Swedenborgianism: The New Church
A New Church?
I just spent the afternoon looking up information on the Trinity and nontrinitarianism and noting varying denominations/doctrines on Wikepedia.
What caught my eye was Swedenborgianism, also known as The New Church or Church of the New Jerusalem. After reading their doctrinal teachings on their webpage: (click here), I decided to write them a letter, which I am publishing here for those who may be finding out about this new denomination.
In my letter below, the doctrinal teachings of this New Church are highlighted in bold, and my responses are plain text.
My Letter to the New Church
I hoped I had finally found a church I could happily belong to here in this earth, and while I agree with 80% of what you teach, I have grave concerns about the following:
You stated, "All religions have goodness in them. There are many paths to the heaven."
Are you implying that those who believe in the Trinity as God in three persons, those who follow other gods are all on the path to heaven because they have goodness in them? Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons?
You stated, "There will be no "last judgment", for God does not judge us, or condemn evildoers to hell."
Rom 8:1 states we as believers will not be judged, but Jesus is clear that the Word He spoke will judge on the last Day (John 12:48). The Word says He will separate the sheep from the goats (Mat 25:33-46). The Word says there is a great white throne judgment. He will send the goats into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11-14).
You stated, "Marriage can last forever. Those who share married love which is rooted in deep friendship and a mutual looking towards God, continue being partners after death, growing ever closer in their union. In heaven, marriages include a depth of peace, innocence, delight, security and, yes, sexual union that is beyond what we on earth are able to imagine."
Read Mat 22:28-30. Here, we have a woman who married according to the Law of Moses, seven times and Jesus clearly states that in heaven, we neither marry, nor are we given in marriage, but we will be ‘as’ the angels in heaven.
You stated, "Salvation is about the Lord making us into angels, slowly and quietly. Once in heaven, people become angels. Angels are not a superior race of beings, but rather humans who have developed into their highest selves."
We are transformed into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). Christ is not an angel (Heb 1:13), so why would we be? We are going to judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3).
You stated, "Angels in heaven strive and work to be better people, just as we do on earth."
There is no biblical proof of this statement.
You stated, "A fifth reason to believe that angels were not created as a separate race is that the Bible never mentions angels being created, even though the creation story carefully includes everything else in creation: sun, moon, stars, people, animals, birds, plants, ocean, fish, even insects and worms."
Genesis 1:1-2 states, "In the beginning, God created the heavens [first - this could include the angels] and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep; And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters". This indicates the planet earth was in existence before the first day. But, were the angels with Him?
Consider Job 38:4-7: "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
Man wasn't there when the earth was created, but the heavenly angels were. Man was created on the sixth day.
You don't believe Jesus will literally come in the clouds, yet read Act 1:11 "They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Look also at Rev 1:7 "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen."
You also don't believe the great flood ever literally happened. There is historical proof of a great flood. The only descendants mentioned in the Bible post-flood were those of Noah and his family, with the exception of those who were ‘of the Nephilim’, the descendants of Arba. I have no idea who fathered Arba.
You stated, "The requirements for salvation are simple: live well, believe rightly, and you will be saved. We believe that all people who live good lives, no matter what their religion, have a place in heaven.”
“Many years later I discovered the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and to my great delight I found out that you could indeed “go to heaven” if you were a “good person.”
While you’ve stated that above, you contradict yourself by stating the following: “Certainly, we cannot earn our way to heaven by our works.” I’m glad you know the truth, when it’s all said and done.
You stated, "One of the things that distinguishes true mercy from its substitutes is its constancy. Peter came to the Lord asking, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18: 21, 22) A truly forgiving person will not show mercy one moment and malice the next, because the two cannot mix together. For example, to forgive your friends but not your enemies is not true mercy."
I say, notice the word 'brother' in the above and following passage:
"If your brother sins against you, rebuke him: and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17:3)
The scripture is clear that we are to forgive ‘brothers’, not forgive our enemies. Does God give forgiveness to those who sin against Him and stay on the road to hell? No. Repentance is the key. Truly, we are not to seek our own revenge, for vengeance is the Lord’s and He will repay (Rom 12:19). Again, this shows God will judge. So, it’s good you stated the following: "The premise is that we have to stop doing a questionable behavior in order for the forgiveness to mean anything, because until we stop the Lord’s love and mercy can not enter in and find a place with us."
You stated, "He knows and foresees all things. He does not desire to hurt one day and heal the next. "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him." (Psalm 103: 17)"
Look at Deut 32:39 "See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand."
And lastly, you stated, "The spiritual world is made up of three places: heaven, hell, and a transitional place between the two called 'the world of spirits'."
Where is the world of spirits mentioned in the Bible? It’s not.
The problem I have with fitting into any earthly church is that part of the doctrine is right on, but then they go way out in left field, contradicting the Bible. I felt led of the Spirit to address these things, if there be any way this New Church will search the errors and correct its missing the mark in these areas.
More by this Author
Many today profess to be “Christians”. How can all these people be Christians when there are some very marked and serious differences in their foundational beliefs? The most critical difference is the...
God has burdened me with the L. Ray Smith followers, and if I be called to somehow share the truth with them, I praise God with all my heart. I beseech born-again, Spirit-filled believers to shew these that THEY...