What did Eddy write about Gnosticism?

May 26, 2020

Mary Baker Eddy mentioned Gnosticism about a dozen times in her correspondence and manuscripts. In 1883 Eddy wrote, “No opinions of Gnostic, Pantheist or Spiritualist, enter our line of thought or action.”1

In a sermon she delivered in January 1889, Eddy discussed the “rising angry elements” of Gnosticism and other philosophies that challenged Jesus:

From this dazzling God-crowned summit, the Nazarene stepped suddenly before the people, and schools of philosophy — Gnostic, Epicurean, and Stoic. He must stem these rising angry elements, and walk serenely over their fretted, foaming billows.

Here the cross became the central emblem of Christ Jesus’ history, while the central point of his Messianic mission was teaching and healing.

Clad with divine might he was ready to be offered, and his hour drew nigh.

In the person of Jesus he bore our iniquities, and through his stripes we are healed. He was the way, and must suffer in the flesh, to show mortals how to escape from the sins of the flesh through suffering.2

An undated document on Matthew 7:16 shows Eddy contrasting John the Apostle with mystics and Gnostics:

The meek and loving John was the eagle of Christianity whose strong wing carried him upward into ineffable light The school of Mystics and Gnostics possessed what they deemed an inward and direct apprehension of Truth but their deepest sense came infinitely short of what John understood directly from divine science.3

In another manuscript she wrote:

The gulf between occultism Gnosticism and magic, and the divine demonstrable Principle of Christian Science is impassable 4

In April 1910 Eddy praised an article by British Christian Scientist Frederick Dixon, who responded to “misconceptions…that Christian Science was reminiscent of the speculations of the Gnostic teachers of the second century.” She called his response “sound and scientific” and thanked him “[for] his clear-cut scientific sentences, simple sound logic, and above all for his honest declarations in the face of his disputants.”5

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  1. Mary B. Glover Eddy, “Prospectus,” Journal of Christian Science, 14 April 1883, 1-2, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/28zvgpu5ci8?s=t.
  2. Mary B.G. Eddy, “The Personal and Impersonal Saviour,” The Christian Science Journal, February 1889, 541-545, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/a3opx5aekg?s=t.
  3. Mary Baker Eddy, manuscript, undated, A10626.
  4. Mary Baker Eddy, manuscript, undated, A10950.
  5. Frederick Dixon and Mary Baker Eddy, “Christianity and Christian Science,” Christian Science Sentinel, 16 April 1910, 643–644, https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/sxgwzy4u6m?s=t.