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A few passages from the Writings on Church Unity

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Here are a couple of foundational passages relative to stability in the church.   I believe they are important to keep in mind when considering the subject of greater unity in the church.

One is Arcana Caelestia 9828.  This is one of my favorite descriptions about how the Lord brings people together in true unity.  “When every single thing has the same end in view all things are then held in uninterrupted connection and make one; for everything is then under the eye, government, and providence of the One who, acting in accord with the laws of subordination and association, turns everyone towards Himself, and thereby joins them to Himself. At the same time He turns all to face their companions, and thereby joins them to one another. This explains why the faces of all who are in heaven are kept turned towards the Lord, who is the Sun there, and so is the centre point in front of everyone’s eyes; and the marvel is that He is there in whatever direction angels turn round to face.”

This one from the doctrine of Faith sends chills down my spine: “There are two evil religious persuasions into which every Church degenerates in course of time, one which adulterates its good principles and the other which falsifies its truths. That religion which adulterates the goods of the Church derives its origin from the love of rule; and the other, which falsifies the truths of the Church, derives its origin from the pride of self- intelligence. The religious persuasion which derives its origin from the love of rule, is meant in the Word by Babylon; and the religious persuasion which derives its origin from the pride of self-intelligence, is meant in the Word by Philistia”  (Faith 49).

Next read this summary of who is a member of the church.  This comes from the small book “New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine passage 246.  You can read the references from Arcana Caelstia which back up the statements, but it is powerful reading as is. “The church exists specifically where the Word is, and where the Lord is thereby known, and thus where Divine truths are revealed (n. 3857, 10761). Still they who are born where the Word is, and where the Lord is thereby known, are not of the church, but they who are regenerated by the Lord by the truths of the Word, that is, they who live the life of charity (n. 6637, 10143, 10153, 10578, 10645, 10829). They who are of the church, or in whom the church is, are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth, that is, they love truth because it is truth; and they examine from the Word whether the doctrinals of the church in which they were born are true (n. 5432, 6047). Otherwise the truth possessed by everyone would be derived from another, and from his native soil (n. 6047).

The church of the Lord is with all in the whole world who live in good according to their religious principles (n. 3263, 6637, 10765). All who live in good wherever they are, and acknowledge one God, are accepted by the Lord and come into heaven; since all who are in good acknowledge the Lord, because good is from the Lord, and the Lord is in good (n. 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263, 4190, 4197, 6700, 9256). The universal church on earth before the Lord is as one man (n. 7396, 9276). As heaven is, because the church is heaven or the kingdom of the Lord on earth (n. 2853, 2996, 2998, 3624-3629, 3636-3643, 3741-3745, 4625). But the church, where the Lord is known and where the Word is, is like the heart and lungs in man in respect to the other parts of the body, which live from the heart and lungs as from the fountains of their life (n. 637, 931, 2054, 2853). Hence it is, that unless there were a church where the Word is, and where the Lord is thereby known, the human race could not be saved (n. 468, 637, 931, 4545, 10452). The church is the foundation of heaven (n. 4060).

These are a few of the passages I equip myself with when entering into the dialogue about how our church is governed.

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2 Responses to “A few passages from the Writings on Church Unity”

  1. Brian Smith says:

    thanks Dave. I found these helpful. brian

  2. Dave says:

    do you keep a blog? Send me your address if you do and I’ll add the link.
    -Dave

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