I have often been asked about the practice of Christian Science and recently sat down to re-think and get re-charged with new inspiration. I answered these two freqently asked questions in this way:
What does a Christian Science practitioner do?
- A Christian Science practitioner gives Christian Science treatment and prays with his or her patients. The spirit of love characterizes the practitioners’ work in which healing is expected: physical ills are cured, relationships restored and discordant situations reversed.
- The basis of Christian Science is that God is Love. The theology of Christian Science explains that suffering is not God’s will, neither is shunning, shaming, abandoning one needing help, or dictating what another should do.
- If healing results do not come quickly, the individual is free to seek other practitioners or other means of healing. Results matter.
What is the difference between treatment and prayer?
- Christian Science prayer is general and can be shared under all conditions; some Christians might call this type of prayer a prayer of affirmation.
- Christian Science treatment is specific and is up to the individual patient and the practitioner as to how the case is taken up. It is a sacred trust between practitioner and patient, and may involve communion, confession as well as personal revelation and spiritual reasoning. Both patient and practitioner expect healing to be the result of Christian Science treatment.
- Christian Science treatment is purely spiritual and includes the work of a Christian Science practitioner. It may also include the work of a Christian Science nurse* and/or being cared for at a Christian Science nursing facility. It does not include any material methods of healing, neither is a Christian Science practitioner licensed to give medical care. If a patient decides to change to medical care, they need to go to one who is licensed to give that care.
- A Christian Scientist who elects medical care is still considered a child of God! (Nothing can take away that status!) In Christian Science, God’s love is constant and unconditional. A Christian Scientist strives to reflect that same love. Shunning or shaming is illegitimate and has no part in the practice of Christian Science.
For other responses to these questions, check out these links:
*a Christian Science nurse is one “who has a demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science practice, who thoroughly understands the practical wisdom necessary in the sick room and who can take proper care of the sick.” (The Church Manual by Mary Baker Eddy)
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