In the chapter titled “Recapitulation” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy asks and answers a series of questions as she offers a summary of her theology. Page 497 of this chapter includes the following:

Question. — Have Christian Scientists any religious creed?
Answer. — They have not, if by that term is meant doctrinal beliefs. The following is a brief exposition of
the important points, or religious tenets, of Christian Science: —

The tenets are also published in the Manual of The Mother Church and the application for membership in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, requires that signers “subscribe to the Tenets and By-Laws of the Church.”1

The language of the six tenets was edited by Mary Baker Eddy throughout the years as she constantly worked to make Science and Health better understood by its readers. The development of each of the tenets is traced below.

 

FIRST TENET

Current edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy 1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.
1879 “Tenets and Covenant” 1ST. — As adherents to Truth, we take the Scriptures for our guide to Life eternal.
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” First. — As adherents of Truth, we take the Scriptures for our guide to Life.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 1. As adherents of Truth, we take the scriptures as our guide to eternal Life.
214th edition of Science and Health (1901) 1. As adherents of Truth we take the inspired Word of the Bible for our guide to eternal Life.
251st edition (1902) 1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to Eternal Life.

 

SECOND TENET

 

Current edition 2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God’s image and likeness.
1879 “Tenets and Covenant” 2D. — We rest our hope and Faith on God, the only Life, Truth and Love, depending for salvation not on the person of God, but on the understanding of the Principle or Spirit that is God, and the demonstration of this Spirit or Principle according to those commands of our Master, “Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and these signs shall follow them that believe” (understand). “They shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Second.We acknowledge one Father, Son and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atonement of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus, which is healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, the Holy Ghost, and man in His image and likeness. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and His present and future punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement of Christ, as the efficacy of Truth and Love. And the way of Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead, — resurrecting a dead faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, and the Holy Ghost, and man in the Divine image and likeness.
81st edition (1894) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, and the Holy Ghost, and man as the Divine image and likeness.
179th edition (1900) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme Infinite God. We acknowledge one Christ, the Holy Ghost, and man as the Divine image and likeness.
214th edition (1901) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme Infinite God. We acknowledge one Christ namely the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter — and the son Christ Jesus — man in the divine image and likeness.
249th edition (1902) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme Infinite God. We acknowledge one Christ, His son, the Holy Ghost or Comforter, — and man in the divine image and likeness.
252nd edition (1902) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme and Infinite God; — acknowledge one Christ — His Son Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost or the divine Comforter; and man His divine image and likeness.
1907 edition 2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God’s image and likeness.

 

THIRD TENET

(Note: The third tenet first appeared in the 1887 tenets, as part of the second tenet.)

 

 

Current edition 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Second. — We acknowledge one Father, Son and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atonement of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus, which is healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, the Holy Ghost, and man in His image and likeness. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and His present and future punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement of Christ, as the efficacy of Truth and Love. And the way of Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead, — resurrecting a dead faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin; and His punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement as the efficacy and evidence of Divine Love, of man’s unity with God, and of the great merits of the Way-shower.
81st edition (1894) 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and that sin and suffering are not eternal.
179th edition (1900) 3. God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and the understanding that sin and suffering are neither real nor eternal.
251st edition (1902) 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin, and in the understanding that evil and sin are unreal, hence not eternal. But the love of sin is punished, so long as it lasts.
263rd edition (1903) 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin, and in the understanding that evil and sin are unreal, hence not eternal. But the belief in sin is punished, so long as it lasts.
1908(a) edition 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.

 

FOURTH TENET

(Note: The first part of the fourth tenet first appeared in the 1887 Tenets. The next page of this study charts the development of the second part of the fourth tenet [beginning with “and we acknowledge that man …”].)

 

 

Current edition 4. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Second. — We acknowledge one Father, Son and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atonement of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus, which is healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, the Holy Ghost, and man in His image and likeness. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and His present and future punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement of Christ, as the efficacy of Truth and Love. And the way of Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead, — resurrecting a dead faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin; and His punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement as the efficacy and evidence of Divine Love, of man’s unity with God, and of the great merits of the Way-shower.
81st edition (1894) 4. We acknowledge the atonement as the efficacy, and evidence of divine Love, of man’s unity with God, and the great merits of the Way-shower.
251st edition (1902) 4. We acknowledge Christ’s atonement as the evidence of divine and efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Jesus Christ the Wayshower.
389th edition (1906) 4. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Wayshower, and that man is saved through Christ, Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.

 

FOURTH TENET (Part b)

(Note: Unlike the first part of this tenet, the second part of the fourth tenet first appeared in 1879. From the 81st edition to the 388th edition of Science and Health, the second part of the fourth tenet beginning with “and we acknowledge that man …,” was part of the fifth tenet.)

 

 

Current edition 4. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.
1879 “Tenets and Covenant” 2d. — We rest our hope and Faith on God, the only Life, Truth and Love, depending for salvation not on the person of God, but on the understanding of the Principle or Spirit that is God, and the demonstration of this Spirit or Principle according to those commands of our Master, “Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and these signs shall follow them that believe” (understand). “They shall lay their hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Second. — We acknowledge one Father, Son and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atonement of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus, which is healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, the Holy Ghost, and man in His image and likeness. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and His present and future punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement of Christ, as the efficacy of Truth and Love. And the way of Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead, — resurrecting a dead faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 4. We acknowledge the way of Salvation, demonstrated by Jesus, as the power of Truth over error, sin, sickness and death; and the resurrection of human faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
81st edition (1894) 5. We acknowledge the way of Salvation demonstrated by Jesus, to be the power of Truth over all error, sin, sickness, and death; and the resurrection of human faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of divine Life.
179th edition (1900) 5. Universal Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus, the Galilean prophet, in the power of Truth over all error, sin, sickness, and death; and the resurrection of human faith and understanding to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the divine Life.
251st edition (1902) 5. We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ — through divine Truth, Life, and Love, as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in the healing of the sick and the overcoming of sin and death. Also, that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection were designed to elevate human faith and understanding to the spiritual perception of the eternal existence of the good and the real in man.
389th edition (1906) 4. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Wayshower, and that man is saved through Christ, Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.

 

FIFTH TENET

(The fifth tenet first appeared in the 1887 tenets, as part of the second tenet.)

Current edition 5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Second. — We acknowledge one Father, Son and Holy Ghost, — one God, the brotherhood of man, and Divine Science. And the forgiveness of sin, which is the destruction of sin. And the atonement of Christ, which is the efficacy of Truth and Life. And the way of salvation marked out by Jesus, which is healing the sick, casting out devils [evils], and raising the dead, — uplifting a dead faith into Life and Love.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 2. We acknowledge and adore one Supreme God. We acknowledge His Son, the Holy Ghost, and man in His image and likeness. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin, in the destruction of sin, and His present and future punishment of “whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” We acknowledge the atonement of Christ, as the efficacy of Truth and Love. And the way of Salvation as demonstrated by Jesus casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead, — resurrecting a dead faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 4. We acknowledge the way of Salvation, demonstrated by Jesus, as the power of Truth over error, sin, sickness and death; and the resurrection of human faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of the Divine Life.
81st edition (1894) 5. We acknowledge the way of Salvation demonstrated by Jesus, to be the power of Truth over all error, sin, sickness, and death; and the resurrection of human faith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of divine Life.
214th edition (1901) 5. Universal salvation as demonstrated by the Galilean prophet in the power of Truth over all error sin sickness and death; and the resurrection of human faith and understanding wherewith to seize the great possibilities and living energies of divine life.
237th edition (1902) 5. We acknowledge universal salvation as demonstrated by the Galilean prophet, in the power of Truth over all error, sin, sickness, and death; and his crucifixion and resurrection, whereby human faith and understanding are enabled to seize the great possibilities and living energies of divine Life.
251st edition (1902) 5. We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ — through divine Truth, Life, and Love, as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in the healing of the sick and the overcoming of sin and death. Also, that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection were designed to elevate human faith and understanding to the spiritual perception of the eternal existence of the good and the real in man.
300th edition (1904) 5. We acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, divine Truth, Life, and Love, as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in the healing of the sick and the overcoming of sin and death. Also, that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to elevate faith and understanding to perceive eternal Life, the allness of Spirit and nothingness of matter.
389th edition (1906) 5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith and understanding to perceive eternal Life, even the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of matter.
1908(a) edition 5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.

 

SIXTH TENET

Current edition 6. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.
1879 “Tenets and Covenant” 3D — And we solemnly covenant to faithfully obey the ten commandments; to walk worthy our high calling, to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God; to abhor a lie, to love truth, to do good to man, to have but one God, and to strive habitually to reach that higher understanding of Christian Science contained in the sermon on the Mount, whereby to cast out error and heal the sick. We give no credence to Spiritualism or Mediumship, and object to mesmerism and medicine, never in any case using any ourself.
1887 “Tenets to be Signed by those Uniting …” Third. — We promise to love one another, and to work, watch and pray; to strive against sin, and to keep the Ten Commandments; to deal justly, love mercy, walk humbly; and inasmuch as we are enabled by Truth, to cast out evil and heal the sick.
1892 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 3. We solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. To love the brethren, and, up to our highest understanding, to be meek, merciful, and live peaceably with all men.
1893 (from “Church Tenets and Rules”) 5. We solemnly promise to strive, watch and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. To love one another, and, up to our highest understanding to be meek, merciful and just.
81st edition (1894) 6. We solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus, to love one another, and to be meek, merciful, just, and pure.
1908(a) edition 6. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.

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  1. Mary Baker Eddy, Manual of The Mother Church, 89th ed. (Boston: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1908), 114.