The New Church bases its doctrine on the Bible (Old and New Testaments), with insights from the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, an eighteenth century theologian and scientist (read the full biography). This theology is founded on the belief that God used Swedenborg as a vessel through which to spread His teachings to people on earth. During a process of divinely inspired revelations, Swedenborg wrote thirty-five volumes of theological books, referred to as the Writings or Heavenly Doctrines, addressing the mysteries of human life which had previously gone unexplained or been misunderstood.
One of the prime purposes for his work was to reveal an inner meaning in the Bible, thus uncovering new relevance and hope for mankind. Within the Writings, Swedenborg describes the nature of the Divine, the function of creation, and the life which awaits us after death. He also provides practical guidelines for having a relationship with God and bringing religion into everyday life.
Above all, Swedenborgian theology seeks to make God accessible to humankind, and a mission of the New Church is to carry out this purpose in the modern-day world:
"Linking with an invisible God is like linking the sight of the eye with the expanse of the universe, the bounds of which are not to be seen. Or it is like looking out in the middle of the ocean, when the gaze falls on the air and sea and is frustrated. But linking with a visible God is like seeing a man in the air or the sea opening His arms and inviting you to come into His embrace." (Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christian Religion §787)
“All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good” (Emanuel Swedenborg, The Doctrine of Life, §1)