Christian Science Challenges Common Opinion (Summary)
Robert Dolling Wells, C.S.B.
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
To meet today's needs, the common, unreflective opinions of men must be challenged, spiritually and scientifically, Robert Dolling Wells told a large audience here yesterday afternoon.
There is a practical answer to human needs, an intelligent answer which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer, Mr. Wells stated.
"Christ Jesus taught and practiced," he said, "from a standpoint which challenged many of the common opinions of his era. And because of it he was able to heal the prevalent sicknesses and sins with what the Biblical record indicates was remarkable success. He was able to open for mankind new paths of achievement in overcoming the fears, the limitations, the discouragements, of human consciousness and experience."
Speaks at Local Church
Mr. Wells spoke at the invitation of First Church Christ, Scientist in the church auditorium on the subject "Christian Science Challenges Common Opinion." A Christian teacher and practitioner, he is on extended tour as a member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship. He was introduced by Mrs. Cecile Berger First Reader.
"When Jesus was asked at one point to explain his approach to the problems of human experience, he replied with what we have since termed the Lord's Prayer," the lecturer declared. "This prayer is not a formula for gaining good but an indication of the kind off thinking and acting to which good is spontaneous and natural."
Mr. Wells held that it is the power of God, not human thought, that brings healing through prayer, prayer which challenges scientifically the "conventionality of materialism.".
Christian Scientists "do not believe in the power of positive thinking positively right or positively wrong," he emphasized.
"We do not believe," he said, "that we are little gods, able to create good or evil by our thinking processes. We do believe in the power of God: the omnipotence of the divine Principle of being. We believe that spiritual reality — the absolute truth of all things — is made in the image and likeness of God, that is, in the nature of divine Principle."
He added that the "only power we possess is the power to think correctly about what is already true regardless of our thinking. And what is already true, Christian Science maintains, is the infinitely good creation of God."
In the Lord's Prayer, he said, Jesus did not ask God to listen to him, he described the nature of God.
Contrast of Opinion
"His conception of God was in contrast to much of the common opinion of his times, and we feel it is in contrast to much of the common opinion of our time," he declared.
According to the teachings of Christian Science, he continued, God is not a supernatural being, working things out in time and space, but divine Truth and Love, the completely natural basis of being.
"Which would you rather have," he asked, "a Deity with human characteristics who might or might not have time or the inclination to help you, a Deity you might or might not be able to contact properly, or the divine Principle of all good which is always as available to you as is your capacity to know the truth — the divine Principle which, because of its ever-availability, its sufficiency to meet every human need, its never-failing presence, can properly be termed divine Love?"
Mankind will gain good on earth only as they intelligently respond to the progressive demands of their times, Mr. Wells maintained.
Need for Spiritual Capacity
"We will overcome the distresses of mankind," he declared, "only to the extent that we exercise our spiritual capacity — our capacity to express the divine Principle of reality in human thought and action."
Mr. Wells explained how the processes of Christian Science meet the human need, and yet differ radically from what is generally considered the common sense approach.
Emphasizing the naturalness of divine healing, he quoted the following description of the Master's healing methods given in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy" (p. 476).
"Obviously, a correct view of man would not heal the sick," he said, "unless sickness were only an incorrect view. Christian Science says that all the evils of human experience represent the human mind's distorted conception of reality."
[Delivered Nov. 13, 1960, in First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ossining, New York, and published in The Citizen Register of Ossining, Nov. 14, 1960.]