Letter to the Amish Churches
July 23, 2015
This letter was written in January of 2015, and later sent to area ministers in Northern Indiana.
We write to you today concerning an issue in our Amish churches. After praying and feeling God’s guidance in this matter, we feel we must bring this subject to light.
This is concerning the use of the German language in our churches today. We know this tradition (some would call it a heritage) has been passed down from generation to generation from our forefathers, but what is of the fact that most of our people no longer understand this language? We no longer use this language anywhere but in church.
Our main language is Pennsylvania Dutch, but before we go to school we must learn the English language, and we must speak this language if we are to have a job or any communication with the world around us. Why is it then that on Sundays we are clinging to this tradition of using the German language? Most of us know how to read this language either from attending the Amish school or from Deitsh School, but sadly we do not know the meaning of the words. How sad it is to sit in church on Sunday feeling the need to praise God in song but not knowing what the song we sing means (we have Our Heritage Hope and Faith book and Hymns book which would be ok but we cannot take these books to church with us).
A lot of preachers today are making an effort to explain these scriptures in our everyday language (although many do not) but we feel this is not enough, our young adults and children understand close to nothing! Is it any wonder than that many are choosing not to stay Amish? Let’s take a look at what God says.
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Corinthians 14:18-19
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Mark 7:6-8
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15
We ask the question… If our churches were not lukewarm, would we not be content to sit and sing songs we do not know the meaning of? Would we be content to preach The Good News of Jesus in a language that most of us do not understand? We understand that our Amish heritage has many traditions that are worth holding on to, and we are thankful for these things. But we must ask ourselves when our traditions stand in the way of people hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus, is it worth it? I fear our children are paying the price.
A word of encouragement:
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 (KJV)
In closing, for fear of being written as such, we feel we must clarify: we are not part of Revive Indiana, or a bible study group or any organization of any kind. We are simply an Old Order Amish couple with a concern for our church.
Please pray and seek God’s will on the matter.
A concerned Brother and Sister
We have chosen to withhold our names for fear of being shunned by the people for speaking boldly what God has laid on our heart.
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