When Mary Baker Eddy, through divine revelation and pure reason, discovered Christian Science, she also recognized the inescapable demand for proofs of its practicality. She therefore subjected the theory to documentation over a period of nearly ten years in public practice before she gave the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," to the world. In this she but followed the example of Jesus, who proved in his healing and saving works the Science of his Christly mission and ministry.
Empirical knowledge could never have established Christianity and Christian Science. And that fact makes the role of the Christian Science practitioner paramount in the evangelization of humanity. And the world's necessity to be saved and the people's need to be healed pinpoint the present need for additional practitioners listed in The Christian Science Journal.
Indeed the need has never been greater for consecrated and inflexible Field workers in the healing art of scientific Christianity. This determination to devote one's life to walking in the steps of the Master is in the individual's own hands without let or hindrance. A discussion of the role of the practitioner is apropos and can be helpful to the individual in considering such a decision in discipleship.
The role of the practitioner is epitomized in Christ Jesus' words, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). And that role was glorified in his own healing and serving ministry. An analysis could be made under three aspects. First consider the practitioner as a friend.
In Christian Science the rule of do-it-yourself is primary. It is a truly great idea and involves and assures progress. The reason for seeking help, then, is a sense of inability to do it yourself, a sense of need. This justifies the call and the response. The practitioner thus becomes a friend to the needy one.
In this role the practitioner undertakes the defense against the mesmeric attack of mortal mind—the "liar, and the father of it [the lie]" (John 8:44). He pleads the case before the bar of justice against the murderous hate of mortal mind and for the healing power of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). He exercises the power of attorney in behalf of the afflicted one. He denies the illegal beliefs and reveals the legitimacy of the true man. And that office of Truth rightly may continue till the lie of inability is cast out and the right sense of "I can" is restored.
The second aspect is the role of helper. Too much importance cannot be given to the cooperative character of the practitioner-patient relationship. This calls for togetherness in trusting God and working and winning. If one goes to a doctor, one expects to work with the medical practitioner. One submits to searching examination and clinical tests, gets prescriptions filled, swallows the concoctions, even though with a grimace.
The employment of a Christian Science practitioner calls for the same spirit of cooperation. And this does not mean the mere reading of citations furnished by the practitioner or the perfunctory repetition of the letter. It means the determined effort to give the lie to the lie and to feel the power of Christ operating to heal and save. The patient's disbelief in the error is fully as important as the helper's and, when really exercised, leads into the discernment of Truth.
This cooperation between practitioner and patient is ideal and called for. And in a degree it is in operation when the patient turns to the practitioner asking for the help such faith deserves.
The very plea for help presupposes the opening door of receptivity. The office of helper justifies the office of confessor. But the confessional in Christian Science is not an inquisition. It is completely voluntary. Apart from his office as helper, the practitioner has no legitimate interest in his patient's private affairs. Nor does even his proper interest extend beyond his connection with the case.
The third aspect of public practice is that of persuasion. The practitioner is a persuader. His healing ministry is convincing proof of the power of the Christ to reform the repentant, taking away the sins of worldliness and opening the portals of spiritual life. He is most persuasive in the spiritual thought he thinks and in the consequent spiritual life he leads.
The Founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, indicates that the scientific evangelist teaches by healing and heals by teaching. By his persuasiveness, by his demonstration of Christ in himself, he fulfills the highest idealism of his office. How wonderfully she puts it (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 155), "Forget self in laboring for mankind; then will you woo the weary wanderer to your door, win the pilgrim and stranger to your church, and find access to the heart of humanity"!
King Agrippa was moved by Paul's presentation of his evangelical religion and said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28). The holy and high office in all its aspects can be summed up in the words of the greatest practitioner of all when he said (John 15: 13), "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
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