Amish Beliefs, Part 1
For the month of April we’re going to talk about what, exactly, the Amish believe. DISCLAIMER: What I share is true for the Amish I have personally met, but of course beliefs vary somewhat from district to district. Please keep this in mind. If you’ve experienced something different, we would love to hear from you in the comment section (next to the title).
So what do the Amish believe? That’s a pretty broad question. This week let’s discuss what they believe about the Bible.
They believe in the trinity–the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
They believe in the atoning blood of Christ
They believe in the baptism of believers (adults)
They believe in the holiness of the Scripture
They believe in the gathering of believers
They believe that God equips those he calls
So how does their faith differ from mainstream Christian faith? I would say primarily it differs in practice rather than in theology. For example, Amish communities do believe that God equips anyone he calls to pastor a church. Church leaders are chosen by lots (a bookmark in a Bible), and they are not “schooled” in the traditional sense, though of course they receive support from bishops and preachers in neighboring districts.
They do gather for worship, but they do so every other Sunday. Also, the majority of Amish do not have a church building, choosing instead to worship in their members homes. However, some Amish do have church buildings, so this varies by district.
The Bible they use is in German, and their church services are in German. Many Amish own Bibles that have parallel text–one side German, one side Englisch.
Although the Amish believe in sharing the gospel of Christ by how they live, they are not evangelical in the sense of trying to convert others to the Amish faith. They feel their life should point toward Christ and that words (in most cases) should not be necessary. You can read more about this here.
Probably the biggest difference I know of between the Amish faith and mainstream Christianity is in regard to whether one can be sure of their salvation. The Amish do believe in the atoning blood of Christ, but they also believe it arrogant to assume your salvation – which perhaps explains why they work so diligently to keep their self separate and why confession plays an important part of their belief system. You can read more about this here.
I hope this has been helpful. Again, I’m not an expert. I’m only sharing what I’ve learned in my research and through visiting various communities. If you have a different experience or questions, please do leave a comment.
p.s. – Next week we will discussion Amish beliefs about each person’s role in the family.