People Wonder about our Church Logo:

August 15, 2018

Why do we feature a white horse and two interlocking letters, rather than the traditional symbol of the cross?  There are several reasons.  First, the horse is a Biblical symbol for the power of understanding, and the white horse described in the Book of Revelation represents the power of a pure, true understanding.  This is distinguished from the red, the black and the pale horse of Revelation 6, each of which represents a kind of false or destructive understanding.  When Christ appears on the white horse in Revelation 19 He is described as “faithful and true,” and is shown as a conquering hero leading the armies of heaven in battle against all that is false in spiritual life.

As for the letters, they are the “Alpha” and “Omega,” the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, taken from Revelation 22:13 where our Lord describes Himself as “the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”  So our focus really is on the Lord Himself, living and present in all aspects of our lives.

The cross, on the other hand, is a symbol of death.  Yes, of course it represents the sacrifice that Christ made for us, but in the New Church we understand that sacrifice quite differently from other churches, and so we have chosen a different symbol to avoid any confusion about our beliefs.

For most Christians the cross represents a sacrificial atonement for the sins of the whole human race, a punishment accepted by Jesus on our behalf so that if we simply believe that He died for our sins we are saved.

Our view is different.  We certainly see that He bore the burden of people’s sins, in that He was not only rejected but actually tortured to death for teaching the truth.  But the point of the crucifixion was not to atone for human sin, it was to demonstrate through the resurrection two days later that He had the power to overcome all the evil and falsity of this world and rise above it and continue in love and wisdom to inspire His disciples – which He did and still does today.

So in adopting the white horse as our symbol we are calling attention to the Lord as a living, powerful force in our lives, providing us with the understanding of His Word that enables us to co-operate with Him.  This co-operation is what brings salvation, in the same way that co-operation with a doctor’s advice can bring good health.  Salvation, after all, is a word that means (spiritual) health and well-being.

We do still use the cross in certain rituals, as for example baptism, not to signify the concept of vicarious sacrifice but the idea that when we commit to the Lord we are accepting the fact that temptations will follow, and that just as He overcame even the torment of the crucifixion He can help us overcome the things that trouble us, especially about our faith.

For a simple summary of our teachings on salvation please refer to the “beliefs” section of this website, and check out the comparison chart [[hot links]] in particular.  And may the Lord bless you, too, with a good understanding of His Word.

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