“Christian Science” in the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Peel, Robert. “Christian Science.” Pages 152–53 of Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Edited by Rodney J. Hunter. Nashville: Abingdon Press. 2005.
Peel, a highly respected scholar and Christian Scientist, represents Christian Science in this dictionary of pastoral care and counseling. Explaining its healing ministry, he addresses the unique theology, metaphysics, and practice of Christian Science. The theology of God—understood as ‘divine Love’—is the starting point for healing, and therefore spiritual education plays a significant role in the life of a Christian Scientist. “Although entirely a church of lay members, this educational structure as well as the role of the Christian Science practitioner helps to provide an effective form of pastoral relationship” (152b). The purpose of metaphysics is to understand ‘the Word made flesh’—to make meaningful the substantiality of Spirit. Christian Science founder, Eddy, held that no religious system could claim to be scientific without a pragmatic component (i.e., healing). The Christian Science “view of reality as entirely spiritual does not make meaningless the whole of human life or discount it as mere illusion…” (153a). The ideal practice of Christian Science inspires those who are healed to accept it as a permanent way of life, a “confirmatory sign rather than an end in itself” (153a). Peel also authored the next dictionary entry on “Christian Science Practitioner,”—practitioner qualifications, status within the church, and role with patients.