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Understanding the "correlative Scripture"

From the September 1982 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Mrs. Eddy herself requested that the Churches of Christ, Scientist, "read at the close of services, and before benediction," the "scientific statement of being,"See Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, p. 468. followed by "the correlative Scripture according to I John, 3:1, 2, 3."

This request by our Leader appeared in the March 21, 1901, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. The item included the specific verses from I John, with capitalization provided by Mrs. Eddy:

Behold, what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God; there
fore the world knoweth us not, because it
knew him not. Beloved, now are we the
sons of God, and it doth not yet appear
what we shall be: but we know that,
when He shall appear, we shall be like
him; for we shall see him as He is. And
every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as He is pure.

The text is from the King James Version, but Mrs. Eddy capitalized the word "He" in all three instances where it appears in the verses. She later approved publication of an article about the "correlative Scripture" and it appeared in the January 6, 1906, Sentinel. (Headed simply "I John, 3: 1, 2, 3," the article, by Prof. Herman S. Hering, a student of Mrs. Eddy's, was republished in the Sentinel of April 23, 1938, and The Christian Science Journal of June 1938.)

After quoting the I John verses as rendered in several other translations of the Bible, the Hering article makes the following statement: "These [different translations] show that the words 'he' and 'him' in the three verses quoted are pronouns for Deity, and refer to God and God's appearing, or the Christ; and a very helpful interpretation is obtained when read with this in thought."

Also published with this article was a letter Prof. Hering had written to Mrs. Eddy when he submitted the article to her for possible publication. In this letter he pointed out that many First Readers in branch churches at that time were reading the I John verses "with emphasis which shows that they do not rightly understand this passage . . . ." It seems evident that Mrs. Eddy wanted the situation corrected, since she had the letter and Prof. Hering's article published.

His article warns against putting undue stress on the pronoun "we" in the first verse, as if a select group were indicated. Actually, the emphasis in the first part of this verse is a dual one, stressing both the love of "the Father," God, and the revealed divine sonship of all individuals.

In addition, the Hering article mentions the need to announce the "correlative Scripture according to I John" immediately before it is read, thus indicating clearly where Mrs. Eddy's words in "the scientific statement of being" end and where those of John begin. This step also emphasizes the correlative nature of the Bible verses in relation to Mrs. Eddy's words.

A further point, from Prof. Hering's letter to Mrs. Eddy, is contained in the following paragraph: "The passage 'Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be,' is generally read as though it meant that we shall become something else than sons of God in the future. My understanding of this according to Science is that we are God's children now, but that this fact is not yet apparent."

This insight might remind some of an exchange of letters Mrs. Eddy had with another correspondent, which is published on pages 241 and 242 of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany. Following is one of Mrs. Eddy's statements from this material: "You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so."

Mrs. Eddy of course did not teach that mortals are immortals. But she did teach that mortal life is an illusion that must be dropped in exchange for one's immortal sonship. One can't drop off mortality until he begins to see and accept that he really is God's likeness right now.

By indicating the correlative nature of the I John verses in respect to "the scientific statement of being," Mrs. Eddy shows us that the Bible verses themselves indicate both the unreality of matter and the present spiritual sonship of all, however much the deceptive corporeal senses would try to obscure this sonship. It is instructive to read the whole of I John with these points in thought.

Part of I John 3:8, for example, states: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Other portions of the book indicate equally powerfully the need to destroy "the devil," the belief of mind, intelligence, life, in matter (see Science and Health 584:17-25).

John is telling us that spiritual purgation from materialism and the resulting rebirth come through recognition of divine sonship. As is read every Sunday in Christian Science churches, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Our hope in and understanding of Christ lead us to purify ourselves, and this purification reveals (makes appear) our real status as God's offspring.

This brief but powerful book of the Bible warns the faithful to beware of those who deny that "Jesus is the Christ" and of those who deny "the Father and the Son" (2:22). The next verse goes on: "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." Unwitting or conscious denial of the spirituality that motivated and empowered the humanity of Jesus would block our spiritual progress because it would cut us off from God, John warns.

Recognition and understanding of the dual nature of Christ Jesus—his spirituality and his humanity—are necessary to our own spiritual progress, since we still need his human and divine example in our efforts to purify ourselves. We need to plumb the depths of his experience in order to find God and our relationship to Him. And the key step is to understand that Christ, the spiritual idea of God, was the substance and power of all that Christ Jesus taught and did (see Science and Health, p. 334).

Mrs. Eddy's request to have both "the scientific statement of being" and "the correlative Scripture" read at the close of services is one of the links that ties the Church of Christ, Scientist, to practice of true Christianity. Their message urges us to demonstrate Christ as the substance of our worship and as the basis of our usefulness to mankind.

A request for good reports on the family

Readers are invited to submit articles for "The Church in Action," showing how study and demonstration of Christian Science in the context of church activities has strengthened family life.

Manuscripts will need to explain clearly and in some detail the nature of the prayerful work that brought about good results. They should point out the particular church activity or activities involved, and state factually the fruitage.

It's always helpful to remind ourselves of the broad scope of church activity. Study of the Lesson-Sermon outlined in the Christian Science Quarterly is, in a sense, a church activity, for example, as is reading the Christian Science periodicals. Study, prayer, spiritual learning, demonstration of divine Principle, as well as full support of a branch church and The Mother Church, unite us with the Church of Christ, Scientist. On this basis individuals achieve greater spiritual unity with God and, as a result, more harmony within the church membership. As individuals and families in this way reflect God's power more consistently, they are able to put down the claim that evil can organize in various ways to resist the appearance of Christ, Truth, in human consciousness.

Support of and obedience to the By-Laws and Rules of the Manual of The Mother Church by Mrs. Eddy lead us out of materialistic, destructive patterns of thought and life, and keep family life wholesome and happy.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness. Christian Science despoils the kingdom of evil, and preeminently promotes affection and virtue in families and therefore in the community. The Apostle Paul refers to the personification of evil as 'the god of this world,' and further defines it as dishonesty and craftiness."Science mid Health, pp. 102-103.

Our times show clearly that one way evil tries to weaken Christianity itself is by attempts to undermine family life. But Science and Health, with its inspired interpretation of the Bible, teaches us how to nullify the efforts of evil through scientific prayer and by refusing to worship false gods. The Bible passage to which Mrs. Eddy refers in the quotation above reads as follows: "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."II Cor. 4:3, 4.

We needn't let "the god of this world"—belief that matter has intelligence, life, substance, sensation—blind our receptivity to Christ, Truth, which reveals the joy and satisfaction of spiritually uplifted and enduring relationships. For example, families need not sit helplessly by and let destructive elements in literature, entertainment, life styles—personifying evil as believable, magnetic, pleasurable—hide the worth and substance of moral and spiritual values.

Correct and intelligent application of Christian Science includes metaphysical defense against evil's claim to activity as well as reality. Evil would attempt to blind us to the spiritual love that should be a normal part of all human relationships. But the action of the Christ in human consciousness destroys belief in evil and thereby gives us strength to help defend ourselves and other family members.

A metaphysical approach to protecting our families also is, in a sense, a form of church activity (see Manual, Art. VIII, Sect. 6) that blesses our own and all of mankind.

Church activity helps to strengthen the individual in his work of demonstrating man's inseparable relationship with God. The resulting proofs of divine power destroy the lies of the so-called carnal mind that would disrupt family relationships. Demonstration of scientific Christianity, which builds individual morality and the solidarity of unselfed love, will establish a more enduring Christian culture than has ever existed before. Joy and adventure are part of this holy work.

We look forward to hearing of results along these lines that have already been demonstrated. Relations between husbands and wives, children and parents, siblings, in-laws, members of the extended family—all offer possible topics. The articles will appear unsigned if the author requests this.

Contributions can be sent to:

The Christian Science Publishing Society
Journal, Sentinel, and Herald
Editorial Department
The Church in Action Section
One Norway Street
Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115

Doing the work of church at universities and colleges

These comments by members of Christian Science organizations were supplied by the University and College Organizations Division of The Mother Church. Following the comments are brief instructions on starting an organization at a university or college.

"Through various trials, I have taken a stand as a Christian Scientist, making fits teachings] my own. The organization on my campus has been my home, my church, and my family. I became actively involved in the organization when its loving members saved me from suicide."

"I had trouble handling the pressure to drink at parties here, and the other org members helped me by telling me how they handled it [through Christian Science]."

"One evening, the readings at the org testimony meeting were on God's love for His creation. During the meeting I felt a sense of complete protection by this love. Back at the dorm afterward, I was laughing with a friend while drinking a can of fizzy soda. I choked and couldn't breathe. At first I panicked, which made it worse, but then I remembered the feeling of God's love I'd been so sure of at the meeting, and immediately I could breathe freely again. I know that other organization members besides myself, and visitors also, leave our testimony meetings with a clearer sense of God's love."

"The [organization] members agreed that vandalism was a serious problem on campus .... We pushed beneath the obvious human aspects of the problem to root causes .... What the members cited as 'root causes' we finally came to see as merely symptoms of misconceptions about the real nature of man. To say that man would be violent or a vandal because he was angry and unemployed or poor or whatever was not to cite a cause but a false effect from a wrong cause—materiality. Over several weeks we pressed beneath to the real man, his true nature as God's child—and there found the cure for both false cause and so-called effect.

"Not long afterward the campus was selected for filming portions of [a major] movie. Several things resulted, [including] sprucing up of the [administration] building at the expense of the movie company to specifically clean up some of the damage done by vandalism. . . . But more important, new local unity and justifiable pride in the campus [were seen in] tours by local people of the movie set, [with] some 'disadvantaged' and other local youth groups [coming along]. It has really been a nice turning around for the relationship between the campus and the local community."

"Several Christian Scientists that I knew at a theological seminary where I was doing graduate work were holding monthly testimony meetings that anyone in the academic community could come to. But we hadn't formed a group just to huddle together out of fear of being among those with different religious convictions. As friends, we were exploring together what made Christian Science so profoundly Christian. From this we could see individually how to appreciate the most spiritually enlightened aspects of what we were learning. We weren't 'relating' Christian Science teaching to orthodox theology—we were using the light of Christian Science to perceive the best in our common Christian tradition."

Since the By-Law concerning Christian Science organizations was included by Mrs. Eddy in the Manual of The Mother Church in 1904, Christian Scientists at universities and colleges around the world have been discovering the purpose and promise of this activity—as the above remarks attest. Through their prayer and spiritually enlightened reasoning, they have been able to heal a multitude of problems associated with campus life, provide each other with Christian fellowship, and help their colleagues glimpse more of man's inherent spirituality. If you're a Christian Scientist involved in higher education, this opportunity is open to you.

Christian Scientists in higher education may organize under the Church Manual to conduct their Church's campus ministry. It's a ministry of love for God and for mankind; of lives lived in a spirit of obedience to God's direction; of the gospel preached through the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy; and of God's presence revealed in healing and regeneration.

If you're a student or faculty member and feel the desire to make a greater spiritual commitment within your college or university, you may want to exercise the privilege of members of The Mother Church given in Article XXIII, Section 8, of the Manual. As a first step, it would be natural for you to contact other Christian Scientists at the university and invite them to meet with you. A common love of Truth becomes the basis for a wider gratitude and a mutual desire to share Christian Science. Such a desire leads to public testimony meetings and the full range of college organization ministry.

At any stage of the activity, you can write or call the University and College Organizations Division of The Mother Church for additional help (see address below).

An organization's membership consists of faculty, instructors, and students at a particular university or college, as well as graduates. To be listed in The Christian Science Journal, your group needs at least two members who belong to The Mother Church; regular testimony meetings open to the campus public at least once a month; and an approved set of bylaws.

Once you meet these criteria, you may request from the University and College Organizations Division the application for recognition and the information sheet for your Journal listing. As soon as your application is approved, you'll be listed in the Journal. (If your country speaks a language other than English, you'll also be listed in the appropriate edition of The Herald of Christian Science.)

To find out more, please write or call:

The First Church of Christ, Scientist
University and College Organizations
Division, A-141
Christian Science Center
Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115

Phone: (617) 262-2300, ext. 3428

The Christian Science Monitor reaches out to help others

From time to time individuals in the Field send useful experiences they have had in church work. The following is one example.

At a recent board meeting of a local women's organization that I attended, a guest speaker reported on her work as head of a family crisis shelter. At one time our church's literature distribution committee had delivered literature to this center. But it had become difficult to reach anyone at this shelter, since every contact had to be made through a post office box number or an emergency phone number. There was no specific spot to leave literature, which at a previous time had been greatly appreciated.

Because the holiday gift program for giving periodicals was coming up, the idea came that a subscription to The Christian Science Monitor or the Christian Science Sentinel would be helpful at this family center. After the mailing address of the speaker had been obtained, two issues of the Monitor and the recent special copy of the Sentinel focusing on the holiday were mailed directly to her, along with a letter saying how much her community work was appreciated and that funds were available for gift subscriptions to either or both of the enclosed periodicals.

A note of thanks that was received read in part: "We very much appreciate your generous offer of a subscription to one of the fine Christian Science periodicals. The Monitor combines both excellent news and journalism and words of faith and encouragement; and we would be most pleased to have it available for residents and staff to enjoy."

This was a demonstration, since, at first, the thought had come that it was not easy to find where to deliver any sample copies; and even mailing them to the shelter might cause them to be overlooked. After I prayed about this desire for a while, it had become clear that God was providing His love to meet a human need. Then it seemed right to send a letter and give the literature directly to the individual—and to expect good results!

Field Assistants visit branches worldwide

Pondering the vastness of Mary Baker Eddy's vision for the Church of Christ, Scientist, we realize how much there is yet to learn. Many branches are finding renewed usefulness and purpose by deepening their concept of Church and its spiritual mission. To help in this process, Field Assistants from the Church Activities Department have been meeting with branches—large and small, urban and rural—all having one common desire: to see their Leader's Church fulfilling its healing and regenerative purpose in their respective communities.

An occasional misconception is that Field Assistants meet only with branches that are struggling. On the contrary, these experienced practitioners work with any church membership desiring to explore fresh ways to meet community needs through the provisions for church activity given by Mrs. Eddy in the Church Manual.

A workshop with a Field Assistant includes sharing insights that strengthen and unify a church's reason for being; realizing the spiritual power underlying our ministry; discussing priorities in church activity and how we can refine procedures and activities so they serve, rather than encumber, our mission.

Inquiries or requests from branches for a Field Assistant visit are welcome. Field Assistants are available, by invitation, to branches in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, continental Europe, Central and South America, the West Indies, Canada, and the United States. Please write:

The First Church of Christ, Scientist
Church Activities Department, A-161
Field Assistant Activities
Christian Science Center
Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115

Tours while visiting Boston

Original Mother Church
The Mother Church Extension
Sunday School
Christian Science Publishing House
Church Administration building

Visitors' Tour Center
Christian Healing Today
A major exhibit on the Bible, "A Light
Unto My Path"

You may also wish to include two of Mary Baker Eddy's former homes, which are near Boston:

1875-1882 12 Broad Street, Lynn, MA
1908-1910 Chestnut Hill, at 400 Beacon Street, Newton, MA

Current tour schedules and exhibit hours may be obtained by calling (617) 262-2300, ext. 3795, or writing:

The First Church of Christ, Scientist
Visitor Section, P-133
Christian Science Center
Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115

For your deeper study

. . . there is the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. Daily study of this book together with the Bible can increase your understanding of God. In English, Science and Health is available in a choice of paperback, cloth, and leather bindings, with or without indexing. The book is also published in 14 other languages. You can borrow or purchase a copy at any Christian Science Reading Room. Or you may order direct from the Publisher's Agent, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115.

Funds to help branches with building-related projects

Many branches of The Mother Church needing assistance with building projects have qualified for financial help from The Mother Church.

The Mother Church is grateful to be able to provide this assistance for buying or building edifices and for enlarging, altering, or refurbishing existing buildings, including Sunday Schools and Reading Rooms.

To receive a copy of the guidelines and a questionnaire, the executive boards of churches and societies may write to:

Michael A. West, Treasurer, A-62
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
Christian Science Center
Boston, MA, U.S.A. 02115

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