Marjorie’s Christian Testimony

I was raised in a Christian Science home. Every week my parents sent my younger sister and me to the Christian Science Sunday school. The church was within a short walk from the apartment building where we resided. My parents never attended church services, but they would send us by ourselves each week. I repeatedly asked my parents to start accompanying us to church instead of sending us to Sunday school by ourselves. They finally consented, and the four of us starting attending regularly each week. My parents sat upstairs for the Sunday services, while us girls attended Sunday school downstairs. We eventually relocated to another city and started attending another Christian Science Church where my father was, at some point, elected First Reader. Regular church attendance was ingrained in me and became a part of my daily spiritual life. Christian Scientists are taught to study the Lesson each week before it is read from the pulpit during the Sunday church service. My father always asked me if I had read the Lesson that day, and I always told him that I had. I lied every time he asked me because I couldn’t understand the doctrines contained in Science and Health. I frequently got into verbal disagreements with my Sunday school teachers regarding Mary Baker Eddy’s interpretation of the Bible and Science and Health in general.

After graduation from high school, I started working on my two-year associate’s degree through a local community college. After classes I worked part time behind the service desk at the YWCA, and this is where I met my future husband. He attended the Christian Science Church with me before we were married. He had been raised in the Methodist Church, so the teachings of Christian Science were very foreign to him. My father wanted me to graduate from college, but I dropped out after completing one year and ended up getting married instead.

During the period of our engagement, I asked a girlfriend who her minister was. We wanted to be married in a church but didn’t have any idea who would perform the marriage ceremony. (Christian Science churches don’t have ordained clergy; their services are run by elected laity who cannot perform marriages.)

We contacted my friend’s minister by telephone, and he asked us if we would consent to some marriage counseling sessions with him. Both of us agreed, and we met with him each week in the office he had in his home. He asked both of us if we had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and we told him that we didn’t.

During a counseling session, the minister started telling us about Jesus. But neither of us was interested in any type of religion, and we nicely told him so. He didn’t bring up the subject of Jesus again, but he and his wife started praying for us.

After we were married we still attended the Christian Science Church, but not on a regular basis. I was no longer under the jurisdiction of my parents, so my husband and I sporadically attended the Christian Science Sunday services. Four years into our marriage, our son was born. When he was a tiny infant he became very ill and we knew that something was very wrong with him. He was lying in his crib, and he constantly cried and drew his little legs up to his chest in pain. Since we were both young and inexperienced parents, we decided to call my father on the telephone so that, perhaps, he could give us some wise counsel. My father responded by saying that he would call a Christian Science practitioner (a professional Christian Science healer) for us. Well, my husband nearly hit the roof in anger and he slammed down the telephone. He knew that our baby needed immediate medical attention. We knew of a family, just a few houses away from us, that had lost a daughter through death because her parents trusted a Christian Science practitioner to heal her. We weren’t about to follow in the footsteps of that family.

My husband called the State Police and gave them the description of our car and the license plate number, and he told them that he had to quickly rush our baby to the hospital. He didn’t want the police to detain us when we had a medical emergency. We arrived at the hospital and the doctor in charge admitted him and wanted to keep him overnight for observation. We both stayed at the hospital with our son for quite a long time until we were told to go home for the night because there wasn’t anything else we could do. Both of us were so very heartbroken to have to leave our little son in the hospital overnight. The following morning we arrived at the hospital and the doctor told us that he would release him so we could take him home with us. He had gastritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach lining that could be fatal to an infant if left untreated. I’m so very grateful that we used good common sense and took our son to the hospital rather than leaving him in the hands of a Christian Science practitioner.

My husband and I had to come to a decision about rearing our child in some religious faith. We decided to call the minister who had performed our marriage ceremony. We talked to him over the telephone and he told us where his church was located and the times of the services. So we attended the Sunday morning service at the Community Church. The pastor and his wife asked us if they could stop by and visit us. We noticed that both of them were very friendly and open to us, and they shared a lot of information about the church. We attended the Sunday morning services again the very next week, and both of us listened attentively to the pastor’s sermon. His message was about the love of Christ. He explained the gospel in such simple terms that even a small child could understand. He explained the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. I realized that what I had to do was acknowledge that I was a sinner and that Jesus Christ had shed his precious blood on the cross for my sins. All I had to do was to make a rational decision and accept what Jesus Christ had already done for me on the cross. The pastor gave an invitation to those who wanted to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and asked those people to make a public profession of their faith and to walk forward in the church. The last hymn of the morning service was, “Just As I Am, Without One Plea.” I stood there singing the hymn and felt two hands on my back, giving me a little nudge. I turned around to see who was pushing me. No one was behind me. I then turned around and continued to sing the hymn. Again, I felt two hands nudging me to go forward, and now I know that it was God’s Holy Spirit beginning to work in my life.

I walked forward and made a public profession of my faith. The pastor’s wife accompanied me to a room and led me in a prayer in which I confessed my sins and asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in December 1971, when our son was three months old. And my husband saw such a miraculous change in my life when I started to read the Bible and apply its truths in my life that he, too, came to faith in January 1972. Since coming to faith my life has never been the same. Christian Science could never fill the void in my heart the way the Lord Jesus Christ has filled it. Christian Science teaches that we can heal ourselves by denying the reality of sickness and sin. It also teaches that, if we don’t receive a Christian Science healing, it’s because we haven’t understood and applied its teachings correctly. I don’t believe that Christian Science heals, because I was never healed in all of the years that I practiced this religion. I have medical problems today that I am learning to deal with, but I’d rather have a spiritual healing in my life than a physical healing. I have the assurance that, when I pass from life unto death, I will be in the presence of the Lord.

My husband and I are grateful that the Lord Jesus Christ allowed us to raise our son from infancy in a Bible believing church. Today our son is a soldier in the U. S. Army and serves on active duty. He’s also an ordained minister, and his future goal is to become an Army Chaplain.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (I John 1:5-10, NIV)

Marjorie C. Woodworth, February 2002
Woodworth895@cs.com
www.christianway.org

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