Friday, February 7, 2014
Martin Luther Writes on Swedenborg and Why His Mission was a Failure
Received by James Padgett
I am here. Luther.
I merely desire to say that as you read the pamphlet I read with you, and the description and explanation therein contained - as to who God is - are entirely erroneous and blasphemous. Jesus never claimed or taught, while on earth, that he was God, and this I say because he has so instructed us, and he never since becoming a spirit has made any such claim, and the teachings of the New Church in this particular are all wrong and tend to lead men away from the true conception of who God and Jesus both are.
Swedenborg has often conversed with me about his teachings and declared that his explanations as to God are not in accord with the knowledge that he now has, and that the teachings as contained in his books upon this subject were the results very largely of his own speculations, and the results of his endeavors in trying to reconcile what he thought was an absurd conception of the nature and being of God with the true interpretation of the Bible.
He could not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, as explained and accepted and taught by the Church and, hence, being a believer in the inspiration of the Bible and its infallibility of religious truths, he sought some exegesis (critical explanation or analysis) that might be consistent with the Bible, and at the same time in consonance with his ideas of reason and common sense. But, as he now says, he added mysticism to mysticism and irrational explanations to irrational explanations, and the result was that his teachings were more absurd and more difficult to understand than were the teachings of his church.
The doctrine of the Trinity, as you have been told, is not true and never had any authority in the teachings of Jesus or those of the Apostles and Bible writers, and was merely the deduction of some of the old fathers of the church arising from their speculations and desire to make of Jesus a God, though a lesser God than the Father, and at the same time one with the Father and a part of the Godhead that must be considered as being only one God, and as taught by the Old Testament writers and prophets that there is only one God.
This doctrine, of course, was absurd and, hence, was one of the mysteries of God, but nevertheless was taught as a truth and incumbent upon man to believe whether they could understand it or not which, of course, they could not. But the doctrine was not accepted by all the writers of the early days, for as you know, there were bitter controversies among these expounders of what they supposed to be the scriptures upon the question as to who Jesus was, and his relation to God. But as the years went by the doctrine of the Trinity became firmly established as a canon of belief in the church, and in my time on earth, it was believed and not questioned by the church; and I believed it also, although I could not understand it.
Now, Swedenborg was a member of the church that bore my name and which I was credited with having founded and believed in its doctrines, even as to the Trinity, and the actual transformation of the wine and bread into the blood and body of Jesus, and he continued in this belief up to the time of his wonderful visions of the spirit world and his experience in meeting the spirits and angels of that world, including Jesus, whom he in his writings claimed to be God, and with whom he had many conversations and from whom he learned the spiritual truths that he declared to the world.
As you have been told in the working out of the plans of the Celestial Angels under the leadership of Jesus, Swedenborg was selected as the instrumentality through whom the spiritual truths should be revealed to mankind, and in carrying out that plan, power was given to him to come in his spirit perceptions or his inner sight, as he calls it, into the spirit world and there see the conditions of spirits and angels, and also of their environments, and learn the higher truths from conversations with spirits and angels. And he did come in the manner indicated and communed as he has claimed, except that he never talked with God, but only with Jesus, who he misconceived to be God; and this cannot be wondered at, for Jesus was a spirit, so transcendent in glory and love and wisdom, that it was almost natural, as I may say, that the mortal in his new and unusual experience should conceive this glorious Jesus to be God himself. But it was not God, only Jesus, that this seer saw and listened to.
Having a conception of this kind, you can readily see that when he came into his mortal self again, and many times this occurred, he firmly believed that Jesus, who had form and individuality in the spirit world similar to what he had when on earth, was actually God, and it therefore became easy for Swedenborg to reject the doctrine of the Trinity, (and in its place proclaim) Jesus is God, manifested in the flesh, and God is Jesus, the Divine Man.
Of course, you must understand, that in the exercise of this seership, he experienced the doubts and fears, that at times what he saw and heard might not be things of actuality, and that possibly his imagination, or as in these latter days, what is called the subconscious mind, was deceiving him, and being a man of extraordinary mentality and strong convictions, as well as established faith in the doctrines of the church to which he belonged, many of his interpretations of what he saw and heard, and his teachings therefrom, were limited and flavored by his existing mental condition and faith.
He has told me that for many years before his experience as seer, he had to a more or less extent doubted the truth of the Trinity and accepted it only as a mystery, and because the church declared it to be a truth, and that after his experiences as such seer, believing in the statements of the Bible as the infallible words of God, and also believing that he had seen God in the person of Jesus, he sought an explanation of these Bible statements and a reconciliation of them with his belief that Jesus was God, and the result was his declared doctrine that Jesus is God.
And so in many other of his teachings, based upon his experience in the spirit world, he embraced many errors and misconceptions of the truths, and to such an extent that, as you have been told, his mission, in its results, was a failure, and the truths that he had been selected to learn and declare to the world were never made known to mankind. This failure was disappointing to the spirits who conceived this plan and in whom were lodged the spiritual truths of God, and who were acting as God's instruments in their endeavor to make them known to humanity.
But it will be more satisfactory to you, and convincing to whomsoever may read the truths that you are receiving from these same high spirits that selected him, as their messenger, to have Swedenborg come himself and explain the workings of his mission, and the causes and particulars of his failure in doing the great work that had been assigned him to do.
He says that he has one consolation that many who have founded churches and attempted to declare spiritual truths upon which doctrines and creeds have been promulgated and believed in, and that is that his followers are so comparatively few in numbers and, consequently, so many less mortals are being deceived by his teachings. And I can appreciate the consolation that he may have in this fact, for my teachings and beliefs that are false as his are false, are believed in and followed by a very large number of mortals, to their injury.
Well, I am glad for the opportunity to write you tonight, and I am still waiting for the chance to finish my message to my people on the errors of continuing in my teachings, and the necessity for them to become undeceived and learn the truths that are now being declared to mankind. I will not write further. So good night.
Your brother in Christ,