Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does a person have to believe everything in the Word?

I had always thought that people had to believe everything in the Word. I knew that people didn't always believe certain things (in fact, if I'm honest, I don't always know what to make of certain things in the Word and how can I believe them if I don't understand them?) but, philosophically, I still thought that people still had to believe everything in the Word. However, this remarkable passage from the posthumous work, Canons for the New Church, says that people are forgiven for denying that certain things in the Word are Divine truth.
The reason why a man, "who speaks a word against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven" [Matthew 12:32], is because he denies the Divinity of the Lord and the holiness of the Word; for this man is devoid of religion.

The reason why one "who speaks a word against the Son of Man" is forgiven [Matthew 12:32] is because he denies that this or that is Divine truth from the Word in the Church, yet he believes that there are Divine truths in and from the Word. "The Son of Man" is Divine truth from the Word in the Church; and this Divine truth cannot be seen by everyone. (Canons of the New Church 37)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Reflections on Miracles and Swedenborg's Birthday

For the Pastors' Box in last week's Bryn Athyn Post (PDF) Rev. John Odhner wrote a cool short piece on miracles and Swedenborg. Here are the first two paragraphs. The whole thing is only 5 paragraphs long.
Every birth is a miracle, so every birthday party is a celebration of something wonderful that the Lord has accomplished. We celebrate Emanuel Swedenborg’s birthday, January 29. Swedenborg himself worked no miracles, wanted no attention, published anonymously. Yet the Lord used him to accomplish wonderful things.

When the Lord opened the eyes of a blind man or brought back to life people who had died, His disciples were amazed. “It never was heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind!” (John 9:32) Yet Jesus said to His disciples, “You will see greater things than these” (John 1:50). And, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).