The Mennonites and Amish are two of the various communities under the Anabaptists. The two communities are often mistaken for each other. The difference between Mennonite and Amish communities are very subtle but distinct. Here we are going to find out how they differ.
About The Anabaptists
The Anabaptists were a section of people formed during the 15th century in Europe. They were distinguished as those who revolted against the theologies and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Anabaptists hold peace, justice, and kindness in the highest value. They shun the military. They engage mostly in agricultural and similar economic activities. During the world wars, Anabaptists refused to partake in the violence.
Anabaptists were of the opinion that Catholics did not practice shunning of the material things with enough strictness. They also rejected the practice of infant baptism. According to Anabaptists, choosing to believe in Jesus Christ was a choice that can only be made by an adult.
The community flourished as a whole for a while in Europe. After they were persecuted, they fled to settle around the world, most notably North America.
Mennonite Vs. Amish: The Differences And Similarities
Here are how Amish people are different from Mennonite people.
Mennonites were named after the German priest Menno Simons, who was a revolutionary leader of the community.
The Amish were borne out of the Mennonites later in the 16th century when Swiss priest Jacob Amman separated from them. He believed they did not follow enough strictness based on shunning worldly things, and his followers were called the Amish.
There have been many revolutionary changes in the way of thought of the Mennonites. They grew more accepting of outside society with time. Their lifestyles include the use of electricity, mechanized equipment, automobiles, and other modern facilities.
On the other hand, the Amish are very conservative in their lifestyles. It has not changed much over the years. The Amish shun electricity and mechanized equipment because they refuse leisure. They do not commute by cars, instead of choosing horse-drawn vehicles.
Mennonites look much like normal society. Their clothing is very modest though and aimed to emphasize simplicity. Their clothing resembles modern cultural practices and preferences. It reflects their beliefs of mingling with society on the large.
The Amish, on the other hand, is characterized by dark and formal clothing. Men wear coats and pants, solid color shirts and broad black hats. Women wear long dresses with shawls and bonnets. This distinct and withdrawn style of clothing reflects their beliefs of separation from society.
The Mennonites congregate in churches and for regional conferences. There are preachers and sermons held in groups much like Catholic churches.
The Amish do not assemble in groups or churches. Their worship is centered in the home. There are elders and appointed bishops, but no congregations or mission groups.
Apart from these distinctions, Mennonites and Amish share many of their beliefs. They believe in adopting a way of life that revolves around pacifism and separation from the world around them. They also believe in sacrificial love, humility, hard work, and a traditional way of life.
The Amish and Mennonites have populations all over the world today. They can be found in parts of Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia.