Most Christian Scientists would concur that these are times of extraordinary opportunity. The leavening of human consciousness of which our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, spoke has in fact gone on with great rapidity in this century. Significant changes in the fields of science, theology, and medicine have occurred. And the increasing hunger of humanity for something other than conventional materialism is strongly apparent.
Are we equally ready to consider, however, that these are times of considerable challenge? In her chapter "The Apocalypse" in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy explains both aspects of the human situation. She writes: "Until the majesty of Truth should be demonstrated in divine Science, the spiritual idea was arraigned before the tribunal of so-called mortal mind, which was unloosed in order that the false claim of mind in matter might uncover its own crime of defying immortal Mind." Science and Health, p. 564.
Materialism, hard pressed by the advancing spiritual era, makes the effort to crush out the spiritual idea not only through generalized mental skepticism and unbelief but through specific resistance to Christian healing. This has taken the form in recent years, for example, of action by the state to prosecute Christian Scientist parents— in some cases to contemplate including practitioners, nurses, and the Church itself. Stirred and impelled by certain elements of thought, government agencies or medical and legal professional groups may be misled—as they once were in the distant past—into new campaigns.