Many folks who enjoy NewChurch LIVE ask what they could read. Not everyone is a reader, but if you are, these are my recommendations on where to start.
I recommend starting with the New King James Version of the Bible. My favorite book in the Bible is the Gospel of John. It is often called the Gospel of Love with good reason. The New Church really are Gospel of John Christians with a twist in taking as truth Jesus’ words in that Gospel, “I and the Father are one.” No angry God, angry Father sacrificing His Son for our sins but a loving God come to earth in the form of Jesus Christ to save us by showing us how to live.
If you like history, go with a study bible that adds notes to flesh out the reading.
New Church Theology
I would recommend the New Century Edition of “True Christianity” by Emanuel Swedenborg. Volume I is currently available in the NCE. Volume II will be out shortly.
Notes About Canon
Religious Canon is a different kind of literature. It is not written with the consistently of a linear, narrative story being its primary concern. The primary concern is connecting God and man, to give us ideas by which we can live our lives. Therefore much of revelation is more closely attuned with poetry than prose. (Think, who can better describe the beauty and wonder of a sunset – a poem or a scientific article. I vote for the poem.)
Also, do not expect “perfection.” Theology is not about a perfect “answer” to every question in the world. It is not a mathematical equation. It more closely aligns with a compass than a map. Therefore don’t be thrown off by dated language or statements obviously well ensconced in a certain historical time period. Look for the deep ideas – the themes – underneath. Those “compass points” are where the transformation lies.
Finally, New Church Theology was drawn out of revelation based on the Bible and circles back to the Bible. New Church Theology is about “True Christianity” – a return to the roots of what Christianity truly means. Though we call ourselves the “New Church” the reality is that we are rather old and believe that in returning to those roots, we create something new.