Christian Science

Christian Science, religion founded upon principles of divine healing and laws expressed in the acts and sayings of Jesus, as discovered and set forth by Mary Baker Eddy and practiced by the Church of Christ, Scientist. The church teaches that God is good and the only reality, and that sin, evil, and illness are overcome on the basis of this understanding. Adherents rely on spiritual, rather than medical or material, means for healing. The occasion of Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of divine healing was her immediate recovery of life and health when in 1866 she read an account of healing by Jesus in the New Testament. In 1875 her Science and Health (later published as Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures) was published. In 1879 she established the Church of Christ, Scientist. In Boston in 1892 was organized the First Church of Christ, Scientist—the Mother Church, of which Christian Science churches throughout the world are branches. Each individual church is self-governing and self-supporting, but all accept the tenets framed by the founder and incorporated in the Church Manual. Upon Eddy's death in 1910, the administrative power was assumed, as laid down in the Manual, by the Christian Science Board of Directors. An extremely active organization, the board enabled Christian Science to grow steadily in numbers and scope of activity during the first third of the 20th cent. Of the numerous publications the church issues, the most important include the Christian Science Monitor, a daily newspaper; the Christian Science Quarterly; the Christian Science Sentinel; and the Christian Science Journal. These are published by the Christian Science Publishing Society. Other activities are conducted by a board of education and a board of lectureship. The churches have no individual pastors. Services are conducted by two readers, one reading from the Scriptures, the other from Science and Health. All churches use the same lessons at the same time. The teachings are drawn from the life and words of Jesus. Although most Christian Scientists are in the United States, the religion is found in 70 countries with large Protestant populations. A great percentage of its adherents are women.

See R. Peel, Christian Science (1958); S. Gottschalk, The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life (1973); C. Fraser, God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Christian Science: Selected full-text books and articles

FREE! Science and Health: With Key to the Scriptures By Mary Baker Eddy Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker Eddy, 1906
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Mother Church of Christian Science First Church of Christ, Scientist Boston, Massachusetts By Johnson, Dale A Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 70, No. 4, December 2001
The Emerging Face of Being One: Discerning the Ecumenical Community from the Christian Science Church By Paulson, Shirley Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring 2014
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Christian Science Views on Disability By Waldman, Barry; Perlman, Steven P.; Chaudhry, Ramiz A The Exceptional Parent, Vol. 40, No. 8, August 2010
Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy By James R. Lewis Prometheus Books, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. 16 "Christian Science and the New Thought Tradition"
Self-Help and Popular Religion in Modern American Culture: An Interpretive Guide By Roy M. Anker Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Romanticism, the Gilded Age, and the History of Christian Science"
Challenging Medical Authority: The Refusal of Treatment by Christian Scientists By May, Larry The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 25, No. 1, January-February 1995
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
When Faith Fails Children By Swan, Rita The Humanist, Vol. 60, No. 6, November 2000
American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity By Paul K. Conkin University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Spiritual Christianity: Christian Science and Unity"
When Prophets Die: The Postcharismatic Fate of New Religious Movements By Timothy Miller State University of New York Press, 1991
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "Charisma and Covenant: The Christian Science Movement in Its Initial Postcharismatic Phase"
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