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Public Speaking

Question: Does a Christian Scientist need to be a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship or be approved by a member of the Committee on Publication to speak in public?

Answer: The Pharisees demanded of Jesus, "By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?" (Matt 21:23). His answer was simple, saying to them that if they did not recognize the source of the Baptist's preaching, then "neither tell I you by what authority I do these things" (Matt 21:27). Jesus was testing the Pharisees to see if they had the courage to acknowledge that God had given John the only authority he needed. It is notable that not a single prophet or fulfiller of prophecy has ever asked for permission from organized religion or from any person to speak in public. Moses, Elisha, David, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Mary Baker Eddy are only a few examples of people who shared their inspiration as the Spirit gave them utterance. They were commanded by God to stand forth in the midst and speak freely.

At one time, Moses gathered seventy elders "and set them round about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease" (Num 11:24-25). Even though Eldad and Medad were among the elders who were called to the tabernacle, they prophesied in the camp. Joshua objected to this and wanted to restrain them, but "Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" (Num 11:29).

Like Moses, Jesus was in the business of raising mankind to a spiritual standard. He spoke with divine authority and expected his students to follow his example, but they required no special certification from Jesus to do so.
  John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:38-41)

After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, the deeper meaning of his grand lessons began to rest on the lips of his followers: "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1, 4). These men were following in the way Jesus commanded: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:15, 17-18). "His proof of Christianity was no form or system of religion and worship, but Christian Science, working out the harmony of Life and Love" (SH 26:30).

Mary Baker Eddy founded her church and delineated its operation on the deific Principle, Love. The Christian Science Board of Lectureship and the Committee on Publication were founded by Principle, setting the spiritual standard and making the Word available to all who asked. This, however, does not bar anyone from speaking as the Spirit gives them utterance! Did not Jesus assure us that we are all kings and priests unto God? "The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus thus centuries ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every age and clime. It is revealed to the receptive heart, and is again seen casting out evil and healing the sick" (SH 46:7).

My brother is a thirty-second degree Mason and was Thrice Potent Master of his lodge. One day when I was visiting him, he told me that he was planning a celebration for members and their families. He said that his plans were complete except that he had no idea who would be the principle speaker. Out of curiosity, I asked him what the event was about. "Patriotism" was his reply. I thought no more about it that day, but as the day began to dawn very early the following morning, I was awakened by a vision. I saw myself giving that address. I watched and listened in amazement as I explained the origin of the word "patriotism" and how it was a universal quality native to man's spiritual nature. I had never heard of such ideas before! I watched the vision until I had concluded my remarks and had left the stage. At breakfast, when I told my brother about the vision, he looked at me and said, "You are the principle speaker." I had no doubt about the spiritual origin of the vision and knew that since it came as a spontaneous outpouring of Mind, I could not prepare myself in any way other than to be ready for Mind to deliver the message as it had done in my waking vision. The day of the event came, and I arrived at the Masonic Hall prepared to share but with no thought of my own: my mind was empty. My brother introduced me and then announced the title of my talk. I looked at him curiously, for this was the first time I had heard it. I thought, 'So that is what I am going to talk about!' Then I turned and faced the audience. As I scanned the waiting faces, I knew that they were not ready to understand the vision that I had seen, so I paused for a few moments until I saw a way to prepare their thought. Then I proceeded with the original vision that had brought me there. The message was received with such agreement that some of the members commented that they could not believe that I was not a Mason. A year later, I crossed paths with someone who had attended that talk. He stopped me in the hallway to thank me and said that he remembered every word. He even started to repeat it back to me.

"The night of materiality is far spent, and with the dawn Truth will waken men spiritually to hear and to speak the new tongue" (SH 354:23).

George Denninger ©

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