Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Keeping the faith

Most Amish trace their families back to Mennonites from the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. An Old Order Amish bishop once said to me, “There must have been a special strength of character in those Bernese Anabaptists that has enabled their descendants to keep the faith for hundreds of  years.”

The Amish divided from the Mennonites after some of them fled from persecution in Switzerland and resettled in Alsace. Some of the main issues were that  church members should not wear moustaches or buttons. (Soldiers had moustaches and buttons in those days were much like jewellery, made of silver, gold and other costly materials.) In my friend’s view, the fact that the Old Order Amish still shave their upper lip and fasten their clothes with hooks and eyes was evidence that they were keeping the faith.

John Holdeman was also descended from Mennonites who originated from the Canton of Berne and was also concerned about keeping the faith. His idea of the essentials of the faith was quite different, though. The concerns he mentioned were that only truly born again people should be baptized and that parents should have a proper love and care for their children that would guide them to avoid the dangers of youthful immorality.

John Holdeman’s concerns were shared by a few others in the Mennonite church of his day, but most seemed to think all was well. Almost 160 years ago those who felt that the old church was drifting away from the faith began holding separate services. That was the beginning of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite.

John Holdeman’s first book was entitled The Old Ground and Foundation. That title portrays his concern to maintain the purity of the faith that has been handed down since Apostolic times. The essentials of that faith never become stale and outmoded, it can be adapted to every nation and era, yet still be the same faith. We cannot bind it to fashions and forms of a past era without deforming the faith and rendering it powerless.

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3 responses to “Keeping the faith

  1. hyvsch55yvonne November 24, 2016 at 07:06

    Good writing

    On Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 6:03 AM Antiquarian Anabaptist wrote:

    > Bob Goodnough posted: “Most Amish trace their families back to Mennonites > from the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. An Old Order Amish bishop once > said to me, “There must have been a special strength of character in those > Bernese Anabaptists that has enabled their descendants to” >

  2. Tim, ND November 24, 2016 at 07:31

    I am thankful for the teaching, and the foundation given to us by John Holdeman, and the Church Of God In Christ, Mennonite. Thank you!

  3. Tim, ND November 24, 2016 at 08:13

    I would like to find a copy of John Holdemans book, (The Old Ground And Foundation Taken From The Word Of God) for my library.

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