Christian Science Practitioner: FSA Eligibility
Information Letter 2000-0410
What is Christian Science?
Christian Science, officially called the Church of Christ, Scientist, is a Christian sect founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy, a New England spiritualist and writer. Adherents to Christian Science believe that reality itself is controlled by God and the mind, while major life struggles like sin and illness can only be overcome by prayer and a larger investment in one's faith. Christian Science is based on Eddy's major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which is considered to be the "textbook" for Christian Science. Eddy described Christian Science as a return to "primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Christian Science).
While the church does not require its members to abstain from all forms of medical treatment, its core belief centers around the belief that Christian Science is more effective when it is not combined with medicine. Rather than being a physical disorder, disease and illness is viewed rather as a mental error that must be corrected by a form of prayer that will correct the beliefs responsible for the individual's ill health.
What is a Christian Science practitioner?
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who is professionally trained in the beliefs of Christian Science and the Holy Bible to help others through prayer. While these practitioners are typically sought out for their assistance in treating medical conditions through prayer, they are also available to help people who are contending with financial difficulties, relationship issues and many other issues that may drive a person into crisis. Christian Science practitioners have individual rates for their services, and they can work with individuals in-person, as well as answering questions through letters, phone calls, emails and other forms of communication (Christian Science).