May 2023 MAP Update
| 575 US Highway 250 | Greenwich, OH 44837 | Office: (419) 962-1515
|Revival and Ramifications or Amish Population Growth
When I was 15 years old, an English couple—man and woman—started showing up on my dad’s farm every couple of days. One had a scratch pad. The other had a camera. They asked many questions, and every once in a while, we would catch the camera man taking pictures. He was very sneaky, knowing that we did not approve. After about two months, they suddenly stopped coming. We weren’t sure who they were, nor did we know their agenda, at least I didn’t. But one day, we learned that our pictures and stories were showing up on the front pages of a Cleveland newspaper. Before long, other newspapers were picking up the stories and reprinting them.
My parents were not happy about it. However, we were told that since we did not pose for the pictures, and the articles just showed up in a newspaper, we could keep the pictures and stories. Most of those pictures and articles have gotten lost over the years. That is, except for one of my dad and grandpa, working in the machine shop.
In 1982, the Amish population was still small. Unless you lived among us, you would not have known what an Amish person was. Today, the Amish population has reached close to 370,000 and is doubling in size every 20 years. About 40 Amish subcultures live in the US, Canada, and South America. In the US alone, there are about 600 settlements scattered throughout 32 states. The most populated state is PA, running at about 87,000. Learn more at: mapministry.org/about/who-are-the-amish.
At times, particularly in the 50’s, there were instances of revival in parts of OH and PA. In each revival, members of the Amish got saved. Those who were saved in the 50’s pioneered and paved the way for the rest of us. They were excommunicated and cut off from their families, much like what is happening today.
Even now, revival seems to be breaking out in various communities in America. Both young and old are being saved and are hungering for more. Sometimes, one spouse gets saved and the other doesn’t. Recently I talked with an Amish man who would not give me his name or location. He and his wife are searching, fearful, counting the cost, and wondering what will happen if they open up about their newly found faith and hunger for Bible studies. He said, “Joe, we will soon become outcasts in our own community, and then we will need a local church. We do not want to join a worldly church. Where do we go? What do we do?”
As the population continues to grow, so do the problems. We get frequent calls from taxi drivers, Children’s Services, hospitals, police departments, and English neighbors asking for help. Several years ago, a prosecuting attorney in MO called, asking for advice. Last week, a detective from WI called, again asking for advice and also Dutch speaking interpreters. In both cases, older brothers were having sex with their younger sisters, and in both cases, the young sister ended up pregnant.
While numerous communities are divided over the legal or religious issues of today, members are splitting ways, moving out, and starting up new communities in America. Just last night, in our Bible study group, one of the Amish attendees shared that 50 people in their church got up and walked out last Sunday. Just like that.
Earlier this week, I had to stop at our local courthouse. In the parking lot, I found five horse and buggies tied up to light poles. In this case, we have an Amish community within 10 minutes of the ministry who are refusing to add blinkers to their buggies for night time visibility. For months, they have refused to pay the fines. For months, law enforcement has tried to be kind and patient—continually trying to educate and help this community better understand why blinkers are necessary. Still, the very large community of Amish refuses to budge. Sadly, many Amish people in this community have paid with their lives, simply because the church leadership will not allow their members to add extra lighting or reflection tape on their buggies.
While all this tends to overwhelm me at times, there is one other thing that probably pains me more than anything else. That is, there are some men, some ministries, out there who are preaching a false and perverted gospel. These men have charismatic personalities, and they know how to draw the innocent into their nets. And it is just that—their own nets, their own agenda. While my flesh would like to point these men out by name, I don’t believe it would benefit either one of us if I did so. On the other hand, will you join us in praying that God would protect the ones who are searching for more? These perverters of the simple, powerful, pure, priceless gospel know just how to add the right amount of truth in with their own poison. When you really get to know them, they do not attend a local church—all local churches, in their eyes, are unbiblical. These men do not have much accountability, and they don’t want any. They are often arrogant, filled with pride, and full of self.
The apostle Paul dealt with the same kind of men in his day. Paul writes to the young church in Galatia:
“Which is not another [gospel]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:7–8).