Mennonite Religion Beliefs?

I'd like to know about the Mennonite religion.
I'd just like to know any facts you can tell me about the Mennonite religion. Specially its followers' beliefs. Why black vehicles? Why do they dress the way they do? Why do the women wear the white caps or black bonnets? It's kind of weird.
I'm simply curious and would like to know.

asked by Composture in Religion | 26129 views | 10-31-2009 at 02:19 PM

Beliefs and practices

Anabaptist-Mennonite thought has been characterized by its insistence on a separation between religion and the world. The persecutions of the 16th century forced Anabaptists to withdraw from society in order to survive, a strategy that became central in Mennonite theology. Consequently, most Mennonites have remained tightly bound to their communities, have practiced rigorous group discipline, and wear distinctive clothing (e.g., the “plain coat”—a jacket without lapels—for men and the “covering”—a small hat made of lace—for women). Their isolation encouraged the sectarian virtues of frugality, hard work, piety, and mutual helpfulness but also frequently led to schism. By the mid-20th century, however, Mennonites were deeply involved in the social, educational, and economic world around them, a situation that led to revolutionary changes in their life and thought. It also prompted a new search for identity as a distinct group in the modern world, through study of their denominational history, sociological analysis, and theological interaction with other groups.

Mennonites are Trinitarian (i.e., they believe in the doctrine of the Trinity), affirm the Scriptures (especially the New Testament) as the final authority for faith and life, and appeal to the pattern of the early church as their congregational model. They stress the importance of believer’s baptism and the public confession of faith. They teach the symbolic understanding of the Lord’s Supper, and, in imitation of Jesus, some practice foot washing. The doctrines of nonconformity to the world, church discipline, nonswearing of oaths, and nonresistance (a Mennonite teaching based on New Testament ethics that rejects both war and the use of coercive measures to maintain social order) are affirmed but not practiced universally.

Mennonite worship services are sermon-centred. A simple, almost austere liturgy surrounds the Gospel proclamation. Congregational singing is four-part a cappella. In the late 20th century, however, there were many signs of experiment in worship similar to those found in other denominations, including the use of organ music.

Mennonite congregations—with the exception of the Amish, the Hutterite Brethren, and some conservative Mennonites—are joined together into regional conferences, 23 of which are in the United States. Since 1925 there has been a Mennonite World Conference that meets every five years for fellowship, study, and inspiration, but the conference does not make binding decisions on its member bodies. There were more than one million Mennonites worldwide, in over 60 countries, at the start of the 21st century.

The Mennonites’ desire to express the ethic of love and nonresistance has been reflected in their deep social concerns. An emergency relief committee for national and international aid, founded by Dutch Mennonites in 1725, is still active. A similar organization, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), was founded by North American Mennonites initially to relieve famine in Russia.

In the 20th century, North American Mennonites put new emphasis on higher education, especially by supporting their own colleges and seminaries, while continuing to maintain secondary and Bible schools. New interest in the faith of early Anabaptists was fostered by the scholarly work of both Mennonite and non-Mennonite historians. This activity not only offered new insights for renewing church life but accented the disparity between 16th-century Anabaptist ideals and present Mennonite beliefs and practices. A rediscovery of their history also gave new meaning to contemporary urban social relationships. Instead of withdrawal, Mennonites found in witness and service a new way of interacting with the world. At the same time, during the second half of the 20th century, Mennonite cultural distinctiveness steadily disappeared.

answered by Mina | 10-31-2009 at 02:20 PM

The Mennonites are a group of Anabaptist (opposed to infant baptism) denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonresistance, and pacifism.

Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old-fashioned “plain” people to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. There are many different groups who call themselves Mennonite, primarily because they refer back to their founding leader, Menno Simons, and their stance on nonviolence and pacifism.

Early Mennonites in Europe were good farmers and were invited to take over poor soils and enrich them through hard work and good sense. Often the governing bodies would take back the land and force the Mennonites to move on since they would offer no resistance. So the migration to America started and they were welcomed by the Colonists.

There are many schisms, which actually started in Europe in the 1600s and continued after the immigration to America. Many of these churches were formed as a response to deep disagreements about theology, doctrine, and church discipline. Mennonite theology emphasizes the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Their core beliefs deriving from Anabaptist traditions are: the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit; salvation through conversion by the Spirit of God; believer’s baptism by sprinkling; discipline in the church (including shunning in some congregations); and the Lord’s Supper as a memorial rather than as a sacrament or Christian rite.

There is a wide scope of worship, doctrine and traditions among Mennonites today. Old Order Mennonites use horse and buggy for transportation and speak Pennsylvania Dutch (similar to German). They refuse to participate in politics and other so-called “sins of the world.” Most Old Order groups also school their children in church-operated schools. Traditionally they used horses to pull the farm equipment, but within the past ten years some are now using steel-wheeled tractors for farm work.

Conservative Mennonites maintain conservative dress but accept most other technology. They are not a unified group and are divided into various independent conferences. Moderate Mennonites differ very little from other conservative evangelical protestant congregations. There is no special form of dress and no restrictions on use of technology. They emphasize peace, community and service.

Another group of Mennonites have established their own colleges and universities and have taken a step away from strict Bible teaching. They ordain women pastors, embrace homosexual unions, and practice a liberal agenda, focusing on peace studies and social justice issues. Very little is mentioned in their church services regarding the fact we are all sinners and in need of a Savior as a sacrifice for our sins, rather focusing on maintaining good works and service to others.

The word Mennonite today can mean so many things; there are almost as many varieties of Mennonites as there are fast food chains. Some groups are more evangelical than others; some groups are focused on Bible study and prayer; other groups are carefully maintaining the works-based tradition set out by their ancestors; and, sadly, some groups have left the faith of their fathers and focus instead on current social issues.

answered by Trinity | 10-31-2009 at 02:21 PM

Here's the deal. I live in Amish Country. I know ALL about the Amish and the Mennonites. I'm even dating one. Not all mennonites wear skirts and caps at all times. In fact, around here, most don't. They only wear them to church and church events. The super conservative mennonites you hear people talk about, the ones that drive buggies and speak deutsch, yeah they're called Amish. and here's the big secret. Amish people drive cars and have electricity just like everyone else. They just don't publicize it. Around here there are these things called amish parties, or aps. that's because once an amish or mennonite hits sixteen they go on rum springa. this is a period of time from when they turn sixteen til they hit eighteen, they party it up. drink, do drugs, have sex, drive around in party buggies, cruise in their parent's cars. when they hit eighteen they have to decide whether or not they want to be amish/mennonite or if they want to be regular christians/english.

As for why, why do they dress in skirts or dresses all the time? Why do they wear caps?

Their beliefs are founded in the Bible. In the Bible it tells women not to dress in men's clothing, hence the dresses or skirts. Amish women and conservative mennonites wear homemade, plain dresses. this is because in the Bible it tells women not to adorn themselves (dress in fancy clothes). As for the caps/doilies there are two reasons I know of. The first being the most common reason among mennonites (who mostly wear doilies), which is that it is a prayer covering. Prayer coverings are required in the bible. the second reason which is most common among the amish (who wear full caps), is that showing your hair is a sensual thing and should be saved for the privacy of marriage.

Hopes this helps you understand their customs, and possibly see the true colors of the amish and mennonites (at least the ones in indiana)

answered by Guest | 07-13-2010 at 08:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guest View Post
Here's the deal. I live in Amish Country. I know ALL about the Amish. The super conservative mennonites you hear people talk about, the ones that drive buggies and speak deutsch, yeah they're called Amish. and here's the big secret. Amish people drive cars and have electricity just like everyone else. They just don't publicize it. Around here there are these things called amish parties, or aps. that's because once an amish or mennonite hits sixteen they go on rum springa. this is a period of time from when they turn sixteen til they hit eighteen, they party it up. drink, do drugs, have sex, drive around in party buggies, cruise in their parent's cars. when they hit eighteen they have to decide whether or not they want to be amish/mennonite or if they want to be regular christians/english.
Hopes this helps you understand their customs, and possibly see the true colors of the amish and mennonites (at least the ones in indiana)
I read quite a bit of Amish/Mennonite Authored Publications. Amish religious beliefs vary from one church district to another. First mistake describing their lifestyles is saying "ALL DO THIS".

answered by Guest | 10-25-2010 at 10:25 AM

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