Historical roots of Mennonites and Amish

The Mennonites and Amish have common historical roots. Their beginnings (1525) date from a group of persecuted radical Christians nicknamed “Anabaptists” at the time of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. They sought to return to the simplicity of faith and practice as seen in the early Christian church in the Bible.  The Amish divided from the Mennonites in 1693. Jacob Amman, a young Swiss Mennonite elder who felt the church was losing its purity, led the group that separated. They were nicknamed “Amish.” One of the main areas of debate centered on the “ban” or “shunning” of people who were not living according to the guidelines of the church. The Mennonites believed that if a person changed their way of life, he/she could be welcomed back into church fellowship. The Amish wanted a stricter “ban.”

All Amish and Mennonite groups are Christian fellowships. Most of them stress that belief must result in practice. Emphases on lifestyle and peace have distinguished most of the groups through the centuries.

For more information on the “Amish division” see http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Amish_Division