GERGES A. GAD




      The following article was part of a research paper for the "World
      Religions" class in the Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary.  It
      is mainly intended to shed light on the church known as Christian
      Scinece  or Church  of  Christ, Scientist.   It   focuses  on the
      history, the  founder and  the  concepts, without  supporting nor
      condemning  it.  However, the last portion  compares  some of the
      believes to those of  the Orthodox church,  and the conclusion is
      very self- explainatory.  This article should not  be read as the
      view of   the Coptic Orthodox Church, nor   of Copt-Net,  nor any
      other organization.   This  article was   provided mainly in   an
      effort     to explain   what  Christian Scinece     is all about.



At Lynn,  Massachusetts, in 1866 Mary Baker  Eddy recovered  almost instantly
from a severe injury  after reading  in Matt. 9:1-8  the account  of Christ's
healing of the man sick of the palsy:

              "So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to
              His own city.  And  behold, they brought to Him a
              paralytic  lying   on a bed.   And  Jesus, seeing
              their faith, said  to the paralytic,  "Son, be of
              good   cheer;  your   sins  are  forgive    you."
              ...   "Arise  take up your bed,   and  go to your
              house."  And he arose and  departed to his house.
              Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and
              glorified God, who  had given such  power to men.
                             (Matt.  9:1-2, 6-8)

She started to attribute  causation to God  and to regard  Him as  the divine
Mind.  From these roots came   Christian Science and   the Church of  Christ,

                                 THE FOUNDER

Mary Baker  Eddy  was one   of the most   remarkable women  to  appear on the
American scene  during the nineteenth  century.   She was an  almost complete
failure  at fifty years  of  age, yet at  eighty-nine  she died surrounded by
every evidence of wealth, comfort and power, and mourned by many thousands of
devout followers.

At fifty,  Mrs.  Eddy was regarded as  an  impractical, aspiring author  of a
book which she could get no publisher to accept and which she lacked funds to
publish privately.  This    book is "Science   and Health  with   Key to  the
Scriptures", which together with the Bible has become the twofold textbook of
Christian Science.  At  the time of  her death, thirty-nine years later,  the
printing presses were busy  printing not only  this book, but dozens of other
books, pamphlets,  and   periodicals she had    written.   Profits from  this
printing made her a women of good wealth.

She was almost alone at fifty, with only a handful  of followers who believed
in her.  Yet at her passing, thousands who she had  taught, or who attributed
their healing to her, mourned her as a mother.  Inevitably she is regarded as
the greatest human  figure of the Christian Science  Church.  Many books have
been written about her life, including: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy, by Sibyl
Wilbur, The Cross and the Crown, by Lyman Powell, Mary  Baker Eddy: The Truth
and the Tradition, by Ernist Bates, and many more.

The  bare facts of her life  may be simplified  as  follows.  She was born at
Bow, New Hampshire, on July 16, 1821.  She  was the youngest of six children,
belonging  to  devoutly  religious New Englanders,  Mark  and  Abigail Baker.
There  was a close bond  between  Mary and her  mother,  yet she was often in
disagreement with  her father.  This may have  had some effect on her health;
she became anxious  and worried.  Finally  the doctor advised her parents  to
take  her out of  School, and so  her formal education was early interrupted.
She did attend school for a brief period later; but most of her education was
through her own efforts and the help of  her brothers and sisters.  This left
her in a desire for literary style; when  she was to  publish her Science and
Health, Rev. James Henry Wiggin was  employed to assist  her in its revision,
not  from the  view  of doctrines,  but for  its  grammatical and  linguistic

For years she  was a semi-invalid,  sometimes hysterical that  she had to  be
held or  carried about   by  her father,   and often under   the care  of the
physician.  She was fifteen when  her family moved  to Sanborton Bridge  (AKA
Tilton,  NH).    At age seventeen  she  joined  the Congregational  Church in
Tilton, NH, because she rejected her father's Calvinistic believes and sought
a more delicate theology.

She  was married to  George Glover, the  brother of her  sister- in-law.  His
business of  building and selling houses was  in Charleston,  North Carolina,
and so they moved there.   Her happy marriage  did not  last long because  in
about six months of their marriage, George was stricken with  a fever and was
gone in few days.  He left her with  an unborn child  in a relatively strange
place.   Mary  was crushed  by  her loss   and returned to   her family.   On
September 11, 1844, she gave birth to her child whom  she called George after
his father.  Due to her many illnesses, she couldn't care for her son, so she
gave him to  a former servant of  the  family, Mahala  Sanborn, who took  her
adopted son with  her when she got married.   Mary Eddy who  was  to become a
mother to thousands was never really a mother to her own child.

From this time on she was never free from pain.  She had spinal trouble which
left her in great discomfort much of the  time.  She later married a dentist,
Daniel Patterson, yet her pains  still remained.  She was experiencing spinal
inflammation, with its train of sufferings, gastric and bilious.  She learned
of a Dr. Phineas Quimby who was  effecting remarkable cures without resort to
medicine and thought that this was her chance.

Quimby believed that  he had rediscovered  the secret of healing practiced by
Jesus.  He believed  that he took  his patients' ills  upon himself and  then
drawing spiritual strength from Wisdom (God), "threw them off".  She became a
devout disciple to Quimby, and believed in  his theology even after his death
in January of 1866.

February  1st 1866, was the turning  point of her  life.   She fell on an icy
pavement and was painfully  injured.  she was then  an  elder woman,  and the
injury was "pronounced   fatal by the    physicians".  But on the third   day
afterward, she opened her bible  to Matthew 9:2.  She said,  "As I read,  the
healing Truth dawned upon my  sense; and the  result was that I rose, dressed
myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed."  This
was the beginning of Christian Science.  She has stated  the following in her
Science and Health:

            In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or
            divine laws of  Life, Truth, and  Love, and named my
            discovery   Christian   Science.   God      has been
            graciously  preparing me during  many  years for the
            reception of  this final  revelation of the absolute
            divine  Principle  of  scientific  mental   healing.

An examination of all documented sources bearing upon the famous accident and
its outcome throws more than a shadow of doubt on the accuracy of Mrs. Eddy's
recollections.  The physician  who was attending  her said that he had  never
pronounced her case hopeless or even critical.  He  testified under oath that
he attended  the patient twice  on the day  of her fall,  twice the next day,
once on the  third, and again on the   fifth, giving her  medicine during her
visits and seeing her finally  on February 13,  at which time she appears  to
have recovered "from  the disturbance caused  by the accident."   She had not
intimated at any time that she had been miraculously healed on the third day,
but had complimented  him on his skill in  selecting remedies.  Sibyl Wilbur,
says that she interviewed the doctor, and he told her that  he had given Mary
a remedy and that when he called again she had walked across the room to show
that she was healed.  He does not recall their  having spoken of a healing by
a prayer.

According to her recollection, this was really  her third healing experience:
one had come through prayer in association with an aged minster, then another
in  the Quimby healing, and now  she herself had  been healed through reading
the New Testament account of Jesus' healing of the man with palsy.  All these
recoveries, however, proved to be temporary.  All through the years afterward
there was recurrent  attacks of  illness with which    she had to   struggle.
Nevertheless, from this crucial event onward she was primarily concerned with
the power of religion to  heal.  Slowly  she  worked her  way through to  the
philosophy  of healing, which is now  Christian Science.  She did not achieve
immediate success.  Followers of strange new teachings were not quickly found
or easily held,  and she was  to know a  good many years of pain, loneliness,
hostility, and even persecution.


Christian  Science is  generally   described  as  "a religious teaching   and
practice based on the words and works of Jesus Christ."  Mrs. Eddy regards it
as "divine metaphysics," as "the scientific system of divine healing," and as
the "law  of God, the law of  good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine
Principle and rule of  universal harmony."  She  believes that the "Principle
for all harmonious Mind-action to be God".

Like many other  religious leaders, Mrs. Eddy hoped  to work through existing
churches; she did not  plan  another denomination.  But  organization  became
necessary as   interest in the movement  spread.    Under her  direction, the
church of Christ, Scientist was established  in Boston in  1879.  In 1892 she
established the present world-wide organization, the  First Church of Christ,
Scientist,  in Boston, Massachusetts, and its  branch churches and societies.
This church in Boston is often referred to as the Mother Church.

All local churches of  Christ, Scientist, of which there  are more than 3,000
branches, are organized under  the laws of  the states or countries  in which
they exist.  They  are subject to  the bylaws laid down in  the Manual of the
Mother Church by  Mrs. Eddy.  Reading  rooms open to  the general public,  in
which a Bible and a copy of the Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
could always  be found.  This  book contains all the theological explanations
of Christian  Science and    its believes.  Among  its topics    are: prayer,
marriage, creation,  and atonement.  It contains a  "Key to  the Scriptures",
primarily of Genesis and the Apocalypse; these are Scientific interpretations
of the scriptures.  It   also  contains a   glossary  of the terms   used  in
Christian Science, as well as a "Fruitage" or testimonies of healing to prove
the theology of this denomination.

The affairs of  the mother church  are administered by the Christian  Science
board of Directors, which elects a president, the first and second readers, a
clerk, and a treasurer.  All members of the board  are elected annually, with
the exception of the readers who serve a three-year term.

There are two reader in  each church, usually  a man and  a woman.  Services,
which are held  on Sundays, consist  of alternate reading  from the Bible and
from Science and Health.   There is also a midweek  meeting, conducted by the
first reader alone, featuring testimonies  of healing from sin and  sickness.

Even though  the  bylaws  written by  Mrs.  Eddy prohibit  the  publishing of
membership statistics, the government census of 1936  reported a rough figure
of 269,000 members.  But even this figure has been since held inaccurate, and
today  the number of members would  be  much greater.   It  is interesting to
know,  however, that  the  number of  people  studying  Christian Science and
attending its services but not yet admitted exceeds the  number who have been
so Admitted.

                                THE DOCTRINES

Applied not only to  the healing of the sickness  but to the problems of life
generally, the tenets (creed) and  doctrines of  Christian Science are  often
confusing to the non-Scientist and  call for careful explanation.  They start
with the idea that God is the only might of Mind; He is the "All-in-all," the
divine Principle  of all that  really is,"  "the all-knowing, all-seeing, all
acting, all- wise, all-loving, and eternal.  He is the Principle, Mind, Soul,
Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love.    He's all substance and all   intelligence."
The  inspired Word of the Bible  is accepted as  "sufficient guide to eternal

The tenets state:

             "We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite
             God.  We acknowledge His Son, one Christ, the Holy
             Ghost or divine Comforter; and  man in God's image
                               and likeness."

Jesus is known to Christian  Scientist as Master   or Way-shower.  His  chief
work  lies in   the  atonement, the evidence  of    divine, efficacious Love,
unfolding  man's unity with God  through  Christ Jesus  the Way-shower.  Man,
made in the  image of God, is saved  through Christ, through Truth, Life, and
Love as  demonstrated by the Galilean in  healing the sick and overcoming sin
and death.  The Crucifixion and Resurrection of  Jesus are held as serving to
uplift faith to understand eternal life, even the all-ness of Soul or Spirit,
and the nothingness of matter.

The nothingness of matter  is the basic  teaching concerning what is real and
unreal, of which Mrs. Eddy say:

             "All reality is in God and His creation, harmonious
             and eternal.  That which He creates is good, and He
             makes all that is made.  Therefore the only reality
             of sin, sickness, or  death is the awful  fact that
             unrealities    seem real to   human, erring belief,
             until God strips  off their disguise.  They are not
             true,     because  they   are     not  from   God."

God forgives sin in   destroying sin with  the spiritual   understanding that
casts out evil as unreal.  The punishment for  sin, however, lasts as long as
the belief in sin endures.

Christian  Scientists do not  ignore that  which  they consider  unreal; they
rather seek to forsake and overcome error and evil  by demonstrating the true
idea of reality.   In Christian Science  mere opinion is valueless.  Proof is

                              A BRIEF GLOSSARY

Certain terms  are important in  Christian Science.  Animal magnetism  is the
mesmeric action of erroneous belief.   Healing is not miraculous but divinely
natural.   Disease is a  mental  concept dispelled   by  the introduction  of
spiritual truth.   Heaven  is not a  locality  but harmony,  the reign of the
spirit.  Bliss is the atmosphere of the  Soul.  Hell is mortal belief: error,
lust,  remorse, hatred,  revenge,  sin, sickness,  death, suffering and  self
destruction, self-imposed agony, effects of sin, that which works abomination
or  makes a lie.   Mortal mind  is  the flesh  opposed  to Spirit.  Prayer is
absolute   faith   that  all   things  are  possible   to God  -  a spiritual
understanding of Him, an  unselfish love.  Baptism is not  a ceremony  but an
individual   spiritual  experience,  a  purification from    all  error.  New
Jerusalem is Divine Science, the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe,
the kingdom of  heaven.  Angels are God's thoughts  passing to man; spiritual
intuition, pure and perfect.


Reading through Eddy's Science and    Health, I  selected some passages    to
manifest this theology,  and then responded to them  according  to the Coptic
Orthodox Church.

Purpose of Crucifixion:

            The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical
            affection and goodness  it demonstrates for mankind.
            In the Orthodox Church,  the purpose  of crucifixion
            is the  salvation of all  humans, and not just a way
            of God's goodness  to man.  St.  Paul says: "Without
            the   shedding   of blood  there  is  no  remission"
                               (Hebrews 9:22).


             Marriage is   the  legal and  moral   provision for
             generation  among   human  kind.   The   point that
             marriage is a   union of two  beings together  with
             God, (through the grace of the  Holy Spirit) is not
             very clear.  In our faith, marriage is such a great
             mystery   that it   is  likened to  the Church  and
             Christ: "This is a great    mystery, but I    speak
             concerning Christ and the Church" (Ephesians 5:32).

Jesus the Way-Shower:

             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  any  measure.     This  accounts for   his
             struggles  in Gethsemane and  on Calvary,  and this
             enabled  him  to  be   a  mediator, or  way-shower,
             between  God   and  men.   There is obviously  many
             mistakes with this belief.  Jesus was not "endowed"
             with  the Christ and  the Holy Spirit, but They are
             all One Being;  "His Divinity  parted not from  His
             humanity for a single moment, nor a twinkling of an
             eye."  In  His   struggles,  He was   "hiding"  His
             Divinity, so that  the process of  Salvation can be
             carried  out.   "For  though  He  was  crucified in
             weakness,  yet He  lives  by the  power of God"  (2
             Corinthians  13:4).   It should  also be noted that
             the  script  does not  capitalize  the  pronouns of
             Jesus,   thus   making Him   less   equal than God.


             Our baptism is a  purification from all error.  Our
             church is built on the divine Principle, Love.  The
             Orthodox   baptism is  not   only purification from
             error, it  is spiritual newness, rebirth, and unity
             with God.  Baptism  allows the Holy Spirit to dwell
             inside  the Christian.  "You  have bestowed upon us
             the  grace   of  sonship,  through the  washing  of
             rebirth and the newness of the Holy Spirit" Without
             baptism  no  one can enter  the  kingdom of God, or
             view  it,   as Our  Lord  told   Nicodemus, "Verily
             verily, I say to you, except a man be born of water
             and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of
                               God" (John 3:5)


             The Universal belief  of death is of no  advantage.
             It cannot make Life or  Truth apparent.  Death will
             be found at  length  to be  a mortal  dream,  which
             comes in darkness and disappears  in light.   Death
             has no great impact  in the Orthodox Church,  as we
             say in the Litany of the departed, "For there is no
             death for your  servants  but rather  a departure."
             Death is a  departure to   another life, a   better
             life, to those who have struggled  for it.  That is
             why we see all our martyrs facing death like it was
                                a festivity.


Christian Science is a modern restatement of the Christian faith developed by
Mary Baker Eddy.    Eventually it became   organized as one  of the  numerous
Christian denominations of  American life.  It  is  another interpretation of
Christianity, related more to the Protestant  faith, with the emphasis on the
healing power of  religion.  The church  has become  respected  by her sister
Protestant churches.    The quiet Christian  character of   so many of  those
Christian Scientists, the lives they live, and the  calmness of them achieved
through  their  faith has been  important  factors in winning  their respect.


Mead, Frank S., Handbook of The Denominations in The United States; New York:
Abingdon Press, 1956.

Wilbur, Sibyl,    The Life  of Mary Baker    Eddy; Boston:  Christian Science
Publishing Society, 1938.

Eddy, Mary Baker,   Science and Health With Key   to the Scriptures;  Boston:
Christian Science Publishing Society, 1934.

Braden, Charles S.,    Christian Science Today;  Dallas: Southern   Methodist
University Press, 1958.

H. H.  Pope Shenouda III, Salvation in  the Orthodox Understanding; Westmont:
St. Mark & St. Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church.