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Is The New Church, which follows the teaching of Emanuel Swedenborg, a Christian church?
I have noticed recently a church advertising on the Google ads. Of course many non-Christian groups advertise in the religion section of Google. However, The New Church caught my eye and so I went to their site to see what they had to say and also looked at the entry on Wikipedia. Is The New Church really a church in the Christian sense of the word?
The New Church is based on the teachings of a scientist and theologian named Emanuel Swedenborg who lived from 1688 - 1772. When he was about 53 years old he began his "spiritual phrase." After that he experienced dreams and visions - some were pleasant and others were disturbing. He later claimed to be able to talk with the angels and to visit heaven and hell. He also claimed that the Lord had sent him to reform Christianity. So is The New Church a branch of Christianity or is is outside the Christian faith?
"In April 1745, Swedenborg was dining in a private room at a tavern in London. By the end of the meal, a darkness fell upon his eyes, and the room shifted character. Suddenly he saw a person sitting at a corner of the room, telling Swedenborg: "Do not eat too much!". Swedenborg, scared, hurried home. Later that night, the same man appeared in his dreams. The man told Swedenborg that He was the Lord, that He had appointed Swedenborg to reveal the spiritual meaning of the Bible, and that He would guide Swedenborg in what to write. The same night, the spiritual world was opened to Swedenborg." Wikipedia
wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of
light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as
servants of God. 2 Cor. 11:14, The Message
It is highly suspicious when a "spiritual being" claims to be the Lord and wants to add meaning to the Bible. Paul tells us the Satan himself can appear as an angel of light [2 Cor. 11:13-15]. It is amazing how many major religions or cults were founded because of a vision or an angel. The success of deception depends on being able to appear as something you are not. It sounds so nice and loving, but in the end it denies the truth. The goal of all Satanic deception is to lead souls into hell.
This can often by done by quoting Scripture. Remember, Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus [Matt. 4:11]. Satan knows the Bible very well - he witnessed it being written! False beliefs can sound so nice and appeal to our human emotions, but the test of truth is always the Bible in context. This is one reason why it is so important to know the word of God. Many modern Christians think doctrine is boring and so they follow every "light" that comes along to their own destruction and the destruction of others.
"During a process of divinely inspired revelations, Swedenborg wrote thirty-five volumes of theological books, referred to as the Writings or Heavenly Doctrines, addressing the mysteries of human life which had previously gone unexplained or been misunderstood...The New Church teaches that the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg reveal a deeper meaning in the scripture, explaining the Bible's symbolism and showing how the Word of God can be applied to our everyday lives." The New Church
Big Red Flag. The New Church considers the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg as "divinely inspired revelations." This means that Swedenborg is not simply a teacher, but one who brings new revelation from God - i.e. a mediator. While they do quote Scripture, all Scripture is to be understood through the "Writings." This is a similar idea to the Jehovah's Witnesses who are instructed that they can only understand the Bible through the teaching of the Watchtower. In fact JW's are told that if they study the Bible without the Watchtower they will go into error [in reality they might go into Truth!].
What does the Bible have to say about this? First, all the canon of Scripture [divinely inspired writing] was closed in the First Century and a strict warning was given to any who would add to or subtract from its words [Rev. 22:18-19]. Second, the Bible gives many instructions to study it. No outside "help" is ever put on the same level with Scripture [1 John 2:27, 2 Tim. 2:15]. Third, Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man. He alone has the words of life [1 Tim. 2:5, John 6:63, 68].
The New Church does not believe in the Trinity stating that it is not taught in the Old Testament. As Rock Solid students have discovered for themselves, the Old Testament does have indications of the Trinity while the full revelation is in the New Testament.
The New Church believes Christianity fell into darkness so that Jesus has returned again, but not in a physical body. "In order to bring the light of truth to the world, God came again. However, this time He did not appear in human form. He came as a new body of revelation given to us through the works of Emanuel Swedenborg..." The New Church. In effect this makes Swedenborg a new messiah.
The New Church contradicts many of the teachings of Jesus. Although they call Him "lord" their teachings reveal that they think He is a liar.
"All religions have goodness in them. There are many paths to the heaven."
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
"There will be no "last judgment", for God does not judge us."
This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. Rom. 2:16
"Salvation is granted to all people who love God and try to live a good life according to what they believe is right."
This is good humanism but what does the Bible say? "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Also notice "try to live a good life." It is faith plus works which the Bible denies: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
Here is a nice thought: "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."
But what did Jesus say? Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage..." Luke 20:34-35
Like many false religions/cults they use the same terms as Christians - redemption, heaven, hell, salvation, etc. - but they mean something different. In other words, they use the same words but they change the definitions! Of course, they have the "real" meaning.
We could go on, but there is no need. We are not to study error but Truth. The above is more than sufficient to show that The New Church is not within the Christian circle. And that is enough. Learn to study the Bible for yourself and be committed to a genuine Christian church.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!" Gal. 1:6-9
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