Jesus prayed for the unity of all his followers with one another. ““I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you…I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:20-22 NLT)
Jesus’ prayers were not in vain. I see Christian unity as not only a pleasant idea but a fulfillment of Jesus’ prayers. I don’t believe Christian unity means losing what is unique to Christian Science or letting it get subsumed in others’ concepts or practices of Christianity. I believe we have unique, Bible-based gifts to bring to Christianity that will help it be what Jesus prayed it would be—not only one in unity but also united in preaching the good news and healing the sick and sinning.
I had a conversation with a young woman in a bookstore when I was there talking about the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. After the talk the young woman challenged what I had said and sat down with me to prove me wrong. She really knew her Bible! After a while I just gently said in summary that Christian Science offered ideas on how to heal, since Jesus said we are to heal the sick.
She asked, “Where does it say that in the Bible?” I showed her a passage. She asked me what Bible I was using, and it was the King James Bible. She ran to her car to get her Bible. There was the same idea presented in her translation! She looked at it for quite a while—apparently very surprised that I was accurate. She clearly had never been taught about this concept that Jesus’ followers were sent to heal the sick.
This exchange many years ago taught me to know my Bible well, and to use it to share Christian Science concepts because not only is it the basis of Christian Science but it is a wonderful bridge to other Christians. The young woman could argue with Science and Health, but she couldn’t argue with her Bible.
If Christian Scientists are not involved in ecumenical settings, if we’re not at the table, we leave a vacuum that someone else will fill—with their understanding of what Christian Science is—which is usually incorrect, and sometimes grossly incorrect. If we are at the table we can speak for ourselves and correct misconceptions. And the best way to do that is to be so clear about the Biblical foundation of Christian Science.