“Spiritual Healing on Trial: A Christian Scientist Reports”
Gottschalk, Stephen. “Spiritual Healing on Trial: A Christian Scientist Reports.” The Christian Century 105 (June 22–29, 1988): 602–15.
The 1987 death of a young child under spiritual treatment prompted Gottschalk’s clarification of how Christian Science parents approach care for their children. He makes the case that they stand on their First Amendment right to practice their religious beliefs, as well as on their commitment to their children’s health, because their experience with spiritual healing has proved reliable. But Gottschalk admits “The question of the evidence for spiritual healing is a thorny one” (603b). He cites the body of evidence for healing among as well as the “militantly secular views” (603b) which write off these healings as anecdotal. Gottschalk claims that the “cumulative weight of testimony as to [spiritual healing’s] validity is more than sufficient to disrupt the complacency of a biomedical world view that would exclude it” (605b). His main appeal is for the Christian community not to disown the gospel promise of healing— “the practical expression of God’s love” (604a). Gottschalk emphasizes that choice of treatment remains voluntary for Christian Scientists, but explains why Christian Scientists cannot beneficially combine both spiritual and medical systems. Gottschalk asks the reader to see a Christian Scientist’s failure at healing in light of the denomination’s overall record, in the same way the medical community would do within its own profession.
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