Update: this contest is now over. I would like to thank everyone who joined and made this contest so much fun. I chose a winner using Random.org, and that winner is Megan Parsons. Congratulations, Megan!
I’m often asked if the Amish are saved. I think what people are really asking is whether the teachings of the Amish church follow the precepts of God’s Word.
You may have heard that the Amish avoid saying that they are assured of heaven. The Amish are most likely to say that they have the hope of heaven. I’ve heard many people say that this must mean the Amish aren’t saved.
The Amish are taught the Word of God in its entirety, including that one must be saved by grace through faith. So why do they say they only have a hope of heaven? Because they do not want to be caught in assumption of any kind.
Some outsiders feel that their unwillingness to say, “I know I’m going to heaven,” reflects a lack of faith on their part. But Scripture points out that not everyone who thinks he or she is saved is truly saved, and those who think they stand need to take heed lest they fall (Matthew 7:22-23; 1 Corinthians 10:12). The Amish, by culture, are humble in their assertions toward God.
Another question that often comes my way is “Are the Amish beliefs based on works or faith?” The Amish lifestyle appears, to some, to focus on legalism over grace.
The Word says that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1–3 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
But the Word also tells us that faith without works is dead. James 2:18 says, “Someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’” And Philippians 2:12 tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Romans 12:1–2 says, “ I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Our goal as Christians is to balance God’s gift to us, which is redemption through Christ, with our gift to Him, which is being a living sacrifice (Galatians 3:16; Romans 12:1).
The Amish are taught from both the Old and New Testaments. But they also strive to keep the Ordnung, which is the written and unwritten rules of their forefathers. The Ordnung has been passed down for hundreds of years. When people officially join the faith, they agree to keep the Ordnung and to raise their children by those standards. Because the Ordnung is a “rule book,” it has a tendency to make its followers rule-conscious. At the same time, the Amish teachings from the pulpit make it clear that no one can make himself or herself worthy of salvation. That must come through Christ.
I hope all of us remember to not take Christ for granted, but to walk in love and humility, knowing that none of us has our beliefs in perfect order, perhaps not even as close as we might hope.
Even if we think we have beliefs that are fully in line with God’s intent, we’d do well to offer grace to those who may not. For if Christ had let into His heart only those who understood God and His Word in its entirety, He would never have bothered to come to Earth to begin with.
Em Gott Sei Friede (In God’s peace),
For a chance to win a large-print edition of Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women, please leave a comment below.
This contest ends Monday, February 20, 2012.
Remember that only comments left on my website will be entered. If you’re reading this on Facebook and such, please hop over to my website. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)
Last week’s contest is now officially over! We had a great week of chatting on the blog. I’ve chosen the winner using Random.org, and the winner is Marilyn Taylor. She’s won an autographed copy of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. Congratulations, Marilyn!