A New Christianity
New Christianity possesses an unprecedented depth of understanding about God, the inner meaning of the Bible and life after death. The New Church is a spiritual framework to live by, containing truths applicable to everyday life. Here is a summary of key beliefs:
- God is Love and nothing but what is good can come from Him. He was born on earth in the form of Jesus Christ. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three aspects of the One God.
- The Old and New Testaments have a deeper meaning revealed by the Lord through the ‘Writings’ of Emanuel Swedenborg. These teachings can help people to live useful lives loving their neighbour and so find happiness both now and to eternity.
- Heaven is for everyone who wants to live there. While people have the freedom to choose a life in hell, God’s greatest wish is that we choose a heavenly life and grow into angels.
- All religions have goodness in them. There are many paths to heaven.
- God does not judge us. We judge ourselves by what we love and how we live. Salvation is given to all people who love God and try to live a good life according to what they believe to be right.
- God’s Providence is all powerful and unending. He guides each person’s spiritual path, allowing the potential for good to come from even the worst calamities. He is with us in every moment of every moment.
- After death we are conscious almost immediately in the next life and continue to live as complete human beings. If we love God and our neighbour we will become angels and our home will be in heaven.
- Marriage can last forever. Those who share married love which is rooted in deep friendship and mutually looking towards God, continue being partners after death, growing ever closer in their union.
Who is God?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth. The New Church teaches that the essence of God is pure love and wisdom. He is eternally compassionate and forgiving and wishes to give us as much love as we are willing to receive. His love manifests Itself in the desire to draw us closer to Him and infuse our lives with the joy that results from this relationship. Read more.
The Word of God
The Lord’s Word – the Bible – is the bedrock of true Christianity. He intended it as a user’s guide for our life. Within the Word is everything we need to follow the path to heaven. The book of John opens with the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word can serve as the most direct connection to the Lord – it has a deep spiritual power when its truths are applied to everyday life. All the important things we need to know are contained within it’s scripture, for example, the assurance that God is ever-present in our lives and that there is a life after death. The Word also provides us with instructions on how to have lasting happiness. Read more.
The New Church bases its doctrine on the Bible as revealed anew in the ‘Writings’ of Emanuel Swedenborg. This New Christianity is a belief that the Lord used Swedenborg as a means through which to fulfill His promise and come again to Mankind at their hour of greatest need.
Swedenborg wrote, ‘The Lord’s second coming is taking place by means of a man, to whom He has shown Himself in person, and whom He has filled with His spirit, so that he may teach the doctrines of the New Church, which come from the Lord through the Word.’
During a process of divinely inspired revelations, Swedenborg wrote thirty-five volumes of theological books, referred to as the ‘Writings’ or ‘Heavenly Doctrines’. These address the mysteries of human life which had previously gone unexplained or had, over time, been misunderstood. One of the prime purposes for his work was to reveal the inner meaning in the Bible, thus uncovering, for all of us, new relevance to our lives. Read more.
(Further reading at The Swedenborg Society).
The requirements for salvation are simple: live well, believe rightly and you will be saved. We believe that everyone who lives a good life, no matter what their religion, has a place in heaven. Heaven is limitless in its capacity for angels, in fact, the more angels there are, the more heaven is perfected! The Lord wants everyone to go to heaven. The only reason someone goes to hell is because they have chosen to go there of their own choice by rejecting a heavenly life. Read more.
Our Life After Death
At some point our body will die but the essence of who we are will live on. Death is merely the transition of our spirit from one ‘state’ to another. When our body stops working, our soul is no longer anchored to the natural world. So where do we go? Our soul, that is to say, our true nature beyond our physical form, becomes fully conscious in the next life. At first, after death, we find ourselves in a place which seems very familiar. We are still essentially the same person – men, women and children have a complete body with all its senses. We are reunited with those we love and we now complete our personal development – a journey we began while on earth. Our final home is with those who love similar things to ourselves. If we love God and our neighbour this home is in heaven as an angel. Read more.
The New Church teaches that there is one human bond which rises above all others in the beauty and magnitude of its love. This is the bond shared by married partners who cultivate what Swedenborg calls ‘conjugial love’. A truly conjugial state is a union of souls between a husband and wife who look towards God in all aspects of their marriage. These married partners remain together for eternity and their love is continually renewed. Read more.
History Of The Church
During the latter part of Emanuel Swedenborg’s life, there were isolated readers of his Theological books, often referred to as the ‘Writings’ or ‘Heavenly Doctrines’. These readers were scattered across Europe, especially in Sweden, France, Germany and England. In 1783, just ten years after Swedenborg’s death, an organization was formed in London with the purpose of reading, discussing and eventually translating Swedenborg’s Latin Writings into English. From these beginnings in Britain the church has spread to many parts of the world.
The Organization Today
The ‘General Church of the New Jerusalem’ is the legal name for our church organization. It exists to provide for the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sharing of New Church teachings throughout the world and the promotion of a useful life of service to others. The church is governed by an executive bishop and its headquarters are located in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, USA, which has a Cathedral and Theological College.