Stephen Gottschalk, “Christian Science Today: Resuming the Dialogue,” Christian Century, Dec. 17, 1986, 1146-1148.

A noted Christian Scientist scholar writes in an interdenominational Protestant publication:

“From its inception in 1879, the Church of Christ, Scientist has had but one agenda: the practical implementing of a theology in which the healing of sin is primary and the healing of disease indispensable. Indeed, there is a built-in limit, rare in our time, to the degree to which Christian Scientists can compromise this commitment without invalidating the very reason for the existence of their church….

“Though most Christians would probably agree with William H. Willimon that Christian Scientists are ‘part of the family, distant relatives at least’ (‘Are There Cults at Furman?’ January 19, 1983, Christian Century), it is unlikely that they would have more than the vaguest notion of the contours of Christian Science theology. Quite possibly, they would not think of it as having one….

“In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were substantial ecumenical contacts between Christian Scientists and mainstream Christians at various levels. In 1968 and 1969, for instance, representatives from the Mother Church met with mainline leaders in New York and other cities for a series of intense and fruitful theological discussions, which resulted in a booklet of position papers called ‘Ecumenical Papers’…. At the grass-roots level, Christian Scientists articulated their faith before hundreds of religious education groups in mainstream churches yearly.

“Such exchanges have declined precipitously in recent years. Indeed, it requires an act of historical imagination to recapture the atmosphere in which they occurred, so fractious has the religious environment become. Useful theological distinctions have too often been overridden in textbook rehashes of Christian Science that try to make it ‘lie down’ in some prefixed category (idealism, ‘Harmonialism,’ Gnosticism, etc.). It seems an appropriate occasion, then, to try to revive an honest theological dialogue between Christian Science and mainstream Christianity….”