There is an Emerging Church Movement currently taking place and the observers of this movement are conversing about what this means. In a nutshell, it means that spiritually minded people are challenging traditional dogmas and viewing religion as involving a dynamic and real transformative event of new life. We are to become angels now, not later in some afterlife (this is exactly what humanity and the planet earth desperately needs to solve its many problems).
The Emergent Church Movement correctly senses that previous belief systems are dead and therefore its members seek to make religion more “alive” and relevant to their lives. The Swedenborgian Church is an important part of this movement.
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg stated that one of the definitions of a “dead” church was one that was no longer getting new information (influx) from the Lord God in heaven. Without this constant living influence from heaven, a church cannot improve itself and it dies. This living influence includes novel and deeper knowledge about God and spiritual evolution.
Swedenborg made the point that it was not the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture that was to be challenged in order to open the doors to new (post-modern) ideas. Rather, a true living church (and its members) would have their minds opened up to deeper levels of truth hidden within the literal meaning of the Bible’s narratives.
These deeper truths reveal unexpected details as to how new spiritual life emerges within us, and transforms our hearts and minds.
Swedenborg claimed that God’s Holy Word contained three universal levels of meaning: an outer (or literal) level, an inner level (touching on the steps of personal transformation) and an innermost level (which communicated God’s Infinitely intimate relationship with humanity from Divine Love) in order to accomplish Glorification.
A true Emergent Church, if it is to be properly sustained and stay tapped into these new living influences (called “revelations”) will—by necessity—have to become aware of these inner levels of communications from God. It is on these deeper levels that God’s Holy Word truly lives and breathes.
While the Swedenborgian Church has access to these inner levels of Divine communication, they too must be constantly open to new “inputs” from heaven. Otherwise, these dynamic ideas become imprisoned as mere memory-data and become hopelessly mixed up with less valuable worldly knowledge. (Getting “out of Egypt” in Scripture actually refers to escaping this inner bondage— when comprehended from its deeper psycho-spiritual level of meaning.)
For instance, the Seven Day Creation Story seemingly addresses the physical creation of the universe, and the emergence of plants, animals and humankind on earth. But on deeper levels (unknown to many people) this biblical story actually addresses the successive steps of human transformation (re-creation and emergence of a new human spirit).
I predict that the Swedenborgian Church, in order to remain a living church, will take this novel and dynamically divine data even further. Swedenborgians will, in the future, begin to recognize universal patterning principles repeating themselves throughout the Bible narratives.
What do I mean by that?
Well, Swedenborgians will discover that similar patterns of transformative progress emerge within the hidden trajectories of all the sacred stories of God’s revealed wisdom. This is what studying the inner meanings of God’s Holy Word will offer to the entire Emerging Church Movement of the future.
An individual who succeeds in having new spiritual life emerge in his or her heart and mind will someday see the exact same patterns of personal transformation repeated in the story of Moses in Exodus, as well in the Creation Story of Genesis, the New Testament story of Jesus, and the eschatological means by which the Lord God creates a new heaven and new earth within each of our personal lives in the Apocalypse.
Each one of these biblical stories can be organically arranged in a series around what Swedenborg calls the “Circle of Life.” Such profound knowledge will allow the Emergent Church to beat scientists to the punch when it comes to formulating a Theory of Everything!