Our Sacred Institution

The Christian Church began when Jesus, in the character of the Christ, asked his first two disciples to follow him and they accepted his call. It was more definitely instituted when he sent forth his first twelve disciples to preach and practice his and their religion. After Jesus ascended, the Church of Christ was consolidated and reorganized when his disciples met, as he had instructed them, to be "endued with power from on high," so that they could carry on the Messianic work without his personal presence. (See Matt. 4:18–20; Matt. 10:1–8; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:12–15; Acts 2:1, 14, 37–47.)

At that time, Christianity had no creed or definitive statement. Its adherents simply felt the need of all mankind for a divine Saviour; they acknowledged that Jesus, in the office of the Christ, had brought this salvation from the divine source; they responded to his call for Christian service, and they arranged, in an appropriate way, to carry on the saving work which he had instituted. The Church of Christ, Scientist, is likewise remarkable for its simplicity and for its devotion to the original purpose of the Christian religion; that is, present salvation from evil by present demonstration of good. Besides being Christians in the original sense of this term, Christian Scientists also acknowledge Mary Baker Eddy's great service to mankind rendered in full accord with the teaching and practice of Christ Jesus. Often in her writings she has declared the relation of her religion to his; for instance, as follows (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 301): "Christian Science is a reflected glory; it shines with borrowed rays—from Light emitting light. Christian Science is the new-old Christianity, that which was and is the revelation of divine Love."

Defined in the simplest terms, a church is an agency for the effecting of religious results; it is a means and mode of cooperation for religious purposes; it is an organized relationship by which few or many persons agree to act together for purposes connected with their religion. For some of these purposes, meetings are essential; for other purposes, they are not. When the Christian disciples, after the Master's ascension, received the influx of spiritual understanding which enabled them to carry on his work by themselves, "they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1). For Christian Scientists to be of one accord now is no less essential to-day than was the unity manifested by the early Christians at that momentous time. For all Christian Scientists to assemble in one place is neither possible nor requisite. The unity of Christian Scientists, "the bond of blessedness," is manifested chiefly by "spiritual cooperation" (Miscellany, p. 162). This calls for the different assemblies stated in the Church Manual, and for the abundant success thereof; but spiritual cooperation extends far beyond these assemblies, and is largely independent of personal contact or place. Its demands and opportunities are coextensive with Christian fellowship and Christian service.

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Healing through Truth and Love
June 14, 1930

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