Church of Christ, Scientist

The Church of Christ, Scientist, often known as The Christian Science Church was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. Church teachings are based on the Bible and her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

Eddy argued from the absolute perfection and goodness of God that sin, disease, and death were not of Him, and therefore could not be truly real. The material world was thus in effect an illusive blend of spiritual truth and material "error" which could be remedied through elevated spiritual understanding; this she contended, was what enabled Jesus in the Christian record to heal. Adherents of this teaching, known as Christian Scientists, thus believe that disease can be overcome through faith, prayer, and an ever-deepening understanding of God and man's relation to Him. As a result, church members generally substitute prayer for traditional medical care, often with the aid of Christian Science practitioners (people who devote their full time to treatment through prayer) and claim to experience healing, occasionally reporting these experiences in church publications.

The Mother Church is located in Boston, Massachusetts. A newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/), founded by Eddy in 1908 and winner of 7 Pulitzer prizes, is published by the church.

Branch Christian Science churches and Christian Science Societies are at once related to the central church but with large autonomy. They can be found worldwide, primarily in the US though also in Europe and other locations, and usually maintain a Christian Science Reading Room for reading and study open to the public. Churches have usually one one-hour church service each Sunday, consisting of hymns, prayer, and readings from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. They also hold a one-hour Wednesday evening testimony meeting, with similar readings and accounts by those attending, and sponsor Christian Science lectures in their communities annually.

The church is structured by a 138-page constitution of sorts by Eddy titled the Manual of The Mother Church, consisting of various Articles of By-Laws ranging from duties of officers to discipline to provisions for church meetings. The Manual was an unusual establishment, as it enacted a rule of law in place of hierarchy, placing binding requirements on even its top executives whom she subordinated to it. A few adherents contend Eddy intended the Mother Church to dissolve upon her passing, though the view is a minority one.

Christian Science should not be confused with Scientology or with the international Churches of Christ movement. Though it has outward similarities to the New Thought Movement, partly through ties by the latter to certain disaffected Eddy students such as Emma Curtiss Hopkins, it regards itself as more restrictedly Christianity-focused.

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