“Christian Science Polity in Crisis”
Gottschalk, Stephen. “Christian Science Polity in Crisis.” The Christian Century 110, no. 7 (March 3, 1993): 242–47.
In 1993, Gottschalk, an independent scholar and Christian Scientist, wrote to the larger Christian community (the Christian Century magazine) to explain the on-going constitutional crisis of his Church. He sees an unhealthy monopoly of power and authority in the hands of its Christian Science Board of Directors, claiming their leadership was “well outside Manual specifications” (244)—the Manual of The Mother Church being the Church’s polity. Gottschalk also laments the Christian Science movement’s passivity where unthinking and “unqualified support for the Board was the litmus test of loyalty among Church members” (243). As examples, he cites fiscal malfeasance behind the Church’s 1980s media expansion, as well as officials’ insistence on publishing a biography of Mary Baker Eddy by an early worker, Bliss Knapp, which elevates Eddy as an equal to Jesus—fundamentally contradicting what Eddy taught. If published, the Church would receive a bequest of $98 million. Gottschalk then documents “the awakening and education of Christian Scientists to the meaning of truly constitutional government” (245) as seen in their right to speak freely without censorship, as evident in the teachers, practitioners and members who stepped up to confront the Christian Science Board of Directors.
Print ISSN: 0009-5281
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Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Controversy: Bliss Knapp’s "Destiny"
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- Publication Date: 1981-2000
- Resource Types: Article
- Subjects: Christian Science History after 1910
- Subjects: Church Growth and Change
- Subjects: Church Manual, Governance, Leadership