Long-standing divisions and controversies in the Church of Christ Scientist is moving the church to the brink of schism judging by a new document issued by dissenters.
The Religion & Ethics Newsweekly Website (Feb. 14) reports that a letter being circulated by Christian Science members called “Matters of Conscience” charges the church with decades worth of alleged abuses, from misusing member money to changing church teachings to find a place in the spirituality marketplace and opening dialogue with mind-body-spirit and other alternative spirituality groups . These issues couldl be church-dividing as the two Christian Science practitioners who wrote the letter were stripped of teaching authority.
The discipline against the two authors has prompted an outcry from a segment of members. Church leaders dismiss the protests, saying they represent resistance by a few to the new approach by the church to engage spiritual seekers with Christian Science teachings. Stephen Simurda, a specialist on Christian Science, says that while there is only a small number of people involved in the Matters of Conscience effort, “there are a large number of people who are very sympathetic with the message that the `Matter of Conscience’ group is putting forth.”
(Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandthics/week624/cover.html)