Modern biblical criticism -- and Mary Baker Eddy's approach to biblical study

as described in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy

by Robert Nguyen Cramer (version


Mary Baker Eddy, at twelve years of age, already questioning and refuting "the grim doctrine of absolute predestination"

From the days of her childhood, Mary Baker Eddy not only was a serious student of the Bible, she also was an unabashedly honest student and interpreter of the Bible. When she was joining the Congregational Church at the age of twelve, she refused to accept the doctrine of predestination. In her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection, she recounted (Ret 13:1-15:6):

At the age of twelve I was admitted to the Congregational (Trinitarian) Church, my parents having been members of that body for a half-century... Before this step was taken, the doctrine of unconditional election, or predestination, greatly troubled me; for I was unwilling to be saved, if my brothers and sisters were to be numbered among those who were doomed to perpetual banishment from God...

When the meeting was held for the examination of candidates for membership, I was of course present. The pastor was an old-school expounder of the strictest Presbyterian doctrines... However, I was ready for his doleful questions, which I answered without a tremor, declaring that never could I unite with the church, if assent to this doctrine was essential thereto.

Distinctly do I recall what followed. I stoutly maintained that I was willing to trust God, and take my chance of spiritual safety with my brothers and sisters, -- not one of whom had then made any profession of religion, -- even if my creedal doubts left me outside the doors. The minister then wished me to tell him when I had experienced a change of heart; but tearfully I had to respond that I could not designate any precise time. Nevertheless, he persisted in the assertion that I had been truly regenerated, and asked me to say how I felt when the new light dawned within me. I replied that I could only answer him in the words of the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." This was so earnestly said, that even the oldest churchmembers wept. After the meeting was over they came and kissed me. To the astonishment of many, the good clergyman's heart also melted, and he received me into their communion, and my protest along with me...

20th century Christian historian David Bercot, with far more biblical and early Christian historical resources available to him than were ever available to Mrs. Eddy, refers to "the grim doctrine of absolute predestination" as an anti-heretic invention of St. Augustine at the end of the 4th century A.D. (See Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the LIght of Early Christianity, Third Edition, by David W. Bercot, Tyler, TX: Scroll Publishing, 1999, pages 137-142.) Bercot goes on to describe how Martin Luther, in the early 16th century, was outraged at the practices of his fellow Roman Catholic clerics selling "indulgences" (for forgiveness of sins) to subsidize the rebuilding of St. Peter's Church in Rome. Bercot says (ibid., page 145):

As an Augustinian monk, he [Luther] simply resurrected some of the forgotten theology of Augustine. Following Augustine, Luther argued that salvation is entirely a matter of predestination. He taught that humans are totally unable to do anything good, or even to have faith in God. Instead, God gives faith and good works to those whom He had arbitrarily chosen before the creation of the world. Others He arbitrarily chose to be eternally damned.

Other Christian historians concur with Bercot's description. (For example, see {1} Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Second Edition, edited by Everett Ferguson, NY: Garland Publishing, 1998, page 945-945, article on "Predestination," by J. Patout Burns; and {2} The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought: Intellectual, Spiritual, and Moral Horizons of Christianity, edited by Adrian Hastings, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, pages 562-564, article on "Predestination," by David A.S. Fergusson).

Mary Baker Eddy's admission to the Congregational Church by no means was the last time she confronted theologians and Bible scholars in her pursuit of pure, authentic, 1st century Christianity. As was the case at the age of twelve, even into her later years, she often pronounced genuine Christian theology without having had the benefit of all of the biblical and historical resources available to us today -- often/usually with active resistence from the dominant theologians of her day. However, as her early Christian instincts regarding predestination proved correct, so her later insights regarding the genuine biblical message has increasingly been substantiated by modern biblical scholarship. For the most part her teachings were not well received by the popular biblical and theological establishments of her day.

Mary Baker Eddy -- as early adopter of modern biblical scholarship

As pointed out in the book review of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures at

Mary Baker Eddy incurred the wrath of many ecclesiatics of her day, not only for being a woman who was a leading religious figure but also for her use of modern translations and her use of some of the findings of modern biblical criticism. [For a definition of the term biblical criticism, see]

Though undoubtedly knowing that her own writings would be held under the microscope of judgment by her own words, Mrs. Eddy did not hesitate to state (S&H 24:4):

Acquaintance with the original texts, and willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out.

Even Mrs. Eddy's biographer Robert Peel, who himself was a student of Christian Science, warned against "bibliolatry," especially that which is based upon a supposition of historical inerrancy of any book. In his Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority (NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977, page 108), Mr. Peel explored the background of Mis 147:14-148:3, which originally had been written by Hugh Blair, but reproduced as an article under Mrs. Eddy's name without any mention of Mr. Blair. Mr. Peel then went on to write:

Whatever her reasoning, the passage stands squarely like a block of granite in the way of any future tendency by Christian Scientists to attribute to Mrs. Eddy's published articles the sort of textual or verbal infallibility that biblical literalists and fundamentalists have attributed to the Bible. She could write in Science and Health of the infallibility of "divine metaphysics," but her statement of metaphysics left no room for either bibliolatry or mariolatry. Truth was the one thing; words, according to her own theory, were at best an approximation. [See S&H 349:13-30.]

An even clearer example of a charitably motivated, unintentional historical inaccuracy in Mrs. Eddy's writings was where she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (S&H xii:6-7):

During seven years over four thousand students were taught by the author in this College.

Robert Peel (Mary Baker Eddy: Years of Authority, page 483, footnote 104) noted:

While she [Mrs. Eddy] was a realistic businesswoman, she had a wishful tendency to let statistics balloon in recollection. Reminding her of her impressionistic estimate that she had taught some four thousand students in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, [Calvin] Frye pointed out that if she had taught even half that number at $300 a head she would have been a vastly wealthier woman than she was. The records show that actually she taught no more than a thousand at the most (many of them at reduced or no fees) and this figure is supported by collateral evidence in her correspondence.

When it came to honest biblical study, Mrs. Eddy was far ahead of most theologians of her day. (For an example Mrs. Eddy's honest pursuit of "the original texts" behind several Bible verses, browse Though she did not have access to all of the historical information available today, Mrs. Eddy endeavored be as historically accurate as possible; thus, the value of her theology should be judged independently of the accuracy of the biblical and other historical references in her writings. (For example, at various places in S&H, Mrs. Eddy refers to Paul as the author of Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Hebrews, all of which many modern biblical critics have concluded to have not been written by Paul.)

When I find what appears to be differences between the message in the writings of Mrs. Eddy and what I read in the Bible about first century Christian teachings and practices, I rely upon the United Bible Society's (UBS) Greek New Testament, 4th Revised Edition, the best modern representative of "the original texts" for guidance, as Mrs. Eddy herself advocated in S&H 24:4 quoted above. As I re-view Mrs. Eddy's writings in light of the original texts, I find that the Greek texts often further explain or clarify what she wrote. They make me read her writings differently and more appreciatively. On the other hand, using her writings as a springboard into the Bible texts very frequently helps me to further discover the rich nuances of those Bible texts, especially in the Gospel of John, in Paul's writings, and in other New Testament writings.

Mary Baker Eddy's biblical resources

Mrs. Eddy personally made use of and encouraged others to use resources utilizing modern biblical critical scholarship, especially to clarify or correct wording in the King James Version. She herself was a very serious student of the Bible, of which she had over a dozen different Bible versions in her own personal research library. (More details on this can be found at In chronological order of the date of its most complete edition, those English Bible versions Mrs. Eddy had were the following:

    1. The New Testament in English, instigated by John Wycliffe (First translated and published in manuscript form between 1378-1388.)
    2. The New Testament, translated by William Tyndale (First published in 1525.)
    3. The King James Version (1611. Dr. Benjamin Blayney's 1769 revision of the KJV is the basis for almost all KJV editions today.)
    4. The English Version of the Polyglot Bible (Published in 1836.)
    5. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated Literally from the Original Tongues , translated by Julia E. Smith (Published in 1876.)
    6. The Revised Version, translated by English and American scholars. (The New Testament was first published in 1881. The entire Bible was first published in 1885.)
    7. The American Standard Version (First published in 1901.)
    8. The Emphasized Bible, translated by Joseph Bryant Rotherham (Published in parts from 1868 to 1902. The entire Bible was first published in 1902.)
    9. The Holy Bible in Modern English, translated by Ferrar Fenton (Published in parts from 1882 to 1902. The entire Bible was first published 1903.)
    10. The New Testament in Modern English, translated by Richard Francis Weymouth (First published in 1903.)
    11. The Twentieth Century New Testament (Published in parts from 1898 to 1901. A revised one-volume edition of the New Testament was first published in 1904.)
    12. Nave's Topical Bible, compiled by Orville J. Nave (Published in 1904.)
    13. The Modern Reader's Bible: The Books of the Bible with Three Books of the Apocrypha, translated by Richard G. Moulton (Published in parts from 1895. The entire Bible was first published in 1907.)

Some of the many Bible research materials and books on Christian history that she had in her final personal library are listed below. Mrs. Eddy's handwritten annotations on the pages of those books clearly indicate her use of at least these. She did, however, have many other books in her library that she may have used regularly, but in which there were no annotations. It also should be noted that the inclusion of certain books in one's library does not mean endorsement of or association with all or even some of the views of those books, any more than Jesus can justly be associated with or characterized by those people with whom he mixed and mingled. (I myself have quite a few books in my own biblical res earch library that are useful primarily because their conclusions are in such sharp contrast with my own conclusions. I also have 11 of the 13 above-listed Bibles and 9 of the 19 below-listed books or their modern equivalents.)

  1. A Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments or A Dictionary and Alphabetical index to the Bible, by Alexander Cruden, NY: Dodd & Mead, c 1871, 856 pages.
  2. Archaeological Writings of the Sanhedrin and Talmuds of the Jews. Translated from Manuscripts in Constatinople and the Records of the Senatorial Docket Taken from the Vatican in Rome. Being the Offical Documents Made in the Courts in the Days of Jesus Christ, translated by Drs. McIntosh and Twyman, St. Louis, MO: 1887, 569 pages.
  3. Bible Texts Topically Arranged, Third Edition, compiled by Maude A. Richardson, Chicago: Maude A Richardson, 1899, 72 pages.
  4. Daily Light on the Daily Path : A Devotional Text Book for everyday in the year in the words of Scripture: The Morning Hour, Enlarged and Revised Edition, London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd, NY: James Pott & Co., c 1896.
  5. How We Got Our Bible, New Edition, Volume Ill, History of the Bible and it's interpretations, by J. Paterson Smyth, London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, Ltd., 1895, 127 pages.
  6. Lyrical Poetry From the Bible (Volume 1 and 2), Ernest Rhys. London; S.M. Dent & Co., 1895, 390 pages.
  7. New sayings of Jesus and Fragment of a lost Gospel from Oxyrhynchus, edited with translation and commentary by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, NY: Published for the Eygpt Exploration Fund by Oxford University Press, American branch; London, H. Frowde, c 1904. 47 pages.
  8. Scriptural Healing, arranged from the Bible by Helen Young, NY: the Anglo-American Authors' Association, 1907, 269 pages.
  9. Sermon on the Mount, with Ten Commandents, Twenty-third Psalm and Ninety-first Psalm, arranged and printed by Miss A.F. Grant, Boston: A.F. Grant, 1902, 21 pages.
  10. Some Heretics of Yesterday, by S. E. Herrick, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1885, 314 pages.
  11. The Book of Jubilees: Reinterpretation and retranslation of Jesus Christ's early life, translated from the Ethiopic by George H. Schodde, Oberlin, OH: E. J. Goodrich, 1888, 131 pages.
  12. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, A.B. Davidson, London: J.M. Dent & Co., c 1902, 225 pages.
  13. The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers: S. Barnabas, S. Clements, S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp, the Shepard of Hermes, and the Martyrdoms of St. Ignatious and St. Polycarp, written by those who were present at their suffering, translated by W. Wake, London: W. Wake, 1893, 547 pages.
  14. The History of Christianity: consisting of the life and treachings of Jesus of Nazareth; the adventures of Paul and the Apostles; and the most interesting events in the progress of Christianity, from the earliest period to the present time, by John S. C. Abbott, Boston: B.B. Russell, c 1877, 504 pages.
  15. The Life of Jesus, The Christ, Henry Ward Beecher, NY: J.B. Ford and Co., c 1872, 510 pages.
  16. The Minds and Words of Jesus, and the Faithful Promiser, Rev. J.R. Macduff, Boston: DeWolfe, Fisk & Co., no date, 62 pages.
  17. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia and Scriptural Dictionary (3 Volumes), edited by Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1907.
  18. The Unwritten Sayings of Christ; The Words of Our Lord Not Recorded in the Four Gospels, Including Those Recently Discovered, by Charles George Griffinhoofe, Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons, 1903,, 128 pages.
  19. Women of the Bible, by Emminent Divines, New York: Harper & Bros, c1900, 188 pages.

One of those books in Mrs. Eddy's library had a description of the current state of biblical scholarship that echoes what she had written on the subject.

The Bible and Modern Scholarship. Modern scholarship is active in every field of letters, and text-books of only five years ago are already considered antiquated. Whole systems of thought succeed each other with wonderful rapidity. The researches of later science are demonstrating the unity of the physical universe in its widest extent, and also the identity of the laws which govern it; and the unity of the Divine method in the realm that we know is strong presumption of the same method in the region which lies beyond our knowledge. The Bible is not exempt from the universal spirit of investigation; the book is still under fire to even a greater extent than during the centuries that are gone, but it comes out triumphant from every fair inquiry, however searching it may be. (The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia and Scriptural Dictionary, Volume 1, page 276)

Three other book that were not in her final library but that she had once owned or with which she was at least quite familiar were Richard C. Trench's The Miracles of Our Lord and The Parables of our Lord and W.J. Conybear and J.S. Howson's The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. Robert Peel (Mary Baker Eddy, The Years of Trial, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971, page 370, footnote 1) notes:

1. A. L&M 56-7870. Despite Mrs. Eddy's objection to Filbert's taking a three-year theological course, other evidence indicates that she did not reject the usefulness of hnistoricalk shcholarship. At the close of the obstetrics course in October, 1888, for instance, she told Mrs. Knott to prepare herself to hold services and preach sermons and recommended as aids Archbishop Trench's The Miracles of Our Lord and The Parables of Our Lord, Conybear[e] and Howson's The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, and John S.C. Abbott's The History of Christianity.

As listed above, Abbott's book was still in her final library.

Though Smith's Bible Dictionary was not in her final library collection, Robert Peel (Mary Baker Eddy, The Years of Discovery, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966, pages 222-223) describes Mrs. Eddy's introduction to that dictionary as follows:

Back on May 30 [1868], while she was still at the Webster house, Mrs. [Mary Baker] Glover had received a telegram summoning her to Manchester to help a friend of the Websters, Mrs. Mary M. Gale, who was critically ill with pneumonia. She had gone and healed her immediately, and Mrs. Gale's subsequent letters poured out her gratitude for the healing. But while she was there, Mrs. Glover had noticed a small child in the house playing with a book, and when she picked up the book she read with delight the title A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by William Smith and published only the year before in Hartford, Connecticut. Mrs. Gale ordered a copy for her and it arrived while she was at Miss Bagley's.

Up to that time she had to carry on her writing without concordances or any of the normal aids to biblical study. Now she at least had one reference work to abet her, and her direct and indirect references to Smith's Dictionary even in the last edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures show that she valued its aid. She was especially pleased to find the text of Genesis 6:3, "And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh," rendered, "And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not forever rule [or be humbled] in men, seeing that they are [or, in their error they are] but flesh." Here was the very language of Science. note: Mrs. Eddy quotes this reference from Smith's Bible Dictionary in S&H 320:8-17. She also quotes from Smith's in '00 13:24. Peel implies that there are also other S&H references to Smith's Bible Dictionary that do not mention Smith's as the source.

Also of interest are the biblical reseach books that were sold in Christian Science Reading Rooms up through 1910 (the year marking the end of Mrs. Eddy's lifetime); thus, they were books that would have been subject to Mrs. Eddy's scrutiny. Those books are listed at:

Proper perspective of Mary Baker Eddy as a faithful Christian

Beyond the issues of scholarship, Mrs. Eddy is best recognized by her living practice of Christianity. Though best known to many as a practitioner and teacher of Christian healing, she also was remarkable for her consistent unconditional Christian love (Greek: agape), especially toward her many enemies. I myself am grateful to God to have experienced many Christian healings of sin and disease through the practice of her teachings on Christian Science, the Science of Christ.

I believe that the most balanced and honest biographies of her are those by the thorough, scholarly historian, Robert Peel. He did not back down from his honest conclusions, even when the publishing of those conclusions reportedly brought him disfavor from some senior management at The Church of Christ, Scientist, the church that Mrs. Eddy founded.

As illustrated by some negative reaction to Robert Peel's biographies of Mrs. Eddy, the articulation of honest findings is not always very comfortable to those who prefer simply to accept traditional views that justify or at least reassure their already-held opinions. Mr. Peel's biographies are a difficult read for those fundamentalist Christians whose literature so consistently dishonestly misrepresents the history and theology of Christian Science. Those same critics also usually find the conclusions of modern biblical scholarship threatening and heretical. Mr. Peel's biographies are also difficult to read for those relatively few fundamentalist Christian Scientists who have idolized Mrs. Eddy to an almost semi-divine status. Those idolizers also find modern biblical scholarship threatening and contrary to the teachings of Christian Science. On the other hand, most Christian Scientists and many other knowledgable Christians, are today more openminded and honest in their assessments of the theological conclusions of both biblical scholarship and Mrs. Eddy. I myself find many of today's honest biblical scholars and theologians arriving at conclusions very similar to what I understand Mrs. Eddy to have taught.

Those who seek to be led by the most honest representation of the facts and who are not beholden to popular opinions find intellectual honesty to be exhilarating and their conclusions to be very genuine and inspiring. Obvious examples of where traditional views have been enslaving, and of where a more honest and thorough examination of the biblical texts has been liberating, can be found in webpage articles on the roles of women in the early church, that are listed and linked at A specific example of such an article can be found at

Mr. Peel, in his final biography, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority (page xi) wrote:

There also are 'sanctified legends' about the Bible (and sometimes about Bible translations) that are perpetuated by some Christians of all denominations, including some students of Christian Science, and there are 'scandalous fables' about the Bible that are perpetuated by some opponents of Christianity. Giving up those 'sanctified legends and scandalous fables' "open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out."

Mr. Peel, in his Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Trial (pages 204-205), commenting on the growing biblical liberalism and scholarly scepticism of the late nineteenth century, wrote:

By the logic of Mrs. Eddy's teaching, the Christian miracles were capable of being "scientifically" understood and reproduced as instances of universal law rather than arbitrary interventions of Deity. In her own words, "The miracle introduces no disorder, but unfolds the primal order, establishing the Science of God's unchangeable law." [S&H 135:6]

Christian Science, in a sense, bypassed the burning question of the historicity of the New Testament narratives by its emphasis on a continuing revelation and incarnation of the Christ in human experience...

Regardless of what biblical scholarship might say or surmise about the historicity of the gospel narratives, her experience confirmed their essential truth.

Some of Mrs. Eddy published statements related to biblical criticism - chronologically arranged

Below are many of Mrs. Eddy published statements that are directly or remotely related to biblical criticism, some of which more directly reply to her criticism of what is today called Christian fundamentalism. Interestingly enough, they provide not only a microscope to judge Bible versions and the Bible itself, but also a lens to better understand and more maturely appreciate the Bible, as well as her own writings. The statements below are listed according to the date of her words. They conclude with statements in her most authoritative work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which is the textbook of Christian Science, the final edition of which represents her views in 1910.

It is useful to remember how provocative it was for religious leader -- especially a woman religous leader at the end of the 19th century and even at the beginning of the 20th century to be taking seriously the conclusions of biblical criticism. Even today it still is ecclesiastically dangerous to preach from the pulpit the conclusions of modern biblical scholarship -- at the risk of being condemned and cast out as a heretic!

NOTE: has put some phrases below in bold font to enable readers to more easily see the text's relevance to biblical criticism.

Mis 234:3-5 (1884)

We spread our wings in vain when we attempt to mount above error by speculative views of Truth.

Mis 327:10-26 (1884 - a brief excerpt from "An Allegory")

Many there were who had entered the valley to speculate in worldly policy, religion, politics, finance, and to search for wealth and fame. These had heavy baggage of their own, and insisted upon taking all of it with them, which must greatly hinder their ascent. The journey commences. The encumbered travellers halt and disagree. They stoutly belay those who, having less baggage, ascend faster than themselves, and betimes burden them with their own. Despairing of gaining the summit, loaded as they are, they conclude to stop and lay down a few of the heavy weights, -- but only to take them up again, more than ever determined not to part with their baggage. All this time the Stranger is pointing the way, showing them their folly, rebuking their pride, consoling their afflictions, and helping them on, saying, "He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it."

Mis 237:19 (1884)

This is a period of doubt, inquiry, speculation, selfishness; of divided interests, marvellous good, and mysterious evil. But sin can only work out its own destruction; and reform does and must push on the growth of mankind.

Peo 3:3 (1886)

The crudest ideals of speculative theology have made monsters of men; and the ideals of materia medica have made helpless invalids and cripples. The eternal roasting amidst noxious vapors; the election of the minority to be saved and the majority to be eternally punished; the wrath of God, to be appeased by the sacrifice and torture of His favorite Son, -- are some of the false beliefs that have produced sin, sickness, and death; and then would affirm that these are natural, and that Christianity and Christ-healing are preternatural; yea, that make a mysterious God and a natural devil.

My 318:16-6 (1886, reminisced by Mrs. Eddy in 1906)

I invited Mr. Wiggin to visit one of my classes in the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and he consented on condition that I should not ask him any questions. I agreed not to question him just so long as he refrained from questioning me. He held himself well in check until I began my attack on agnosticism. As I proceeded, Mr. Wiggin manifested more and more agitation, until he could control himself no longer and, addressing me, burst out with: "How do you know that there ever was such a man as Christ Jesus?" He would have continued with a long argument, framed from his ample fund of historical knowledge, but I stopped him.

"Now, Mr. Wiggin," I said, "you have broken our agreement. I do not find my authority for Christian Science in history, but in revelation. If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me. I should still know that God's spiritual ideal is the only real man in His image and likeness."

My saying touched him, and I heard nothing further from him in the class... note: Henry Wiggin was an agnostic. Critics repeatedly and unfairly have taken out of context Mrs. Eddy's response to Mr. Wiggin, "If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me." Actually Mrs. Eddy took Jesus very, very seriously. In her Church Manual she makes the following requirement of members of her church (Man 41:1):

Christ Jesus the Ensample. SECT. 3. He who dated the Christian era is the Ensample in Christian Science. Careless comparison or irreverent reference to Christ Jesus is abnormal in a Christian Scientist, and is prohibited... A departure from this rule disqualifies a member for office in the Church or on the Board of Lectureship, and renders this member liable to discipline and, possibly, dismissal from The Mother Church.

The following is a list of terms Mrs. Eddy used to describe Jesus in her many, many references to him in her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

His [God's] anointed, the anointed, the Bethlehem babe, Christ, Christ Jesus, our divine Exemplar, the great Exemplar, the Galilean Prophet, the God-crowned, Jesus Christ, Jesus the Christ, our Lord, the Lord, our Master, the Master, their Master, their dear Master, the mediator, the Messiah, the Nazarene, the great Nazarene, the humble Nazarene, the Prince of Peace, the Prophet, that righteous man, the Saviour, the risen Saviour, the Son, the Son of God, the son of the living God, the Son of man, the son of Mary, our Teacher, our Great Teacher, the Teacher, the great Teacher, the immaculate Teacher, the new Teacher, the Way-shower.

Robert Peel briefly addresses Mrs. Eddy's comment to Wiggin in his Christian Science: Its Encounter with American Culture (NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1958, pages 192-193). Peel includes the following relevant footnote:

This statement has sometimes been wrested from its context to imply that Mrs. Eddy considered the lifework of Jesus Christ as "unnecessary." Seen in perspective, it is no more susceptible of such an interpretation than is the statement of the evangelist Billy Graham that even if "there were no historical record of Jesus' life and ministry, He would still be real to me because I know Him by personal and daily experience."

Ret 70:8 (1891)

We do not question the authenticity of the Scriptural narrative of the Virgin-mother and Bethlehem babe, and the Messianic mission of Christ Jesus; but in our time no Christian Scientist will give chimerical wings to his imagination, or advance speculative theories as to the recurrence of such events.

No 15:7-12 (1891)

Fatiguing Bible translations and voluminous commentaries are employed to explain and prop old creeds, and they have the civil and religious arms in their defense; then why should not these be equally extended to support the Christianity that heals the sick?
My 179:13-180:11 (1897)

Your Bible and your textbook, pastor and ethical tenets, do not mislead the seeker after Truth. These unpretentious preachers cloud not the spiritual meaning of Holy Writ by material interpretations, nor lose the invincible process and purity of Christianity whereby the sick are healed and sinners saved.

The Scripture declares that God is All. Then all is Spirit and spiritual. The true sense of life is lost to those who regard being as material. The Scripture pronounces all that God made "good;" therefore if evil exists, it exists without God. But this is impossible in reality, for He made all "that was made." Hence the inevitable revelation of Christian Science -- that evil is unreal; and this is the best of it.

It is said that the nearest approach to the sayings of the great Master is the Logia of Papias, written in A. D. 145, and that all else reported as his sayings are translations. The ancient Logia, or imputed sayings of Jesus by Papias, are undoubtedly the beginning of the gospel writings. The synoptic Scriptures, as set forth in the first and second chapters of Genesis, were in two distinct manuscripts. The first gave an account of the spiritual creation, and the second was an opposite story, or allegory, of a material universe and man made of dust. In this allegorical document the power and prerogative of Spirit are submerged in matter. In other words, soul enters non-intelligent dust and man becomes both good and evil, both mind and matter, mortal and immortal, -- all of which divine Science shows to be an impossibility.

The Old and the New Testaments contain self-evident truths that cannot be lost, but being translations, the Scriptures are criticized. Some dangerous skepticism exists as to the verification of our Master's sayings. But Christians and Christian Scientists know that if the Old Testament and gospel narratives had never been written, the nature of Christianity, as depicted in the life of our Lord, and the truth in the Scriptures, are sufficient to authenticate Christ's Christianity as the perfect ideal. The character of the Nazarene Prophet illustrates the Principle and practice of a true divinity and humanity. The different renderings or translations of Scripture in no wise affect Christian Science. Christianity and Science, being contingent on nothing written and based on the divine Principle of being, must be, are, irrefutable and eternal.

We are indeed privileged in having the untranslated revelations of Christian Science. They afford such expositions of the therapeutics, ethics, and Christianity of Christ as make even God demonstrable, the divine Love practical, and so furnish rules whereby man can prove God's love, healing the sick and the sinner. Whosoever understands Christian Science knows beyond a doubt that its life-giving truths were preached and practised in the first century by him who proved their practicality, who uttered Christ's Sermon on the Mount, who taught his disciples the healing Christianity which applies to all ages, and who dated time. A spiritual understanding of the Scriptures restores their original tongue in the language of Spirit, that primordial standard of Truth.

Christian Science contains no element whatever of hypnotism or animal magnetism. It appeals alone to God, to the divine Principle, or Life, Truth, and Love, to whom all things are possible; and this Principle heals sin, sickness, disease, and death. Christian Science meets error with Truth, death with Life, hate with Love, and thus, and only thus, does it overcome evil and heal disease. The obstinate sinner, however, refuses to see this grand verity or to acknowledge it, for he knows not that in justice, as well as in mercy, God is Love...

The Puritans possessed the motive of true religion, which, demonstrated on the Golden Rule, would have solved ere this the problem of religious liberty and human rights. It is "a consummation devoutly to be wished" that all nations shall speedily learn and practise the intermediate line of justice between the classes and masses of mankind, and thus exemplify in all things the universal equity of Christianity.

My 238:7 (1899)

Rightly to read and to practise the Scriptures, their spiritual sense must be discerned, understood, and demonstrated. God being Spirit, His language and meaning are wholly spiritual. Uninspired knowledge of the translations of the Scriptures has imparted little power to practise the Word. Hence the revelation, discovery, and presentation of Christian Science -- the Christ Science, or "new tongue" of which St. Mark prophesied -- became requisite in the divine order. On the swift pinions of spiritual thought man rises above the letter, law, or morale of the inspired Word to the spirit of Truth, whereby the Science is reached that demonstrates God. When the Bible is thus read and practised, there is no possibility of misinterpretation. God is understandable, knowable, and applicable to every human need. In this is the proof that Christian Science is Science, for it demonstrates Life, not death; health, not disease; Truth, not error; Love, not hate. The Science of the Scriptures coexists with God; and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" relegates Christianity to its primitive proof, wherein reason, revelation, the divine Principle, rules, and practice of Christianity acquaint the student with God. In the ratio that Christian Science is studied and understood, mankind will, as aforetime, imbibe the spirit and prove the practicality, validity, and redemptive power of Christianity by healing all manner of disease, by overcoming sin and death.

'02 2:12-22 (1902)

Within the last decade religion in the United States has passed from stern Protestantism to doubtful liberalism. God speed the right! The wise builders will build on the stone at the head of the corner; and so Christian Science, the little leaven hid in three measures of meal, -- ethics, medicine, and religion, -- is rapidly fermenting, and enlightening the world with the glory of untrammelled truth. The present modifications in ecclesiasticism are an outcome of progress; dogmatism, relegated to the past, gives place to a more spiritual manifestation, wherein Christ is Alpha and Omega.

'02 4:25-24 (1902)

Alternately transported and alarmed by abstruse problems of Scripture, we are liable to turn from them as impractical, or beyond the ken of mortals, -- and past finding out. Our thoughts of the Bible utter our lives. As silent night foretells the dawn and din of morn; as the dulness of to-day prophesies renewed energy for to-morrow, -- so the pagan philosophies and tribal religions of yesterday but foreshadowed the spiritual dawn of the twentieth century -- religion parting with its materiality.

Christian Science stills all distress over doubtful interpretations of the Bible; it lights the fires of the Holy Ghost, and floods the world with the baptism of Jesus. It is this ethereal flame, this almost unconceived light of divine Love, that heaven husbands in the First Commandment.

For man to be thoroughly subordinated to this commandment, God must be intelligently considered and understood. The ever-recurring human question and wonder, What is God? can never be answered satisfactorily by human hypotheses or philosophy. Divine metaphysics and St. John have answered this great question forever in these words: "God is Love." This absolute definition of Deity is the theme for time and for eternity; it is iterated in the law of God, reiterated in the gospel of Christ, voiced in the thunder of Sinai, and breathed in the Sermon on the Mount. Hence our Master's saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

My 12:29 (1903)

The dear children's good deeds are gems in the settings of manhood and womanhood. The good they desire to do, they insist upon doing now. They speculate neither on the past, present, nor future, but, taking no thought for the morrow, act in God's time.

S&H 24:4 (1910)

Acquaintance with the original texts, and willingness to give up human beliefs (established by hierarchies, and instigated sometimes by the worst passions of men), open the way for Christian Science to be understood, and make the Bible the chart of life, where the buoys and healing currents of Truth are pointed out.
S&H 139:15 (1910)

The decisions by vote of Church Councils as to what should and should not be considered Holy Writ; the manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the thirty thousand different readings in the Old Testament, and the three hundred thousand in the New, -- these facts show how a mortal and material sense stole into the divine record, with its own hue darkening to some extent the inspired pages. But mistakes could neither wholly obscure the divine Science of the Scriptures seen from Genesis to Revelation, mar the demonstration of Jesus, nor annul the healing by the prophets, who foresaw that "the stone which the builders rejected" would become "the head of the corner."

S&H 195:15-25,31 (1910)

Whatever furnishes the semblance of an idea governed by its Principle, furnishes food for thought. Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause. Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal. It is the tangled barbarisms of learning which we deplore, -- the mere dogma, the speculative theory, the nauseous fiction... Incorrect views lower the standard of truth.

S&H 209:25-10 (1910)

Material substances or mundane formations, astronomical calculations, and all the paraphernalia of speculative theories, based on the hypothesis of material law or life and intelligence resident in matter, will ultimately vanish, swallowed up in the infinite calculus of Spirit. Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God. It shows the superiority of faith by works over faith in words. Its ideas are expressed only in "new tongues;" and these are interpreted by the translation of the spiritual original into the language which human thought can comprehend. The Principle and proof of Christianity are discerned by spiritual sense. They are set forth in Jesus' demonstrations, which show -- by his healing the sick, casting out evils, and destroying death, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed," -- his disregard of matter and its so-called laws.

S&H 229:15 (1910)

By universal consent, mortal belief has constituted itself a law to bind mortals to sickness, sin, and death. This customary belief is misnamed material law, and the individual who upholds it is mistaken in theory and in practice. The so-called law of mortal mind, conjectural and speculative, is made void by the law of immortal Mind, and false law should be trampled under foot.

S&H 242:21 (1910)

According to the Bible, the facts of being are commonly misconstrued, for it is written: "They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." The divine Science of man is woven into one web of consistency without seam or rent. Mere speculation or superstition appropriates no part of the divine vesture, while inspiration restores every part of the Christly garment of righteousness. Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer