“Critic’s Corner: Update on Christian Science”
Gottschalk, Stephen. “Critic’s Corner: Update on Christian Science.” Theology Today April (1987): 111–16.
Gottschalk’s 1980s update on Christian Science admits to seeing controversy on three fronts. Firstly, the intensified opposition from conservative Christians who label Christian Science as a cult. Gottschalk laments that a more serious attention to Mary Baker Eddy’s writings would reveal their deep biblical foundations and holding to the core convictions of Christianity. Secondly, he sees an arrested development of open exchange between Christian Scientists and mainline Protestants regarding their common aspiration of eliminating suffering. What makes Christian Science invisible to other Christians exploring the nature of spiritual healing is the current tendency among Christian Scientists to “hide out in middle class values … at variance with the unconventionality of its theology” (113). Lastly, Gottschalk sees the controversies and dissonance within the Church as necessitating an honest confrontation with its issues, especially the legal challenges to its healing practice due to the loss of some children under spiritual treatment. He would like the Church to look beyond just the issue of religious freedom, to seek a deeper conversation about (quoting a Christian Science spokesperson) “what the gospel itself means to the world if the spiritual healing it teaches is a sham and if the love supremely exemplified by Jesus cannot make a healing difference in present experience” (114).
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