Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites–A Shared History
Today we’re going to talk about the history of the Amish. Some of you know these things already, and I imagine that some of you know more on the subject than I do. Sometimes living in an area where the Amish reside helps you understand a community very well. Feel free to add your perspective to the comments section.
The Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites are groups that formed out of the Anabaptist movement. You can read in detail about this on the Menno-Hoff site, which is an excellent hands-on museum. The Anabaptists were persecuted for their beliefs, which differed from that of Catholics and Protestants. This was in the 1500s. One of the main differences was the Anabaptists believed in adult baptism versus infant baptism. Also they called for a separation of church and state.
The Anabaptists came to America in the 1600s. There was a break among them in 1693, mainly over the practice of shunning, and the Amish and Mennonite divisions were the result. You can see a helpful timeline of these events here. The Hutterites are another group that have a basis in the Anabaptist faith and share many Amish beliefs; however, Hutterites live in closed communities, sharing all their possessions. You can read more about them here.
As to whether the Amish are “saved,” I think this article addresses that topic very well. Basically, as with any religion, that is going to depend on the individual rather than the group of believers. But yes – the Amish use the same Bible you and I do, though often their Bible is in German, or a parallel German/Englisch text.
The Amish are one of the fastest growing religious groups in the U.S. Their population now totals a quarter of a million, and they are expected to pass a million by 2050. They have been in the news regularly in the last few years, perhaps because there is such a strong distinction between our technological society and their plain one. Their communities have also become major tourist destinations as we seek to find places to slow down and appreciate the simple life. You can see a map by clicking here which shows the number of Amish communities by state.
Questions? Feel free to post them in the COMMENTS section. I can’t claim to know all the answers, but someone might.
ps – next week we’ll talk about Amish and their children, including the role of formal education in their community.
Curious about the Amish? We're talking Amish history at http://t.co/YCX2thCwqR
— Vannetta Chapman (@VannettaChapman) January 31, 2014