Letter from Mennonite Leader to Former Amish Son
June 8, 2016
All names have been changed in order to protect the innocent.
When I left the Amish in 2012, our church had an average attendance of about thirteen to fifteen families. Our church didn’t fellowship with any other Amish church – Period! We were all alone, being shunned by other communities or shunning others ourselves.
It was really hard for me to understand at the time why we were operating the way we were, which is one of the reasons I left the Amish. After I left the Amish, I gloriously got saved by the grace of God.
Recently, a small group of Old Order Horse and Buggy Mennonites were seeking a church to fellowship with, and they found the community where my dad is currently serving as bishop, and where I used to attend before leaving the Amish. They came upon an agreement with my old community, and now my siblings and cousins are dating some of the young men and women from their group.
On my way to the Eddyville Amish Awareness Conference, I stopped in where one of the new families was and visited them for about an hour. My heart just cries out for them to be saved! Because of my burden, after we came home, I felt lead to write a letter to the family I visited. Below you’ll see my letter and the response I received from Henry Hoover!
Letter from Mennonite Leader to Daniel
April 5th 2016
I received a letter from you yesterday. Since I know you all of your brothers and sisters and parents and have now also gotten to see you, it almost seems like you were also a part of us. I think and wish you would be and should be. Our parents split away from the large Mennonite Church back in 1940’s about C.O. camps; they found the big church dishonest then. Joe Wenger was the bishop of the big church, so that church is called the Wenger church to this day. The Wenger people got more and more modern; they had electricity, phones, and tractors, about everything but the TV and cars. Our church got the nickname 35er’s because there were not many members. Our people were more minded to keep the old ways, like horse farming, no electricity, etc. Satan is not satisfied where peace is, though, and works to destroy it. The 35er’s have a very sad history with many splits, and also many have been sadly carried away with styles and fashions of the world, so that you can hardly tell them apart from the world.
We moved to Kentucky in 2010 as a small group of about fifteen families with Daniel Hoover, my brother Aaron (minister), and Ivan Hoover (deacon), but very sadly we had very much disunity. Aaron, Mark, and I begged and pleaded and tried to make peace, all to no avail. Their bishop made an extortioner out of himself with many foolish little things too long to relate here. To make a long story short, we had to honor him as god, which we refused to do. He expelled Aaron’s wife for saying “I don’t know” to a silly question. We could no longer be a part of the D. Hoover church with a free conscious. The D. Hoover church has been taking my brother Mark to court numerous times and has torn his family apart and persuaded Mark’s wife to move into trailer on the bishop’s place. They have a law suit filed right now for contempt of court against Mark. Anyway here we were, Aaron and family, my family, Mark and half of his family as a church, so we desperately hunted for some people with a sound faith we could unite with.
We looked at different groups but could not agree with any, the main point being we do not believe two God fearing born again Christians can or will separate and still both be Christians. We could not find any that maintained this belief. So we thought about Jerry Troyer whom we had met while land shopping in 2009. We do not believe anything is in the name Amish or Mennonite so we thought if the Troyer’s have true faith, why could we not unite with such, as we felt our church had drifted too much in dress and styles. We felt it would be good to come back more and humble ourselves more in plain and common life style. To make it short we were very much displeased with what we found with the Troyer bunch. They seemed unwilling to work with us. They told us your Dad was at their place and wanted to make peace with them. Aaron then asked Jerry, “Did you tell them what they have to do?” Jerry then said No! He thinks they know. We could hardly imagine this; here your Dad asked him, and Jerry did not tell him. This is not Christ-like. So we then asked the Troyers about your dad’s people, and we know by experience that there are 2 sides to a story. We really did not feel welcome at the Troyers.
We decided to pay a visit at Vevay, IN which was altogether a new place to me; I did not know such a place existed. We asked around till we found the place where they were having church. They invited us in so we stayed for service and then for lunch. They seemed like sincere and family people, and we pretty much agreed on most points of faith right from the start. Of course there were a lot of little differences in smaller things like dress. To make it short, they proved that they were willing to work with us and allow some smaller things our way. And we allowed some things like working outside and daily riding to work in an auto. We agreed to have patience with them, and they are trying to get more things started at home so they can get by with less.
You ask, how do they justify joining with us when it was impossible for you to seek fellowship with another church? I do not doubt, if you would have found another church that was blameless, with true sound doctrine, they would have no objection or problem with you joining them if they proved that they are such people. I greatly fear you have forfeited a golden opportunity, being raised in a Christian home without all the modern worldly things, although I know your parents are human, like I am, and probably failed many times. But if they did wrong, I believe in showing them their wrong out of Christian love for their soul, and working things out according to Scripture, and not sneaking off behind their backs. Do you think you were honoring your parents like God’s Word says?
Daniel, I greatly pity you, for once you let down the bars and change to a laid back life, changing the old way for the modern ways, and engaging in what the world has to offer to make it easier for the flesh, then I fear you can hardly come back unless something marvelous takes place. Many a person would have been very glad for the chance you had. We have had different people come to our church for a time, a few have gone so far that they were baptized and joined, but they always slid back to the world again. Although some have confessed with tears that we, or the way we live, are right, it is just too hard for them, or more then they can do! Oh how I pity them. Here you had a good privilege and a chance, and what do you do?
You asked what I think about the gospel tracks you enclosed. Well I know some things can be confusing, but I believe if we want the truth and are completely honest we can find the true way. Christ has promised, “Seek and ye shall find.” One thing I fully agree with you, is that we need God’s Word and not human opinion. Especially when we are demanding things. “No other foundation can men lay then that which is laid, Jesus Christ.” There are some things true, and some good points in those booklets which I agree with, like I fear some Amish believe being an Amish will save them.
We have seen with our own eyes some acts from the Hudson Amish living close here, like drinking in public and acting very unbecoming for a Christian, like laughing and loud filthy talking with young men and women together. These Amish are very strict in ordnung so that they can hardly exist, but then they go about drinking and acting un-Christ-like in other things. I am afraid if they think the Amish name will save them, they will be sadly mistaken someday. I fully believe it is the truth where it says ye must be born again; each person must have their own personal relationship with God and accept Jesus Christ for their Savior. I do not believe that anything is in the name Amish or Mennonite, but Christ Jesus alone is the only mediator between God and man. I do not believe that if you keep all the ordinance of the church, that will prove you are a Christian; I believe it takes more than that.
About the booklets, I believe there is some truth in them, but the books as a whole I deem to be false and deceiving. I think I can easily perceive they were written by people who are trying to justify their worldly life. We have to take the whole Scripture and rightly divide the word of truth (II Tim 2:15). No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. We should never search the Scripture for something to support our belief, but much more search to know what we believe.
I do not believe what it says on page 21, that all you have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This I think is false and deceiving. James 2:19, 20 says, “Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well. The devils also believe and tremble! But wilt thou know, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead?” We have to rightly divide the Word and not just pick out Scripture that fits our way. I believe the statement above is adding to God’s Word and is a lie.
Read Eph. chapter 5; these are things we have to do if we want to be saved: Vs 2 walk in love, vs 8 walk as children of light, vs 10 proving what is acceptable, vs 11 have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them, vs 14 awake thou that sleepest arise from the dead, vs 16 redeeming the time, vs 20 giving thanks always, vs 21 submitting yourselves one to another. These are things we have to do if we want to become born again, and also hundreds of other things mentioned in God’s Word. Why would anyone want to o boast and say I AM SAVED, while he is still alive here on this sinful world? The Word says be not high minded but fear, the more someone wants to say that, the less I will believe it is true. Rom. 8:24 says we are saved by hope; and Heb. 11:1 that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Those booklets say a lot about man made rules, which can be confusing, but I am fully persuaded that no true church can stand without some rules and guide lines. I will try to explain this from the pure Word of God. Now I do not believe any rule or ordnung that is not grounded on the word of God is right. Christ said that whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. This proves that some things are bound on earth by man that are rightly bound, or else would not bind them in heaven.
In Luke 16:15 Christ said, “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” The wisdom of the world is foolishness before God.
Rom. 12:16 tells us to” mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.”
James 1:27 says to “keep oneself unspotted from the world;
Rom. 13:14: “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof;”
Jer. 6:16: “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the way and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
These things are not the opinions of men, but they are God’s Word, and are required and commanded by God in his Word. The church is likened to a body, so that each one may not only do what he or she wants but true Christians have to submit one to another in the fear of God.
II Cor. 12:14 says, “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.” Here we can see that it is the duty of the parent to watch and guide and oversee their children.
Ezekiel 33:6 says, “If the watch men see the sword come and blow not the trumpet and the people be not warned if the sword come and take away person from among them he is taken in his iniquity but his blood will I require at the watchmen’s hand.” Now here we can plainly see it is the duty of the parents and ministers to oversee and warn according to God’s Word. If we see corrupt things in the church or highly esteemed things of the world that we know will lead to many temptations and evils, and allow our children and church members to indulge in these things, I fear the blood will be required from our hands.
Gal.6:1 says “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.” I could gather many more sound Scripture references to show why we should not allow things that are not edifying to a church but much more destructive, but this is getting longer then I wanted it so I will close. I am a poor writer and would much rather talk with you.
You say in your letter you are confused; if this is truly so and you want only what is right, then you are welcome to come talk things over. But if you want to argue with long foolish arguments and try to justify your worldly living, then I am not interested.
I have a few questions for you and I would like real honest answers.
Why did you leave your parents church? What wrong did your parents do to you? Does your church allow everything the world has to offer like computer, TV, radio? Do you have open sinners in your church, like adulterers and fornicators? Does your church allow divorce? Do you consider the smart phone and TV uplifting and good in a Christian home? Do you think you are innocent before God to raise your children under the influence of these things? Do you think you are honoring your parents the way you live?
Rom. 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world.”
1 John 2:15: “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
I know and have seen with my own eyes the corruption of TV and cell phone. My neighbor boy was playing with his smart phone and here he holds it up for us to see; filthy things not fit to be seen are right at their fingertips, Daniel! Wake up! Are you going to raise your children with these things?
How can you pray “lead us not into temptation” knowing you have these things? Are you laying up for your children? If not, then the blood will be required from your hand.
Enclosed is a little book our brother at that time has written. Read it and study it. If you find anything that is unscriptural, let me know. I am always ready to change if and when I am gainsaid with God’s Word, and I hope you are too. Human opinion I roundly hate.
Written out of Love,
Sincerely, Henry Hoover
This letter has been published with permission from Daniel To leave a note for Daniel, please comment below.
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