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Emanuel Swedenborg

Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a scientist, theologian, and philosopher. Perhaps his greatest achievement was starting a whole new religion which could be considered radical, at least in his time. He departed from the traditional Christianity of his time in a number of ways; he rejected the Trinitarian theology of god-in-three-persons, believing that Jesus alone embodied the "godhead" unlike the unitarian idea of God where Jesus is less than God, not quite divine. He rejected the traditional Protestant theology of his time of salvation through "faith alone", which had its origin in Martin Luther. While he believed in an eternal hell which was a hell of human creation more than of divine punishment for sin, he taught that people from ALL religions could be saved, not just Christians. Another departure from traditional Christianity was the idea that not everything in the Bible had to be taken literally, for example Adam&Eve as real individuals, the story of Noah and the entire book of Revelation which was to Swedenborg a story of what was happening on the spiritual level and not a prophesy of what would happen on planet earth. A central teaching of Swedenborg was the idea of marriage between male and female to eternity. There are 3 denominations in the United States: the original Swedenborgian Church which is more "liberal" than the General Church in a number of ways: more independence of local congregations, ordination of women, membership in the somewhat "liberal" (by fundamentalist standards, anyway) National Council of Churches, and a general liberal attitude to such controversial things as acceptance of homosexuals. Also, unlike the "Swedenborgian Church", the "General Church" requires baptism in the "New Church" (Swedenborgian) before one is accepted as a member. One could argue, however, that the most significant differences are the two philosophies upon which the General Church was founded that of New Church education and the divine inspiration of Swedenborg's works ("The Writings"). Then there is the third denomination, The Lord's New Church which teaches that Swedenborg's works themselves have an "internal sense". Swedenborg taught that the Bible has a deeper meaning and likewise, claims The Lord's New Church "The Writings" (of Swedenborg) which are equally part of "God's WORD" have a deeper meaning. The primary purpose of my Swedenborgian page is to introduce people to Swedenborg I think it worth mentioning that I am no longer a member of any Swedenborgian denomination. I was born into the General Church. There are three basic reasons I left that denomination: I was uncomfortable with the conservative nature of the General Church; I rejected the idea of an eternal hell of any kind as incompatible with a just idea of God; and I rejected the idea that the "New Church" was the one and only true religion. Since I am no longer a Swedenborgian it should be noted that I may be affected by my theological bias in describing his theology and the theological differences between the three US denominations. I apologize if I have not accurately described this religion. Please e-mail me with any comments and questions. PEACE BACK TO MAIN PAGE



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