The World's Work

It is no part of the duty of Christian Scientists to engage in uncalled-for criticism of those who are striving in their own way to ameliorate human suffering. In the first place, they possess, as so acute a reasoner as Principal Lindsay has recently admitted, "a superb faith" in Truth, which in turn entails a no less practical than theoretical reliance on that great saying of Gamaliel's, that the things which are the outcome of human wisdom will come to naught, but that those which are of God cannot be overthrown ; and, in the second place, they have always before them as a warning the rebuke of Jesus to John, when the beloved disciple told him, "We saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us:" to which Jesus replied, "Forbid him not : for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me." If therefore Dr. McComb and those who think with him had been content to accept the advice of Gamaliel, or to act on the command of Jesus, — that is, to preach the gospel and heal the sick in their own way, without staying to quarrel with their neighbors for not seeing eye to eye with them, — they might have found, as Lot found when he stood with Abram in the plain, between Hai and Bethel, that there is room in the world for all; but inasmuch as they have found it impossible to preach the gospel, as they understand it, without explaining that Christian Science is a perversion of it. or to heal functional disease without insisting that Christian Scientists cannot heal organic disease, it becomes necessary to examine their arguments, not for the sake of depreciating what they are doing, but for the purpose of correcting the misconception of Christian Science which they are engaged in promulgating.

It is a cardinal point of the teaching of the Emmanuel movement, of which Dr. McComb is one of the founders, that, unlike Christian Science, it is based "fairly and squarely" on the Bible. The moment, however, that you begin to examine this claim you are brought face to face with a method of Biblical exegesis which is on all fours with a theory for which Matthew Arnold contended, and which he termed "aberglaube invading." It is the theory that the miraculous element in the Gospels was one of gradual development, which, starting from cures that could quite reasonably be attributed to mental action, blossomed into the thaumaturgy expressed in raising the dead and walking on the water. That this is practically the position taken by Dr. McComb is manifest from his own categorical statement that spiritual healing, by which he means healing by suggestion, is limited to functional diseases, and that Christian Science never has and never will heal a case of organix disease. If this constitutes taking a stand "fairly and squarely" on the Bible, it mustbe a bowdlerized edition. Only the other day Dr. Shaw of Harley Street wrote a letter to the Daily Mail in which he explained that no doctor was justified in speaking of any disease as incurable, and that, thought not a Christian Scientist, he believed in what he would regard as the essential tenet of their creed, and which he might sum up in the words, "The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save."

November 7, 1908

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