Leaving Amish Paradise

This looks like an interesting documentary by the BBC; I’ll have to see about finding it.

After watching this video, try to put yourself in the shoes of an ex-Amish–all your life practically everything was decided for you. Now, suddenly, you’re on your own. How do you make decisions? What do you choose? How do you know what’s right or wrong?

As we minister to the Amish around us, we need to be ready to give biblical answers and direction!

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Author: Dan Greenfield

I am an undeserving sinner saved by God's grace through Jesus Christ, a happy husband, proud father of 6 great kids, pastor of Orwell Bible Church, Executive Secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, and member of the Ohio Bible Fellowship .

8 thoughts on “Leaving Amish Paradise”

  1. My wife, Carol, and I attended, fellowshiped, and served at Maple View Mennonite Church in Burton. One morning as we taught Sunday School to 8-10 year olds, two Amish children joined our class. The next week they came back as English. Their parents had been witnessed to by Ervin & Emma Miller, who were members of our church and themselves es-Amish. They got saved, were baptised, joined the church, and served faithfully. We watched them adapt, with difficulty, to our way of living. The shunning was very difficult on them, and Albert & Cindy Miller and their family had to eventually move to Tennessee in order to find work. But God has given them eternal life, changed their lives, and for that they will be forever grateful!

  2. “As we minister to the Amish around us, we need to be ready to give biblical answers and direction!”

    And perhaps Protestants might like to take biblical answers and direction from the Anabaptists on issues such as non-resistance and non-conformity with the world?

    1. Hey Lucy,

      Contrary to your blog post that you linked me to, my knowledge of the Amish is not limited to the productions of Andrew Tait. In fact, to my knowledge I haven’t watched any production of his other than the above-mentioned 3 1/2 minute video clip.

      As I write primarily for the church family I pastor, I would appreciate it if you could understand the above quote as an encouragement for our folks. It was not expressed in a condemnatory tone or intent. I fear you’ve taken it that way and read into that a bit. My apologies if I was not clear enough in that regard.

      I could similarly accuse you of jumping to conclusions concerning the content and intent of my post here. By linking to the video and including my comment on your blog with those who view the Amish as a cult, you throw me into the same group. That just isn’t right, Lucy.

      Your admonition comes across in a rather prideful tone (perhaps sarcastic/sardonic also?) which is neither Christian nor Anabaptist. I don’t mean to set up Anabaptism as non-Christian; nothing could be further from the truth. I refer to it as a subset or stratum of Christianity, and Anabaptists have historically emphasized humility and as you have pointed out non-resistance. Humility must be practiced in all aspects of life, including the blogosphere.

      I have spent a great deal of time studying and learning about my Amish neighbors. I hope and pray that love them with the same love that Christ had for me. I do believe that there are genuinely born again Amish, but I do not believe it is because of their church Ordnung; it is rather in spite of such.

      The only hope of salvation is found in the God-man Jesus Christ–His perfect life, substitutionary atonement on the cross for our sin, victory over sin’s power and death through the resurrection, and promise of His imminent return. Such salvation is received not in response to one’s efforts or works, but through repentance of such dead works and genuine faith (belief, reliance) in Christ alone for salvation (Heb 6:1).

      Genuine salvation must be “worked out” with fear and trembling, but not by relying on personal effort but on the Holy Spirit’s enablement (Phil 2:12-13). Genuine salvation is evidenced by a commitment to personal holiness–in your words, non-conformity to the world (Rom 12:1-2; Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 1:14-16). Those whom God has graciously saved through Christ also desire to tell others of salvation (Acts 1:8) and must pray and be prepared for such opportunities (Col 4:2-4; 1 Pet 3:15).

      That latter aspect (being prepared for such opportunities) was the design of this post, and I again genuinely apologize and ask your forgiveness if you have mistaken my intent. I would ask in like manner that you reconsider your understanding of what I have said and done herein.

      Yours in Christ’s love,
      Dan

  3. Dear Dan,

    I found your comment about needing to minister to, direct and give biblical answers to the Amish to be a hurtful assumption.The Amish are not so lost that they need to be ministered to, directed and given biblical answers.Your comment displayed a clear intent to target the “lost” Amish and deliever them to God via Protestantism. While I acknowladge you meant no harm, your comment still stung because it carries the implication that Anabaptists are in need of Protestant direction.Anabaptists do not try to convert Protestants or try to minister to them so I do not understand why the Protestants can’t return the favour.

    I accept that you do not believe the Amish to be a cult but it’s clear from your reply that you feel that they are hindered by the Ordnung with the idea that it is “relying on personal effort” to get to heaven rather than on God’s grace- and that is exactly what I blogged about.It isn’t fair to assume that the Amish have a works based concept as regards salvation or to assume that some Amish are genuine Christians despite the Ordnung.The Ordnung is based on biblical teachings and commandments.To Anabaptists having rules that keep us from disobeying God’s commandments is like cycling with a helmet on; it may be at times cumbersome but keeps us from spirtual injuries which could lead to straying from scripture.The majority of Amish (and other Anabaptist groups) do not see the Ordnung as the way to heaven.Anabaptists do understand and believe in the concept of salvation by grace.

    I was neither prideful nor sarcastic to you but I apologize that I came across that way.I am dyslexic and so I am sometimes told I come across as blunt in my writing.I hadn’t meant to hurt you.I simply asked you how you would feel in my shoes.Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if an Anabaptist pastor blogged about ministering to the Protestants around us with direction and biblical answers?We don’t see the need to minister to the Protestants about the biblical teachings Protestants have forgotten or to convert non-Christians.Anabaptists do not feel the need to preach salvation to others, instead we let the light of God shine through and when people approach with questions about our faith and our contentment we will then mention Jesus, the need for repentance and for accepting Jesus into our lives.We do not shove our beliefs at others because it is prideful and because is a behaviour that will only turn seekers disinterested.The more liberal Beachys and Conservative Mennonites will occasional sing hymns in cities and hand out CDs on the gospel but that is the most evangelising they do and it is not something I would do.Walk a mile in my shoes brother to see how it is.I’ve walked many miles in Protestants’ shoes- attended several Protestant churches and spent 6 years at a Protestant school so can’t you walk in my shoes a little?

    Another thing which you would not have know is that religion is a big issue in my country.People have killed and been killed for it.Someone was blown up by a bomb just last weekend for his religion, he was just 25 and his murder was by fellow Catholics who had been angered by the decision to work in a “Protestant” job.The idea that one group of Christianity is inferior and in need of “ministering” makes evangalism all the more repugent for me because I’ve seen the dirty side of that.

    Dan, I want you to know that I mean you no harm.It is not my intention to hurt you, you are a fellow being also made by and loved by God.

    with love,
    Lucy

    1. No hurt taken, sister!

      It’s obvious that we have different beliefs and views of things; that’s to be expected, given the effects of sin on our minds, hearts, and wills. 🙂

      So, if an Amish person calls me, says he’s left the church, doesn’t know what to do or where to go, what should I tell him then? (This isn’t hypothetical either!) Should I try my best to help them biblically? That’s what I mean by “minister.” Or should I do something else?

      1. Wow! That was a fast reply!!

        I am glad that you are not hurt Dan because you are a fellow human being and it upsets me to think of you being hurt by me.I am sorry to have so mistaken you.Your comment is deleted from my blog.Please accept my apologies.

        If an Amish person leaves the church and gets in contact he/she obviously trusts you and regards you highly.If I were you and that happened, I would pray first, invite that person over to hear their problem, pray with them for God’s help, see if they have somewhere to stay and a job- and if they are interested in finding a Protestant church, point them towards a sound church and introduce them to solid believers.I think any Anabaptist who would approach a Protestant pastor for help would be considering Protestantism- if not, he/she may be more interested in a Mennonite church as Mennonites tend to be more relaxed than the Amish but are the spirtual brothers of the Amish.If an Anabaptist wants to visit a Protestant church it may be of benefit to explain the service to that person to save on confusion.I had some confusion in the past on visiting an Anglican church (sat in someone’s personal pew, didn’t know the creed, didn’t know when to stand, found the men in the gowns a very amusing sight, kept picking up the wrong book for hymns & prayers and was deeply confused when a man stuck a brass plate with a crimson cushion under my nose & then scrowled at me).

        No matter what faith someone in need is, it is good to help them.I applaud you for that.

        Take care!

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