Amish Wannabe?

My buddy, Lester, was an Amish preacher when he left that life.

He shared "what I could remember" his list of what he was taught to "be a good Amish person."

What a rare treat to look deep inside the Amish membership requirements. This list isn't exhaustive but, here in Lester's own words:

In order to be an accepted member of the Amish Church - which to me means just a bit more than it does to be a member of the Amish community, although it is in large part the same thing - you must agree to and follow their standard practices and teachings. There are many things standard across all communities. One of these is the adoption of the 18 Articles of the Dordrecht Confession of Faith plus a few more,

1. You accept and agree to the Dordrecht Confession of Faith at your baptism even if you can't read it, don't understand it, and the preachers can't explain it to you. It's written in High German.

2. You never challenge the bishop or ministry in how they are leading the Church; accept them unquestioningly as holy men of God, and their leading and wisdom.

3. Believe and trust in God.

4. Believe in the need to be different from the world in dress and transportation, work, and generally the way you live.

5. Live by the standard and rules of the church district in which you reside.

6. Hope that by keeping the rules and living the Amish way of life, God may find it acceptable to let you into Heaven.

7. Believe in the atoning blood of Jesus only in context of the Church; Jesus died for the 'Church' therefore you follow and obey the 'Church' to receive atoning.

8. You can only hope about your salvation; you can never know for sure you are saved. (Lester's words)

9. Teach your children to be Amish and obedient to the Church.

10. You will not marry a person unless he/she is a member in good standing of the Amish Church.

11. Shun those who leave the fold of the Church, rejected the truth of the Amish Church, and are now out in the world, even if it appears they might be Christians. They are not Amish, the way they were taught, you will shun them.

Thank you Lester for sharing Amish membership requirements during Baptism.

Another "new English" man added that although Amish say they believe in Jesus; they enforce Church rules as the way of truth, shunning anyone who violates their rules. He explained that violating a Biblical command is less concerning than violating Amish rules.

I occasionally hear people wanting to emulate the Amish but, I couldn't agree to these requirements, especially if they're written in German. 

As an educator, I take issue with the first requirement. I could never agree to something without having it explained so I'm able to make an educated decision. As a theology student, I disagree with number six as it puts the emphasis on human effort rather than God's grace. As a faith-based person, number eight gripes me as there are several Bible verses on the assurance of salvation. Those born into the Amish culture know no different.

Feel free to click in the box below your reactions to this post.

Have a question for Lester? Leave your question or comment below in the "comments" link and thanks for reading.   ~ Brenda


  1. So basically it's a cult.

  2. I have had the pleasure of becoming friends with a group of Amish near me. They are kind, thoughtful (they remember every birthday, anniversary, first day we met...) giving, and fun to be around. We truly enjoy each others company and have lots of laughs and fun while we are together. The couple of times I have asked them about their faith, they have been evasive. To me, that simply means that they are lost (not so simple, but simplistic). Due to that reason alone, I spend as much time with them as possible, pray for them as much as possible, and share my Light with them as much as possible. And the kicker: they've never slammed the door in my face. They've never disregarded what I've said.

    I would never try to 'turn them away from being Amish' but I will always share my faith with them if they ask and let the Holy Spirit guide me and lead them down this path.

  3. Thank you both for reading and leaving a comment. Blue Eyes, I respect your gentle approach. It is not our job to "save" people, that is up to God although He may see fit to use us at times to accomplish His will.
    Yes, many Amish are kind and even fun; I know some with a quit wit. I was in a Swartzentruber Order home last year where the wife made homemade pizza, offered me some and let us hold the baby (until she wet; they use cloth diapers with no plastic pants).
    You may be interested in a new book I'm reading, Permission Granted, by Margot Starbuck. She shares stories, examples, and thoughts on living out an authentic love for others. That is our job. In her book Starbuck shares a story about someone who was radically converted to Christianity without the "help" of anyone pushing or beating her over the head with a Bible.

  4. I do know that way the rules are applied depends on the bishop of each congregation. And I do know that there are very devout believers of Christ among the Amish. I also know that some are simply Amish because they were born Amish. They get baptized when their parents nudge them that it is time. (Unless they think for themselves or rebel. Then they may still join the Amish, but are more likely to also embrace Christianity.

    The Beachy Amish, or Beachy Amish Mennonite as they are called in recent years, keep many of the Old Order ways in order to reach out to the Amish to bring them to a knowledge of Christ.

  5. Yes Sharon, there are many different Orders. The "higher" ones like Beachy are more progressive in many ways. In this blog I focus on my area of experience, which is Old & Swartzentruber Orders. Little is publicly know of these two "lower" because Hollywood and fiction books focus on the Orders you mention.
    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate your input.

  6. So interesting that he left when he was a preacher. I take it he was not a bishop but one of the deacons or whatever they call those lower down the chain? Or maybe he was a bishop?

    1. Thanks for your interest Stephanie. The hierarchy is: Bishop, Deacon, Preacher.