Other Metaphysical Movements: Church of Christ, Scientist
Church of Christ, Scientist
Tom Thorpe (:34-6) offers the following reflections about how Christian Science differs from New Thought.
Christian Science differences from New Thought teaching:
Christian Science denies the reality of matter, whereas New Thought, while it does not view matter as permanent, does not deny its reality.
Christian Science believes that revelation ceased with Mary Baker Eddy. Nothing in the belief or practice of orthodox Christian Science can be changed without Mrs. Eddy’s explicit approval. Christian Science publishes and claims to adhere to an official Church Manual originally written by Mrs. Eddy.
Christian Science, in general frowns on the use of “materia medica.” In practice, this usually means that a Christian Science practitioner will not treat a person who is also consulting with physicians. Going to a physician DOES NOT mean that one will be excommunicated from the First Church of Christ, Scientist. New Thought has no such restriction and has never had one.
Worship in a Christian Science church is essentially the same throughout the world. There is no sermon, nor are there ordained clergy. (One CAN achieve the status of Christian Science Practitioner, however.) Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, is referred to as “the Pastor.” Worship services consist primarily of hymn singing, prayer, special music, and readings from both the King James Bible. There is no such uniformity of worship, of course, in New Thought churches. New Thought churches ordain clergy as well as licensing practitioners or, in the case of Unity, Licensed Unity Teachers.
All local Christian Science churches are branches of the “mother church,” or First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. Just as the teaching and worship are closely regulated by the Church Manual, so also is church governance.
Although celebrations are held for milestones in the life of a congregation, there is usually no fellowship hall in the church, nor are there regular fellowship activities of any kind. You won’t see a kitchen or perhaps even a coffee pot in a Christian Science church. Most New Thought churches consider fellowship and food an important part of their congregation’s life. Generally, weddings and memorials are not part of church life in Christian Science.