So. Little bit of trivia for you.
Did you know that the Amish broke off from the Mennonites?
Most people think it was the other way around. But it wasn’t. Actually, the Amish weren’t really Mennonite at all but part of the larger Anabaptist movement.
You see, the Anabaptist movement started in 1525 with the first adult baptism taking place in Zurich in January. A. man named Ulrich Zwingli was instrumental in creating the Anabaptist movement. He emphasized the Gospel of Matthew and began the movement of not baptizing infants. He was instrumental in biblical reform and inspired many others to follow his path.
By the time Menno Simons came along, there were many reformers jumping on the bandwagon that rejected the Catholic Church. In fact, Menno Simons was a Catholic priest until he, too, embraced the reformation. His core theology embraced adult baptism, peace, and asceticism (or the rejection of worldly goods/pleasure). He also embraced excommunication.
In the late 1600s, a group of Mennonites began to question social avoidance among those under a bank as well as wanting to follow the practice of foot washing. It was at this time when a division was cast between the Mennonites and a group of Swiss Brethren that the Amish were formed.
I find history fascinating. The fact is that over 400 years ago the pieces were in place for a religion that has survived against the odds. They were persecuted, driven from their homeland, tortured, burned, and banished. Many died until they relocated to America. Here, in the New World, they managed to find the peace they sought in order to live a simpler life without soldiers killing them.
I’m proud that my ancestors made that move so many years ago. And while the Mennonites and Amish are not unique (look at the persecution of Jewish and Christian followers!), it is unique in that they have managed to survive very much in the manner they were 400 years ago. Yes, they adapted in some regards. But the hymn books and most of their rules are the same as they were way back when they were first formed.
Maybe that’s why we all love reading the Amish books so much. It is like stepping back in time, even though most of the books are written in the present. It also speaks volumes to true faith that has transcended generations.
Hugs and blessings,
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.