Each of us must choose
Beth, the wife of Dave, whose situation is described in the post just before this one, left a couple of phone messages for me in the hope of talking privately about his dawning faith in Christ, something she’s unable to do by email.
Thanks for reaching out, Beth. We will connect one of these days. Please call again soon. Meanwhile, if you feel led to print the following note and give it to Dave for his encouragement, by all means do so.
THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE
By John K. Andrews, Jr.
Mother Church Member, 1959-1992
Does your experience growing up as a Christian Scientist, or the experience of someone you know, match mine? I was raised to be a follower of Mary Baker Eddy, while also, in a lesser way, an admirer of Jesus as the most godlike of all Bible figures. Her picture hung in our Sunday School, his did not.
In adulthood, as a result of struggles and searching, my view of them changed. I began to regard myself as a follower of Mrs. Eddy and Jesus together.
Then while serving as a branch church reader, I came to a crisis of faith, endured a painful confrontation with fellow members, and redefined my allegiance yet again — now I was a follower of Jesus and Mrs. Eddy together. Henceforth I would interpret Science and Health in terms of the Bible, rather than vice versa as before.
Not until after another dozen years of wilderness wandering did I realize that each of us must choose. We can either follow Jesus and his book, or Mrs. Eddy and her book. But we cannot follow both, since she contradicts him in fundamental and irreconcilable ways.
Scripture teaches me that (1) Jesus was and is God incarnate, (2) I am a sinner in need of a savior, and (3) Jesus died on the cross to accomplish and finish my salvation. Yet the “key to the Scriptures” on which I was raised would have us believe none of those propositions is true. Rather he was only a man, I’m sinless and perfect, his was but a “seeming death,” and salvation is ours to achieve through understanding.
The best day of my life, indeed the first day of my new birth, was the day I quit trying to have it both ways, ceased following Mrs. Eddy or studying her book or attending her church, and received Christian baptism in order that I might eat of the body and blood of our Lord at holy communion — in order that I might belong to Jesus entirely and only.
To relate all this takes a few moments. To live through it and find my way at last, took decades. And it was hard! The confusion was intense, the wishful thinking was strong, the personal and emotional ties were powerful. But what beauty, what joy, what freedom, what deep rightness, came with the final decision. What a sense of homecoming.
If you know anyone who is stuck in the middle as I was, please copy this statement for that dear person — and encourage him or her to contact John Andrews at email@example.com or 720.489.7700. I would love to have a conversation about this inescapable choice we each must make.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org