This week while selling books in Lancaster County, I met ‘Abe’ and ‘Anna Ruth’, an excommunicated Amish couple, kicked out, they said, for promoting the idea of assurance of salvation.
While they still attended their local church services, lived and dressed ‘Amish’, they had lost full membership and were presumably under the Bann.
Amish believe that all we can do is do our best to live lives of faith and hope to be accepted into heaven. Abe, a 20-something dairy farmer, shared the doubts and terrors he struggled with during his early life before coming to the conclusion that acceptance of Christ’s supreme sacrifice alone was enough to affirm his place in the afterlife.
Abe’s staunch conviction impressed me. He was thoughtful and challenged me on my beliefs, something uncommon among non-evangelizing ‘standard’ Amish.
Abe insisted that we pray together before I left. I was moved that he seemed genuinely concerned about the well-being of my soul.
Regardless of any differences in our individual beliefs, I was grateful to have met him. During a hectic day filled with menial concerns and worldly distractions, he helped bring my focus back to what was really important.
ADDENDUM: Abe and Ruth were later featured in a documentary entitled “Trouble in Amish Paradise”, which aired in 2009.
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