A recent critic goes out of his way to explain that the healing...

Birmingham News

A recent critic goes out of his way to explain that the healing of Christian Science is not the healing of the New Testament. The healing of the New Testament, he says, was the direct intervention of God, not merely for the purpose of conferring creature benefits, but for the purpose of proving the divinity of Christ's claims, establishing the reality of the resurrection, and confirming the teaching of the apostles. Will you permit me to point out that, as a matter of fact, this theory is opposed not merely to the teaching of Christian Science, but to that of a very large proportion of the churches. Reduced to plain English it means simply this: that the healing of the first century was supernatural, and that it was confined to Jesus and the apostles. Now, literally, this is incorrect, if the words of the Bible are to be accepted as accurate. Historically it is incorrect, if the evidence of the fathers and later historians is to be accepted. Traditionally it is incorrect, if we are to accept the traditions of the church of the middle ages; and exegetically it is incorrect, if we are to accept the teaching of an enormous body of the clergy of the various churches of today. Finally, it is not merely an incorrect statement, but an entire misstatement of the teaching of Christian Science.

First, then, to take the literal text of the Bible, there is no possible way of escape from the fact that Jesus' commands to heal the sick were given to humanity, and not merely to a specific handful of individuals. As a matter of fact, it would be easier to argue that the command to preach the gospel was given only to the disciples, and therefore should have come to an end with them, than to attempt the same argument with regard to the healing of the sick. In the gospel of St. Matthew, in almost his last recorded words, Jesus directed his disciples to teach whatsoever things he had commanded them. No one, presumably, will pretend that the healing of the sick was not one of the things commanded them, since this healing constitued a very large portion of his teaching. Then in the gospel of St. Mark there is once more the command to heal the sick, coupled with a statement that those who believed in Jesus' teaching would not be hurt by poisons or serpents; and finally, in the gospel of St. John there is that extremely broad statement of Christ Jesus that those who believed in him would be able to do the works that he had done. Now, these commands were spoken without reference to time or place. There is no pretense that they were delivered especially to the apostles, or that they were confined to any age, and it is only by deliberately altering the clear meaning of the Greek text and the English translations that it is possible to maintain the ground which this eritic has taken up.

Next, the word miracle has no supernatural meaning, and never had any. It is the arbitrary translation of two Greek words, one of which means an act of power, and the other, a sign. The miracle, in short, was the act of power, or sign, in demonstration of the truth of Jesus' teaching, and it is a mere abuse of the Greek language to give it a supernatural significance.

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