“Christian Science and Spiritual Healing”
Wardwell, Walter I. “Christian Science and Spiritual Healing,” Pages 72–88 in Religious Systems and Psychotherapy. Edited by Richard H. Cox, MD., PhD. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1973.
In this short chapter, Wardwell, a professor of sociology, reviewed the theology, practice, and structure of Christian Science. Wardwell’s secondary sources include Braden, Peel, Corey, Dakin, Twain, and Bryan Wilson. He reviewed numerous testimonies from Christian Science publications, and concluded that the writers believe that human experience is mental and subjective, that healings reported were mostly about changes of attitude, and that healings were actually cases of bodily self-healing rather than evidences of a divine outcome. He observed that Christian Science caters to the ideals of the middle class and accepts the blessings of material well-being as evidence of spiritual acumen. If Christian Scientists think that the material world is an illusion, they think it should be a pleasant illusion. He claims that the emphasis on individual healing tends to direct Christian Scientists’ attention away from communal problems of poverty, sickness, and war, and he summarizes Christian Science as a system of self-reliant will power which in many respects matches the values of Americans who are well off. About its church services, he quoted Louis Rose, “Its services lack the attraction of either Protestant rhetoric or Catholic ritual. Its philosophy is in essence simple to the point of banality.” (85).