True Christianity, by Emanuel Swedenborg

Are you searching for a more modern, more rational, and more Bible-based view of Christian theology?

The Christian Church as it has existed for the past two thousand years is on the wane. Thinking people have trouble accepting many of the doctrines that were developed by various Christian theologians over the centuries and made into cornerstones of the various branches of Christianity. As science and reason have taken the lead in human thought, and human society has moved in new directions, traditional Christian theology has looked increasingly out of date and unacceptable.

Two and a half centuries ago, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) had the same problem. As a scientist, engineer, and practical man of industry, he could not accept many ideas that were taught in the Christian churches of his day—such as an angry God, a dogmatically literal interpretation of the Bible, and all non-Christians going to hell.

His response to traditional Christian theology is contained in the last book he published in his long career: True Christianity (traditionally titled True Christian Religion).

In True Christianity, Swedenborg offers a whole new take on Christian theology, based solidly on the Bible. He reinterprets the nature of God, the Trinity, Jesus Christ, and Redemption. He then goes on to give new light on a whole spectrum of traditional Christian beliefs.

True Christianity
By Emanuel Swedenborg

True Christianity was originally published in Amsterdam in 1771. I recommend the New Century Edition linked here for the most readable and accurate modern translation.

To purchase True Christianity, Volume 1 on Amazon, click the cover image, or any of the title links above. To purchase True Christianity, Volume 2 on Amazon, click on this link.

To purchase direct from the publisher in various formats, or to download a free PDF or epub version (without the scholarly introduction and notes), click this link for volume 1, this link for volume 2, or any of the title links below.

Review from the Publisher’s Website:

In the fourteen chapters of his two-volume True Christianity, Swedenborg presents his theological views against the backdrop of, and in contrast to, key concepts in Protestant Christianity, such as the nature of God and of the Trinity; how and why Jesus redeemed the human race; the nature of the Bible; the multilayered meanings of the Ten Commandments; how faith and good works contribute to salvation; the true nature and purpose of baptism and Holy Supper (Communion); and the Last Judgment, the Second Coming, and the descent of the New Jerusalem. It includes Swedenborg’s most extended and practice-oriented discussion of how to undertake effective repentance from sin. The tone of the work is often blunt and confrontational and, when it resorts to reducing opposing arguments to absurdity, devastatingly biting and witty. It is recommended for those with a particular interest in exploring Swedenborg’s theological views and seeing the biblical support he offers for them. It also includes extensive accounts of Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences.

Volume 1 provides unique answers to humankind’s perennial questions about the nature of God and about Jesus—not only what his purpose was and how he fulfilled it, but why his life and death are still relevant to us now.

Volume 2 covers topics such as freedom of choice, repentance, the transformation of a person’s inner being during spiritual awakening, the rites of baptism and the Holy Supper (Communion), and the Second Coming of the Lord.

The New Century Edition is a modern translation that incorporates the latest scholarship about Swedenborg and his times.

Table of Contents

Volume 1

Translator’s Preface, by Jonathan S. Rose
Works Cited in the Translator’s Preface
Selected List of Editions of True Christianity

On True Christianity: An Introduction to Swedenborg’s Most Comprehensive and Systematic Theological Writing from the Standpoint of the Religion of His Contemporaries, by R. Guy Erwin

Works Cited in the Introduction
Short Titles and Other Conventions Used in This Work

[Main text of] Volume 1

The Faith of the New Heaven and the New Church

Chapter 1: God the Creator
The Oneness of God
The Underlying Divine Reality or Jehovah
The Infinity of God: His Immensity and Eternity
The Essence of God: Divine Love and Wisdom

God’s Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence
The Creation of the Universe

Chapter 2: The Lord the Redeemer

Chapter 3: The Holy Spirit and the Divine Action
The Divine Trinity

Chapter 4: Sacred Scripture, the Word of the Lord

Chapter 5: The Catechism, or Ten Commandments, Explained in Both Its Outer and Its Inner Meanings

Chapter 6: Faith

Chapter 7: Goodwill (or Loving Our Neighbor) and Good Actions


Works Cited in the Notes
Biographical Note

Volume 2

Translator’s Preface, by Jonathan S. Rose
Works Cited in the Translator’s Preface
Short Titles and Other Conventions Used in This Work

[Main text of] Volume 2

Chapter 8: Free Choice

Chapter 9: Repentance

Chapter 10: Reformation and Regeneration

Chapter 11: The Assignment of Spiritual Credit or Blame

Chapter 12: Baptism

Chapter 13: The Holy Supper

Chapter 14: The Close of the Age; the Coming of the Lord; and the New Heaven and the New Church

[Author’s Additional Material]
[Author’s] Table of Contents
[Author’s] Index of the Accounts of Memorable Occurrences

Notes and Indexes

Works Cited in the Notes
Index to Prefaces, Introduction, and Notes
Index to Scriptural Passages in True Christianity
Table of Parallel Passages
Index to True Christianity
Biographical Note

Translated by Jonathan Rose and published
by the Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Volume 1: 2006 | Volume 2: 2012


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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4 comments on “True Christianity, by Emanuel Swedenborg
  1. Andrew Mclain says:

    all the way with Swedenborg good reading!!!

  2. Christopher Holm says:

    Thanks, Lee! I have vol. 1 in the print edition – good to remember that I can read vol. 2 as a free pdf.

    • Lee says:

      Yes, I’m glad the Swedenborg Foundation is making the text freely available in PDF and EPUB versions. The free formats include only the translation, not the introductions, notes, and so on. But it’s still good reading made widely available.

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