Are Amish a Lutheran sect? Why do they live with no modern equipment?
No the Amish are not a Lutheran sect. They are Anabaptists, closer kin to Mennonites.
They seek to live “not of the world”. Jacob Amman in the 18th century called his community away from what he considered a “worldy” Brethren trend. He was for strict church disipline and “shunning” for trespassers until they repented of breaking the “order” they lived under.
There are various groups of Amish, some allowed to use tractors…some allowed to have refrigerators…some even allowed to use electricity…others very strict and no modern convieniences. They seek to live a “plain” life…and man modern convieniences pull people away from family and God.
The Amish split from the Mennonite movement as a sort of fundamentalist reformation to perceived laxness among Mennonites. Mennonites themselves were a reaction to both Catholicism and Lutheranism. Mennonites saw Lutherans as having made good progress in shaking off certain Catholic practices, but believed that they were still unacceptably corrupt, such as in the way they cooperated with secular governments. Mennonites (and Amish) believe strongly in the separation of Church and State and many will not vote or hold public office.
There are several “sects” of Amish that disagree on exactly what kinds of technology or other things should be restricted, but they more or less agree that there are certain “worldly” things that should not be used, and they all emphasize living a simple life, unencumbered by things like video games and anonymous Internet forums.
Amish are found in many areas of the eastern US, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
My wife and I have also seen Amish or Mennonites in Missouri where there are special lanes along some highways for them and their horse-drawn vehicles. The ones we saw had the orange triangle “slow-moving vehicle” sign and flashing orange warning lights attached to the back of their carriages. Might possibly be a state law I’m not sure(?)
“slow-moving vehicle” sign and flashing orange warning lights attached to the back of their carriages. Might possibly be a state law I’m not sure(?)
Most states require the orange triangle. The lights I have not seen here, but they are almost never out and about after dark. There have been tragic auto accidents-- whole families killed when crazy “English” drivers do stupid stuff.
They are definitely not Lutheran.
I would call them an early form of the Restorationist movement, tossing tradition and developing their own traditions based on the Bible alone. Except for genetic problems, because very few convert to their demanding traditions, they have done a reasonably good job of it. They were also part of the early Baptist movements, believing in adult baptism, and strongly rejecting infant baptism. The first anabaptists were “twice baptized,” which is what anabaptist means.
Well, since the Amish don’t beleive in computers, I wouldn’t look for one to register and tell us.
Excellent link to explain the Nonconformists who fled to North America.
As part of a diversity class I was required to take, I wrote a paper on Mennonites. As a Catholic who abhors misinformation regarding my Faith, I asked Mennonites who ran the informational website to check my paper for accuracy. I was also able to talk to Mennonites, who dressed as simply as the Amish, at the local Farmers’ Market.
Mennonites and the Amish are Anabaptists. Anaptism is “re-Baptism.” They reject infant Baptism and deny its efficacy. They divide Baptism into 3 types, much as Catholics do with different emphasis on what they each means. For them water Baptism is an outward sign, a public statement, of the inner change that has already taken place within their hearts, the Baptism of Desire. They can recieve Baptism at the age of discretion, as Catholics receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Baptism of Blood is more than dying for one’s Faith. It is a dying to self that lasts a long time.
During the early years of the Anabaptists, they were persecuted by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. They clung to and recited the Apostles Creed as a statement of belief.
The Amish adhere to a more stringent lifestyle and living out of their faith than do some of the other Anabaptists. Women are called to wear a headcovering when praying. And since St. Paul calls us to “pray without ceasing,” they wear the headcovering at all times. As Christians we are called to “be in the world, but not of the world.” We are a “holy people, a people set apart.” In response, we see the Amish living a simple lifestyle that rejects the trappings of modern life.
Anabaptists, such as the Amish, also reject serving in the military, or engaging in war.
Also, religion doesn’t reject technology per se, they just believe in as much isolation and indepence away from mainstream society as possible.
Thank you all for your informative replies.
I find this thread very interesting as I’m in a sort of situation right now with a close friend who is Amish. His son has recently left the family and community and moved in with a Baptist Mission that takes in Amish 24/7 and pushes the Baptist idea of salvation. They become completely dependent on the Mission. As we were sitting in my basement talking we were reading from my catholic apologetics booklets. He was amazed at how similar our belief of salvation is and wrote down many of the scriptures quoted. He is also stated that they do not believe in sola scriptura. But hold strong beliefs in tradition but not apostolic succession. In a way, he is using selected catholic teachings from our apologetics books to defend his faith. Pretty neat. He has lots of questions on how he can counter this missions statements to his son by using our apologetic readings. I told him I would help. I figured some people on here may take special interest in this. Let me know!
When I lived in WI, there were many Amish nearby. I once read of a Catholic concerned about inviting an Amish family to her home. It was the Amish mother who related the religious statues to family photos and the remembrance of family members.
I think good things to focus on are a call to simplicity of life and forgiveness.
I do like the Mennonite reference of the Baptism of Blood to the dying of self, not merely physical martyrdom. As St. John the Baptist said, "I must decrease that He might increase."
Off topic. I received an Amish friendship cake once. I don’t know how long this cake had been circulating. A friend who received a portion from me related how her portion exploded, scaring her cat.
I bought a Queen Anne sideboard at auction. The final person I bid against was an Amish man who congradulated me on my good purchase.
Given how screwed up the world is, seems to me the Amish have part of things right.
Rejecting war and the millitary seems like the right idea… BUT there comes a time such as in WWII when nutcases like Hitler had to be dealt with… pacifism is great until some really evil folks try to take over… then it goes to ‘evil triumphs when the good choose to do nothing.’
Thank God, enough folks did choose to do something back then. IF another nutcase tried to take over, would there be enough brave souls to try to stop it again ???
There didn’t seem to be November 6, 2012 (Election Day):shrug:
The Amish and Mennonites I have been around are some beautiful Christians. There is different degrees of their sects. Amish, believe in being totally, self sufficient, and not depend on any government.They do use technology, only in selling goods to people outside, the Amish community. They are very strict in the bible alone. Some communities will not use rubber even on tractors, because that makes them dependent, on some thing, that is not environment friendly. I have been to Mennonite Churches.The are not a strict as Amish.They are beautiful Christian that believe in close community. Have have very good friends that are Mennonites, we talk a lot about religion.I have also been a loud in the Amish market place,when they auction of their produce.All are fascinating people once you get to talk to them.They believe in keeping their faith pure from outside influence.God Bless
This is going to be a bit long.
One important thing to note is that there the terms “Amish” and “Mennonite” refer to several different formal denominations that do not always agree on every point of practice. One rule of thumb (for which there are probably a few exceptions) is that Mennonites are “more liberal” than Amish.
One traditional distinction is that Amish are quicker to excommunicate (through formal church process- there are no latae sententiate excommunications) members who do not conform than Mennonites are. Amish rules are also going to be stricter and/or more specific and so there are more “offenses” that could lead to excommunication in the first place if not repented. Sins like murder, theft, or adultery can similarly result in excommunication if the person is not sufficiently repentant. Also, many Amish churches require that excommunicated people be shunned (e.g. your son got kicked out of the church so now you have to cut off most contact with him), while Mennonites may be more willing to have continued relationships with excommunicated people.
Disagreements on excommunication or shunning is what broke Amish and Mennonites apart to begin with.
One important thing to know about excommunication is that it is reserved for unrepentant members whose sins have become public knowledge and a scandal. It does not matter how grievous someone’s sin is - the church must formally confront an erring member first to formally accuse them and offer repentance. If the person repents and the leadership is convinced of the person’s true repentance, excommunication is not allowed. So, even if you murdered 50 people and stole 10 million dollars, the church must still formally accuse you and allow you to choose your destiny - repent and stay in the church or not repent and be excommunicated.
If you are excommunicated, you can come back as a full member if you repent.
Many Mennonite churches require modest, gender distinctive dress but do not prescribe a specific style or pattern per se, while Amish churches may prescribe certain colors (e.g. only blue, black, and white, solid color only, no prints) or other details. An Amish lady might be in danger of being “counseled” if she showed up wearing a dress with a print pattern and no pinafore and threatened with excommunication if she didn’t repent soon, but a Mennonite church is likely to either not care or to give her more leeway even though she is not in technical compliance with the letter of policy. Some Mennonite churches permit women to wear trousers.
Mennonites generally allow more technology than Amish. My own Mennonite tradition does not ban any specific item of technology per se but would discourage misuse of it (e.g. having a computer and an internet connection is ok, but intentionally surfing for porn is not ok).
One important thing that unites Amish and Mennonites is their belief in church membership for believers only. Children growing up in Amish and Mennonite families aren’t true Amish or Mennonites until and unless they personally join the church by their own positive act. Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) is from a Mennonite family background but he never joined a Mennonite church and thus is not Mennonite.
Thank you all for your informative and interesting answers. :thumbsup:
How do the Amish/Mennonite children join the church? What is the ‘positive act’?
Is it that they choose when they turn 18 through Baptism or a public declaration?
I prefer to read books on other religions or our separated brethren, do you have any authoritative recommendations that I could purchase?