Things Everyone Should Know About Mennonites Lifestyle And Their Beliefs
The Mennonites, sometimes confused with the Amish, are a group of Christians formed during the Protestant Reformation.
Its beginning was marked by persecution, and the church itself has long been an advocate for peace. And although there are many sections of the Mennonites (also called Anabaptists), most of them agree with the basic principles of Christianity.
1. The Mennonite denomination is named after Menno Simons
Simons (1492-1561) became a Catholic priest around the age of 24, but he doubted some of the Catholic teachings. He began to “rely only on the Scriptures for answers” and eventually left the Catholic Church to become an Anabaptist or “rebaptized.”
He said that he did not believe that infant baptism was mentioned in the Bible and studied the works of theologians Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger. After his brother, an Anabaptist, was assassinated in 1535, Simons left the Catholic Church. He became an influential figure among the Anabaptists of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. Considered a heretic, Simons was constantly persecuted, and those who aided him were often executed. By 1544, however, the term Mennonite was being used to describe the Dutch Anabaptists. Mennonites became a new movement known for adult baptism.
2. Mennonites faced persecution in the early years.
During the Protestant Reformation, when a “Protestant” group emerged from divisions within the Catholic Church, Anabaptists and Mennonites fought against persecution. The first Anabaptists in Switzerland were forced to move from European provinces to other regions due to persecution. Simon’s own brother was killed in an attack on the movement.
According to historians, many Anabaptists were imprisoned or executed. Helping the Anabaptists was considered a crime, and even those who harbored Simons were punished. Those who renounced their new religion and tried to return to the Catholic Church were often not forgiven. A book on Anabaptist history says that many Anabaptists were “hunted down” and “killed on the spot without trial or investigation.”
3. Mennonites are actually not Amish.
While the Mennonites and the Amish descend from the same Anabaptist roots that began in the 16th century, the Amish have become a separate group from the Mennonites. The groups agree on many beliefs (such as pacifism and adult baptism), but the Amish hold a stricter doctrine.
In 1693, the leader of the Swiss Anabaptists, Jacob Ammann, did not believe that prohibition and evasion were practiced well enough. He felt that the current church was not strict enough and split up to create the Amish.
Between the differences between the two, the Amish create their own communities isolated from the world, while the Mennonites do not. The Amish also adhere to stricter rules: no electricity, horse and cart transport, and simple clothing. However, most Mennonites have no such restrictions.