Growth in Christian Science

As humanity turns in greater numbers to Christian Science, the need increases for watchfulness against the temptation to regard numbers as essential indications of growth. In Section 28 of Article VIII of the Manual of The Mother Church, Christian Scientists are admonished not to "report for publication the number of the members of The Mother Church, not that of the branch churches," but rather to "turn away from personality and numbering the people." This by-law is placed in the chapter entitled Discipline. It is therefore not suppressive, as might at first appear, but corrective. It meets fairly and squarely a marked tendency of the human mind to rely on unstable evidence and false standards. In case one is tempted to say or think Christian Science has had "wonderful growth" in such and such a city or country,—the necessary inference being that it has not so grown somewhere else,—may not he find helpful "discipline" in contemplating the spirit as well as the letter of the by-law above quoted?

On page 68 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says, "Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion." Growth in Christian Science, therefore, cannot be measured in numbers of church organizations or edifices or in numbers of persons identified with such churches. If it were true that the great throngs attending services in certain communities constitute an accurate register of the growth of Christian Science there, it would logically follow that proportionately less growth, or none at all, has taken place in those communities where the attendance is smaller; consequently a sense of elation in the one instance would be offset in some degree by a feeling of discouragement in the other.

The Child in the Midst
January 6, 1917

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