“Christian Science” in The Kingdom of the Cults
Martin, Walter. “Christian Science,” Pages 166–216 in The Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, (1965) 2019.
For Martin, a cult is any group diverging from his interpretation of “the fundamental teachings of historical Christianity” (184), including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, theosophy, Buddhism, Baha’i, Christian Science, Unity, Unification, Scientology, Eastern religions, and Islam. The intent for his scathing chapter on Christian Science is “the proper classification of Christian Science as an anti-Christian cult” (180). To justify his stance, Martin places 26 orthodox fundamentalist doctrines side-by-side with quotations from Mary Baker Eddy’s writings which are often taken out of context. For example, Eddy believes in Jesus’s literal virgin birth, death and resurrection, but Martin quotes Eddy seeking their spiritual significance. In many cases their differences are evident. Where Martin sees a literal heaven, hell and Satan, Eddy interprets metaphorically, seeking the spiritual significance: “The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil” (Science and Health, 266). Martin challenges Eddy’s authority to spiritualize and interpret the Bible’s “unassailable voices of [biblical] testimony” (186)—particularly when it comes to the Trinity, Christ’s atonement and deity, and the nature of God and miracles.
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