Summary of Beliefs
The core purpose of the Glenview New Church is to help people in Glenview and the surrounding areas grow closer to the Lord God Jesus Christ in His Second Coming (see The Second Coming of Christ, below).
The Glenview New Church carries out its core purpose by engaging people with teachings of the Lord’s Word in ways that promote a life of useful service as a primary way of honoring the Lord and the neighbor, strengthen marriage and family, foster personal and spiritual growth, and build a sense of community within which people are welcomed, cared for, and supported on their spiritual journey.
The Glenview New Church is part of a world-wide Christian denomination commonly referred to as the New Church. It is made up of a variety of people who share a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible and in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth. He is the all-powerful creator and provider, and at the same time He is the loving, approachable, personal God who reaches out to each one of us. In New Testament scripture, the Father is the soul, the Son is the body, and the Holy Spirit is the activity of this one divine Person. The Lord God is intimately aware of the directions of our lives, and He works in countless ways to inspire our free acceptance of all that He offers.
The Bible / Word of God
The Bible is the Word of God, and it can be read on more than one level. There is a literal meaning and history of God's relationship with His people, and there is a deeper, symbolic meaning which teaches us about our own spiritual walk. We call this deeper meaning the internal sense of the Word. The teachings of the New Church which describe this internal sense are drawn from the Bible and from the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
The Lord ensures that each of us has the freedom to choose what we will believe and how we will live. He gives us this ability, knowing full well that we can use it wisely, or we can choose to turn away from Him and serve ourselves instead. Yet by means of this ability we can turn to Him and see the wisdom in serving others in ways that He wants. Freedom to choose is the cornerstone of spiritual growth and salvation.
Spiritual growth is a dynamic journey of evolution and change. The Lord calls each one of us to develop our faith in Him and to do our part in becoming better people throughout our lifetimes. Our part is to examine ourselves, recognize destructive patterns, ask the Lord’s help to rid ourselves of those patterns, and live a new life of good will toward others. People who co-operate with God to improve their lives in this world will continue to grow spiritually forever.
Life after Death
The life after death is real and knowable. Death is merely a transition from the natural world into the spiritual world, where life continues for all people according to the patterns they have freely chosen in life. Those who have worked to become other-oriented in this life find themselves in a heavenly way of life after death. Those who have freely chosen to serve themselves above their neighbors gravitate towards others like themselves in the place called hell. We choose our eternal destiny.
The Lord's Church
The Lord's spiritual church is universal, that is, it exists everywhere in the world. This universal church includes all people who believe in God and strive to live good lives by universal principles of truth. The Lord makes sure that all people have the opportunity to learn these basic, universal principles of truth, working through many faiths in many nations. But the Lord’s church is also specific, that is, it is especially located where His Word exists and where He is known and loved in detail. The more people know about who the Lord is, what He’s like, and what He wants for our lives, the more deeply they can love Him and one another. The New Church is a place where you can find these specific teachings about the Lord.
God creates each one of us to be an instrument of His love. When we live useful and productive lives for the sake of others, the love of God passes through us to them, and their lives are impacted for good. At the same time, we experience the happiness and delight that are associated with being of use. Useful service is the source of heavenly happiness, both in this life and the next.
The Second Coming of Christ
The Lord's second coming does not mean the destruction of all creation and a fierce judgment on humankind. Instead, it’s a new era of Christian life based on a new understanding of the Lord—who He is, what He’s like, and how He works with us toward good conclusions in our lives. The New Church is the place where you can discover this new understanding and way of life.