Karl Holl,“Der Szientismus,” Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kirchengeschichte (Tübingen: J.C.B. Muhr, 1921-28), 460-479. Trans. Theodor Stanger, Mary Gottschalk.
From a perceptive early scholarly discussion of Christian Science, written in 1916 by the renowned German historian of religion Karl Holl:
“Jesus [Christian Science teaches] wanted followers; followers who would emulate him in all his ways and, according to his explicit command, should imitate his great works. The command he gave his disciples to heal the sick is as valid today as it was centuries ago.
“Starting from this point, Mrs. Eddy understands her experience as a divine commission. She feels called to rouse dormant Christendom and to restore the original, the whole Gospel.
“She has not-it must be admitted-handled her task superficially. She does not mean that people merely need to be told that there is no reality in either sin or disease…She insists upon the fact that the understanding she is talking about includes a moral task as well….
“True prayer [in Mrs. Eddy’s teaching] is a silent yielding of self to God, an ever closer relationship to God, until His omnipresence and love are felt effectively by man…To her, the only valid prayer is that which bears within itself the resolve to live a life consistent with that prayer….The person who understands God as Spirit and goodness knows that… the will to heal [is] always present with Him….
“The puzzling question is really how this kind of healing could have originated side by side with a highly developed medical science. This would be utterly impossible if cures had not actually been accomplished through Christian Science, and that not only in cases of imaginary disease.”