“The Emerging Face of Being One: Discerning the Ecumenical Community from the Christian Science Church”
Paulson, Shirley. “The Emerging Face of Being One: Discerning the Ecumenical Community from the Christian Science Church.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 49, no. 2 (2014): 285–94.
Paulson begins by pointing out the social and religious 19th-century American context that shaped Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science: her Puritan and deeply biblical roots, the precarious legal status of a single mother and widow, and the ecclesial structures and traditions that would feel threatened by Eddy’s growing authority. Paulson then illustrates common ground between the Church’s healing mission and Christian salvation, defined as a ‘realized eschatology’ where Christ appears on earth in the form of a restored relationship with God and neighbor, the result of a transformed heart and body. Why then, Paulson asks, is there a persistent lack of fellowship between the Christian Science Church and other Christians? A lack of respect for women’s leadership in the church generated constant attacks on Eddy’s character. This animosity persisted against Christian Science churches in general, causing many Christian Scientists to fear public ridicule. Paulson also sees contributing to the Church’s isolation, the sins of arrogance and denominational pride, along with a fear that ecumenical engagement would dilute one’s radical beliefs. With that isolation came a loss of a common Christian language, culture and understanding. The remedy will come only through direct engagement with the larger Christian family, which fosters greater self-awareness, humility and love.
Print ISSN: 0022-0558
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Controversy: Theological Controversies
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- Organizations: The First Church of Christ, Scientist
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- Publication Date: 2011-2020
- Resource Types: Article
- Subjects: Ecumenical and Interfaith
- Subjects: Healing and Health
- Subjects: Social and Cultural Studies