Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 16, 1964
NUMBER 36, PAGE 1,10c-13

Christian Science Investigated

Harry Pickup, Jr.

(Note: For reasons of brevity "Christian Science" or "Divine Science" will be abbreviated to "C.S." and "D.S." References to the book "Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures" will be abbreviated to "Key." The numbered references are to pages and verses. Such as, Key, 323:19.)

This treatise is written with the hope that members of the "C.S." religion will read it and profit by it. The author has formed his conclusions through a diligent study of Scripture, a serious investigation of "C.S." literature, and a careful comparison of the two.

The author has striven to do these things: (a) To treat the subject honorably, fairly and with dignity. (h) To be candid and plain in conclusions drawn. (c) To give what he believes to be incontestable evidence in support of convictions stated and conclusions drawn.

One thing I am sure of: no honest "Christian Scientist" can object to the calling in question of his system of faith. The writings of Mrs. Eddy make it perfectly clear that she believes all other religions are hopelessly stuck in the quagmire of error and lack the freeing power of "C.S." I sincerely hope to show "Christian Scientists" that in following Mrs. Eddy they are not following Christ. I pray they may be led to faith in none other than God and by no other means than His Word.

Mrs. Eddy wrote: "In `C.S.' mere opinion is valueless. Proof is essential to a due estimate of this subject." (Key, 341:11) We are quick to admit "opinion is valueless" and "proof is essential." If the proof is valid then the thing to be proved is established upon an impregnable foundation.

What is the proof offered, and the nature of it, which Mrs. Eddy says must be "absolute and numerous"? The proof is of two kinds: (1) The testimony of the discoverer herself; (2) the testimony of those who claim to be healed and saved by it, without any objective corroborating evidence.

We cannot admit the first as sufficient proof because the proof given consists of the very thing to be proved. It is in this way that the Pope of Rome "proves" himself to be the earthly vicar of Christ.

We cannot admit the second as sufficient because such witnesses lack corroborative evidence that they are qualified as witnesses. Two men cooperate in thievery. One steals and the other buys the stolen goods. Each is benefitted by the other. Can each of these men be considered a valid witness to the other's honesty? When the first preachers of the gospel bore witness to the truth of Christ's gospel they corroborated their testimony with such evidences as: (1) Christ being the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies; (2) the character of Christ's life openly lived among both friend and foe; (3) His resurrection to which they were all eye-witnesses.

Reason is repelled by such offered "proof" as "C.S." sets forth. It is appalled that such tremendous claims would be based upon such flimsy and subjective evidence.

Jesus stripped all disguise from error centuries before Mrs. Eddy lived. There has been no addenda to His Truth since it was "once for all delivered." (Jude 3) None was needed since the divine gospel is able to fulfill its divine purpose.

True conclusions cannot be drawn from untrue premises. Remedies cannot cure a false diagnosis. "CS." contains a series of misunderstandings: (1) It misunderstands the nature of God (more on this later), and man. (2) It misunderstands the real need of man to he saved from sin — because it does understand what sin is. The Bible teaches sin is a defilement of "flesh and spirit." (2 Cor. 7:1) It is doing lawlessness. (1 John 3:4) It is a violation of the holiness of God. (1 Peter 1:14-17) Denying God is a person — while the Bible affirms that He is, Heb. 1:3; 2 Cor. 2:10 — "C.S." cannot admit that to sin is to displease the Divine Person. (3) It misunderstands the primary mission of Jesus Christ: to save man from the penalty of sin — death. (Ezekiel 18:4; Ephesians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 1.9) And from the power of sin, (Hebrews 2:14, 15) It places the emphasis upon a secondary need — healing of the body. And in so doing it becomes altogether what it most seeks to avoid: materialistic. This being true, it must be regarded as a cult. (4) It misunderstands the incarnation and thus denies it The Word did become flesh. John 1:14) The eternal Word, in human form, was handled, seen and heard. (2 John 1:1-4) Jesus did come in the flesh. (1 John 4:1-3)

Errors Of Christian Science

I. Extravagant claims and kind of proof offered.

1. Mrs. Eddy claims that "D.S." is the Holy Spirit which Christ promised to his apostles. "In the words of St. John 'He shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever." (This scripture is from John 14:16) Key, 55:27. The extravagance of this claim is easily seen when we recall that Jesus said this Comforter is the Holy Spirit. (John 14:25) And it is further seen when we also recall that the Holy Spirit is God. (Acts 5:3, 4) 2 Cor. 3:17) "D.S.," in the judgment of its discoverer, is elevated to a position of deity.

Jesus said the Comforter would be given. Mrs. Eddy said she discovered it. Jesus said the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, would be given upon his ascension to heaven. Mrs. Eddy said it was discovered over 1800 years later. Therefore, Christ and Mrs. Eddy do not agree on these points concerning the Holy Spirit: Which witness will God-believing men accept?

2. Mrs. Eddy claims: "that true Logos is demonstrably 'C.S.'." Key 134,21. Once again she does not blush to make her discovery equal with God. The purpose of the eternal Word — Logos, Jesus Christ — is to declare — make known — God to man as he has not before been revealed. If Christ did this then "C.S." is unnecessary. If He did not do it, then God failed.

The most serious implication of the above statement from Mrs. Eddy is that Jesus Christ was not the true Logos. This claim, to be the true Logos, would elevate her doctrine — and herself as its discoverer — above Jesus Christ. As one reads her writings the dreadful realization comes slowly but certainly to mind that Mrs. Eddy, and her follower, consider her superior to Jesus Christ.

Dear reader, ask yourself these candid questions: Do I place Mrs. Eddy upon the same level as Jesus Christ. In what way is Mrs. Eddy, or "D.S.," a truer Logos than Jesus Christ?

One of Mrs. Eddy's defenders, and I would imagine also her follower, puts the climax to this extravagant claim. He says: "But not until Mary Baker Eddy gave birth to `C.S.' and its textbook, did the Comforter referred to by Jesus appear." From "Mary Baker Eddy Fulfills Prophecy," by Fernand E. D'Humy, page 159.

Mrs. Eddy boldly claims that "D.S." is both the New Jerusalem and the kingdom of heaven. Key, Glossary, finder "New Jerusalem."

Her followers do not hesitate to identify her with God. While they do not specifically use this term in reference to her they come as close to it as possible. In Mr. D'Humy's book, mentioned before, we find these affirmations: (a) "Mary and God are united as one for God is All-in-all." (p.207) How reminiscent this is of Christ's statement: "the father and I are one"! The author has in mind a unique oneness between God and Mary Baker Eddy. It will not do for the defenders of this statement to reply by saying that the author simply means all spiritual persons are "one" with God. For "Christian Scientists," as far as I am able to find, never speak in such exalted terms of anyone except Mrs. Eddy. It must be by design that she would have her followers think and speak of her in the same breath with God.

(b) "Mary was God's expression on earth." (ibid, 207) Here again the author would equate her work and purpose with Jesus Christ's. As Christ was the expression (the declaration, John 1:18) of God so, it is claimed, is Eddy.

(c) The claim for eternal character of her work is seen in this statement: "This Science always was." "Like all else it had no beginning, and will have no ending." (ibid., p.207)

But let us consider the sort of proof offered to conclusively establish that "C.S." "was authentically given by God." This is proof from Scripture. "None other will convince the world." In this sentence the author hits the center of the mark.

Two days before Mrs. Eddy passed into the world beyond she wrote her final, but climactic revelation: "God is my life." The conclusion of Mr. D'Humv is that these words refer to Acts 4:11. He affirms that the verse refers to Mrs. Eddy personally and/or her writings. In order to see the full extravagance of this reasoning two things must be kept in mind. First, how differently the apostles showed Christ to be the fulfillment of prophecy. They plainly (not cryptically) said so. They closely brought together the essential elements of prophecy and the one who fulfilled it. Second, it was never Mrs. Eddy's purpose to be vague and cryptic (this is not my estimation of her writings but hers and her followers) in her writings. She picked a poor time to give the world a cryptogram — a time when she was seeking to give the sort of proof that would convince the world that her words were God's words, enlightening the mind as had none other.

Here is how Mr. D'Humy deciphers the cryptogram ("God is my life") showing Mary to be the "rejected stone." (Acts 4:11) (a) These words have to refer to the New Testament since she always emphasized "love" and the New Testament is the book of "love." (b) "Clearly" her work was an act of an apostle. Therefore, the words refer to the book of Acts. (c) There are four words in the statement. Therefore, chapter four of Acts is referred to. (e) The product of four times eleven is forty-four. And Acts is the forty-fourth book in Scripture. (f) The ancient pyramid of Gizeh "has been reverently named the Bible in Stone." It lacks a headstone, "symbolically awaiting the completion or crowning of the Holy Scriptures." The headstone is "Key." (g) Conclusion: "Divine prophecy was perfectly fulfilled when the Biblical Headstone was symbolically placed on the Holy Scripture by Mary Baker Eddy! We can truly say as Paul said to the Thessalonians: 'Despise not prophecy'." These points are found on pages 210-214.

We would strongly urge all "Christian Scientists" not to "despise prophecy" by perverting it.

My friend, if you will only turn and read you will see that the inspired Peter tells us right in the same context who the headstone is. Acts 4:11 says: "This is the stone." The antecedent of the pronoun "this" is Jesus Christ. See verse 10. Without doubt Peter affirms the stone to be Jesus Christ. (Cp. 1 Peter 2:4-7) The world did not wait in suspense 1900 years to know who the rejected headstone is.

Mrs. Eddy could not do the work of an apostle since she lacked the qualification of an apostle. (Acts 1:21. 22) She could not do the work since it has already been done. (1 Cor. 3:10, 11) The book of Acts only happens to be the forty-fourth book in our English Bible.

II. Errors concerning the Scriptures.

In order to be a "Christian Scientist" one must ignore the claimed purpose of Old and New Testament Scriptures. One must also deny the complete inspiration of them. The writings of Mrs. Eddy exalt her words above the words of Scripture. Mrs. Eddy cast reflection upon Scripture by contradicting them. These are serious charges but they can be fairly substantiated.

First of all, if Mrs. Eddy had understood the purpose of Scripture and had believed in the inspiration of them she would not have thought it necessary to write "Key." Men cannot become her student until first their complete confidence in Scripture is destroyed.

The purpose of the Word — Living, oral and written — is to make known God's person and will to man in order that man may he united with God by faith. From I Corinthians, chapter two we learn these things: (1) The wisdom which Paul preached was God's wisdom. (v. 7) (2) God revealed this wisdom to inspired men. (v. 10; Cp. Galatians 1:12) (3) It was revealed by the spirit who searcheth the deep things of God. (v. 10) (4) No man can discover God's wisdom. (v: II) (5) The gospel was not received by means of the world's spirit. (v.12) A man in the world uses his natural, acquired and technical skills to find the truth. It is not by this Spirit that God's mind was made known. (6) The mind of God was not revealed by His Spirit in words of "man's wisdom" nit in divinely selected words. (v. 13) Those who deny the full inspiration of Scripture impeach God's wisdom. Men deny inspiration when they assert the Scriptures cannot accomplish their purpose — to make known God's wisdom for man's salvation. The writings of Mrs. Eddy so assert, and therefore deny the inspiration of the Bible.

The written word can be understood. (Eph. 3:3-5) The written word can produce faith in the reader. (John 20:30, 31) The written word can confirm faith in Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:1-4)

To say that further light must be divinely shed on Scripture in order for men to understand it is to ignore Scripture's stated purpose. It will cause the "later light" to be considered as superior to Scripture. And this is precisely what Mrs. Eddy attempts.

"C.S." writings reflect upon Scripture by insisting "spirit given words" need a peculiar "C.S." definition. Mrs. Eddy calls such "the substitution of the spiritual for the material definition. Key. 579:1-6. But the words of Scripture are "spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:13) Mrs. Eddy feels that human language is inadequate to teach the truth. Key. 349:13f. She overlooks that this method of communication was selected by God. Also, that the words of the divine communication are "spiritual words." But since her words do what Scripture cannot do this makes her follower put more confidence in her words than "spirit given words."

She says: "The five physical senses are the avenues and instruments of human error, and they correspond with error." Key. 293:32f. And yet God, through John, affirms that we can believe that Jesus Christ is God. And that he came in the flesh. (1 John 1:1-4) In order to misunderstand John in this passage one must substitute what is called a "spiritual definition" for what is actually a spiritual revelation.

Mrs. Eddy causes her followers to lose faith in Scripture by flatly contradicting them.

(a) "God is Spirit." (John 4:24) "And God created man in his own image." (Gen. 1:27) Mrs. Eddy says: "Spirit never created matter." Key. 335:7.

(b) The Bible says: "Jesus therefore said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead." (John 11:14) Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died." Key. 75:13-15.

(c) The Bible says: "The body apart from the spirit is dead." (James 2:26) Mrs. Eddy wrote: "The body cannot die." Key. 426:30.

As an example of substitution of a "spiritual definition" for a "human definition" in order to more clearly teach the truth, consider this sample. The Bible says: "when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son," (Rom. 5:10) Mrs. Eddy said: "when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the (seeming) death of his Son." Key. 45:9-12.

Mrs. Eddy claims the Bible has errors in it, since some who wrote it only wrote down what an inspired teacher taught. Key. 319:23-27. In her judgment the only reliable writings were her own! Disbelieving the source of Scriptures and ignoring their purpose "C.S." makes them an empty shell. It attempts to revive them through Mrs. Eddy's writings. But such is the substitution of the human for the divine. There is no life in such.

III. Errors Concerning God.

True conclusions cannot he drawn from untrue premises, "CS." starts with an erroneous concept of God. Since every other spiritual truth is absolutely dependent upon the right conception of God, the proper understanding of God is essential to our understanding of truth. The first question that we must settle is, what is the correct understanding of God?

Sin cannot be understood except it is viewed as a violation of the holiness of God — a living Person. Salvation, therefore, must be known as being saved from the effects of sin. Jesus came in order to save man from sin. To think of God wrongly leads one to think of sin wrongly; and salvation wrongly; and the Saviour wrongly; and the scheme of redemption wrongly.

From what source can we receive our knowledge of God? Powerful things argue for a more powerful force behind them. Things seen argue for things not seen, Paul tells ns in Rom. 1:19, 20. But things seen tell us nothing of the true essence and character of God. To study nature confirms our faith in that an all-powerful mind lives and controls the world. But it tells us nothing about eternal redemption.

If God is mere force or power then to sin against him would be no more than abusing an automobile engine. Such conception would lead man to believe that since he can control great natural power, such as a mighty river, he can therefore control God. Such a view would exalt man above God. Faith in such a principle lacks power to prevent sin and is impotent to cure sin.

Can the knowledge of God come from our own experience or our own intuition? Our experience and intuition are not to be trusted with reference to redemption. God would then be determined by man. Since only the greater can judge the lesser, this view would make man superior to God.

If we are ever going to know God truthfully we must depend upon God to make himself known to us. And this, of course, is a primary purpose of Scripture.

What do the Scriptures tell us of God? They tell us that He is the living and true God. (I Thessalonians 1:9) That He is the Judge of all. (Hebrews 12:23) That He made the world and all things therein. (Acts 17:24) He gives to all things life and breath. (Acts 17:25) That all men live, move and have their being in Him. (Acts 17:28) That we are the offspring of God. And therefore we ought not to think of Him as a "thing." We should think of Him as that one, that person from whom we have "sprung." (Acts 17:29) God loves men. (Roman 5:8) He is rich in mercy and is our Saviour. (Titus 3:4-7) These are some of the things God has revealed of Himself in Scripture.

What does "CS." teach of God? Mrs. Eddy writes, a "personal sense of God necessarily limits faith and hinders spiritual understanding." Key. 312:24-26, God is "spiritually defined" by her in such words as "Principle, Mind and Intelligence." Key Glossary, under "God."

Mrs. Eddy teaches to believe that God is a person limits faith and hinders understanding. Jesus believed that God is a person. He called Him his Father. (John 17:26) He worshipped Him as a Person. (Matthew 6:9) He besought Him as a Person. (Matthew 26:39) He came to do His will — a person's will. (Hebrews 10:7) He trusted Him as a Person. (Philippians 2:5-9) "C.S." would have us believe that because Jesus Christ believed in God as a person his faith was impaired and his understanding was impeded. Knowing this teaching of "C.S." we should not be too shocked that Mrs. Eddy thought Christ made mistakes and had a lesser grasp of truth than herself.

The Bible says that Ananias and Sapphira lied to God. (Acts 5:3,4) One cannot lie to a principle. One lies to a person. The Spirit makes intercession for man to God. (Romans 8:26,27) Intersession is made between persons, not principles. Paul warns the Ephesians Christians not to grieve the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30) We cannot grieve things, only persons. God wills and works in men. (Philippians 2:13) Only persons will and work. Therefore, God is a person.

In spite of the fact that Mrs. Eddy has done her best to avoid the label of "pantheism," she has failed. Feeling the weight of this criticism she has done everything she could to disprove it, short of correcting her views in the light of what Scripture teaches. She has written: "All that is made is the work of God, and all is good." We must remember that she defines "good" as "God." God made man. Therefore, man is "good" and is "God." God made birds. All that God made is "good," and is "God." Therefore birds are "good," and are "God."

IV. Errors With Reference To Jesus Christ.

The subtlety to Mrs. Eddy's writings is that they contain a spark of truth. It would be odd if it were otherwise. For seldom does error receive much acceptance if it is plainly and obviously "error." The spark of truth is that she strikes hard at materiality. She seeks, apparently, to emphasize the spiritual over the material. And, in this is consistent with the doctrine of Christ. Of course, she does not escape the error of materiality. Her esoteric doctrine appeals to those who think of immortality in terms of materiality. Those who are not under the spell of her writings can clearly see that she is enmeshed, as well as her followers, in the morass of a materialistic doctrine.

She is able to appear to believe many points of "sound doctrine," without batting an eye she affirms belief in the Virgin birth, atonement, through Christ's death and resurrection, Jesus Christ as God's Son, forgiveness of sins, the inspired Bible as a sufficient guide to eternal life. But the fact is she does not believe these Bible doctrines. The trick is she believes them as she has "spiritually defined" them. It causes her no trouble that the original writings of Scripture claimed to be God's definition of his own teaching. Mrs. Eddy speaks a "double-language." If one urges upon her students the Biblical teaching, they reply that one does not understand what "CS." means. If one is to see, one must come under the "lamp" of Mrs. Eddy. If one only casually reads the tenets of her creed, and is lacking in perception, one is made to feel that some of her doctrines are quite sound. The truth is that none of her doctrines are true. All are error. And none of her error is more false than what she teaches about sin and the sinner's Saviour, Jesus Christ.

With an erroneous concept of God and man she could not help but be wrong about sin, salvation and the Saviour.

Mrs. Eddy denies that Christ is a person and seeks to destroy his reality. She affirms that Christ is only "the true spiritual idea." Key. 361:4. She makes a distinction between Jesus and Christ. Jesus is the corporeal man and Christ is the highest spiritual idea. Her teaching about his birth is: (a) His virgin mother conceived Jesus as an ideal Son of God; (b) Jesus' mother gave her ideal the name Saviour. Key. 29:17, 18.

The Bible teaches this in contrast to Mrs. Eddy: (a) God sent on angel to inform Mary that she would bear a son. Mary did not conceive the idea. God informed her of it. (b) Jesus shall be the Son of God; the only begotten son of God. (John 1:18) (c) Mary did not give her "ideal" the name Saviour. The name was given by God through the angel. (Luke 2:21)

Mrs. Eddy calls Jesus Christ an "idea....The Scriptures affirm he is a "person." (2 Corinthians 2:10; Hebrews 1:3) And that he is a man. (1 Tim. 2:5) Mrs. Eddy attempts to rebut this plain teaching by claiming that Jesus is a man — "corporeal idea" — and Christ is the divine idea. But this will not do for Paul says "Christ Jesus" is the "man who gave himself a ransom for all." (1 Timothy 2:5) The Bible does not recognize Mrs. Eddy's distinction. In fact, it contradicts it. The rebuttal of "C.S." to this is that Paul did not have a sufficiently spiritual understanding to grasp what he was saying!

Such teaching destroys faith in the merits of Christ's death and resurrection when we come to know what Mrs. Eddy actually teaches about it:

(a) Christ actually did not die. He only pretended to be dead. And His disciples, with their yet materialistic conceptions, only thought him to be dead. Key. 44:28f. However, Jesus affirmed that he must die. (Matt. 16:21) He further affirmed that Old Testament scripture predicted that Christ must die in order that salvation might he preached in his name. (Luke 24: 46, 47)

(h) Mrs. Eddy affirms that wrath is not part of the righteousness of God. Key. 22:27. The Bible says it is. (1 Thess. 1:10; Rom. 9:22) "The holiness of God demands that He take account of sin; justice demands that He punish it; mercy demands that He forgive it."

(c) With one stroke of the pen Mrs. Eddy would destroy the sacrifice of Christ's life, make useless the eternal purposing of God and make the inspired Word mere fabrication. She insists that one sacrifice is insufficient to pay the debt of sin.

Yet the Bible says, "he gave his life a ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:5) "That by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Heb. 10:14. Cp. 1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 2:2)

(d) In the face of plain teaching Mrs. Eddy denies the saving value of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Key. 25:6f.

(e) Mrs. Eddy positively asserts that Christ did not die. She makes him fraudulent in his actions by remaining in the tomb in order to make it appear to his disciples that he did die.

Thus we see that "C.S." cuts the heart and soul out of salvation.

Once again the issue is clear: believe God or man. We call upon "Christian Scientists" to believe in the God of the Bible, the divine Person who is concerned with man upon a personal basis; who seeks man's salvation. We ask them to build their faith in God through God's word and to put away all human writings. We urge them to repent of their sins, confess their faith in Christ, and be baptized into the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection. Then they will truly be "sons of God."

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