The Chaos of Cults
Van Baalen, J.K. The Chaos of Cults. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, (1938) 1956.
According to Van Baalen’s 1938 account, Spiritism, theosophy, Unity, Baha’ism, Mormonism, Seventh-day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarianism, Swedenborgianism and Christian Science all qualified as cults which challenged “orthodox, evangelical Christianity” (book cover). Baalen began his section on Christian Science by confidently stating that “there can be no doubt as to the following few and sober facts” (99). Yet very few of his “facts” and quotes were documented. Since Mary Baker Eddy “reasoned with the utmost self-confidence about problems which were far and wide beyond her mental grasp and her meager education” (101), Baalen was puzzled by why Christian Science so powerfully took off as a movement. He attributed its appeal to “the emotional hunger after the Civil War which … craved the exceedingly self-centered and individualistic gospel that Eddyism is” (101-102). Baalen then critiqued Christian Science as a philosophy, a religion, and as a system of healing, declaring simplistically that Christian Science does not actually heal because “there is no sickness to begin with” (106). To believe that one has been healed in Christian Science is “an erroneous conclusion, a ladies’ leaping at conclusions” (106). Finally, with quotes from Eddy’s writings he illustrated how Christian Science strayed from the “unaltered truth of Scripture” (13). Quoting 1 Tim 4:7, Baalen warned of Christian Science: “refuse profane and old wives’ fables.”
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0802832788
See also annotations:
“Mary Baker Eddy and the Nineteenth-Century ‘Public’ Woman: A Feminist Reappraisal” by Jean McDonald
“Christian Science and American Popular Religion” by Laurence R. Moore
Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America by J. Gordon Melton
“Understanding Mary Baker Eddy” by Thomas C. Johnsen
This resource is categorized as ‘polemic’ literature and is included in the bibliography for its historical value. For further explanation, click here.