Qualifying for Church Membership

What impels the average individual to make application for membership in a Christian Science church? Possibly, in the large majority of cases, gratitude for some specific case of healing would be found to be the persuasive animus prompting the individual to take this progressive step in Christian Science. It is, however, possible that one may contemplate joining a Christian Science church with an impulse which is mainly selfish. The prospective member may say: I wish to join because I know how much it will do for me; or, I think it may help in my healing.

Without realizing the subtle, selfish motives which prompt his step, the applicant for membership in the Christian Science church may make application in apparent good faith, and yet be deceiving himself and those upon whom falls the responsibility of approving his membership. An understanding of the definition of Church, as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has given it, is necessarily an important qualification for church membership.

Because a Christian Science church organization is the highest manifestation of "that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race," as the definition just referred to states in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 583), it must be strengthened by its membership and not weakened; and, therefore, new members should be prepared, by reason of individual spiritual growth and demonstration, to bring substance into the structure. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." So writes the prophet Malachi. Let the one, then, who seeks church membership search his own heart, test his motive, and thoroughly determine his preparedness for actively supporting, mentally, morally, and financially, that organization through whose agency the world is being healed.

God Must Be First
May 10, 1924

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