There were a lot of questions on my youtube channel, regarding our lifestyle as Mennonites and how we are different from the Amish. So in this video, we covered a lot of those questions.. This was our first Q&A about our lifestyle and we plan to do more in the future, so make sure to subscribe to our channel if you don't want to miss them!
In this blog, I will simply do my best to summarize what we covered in the video. For more in depth answers to each question, please watch the video!
I wanted to clarify that the term 'Mennonite' is actually not really a religion, it's more of a way of life. We are Christian's that choose to live out our Christian life in a particular way, and thus we are called the Mennonites.
We believe in one true God, that created the world and mankind and that He loved us so much that he gave us a free will. We get to choose to love Him in return or reject Him.
Love can only be love when it's given voluntarily. Love is not love, if it's forced.
As the most prized of God's creation, (human beings), he gave us the free will to choose whether we're going to love Him in return, or not. Adam & Eve chose to sin and thus sin entered the world and we've been dealing with it ever since.
But God didn't give up on us! He loves us so much that he gave us the ultimate gift, which was his only Son who came down to earth, showed us how to live, and paid the ultimate price... He died for our sins so that our guilt could be removed! A perfect man died for imperfect people.. He paid the price for us! What incredible love!
We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that he defeated sin and death and ascended to heaven, and there He intercedes for us today.
We believe in the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit lives within those who follow Jesus, and helps guide them in truth.
We believe in living a life that isn't conformed to the world
We believe Jesus has called christians to live a 'nonresistant' lifestyle, and so Mennonites won't join the military but choose to serve their country in other ways.
That pretty much sums up our faith in a nutshell. Now moving on to your questions about Mennonites and our lifestyle.
The Mennonite lifestyle is just a way of life that we feel best helps us in our Christian walk. There are many, many different type of Mennonites: from very conservative ones that would drive horse & buggy to more progressive Mennonites that dress similarly to society around us.
So there is no 'one and done answer' when it comes to the Mennonites as groups really vary. Most of our core beliefs are very similar, but the way we choose to live them out varies a lot.
1. How did we come to know the Lord?
To see our testimonies, feel free to watch the video. We both came to a point in our lives where we recognized our sinfulness and wanted to commit our lives to Christ.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
2. Do Mennonites get baptized?
Yes, we do. First of all, one makes a commitment to Christ and repents of his past. That must come before baptism. Baptism does not rid a person of their sin, but is an outward symbol to others of an inward change and dedication to Christ.
Mennonites are also known as Anabaptists which literally means 'rebaptizers'. The Anabaptist movement began when a group of people were convicted that the Bible calls people to repent and then be baptized, as opposed to the infant baptism of the Catholic Church.
The Mennonites baptize on confession of faith.
3. How many church services in a week?
This varies a lot from church to church. Most churches have Wednesday evening services a few times a month, and also Sunday Evening services sprinkled throughout the month in addition to Sunday Morning Worship every week.
4. I thought Mennonites have no music in their singing.
This varies a lot from group to group. Many do only have acapella music, while others use instruments. The majority of Mennonites would still worship at services without instruments. The reason behind this is both tradition and also a way that everyone can join in and sing instead of a band doing most of the singing up front. Growing up Mennonite, this is a highlight of church services!
5. How do Mennonites in your area feel about internet and smartphone use?
There are a lot of different groups in our area. Some have no internet or smartphones, some say for business use only, and others do not have a lot of rules about it. The church we go to encourages having accountability or blockers on your phone and computer. It's an issue that I think a lot of Mennonite churches are trying to find their way with.
6. How can someone become a Mennonite?
Being a Mennonite is not for a select group of people. Anyone can join that is a born again Christian and holds to the same beliefs and doctrines of a church. We love when people join our churches as they bring a fresh perspective to our circles.
7. What are your tips for keeping your life and perspective, and focus on God in such a busy world?
I personally feel like I can't really answer this one, because I'm really struggling with this myself. It's quite the battle and I'm still finding my way. Any tips, please comment below!
8. Do we believe in eternal security?
No, we don't believe in eternal security. Neither do we believe that works will save you. Only Jesus can save. We believe that a person can fall away if they loose focus on the One that saves and that the Christian life requires diligence and continually aligning our hearts with Christ's.
9. Were you always Mennonite, or did you start off as Amish?
We were always Mennonite. Some people believe that most Mennonites used to be Amish, but that isn't the case. Amish and Mennonites have different origins, although in many ways, we are very similar. There is a lot of interaction between the two groups, and many Amish do go Mennonite.
10. How do we live out the Anabaptist Christian worldview in a biblical way? Until recently, I had no idea what the core beliefs of Anabaptist were, how you try to deny the simple part of human nature and misuse of talents in order to follow Christ, but not talents, themselves like photography, videography, music, storytelling, decor, children's play, and being guided by principles and values and not arbitrary rules?
This is a very good question and deep as well! There is such a fine balance between drawing up lines and dealing with heart issues. We as humans love to have boxes to check (so in our minds as long as we check off all the right things, we must be ok, right?)
This can be dangerous, because so often it's not the things in themselves that are wrong, but our heart's relationship to those things. Whether it be physical things, talents, or what have you... we need to always be searching our hearts and asking "What are my motives?" "Do I love this too much?" "Is this getting between me and God?"
Sadly there are groups of Mennonites that have become all about the boxes to check off rather than being in tune with the heart. It's easy to do and we must all be careful and search our hearts continually.
11. Why do women wear 'things' on their heads?
1 Corinthians 11 speaks on the matter. When in worship, men were told to uncover their heads and women to cover. God has a special role for men, women, and children so the family can flourish and thrive to it's best potential. A woman covering her head is a symbol that she accepts God's role in her life and that she looks to her husband as the leader of the home. Many people view this as sexist and oppressive, but it's actually a beautiful picture! I plan to dive into this much deeper in a later video/blog. This is my choice, no one is forcing me to cover my head. (:
12. Why do you sometimes wear a veil and sometimes a cap style covering?
This is simply tradition and personal preference. I grew up with the more traditional cap style covering, but the cloth veil is much more practical. I often wear the cap style to events, simply because it's what I grew up with. The veil is what I wear day to day for practicality.
13. Why do Mennonite Women always wear their hair up?
I would say this is simply traditional because it's a practical way to wear your hair. It stays out of your way and makes it easier to work.
14. Do Mennonite Women cut their hair?
Many would trim their hair, but leave it long. 1 Corinthians 11 is where this question comes from.
5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
A women's long hair is 'her crowning glory', something that most women treasure and it speaks of feminine beauty. These verses are saying that a shorn (implying a sheered cut) or shaved head is a dishonor to a woman. Verse 5 compares a woman praying without covering her head to the same dishonor as a shaved head. Verse 6... if it's shameful to be shorn then let her cover.
My viewpoint on these verses would be that a woman should have long hair and she should cover it because it's 'her glory' and she accepts God's calling on her life. However, the term shorn and shaven doesn't seem to imply simply cutting... so many women do trim their hair or thin it to keep it manageable. However, having said that, there are many women that don't cut their hair as well.
15. What is the difference between Amish and Mennonites?
This is a BIG question as there are many differences, both large and small between the two groups. We cover some of this in the video.
There are also many different Amish groups, from extremely conservative (driving horse and buggy, having no electricity) to more progressive (having many modern comforts).
I'm assuming this question implies the conservative groups of Amish everyone is used to seeing on the covers of books etc. so we will compare to these groups.
Some of the obvious differences would be outward things. Traditional Amish...
drive horse and buggies
work in the fields with their horses
have no electricity. (at least not electricity supplied from the grid). Many will run generators if needed.
Amish men have no mustaches. "This tradition stems back to the early days of the Amish when wearing elaborate mustaches was common among those in the military. ... It isn't until an Amish man gets married that he will stop shaving his beard and allow it to grow out, with beards being a mark of an Amish male having become a man."
believe in a simple lifestyle and so their clothing is homemade and of solid colors
some Amish don't ride bikes, but scooters are acceptable
practice shunning (for those that were once members of a church)
encourage their youth to 'rumspringa' before becoming members
meet for worship in their homes
Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash
So how do Mennonites differ from Amish? Many people get the two groups confused as they can look similar to a person unfamiliar with the groups.
Mennonites also believe in living a simple lifestyle, but don't believe that most modern conveniences are a hindrance to the Christian life.
So the majority of Mennonites..
live with electricity
use modern farming equipment etc,
dress simply but do buy a lot of clothes as well (not everything is homemade)
do not practice shunning
do not encourage their youth to 'experience the world' before accepting Christ
meet for worship in meeting places (normally churches)
Many Mennonites have chosen to stay away from things such as TV and Radio as a way to keep non christian influences apart from their daily lives. There are groups that do allow these things but are careful with what is watched or listened to.
In today's era, TV and radio are becoming a bit dated as the age of internet and smartphones has entered, and so many Mennonites are now faced with new decisions to make as technology rapidly develops. The internet has a lot of potential for good and also has so much evil that comes with it. Christians need to be ever careful and prayerful to make the right decisions for the protection of themselves and their children.
These are some of the more noticeable things about the Amish and Mennonites, however the difference that is of most importance is in belief. Many Amish do not believe one can know he/she is saved. They tend to have a work based religion whereas most Mennonites believe that one can know He is saved and that his salvation is only through Jesus and nothing more.
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:13
However, one thing that I be clear about. There are many Amish and Amish groups that truly know Jesus and believe that a person needs to be born again to enter heaven. There are also many Mennonites that have let tradition take first place in their lives and are living a works based religion. So as you can see, there is a wide range of Amish groups and an equally wide range of Mennonite groups. There is no one size fits all for these questions, but I've done my best to shed a little bit of light onto some of the difference between the two groups.