These teachings are immediately practical and deeply spiritual, providing a new understanding of God's timeless story. A religion founding on these teachings is a religion to be lived, not just believed.
Some of our most important beliefs are highlighted below. Most of the sections below also include a link to our denominational site (newchurch.org), where you can find additional articles and videos.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth — the all-powerful Creator and Provider, and an approachable, loving, personal God who reaches out to all of us. The Father is the soul, the Son is the body, and the Holy Spirit is the activity of the One Divine Person. He is love itself, and so is incapable of anger or coldness towards any human being. He is intimately aware of the directions of our lives, and works in countless ways to inspire our free response to all that He offers. Read more about God.
The Bible, also known as the Word of God, is how God teaches us. In the pages of His Word He teaches us about Himself, about eternal life, and He teaches that heavenly happiness (in this life and in our eternal life) can be found by living according to His commandments. We can read the Bible on many different levels. There is a literal meaning, a history of God's relationship with His people, and a deeper symbolic meaning which teaches us about our own spiritual lives. On the deepest level the Bible is about God's love for all people and His work to bring us close to Himself in heaven. We call this symbolic meaning the "internal sense" of the Word. Read more about the Word.
Jesus said that the two great commandments are to love God and to love other people, and that all of Scripture refers back to these two commandments. What we love determines who we are, and whether or not we go to heaven. The whole of heaven rests on love as its foundation. Read more about love.
Life after death is real, and much more knowable than many people believe. The book Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg has inspired people for over two centuries with its detailed description of life after death. It teaches that death is merely a transition from the natural world to the spiritual world, where life continues for all people according to the patterns they have developed in life. Those who have cooperated with God in this life by striving to become better people find themselves in heaven in the next life. Those who have chosen to put themselves above their neighbors gravitate towards others like themselves in the place called hell. People freely choose their eternal destiny. Read more about life after death, heaven, and angels.
People who love God and follow His commandments (while on earth) will become angels and live in heaven after death. Their life will not be a life of eternal leisure. Everyone in heaven discovers personal satisfaction and meaning from useful service to others. The spiritual love that makes for beautiful heavenly life within a person also creates a beautiful spiritual environment around them. In heaven this environment is experienced just as we experience the objects around us in this world, only far more vividly. Read more about heaven, angels, and life after death.
Being "born again," or saved, does not take place in a single moment. Having faith and living it are two parts of a journey of change and growth. The New Church teaches that every person is saved (chooses heaven) who acknowledges God and lives according to the Ten Commandments. The Lord works through many churches in many nations to make sure that all people have the opportunity to learn these two most basic principles of religion. Read more about faith and salvation.
A marriage is truly a spiritual covenant between a man and a woman, and the love that is shared by a couple who are united this way is a beautiful gift from the Lord. When spiritual principles are applied not only to one's spiritual growth, but also to the marriage relationship, troubled times can be overcome, and that marriage will grow in friendship, mutual support, and happiness. Genuine marriage does not end with death, but continues to eternity. Read more about marriage, and love in marriage.
When Jesus made His first advent, He came in a way that people did not expect: He came as a healer and a teacher of spiritual truth, not as a conquering king. A lot of people expected Him to share their interest in earthly glory and earthly kingdoms—but He taught that His kingdom is "not of this world" (John 18:36). He had come to show His people the path to heaven; earthly things were simply not His purpose or His priority.
The same thing is true of His second advent. He is not interested in establishing an earthly kingdom. He is not interested in ending the world either. His desire is to lead people to heaven—how would ending the world serve that purpose?
The New Church teaches that the Lord has already made His second coming, not in person but as the "Spirit of Truth" that He promised He would send (John 15:26). Over the centuries after His first advent, the church built up clouds of misinformation and falsity around His truth. So He has come again, to clarify the path to heaven. He has revealed the deeper meaning of the Bible, so that we can clear away the cloud, and understand anew what He has always asked of us: to love Him, to love our neighbor, and to obey His commandments. He came in a way that we didn't expect (as He foretold, Matt. 24:44), and much of the world missed it. But we believe that He's working, even now, to come to individual minds and hearts as the Spirit of Truth, and show us the way. Read more about the Second Coming and the new Christianity.
We open ourselves to the love of God by turning away from evil and learning to do what is good. When we act from that love by living a useful and productive life for the sake of others, the Lord opens heaven within us and prepares us for an eternal life of ever-growing love and happiness in heaven. Read more about happiness and fulfillment.
The Lord ensures that each of us has the freedom to choose what we want to believe and how we want to live. He gives us this ability, knowing full well that we can use it to reject Him and serve ourselves. Yet by means of it we can turn to Him and see the wisdom in freely choosing to serve others as He asks. Freedom is the cornerstone of individual spiritual growth.