Letter of Welcome
We who sign this letter are acquainted well or a little or not all, as the case may be, with each other and with you the reader. But we and you have in common a background as Christian Scientists.
After much prayer and searching of the Scriptures, we are moved to write you about a transforming experience in our lives that turned us from following Mary Baker Eddy and made us disciples of Jesus Christ.
These pages will probably be difficult reading for you, if you read them at all. But please consider our communication in the same spirit it was written, the spirit of meekness. We seek to “speak the truth in love,” as God requires (Eph. 4:15). We pray you will be moved to action as a result.
Meeting Him Anew
Our experience was like that of the treasurer in the eighth chapter of Acts (Acts 8:26-40). Or of John (John 1:40-45). We yearned, as they did, to understand God’s promise of a man who would save the world.
We recognized ourselves as comparable to the warden in Acts 16, devoted and dutiful but guilt-ridden almost to death (Acts 16:25-34). And though fired with godly zeal, like Saul in Acts 9, we were as blind as he was to God’s personal presence in our midst (Acts 9:1-22).
What reached us in this lost condition was just what reached each of them. It was the good news of Jesus, the Word made flesh, the crucified and risen Son of God incarnate.
Facing Our Flaws
The road to the cross differed for each of us. But similar for all was a profound rethinking, a starting-over that was at first hesitant and then joyous. It began with facing up to what we honestly knew about ourselves as deeply flawed human beings.
The next step was opening up to what the New Testament actually says the answer is. Through this process we gradually saw that man’s plight is more terrible, but God’s provision more wonderful, than we had ever realized in many years of reading Mrs. Eddy.
We learned that Jesus is alive today, personally involved in our world, powerfully renewing and guiding the lives of those who let him do so. That his mission and destiny, identity and authority are spelled out in the Bible quite differently from what the lesson-sermons portray. That he expects more of a commitment from every person, and desires more of a relationship with each one, than rationalism wants to admit.
What would you do if presented with this biblical evidence of a real and living Jesus, knocking for admission at the door of your heart? What each of us did was give ourselves to him, surrender to him as Savior and Lord, as humbly and completely as we could.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”
There came a day when some friend fearlessly and selflessly offered us the simple invitation that believers long ago gave the warden (and the treasurer, and the unseeing Saul): “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). We accepted and we’ve never been the same. In brotherly concern, like Ananias coming to Saul, we now extend the invitation to you.
Deciding for Christ and choosing a denomination or church are two quite separate decisions. Only the first of those is our subject here. We’re attesting that the reliability of Jesus is absolute. We hope you will find this out as we did. From there on, the reliability of Science and Health and its author is for you to judge.
We just know that it meant the world to us to have our eyes opened to the crucial missing words in the verse just quoted from Acts 16, a verse that Mrs. Eddy for some reason shortens to: “Believe… and thou shalt be saved” (Science and Health 23:29). We don’t think such use of altered quotations reflects well on a Bible textbook.
Please understand, though. We are not writing to attack Christian Science or to condemn its followers. For us to do that would be offensive and insulting. It would amount to a repudiation of our heritage, our parents and families, whole decades of our life stories. That is not the purpose of this letter, and we fervently hope it is not the effect.
Our purpose is simply to answer the question, “What happened to you?” Friends, relatives, and former church associates have asked us that in countless spoken or unspoken ways. Why the change in what we believe, where we worship, how we live? – they wanted to know.
We’re replying now that the great happening in our lives, the reason for all those changes, is not a “what” but a “who.” The reason is Jesus. He happened to us. We’ve found that having a relationship with Jesus, getting to know him, is the single greatest event and experience in life, bar none. He makes everything different.
We can tell you on the authority of Scripture and of our own life experience that Jesus lives, he cares, he loves you, he has a plan for you, and he is able to redeem you for a life that is new in every way. He will give you true peace, and a purpose for living that is far greater than anything you can think or imagine.
We can also tell you on the authority of Scripture, that if you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you will have eternal life, and that if you don’t, you won’t.
Our Sufficient Guide
You need not take our word for it, of course. You shouldn’t, on a matter of this ultimate importance. Much better that you should examine the Scriptures for answers to these issues. Mrs. Eddy characterized herself and her students as “adherents of Truth, [who] take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life” (Science and Health 497:3). Where in fact does that guide take you?
To find out, we urge you to search the Scriptures systematically and honestly, and with personal discipline. See what the Bible says are the answers, and write down your findings. You can decide later whether or not you accept these answers. The first step is just to determine what the Bible itself is telling us.
We also suggest that you focus on what all the Bible says about these questions, and not take isolated verses to get your answer. For example, we suggest you read the entire book of John, seeking light on the issues of sin and salvation, prophecy and fulfillment, and above all, the promised Messiah. Who is he, and why does it matter to us today? Make note of the specific verses that speak to these issues. Later, you can review these notes to check for accuracy.
A seeker who does take on the Gospel of John might ask: What does this book say about Jesus? Who is he? Who does Jesus say he is? Who do his friends say he is? What do his enemies say about him? What do the neutral people who meet Jesus have to say about him? Who does Jesus claim to be? What does Jesus say is his purpose for coming into the world?
In our seeking, these points were made clear in the text: that Jesus is the Son of God, that he came into the world to save sinners, that he is the Lamb of God who is slain to be the payment for our sins, and that he claims to be the Lord, to be God incarnate.
The seeker might next ask: What does all of this biblical information imply for me? What does it mean in terms of my personal response? In the words of Pontius Pilate: "What shall I do with this Jesus, who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22)
What will you do with Jesus? Each of us, confronted with this question, was led to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, that he has the supreme claim to govern each aspect of our lives, and that we are called to place our faith in him, and to worship and obey him. Having chosen to do this, we found him to be our one true Friend, our Savior, our comfort and hope.
"This is life eternal: that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”
He loves us, and he loves you. We are confident that if you honestly and openly examine Scripture, you will conclude as we have, that Jesus is who he says he is, and that he will do for you as he has done for us – to purchase our salvation at the cost of his own life, and to give us eternal life. "This is life eternal: that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
Written that You May Believe
In your search of the Scriptures, we suggest you do this in two parts. First, ask the question, “What does the Bible say?” Here we have found the use of restatement to be particularly helpful; that is, restating in your own words what the Bible says in a particular passage.
Next, examine your restatement along with the Scripture passage, and decide whether or not the message articulated in Scripture is true, and whether you are prepared to believe it. As you carefully study the Gospel of John, you may find it helpful to consider the author’s stated purpose for writing his recollections: “[T]hese are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
His book did fulfill its purpose in our experience. Another New Testament book – any of the gospels, or one of Paul’s letters such as Romans or Colossians – would have done as well. We examined Scripture, considered the claims of Jesus Christ, and decided to put our trust and faith in him.
We have chosen to follow Jesus because we believe he is all that he claims to be, the light of the world, our Savior and our Lord, the one with the power to forgive sins, to grant us eternal life, to give us fellowship with the Father, and the one with sole and exclusive right to govern our entire lives. We have placed him in control of our lives, and committed ourselves to live in obedience to him.
We believe that if you honestly examine what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, you will come to the same conclusion we did. When you do, you will have a powerful decision to make: "What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?"
Will you receive him, will you accept him and surrender your life to him? Or will you reject him, and refuse him the authority that is rightfully his? Will you be content to learn about him? Or will you really get to know him, just as he already knows you?
There are no more important questions in anyone’s life than these. May God richly bless you as you consider them. If you would like to talk or correspond with one of us about it, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Please contact us to discuss this if you have even the slightest inclination to do so. There is nothing we would rather do.
Yours very sincerely, and with Christian love,
John K. Andrews, Jr.
Carl Gans (1949-2011)
To contact John Andrews:
8547 E. Arapahoe #J-122
Englewood CO 80112
To contact David Petteys
10124 Sumac Run
Littleton CO 80125