Last week in my Comparative Religions class at ABC, John Miller came in to give a special presentation about the Amish and Mennonites. Mr. Miller grew up in an Amish community until he was called into God’s truth in his late twenties, and he is now a minister of the North Canton and Youngstown Ohio congregations.
As he shared with us his fond memories, past experiences and knowledge of the Amish and Mennonites’, he explained to us that their way of living came from a progression or religion, lifestyle and tradition.
The Mennonite and Amish began as a religious movement of the Anabaptist's in 1525. In opposition to the Catholic Church’s teaching of baptizing infants, the Anabaptist group believed that those who were baptized and coming to faith must be baptized strictly upon adult confession of faith. The word Anabaptist in Latin simply means to “re-baptize”.
Although they were persecuted, this religious movement carried on past reform and the Mennonites and Amish groups formed. Their search to live life according God’s word brought about a non-violent, simple and modest lifestyle that is coupled with a strong emphasis on the importance of family and community.
As years have gone by, this lifestyle has also lead to many of their traditions such as wearing simple clothing with no buttons, belts or zippers as a symbol of their distinction from the world. These different traditions are also outlined as rules that vary in each community’s “Ordnung”, which is German for “order”. Another example of this is the order that men who are married must have beards with a shaved off mustache.
Many of the traditions we follow in our lives are biblical, but many are not rooted in Scripture. We should evaluate how we live our lives in light of the Bible and only keep those traditions that do not violate Scripture.
As Christians, do we have a proper balance of tradition, lifestyle and religion with God defining them all? We have to beware that we do not let traditions take precedence over true doctrine—just as we cannot lose our passion for truth and turn our practices into just a simple lifestyle. We must always appreciate and remain committed to God’s word and hold fast to our example, Jesus Christ.
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