Speaking the Truth in Love

But Is It True?

In 1879, Mary Baker Eddy began the Christian Science movement when she established her first congregation in Boston, Massachusetts (The First Church of Christ, Scientist). Eddy taught her followers to deny the reality of matter. Men and women, she believed, reflect the perfection of God and are therefore perfect themselves. The cause of sickness is fear. If a sick person accepts the reality of his perfection and forgets his illness, it will go away and leave behind no symptoms.

It sounds great. Just deny the reality of your physical body. Forget you have cancer and it goes away with no need for surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. But is it true? Does the Bible support the writings of Mary Baker Eddy? For instance, do the Scriptures teach that fear is the root of illness?

As discussed in the morning message last week, Peter and John went to the temple at the hour of prayer and met a man “lame from birth” (Acts 3:2). He was “more than forty years old” (4:22). Are we to believe that this congenital disability was the result of fear? Even in his mother’s womb, was the unborn child worried about entering the world with useless feet and ankles?

Well, perhaps the lame man’s mother somehow imposed disability on her unborn son by fearing for his health. But that won’t stand either. In Jerusalem Jesus saw a man “blind from his birth” (John 9:1). The disciples asked: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v. 2). Neither, Jesus replied. The beggar’s congenital blindness just happened. It was nobody’s fault.

Yes, we are made in the image of a perfect God (Gen. 1:26-27). No, we are not perfect ourselves. Our sins corrupt God’s image in us. One consequence of that corruption is sickness. And denying reality fails to change it. Many devoted Christian Scientists read the writings of Mary Baker Eddy with the aid of prescription glasses or contacts. Why don’t they simply forget that they can’t see and read without them?

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