Distinguishing Features of the Christian Science Church

It is sometimes asked, "What are the distinguishing features of Christian Science churches"?

Many answers to this question might present themselves, but we may consider briefly three important points: First, this church stands for belief in (or "reliance upon," as this phrase has been finely interpreted) and acknowledgment of one power only,—God, good. Scholastic theology has claimed to teach this for centuries, since to have done otherwise it must have discarded the Scriptures, but really it has not done so. It has encouraged the belief in a power called evil as opposed to good. It has led us to think either that there were two creators, or that God created evil. This reliance upon one power, as taught in Christian Science, results in a unity between God and man, and between man and his fellow-men not otherwise attainable. Through this unity the elements of discord which inevitably tend toward separation are annihilated, and the home,—that stronghold and sanctuary of the affections,—and the church, which is but a wider home, is firmly fixed upon a stable basis. The first essential point, then, is the belief in one perfect God, and man, made in His image, who is necessarily perfect also.

Secondly, the corner-stone of this church is Christ. Truth, manifested to human apprehension by the works,—the promised signs which follow faith. The healing of disease is a primal fruit but not necessarily the most important. It comes with startling distinctness to this age, because for so long it has seemed a lost element of Christianity. Other fruits are, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These are equally important and often harder of attainment than the destruction of mere bodily ailments, but Christian Science unfolds the possibility of obtaining all these fruits as present realities. It teaches that "love is the fulfilling of the law:" it teaches that joy is not a concomitant of the physical senses, for it proves that we are happiest when these senses are most in abeyance: it shows us that peace is not to be sought among material surroundings, nor looked for in some distant place called heaven, but is found in the consciousness of right doing; it points the way of "longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," with no uncertain finger and bids us daily, yea, hourly, walk therein. Unless these fruits are brought forth in some degree, one is unworthy to be called a follower of the Christ-truth; i.e., a Christian Scientist.

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December 3, 1904

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