Health Fairs held across the country. Christian Science Church representatives are also attending medical conferences! (Dr. Linda Kramer’s article refers as above). The Christian Science Textbook is often promoted by the Christian Science Church as a self-help book on many topics – marriage, finances, health etc. It is also interesting to note that the textbook is also being promoted as being helpful to people of all faiths. Indeed, at one UK interfaith website, I read that, “Christian Science may be practised by people of all faiths.”
At a Mind/Body/Soul Exhibition in the UK 2005, there was a Christian Science Workshop where we read the following,
“Discover the catalyst for spiritual growth; how you can find inner peace, hope and comfort through discovering healing solutions to daily problems. Learn how to remove roadblocks to health and healing. Explore the medicine whose side effects are spiritual strength, confidence, self-esteem and happy relationships.” – www.mbsevents.co.uk.
Well! Who doesn’t want all that?! And so one can begin to see how Christian Science has begun to reinvent itself as being desirable, acceptable and available for all. The language used has become more subtly “New Age” in its contemporary approach to attract people.
Traditionally, Christian Science lectures were held in various areas of the UK – usually in their churches. There have now been developments in that Christian Science Churches across the UK are now also offering free discussion groups/workshops on spirituality and health. These meetings may be held in regional Christian Science Reading Rooms across the UK (sometimes with the offer of refreshments – a new departure) or, in public venues such as arts centres, conference rooms of hotels, library lecture rooms etc. They may be advertised in the local press. Such titles may include: “A New View of Identity”, “Finding an Answer to Depression”, “A Spiritual Perspective on Stress” – all titles which may lead the unsuspecting member of the public into contact with Christian Science in his search for answers to life’s problems.
All of the above poses a dilemma for the more long-term devotees of Christian Science. The thought of “marketing” their religion and merely selling the textbook in the name of “spirituality” (and not Christian Science) has, we believe, upset many within the Christian Science Church. We also know from conversation with some Christian Scientists, that they were deeply unhappy about hosting “spirituality” workshops in commercial bookshops, feeling that the latter were unsuitable for the placement of their textbook.
We must not be deceived by the apparent reinvention of Christian Science. There is no compromise within the deeper study of it. Mrs. Eddy says on page 167 of Science and Health that, “Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized.” Those who even dabble with Christian Science must be alerted that a search for a little so-called positive thinking or healing, may lead them into uncompromising Christian Science doctrine. “If we understand the control of mind over body, we should put no faith in material means.” (Science and Health p169) Christian Science, be it New Age or not, has not changed and it could be perceived as sending a dangerous message to the general public which we do not believe it needs to hear!
Check out this website giving further information on Christian Science.