Rebuke and Explanation

On page 452 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy writes, "When error confronts you, withhold not the rebuke or the explanation which destroys error." It is to be noted that in her employment of the word "error" she does not in any way indicate that this error is man. The statement contains this important point also—namely, that error does not always need a rebuke, but that it is to be dealt with in some instances through explanation. Christianly scientific diagnosis consists in the ability through spiritual discernment to probe human thought, to detect and to determine whence comes mankind's thinking. This spiritual process Mrs. Eddy defines as the anatomy of Christian Science. The practitioner of Christian Science who does not sufficiently discern the distinction between the error and spiritual man, or even sufficiently determine the nature of the error, will through a mistaken diagnosis most likely fail in demonstration. Intelligently to discern evil as always impersonal and to meet and overcome its specific arguments are primal requisites in Christian Science.

In a study of some of the New Testament narratives we may find many striking illustrations of the power of spiritual discernment to separate the error from man. The twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew records the Master's graphic illustration of the healing and regenerating process in human thought as given in the parable of the sheep and the goats. Theologians through the years have erroneously used this Biblical lesson as authority for the doctrine of everlasting punishment. But in the light of Christian Science it is learned that the sheep and the goats are not individuals, but false beliefs of so-called mortal mind as opposed to the divine ideas emanating from God, and that these false beliefs must be purged from human consciousness. The sin of mortal mind is never to be condoned, smoothed over, and left to lie dormant or hidden. Truth demands that it be uncovered, uprooted, and cast out.

The practitioner of Christian Science, while beholding the impersonal nature of evil, realizes that sin needs to be rebuked, and that it must be repented of and forsaken. There are errors, however, that are not always intentional sin; and these need only the explanation of Truth to destroy them. The practitioner must also be clear as to the distinction between rebuke and condemnation. The dictionary defines the word "rebuke" as to curb, check, or reprove. Thus it is seen that the words "rebuke" and "condemnation" are not necessarily synonymous terms. The one may be constructive; the other, destructive.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

The Christian Science Heralds
August 16, 1924

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.