Christian Science is a Bible-based religion that has been practiced for more than a century. It is a prayer-based way of living, deigned to follow the teachings and example of Christ Jesus. The fundamental premise of Christian Science is the biblical teaching that God, Spirit, is all good, and that each of us is God's loved spiritual offspring. Anyone can turn to God in prayer for the healing of physical, mental, and other life challenges.
Christian Science practitioners advertising in The Christian Science Journal are experienced Christian Scientists, members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who make themselves available to respond to requests for prayer. Christian Science practitioners exercise the mission of a minister of religion: They are in service to God and their neighbor. This ministry is exclusively religious and consists solely in prayerfully supporting any person asking for help, regardless of religious affiliation or location. They practice from their highest sense of Christianity and integrity.
Journal-listed Christian Science practitioners are expected to participate annually in continuing education by attending a Christian Science Association meeting. They also study, regularly, the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson published in the Christian Science Quarterly. They are independent workers who are paid by the individuals who engage them, not by the Church.
Although not an exhaustive list, the following description is intended to clarify what to expect when engaging the services of a Christian Science practitioner:
The services of a Christian Science practitioner include:
- Providing specific prayer, upon request, for the resolution and healing of any of life's challenges - physical, financial, emotional, etc. This prayer is based on the Bible and is explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science;
- Responding with Christian caring and spiritual reassurance;
- Making recommendations, when appropriate, for the study of the Scriptures, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and other Christian Science writings that support a better understanding of each person's relationship to God;
- Answering questions about God, Christ Jesus, and Christian Science, when appropriate;
- Visiting the person asking for prayer, when possible and appropriate;
The services of a Christian Science practitioner do not include:
- Any form of psychological treatment, including counseling or therapy;
- Utilizing any form of medical technology or treatment, including diagnosis, prognosis, drugs (medicated, herbal, vitamin-based products or remedies), or physical therapy; a practitioner does not provide prayerful support for medical procedures nor pray for patients taking medicine;
- Any form of physical contact or therapeutic measures, such as laying on of hands or manipulation;
- Giving advice about, or assuming responsibility for, any kind of life decision, including decisions regarding finances, health care, or physical care;
- Giving advice about, or interfering with a person's choice in, the use of medical care;
- Claiming any personal healing power (God is the source of healing power);
- Any use of a formula for prayer;
The ethics of a Christian Science practitioner include:
- Obeying the laws of the land;
- Observing the confidential communication requirements in the Church Manual (Article VIII, Section 22). (This obligation does not prevent the Christian Science practitioner from making disclosures if required by law.);
- Using his or her own wisdom and judgement in deciding whether to agree to help a person through prayer;
- Discussing fees prior to the commencement of services and charging for services provided; and reducing fees according to the Church Manual (Article VIII, Section 22).