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shim Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania
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shim About The New Church
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shim Emanuel Swedenborg's Contribution:
Emanuel was born in 1688 in Sweden. His father was a Lutheran bishop who took interest in the beliefs of the Lutheran Pietest movement. The Pietests saw that faith must be connected with love and useful service in order to be genuine; versus the mainstream Lutheran position regarding faith alone. These beliefs had a major impact on his son.

Emanuel took his studies at the University of Uppsala, then traveled to work with leading scientists throughout Europe. He gained favor with Sweden's King Carl XII, and was ennobled by Queen Ulrika Eleonora, leading to a seat in the Swedish House of Nobles.

A member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, he devoted himself to scientific and philosophical studies that brought him recognition across Europe. In the mid-1730s, he redirected his studies to the anatomy in search of the connection between the soul and the body, making several significant discoveries.

In the early 1740s he shifted his main focus from science and philosophy to theology. He began studying Scripture and publishing theological works that draw on the Bible, reasoning, and his own spiritual experiences. This Christian theology offers unique perspectives on the nature of God, the afterlife, the Bible, marriage, and the path to salvation.

Swedenborg died in London in 1772 at the age of eighty-four.

Although his intention was not to be the founder of a denomination, the inspired writings of Emanuel Swedenborg form the basis for the 'New Church' views of Christianity. A devout Christian, Swedenborg respected people of all faiths who sincerely seek to understand God, then do what they believe He asks of them.

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Historical Perspective on the New Church:
The New Church (Swedenborgian) is a worldwide Christian faith established at the end of a 250-year period known for many significant developments in Christian Church history.  Religious highlights of this era include:

  • 1517 - Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church
  • 1560 - John Knox founded the Presbyterian Church
  • 1606 - John Smyth separated from the Church of England to form a Baptist group
  • 1744 - John & Charles Welsey started a study group which became the Methodist Church
  • 1770 - The New Church is established

Although the New Church was established in the same era as the Protestant movement, it is not considered a Protestant faith.  The New Church does share many beliefs with its Christian neighbors, but also teaches some ideas that are unique among Christian faiths.

A brief outline of New Church teachings:

If you wish to explore any topic further, just click on the topic.


Our Lord Jesus Christ is the One loving God.

He is never angry and never gives up on us.

The Bible is God speaking to us through

literal stories, parables and a deeper spiritual meaning.

Useful Service from good will brings faith to life.

It is the very heart of heavenly happiness.

Spiritual Freedom is a gift.

God endows us with the capacity to choose our eternal destiny.

Salvation is progressive . . . a gradual lifting up of our spirit by the Lord

as we grow in love, faith and useful service.

Marriage Love between a husband and wife is a blessing God longs for us to enjoy.

In His care, we can find and strengthen this precious love to eternity.

Life after Death is real.

Everyone continues life's journey right away as a complete person.

Heaven is for all people

who become angels by living according to God's Commandments.

The General Church:
The Oak Arbor Church is affiliated with the General Church, a New Church denomination whose international headquarters are in Bryn Athyn, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. In a picturesque setting in the heart of Bryn Athyn you can see this majestic cathedral (shown above) which serves as the religious center of the General Church.

 

Famous people and the New Church:

 

Click these links for more information:

 

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