This panel of scholars—J. Gordon Melton, Massimo Introvigne, and Shirley Paulson—explored the contemporary scholarly perspective on Christian Science. Melton pointed out that the maturity of the study of Christian Science should go beyond the issue of classification; Introvigne illustrated how scholarship in art deepens the meaning of religious study; and Paulson focused on the Christian origin of Christian Science.View Annotation
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Kramer’s well-researched critique on Christian Science makes her arguments easier to understand than most critics. She grasps the fundamental teachings and history of the religion well, but she left it for doctrinal reasons. Most of Perfect Peril describes her emotional and intellectual struggles with doctrinal issues. Following a crisis of faith, she concluded that Christian Science is a dangerous mind control.View Annotation
This article was an address for The Mother Church in Boston, July 9, 2012. Although Kinnamon’s prior exposure to Christian Science was based on stereotypes, he welcomed an opportunity to bring the Christian Science Church into ecumenical relationship. He explained that ecumenism is based on relationships of trust and witnessing the grace of God in one another—not striving for homogeneity.View Annotation
Christian Science is one of the eight religious communities examined because of their illustration of major sociological principles. Mary Baker Eddy is noted for having operated “outside the norms of what sociologists call expected gender role behavior.” The authors ask whether Eddy would rightly be considered charismatic and whether Christian Science would rightly be considered a ‘cult’ or ‘sect.’View Annotation
This graduate level textbook on America’s religions intertwines a wide multitude of religious belief systems with the multi-faceted movements of American thought. Williams explains Christian Science in the context of 19th- and 20th-century American culture, which includes harmonialism, individualism, female empowerment, and cult–a term evangelists equate with theological deviancy but is otherwise characterized by charismatic leadership and isolation from the rest of the world.View Annotation
Barrett’s approach to his survey of 21st-century “sects, cults, and alternative religions” is to present ideas according to predominant views of believers. Thus, Barrett presents material from the perspective of adherents of Christian Science, even though he cites the views of its critics as well. Acknowledging the Christian Science self-understanding as Christian, he also notes some major differences with mainstream Christianity.View Annotation
Jenkins argues that the cult problem of today is the product of cultural and political work and that Christian Science, with associated mind-cure movements, has been the primary target of cult critics. He joins the attacks by asserting (falsely): “Most pernicious, Christian Science denied the Virgin Birth, the miracles of Christ, the Atonement, and the Resurrection.” (60)View Annotation
Braswell’s primary interest in his overview of Christian Science lies in the relationship between Christian Science and traditional Christianity. Braswell quotes extensively from the primary sources of Eddy’s own writings, highlighting those passages that answer questions from the viewpoint of Christian orthodoxy. The implication of his critique is based on his view that Christian Science is declining because of its deviation from orthodoxy.View Annotation
Christian Science is one of the established cults (“popular label given alternative religions”) selected for Melton’s 1992 study. He addresses both the controversial subjects and the false stereotypes associated with them. Christian Science is selected because of its substantial size, the presence of continuing controversy, and the fact that evangelical Christian counter-cult ministries oppose it for deviating from orthodox Christianity.View Annotation
Tucker’s chapter on Christian Science is written in the context of a Protestant orthodox apologetic. Her resources include almost equal voices from Christian Science spokespersons and detractors, although her selection of topics is based on issues that matter most to her orthodox Christian perspective.View Annotation
Contextualizing his own comments within the historic period in which he wrote (mid-1980s), Gottschalk argued that the public perception of Christian Science was based on misleading views from both medical and fundamentalist literature. Serious theological exchanges with mainstream Christians had declined precipitously by that time, resulting in an oversimplification and incorrect categorization (idealism, ‘harmonialism,’ and ‘gnosticism’) of Christian Science theology.View Annotation
Meyer’s purpose was to assess religion as therapy: as a cult of reassurance, as psychology of peace and positive thinking. After a brief biography of Mary Baker Eddy’s life, Meyer positions Christian Science as a kind of psychotherapy dressed in religious attire —mind cure’s tightly organized, exclusive denomination. However, his perception is based on very few and dated resources.View Annotation
Cunningham depicted the complaints written and preached by clergy openly opposed to Mary Baker Eddy. Their offense was based on the juxtaposition of waning interest in old orthodoxies with the growth of Christian Science. Four main criticisms include 1) Eddy’s dubious relation to historic Christianity; 2) her teaching on evil; 3) her scheme of getting money; and 4) her hygienic risks.View Annotation
For Martin, a cult is any group diverging from his interpretation of “the fundamental teachings of historical Christianity.” He classifies Christian Science as anti-Christian, justifying his stance by placing 26 orthodox fundamentalist doctrines side-by-side with quotations from Mary Baker Eddy’s writings which are often taken out of context.View Annotation
According to Van Baalen’s 1938 account, Christian Science, along with several other American-born religions, qualified as a cult which challenged orthodox, evangelical Christianity. He began his section on Christian Science by stating that there can be no doubt as to the following few and sober facts (which are not documented), and he criticizes those who claim to be healed as foolish.View Annotation
Crabtree’s critique on Christian Science reflects both the historical setting and the theological reception of Christian Science. He wrote, in 1932, “Of all modern cults, Christian Science is far and away the most spectacular, the most fashionable, and, numerically, probably the most successful.” But his criticisms include unsound logic and metaphysics, individualistic attitudes, isolating facts from common life, and insufficient explanations.View Annotation