To become a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the applicant must be a believer in the doctrines of Christian Science, according to the teaching contained in our Christian Science textbook, Science & Health by Rev Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible, together with Science & Health shall be his only textbooks for self-instruction in Christian Science.
"Your dual and impersonal pastor, the Bible, and Science
and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is with you; and the Life
these give, the Truth they illustrate, the Love they demonstrate,
is the great Shepherd that feedeth my flock, and leadeth them
'beside the still waters.'" Mary Baker Eddy
Through prayer, Mrs. Eddy found an answer to this need. In 1894 she appointed a new and unique pastor for The Mother Church, one that didn't depend on personality at all. Instead, it was an impersonal pastor consisting of two books-the ones to which she'd dedicated her whole life.
Then, in April of 1895, Mrs. Eddy made these books the pastor not only of The Mother Church but also of all its branch churches. As she wrote later to The Mother Church, "Your dual and impersonal pastor, the Bible, and `Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,' is with you; and the Life these give, the Truth they illustrate, the Love they demonstrate, is the great Shepherd that feedeth my flock, and leadeth them `beside the still waters' " (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 322).
In 1903, Mrs. Eddy extended the authority of "The Christian Science Pastor" to the whole world. She wrote in the Manual of The Mother Church, "I, Mary Baker Eddy, ordain the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Pastor over The Mother Church,- The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.,-and they will continue to preach for this Church and the world" (Manual, Art. XIV, Sect. 1).
Doesn't the Bible alone show us the way to eternal life? Yes, it does. But humanity had the Bible for close to two millenniums without fully understanding how to use its truths in a scientifically provable way to heal and regenerate people like Christ Jesus did. To arrive at that kind of understanding, humanity needed to comprehend the Bible on a deeper level. They needed to "unlock" the Bible, so to speak. It was the specific mission of Science and Health to give the world this "key" to the Scriptures-to open up their treasures and enable everyone to use them.
But would Science and Health alone be a fully sufficient pastor for the world? No. Having the Christian Science textbook without the Bible would be sort of like having a key without a door, a house without a foundation. Science and Health was built on Scriptural truth. It was in the Bible that Mrs. Eddy discovered the laws of God, the Science that undergirded Jesus' healing ministry. As she explained in the textbook, "The Bible has been my only authority" (Science and Health, p. 126).
(Excerpted from Mary Metzner Trammell, "A pastor for the
world," The Christian Science Journal, May 1994.)