In a recent issue a writer refers to the sermon lately...

Kent Messenger and Ashford Examiner

In a recent issue a writer refers to the sermon lately preached by the Vicar of Tenterden on Christian Science. Will you kindly permit me to emphasize one part of his argument while explaining another, and then to make a demand, in the most public way possible, on the vicar himself? First, I should like to emphasize that part of his letter in which he points out that if the vicar's argument is sound, he is engaged in blowing himself out of the water simultaneously with Christian Scientists. Second, may I explain that the vicar's prejudices constitute miserably frail premises for the consideration of Christian Science. Christian Science certainly teaches that an understanding of spiritual law, and an attempt to live in complete obedience to it, will be found to embody a knowledge of the truth which Jesus the Christ said would free the world. It does not, however, ask humanity to accept this as a dogma to be proved after death. It asks it to accept it as a working hypothesis to be demonstrated, as Jesus demonstrated it himself, and demanded that it should be demonstrated by his followers, when he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." This surely makes a man's claim to Christianity dependent on and in proportion to his fulfilment of Jesus' own requirement.

Christian Scientists accept this demand unequivocally for themselves, and everybody has got to do the same who is not going to run away from the obvious meaning of the Bible. It is utter nonsense to say that they blame their neighbors for their failures, and only proves that critics like the Vicar of Tenterden have not read the book they are attacking. Here is what Mrs. Eddy does say, on page 149 of the Christian Science text-book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "If you fail to succeed in any case, it is because you have not demonstrated the life of Christ, Truth, more in your own life,—because you have not obeyed the rule and proved the Principle of divine Science." The propaganda of Christian Science amounts to this, that Christian Scientists say: Here is a teaching which we have individually accepted in theory, and found to be demonstrable in practise, therefore we naturally believe in it. If you are in trouble, moral, mental, or physical, and have failed to find help, you might, as we did, examine and test it, to see if, as we did, you may not find help in it. This is not, however, enough for the Vicar of Tenterden; he must be the arbiter of truth for the parish, and whatever he decides against must be cast out. I hope the bishops of his church are prepared for the crusade in which he has assumed the role of Peter the Hermit.

August 16, 1913

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