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Taking hold of the Word of God

From the March 1988 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The Bible has a singular place in the Church of Christ, Scientist. Of course this isn't surprising to anyone who is familiar with Christian Science. Its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, grew up with the Scriptures. And when her life was at the brink of death, it was to the Bible that she turned and found herself healed through its message. So great was her confidence in the power and inspiration of the Bible that she actually ordained it, along with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, to be the pastor of her Church. It must have seemed as unusual and radical in 1894 as it might to some people today to think of a pastorship being established in this way.

In writing to The Christian Science Board of Directors in December of that year, she spoke of the power of having this dual and Bible-based pastor and what it would do: "This will tend to spiritualize thought. Personal preaching has more or less of human views grafted into it. Whereas the pure Word contains only the living, health-giving Truth." Quoted in Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977), p. 72.

It's important to consider not only the trust Mrs. Eddy had in the power of "the pure Word" but also the confidence that she exhibited in individual and sincere study of the Bible and Science and Health. She believed that men and women sincerely committed to studying these books could develop the spiritual understanding of divine law that would heal sickness and overcome sin. Even when she established a By-Law in the Manual of The Mother Church for teaching classes in Christian Science, she kept uppermost this standard of individual study of the Bible along with the Christian Science textbook. She wrote regarding the Christian Science teacher's responsibility toward students: "He shall persistently and patiently counsel his pupils in conformity with the unerring laws of God, and shall enjoin them habitually to study the Scriptures and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as a help thereto." Man., Art. XXVI, Sect. 2.

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