We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Friday, April 2, 2010

Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Scientists)

Mary Ann Morse Baker was born in Bow, NH in July 1821 to strict Congregationalist parents. Mary was frequently ill with both physical and emotional ailments until she was 22-years-old. At that time she married businessman George W. Glover, whose sister was married to Mary’s oldest brother. According to Walter Martin, in his book Kingdom of the Cults, Glover’s “untimely death of yellow fever in Wilmington, South Carolina, some seven months later, reduced his pregnant wife to an emotional and highly unstable invalid, who, throughout the remaining years of her life, relied from time to time upon the drug morphine as a medication.” (p.150)

Mary moved back to her father’s home and had a son not long thereafter, naming him George after his father. When Mary’s mother died in 1849, George’s custody became an issue. Her father remarried and did not want the boy staying with them, so he lived with a series of relatives.

In June of 1853, Mary became the wife of a dentist, Daniel M. Patterson, who was a relative of her father’s second wife. He did not want Mary’s son, so the son lived with friends in Minnesota.

The history of the religion of Christian Science actually starts with a fellow named Phineas Parkhurst Quimby of Portland, Maine. P.P. Quimby developed a system of “mental healing” in the 1850s which he called “The Science of Man,” and used the terms “The Science of Christ” and “Christian Science” to refer to his system. Another term he used for his system was “Science of Health.” He was essentially a hypnotist and faith healer.

Mary met Dr. Quimby in 1862 when she and her husband moved to Portland, and Mary sought Quimby’s care for “spinal inflammation.” Most of Mary’s writings and ideas are stolen from Quimby’s writings and teachings, with much of her work being direct plagiarism from him. More of her writings have been proven to be plagiarized from other authors’ works.

As with other false prophets, Mary Baker Eddy’s claims of how her religion originated were put down in writing long after the fact, and mostly after Quimby was dead and unable to expose her. She claims to have discovered her system in February 1866 (the month after Quimby died) after a fall on a slippery sidewalk when her attending doctor said she was “incurable,” with only three days to live. On her third day, she called for a Bible and read Matthew 9:2 and was suddenly healed. Supposedly, convinced that God had healed her, she then spent the next several years studying the Scriptures and “rediscovered” the faith-healing secrets the church lost when it supposedly apostatized.

The doctor who supposedly diagnosed Mary, Alvin Cushing, stated under oath in a 1000-word statement that he never gave such a diagnoses, and that Mary was in good health and that he treated her later in August of 1866 for other ailments. It was during this period in 1866 that Mary’s husband, Daniel, left her. Seven years later she divorced him on the grounds of adultery.

Mary had been teaching from the Quimby manuscripts in Stoughton, MA and then moved to Lynn, MA where she finished her book, Science and Heath, in 1875. This is the Christian Science religion’s primary “scripture.” In 1877, when she was 56, Mary entered her last marriage to Asa G. Eddy, who had come to her for treatment. He would died after only five years of marriage, in 1882.

In 1879 Mary chartered her new church in Charlestown, MA, “The Church of Christ, Scientist.” This church was established "to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing." Mary claimed she found hundreds of errors in the Bible, and that her teachings were the “final revelation of God for mankind.” Of course, Mary was the pastor of this new church.

After a revolt among her students, Mary moved to Boston where she started what became known as “The Massachusetts Metaphysical College, where she taught beginning in 1881. After Asa died, Mary continued teaching in her college until 1889 when she closed it to revise her book, which now was called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Mary claimed it came by revelation from God: "I should blush to write a Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as I have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science textbook."

Boston became the headquarters for her new church. There, in 1888, she opened a reading room for her writings. Mary completed her church manual in 1895, establishing procedures for governing the organization. Mary reopened her college in 1899.

As with other cults, Mary’s real purpose seems to have been to make money off of her religion. As Mark Wheeler on “Catholic Answers” website (http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9202prof.asp) notes, “Mary Baker Eddy wished to acquire wealth. The original edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was advertised as ‘a book that affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune.’ Her followers were commanded to buy and sell copies under pain of excommunication. They were forced to buy each new edition, even though only a few words might have been changed. Eddy, who started her religion without a penny, died a millionairess.”

Mary Baker Eddy died in December 1910.

Mary’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is divided into two sections. The first section is Science and Health where-in she gives her theological teachings in regards to her health teachings. The second section, Key to the Scriptures, is her explanation of Genesis, Revelation and Psalm 23.

A very good way to start looking at Eddy’s teachings are to look at what she called “erroneous postulates.” In these postulates she makes it clear that matter only exists as illusion. Let’s take a look at these, as cited in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures chapter 4:

"The first erroneous postulate of belief is, that substance, life, and intelligence are something apart from God.
“The second erroneous postulate is, that man is both mental and material.
“The third erroneous postulate is, that mind is both evil and good; whereas the real Mind cannot be evil nor the medium of evil, for Mind is God.
“The fourth erroneous postulate is, that matter is intelligent, and that man has a material body which is part of himself.
“The fifth erroneous postulate is, that matter hold in itself the issues of life and death, - that matter is not only capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, but also capable of imparting these sensations. From the illusion implied in this last postulate arises the decomposition of mortal bodies in what is termed death.”

Doctrines: References to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures will be abbreviated as “S&H” with the page numbers from the soft-cover. I’m going to cite several passages under each section, but these are only a portion of the many that could be cited.

1.  A primary foundational belief is that nothing is real - everything is illusion and nothing material exists. Sin, disease and sickness are all illusions with may be overcome by the mind. “Temporal life is a false sense of existence.” (S&H, p.122)

a. “Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science.” (S&H, p.39)

b. “Death will be found at length to be a mortal dream, which comes in darkness and disappears with the light.” (S&H, p.42)

c. “He presented the same body that he had before his crucifixion, and so glorified the supremacy of Mind over matter.” (S&H, p.45)

d. “The ‘man of sorrows’ best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love.” (S&H, p.52)

e. “The entire education of children should be such as to form habits of obedience to the moral and spiritual law, with which the child can meet and master the belief in so-called physical laws, a belief which breeds disease.” (S&H, p.62)

f. “The scientific fact that man and the universe are evolved from Spirit, and so are spiritual, is as fixed in divine Science as is the proof that mortals gain the sense of health only as they lose the sense of sin and disease.” (S&H, p.69)

g. “Close your eyes, and you may dream that you see a flower, - that you touch and smell it. Thus you learn that the flower is a product of the so-called mind, a formation of thought rather than of matter. Close your eyes again, and you may see landscapes, men, and women. Thus you learn that these also are images, which mortal mind holds and evolves and which stimulate mind, life, and intelligence.” (S&H, p.71)

h. “Suffering, sinning, dying beliefs are unreal. When divine Science is universally understood, they will have no power over man, for man is immortal and lives by divine authority.” (S&H, p.76)

i. “Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind. (S&H, p114)

j. “Thus matter will finally be proved nothing more than a belief, wholly inadequate to affect a man through its supposed organic action or supposed existence.” (S&H, p.125-126)

2.  God: Is called “Father-Mother God.” Other titles for God are: “Truth,” “Life,” “Love,” “Mind.”

a. “[God] is a power, something we feel and know in our hearts…God, Mind, tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it.” (Tract titled, “Our Father-Mother, God”)

b. “The Jewish tribal Jehovah was a man-projected God, liable to wrath, repentance, and human changeableness.” (S&H, p.140)

3. Sin.

a. “To cause suffering as the result of sin, is the means of destroying sin. Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish will furnish more than its equivalence of pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed.” (S & H, p.6)

b. “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion or material sense.” (S&H, p.71)

c. “Evil is a suppositional lie.” (S&H, p.103)

4. Virgin Birth: “The Virgin-mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus - that is, Joshua, our Saviour. The illumination of Mary’s spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men. The Holy Ghost, or divine Spirit, overshadowed the pure sense of he Virgin-mother with the full recognition that being is Spirit. The Christ dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God, the divine Principle of the man Jesus, and woman perceived this spiritual idea, though at first faintly developed. … Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God.” (S&H, p.29-30)

5. Jesus: The Christian Science Jesus was not Christ, nor did He really die.

a. “Born of a woman, Jesus’ advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure.” (S&H, p.30)

b. “Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual idea of divine Love.” (S&H, p.38)

c. “The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being. His three days’ work in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate. He met and mastered on the basis of Christian Science, the power of Mind over matter, all the claims of medicine, surgery, and hygiene.” (S&H, p.44)

d. “His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulchre, whereas he was alive, demonstrating within the narrow tomb the power of Spirit to overrule mortal, material sense.” (S&H, p.44)

e. “Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced fully to understand their Master’s triumph, did not perform many wonderful works, until they saw him after his crucifixion and learned that he had not died.” (S&H, p.45-46)

f. “The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p.84)

6. The Atonement: Eddy’s teachings here have nothing in common with orthodox teaching. Here are samples of Eddy’s teachings:

a. “Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love.” (S&H, p.18)

b. “Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy.” (S&H, p.19)

c. “The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made. The atonement is a hard problem in theology, but its scientific explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.” (S&H, p.23)

d. “The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon ‘the accursed tree,’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business.” (S&H, p.25)

e. “Divine Science reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death, to quench the love of sin. To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God’s government, since justice is the handmaid of mercy.” (S&H, p36)

7. The Holy Spirit: “In the words of St. John: ‘He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.’ This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science.” (S&H, p.55)

8. Other aberrations:

a. Audible prayer is sinful and useless - God only listens to mental prayer. (S&H, Chapter 1)

b. “The act of describing disease - its symptoms, locality and fatality - is not scientific. Warning people against death is an error that tends to frighten into death those who are ignorant of Life as God. … A scientific mental method is more sanitary than the use of drugs, and such a mental method produces permanent health.” (S&H, p.79)

Christian Science is like Hinduism in its teachings of the afterlife, in that they teach a continuance of a circle of life while reaching higher planes. “Death will occur on the next plane of existence as on this, until the spiritual understanding of Life is reached.” (S&H, p.77)

Christian Science --- Neither Christian nor science!

34 comments:

kathy said...

Dear Readers,
Since I do not know where to begin, let me just say that so much of the information in the beginning of this article is incorrect and not factual, that it would behoove those, who are really interested in knowing about Mary Baker Eddy, look into her history from records on file with The Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, MA to discover the truth. Just to give two examples: Christian Science did not begin with Quimby, and Mary's child was taken from her and not sent to "friends". For the public to know her aright, facts must not be distorted or taken out of context in her case or in the case of any individual.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Kathy,

As with all cults, what you will find at the MBE Library will be a revisionist history. Those who care to investigate a cults true origins, history and teachings, must research beyond the propaganda provided by the cult.

Much research has been done to prove Eddy's writings were mostly stolen from Quimby. That is a matter of record. One of the best early examinations Christian Science was done by Mark Twain, and his writings on the subject have been collected into one book titled, "Christian Science," which I highly recommend to anyone investigating this cult.

One of the best modern books on the subject is the third edition of Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin, with Ravi Zacharias as the general editor.

McSpinster said...

Hi Glenn:

Nice try. But not even the wrongly applied "cult" label can discredit this Bible-based religion with a more than 100-year history of following the teachings of Christ Jesus when it comes to discerning spiritual reality.

If you really want to substantiate what you write, your reliance on that "cult book" is about as scholarly as relying on Wikipedia. If you're truly interested in the subject matter, then wander into a Christian Science Reading Room and sit down with the bound volumes. These include verified Christian Science healings going back more than 100 years mirroring the methods that Jesus himself used. Healings range from blindness and lameness to cancer, diabetes, broken bones and every condition known to man. Read these and you'll see how the person healed through Christian Science prayed and what was the outcome. All the healings are verified, some by medical records. And if you don't believe those, attend a Wednesday evening testimony meeting and hear church members testify to how they have been healed through prayer. Question them. Do some research, man!

There's nothing sacrilegious or cultish about this. Jesus himself said that the works he did his followers would do as well. And his followers did, back in the days of early Christianity, and they have ever since Mary Baker Eddy (and not Quimby) wrote Science and Health and founded Christian Science. It's not some special dispensation granted a few "faithful followers." It's not magic or hypnotism. This is a science in that it is "a demonstrable body of knowledge and a provable body of laws." But they are spiritual laws, not the material ones that many conservative Christians have appropriated from their reading of the Bible.

Jesus' command to his followers is what Christian Scientists are doing. Cult? Not unless you are calling Jesus a cult leader.

And I don't think you'd dare do that.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well hello, McSpinster,

That “cult book” as you call it is much more reliable than anything coming out of the Christian Science propaganda. As far as substantiating what I wrote, I quoted quite a bit from Science & Health with Key to the Scripture, a book which I own and have thoroughly read.

As for the so-called healing testimonies, I’d say they are as reliable and as documented by outside sources as are Benny Hinn’s healing. Fraud, deception, fraud, delusion, and more fraud. How about all those who have died without proper medical attention because they are relying on the idea that illness is merely an illusion? Even MBE couldn’t live within her own teachings and sought real medical help when she needed it.

C.S. is indeed a cult, and there is nothing of historic Christian teachings, nothing even remotely resembling Biblical teachings, in that cult. As I said, it is neither Christian nor a science. There is absolutely no science whatsoever in the teachings of Christian Science. I challenge you to find one scientist outside of C.S. to demonstrate any teachings to be science-based.

It has been well-documented that MBE heavily plagiarized Quimby’s teachings. If you would do some objective research you would learn that. To say otherwise is fraudulent or a denial of reality.

No, there is nothing in Christian Science even remotely similar to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is heresy and false, plain and simple.

McSpinster said...

"As for the so-called healing testimonies, I’d say they are as reliable and as documented by outside sources as are Benny Hinn’s healing. Fraud, deception, fraud, delusion, and more fraud."

I can accept someone disparaging the church's healing record who has actually examined it. But you obviously haven't.

"How about all those who have died without proper medical attention because they are relying on the idea that illness is merely an illusion?"

Bad comparison, G: hundreds of thousands of people die every year both because of medical care (malpractice) and in spite of it (they receive treatment but the treatment fails). Not to mention the millions of people who die every year without medical care who are not Christian Scientists. You probably know some yourself.

A better comparison would be the number of people with incurable diseases healed through spiritual means who are not Christian Scientists. Do you have any numbers there?

What about Christian Scientists dying under Christian Science treatment. Know any?

Thought not.

"It has been well-documented that MBE heavily plagiarized Quimby’s teachings."

Sources, please.

"C.S. is indeed a cult, and there is nothing of historic Christian teachings, nothing even remotely resembling Biblical teachings, in that cult."No, there is nothing in Christian Science even remotely similar to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is heresy and false, plain and simple."

Straight from the Bible:

Psalms 103: 1-4: Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Matt 10:8
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Mark 1:36-And he healed many that were sick with divers diseases, and cast out many devils.

John 14:12
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Acts 3:6
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Mark 16
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Straight from the old and new testaments, G. How'd you miss it?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpinster,

The C.S. healing record; if it is so good, why are there no C.S. hospitals? As I said, your healing record is nothing but unsubstantiated anecdotes, just as those of the Word of Faith by Benny Hinn and his ilk. Where are the medical professionals and scientists to verify your claims? Why do we not read about these miracles in the newspaper? Because they never happened!

It would be interesting to see where you get your statistics for “hundreds of thousands of people” who die every year due to malpractice or bad treatment. If malpractice was that bad, the medical profession would be out of business! Nevertheless, the majority of malpractice suits are bogus anyway (I have been a juror for medical malpractice cases). But that red herring isn’t the issue - the issue is the fraudulent claims of C.S.

I have read newspaper articles in the past about children of C.S. practitioners dying for lack of real medical help, but, no, I don’t know anyone personally.

As for sources of evidence of MEB’s plagiarism, you should be able to find those on the ‘net if you care to spend the time for objective research. I have in the past found lots of stuff documenting this, but I am not going to take the time now to do so for you. What I can say is that if you care to look at “Kingdom of the Cults,” that book gives examples of the plagiarism, not just of Quimby’s work but also those of Lindley Murray and Francis Lieber, with parallel columns comparing the original with MBE’s plagiarism.

Your misuse of the Scripture for “proof texts” of C.S. healing is laughable. Those texts all speak of the Lord doing the healing! Or his apostles, who were given the power to do so. And never do they say that the illness is merely an illusion! (Oh, and Mark 16 has been demonstrated to have not been in the original manuscripts but added much later - so I wouldn’t use that as a proof!)

But here’s the main thing: C.S. claims that everything material is an illusion, which not only defies real science but also common sense. You can’t live that philosophy. Pain is real, illness is real, death and evil are real. Look at MBE’s five “erroneous postulates” and then tell me there is any science to such nonsense. Life is certainly NOT “a false sense of existence.” Nor will you find death “to be a mortal dream.” I find it extremely difficult to understand how any intelligent person could ever accept this nonsensical belief system - it’s almost as ludicrous as Scientology!

The C.S. doctrines of God, sin, the virgin birth, Jesus, the atonement and the Holy Spirit are so far removed from biblical doctrine as to be unrecognizable. And that makes Christian Science a bona fide cult.

McSpinster said...

Hi GLenn:

In the interest of being factual, you have made it seem as though there is no challenge to your viewpoint, when there is. I respectfully provided factual answers and links in my last response to your questions about CS hospitals and mortality rates and a few other things you challenged. If you want to be factual (and respectful) why don't you post them?

McSpinster

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McS,

I've posted both comments that came to me. If you posted something else, it didn't come through.

There is no challenge to my viewpoiny - because C.S. thinks everything is an illusion! Common sense and real science disproves C.S. Pain is real, death is real, evil is real.

McSpinster said...

Here's the post I sent before in response to your earlier questions:

Your Q: The C.S. healing record; if it is so good, why are there no C.S. hospitals?”

A: There are Christian Science nursing homes and Christian Science nurses.

Your Q: Where are the medical professionals and scientists to verify your claims?

A: They are in the bound volumes available in any CS Reading Room, just like I said before.

Your Q: Why do we not read about these miracles in the newspaper?

A: Major newspapers don’t have dedicated reporters who are knowledgeable about religions or Christianity. That’s why they cover the downside (they are not interested in the “good news”). As to why journalists don’t bother to check our record via the bound volumes, I would call that bad journalism. It would be easy to do. They have been publically available for 100 years!

Your Q: It would be interesting to see where you get your statistics for “hundreds of thousands of people” who die every year due to malpractice or bad treatment. If malpractice was that bad, the medical profession would be out of business! Nevertheless, the majority of malpractice suits are bogus anyway (I have been a juror for medical malpractice cases).

A: I googled “deaths due to medical malpractice” and came up with a range of numbers. The Journal of the American Medical Association, says that over 225,000 people die each year due to medical malpractice. Another site indicates that medical malpractice has become the 3rd leading cause of death in America. Those 225,000 deaths due to medical malpractice are caused by these types of errors:
7,000 people die each year due to medication errors in hospitals
20,000 people die each year due to other types of errors in hospitals
12,000 people die each year due to unnecessary surgery
80,000 people die each year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
106,000 people die each year from adverse reactions to medication
I cut and pasted this info from online. I’m sure if you poke around, you can find others.
This is from Wikipedia: “In the U.S., medical errors are estimated to result in 44,000 to 98,000 unnecessary deaths and 1,000,000 excess injuries each year.[4] [5] One newer extrapolation has statistics suggesting "that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year"[6] That's more than die from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS—three causes that receive far more public attention. Indeed, more people die annually from medication errors than from workplace injuries. It is estimated that in a typical 100 to 300 bed hospital in the United States, excess costs of $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 attributable to prolonged stays and complications just due to medication errors occur yearly.”
I generally don’t like to use Wikipedia to substantiate anything, but if you poke around, you will find a lot of high numbers substantiating that medical error is a serious problem. And that’s just people who die as a result of medical error. This does not address the number of people who die from illness when no medical error is involved. That would be most people in the Western world, since most ill people receive medical treatment and those in critical condition receive the most.
Your statement: But that red herring isn’t the issue - the issue is the fraudulent claims of C.S.

I have read newspaper articles in the past about children of C.S. practitioners dying for lack of real medical help, but, no, I don’t know anyone personally.

Response: There were six cases between 1963 and 1992. Now check out the thousands of deaths covered by childhood mortality rates at http://www.childdeathreview.org/nationalchildmortalitydata.htm
This is for children who receive “proper” medical care. Thousands of children in one year vs. six children in 45 years. And yes, you can read about children's CS healings (and medical corroboration) in the bound volumes, right alongside those of adults.

Out of space here. Will send the other post separately.

McSpinster said...

So, getting back to your original comment about CS being a cult. Your support is the book, "Kingdom of the Cults," by Walter Martin, who died in 1989, and Ravi Zacharias, the general editor, who is president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, a respected speaker, and author of many books, according to the promo copy.

Chapter one offers this definition of cult (from one Dr. Charles Braden): "A cult, as I define it, is any religious group which differs significantly in one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture."

The author goes on to write: "I may add to this that a cult might also be defined as a group of people gathered about a specific person or person's misinterpretation of the Bible."

The Web site for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries states that its mission is to "support, expand and enhance the preaching, teaching and vision of Ravi Zacharias."

I note that Ravi Zacharias is a ministry, not an established world religion or even a well known local one and is therefore not considered "normative" in our total culture. I can't say whether he misinterprets the Bible. There are, as we know, many interpretations and translations, so I'd say a case can be made that he does--as does practically everyone. On two and possibly three fronts, Mr. Zacharias' ministry itself belongs squarely in the Kingdom of the Cults. But then again, so does Buddhism according to the book. And Christian Science. So he's in good company.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpinster,
Nursing homes and nurses do not equal hospitals. What you have are deceived people in homes being taken care of by cult members who keep them in deception. If it was a true method of healing, there would be hospitals to cure everything, because in C.S. teaching everything is illusion, so one only needs to be taught to clear his mind of the illusions!

“Bound volumes” in the C.S reading rooms written by medical professionals and scientists? Only in C.S. reading rooms! Let’s see some peer-reviewed articles in medical and science journals.

Again you claim your “bound volumes” in the reading room as the place to fine records of these miracles that the media just doesn’t seem to find time to report on. Anecdotal evidence by C.S. members is not verifiable by outside medical/scientific sources.

Statistics show what you want them to show. “Malpractice” defines whatever the courts want to define it as. But real malpractice is not that prevalent. I’ve read too many case studies that were claimed as malpractice, but the issue really is one of people expecting the medical profession to always be an exact science. Nevertheless, whether there are cases of bad medicine isn’t the point. The point is that C.S. is fake - totally fraudulent with no verifiable medical healings - only anecdotes reported by other C.S. members.

I never used “Kingdom of the Cults” to support my charge of C.S. being a cult. I used KofC for historical information, and examples of the plagiarism by MBE. There are actually a couple definitions for “cult,” but in relation to the Christian faith a cult is any religious system which claims to be Christian yet does not adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the faith. This includes LDS, JW, C.S., UUA, Moonies, and many other groups. C.S. does not adhere to the fundamental, non-negotiable doctrines of the historic, orthodox Christian faith as has been defined for 2000 years, yet C.S. claims to be Christian; therefore it is a cult.

You also misrepresent Ravi Z. ministries. It is not a religion; it is a Christian ministry. Just like I have a Christian ministry. Zacharias is an excellent theologian and apologist of the Christian faith, who is well respected world-wide. Not being a religion, Zacharias Ministries doe not meet any definition of cult. If he started his own religion, like MBE did, then you could begin to examine if his new religion conformed to the Christian faith.

MBE’s religion of illusions is not Christian. Period. I demonstrated from her own writings that her teachings on fundamental doctrines do not match biblical teachings.

McSpinster said...

Why do Christian Scientists need hospitals? If we want hospitals, we have plenty to choose from.

The CS Nursing Home is not like your typical nursing home. It is a care facility for people of any age who want/need healthcare on an inpatient basis. Only the healthcare delivered is non medical. It is spiritually based. The nurses receive training and are licensed as regular nurses are, but they do not receive training in dispensing of medicine. That's the main difference.

So you think the people there are deceived. That's an interesting claim to make on the basis of opinion alone. I assume you have never been to one since you did not know they existed. I'm guessing your comment, then, is based entirely on ignorance. Not surprising. But now you know better.

A young friend went to one several years ago. He had been diagnosed with meningitis. He was healed at the nursing home. It happens to be located right outside of New York City. If you would like to know more about it, please let me know. I would be happy to help you learn more!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpin,

I'm not posting your new comments about the statistics - you totally missed the point. I don't care where you stats on malpractice come from, a large percentage of malpractice claims are subjective. But the issue has nothing to do with whether or not C.S. is a fraudulent system. I'm not chasing that red herring.

I may have been ignorant as to the existence of C.S. homes and nurses, but I am certainly not ignorant to say that the C.S. system is nothing more than deception. I demonstrated over and over again that the C.S. "health" claims are nothing more than false teachings. The claim is that sin, sickness, death, etc are all illusions. That is beyond nonsensical. If you want to remain deceived that all is an illusion, that's your choice. But you can't live there. If you break your arm or leg, you will see a real doctor. If you have cancer, you will see a real doctor. If you have a heart attack, you will see a real doctor. These are not illusions that go away with "spiritual" healing.

MBE stole her ideas from Quimby and that has been proven. MBE was a fraud and the system has nothing to do with the true Christian faith. If you want to call it something else, then I could care less if you want to call everything an illusion. But once you claim it is Christian, they you'd better be ready to be refuted. C.S. doctrine is NOT Christian.

McSpinster said...

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.

The works that I do shall ye do, also.

Jesus' own words. Do they have any meaning to you?

Yvonne said...

Glenn,

I have a friend who is a member of Christian Science. She shared with me, a long time ago, a bit about this group and what they believe. One sticking point that we got to was their understanding of Jesus. She admitted that they do not believe that Jesus is God.

I think that says it all because Jesus, as He was explaining His origin to the Pharisees, clearly taught that He is God.

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24

If someone does not believe that Jesus is God, cult or not, they will die in their sins. Period.

May the Lord have mercy!

Yvonne

McSpinster said...

Glenn, I thank you for giving me a chance to answer some of your questions here. If you are ever near a Christian Science church or Reading Room, I hope you will overcome your prejudices and come inside. You would be most lovingly welcomed.

All the best,

McSpinster

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpin,
Paul tells us that there will be lying signs and wonders, false miracles. Satan is a good counterfeiter. But doing these things is not what makes one a Christian - works don't make one a Christian.

Your God is not the God of the Bible, hence you are worshiping a false God. Your Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, so you are still dead in your sins. It is your doctrine that matters, not your works. LDS and JW both do good works, but their doctrine sends them to Hell, just as does yours.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpin,
I forgot to say that there is nothing wrong with prejudice and bias against false teachings. I do not have to visit a C.S. reading room to know C.S. is a false system, just as I do not have to go into a porn store to know porn is wrong.

My prayer will be that the Holy Spirit can open your mind to the truth.

McSpinster said...

Oh Glenn you old softy. You are a man of charity! From beneath the garment of words and doctrine, your works—your concern for others—cannot help but show themselves. Don't hide it, brother! It does you credit.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

REI posted the following comment, but I couldn't post it in its entirety because he had a link with it, a link which I can't in good conscience send people to. Here's REI's comments:
=========
I began studying Christian Science after an amazing healing of a well diagnosed ailment that threatened to kill me. An employee who was a lifelong Christian Scientist asked if I would like for him to try to help me through silent prayer. I said yes and all symptoms vanished in less than 24 hours. This happened when I was 55. At that time I was an invalid. I am now 69 and do hard physical work all day on my retirement projects.

It really works. Several years ago I accidentally crushed a wasp nest. I was swarmed with many bites and I realized I couldn't outrun them I stood still, closed my eyes, and began to pray as I had learned through studying CS. After about a minute I opened my eyes to see all the wasps crawling around on their ruined nest, ignoring me completely. I continued walking and praying, and within five minutes all evidence of the multiple bites had vanished.

Mainline Christianity is stuck in a number of wrong beliefs.

God truly is LOVE and doesn't do evil or anything bad. Evil when understood truly does not exist in God's Kingdom, and is not real in the sense that our existence is.

The Christian Scientists I know routinely do things that seem totally incredible to those who have not studied it. They are so radical and unbelievable that I can understand people like you who might think we are all crazy, but we are not.

I spent my working life as an electronic designer and programmer, a very hard science type. I am an ASMEL CFII. I am not crazy and am not the member of a cult. I have expanded my understanding of what Jesus taught more than I would have ever believed possible.

Spiritual Healing In A Scientific Age by Peel is the best book ABOUT CS I have read. It is out of print but available on Amazon used books. For a quick take read page 16 to the end of the chapter and then the story starting on page 54.

You are missing a lot, but you can see the truth if you allow yourself.

It really works. I practice it religiously with wonderful results.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

REI,

I do not doubt the sincerity of your belief system, but I do doubt a “well diagnosed ailment…” was relieved by C.S. practices. My first question would be, diagnosed by who? If you did not see a real doctor, then my guess is that the ailment was something that went away on its own, as many things such as flu do. Either that, or demonic activity could still be at work because it was certainly not the God of the Bible to whom you were praying if you were praying to the C.S. god.

As for the wasps - it is not unusual for wasps to leave you alone if you stand still - been there, done that.

I agree with you that “mainline Christianity is stuck in a number of wrong beliefs,” but I think you and I would certainly disagree as to what those beliefs are!

NO, God does not do evil, but evil does exist. If you think not, then explain Hitler and the Holocaust, or the 9/11/01 destruction of the World Trade Center buildings, or the rape of little girls, etc. Evil exists in God’s kingdom and the Bible plainly so states.

I do not think C.S. practitioners are crazy - I know they are deceived with a false religious system in which there is no eternal salvation. Your many skills and training (I also have ASMEL and Helicopter, commercial and instrument ratings) do not make you immune from the deception of false teachings; many, many highly intelligent people are Mormons. Nothing of what C.S. teaches was ever taught by Christ.

I will not read the book you suggest because I do know the truth. The Bible is God’s Word and Mary Baker Eddy twisted Scripture to her own destruction, and her teachings are leading many like you to eternal damnation.

No, C.S. doe not work. If it did, heart patients would be flocking to C.S. reading rooms, those with broken necks or backs would seek C.S. practitioners for relief. The whole idea that evil is an illusion is refuted by common, everyday experience. Sin is not an illusion or else Christ died for nothing.

You are still dead in your sins. Seek the true God and the true Christ and you will be saved.

REI said...

You are a hard man to reach, but I will tell one last account.

After several years in CS, I fell off a roof. I landed on part of a brick wall and broke my left ankle and foot. I could see it was broken and although the skin was not broken, there were bones pushing the skin out in the wrong places. The pain was intense.

After I crawled to my cellphone I called a Christian Science Practitioner. As soon as I began to tell her what had happened, the pain vanished just like turning off a switch. I could not use the foot at all so she came and got me in her car and took me Peace Haven, the local CS Nursing Facility. they rented me a set of crutches and a bootie to keep me from hitting the foot on something.

Many CS'ers have broken bones set and casts put on by medical doctors, but I had a sense I could handle it through silent prayer. The bones realigned themselves and healed in a few weeks but the foot was totally stiff and I had a very bad limp with occasional pain.

At a gathering of CS'ers, I met a Practitioner who had just gotten his CS Journal listing, which comes after submitting a list of healings of well diagnosed ailments. I asked him to work on my case and we made an appointment for lunch the next day.

I limped into the restaurant and told him my story. He said he would began working on it right then and asked me to call him at least once a day, and if anything changed.

As I limped out of the restaurant and started across the street in the middle of the block, a car came around the corner and the driver was tuning his radio and didn't see me. I had to run to get out of his way, and when I got to the other side of the street, my foot was free and had total movement just as if it had never been injured.

If you ever had anything like that happen to you, I am sure you would be impressed. I was also filled with a sense of peace and joy that often goes along with healings. It is really a sense of God's presence and is almost impossible to describe unless you have felt it. I am sure it is what the people Jesus healed felt, as well as the man who was healed while begging in the temple in Acts and ran leaping and shouting and praising God.

Seeking that feeling of peace alone is one of the best reasons to study CS. I try to work through the weekly Bible Lesson daily. It is a time of elevated thought and clarity and peace that I really appreciate.

I never think about the foot unless I am telling the story. I have full use of it and do hard physical labor frequently.

CS Practitioners who are listed in the CS Journal are required to make their entire living by teaching and healing. They usually charge less than $50 per day and usually have several dozen cases at a time. The ones I know do well financially.

The requirement that they make their entire living from their prayerful work eliminates the layers of commmittees found in other denominations, and totally removes politics from the compensation of church leaders. If they can heal, and teach others how to heal themselves, they do well. If they can't, they either must improve of drop out. Their customers make the decision, not some church committee.

CS Churches were one of the earliest users of term limits, and all positions are elective and term limited. Practitioners are the leaders of the movement, but unless elected to a specific position are not part of the management of branch churches. The idea is to prevent the "Pride of Priesthood", which so often found in other denominations.

The phrase "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" is found on most of the front walls of CS churches. The truth is, Christians today can heal just as the early ones did in Acts.

CS students live a life of prayer and seeking God, and experience healings routinely that outsiders find impossible to believe.

It really works.

McSpinster said...

Hi Glenn:

I was healed through Christian Science of four conditions medically diagnosed and treated (unsuccessfully) in hospitals and by doctors before I turned to spiritual means of healing: migraine headaches, seizures, a bone fracture and a frozen shoulder.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy at Roosevelt Hospital in 1984, after a major seizure that hospitalized me for a week. Most people recognize that seizures are a major life altering experience for which there is no consensus on medical treatment and also no cure. But I was healed of seizures, permanently, ten years ago after working with a Christian Science practitioner and using Christian Science prayer, relying only on God (and not medicine) for my healing. It was not instantaneous. But I was freed permanently.

I was also treated in two hospitals over the last eight years for a bone fracture (the result of a motorcycle accident) and a frozen shoulder. The first was discovered in an x-ray at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City in 2002. The second was diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon at St. Vincent's hospital in NYC in the summer of 2006. For this condition, I also went to a pain clinic but there was no cure, only a variety of expensive treatments that I could not afford and that seemed rather extreme and dubious (and also not recommended by the docs at St. Vincent's). The pain was severe (I was x-rayed also). I did not receive any medication or physical therapy, nor was my bone set (in the earlier case). Both were healed afterward through spiritual means alone, using the services of a practitioner and relying on God.

Had there been medical treatments for both, I might possibly have used them. But there were not. So I am free and to be free of the pain of a frozen shoulder, a fracture, migraine headaches and seizures is a marvelous thing but to me it is not miraculous. Anyway, when Christ healed people in the Bible, the experience of being "saved" was implicit in the physical healing itself. He didn't "save" people and leave them still blind or plagued by devils or seizures or an issue of blood.

Just my two cents.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

REI and McSpinster,

It is well-known that people are able to exercise mind-control to the point that they don’t feel pain. People in cultures around the world even send themselves into deep trances so as to be totally out of touch with reality. So the fact that one can develop a way to control their sense of pain does not make C.S. any different. I would surmise that extreme pain would not so easily be controlled by the mind. I’d like to see a C.S. member undergo a root canal and claim there was no pain! (Oh, but a C.S. wouldn’t do so because any tooth decay would be an illusion, wouldn’t it?)

But, I want to know why you experienced any pain at all if pain is merely an illusion! As for the “broken left foot and ankle,” depending on the severity of the break bones may realign with proper care - and anyone with a bit of understanding of anatomy can pull bones back into place. And wouldn’t that broken bone be just an illusion? You CAN’T live your faith! Why didn’t you just say that pain and those broken bones, shoulder didn’t really exist? Why did you want broken bones (bones, being matter, are also an illusion) fixed? How could they be broken?

I have heard so many anecdotes from many people about supposed diagnoses by hospitals with miraculous cures - even the heretic Bill Gothard claims such things. But unless I see actual hospital records, I don’t believe the anecdotes of healings by false systems such as C.S.

Also, as I previously stated, even the devil can perform signs and wonders of healing. 2 Thes. 2:9-10. Witchdoctors and shamans in many occult religious systems perform healing. So healings in and of themselves do not demonstrate the truthfulness of a religious system.

The bottom line for any system claiming to be Christian is whether or not their doctrine conforms to that of the Bible. The C.S. god is not the God of the Bible, the C.S. Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. Just these two things alone - actually only one of these by itself - puts C.S. in the category of a cult and not true Christianity. Jesus, contrary to C.S., was in fact the Christ (the Messiah), did in fact die as an atonement for the sin of mankind, and was in fact God incarnate. Look at the citations I gave from MBE’s teachings and you will find nothing of the true Christ described. Jesus said if you did not believe he was God, then you would not be saved. Unlike those who he healed in Scripture - who believed he was the Christ and were therefore saved - C.S. says Jesus was not the Christ and so cannot be saved.

If you choose to believe that sin is an illusion, that evil is an illusion, then you go against what God has told us. If you agree with MBE that matter is an illusion, then you even go against science and common sense. The truth will indeed set you free, but you have to see the truth that C.S. is outside of God’s will.

McSpinster said...

The mind control you speak of is mesmerism. Christian Science is not about "mind control." It is about discovering and experiencing an entirely different state of consciousness or "mind:" "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

Again, we get to his command to "heal the sick" and "the works that I do shall ye do also."

We can argue what he meant by this, but the fact remains that thousands of people have taken this command literally, demonstrating "that mind which was was also in Christ Jesus" to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely ye have received, freely give."

Healing was a large part of what Jesus did, but he acknowledged that the healing power was God's:

John 5:30: "I can of mine own self do nothing" and
John 14:10 "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

So we get back to the premise over which you are in disbelief: that we can "have the mind that was also in Christ Jesus" and do "greater works" by letting God express himself through us in healing all that is unlike him. Argue as you may, this was a command of Jesus, it is in the Bible, and Christian Scientists follow it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpinster,

Your so-called healings are right in line with those claimed by the Word of Faith proponents, with probably close to the same numbers of healings claimed.

Here’s the thing: The passage you quoted, “Heal the sick, raise the dead...,” is in Matt. 10. This is not a universal command, rather it was instructions given to the 12 disciples, later called apostles. The apostles were given the power to perform signs and wonders as evidence of their authority. No one else as that authority, which includes C.S. practitioners.

The passage about having the mind of Christ (Philip. 2:5) is about being humble as he was humble, considering others as more important than yourself.

As with all cults, you misuse the Bible to support your claims, but when taken in context the proof-text has become a pretext for false teachings.

The bottom line again, is this:
You believe in a Jesus who is not found in the Bible.
You believe in a God not found in the Bible.
Healings are not evidence of truth, nor are they evidence of salvation. Sin and evil are not illusions. You are a sinner who needs a savior.

Christian Science is not Christian in any sense of the word. It is a false religious system founded by a fraud who twisted the Scripture to her own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). Followers of C.S. are not saved and will indeed die in their sins and experience eternal damnation in hell.

McSpinster said...

"Sin and Evil are not illusions."

You say this over and over and it's apparent this really rankles you. You've mentioned it in nearly every post.

What is it's personal significance to you? Can you relate it specifically to your own experience?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpin,

I keep saying it over and over to make a point. C.S. says sin, evil, sickness, death, etc are ALL illusions. This has to be one of the stupidist ideas that anyone can believe - it defies common sense, logic, science, medicine, etc.

The Bible says sin is real, death is real, evil is real, etc. As long as you say it is all illusion, they you contradict the Bible. All C.S. doctrines contradict the Bible, ergo, C.S. IS NOT CHRISTIAN!

McSpinster said...

Hi Glenn:

I would like to study the specific references you mention ("The Bible says sin is real, death is real, evil is real, etc.")

Can you share?

Thank you!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpinster,

I'm not playing the game any more - I have better things to do with my time. The questions you just asked can be answered by reading the Bible without the help of C.S. propaganda and interpretation. If you can't find in the Bible where it talks of sin and death and evil, then you aren't looking.

If all matter is nothing more than an illustion - as taught by MBE - then you don't exist. If you don't believe sin is real, then you will have no need for a real savior. You will die in your sin.

McSpinster said...

Glenn, please don't misconstrue this as a challenge to your authority or integrity. I am seriously interested in these Bible passages you mention. You say I don't understand what God says about the reality of sin, disease and death and I'm merely interested in understanding what I have missed. I can't very well talk to you or anyone else about these subjects if I don't understand what the Bible says. And if it is the truth, as you say, why wouldn't you share it freely? Isn't this what Christian apologetics is all about?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

McSpinster,

I'm sorry, but I find it hard to take you serious, especially having seen your posts on other blogs. It appears you want to deny the true Christian faith. This is my impression, but I admit I may be wrong.

First, I have no "authority" for anything I do. So there is no "authority" to challenge.

If you are truly interested in what God has to say, why don't you get first-hand from the Bible - without C.S. interpretations?

If you are serious about continuing a dialog, then I request you do it by e-mail. That way we don't pile on tons of comments and we aren't limited in text.

McSpinster said...

Thank you Glenn. It's a deal! Where may I write you?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The e-mail on my home page, right below the ad for the conference