Exploring Christian Science—A Conversation with a Former Christian Scientist

“Do you know anyone with a background in Christian Science?”

This is what I asked Bob Sawyer and Omar Ortiz after they gave a presentation at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO. I attended their event because I have a heart for Boston. Boston houses the worldwide headquarters of Christian Science. I’m the founder and director of a ministry that is sharing the Gospel with people with a background in Christian Science, The Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists (FFCS). Providentially they had just become aware of a CTK member with a CS connection. They were interested in learning more! 

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“What do Christian Scientists believe?”

People often confuse Christian Science for Scientology, so I often begin by telling people that Christian Science is not Scientology, but rather a 19th Century religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy based on the principle that sin, disease and death are not real. Christian Scientists are taught that Jesus is a man, a good teacher whose death and resurrection prove the nothingness of the material world. Often people hear of Christian Scientists dying because of not receiving medical treatment. Christian Scientists consider receiving medical treatment an indication of a lack of faith in God and a spiritual failure. Thus many suffer and even die needlessly as they try to understand and believe enough so that they might have a Christian Science “healing.” Christian Scientists believe that heaven and hell are states of mind and that Christian Science is “the Way.” This is what the CTK members who joined me in visiting a Christian Science Church Service heard in the teaching and testimonies. 

 Katherine with the Ortiz boys at the Christian Science Church in Boston's South End

Katherine with the Ortiz boys at the Christian Science Church in Boston's South End

“How did you get into this ministry?”

I grew up a fourth-generation Christian Scientist living on the St. Louis campus of The Principia School, a school for Christian Scientists. I attended Principia from Preschool through my first year of College. I left Christian Science (CS) after September 11, 2001 when I was faced with the undeniable reality of evil in the world. Confused by the inconsistencies between CS and the world, I lived in spiritual darkness and denial for eight years. In 2008 I overheard a conversation on faith in a coffee shop that caught my attention. I felt hope. I desired a relationship with God, was convicted of my sinful heart, and read Francis Schaeffer’s The God Who is There. I began attending Grace and Peace Fellowship, a PCA church in St. Louis. There I came to know the God of Scripture and professed Jesus as my Savior. I was baptized December 13, 2009 and almost immediately began studying my new faith at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. I graduated in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Educational Ministries and then started the FFCS. 

What is the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists?

We are an outreach ministry connecting people with a background in Christian Science, and those who walk alongside them, with Christ-centered resources, care and community. Most people who leave Christian Science leave the church completely becoming atheists and agnostics. Most people who leave CS feel alienated and isolated by their background because few people understand. We are building community with those who have left CS, equipping and partnering with biblical churches in outreach to people with a background in Christian Science, and seeking to find and create resources to help people with this background heal and find new life in Jesus Christ.  

“Do you know anyone with a background in Christian Science? “

 I’ll be in town and available to talk and meet from Aug 3-17. Do you have a relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who has a CS connection? Perhaps you know someone who’d be interested in connecting with me? I talk with people nationally who are still practicing CS, questioning CS, former CS “non-believers,” former CS believers in Jesus Christ, and non-CS interested in outreach. Perhaps you live or work near a CS church, reading room, or practitioner. I’d love to set up a time to talk about CS theology, the former CS experience, and ideas for outreach. 

For more information about the The Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists (FFCS), visit the website or e-mail me at Katie@ffcsministry.org.  

Katherine Bein-Esche is the director of The Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists (FFCS).

 

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