Several months ago there was an article that appeared in several newspapers around the country linking Christian Science to the “Prosperity Gospel.” Keith Womack wrote this corrective when it appeared in the Houston Chronicle. His letter was published in the newspaper on February 10, 2017. If you’d like to read the original article to which Keith responded, click on the website link below.
Christian Scientists love the Bible. We feel the same love and adoration for Jesus as other Christians do. A recent commentary in the Chronicle (Prosperty gospel may be United States’ new civil religion) left a number of misimpressions about both our values and our understanding of Jesus’ teaching.
Christian Science is not a form of the Prosperity Gospel. It does not teach that “God dispenses material wealth and health based on what we ‘decree’”. Christian Scientists don’t turn to God for money or to somehow get God to do what we want. True prayer as we understand it begins with the humble desire to learn more of God’s presence and goodness – to seek His will, not one’s own.
In this spirit, yes, we find that human needs are met in the way Jesus met them. But he taught, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt 6:33 New Living Translation). To lose sight of his emphasis on seeking God “above all else” is to lose the spirit of unselfish love that empowers real prayer.
Healing in this sense is a spiritual phenomenon. God is the healer. The denomination’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, taught that healing through prayer takes place when the human consciousness is inspired by what the apostle Paul called the “mind … which was also in Christ” (Philippians 2:5). In her own earlier search for physical health, Eddy experimented with several differing healing modalities, including for a time the suggestion therapy practiced by the figure mentioned in the article, Phineas Quimby. But this experience didn’t shape her teaching; it actually led her to the conclusion that the human mind is not the healer.
Christian Scientists’ practice of Christian healing has often been misunderstood, but it’s based on the conviction that deep inner yielding to God can bring outward change, regeneration, and healing in people’s lives today as in the early Christian era.