This is my second response to Don, a Christian Science practitioner. I tried to respond to him in the comments section, but feel that to respond adequately I must do a bit more in-depth parsing of what he is saying. You can find my first response here, and the original post, Christian Science: Deadly in More Ways Than One, here.
Again this is not so that I change his mind. The man has made his profession as a Christian Scientist and has ample “experience” to support his claims. What I’m saying is that his claims, while based on experience, are not to be trusted since these claims are not based on God’s word.
Here is more of what he writes:
Dear Pastor Timothy,
Here is some factual information that you may be overlooking in our discussion:
The basis of your religious theory cannot be proven by the Bible without very loose interpretations of scripture and by ignoring other important facts about God and man. You hold an orthodox view of God, Jesus and Creation. Are these views correct? You believe they are. I don’t agree. The fact that it is a majority opinion among “Christian religions” today is not proof of its validity nor that it is taught in religious seminaries.
Don, we are not basing our beliefs on a majority of opinion. We are basing our belief upon God’s word and this is why our beliefs are orthodox. Since the Scripture is the only rule and faith for our beliefs and salvation, then these views will not change over time. If we want to know God, we must turn to Him since His word is a light unto our feet (Psalm 119), in turning to Scripture, we are beginning to seek Him in wisdom.
Our views are not “theory” but are based upon historical facts. You claim that our views are based on very loose interpretation. What views are you speaking of? What doctrines fall apart because they are based on loose interpretation? Just look at the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and there is testimony from more than 500 witnesses. The testimony we have in the gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, specifically in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff is historical evidence to the resurrection. So what loose interpretation are you speaking of?
Of the Holy Trinity we have plenty of verses to support this doctrine as well, including several that speak directly to it, like Matthew 28:18ff… baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For some reason, your leader, Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy cannot fathom the trinity at all. Her mind just didn’t have the capability and yet she redefines the Trinity based on her own whims. Here is her definition:
“Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God,—that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in one,—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter” (p. 331).
What Scripture does she base this definition upon? She takes attributes of God and reduces it to a triune formula, but doesn’t speak to the three Persons that have revealed themselves to us. That is like reducing a description of a person to their hair, skin color and the size of their mouth. She does a great injustice to the three Persons who have revealed themselves to us. Again, based upon what? It seems if anyone is playing loose with Scripture, it is MBE.
As for calling the Father, Father-Mother this is another concoction of your leader. Jesus said to call Him “Father” and this is how He addressed the First Person of the Trinity. Since Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the creator of heavens and earth (Colossians 1:15ff, John 1) and in perfect will with the Father, what right does she have to add “mother” to the Father’s name? To add to His name where the Scripture has not added is contrary to the will of both the Father and the Son. Again… MBE’s writings are out of accord with Scripture. I guess this is why those of you in CS look to loose interpretations and theories in science to back up your claims.
Don, why do you call yourself a Christian Scientist at all, if you do not believe God’s word? Why not just say, a religious scientist… or a follower of Mary Baker Patterson Glover Eddy, since this is truly what you are. Again, you views are bases on half-truths, with makes your system of belief based upon lies.
Before Columbus sailed, the vast majority of humanity believed the world was round. That didn’t make it so, and Galileo was imprisoned for the rest of his life for stating that the sun revolved around the earth. In fact, he was threatened by death if he didn’t recant. The Roman Catholic church pardoned him only a few decades ago and by this pardon admitted it had been wrong. I see this in the future for true Christianity.
Because some people mistakenly believed that the world was flat, and not round, disproves Christianity? (This is not true. No educated person in the Middle Ages believed this. Check out here and here for a better explanation. Again, you are working from hearsay and ignorance). BTW, pointing to the Roman Catholic church falls short. I’m a Protestant for a reason Don. We do believe that the RC church errs on a lot of things, this is why there was a separation. But that is a different argument. The point is that you are still not pointing to Scripture for our beliefs. Our beliefs need to be rooted in God’s word, not the scientific world around us. Does the Bible speak to the shape of the earth? Actually, it does, see the article here.
Your theology comes from the 4th century AD and the Nicean Council in 325 AD as adopted and perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church. For centuries, anyone not adhering to it or preaching something different was declared a “heretic” and often punished with death.
Don, our theology is rooted in Scripture. Did the Nicene Council help us understand what the Bible was saying? Absolutely. Again, the Council was only declaring what is true about God, and about the Person of Christ. If anything that a man-made council declares does not square with Scripture, we throw it out. This is why the writing of MBE are rejected outright. Again, what did she write: If any of her writings don’t agree with Scripture, then toss them out. We are doing just that.
Previous written works (many of the books which could have been included in the New Testament) were marginalized or destroyed.
Again, congratulations on your graduation from the DaVinci Code School of Theology. No, the books that were not included in the Bible were not included because they are not divinely inspired. The extra biblical works like the Gospel of Thomas were rejected because they were not written by the Apostles. and came much latter than the First Century. You love to grab onto every heresy of the faith for your support. Doesn’t that cause you just a tad bit of caution? Doesn’t that bother you that you are jumping on board with every heretic to come along?
The documents found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt escaped this fate and were discovered in 1945 and translated by 1970. They presented an entirely different view of true, primitive Christianity than does the dominant orthodoxy of today. Somebody hid these documents so they wouldn’t be destroyed (most probably by the orthodoxy of the day) and they lay in clay jars until discovered by Bedoin Camel herders nearly 1500 years later.
Yes, we know of the Nag Hammadi writings. Here is what Wikipedia says concerning them:
Nag Hammadi is best known for being the site where local farmers found a sealed earthenware jar containing thirteen leather-bound papyruscodices, together with pages torn from another book, in December 1945. The mother of the farmers burned one of the books and parts of a second (including its cover). Thus twelve of these books (one missing its cover) and the loose pages survive. The writings in these codices, dating back to the 2nd century AD, comprised 52 mostly Gnostic tractates (treatises), believed to be a library hidden by monks from the nearby monastery of St Pachomius when the possession of such banned writings, denounced as heresy, was made an offence.
Notice who was hiding them? Gnostics. The Apostle Paul was writing against incipient gnosticism when he wrote Colossians and so was John in his letters. This was one of the reasons these writings were rejected. The Gnostics believed that Jesus was merely a spirit and did not come in the physical flesh. Yet He did. That is why it is so stressed in the New Testament with the gospels and His birth, with John pointing out things like the fact that He hungered and was tired and was thirsty and suffered on the cross. He was physically here in a body. John will restate this reality in 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life. Again in John 1:14, The Word became flesh. This is not some higher idea being expressed here as MBE does. John is declaring the Christ took on the human body in order to redeem the human body. The only way that true redemption from sin can come about is by a human taking our place on the cross. He had to be human in order to represent us, as the Second Adam.
Mrs. Eddy knew nothing of the Nag Hammadi discovery, so she could not have utilized any of these writings in her discovery of Christian Science. They were discovered nearly 40 years after her death. Yet, it confirms much of what she wrote about and taught.
I refuse to accept her “discovery.” She plagiarized the writing of Phineas Quimby as historians tell us. And simply because she is in agreement with the heretics of the 2nd Century, does not confirm her discovery as true. The Nag Hammadi writings needed to be rejected for they came in the 2nd Century by those who rejected that Christ came in the flesh and dwelt among us. See paragraph above.
As for her ignorance of Nag Hammadi, she was ignorant of quite a bit. I know you guys love to display her great genius, but it truly is lacking.
In the early years of Christianity–during Jesus presence in this world and on into the 2nd century AD, healing (and even raising the dead) was a natural, normal part of the Christian practice.
Again, can you give us some proof of this? What writings are you referring to? What about the book of Acts, healings did take place there, but even Paul could not have the thorn removed from his flesh.
As for healings today, I would say that there are still healings today. God is still moving in the lives of His children to heal them, but He doesn’t always heal us. That is not the goal of Christ’s coming. Again, this is the big misunderstanding of CS. You think that the entire point of His ministry was to teach us how to heal, but it is not. His healings merely pointed to the reality that He was the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.. that is, those who believe in Him for salvation. This is not what MBE taught, nor does CS teach this truth.
Read some of the early christian books (apocrypha). There are over 150 that are known today. Only 27 of them made it into the current Bible (which I use, by the way). They were chosen by the orthodox fathers to comprise part of the cannon with which we are familiar today. They were selected to favor the orthodox view. Those that didn’t were omitted from the cannon–those that didn’t conform to orthodox theology or couldn’t be edited to reflect that thought.
Another massive assumption on your part. The 27 books that are Scripture were not edited to become orthodox. They were already orthodox and this is why they were included into the Bible. The other books were not orthodox and not worthy of being included as God’s word.
OK, I’m repeating myself. Don, you would do yourself well to actually read the Bible and start basing your beliefs on what is says, not what some heretics from the 2nd Century say, not on something some scientists in our day that sort of support your view say, not on what MBE says.
I will finish going over your discourse later. But there are a lot of assumptions on your part and that is what I remember from CS. They feed on assumptions and hearsay, especially if if makes their belief system seem more plausible. To be correct, our assumptions and beliefs must be rooted in God’s Word, the 66 books of the Bible.