Keep on in Hope, by Mrs. W. S.
March 1, 2018
Why do you call your paper the Amish Voice? You know that some of the things you are trying to preach aren’t in the Old Order Amish beliefs! The main thing I have an issue with is this new belief of knowing one is saved! We read a lot of die Hoffnung and know that we have to “Keep on in die Hoffnung (hope)!”
I don’t think this is the way you were taught either. Stay in the way you were taught, we read. Why is it that when people want to be worldly and have worldly stuff, they think they can have it and still serve God? So many think they finally found the right faith. It just doesn’t all measure up in the Testament.
— Mrs. W. S.
Joe Keim responds: We have a twofold purpose in calling our paper the Amish Voice: a) many of the writers were born and raised Amish b) most of our recipients are Amish and Mennonite. Therefore, it makes sense to call our publication the Amish Voice.
I understand that some of the things we write about are not necessarily what all Old Order Amish are teaching. However, there was a time - not too many generations ago - when our forefathers did preach what is being taught in the Amish Voice. And the truth is, there are still some Old Order Amish churches who are preaching and teaching the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, though, there are others who are placing a much greater emphasis on their Ordinance Letter (man-made rules) than on God’s Word – in this case, traditions and rules of the church have become more important than God’s Word.
It has never been our intent to persuade anyone to leave the Old Order Amish Church. Rather, it is our goal to challenge those who have pushed Scriptures aside and made their Ordinance Letter of greater value.
I fully realize that neither you or others would come right out and say, “I believe the Ordinance Letter is more important than the Bible,” but let us pause and take a sincere look at our actions. What do they say? Ask yourself, “If Jesus came to your church and wanted to become a member, would He fit in? Would he condemn and excommunicate anyone who did not live up to your list of man-made standards?” Think about it.
The Bible, which we ought to accept as God’s only and final authority, teaches very clearly that: a) salvation is not based on anything we do (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that b) salvation is fully –100 percent – based on the work of God (John 1:12-13).
Those who put their trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ by faith alone are instantly forgiven and made alive (Ephesians 2: 1, 5), justified (Romans 5:1; 8:30, 33-34), and delivered from spiritual death, darkness, and the wrath to come (2 Corinthians 1:10; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Is it even possible that someone could experience such a radical and instant change as the new birth and not know it? According to God’s only and final authority, the answer is clearly no!
1 John 5:13 states, 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.
You mentioned that the Bible reads, “we should stay in what we were taught.” My question is, what if that person is being taught wrong? Should he or she continue to stay? Is it more important to stay than to surrender to God’s Word? Maybe we should let God answer that.
Galatians 1:8-10 says, But though we [Paul and the apostles], or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we [Paul and the apostles] have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received [from Paul and the apostles], let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men?
Acts 5:29 continues: Then, Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.
Let me remind us all that when we stand before God, only one thing will matter: Did we - while alive on earth - read, obey and fully surrender to God’s only and final authority. If the answer is no, then bid yourself to change. If the answer is yes, then glory be to God.
Finally, let me respond to your very last question. You wrote, “Why is it when people want to be worldly and have worldly stuff, they think they can have that and still serve God?”
You must be referring to your Ordinance Letter.
Let’s, for a moment, put the Ordinance Letter aside and strictly go by God’s authority! Which is more worldly: a kerosene lantern or an electric powered bulb? The newspaper or the internet? The buggy or the car? Which ones are worldly; which ones are not? Are they not all worldly? The truth is, if you can see it with your eyes and touch it with your fingers, it is of the world.
Nowhere in the entire Bible does God say any one of these worldly things are forbidden to man-kind. A good question for all of us might be: what gives you, or anyone else, the right to sit on God’s throne and say which ones are godly and which ones are ungodly?
One may walk away and say, Joe wants everyone to hook their house up to electricity, drive a car and get the internet. If so, they unfortunately missed my point.
One final word: I challenge you to lay all your personal preferences aside and return to the one and only authority – God’s everlasting words of truth. Let each one of us stop condemning and judging others who live by another set of preferences. Read Romans 14, and see how God says we are to handle differences of opinions and preferences.
— Joe Keim
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