Letter to Christian Scientists

Dear Christian Scientist,

We are three Christian students from the University of Northern Iowa who have recently become exposed to Christian Science teachings by visiting various reading rooms, which led us to research Science and Health, as well as Mrs. Eddy's Letters to the Mother Church, and other Christian Science works. We are writing this letter to you out of genuine concern, because while Christian Science declares itself to be Bible based, the fact is that the teachings of Christian Science are in direct contradiction to the Bible, as we will show. Our hope is that you would read this letter with an open mind and therefore look at the Bible for what it really says. Please do not think that we are attacking any individual Christian Scientist with this letter; we hope that you will not be defensive, but consider what we have to say.

In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy sets forth the tenets of Christian Science on P. 497. The first tenet says: "As adherents of truth, we take the inspired word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal life." We agree with this first tenet. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17 that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work". Please note that Paul says ALL scripture is God-breathed. He also declares that the Bible is sufficient, as is, for use, because God is the ultimate source of everything in the Bible.

Through our conversations with Christian Scientists, it is apparent that they do not believe all scripture is God-breathed, contradicting not only 2 Timothy 3: 16, but also the first tenet of Christian Science. For example, Mrs. Eddy teaches that the second chapter of Genesis is a lie (see Key to the Scriptures). Since ALL Scripture is God-breathed, not a word of it is untrue, and not a word of it could be corrupted by human interpretation: "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Peter 1:20,21). Therefore, to believe that even a word of the Bible is untrue -- let alone entire chapters -- is to deny that all Scripture is God-breathed. But if all Scripture is not God-breathed, then the Bible is not a sufficient guide to eternal life. Christian Science violates its own first tenet.

It is also apparent from our research, and extensive conversation with Christian Scientists, that Christian Science holds to an allegorical interpretation of many passages that are not clearly meant to be interpreted in this manner, and also reads into the text many things that simply aren't there. In Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics ask about the Christian Faith, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart write: "The message of the Bible is clear for those who read it and seek to find out its meaning. The problem comes when people bring their preconceived notions of the Bible and attempt to make the Word fit their preconceived ideas." A passage of Scripture should only be interpreted allegorically when there is definite indications in the text itself which warrant such. Christian Science interprets many passages allegorically with absolutely no basis for doing so, once again violating its own first tenet, and 2 Timothy 3:16, by denying the sufficiency of the Bible to lead people to salvation by its own virtue -- that is, without the need to interpret key passages in an allegorical manner. Examples for this are the passages on Jesus' deity, sin, evil, Satan, and the Last Judgement (Second Death). A good rule of thumb to go by is "When the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you come up with nonsense." With this and 2 Timothy 3: 16 in mind, let's look at what the Bible has to say about Jesus' deity, and contrast this with the teaching of Christian Science.

Science and Health 473: 15-17 states: "... Jesus is the human man, and the Christ the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ." Contrast this with Colossians 2: 9,10 "for in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fulness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Because God lives in Christ, Christ can not be merely a divine idea, but must be a person: "in Christ...the Deity lives in bodily form." Clearly Christ is not a divine idea. Mrs. Eddy's attempt to make a distinction between Jesus and the Christ, as if they were two separate entities, is wholly unbiblical. Jesus Christ is one person: Jesus is His name, meaning "Yahweh is Salvation," and Christ is His title, meaning "The Anointed One." Contrast Mrs. Eddy's teachings on Jesus and the Christ being separate with 1 John 2:22: "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist -- he denies the Father and the Son."

The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is God, a fact which Christian Science ignores. John 1:1 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Here we see that


In John 1:14,15 it states "The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. John bore witness to Him..." Also in Revelation 19:13-14 John writes about Jesus "...and His name is the Word of God, the armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses, and dressed in fine linen, white and clean." Here we see that


Simple logic declares that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore, since


Also, in Revelation 21: 5-7, it says: "He who is seated on the throne said 'I am making everything new!' Then He said 'write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true'. He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End...he who overcomes will inherit all this and I will be his God, and he will be my son.'" Here God says that He is the beginning and the end. In Revelation 22:12,13, Jesus (see 22:16) says "Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Jesus clearly shows that He is God by saying things about Himself that only God can say about Himself.

The Jews also understood Jesus claims to be God. John 10: 30-33 reads "'I and the Father are one.' Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them: 'I have shown you many miracles from the Father, for which of these do you stone me?' 'We are not stoning you for any of these,' replied the Jews, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'" If Jesus did not mean that he was God when He stated "I and the Father are one," then why did Jesus not correct the Jews when they interpreted it this way? Also, when studying the original Greek of Jesus statement I and the Father are one," the word translated "one" means one in essence, or nature.

John 20: 26-28 shows that the disciples believed that Jesus is God. It states: "A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said 'Peace be with you!' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put you finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to Him, 'My Lord and My God!'" If Jesus is not God, as Thomas exclaimed, then why didn't Jesus correct Thomas for his "error"? The disciples, who lived with Jesus for three years, believed He is God, and at times worshiped Him. Jesus accepted their worship! (See Matthew 28:17, Luke 5:8) Since God alone is to be worshiped (see Luke 4:8), why did Jesus not correct these "errors" if He truly is just a man?

Paul also declared that Jesus is God. In Romans 9:5 he writes "...and from them [the Jews] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God overall..." Also in Titus 2:13 Paul writes "...while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ..."

When these passages are interpreted as they are meant to be interpreted, in the literal, common sense manner (which is the same method of interpretation used when reading Science and Health, and this letter, and nearly all other literature), there is no way around the fact that Jesus is God. There is no foundation for allegorically interpreting these verses. Jesus Christ is clearly 100% man and 100% God.

For further proof of Jesus' deity, see these verses: He is omnipresent (Mt. 18:20; 28:20; Acts 18:10) omniscient (Mt. 16:21; Lk. 11:17; Jn. 4:29), omnipotent (Mt. 8: 26, 27; 28:18; Jn. 11: 38-44; Lk 7:14-15).

C.S. Lewis sums this up: "I'm trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man, and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell." Either Jesus was, and is, God incarnate, or He was a madman and a liar. You must make a choice.

Christian Science's teachings on sin and evil are also contradictory to the Bible. Science and Health 480: 23, 24 states "evil is but an illusion and it has no real basis. Evil is a false belief, God is not its author." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 27 states "Here also is found the path of the basal statement, the cardinal point of Christian Science, that matter and evil (including all inharmony, sin, disease, death) are unreal." Also, page 473 of Science and Health states: "Christ came to destroy the belief of sin." But if sin is unreal, a belief we should not have, then why does the Apostle John, Jesus' closest disciple, state that "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8)?

While Mrs. Eddy states over and over again that sin is just an illusion (above references and Science and Health, 71:2, 287:22,23, 480:23, 24,etc.), she also states that salvation is "...sin, sickness and death destroyed." (Science and Health, 593:20-22). If sin is only an illusion, having no real existence, how can it be destroyed? Putting it another way, do you destroy something that does not exist?

If sin is unreal, why does Romans 5:8 declare "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"? If sin is unreal, why does Romans 3:23 declare "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"? Nowhere in the Bible is sin ever referred to as an illusion or false belief. Sin is rebellion against God, which is often an act. In Exodus 20: 13, God says "You shall not murder." When someone murders, they are directly defying God, and they have therefore sinned. Thus we see that this sin is an act, not an illusion or wrong belief. If sin were an illusion, then why did God give us a law, stating that certain actions are wrong? The Bible clearly teaches that ".. through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20). Why does God want us to be conscious of sin if it doesn't exist?

Furthermore, if sin is just a false belief, then where did this illusion come from, since Christian Science teaches that God's creation is still entirely good? (See Christian Science Sentinel, Dec. 12, 1994). How is it possible for a good creation to have wrong (false, bad) beliefs? The truth is, that while God did create everything completely good, creation is now corrupt because of the Fall of Man, as Romans 5:12 clearly teaches, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that matter, sin, evil, disease, and death are unreal. In fact, the Bible states the very opposite.

In talking to various Scientists, it is also apparent that Christian Science teaches that demons and Satan are not real beings, but simply "lies," "wrong ideas," or just "nonexistent and unreal." The Bible teaches otherwise, that demons and Satan are in fact real spirit beings. In Zachariah 3:1, God talks directly to Satan. (See also Job 1 and 2). If Satan were unreal, or simply a "lie," how can God speak directly to Him? (Also read Luke 8: 26-39.) Luke 8: 29, says, "Many times it [the demon] had seized him and though he was chained hand and foot, and kept under guard, he had broken his chains..." Now, if demons are unreal, how do they give this man superhuman strength? If they are unreal, why do they ask Jesus not to torture them? Also, after the man had the demons cast out, why did Jesus not tell the man the demons had been unreal, and set the record straight? Also, what caused the pigs to jump off the cliff if not demons?

In Science and Health 110: 16-19, Mrs. Eddy makes one of her many claims of divine revelation. "No human pen nor tongue taught me the science contained in this book, Science and Health; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it." There is strong evidence, however, to the contrary; that Mrs. Eddy's Rdivine revelation is actually a plagiarism of Phineas Quimby's writings and ideas, and therefore not original to her and not "divinely revealed." In addition, Mrs. Eddy's claim of "divine revelation" clearly contradicts Jude 3: "I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."

Quimby was a healer who applied the power of suggestion in affecting his cures. He called his word "The Science of Christ" and "Christian Science." Mrs Eddy became an enthusiastic follower of his in 1862 after her back injury was healed by him. An affidavit of Mrs. Sarah G. Crosby, an intimate friend of Mrs Eddy while she was a patient of Quimby, states "I do not hesitate to say that Mrs. Eddy's teachings in 1877 and Dr. Quimby's teachings in 1864 were substantially the same; in fact, as I heard them both, I know they were."

In 1921, Horatio Dresser published The Quimby Manuscripts, which when compared with Mrs. Eddy's writings, revealed many parallels leading some to comment, "...as far as thought is concerned, Science and Health is practically all Quimby' (Ernest Sutherland Bates and John V. Dittermore, Mary Baker Eddy: The Truth and The Tradition, 1932, p. 156).

In the Christian Science Journal for June 1887, Mrs Eddy writes this about Phineas Quimby: "I never heard him intimate that he healed disease mentally; and many others will testify that up to his last sickness, he treated us magnetically..." But in March of 1871, Mr. W.W. Wright asked this question: "Has this theory ever been advertised or practiced before you introduced it, or by any other individual?" Mrs. Eddy replied, "Never advertised, and practiced by only one individual who healed me, Dr. Quimby of Portland, Maine, an old gentleman who made it a research for 25 years, starting from the standpoint of magnetism, then going forward and leaving that behind. I discovered the art in a moments time, and he acknowledged it to me; he died shortly after, and since then, 8 years, I have been founding and demonstrating the science...please preserve this and if you become my student, call me to account for the truth of what I have written."

She also writes of Quimby in a letter to The Portland Courier, "...I could not be wiser than my master." In a letter to Quimby on January 12, 1863 she writes "...I am to all who see me a living wonder and a living monument of your power..." In another letter to Quimby she writes "...who is wise but you..." In yet another letter, March 31, 1864, she writes "...dear Dr., what could I do without you..."

Yet, in Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24, Mary Baker Eddy says: "It was in Massachusetts, in February, 1866, and after the death of the magnetic doctor, Mr. P.P. Quimby, whom spiritualists would associate therewith, but who was in no wise connected with this event, that I discovered the Science of divine metaphysical healing, which I afterward named Christian Science." Mrs. Eddy clearly contradicts herself several times, and her writings are clearly not divinely revealed, but a plagiarism of Phineas Quimby's ideas.

Now the obvious question arises: What about the healing? While many of the healings of Christian Science can be explained without appealing to the miraculous, some accounts are of seemingly true healings. If this is so, then it would be an example of the "signs and false wonders" done by Satan that the Apostle Paul speaks about in 2 Thessalonians 2:9. Satan is the great counterfeiter, and his attempts to duplicate the works of God and the miracle of healing are no exception. It sure makes sense that Satan would appear to do good things for people if it will keep them from the truth: "For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds" (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). Matthew 24:24 also declares: "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." We all want to be well, but never at the cost of rejecting the true Jesus Christ.

Josh McDowell and Don Stewart sum it all up in Understanding the Cults: "Christian Science is neither Christian nor scientific because every important doctrine of historic Christianity is rejected by Christian Science. The claim of divine revelation by Mrs. Eddy is contradicted by the facts that clearly attest she does not represent the God of the Bible. Although she speaks in the name of Jesus, her teachings conflict with His in every respect." Don't you find this odd?

This leads us to the ultimate purpose of this letter: what the Bible really has to say about salvation. Contrary to what Christian Science teaches, there really is a hell. Hell is not something we experience on this earth when we are going through "tough times" or dealing with our "belief in sin." Hell is eternal separation from God in a place, where a person may go after one dies, as Matthew 7: 13, 21-23; 8: 12,29; and dozens of other passages make clear. For example, Jude 6 says, "And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgement of the great day..." and Matthew 25:41, when Jesus says to those at his left hand "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 13: 41 says "The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." Read in the common sense, literal manner, these passages are abundantly clear.

Clearly the Bible teaches that there is a hell, that it is eternal, and that it is the final destination of all who die in their sins. In fact, all human beings have sinned and so deserve to spend eternity there: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Because God is holy and righteous, he cannot let sin into his presence, and he cannot let sin go unpunished. Since all sins are against an infinite God, all punishment for sin must also be infinite. Romans 6: 23 says "The wages of sin is death" (eternal punishment and separation from God). Because all have sinned, all deserve death. Can we really expect God to smile down on all the Charles Mansons and Adolf Hitlers of the world and say, "That's okay, children. Do whatever turns you on, as long as you're having a good time"? And all people, whether guilty of lying, or murder, or theft, have the same problem with sin: "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For He who said `Do not commit adultery,' said also, `Do not kill.' If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:10,11).

Before anyone can have eternal life in heaven, their sin, and the penalty they deserve for their sin, must be taken care of. God cannot just overlook it -- forgiveness always has a cost. For example, if my roommate knocks my T.V. off of the shelf and it breaks, I would say to him, "I forgive you," but someone still has to pay for the T.V. Likewise, in a court of law, when someone is found guilty of breaking the law, a just judge cannot just let the criminal go free, in which case he would cease being just, but must sentence the criminal. In the same way, God had to bring the gavel down on us and say "death"!

Fortunately, there is good news. John 3: 16 declares "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." The fact that we are sinful shows us that we need a savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ, God's ONLY provision for our sin. On the cross, Jesus experienced the death penalty that WE DESERVE for our sins. He died in our place: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5: 8). On the third day He rose from the dead, so that not only did he assume our punishment, but He freed us from the bondage Satan has us under because of our sins: "He was delivered up to death because of our offenses, and He was raised to life again because we have been acquitted" (Romans 4:25).

It is not enough just to know these facts. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). We receive Christ as an act of the will through FAITH -- by putting our TRUST in Him, and Him alone for our salvation. If you receive Christ, at that moment He will come into your life (Revelation 3:20 and Colossians 1:27), forgive your sins (Colossians 1:14), make you a child of God (John 1:12), give you eternal life (John 5:24), you will experience new birth (Read John 3:1-8), and you will begin the great adventure for which God created you (John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Can anything be more wonderful than this?

One who admits they are a sinner and puts their trust in Christ for salvation has eternal life because Christ has paid the death penalty for their sins. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." (John 6:47) Those who do not admit they are sinners and place their trust in Christ are responsible to pay their own death penalty and do not receive eternal life: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him" (John 3: 36; see also John 3:17-21).

Ephesians 2:8,9 states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast." Grace is God's undeserved love for us. Why do we need grace? Because we are sinners and salvation can not therefore be earned; it can only be received as a gift. What have we been saved from? We have been rescued from eternal separation from God. Why do we need to be saved? Because we have sinned against a holy and perfect God, and therefore "the wages of sin is death." How are we saved? ONLY if we admit that we are sinners and repent (turn from self to God) and put our faith, our TRUST, in Jesus Christ alone, for our salvation. Then he will come into our lives and forgive our sins and make us the kind of people He wants us to be. We have His promise: "He who comes to me I will not cast out" (John 6:37).

Trust is more than just intellectual belief. In 1860 Frenchman Blodin walked across the Niagara Falls on a tightrope, pushed a wheelbarrow across and even carried a friend across on his shoulders. Surely a large crowd gathered to see such an amazing event. He then said to the people, "Do you believe that I can go across there again?" They responded, "Of course we believe, we just saw you do it," as they applauded and cheered. "If so, he responded, I need a volunteer to get on my back." The crowd was deathly silent and nobody moved a muscle. The point: Sure they believed, but they were not willing to trust him. Many believe intellectually in Christ, but they are not willing to trust Him to pay their death penalty and be their Savior!

You can receive Christ right now BY FAITH (TRUST) through prayer. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I confess that I have sinned against you by exchanging your Truth for a lie. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life, make me the kind of person You want me to be, and open my eyes so I can read your Word for what it really says. In Your name I pray."

Jesus is concerned with our lives on this earth as well as our life in the world to come -- eternal life begins the moment we trust Christ as our saviour, and that means living a life pleasing to Him by letting Him direct and empower our lives. If you have received Christ, you can know on the basis of His promise that Christ lives in you and you have eternal life from the moment you invite Him in: "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5 :11-13).

Please carefully consider what we have said. We would appreciate it if you would write back, and we would be glad to answer any questions. If you do make a decision to trust Christ as your personal savior, we encourage you to get in touch with us and a Church where Christ is honored and His Word is preached. If you do not receive the true Jesus Christ into your life, we challenge you next time you read the Bible to ask God-- and mean it-- to open your eyes to the Truth. Then you will see your need to trust Jesus Christ (who is 100% man and 100% God) as your Savior.

Scripture quotations are from the NASB, NIV, and RSV.

Go back to Contend for the Faith.

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