Key New Church Ideas
The New Church is a new Christianity. It is the next step beyond the traditional Christian church teachings - a distinctly new religion that began in the late 1700's, and which has steadily grown into a worldwide church, shared by many people of many cultures.
We accept the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God.
We believe that the Word contains an internal sense, which makes it holy, and at the same time makes it understandable and useful to people.
We believe that the theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg were inspired by God. Swedenborg was an eighteenth century Swedish scientist, engineer and nobleman who turned from science and philosophy to a search for the human soul. From 1757 through the 1770's, he printed many books in London and Amsterdam, where religious freedom permitted the publication of these new and, to the established churches, threatening, ideas.
We also believe that, throughout the whole time that people have lived on earth, and wherever else spiritual beings live in the universe, God has found a way to accommodate His Love and Wisdom to their state:
- There was direct influx into the minds of the most ancient peoples on earth.
- Later, there was an ancient written Word, too, in what Swedenborg calls the Ancient Church, centered in the Middle East, but with influences throughout human societies at that time.
- In the Old Testament, Moses refers to some books of this lost Word - the Book of Jasher, Annunciations, and the Wars of Jehovah.
- The first 12 chapters of Genesis also came from the Ancient Word.
- Later revelations, such as the Koran, have been provided by God to accommodate the needs of non-Christians.
We don't agree with the old Christian idea of the trinity, which speaks of God in three Persons. We believe that Jesus Christ was God himself, who took on a human form in order to walk among us, teach us new truths, battle the hells in temptations, and to re-open the communication between God and people that was being choked off. There is one God. The language of the New Testament is confusing; small wonder there have been arguments about who Jesus Christ was, since even before his death. Here's the truth: The "Father", when spoken of in the Word, refers to the Divine Love of God. The "Son" refers to the Divine Wisdom of God. The "Holy Spirit" is the flowing forth of that Love, taking on a form by means of the Wisdom, or, more simply, God's influence in our lives. On a finite level, we are similar. We have spiritual souls and minds, and natural minds and bodies, and our loves work through our bodies to perform uses.
We believe that, if a person seeks to learn truth and do good because it is true and good, he or she is welcomed into heaven after the physical body dies. Heaven and Hell are both states of mind in which we can be while here on earth. Whichever path we choose is how we live on after death forever.
We remain male and female after death, and marriages can last to eternity.
Heaven is a kingdom of usefulness--not idleness. It is real - in some ways much more real than life is in the physical universe
Hell is real, but no one is cast into it. People who love themselves or the world more than the Lord and the neighbor create hellish societies in the next world. If they have loved evil in this world, they will love it after death.
We are what we love - and God cannot root out the evil loves if we won't let him, without destroying our freedom to choose right or wrong. So… if we are evil, we seek a place with like-minded people, and we gradually form a hell for ourselves.
Heaven is not a reward for so many good things we've done or for having the right faith--we choose it by what we love and how we live.
No one's sins are washed away by baptism. It is a sign that a person may be reborn spiritually if he or she puts away evils in life and lives well. If a child dies (wherever born and under whatever religious faith) he or she will go to heaven and will be raised there and live there forever.
God's greatest desire is to preserve our freedom. Often bad things happen, but God will not prevent them if that is what we (or the Human Race) choose to do in freedom. However, it must be possible that some good may be the end result or God will not allow it.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not in a physical manifestation--He did that already. The Second Coming is God's coming to the minds of individuals with truth--truth which we may freely choose to follow or reject. It is a greater awareness of all things and a greater understanding of God. The Second Coming has been happening since the age of enlightenment and reason. We believe that a great part of this deeper understanding was given by God through the theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
We're here to regenerate - to let the Lord form a new will of love toward the neighbor in hearts and minds. We have to stop doing evil, and to open our minds to the truths that the Lord wants to teach us, and our hearts to the love he wants to give us.