Father of Abducted Girls Feels Sorry for Kidnappers

The Watertown Daily Times has published comments from the father of the two girls abducted last week in upstate New York.

Mose Miller has 14 children, and is one of the Heuvelton community‘s bishops.

In an interview with Johnson Newspapers in their Heuvelton home on Sunday, the girls’ father — Mose Miller, 44 — said he feels “sorry” for the suspects.

“It’s sad,” Mr. Miller said. “They must have ruined their whole life.”

Miller’s wife Barbara also commented:

“We feel relieved we have them. It’s still not like it was,” she said.

The couple did not express any anger toward the suspects, Mr. Howells and Ms. Vaisey.

The Miller girls’ kidnapping garnered national attention last week, with the girls returning home a little over 24 hours after being abducted.

Rather than reject the media, their parents have taken the opportunity to speak publicly about what happened. The girls’ older siblings also contribute to the article.

So does another adult in the community, who speaks about how the incident might change things:

Noah Yoder, a 35-year-old Amish father who lives near the Millers, said Amish families probably will be more cautious about their children coming into contact with strangers as a result of the incident, especially those who operate vegetable stands.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they would keep a little more eye on it,” Mr. Yoder said.

However, he said he didn’t believe the incident would damage relationships Amish families have developed with the non-Amish.

“We can’t be afraid of your people,” Mr.Yoder said as he spoke with a reporter outside his home Sunday afternoon.

Finally, Karen Johnson-Weiner, author of New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communites of the Empire State, talks about forgiveness, which she describes as “the truest expression of their faith.”

While the Amish may be forgiving to those who have harmed them, Mrs. Johnson-Weiner said, it doesn’t mean they simply move on as if nothing happened.

“They forgive. It doesn’t mean they forget,” she said.

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    1. Guy

      They forgive. It doesn’t mean they forget??? don't understand that

      They forgive. It doesn’t mean they forget
      If you don’t forget it and move on than how could you have forgiven in your heart? As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us

      1. Melissa

        Forgive but not forget

        It means they’ve learned a lesson. It does not mean they harbor unforgiveness.

      2. Debra McCullar

        One can forgive but this type of abuse cannot and should be forgotten. One grows from it, learns from it, and moves on from it. Steps must and should be taken for these girls and boys to stay safer from such abuse. So sad.

        1. Debra McCullar

          Meant “Should not” not “should”

      3. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I believe some things might be very difficult to forget — having your daughters kidnapped and molested, for example — but forgiveness (I’ve been taught & believe personally) is not always a one-shot forgive-and-forget deal. There is a reason the Bible teaches us to forgive seventy times seven. To forgive anew each time a hard memory comes to mind is something I have experienced and I see it as an exercise in faith & forgiveness. But maybe that’s just me…

        1. Gayle Grabowski

          I was taught that to forgive was to forget; and for so long I wondered why negative emotions kept flooding back to me when something would trigger the memory I felt I should have forgotten. It was not until recently that I learned that forgiveness was a continual process – a negative memory will naturally trigger negative emotions, and at that point a prayer for the strength to forgive needs to be raised again, and again, and again if necessary. I need to thank the Plain Community I live near for that example.

        2. GLEN K WILSON


          DON’T TELL ME TO “never question god”. god IS ALL KNOWING,RIGHT?
          WHAT A DEAL.

          1. Glen, if you care to do the research, you’ll find that executions are way more expensive for the taxpayers than life in prison.

            1. Debra McCullar

              And do not say they are damaged beyond repair they are not. It will always be part of who they are and will become but in time they will become survivors and not victims. God does not cause abuse but sadly our free will sets it as a possible outcome but God can and does turn these little flaws into beautiful assets. Softens ones heart and makes one more feeling towards others as it was. It was part of why I was drawn to nursing.

              1. glen wilson

                it's getting confusing

                with all the bible references about forgiving/forgetting,if you don’t forget then you’re not forgiving. it’s mind numbing.

                this is a secular issue, a CRIME,a CRIME against children, and a CRIME against society.

                i wonder how the non-amish commentators would feel if the victims were their children or grandchildren. if THEY would be so quick to forget and forgive.

            2. Expense is the deciding question??

              I hardly think that taxpayer expense is the deciding question whether whether executions are valid or not (speaking in general, not necessarily to this specific case). What about preventing the hurt to additional people when they get out of jail for good behavior, overcrowding, or whatever.

              I would argue that the solution to the taxpayer expense is to par-down the process and expense that goes with it.

            3. glen wilson

              but WHY?

              the reason that executions are so expensive is the endless appeals and delaying tactics from the defense. combine that with the fact that the appeal case sits in limbo because there are not enough judges to rule on each appeal.

              timothy mcviegh oklahoma city bomber waived his rite to any appeal. he was executed 4 years after he was convicted.

              john allen muhammad beltway sniper. was executed 5 1/2 years after he was convicted.

              the people who took these girls are preditory sex offenders. they can not be cured or reabilited. society would be better off if they were tried,convicted and executed.

              on a side note many studies indicate that people serving long prison
              terms become adjusted to prison life. some rare ones prefer it to life on the outside.

          2. Missing on so many points....

            Glen, I must agree that whatever happened — and to date I don’t think we really know anything but the legal charges, and the legal system often uses terms to mean things beyond the way that we normal folks usually use them — the girls will not likely forget. But it is a long jump between what we can’t forget and “permanent damage.” The truth is, to a great degree, in time the difference between our hurt and our healing is in whether we’re willing to let go of it. Just like the kid that has to quit fighting and let his mom pull out the splinter, so we too must quit fighting and allow our Father to remove the hurt and allow the healing to begin. That is forgiveness. And it’s not just for those that have it as “part of their culture.” Forgiveness isn’t primarily for the person making the offense; it’s greater good is for the person that was hurt by that offense. It is in letting go and turning the hurt and retaliation over to Someone wiser and better capable that the shift from ‘damaged goods’ to healing begins.

            And I’ll be the last person to tell you (or anyone else) to not question God. But here there is no need to question Him, ’cause He’s already spoken to the matter. He has tried to keep these things from happening. He told our forefathers to stay away from sin, but they (and we) haven’t. We live in a day when His message is countered at every turn. We can’t teach our children in schools that we are all a special creation of God, but rather we are the byproduct of survival of the fittest where the strong prey upon the weak. And as you made reference to, we’re not punishing crime like God spells out. So, uh-ah…, God didn’t create this scenario — it is our own making. So the question is rather this: HOW COULD *WE* LET THIS HAPPEN TO TWO INNOCENT GIRLS?

          3. linda


            Glen you hit the nail on the head. Truer words were never spoken

      4. Forgiveness doesn't require forgetfulness

        Forgetting is never a Biblical requirement of forgiveness. The verse you cite speaks of His removing our sin, not removing a memory. In Jer 31:34 God says that he will forgive iniquity and remember their sin no more, but the Hebrew word for “remember” includes the idea of “mention,” “be mindful,” “to bring something to someone’s attention.” It’s not even possible for God to forget something as we normally use the term — just like it’s not possible for us to just decide that we can totally remove a memory just because we choose to.

      5. Rose Young-Stewart

        gone but not forgotten

        the author of Amish in new york says that. Not the Millers. Why is it you think Millers said that? Hasn’t anyone ever beat you so bad you hated them you will never forget what they did to damage you permanently but you might firgive them if they were absolute imbeciles.

    2. Oldkat

      A Good Approach

      “They forgive. It doesn’t mean they forget,” Probably the best way to deal with this. There is not really a way for the plain communities to 100% disassociate themselves from the mainstream population anyway. Doesn’t mean that they have to be totally blind about it though.

      Keeping a little closer eye on their children is a wise approach. I don’t think they will, nor should they, go overboard like so much of the general population has in dealing with the interface between our families and strangers. What I see many families becoming a mini version of a police state just to monitor their children.

      This leads to instances that you hear about such as the woman who allowed her 9 year old daughter to play in the park opposite her place of employment. She was able to watch her child play from her office window; yet someone felt obligated to call the police who came and arrested her, charging her with child endangerment.

      There have been numerous other cases of a similar nature. These go too far in my opinion. Be vigilant sure, but we don’t have to be prison gaurds to ensure our childrens safety.

    3. SharonR

      Abducted Girls

      I feel so sorry and angry that this has happened yet again, to the young children, no matter if Amish or Non-Amish! This crazy world we live in nowadays is something I just don’t understand! I am 66 years old, and during the time I was being raised, we were safe, but cautious, but were free to roam the neighborhood, ride our bikes to the nearby shopping center, go bowling, etc. play outside, until dark, etc. AND all without a “cell phone” in our pocket.

      I am just so sad, that those days “seem to be” gone, I believe, and we all have to protect our loved ones, with 2 eyes open — one eye on the child and the other eye “on guard” for who might be lurking nearby!!

      I will hope and pray that this family, and other Amish families can get through this, with the Lord’s help, and hope they know that “non-Amish” are not all bad. We love buying your crafts and produce and respect your way of living, and always in awe of your devotion to God. I think America could learn a thing or two from these wonderful people. Take care, and know we are so happy the girls are home!

      1. Ed from NY

        SharonR – One interesting thing is that, by a lot of standards, we are far safer today than we were 50 years ago. Less crime, fewer tragedies, more ways call for help, and it is much easier to get information about an area.

        Sadly, despite this relative safety, as a society we seem as paranoid as ever, and many kids don’t get the fun of having unstructured experiences such as running a farm stand or fishing by the lake.

    4. Swartzentruber Amish Open to the Media?

      As I recall, these folk are Swartzentruber, right? I have no first-hand knowledge of the Sartzentruber, but I am not surprised with the family contacting and working with authorities to get the girls back. I am not surprised with the immediate family dealing with the press in follow-up contacts after the girls are back home, esp. since the ‘outside’ world had provided so much help. Nor am I surprised with the father feeling and expressing concern over those that had abducted the kids. But I was a bit surprised that others in the Swartzentruber community were also willing to speak to the press. Is that just a misconception on my part?

      Thanks Eric for the follow-up article.

      1. Ed from NY

        Could it be the family was simply overwhelmed and spoke to a reporter who appeared on the scene? It’s not like the Amish have press aides or PR men to handle this kind of occurrence. And I doubt that Amish church services include a review of guidelines for contacts with the media.

      2. Conservative Amish media communication

        We tend to think that the more traditional Amish will be less open with the press, and that is probably true.

        Given the extraordinary circumstances the community may feel that communicating with the press is more acceptable here, especially since they’ve already done a lot of communicating with outsiders and figures of authority.

        Also, getting quotes from others in the church will be easier when it’s known that the bishop has also spoken with the media.

        As for the idea suggested by Ed that they might have been overwhelmed and just started speaking with someone on the scene, it’s worth considering but I highly doubt it.

        Since it’s described as “an interview with Johnson Newspapers in their Heuvelton home”, that suggests that they were aware of who they were talking with, also I take “in” to mean they were inside the house, not out in the yard, etc.

        I also don’t think it would be ethical if the newspaper reporter didn’t identify himself as such. Getting quotes from multiple members of the family also suggests that it was more than just a passing conversation with a random person.

        Another instance when a low group has had extensive contact with the media was the coverage of benefits for Amos Hertzler, a baby born with a rare medical condition: https://amishamerica.com/amos-hertzler-benefit-breakfast/

        Multiple stories ran with input from the family, who belong to a traditional Troyer Amish church (not too far up from the Swartzentruber Amish). Good question Don.

    5. Anne

      The stand-outs

      A few things stand out to me about this story.

      First, I’m so glad the girls had the where-with-all to run for help when they had a chance! Good for them, and this was what kept a tragic situation from becoming much worse.

      Second, The fact that the neighbor quickly identified the girls and helped them says alot about the non-Amish community there. There surely was alot of support and concern over this case.

      Also, I hope these Amish families will be careful about letting their kids be alone at a public stand, especially when in a somewhat remote area. May God give the girls healing as only He can. They will have to live with this the rest of their lives, and we must pray that they will be able to go forward in a wholesome and healthy way AND that their parents will be wise in handling whatever difficulties they go through emotionally.

      1. Professional Help

        Agreed, Anne. And let’s hope they get professional help for those girls. Counseling seems in order.

    6. Joe

      protecting the Amish

      Heard a story related by a friend that was talking to his C hwy group Amish neighbor here in Seymour. The Amish neighbor asked my friend if the English would rob them of their food if things got bad.
      He assured his neighbor that this was the case. (Sadly it is and every knows that the Amish store a good amount of food in their cellars.)

      A good compromise was reached that was agreeable to all…. My friend promised to protect his Amish neighbor from such an occurrence, in exchange for help in feeding his own family.

      I have heard talk in this area from insightful people about the need to protect the Amish community when times get bad.

      There are sheep, sheep dogs, and wolves in this world. The Amish are the sheep. They eat they poop, and they make babies. Self defense is not in the picture.

      1. Naomi Wilson

        What the Gospel says

        It is sad that an Amish man made such an agreement with his neighbor. It’s a poor witness to Anabaptist faith. Any Christian who believes in obeying God’s word literally, would rather die proclaiming Jesus’ name, while looking forward to an eternity with Him, than to kill someone, or arrange to have someone else do the killing, and spend eternity in Hell.
        “He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          I agree, Naomi. Such an agreement goes contrary to what we are taught and profess to believe. Luke 6:27 comes to mind…

        2. What the Bible Really Says...

          Naomi, you may want to consider what the whole of scripture says on the subject. In the OT, God — who does not change, and who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow — made allowance for taking the life of a person in who came in on a person/family with violent intent. This is the same God that sent people into battle to kill in defense of their territory. These, and no doubt others, go to prove that the killing of a person does not send a person to hell. Grief, if that were so then even David who wrote so much of the Psalms won’t be in heaven.

          If an Amish or other Anabaptist person opts to take a no-defensive route, then that is a personal choice between them and God. But there is no Biblical mandate for such a stance.

          1. Naomi Wilson

            Don, you have just highlighted one of the major differences between Anabaptist and Protestant belief systems. Perhaps someone more qualified than me could explain more fully. A good read, if you are interested, is The Kingdom That Turned the World Upside Down, by David Bercot. It is a fast moving history of Christianity from an Anabaptist perspective. Here is an article describing the Anabaptist perspective on the Gospel: http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Did-Jesus-Intend.html

            Personally, I could not become born again until I submitted myself to total obedience to Jesus, who is The Word. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The hypocrisy of mainline Christianity was always a stumbling block for me. It took many years of searching, plus God’s grace poured out abundantly, to find my way around.

            1. Naomi, I don’t suppose you have any reason to know this, but while freelance photography is my hobby/sideline, my main vocation (and passion) is being a pastor/Bible-teacher. Not to brag, but of five earned college/seminary degrees, four are in Bible study / ministry — including 2 master’s and a doctorate. Point being, through my studies I am aware of the connections and differences in the groups you mention.

              Furthermore, I belong to a group/denomination that many/most tend to consider to trace back to either the Anabaptist or to a common near-lineage. I am not unfamiliar with this territory.

              I would agree with you that many aspects of mainstream Christianity do not (IMO) match with “thus sayth the Lord.” This is just my own evaluation based upon personal study in the Word and considering what others say they believe. Someone else may conclude otherwise.

              Additionally, I would say that I had to “cut my own teeth” and be willing to disagree with some of our own group’s traditions. I’m no puppet to even our own ways.

              So, what I said is not the blind following of my denomination or even “mainline Christianity. And what I “highlighted” is not specifically the difference between the Anabaptist and Protestant beliefs — any parallel is totally incidental. What I did point out was what the Word of God said (as I referred to specific portions of that Word), and thus what I personally believe is a clear conclusion that can be based upon those portions. As a pastor and Bible teacher, I felt that the readers here should be able to see that there is an alternate way — and in my studied conclusion, a better way — to understand what the Bible says on the issue. Contrary to what others may think, I am not dictating how you or anyone else might interpret the Word — I wouldn’t do that even if such were not totally impossible. What you or anyone else chooses to believe — that is between you and God. I’m just giving evidence to show what my studies conclude is the correct understanding.

              I hope not offense was or is taken; certainly there is no offense taken on my part.

          2. Dirk

            Hi Don, I would agree that you do know your Bible very well, but I would state based on your comments, that you do not understand the doctrine of non-resistance. This link will explain the doctrine in more detail, http://www.brfwitness.org/?p=82

            Please note that every time you mention resistance, you quote from the OT. This you have to do as there are no NT verses that support resistance, the opposite is true, every single NT verse on the subject supports non-resistance. I would challenge anyone by using only the NT, to construct a NT biblical injunction for self defense.

            It should also be noted that King David et al, were under the Law of Moses and not under the Grace of Jesus. They, according to Moses, were allowed and even commanded by God to kill their enemies, we as Christians however, are not permitted to do this. Our command now is to love our enemy, not to resist the evil man, to leave vengeance up to God, not to use carnal weapons of warfare, to turn the other cheek, to forgive our transgressor, to do kind deeds for our persecutors, to bless those who curse us, to be like lambs to the slaughter, etc. Yet not one verse about defending our self, standing up for our rights, or of taking up arms for God, King or Country.

            The term ‘Christian Soldier’ is an oxymoron. A soldier is nothing more than a state sponsored trained killer, something no Christian can ever be. Well not unless one can explain how firing a bullet into one’s enemy’s head or dropping bombs from planes, constitutes the Christian love Jesus spoke of. Or how sending one’s child off to war as a trained soldier to kill or be killed constitutes responsible Christian parenthood.

            Augustine’s teaching of a just war theory is pure heresy, something Anabaptist’s reject. Catholics and Protestants accept this heresy as gospel truth, which promotes church sanctioned murders and killings of one’s alleged enemies. Something Anabaptist’s know only all too well. The book Martyrs Mirror bears testimony to this wonton and senseless church sanctioned slaughter of tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of Anabaptist’s over the last 500 years. Thank God for secularism.

            For this reason, Anabaptist can have no fellowship with Catholics or Protestants, for what fellowship can one have with murderers and killers, what fellowship does light have with darkness?

            1. Marcus

              Another thing worth mentioning considering David and his wars is that because of all the blood he shed, he weren’t allowed by God to build the temple. Therefore his son, Salomo, had to build the temple instead.

              1 Chronicles 28:2-3
              2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
              3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.

              1 Chronicles 22:6-10
              6 Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel.
              7 And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God:
              8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
              9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
              10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

              Marcus, Sweden

            2. Point of clarification...

              Dirk, I appreciate your attempt at clarification, and the gracious tone underlying it. But if you will look back at my initial response in this branch of the thread, you will see that my disagreement is not with non-resistance per se, nor to the Anabaptist’s choosing to pursue such a stance. My reply was specifically directed to someone’s statement that “any Christian who believes in obeying God’s word literally,” in defending life or property to the point of killing someone, will “spend eternity in Hell.” As presented, it is not a statement of what the Anabaptist believe, but rather is given as an absolute statement of truth — and that (in my studied opinion) *mis-*statement is what I was responding to.

              You make some arguments that are certainly worthy of a response. And IMO there are valid responses that adequately deal with those arguments (e.g., Paul’s use of the soldier motif in describing the proper outfitting of the Christian; the previously-mentioned fact that God is the same yesterday and today, and thus the heart of his actions in the past are no different than His heart today). But as important a matter as this is, it is still totally tangent to the subject of this thread — and to the intent of this whole website. As such, I do not wish to further highjack this thread — at least without the permission of the one who owns it all. (By that I mean Erik…, not God. )

              I would be more than happy to continue this discussion in another medium if there is a desire to. Anyone interested is more than welcome to contact me via my email address.

              1. For the record, my little comment about Erik being the one that “owns it all” (website) and not God, that was meant as a touch of humor. I type ‘ha’ in the greater-than / less-than brackets, but apparently the website filters scubbed that out to prevent embedded code or something. So, what little bit of humor that was intended now looks like…, well, something other than humor. (ha)

                1. I figured that Don 🙂 The same thing happened to me recently – I think WP or the site theme does that to anything within < ... >

                  By the way these threads have a life of their own, so I don’t mind if they go in this direction or that, as long as it stays civil, but that is the norm around here anyway 🙂

            3. The Bible and Non-Resistance

              With Erik okaying the continuing of this tangent (although I don’t think he knew what he was getting into (ha)), Dirk (and others who are interested), here is my response to the counter-points you offer to my earlier stance. I offer this as simply my conclusion of what the Bible teaches based upon years of study, with no intended pressure to make anyone conform to my way of thinking. God calls us to be witnesses – i.e., those who take the stand and tell what they have seen and/or heard. I am just a witness – you the jury must weigh what is given, and make up your own mind as to whether it is the truth God intended in His Word.

              Dirk, since I don’t know how to underline or italicize text here, I have put quotes from your post in “quote marks.”

              “Please note that every time you mention resistance, you quote from the OT.” Yes, I did (although the NT is not without its support as I hope to show later). But one can not so readily dismiss the OT, as if it doesn’t still apply. Should we be willing to toss out the Psalms or the Proverbs as totally meaningless today, just because they were written under the Law? If Jesus (who lived in NT times) based so much of His teaching upon the OT, can we so easily ignore it? If Paul made constant references to the OT as still having applicable truths, dare we consider ourselves in a place to do otherwise?
              If Paul used Abraham as an example, and if the writer of Hebrews gave a huge list of OT saints to pattern ourselves after, then how can you discount my references to OT saints when I make the same kind of argument?
              Granted, on a superficial examination things look so incredibly different in the OT and NT, and it would be easy to assume that God worked differently in the different “dispensations” (as they are at times called). But Paul counters that way of thinking. He says that the Law was given as the “schoolmaster” (KJV), a term for the Greek slave that was responsible for seeing that the master’s son made it to school, was prepared when he got there, and paid attention to the lesson. And that is exactly what the Law did – it prepared the Master’s sons (mankind) for the lesson that they needed a Savior, made sure that they were ready when that Savior arrived, and made them pay attention during His lessons (i.e., His life and death). Did the Greek master change everything just because he brought in the slave? Of course not – the master’s heart and desires changed not in the least, even though he incorporated a different means to accomplish them. Similarly, God isn’t changing horses in mid-stream; rather, He’s tooling along as always, and interjects a huge object lesson (the Law) to help mankind be ready as His ongoing same-old plan unfolds.

              But, someone will object, saying there are different things that had to be done under the Law than “under Grace.” True. But remember, a major part of the Law was object lesson (OL) – something that was given only in order to grasp the real lesson when it gets there. Circumcision was given as an OL of the need for a “circumcised heart”; the lambs sacrificed were OL of the sacrificed Lamb of God. But God’s truths in it all never changed.
              But there are additional not object-lesson truths in the Law and the rest of the OT – things that are timeless principles. Psalms, Proverbs, the examples of Ruth and Ezra and David and….
              Jesus Himself said that He did not come to do away with the Law (i.e., the real truths that the Law was given to show) – thus the underlying truths are still intact.

              Ah, but some will say that Jesus countered the Law, e.g., some of His teachings in the Sermon on the Mt. Not so. Jesus, rather, countered the warped use of the truths of the Law. “An eye for an eye” was an OT principle for communal justice to be used by the governing authorities, yet at the time of Christ people were using it for person vindictiveness – totally warping its intentions. Jesus’ change on that (“but I say unto you”) was to adjust to fit the alternate situation.
              “This you have to do as there are no NT verses that support resistance…”
              Not exactly true. Paul was not always the mild lamb silently succumbing to the evil of others. In Philippi, the day after his imprisonment, he defied the civil authorities that would unjustly shew him out of town. When he found out about a plot to kill him in Jerusalem he took measures to protect himself. In Caesarea he appealed to Rome when it became obvious that the ruler was willing to sacrifice him by giving him over to the murderous Jews. All of these are forms of resistance.
              “… the opposite is true, every single NT verse on the subject supports non-resistance. I would challenge anyone by using only the NT, to construct a NT biblical injunction for self defense.”
              Again, not exactly, as I’ve just pointed out in the case of Paul. The NT focuses of situations that come from one standing up for his Christian beliefs – which is far and away different than the subject on protecting oneself from some random attacker.
              I offer a counter challenge that anyone find in the NT an injunction that speaks to the issue of protection of self or others for reasons other than one’s specific defense of his faith. I dare say you will find no passage that has such a context – in other words, that the NT is silent on the issue. And silence supports *neither* side of this argument.

              And being that the NT is silent, and being that God is the same and His truths are forever, the voice of the OT outweighs the silence of the NT.

              “It should also be noted that [the OT examples cited] were allowed and even commanded by God to kill their enemies, we as Christians however, are not permitted to do this. Our command now is to love our enemy…”
              Once again, not quite on the mark. Just like us, the OT folks were to “love their neighbor” – and that demanded love still did not preclude or conflict with God’s instruction to kill, nor to protect oneself or others even to the point of killing the attacker. Same God, same love commanded…, and no basis for assuming that that same love is to rein in now what it didn’t rein in back then.
              “…carnal weapons of warfare… Huh?
              “…to turn the other cheek, to forgive our transgressor, to do kind deeds for our persecutors…[etc., etc.].” True…, but not a single one of these items mentions any prohibitation to protect life. You’ve no argument in these.

              “Yet not one verse about defending our self, standing up for our rights, or of taking up arms for God, King or Country.”
              Once again, Paul’s example does in fact show standing up for oneself. And again, with nothing in the NT to counter it, and given that God’s heart is consistent throughout history, the OT examples of it are quite sufficient.
              “The term ‘Christian Soldier’ is an oxymoron.” As I mentioned earlier, Paul’s use of the soldier’s armor to illustrate how a Christian should be spiritually outfitted suggests otherwise. (Paul makes other illustrative references to soldiering, further substantiating my point, but I will not belabor that here.)

              “A soldier is nothing more than a state sponsored trained killer, something no Christian can ever be….” If that were so patently true, then it would also be so for the OT saints as well, which runs totally counter to the picture we’re given. Furthermore, Jesus Himself is coming back as a soldier/general (wielding a sword) to make war – and you’re willing to go on record that what He’s doing is unchristian??
              “Augustine’s teaching… The book Martyrs Mirror …”
              I’ve read some of both – not impressed with the former, and quite impressed with the latter. But truth is, neither of these is inspired, and thus can not be counted on to bring unquestionable truth to the discussion on the table.
              Someone on the thread spoke of David’s not getting to build the temple because of his being a man of battle/war/bloodshed. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to indicate, being that he *was* given the responsibility of writing so much of the scriptures – and that included work he did even while/after his fighting/killing. The latter unquestionably trumps the former, at least in my book.
              If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. (ha) Thank you for hearing me out. If you wish to discuss this further, I am all to willing to do so. Barring anyone’s question or other reply, I think I’ve said my peace.

        3. Joe

          Naomi what I see as really sad is people in this thread deciding how someone else should interpret scripture….

          1. Naomi Wilson

            And the law of Satan, according to the Church of Satan, is “Do What Though Wilt.”

        4. Joe

          Another explanation Naomi is that some Amish do not believe in being pacifists at all, but because of shunning and the system that they are born in that they go along to get along.

          They will often rebel in ways that the Bishop will not be able to easily pin the infraction on them. This may be such a case. I do not know I am not a mind reader.

          For instance I know of quite number of Amish that have access to cell phones, but they do it in ways that skirt the Bishops rules.

          1. Mark - Holmes Co.

            I cannot speak for all Amish, and I certainly cannot read everyone’s minds, but for myself my belief in non-resistance comes from personal convictions and Biblical teachings, not out of any fear of shunning. I’ve never felt any fear of shunning. I’ve also never worried about a bishop “pinning an infraction” on me. (Maybe because bishops don’t check into such matters and cannot act without the unanimous consent of the church? A bishop can’t make church standards or change them without the consent of the people in the church.)
            I’m sure there are Amish who have secret cell phones, like those living in communities or churches who do not allow them, but many Amish do live in churches or communities where they are allowed.
            Because church members are involved in decision making it becomes OUR rules, not the bishop’s rules.
            I’m not trying to argue — there is a lot of misinformation out there that people believe — but telling what it looks like from the inside.

            1. Thanks for the insights, Mark. I didn’t know some of that.

              1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                You are welcome, Don. I think one other point that should be made is “shunning” is for members who do not repent. Many of us have done things we regret, but a confession and a sincere effort to do better are what is asked. “Shunning” is kept for those who do not repent or change their ways.

          2. Dirk

            Hi Joe to understand the whole non-resistant stand of the Amish I will explain it as follows.
            There are three levels of obedience.
            1- To what is written in the Bible and is what makes one a Christian.
            2- To the founding elders of the Anabaptist faith which distinguishes one from other faiths that use the Bible.
            3- To the local Bishop, elders and one’s ordnung.

            Non-resistance falls into the first level, adult baptisms into the second and size of hat brim into the third.

            From an Amish perspective, one cannot be a Christian let alone Amish if one does not practice non-resistance. Thus any member who abandons the practice of non-resistance will be excommunicated.

        5. glen wilson

          getting harder and harder to listen......


          1. Mark - Holmes Co.

            Luke 6:27 pretty much sums it up for me & mine. I’d disagree about the greatest gift: SALVATION is the greatest gift He has given us, and if it takes losing my life to gain that, so be it.

            1. I agree with you, Mark, that salvation is the greatest gift. But I find nothing that connects salvation to the loosing of one’s living, breathing life. Jesus does say that we must take up our cross and become a *living* sacrifice, but that is a reference to releasing to His way the life that we *live*, not the termination of biological living.

              1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                Don, I thought of a few references that I find important to me personally.
                Matthew 5:39, 40, 44: That ye resist not evil. If any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.
                Romans 12:19, 20, 21: Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in doing so thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcoming evil with good.
                Acts 7;59-60: And they stoned Stephen, calling upon god, and saying, lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
                If I’m not wrong, one of the Ten Commandments teaches me “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” (6th Comandment, Exodus 20:13).

                1. Those passage (as all others) are important to me as well. However, they do not counter what I previous posted. “Sue you in a court of law,” “bless and pray for and feed your enemies,” — not something you can do if you’re dead, so obviously it’s not speaking of laying down one’s biological life in any of those.

                  Stephen’s example is of one who was willing to proclaim (preach) the truth even if it meant his death. You can’t legitimately compare preaching truth to defending oneself or one’s family against a random thug — totally apples and oranges there.

                  I guess I’m a bit confused about your ref. to the 10 Commandments. For one, I’m been criticized in this thread for making references to the examples from the OT — as if that wasn’t the Anabaptist way — and yet in a pinch the OT Law is now being used as the basis for the Anabaptist way. Seems to be a huge inconsistency there. But that said, I’m glad you made ref. to that passage, for the same Law that said “Thou shalt not kill” (KJV) is also the same Law that allowed one to kill as a soldier, to kill a convicted criminal, and to kill in self-defense one who invaded one’s home. Since God is not inconsistent, we can ascertain that the “kill” in the Ten Commandments does not include the other forms of killing that the Law indicates that God allows. In short, “thou shalt not kill” must refer to “murder,” not to killing in the broader sense — and that meaning is totally consistent with the connotations of the Hebrew word RATSACH that is used in that commandment. So, thank you for validating my previous use of the OT in this thread, and for showing the validity of the Law in this discussion — the same Law that unquestionably shows that God allows killing for self-defense.

                  1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                    Don, I’m not wanting to argue or offend. When I wrote of Stephen, I wrote it was important to me personally. I look at his dying plea as how I would want to go — with no hatred or revenge toward anyone. The 10 Commandments are obviously OT but still carry value for us all. Maybe it’s just me, but I see those as being a very important guide for living the Christian life. I am not able to find references to killing an intruder, but that’s probably mostly because I have never highlighted my personal Bible (NT) here at work with anything like that. Can you give me a reference? (And please believe that is not a challenge, but curiosity.)
                    We’ve been discussing this at work (lunch break!) about the difference between killing & murder. Maybe it’s cultural, but I just don’t get the distinction. I don’t feel the OT is to be disregarded or ignored, but I do turn to the NT for my questions and teaching on how I live my life today. A good question is why the 10 Commandments from the OT is so important (or ingrained) while I’d not consider stoning my disobedient children or ignoring bacon. I don’t have an answer… Again, please take this as sincere curiosity and wanting to explain, not an attempt to argue or offend.

                    1. Mark, no offense is taken — or intended. I’m all for a healthy and friendly discussion of the meaning of scriptures, and that’s what I consider this to be. For me, such discussions help me to see chinks in my own theology where there is error, and helps me to polish up places where my thinking matches with “thus saith the Lord.”

                      I agree that Stephen’s example is one of no hatred or revenge — something we all should seek strive after. But if someone (for example) came into my house and threatened to kill my wife, children, grandchildren, neighbors or friends, my protecting of those under my care is not (necessarily) an act of hatred or revenge. It is, rather, an act of love towards those I care for. For me, to idly allow someone to take the life of my innocent grandchildren is paramount to my giving permission to allowing their death — something that does not in any way look to be the loving thing to do. And defending them out of love does not mean that I have a heart of hatred or revenge toward the threat that has to be neutralized in order to lovingly protect these innocent ones.

                      I will have to look up the self-defense passage and post it later. (I’m have a bit of trouble remembering the wording in order to look it up.)

                      You present a very good question about how to know what parts of the Law to take as still be applicable and which are not. I have (I think) answered that to a great degree earlier in this thread. I will address that by copying (below) what I earlier wrote…


                      Granted, on a superficial examination things look so incredibly different in the OT and NT, and it would be easy to assume that God worked differently in the different “dispensations” (as they are at times called). But Paul counters that way of thinking. He says that the Law was given as the “schoolmaster” (KJV), a term for the Greek slave that was responsible for seeing that the master’s son made it to school, was prepared when he got there, and paid attention to the lesson. And that is exactly what the Law did – it prepared the Master’s sons (mankind) for the lesson that they needed a Savior, made sure that they were ready when that Savior arrived, and made them pay attention during His lessons (i.e., His life and death). Did the Greek master change everything just because he brought in the slave? Of course not – the master’s heart and desires changed not in the least, even though he incorporated a different means to accomplish them. Similarly, God isn’t changing horses in mid-stream; rather, He’s tooling along as always, and interjects a huge object lesson (the Law) to help mankind be ready as His ongoing same-old plan unfolds.

                      But, someone will object, saying there are different things that had to be done under the Law than “under Grace.” True. But remember, a major part of the Law was object lesson (OL) – something that was given only in order to grasp the real lesson when it gets there. Circumcision was given as an OL of the need for a “circumcised heart”; the lambs sacrificed were OL of the sacrificed Lamb of God. But God’s truths in it all never changed.

                      But there are additional not object-lesson truths in the Law and the rest of the OT – things that are timeless principles. Psalms, Proverbs, the examples of Ruth and Ezra and David and….
                      Jesus Himself said that He did not come to do away with the Law (i.e., the real truths that the Law was given to show) – thus the underlying truths are still intact.

                    2. Passages

                      Mark, I found the passage, plus another that I think comes into play in this discussion. The latter first….

                      In Ps 82 we find “God has taken his place in divine council” (v1), and in His judgment He levels several accusations and directives, including this one:

                      “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psa 82:4)

                      This argues for the need — the demand — that we stand up for those who are weak and needy, and deliver them from the wicked. That is a strong blow against the passivity of letting a thug do as he wills when it is within our power to deliver those he would harm.

                      Now to the verse I mentioned earlier:

                      “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.”(Exo 22:2)

                      Contextually “thief” is significant here. This is a man whose goal is to steal, not to murder — not even to harm lives. And if someone in the OT woke up and discovered such a thief in his home, if that homeowner ended up killing the man (presuming that the man was there to harm himself or others), then the homeowner was NOT guilty of murder (i.e., “killing” in the 10 Commandments). That’s what God said. And if He didn’t see that as murder, then arguably self-defense against a person who is truly set on killing/harming the man or those within his house is also not murder. I don’t see how it can be understood as anything else.

                      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                        Interesting. The lunch break is over 🙂 but the discussion on murder versus killing is liable to continue. We Anabaptists side on killing is against our beliefs for any reason. One of the first stories that came up was the story of Jacob Hochstetler whose family was attacked by “Indians” in Berks Co., PA, in 1757. When two of his sons wanted to use guns to protect the family, the rest of the family objected saying “Christ never killed nor will we.” Jacob & 2 sons were taken captive but later escaped and or were returned to their families. If our family was attacked I would NOT want anyone to kill to “protect” me. What I’d do if one of my children was in harm is a question I hope never to face. As a Christian I would prefer to lose my life than see another lose his, but again, what a person does in fear is hard to predict.
                        A coworker is saying murder equals killing senselessly while killing in self-defense is considered “justified” but to me I don’t see the difference. Maybe because Anabaptists have a long history of dying for their beliefs? I’m remembering a non-Amish guy talking about how the Nickel Mines school attack would have turned out different if the teacher was armed. Someone else listening asked, “But then she’d need to live the rest of her life knowing she’d sent a sinner to hell.” I’d not thought of it that way and I’m not saying I agree, but it comes to mind.
                        The verse from Psalms I have read before. To me “rescue the weak and needy from the hands of the wicked” always spoke of leading them to Christ and caring for their needs.
                        I looked up Ex. 22:2 and this comes in the Mosaic laws, right? Very OT. I find it hard to believe these Mosaic laws would be relevant to us today, but we find the 10 Commandments in the same book of Moses. I think I see the 10 Comm. as basic Christian values. I mean, a Christian wouldn’t WANT to lie, commit adultery, break the Sabbath, dishonor his parents, right? But Mosaic law was lifted by the New Dispensation, right? Buying Hebrew saves, for example, is surely not NT teaching…
                        Interesting points, though, and thank you for sharing your ideas.

                      2. Mark, for some reason the website is not giving a reply-to link on your last post. Maybe it allows replies only so many layers deep.

                        I can appreciate the history behind the Anabaptist’s stand. And no doubt they have suffered as must as any, and more than a lot. It is a heritage to be proud of (in a good sense of the word).

                        Being the preacher that I am, I hope you will allow me a couple of accompanying thoughts. First, remember that we are not talking martyrdom here (i.e., the topic of this thread). As the case with Stephen, if the time comes when one’s stand for the truth means he is killed for it, then so be it. Such is the case of those I read in the Martyr’s Mirror. But dying for taking a stand on the truth is not a valid defense for dying because one refuses to defend himself.

                        Second, I’m sure that you realize that while one’s traditions may explain why things are the way they are, it isn’t sufficient validation for continuing to adhere to them. Time and again Jesus condemned the Pharisees for holding to the traditions of their elders. It’s not that traditions are necessarily wrong…, but just because it’s the way that we’ve always done it (AKA, traditions) doesn’t make it right either.

                        Also, while I understand the argument (used in the good sense of the word) about I could be taking a life of a sinner bound for hell, there is the counter-argument that if I allow that person to kill me then those that I would have pointed towards God after that time may instead die and themselves go to hell — and that number could possibly be much greater (and more ‘innocent’) than the thug I kill. And before anyone responds with “well, if God allows it then it must be His will,” remember, the very same thing can be said about His allowing my gunshot to kill the thug in the first place. Either it’s all in God’s hands…, or it’s all the result of my free choice — you can’t argue two different ways. And which is worse, living the rest of one’s live knowing they may have “sent a sinner to hell” — a sinner whose actions brought about his own demise — or have one’s dying thoughts be knowing that had they defended themselves dozens may have missed hell — and that due to actions *I* choose to take?

                        Re the Ps. passage, where do you find in that passage any indication that this is a ref. to salvation? I didn’t notice it, and one can not arbitrarily insert a thought into scripture without reason — else he becomes guilty of “adding to the scriptures.”

                        And yes, EX is a part of the Mosaic Law. But I thought I explained in depth how the underlying truths of the Law do not change, even if the surface of it does. You say a Christian should not break the Sabbath, but I bet you do every week (and I do, too). The Sabbath when the 10 Commandments were give was Saturday — beginning at 6:00 on Fri. evening and going to the same time on Sat. evening. Do you rest and worship during those hours on those days? I don’t. And not a single one of the three Amish church services that I have attended were during those days/hours either. The surface portion (the specific day/hours) we change; the underlying principles (rest and worship) are unchangeable. And if you do that in your own practice, then what is the basis for disagreeing with me when I do the same with other aspects of the Law?

                      3. Naomi WIlson

                        Weighing in

                        Just a few thoughts, sorry if I’m not responding to the most relevant post…

                        My understanding is that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount bypasses Mosaic Law and takes us straight back to the original Ten Commandments. That is why Jesus words are: “You have heard that it was said,” in other words, the audience is accustomed to Mosaic law, which put limits on earthly governments. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
                        To deliberately reason away such a crystal clear command is equal to calling Jesus a liar or denying that Jesus is God.

                        The way I see the differences between God’s work in the OT versus NT; a father treats his five year old son in a vastly different way than he treats his twenty five year old son. This doesn’t mean that the nature of the father has changed, just that he is in a different stage of caring for his son.

                      4. Welcome aboard the discussion Naomi

                        Good to add another voice to our discussion. Welcome.

                        Naomi, I don’t really know what to say that I haven’t already said more than once. Jesus said that He didn’t come to do away with the Law. I’ve explained, twice, in great length what Paul said that the Law was to do — that it was to prepare people to see the need for a Savior. I’m not “reasoning away” anything — I’m (to the best of my studied understanding) telling what the Bible itself says on the topic. And I certainly don’t mean to call Jesus a liar or deny that He is God — not in a thousand years.

                        I don’t guess I follow how Jesus could be “bypassing” the Law to go back to the “original 10 Commandments”. The Ten were a part of the Law…, so to bypass the Law would be to bypass them as well. And if one discounts the Law (which neither Jesus nor Paul did), then he also discounts the Ten in the same swoop.

                        There is a degree that I would agree with your illustration — but only a degree. To use a personal illustration, when my son turned 16 I bought him a car to use in high school; however, I didn’t want to thwart his need (IMO) to learn to earn money and pay for his own car before leaving home. So as his senior year rolled around, I told him that at the end of that summer I was going to sell that car, and if he wanted a car for college he would have to earn enough money before the summer was over to buy it (which he did). Did I change from the time that he was 16 and when he was a senior? Not in the least…, but my actions did. The things I valued — e.g., the need for my son to get some experience driving before we “turned him loose on the world,” the need for him to learn responsibility in earning his own way in life — those didn’t change whatsoever. But I needed to change my up-front requirements in order for him to learn what was the higher priority at a given time. The Law did exactly that — it was God amping up the requirements for man in order that when the time came he would be ready for the Savior. Was God different? No way. Had what He valued changed? Nope. Did he treat his children different? Only superficially…, but the underlying demands and truths remain the same through all times.

        6. glen k wilson

          namoi and marc


          1. Katherine

            Mark & Naomi, please don’t dignify this rant with a response, but approach it with prayer instead. Dialogue with unstable people only encourages them and we don’t want to see this site turn into a rant-fest or series of slams.

      2. Ed from NY

        Joe, I find your post rather offensive. Not just your description of people “eating poop and making babies” but comparing the Amish to “sheep”.

        Study up a bit more about the Amish and what they do. A doctrine of nonviolence doesn’t mean embracing those who would do them harm. Nor are Amish mindlessly following a bishop like “sheep”.

        1. Ed, I think a missing comma may have thrown you off. Joe’s post said “They eat they poop,” not that ‘they eat their poop’ — I think it was missing a comma, and should have been “They eat, they poop…,” as two different things.

          But even with that correction made, I too take issue with his belittling- and gross-misrepresentation of a wonderful group of people.

      3. Dave

        Yes Joe, they are metaphysically sheep. They order their lives according to the Bible, and community governance. As to eating, pooping, reproducing you just described 80% of the planet, your point is…?

        1. Poor remaining 20%....

          Oh, no! …there is 20% of the world’s population is isn’t eating and pooping?!

          Erik, I learn some very fascinating facts from your website! 😉

          (/removing tongue from cheek)

          1. Melissa W.

            Don Burke, I loved your comment about the 20% not eating and pooping. It gave me a good laugh.

    7. Alice Mary

      Human, not God

      I’m in agreement with Don Burke, in that forgiveness doesn’t require forgetfulness. We are, after all, HUMAN, and not God. We can try to be more God-like, but alas, we never will be in our lives on this earth…that’s part of what it means to be human. Humans learn lessons, and hopefully remember what they learn in order to adapt to what they’ve learned, and to teach other humans (children, for example) to benefit from what they’ve learned.

      Obviously, no matter how much the Amish trust in God, I doubt if they let their young children run into traffic, willy-nilly, expecting that God will not let them get hurt or killed. I also doubt that the Amish who have heard of what happened to these young girls will not be more vigilant, taking care to “watch out” for their own children selling their goods beyond arm’s reach. If God gave us common sense, it must be because He meant for us to use it.

      I am glad the girls are home, and pray that they and their family & community will help them cope & move on to live happy, productive lives. God bless them all!

      Alice Mary

      1. Dirk

        Well put Alice Mary.
        The Bible forbids us to put a stumbling block before the blind, which on a spiritual level would imply not to put temptations before the morally and ethically weak. For by our slackness to detail, we will tempt them to commit crimes for the flesh is weak to resist temptations.
        Practically this means putting a lock on ones shed, not leaving valuables lying around, not flashing money around in public, not placing one’s children in a situation that invites predators, etc.

        Once we have taking all reasonable human precautions for safety and security as permitted by the ordnung, our welfare is then as always, in God’s hands. May His name be blessed.

    8. Carolyn B

      Thanks for the follow up posts, Erik. Keep them coming as this case and the healing progress too, please.

      This is true forgiveness in action. To be mindful of the enemy so soon after the event. I’m sure they are furious inside and will hurt for ages but they have left open the door for God to come in and heal their family and community of this evil that came into their midst.
      God bless the Miller girls, their parents, siblings and community.

    9. Gary Counterman

      Remembering, Learning and Forgiving

      The Amish practice of forgiveness, of not harboring grudges, of not seeking revenge and being able to move on; while also not forgetting they were wronged and using the experience as one to learn from, is remarkably mature and very spiritually advanced.

      If we were all practicing the act of forgiveness as the Amish do, can you imagine how our lives could be transformed and what a healthier place our communities would be?

      The Amish seem to understand and accept responsibility for the choices they make and are aware that those choices will have an effect on not just themselves, but on their family and their community as a whole.

      Interestingly these concepts could work for people of any belief system or culture, you wouldn’t need to be Christian or Amish to be a better or more forgiving person. What we need to be is less self absorbed, less materialistic and less self indulgent, we might then begin to understand the type of forgiveness the Amish practice and the value it adds to their lives.

      1. Forgiving too quickly

        Gary, I have lived the Amish life, and from my experience, I would say that most Amish forgive too quickly. When we rush to forgive, we short-circuit the healing process. It could take a long time for those girls to heal from this trauma. If the father is already feeling sorry for the perpetrators, then it seems to me he is misplacing his compassion. His girls need his compassion, and they also need professional help. This is not the kind of crime they can put behind them and move on. Trust me, I know of what I speak.

        Amish or not Amish, healing is its own process and needs its own time. My heart goes out to those girls, and I just hope that they get the understanding and counseling they need. First to survive, and eventually to thrive.

        In the most conservative groups – such as the one in Heuvelton – counseling is not a given. Let’s hope in the same way that the community has been more cooperative with the media, that they will realize that they need outside help.

        Another thing that breaks my heart is how this community does not emphasize learning proper English, especially for the women. In a given school, the teacher gets to decide whether the children are allowed to speak their own language, or whether they speak English. So if they don’t learn English in school, the men who have more contact with the outside world learn English through their interactions. The girls don’t learn proper English at all. The younger girl didn’t know any English. And the older one knew some.

        There is no sex education in most Amish communities. That means these girls had no clue what was happening to them. What a horrible way to learn.

        Maybe we can learn to forgive better than we do, for I have seen some pretty hateful spewing on other sites towards the perpetrators. That doesn’t help the situation. But let’s hope that the Amish will also learn from the mainstream culture… that forgiveness and healing go together and that sometimes they need to reach for help in dealing with things that are out of their reach. I don’t think the Amish can fix this one. Those girls are going to need help. I pray that they will get it.

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          I agree with you Saloma. I am grateful that in our setting professional counselling (through Spring-Haven, Woodside Rest, Hoffnung Heim, Milltown in Wooster, etc.) is available and used by our community. Some are long-term residential facilities while others are walk-in psychiatrists. Healing takes time — and we know this from experience, gel.
          When my wife 7 I were younger any “sex education” came from parents or the little Pathway booklets. We have seen this change in our lifetime and there is more teaching for our children and more open discussion. (Thankfully. A non-Amish friend says he sees that in the outside world also.) But for Swartzentrubers — it’s still no change. I feel they are neglecting their duty as parents. Same for English. We can tell just to hear it when it’s a Swartzentruber or Abie talking. The school our children went to had the rule that once the 8:00 AM bell went, it was English language only until school dismissed at 3:00 PM. An occasional forgetful Dutch was overlooked, but if it happened too often, there was consequences. As parents we supported that, wanting our children to learn proper English and to be comfortable with it.

          1. Mark, I think the mainstream Holmes County Amish are a shining example for the rest of the Amish in many ways. I am glad to hear that you educate your children about sex in an appropriate way.

            I know, learning English in school was mandatory in my community also. It seems so basic, given the Amish live inside of an English-speaking world.

            Thank you for your comments.

    10. Debra McCullar

      Well I as a faulty human being and a Christian do not judge them. I realize we are all frail and forgiveness is also a day by day venture. As to what ifs not my place to judge that either but then I am not a pacifist and see no sin in protecting my family or my neighbor and also need to promise of help to offer help in return. Bless you all I will keep this family and the families of the perpetrators in my prayers. Pax et Bonum

    11. Terry Berger

      In response to several comments....

      Though I’m not in their shoes, I would venture to say that ‘forgiving’ means not harboring any ‘ill will’ toward those involved which would include any sort of retaliation; and ‘not forgetting’ would be along the lines of doing everything humanly possible not to let the situation repeat itself. Granted this is from Brethren perspective. Sorry that some need to be so tedious over words…. Erik, thanks again for everything you do and provide on this site!!


      1. Thank you Terry! If there ever was a topic worth discussing, forgiveness would be on the list.

    12. Don Curtis


      I asked my Amish son, Mark, to explain this to me better. Especially, the part about the difference between forgiveness and forgetting the transgression.

      Mark tried to explain it to me using this example that happened in his community. About two and a half years ago an Amish school teacher in his community was on her way home on her bike. It was after dark. She was wearing a reflective vest and a red strobe light on her bike. She was struck and instantly killed by a driver who left her dead in the ditch. He left the scene so it couldn’t be proved that he was drunk, but he probably was. He was finally found. Convicted. Received three months in jail.

      Amish forgiveness was evidenced in that her family refused to press charges or attend court hearings. They forgave him, shared their grief with each other and the church and went on with their lives as best they were able.

      Amish remembering comes to play in that the youth girls in the community made a small flower bed with a stone bench dedicated to the deceased on the spot where she was found after life had fled.
      A year later, at the Sunday evening youth singing, as close as possible to the anniversary date of thethe young woman death, after the parting hymn, all the youth girls sang a hymn “I want to meet you, again, in Heaven.” Mark said that many tears were shed.

      This past summer Mark told me that all of the deceased teacher’s relatives, (parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc.) got together on a weekend for the installation of the grave stone for the deceased.

      Mark said that these kind of remembrances are common among the Amish. Remembering in love. Not in bitterness or holding hatred.

      Also, perhaps, in the forgiving but not forgetting aspect is that due to two different instances of deaths in the community due to individuals being struck by drunk drivers, the community invited the sheriff to come and give a safety presentation. Many attended. Mark says that, now, almost everyone in the community uses reflective safety vests and have very bright LED stobe lights on their bikes. Just some of Mark’s ideas on forgiving and yet remembering.

      1. Debra McCullar

        Love the explanation. As to forgiveness. It is a hard but rewarding row to hoe. Took me years to fully forgive my uncle. Praying for these girls, their families, and their abusers. I have no right or desire to judge anyone here that right is God’s alone.

    13. Valerie


      This topic tears at the heart of former Amish that leave their communities to join other Christian churches- they read stories like this, where Amish can forgive horrible crimes, without the ones who hurt them showing any sign of repentance or remorse.

      So they cannot understand, why when they leave Amish life to join say a Baptist church or other denomination-that they cannot be forgiven but are shunned- and forever lose their family.

      It sends a mixed message to former Amish that are hurting over losing their parents because they want to worship differently.
      They would ask, where is the forgiveness for them?

      1. Forgiveness and Shunning

        In the Amish mind, shunning someone who has left the community is different than not forgiving them. They claim they forgive us, but they believe we will not be meeting in heaven. In other words, we are the only ones they JUDGE. The Amish are actually non-judgmental about other religions, UNLESS you were born Amish and leave.

        I realize this many years later, that if I hadn’t been shunned, my life would have turned out quite differently. I would have still wanted to stay in the good graces of the Amish, and so I may not have made the choices I did, such as earning a Smith College degree, or writing about my life for fear the Amish wouldn’t approve. Being shunned by the people in my original community has given me a feeling of freedom, like I have nothing to lose by following my dreams.

        I wouldn’t exactly say I like being shunned, but I live far enough away from my community, and I don’t have the connections I once had in the community since my parents have left this world.

        Shunning someone has a very different function in an Amish community than forgiveness. Just wanted to make that point.

        1. Lance

          The Amish are non-judgmental about other sects of Christianity and religions, but not just because they are trying not to judge them based on Mt 7. A lot of this lack of judge is simple ignorance about those others and no interest in learning either. One thing though, when a former leaves under the bann and joins another church and that church has little or no separation from the world, the Amish look no further and keep the bann because they see that other church as not see all of God Word.

          Some Amish see their way as something holy and use Mt 7:6 to keep the definition of that way private to church members only. If the way is ‘holy’ and a person has changed from that way to what the Amish define as worldly, the bann won’t be dropped. That person has to come back to the church that put them in the bann and repent and reconcile to remove the bann. Joining a very different church with very different standards or no standards at all does not qualify. Some Amish won’t even give a letter of recommendation to people moving to another Amish community if they feel that the other community is too different or too worldly. No one that is in what is considered the world should expect the bann to be dropped by joining a church ‘out there’.

          As Saloma points out, shunning and forgiveness are different issues.

          1. Shunning varies from one community to another

            Lance, what you are saying is true of my home community, but there are some Amish communities that will lift the bann if a person joins a Mennonite community, or Brethren or something like that. I know that the mainstream churches in Holmes County do that, and I believe in Northern Indiana as well.

            I don’t think I would speak for the Amish about WHY they are non-judgmental. Otherwise I would be judging them.

        2. Mark - Holmes Co.

          You make some good points, Saloma. There is a BIG variety in Amish churches and to say we all think or work the the same is wrong. Let’s also not forget “shunning” applies only to unrepentant members who are members because they asked to be baptized as adults and made vows on their knees to God and the church affirming their desire to be part of the body of believers, support the church’s teaching and standards, and remain faithful. To me that vow is just as sacred as marriage vows.
          I have relatives who grew up Amish and did not join church. One is married to a Baptist minister, another married a practicing Catholic. We have very good relationships as a family. We also have relatives who joined the Amish church then later joined Conservative & Liberal Mennonite churches and they are not shunned despite the fact they have cars, blue jeans, whatever, may or may not wear a covering. The beliefs are the same. In the case where a person is shunned, in our church this does not mean they lose their
          family. I have a brother-in-law who has been “shunned” and though he & his non-Amish wife split up and both have issues with drugs, etc., he lives at home and my mother-in-law cares for him & his children and we, as a family, are trying our best to help him get on his feet. So much for a shunned person losing their family, support, love, etc. It is true she does not eat at the table with him, but she lovingly serves his meals, etc. As a born-again Christian and member of an Amish church, I find the comments made elsewhere that Amish are not “born again” rather troubling. On the other hand, it really should not matter to me because what is important is that God knows whether I am His or not.
          So many of the people we hear of who have had painful experiences leaving the Amish church come from the very Conservative groups. To be honest, many of the moderate to liberal Amish groups feel very sorry for those who leave such groups because their experience is going to be very different. In the same subject, I personally know an ex-Jehovah Witness who has been shunned to a degree even the Swartzentruber Amish would find extreme.

          1. Debra McCullar

            Thank You Mark and Saloma

            Thanks for more insight into Amish thought and belief. The more Amish fiction I read the less realistic it sounds. So many books out their slant Amish faith towards a less Christcentric view as it was. Some even push the thought that witch craft or magic are preferred tp prayer and medicine. I thought surely this was nonsense. That said I cannot as a Plain Catholic understand all this family is going through but as a mom and a survivor of sexual assault I have some understanding. Will continue in prayer

            1. Mark - Holmes Co.

              The whole Amish-fiction idea is enough to create a new topic in itself. I’ve read a few of those and was disgusted at how non-Amish authors show us and how innocent readers assume the books are accurate. After reading a few I was like “No wonder tourists think some of what they do!”
              I once wrote to one of the “big” Amish authors about how her way of showing us is very misleading & damaging and she wrote back “I am the author and I know what my readers want.”
              Anyone could write Amish fiction: Just take a Rachel, Ruth, or Rebecca, a mysterious non-Amish stranger, a psychotic Bishop threatening “shunning”, a barn fire & raising, a quilting or two, a few Dutch phrases (they don’t need to be accurate – the readers won’t know the difference), shake well and season with shoo-fly pie, slap a non-Amish model in a hilariously wrong head-covering on the cover and put “The” in the title (The Shunning, The Choice, The
              Leaving) and put it out to buy and rake in thousands.
              If you want real Amish novels, try those written by real Amish people, like Linda Byler, Miriam Bender (her pen-name) or the like. Don’t be disappointed, though, to find they are much less dramatic than the fake stuff. 🙂

              1. Debra McCullar

                Actually. My favorite books have been Amish Proverbs and the like and one book written in cooperation wwith an Amish author and an English one. Also I did read a book called In Their Own Words or something where Amish women told their stories and shared recipe. Much better as I was not seeking romance but real life. Oddly I feel like I am almost listening to my great grandmothers stories as she quilts and bakes again. By simplifying my own life I feel more connected to those Christian women who came before me in my family. Odd but there it is.

            2. Amish fiction not a good depiction of the culture

              Debra, I’m so glad you see how fake those Amish romance books are. And you are right, they distort the healing touch some Amish use to make it sound like witchcraft. And the Amish are lost souls.

              Most of us who grew up Amish cannot stand to read these books because the depictions of the culture and way of thinking are so wrong.

              If you want to read more accurate depictions, Linda Byler’s books get them right. She is actually Amish, and knows of what she writes.

              Don’t forget, Debra, I have written two books about what my Amish life was like: “Why I Left the Amish” and “Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds.” The second one is complete with a true romance.

              Sorry, Erik, for shamelessly peddling my wares 🙂

    14. Carol

      Very good point, Valerie.

    15. Valerie

      Mindset of Amish-

      Saloma, I don’t really see trying to understand the Amish on these type of things as judging them, I guess I have a different understanding of judging sometimes. We observe these types of practices and we try to understand them in comparison to our own interpretations of the Scriptures because they do handle some things so differently than mainstream Christianity-to be sure. I’ve known a variety of former Amish-and people close to them, and have spoken in depth to Amish, so I understand the shunning practice but it seems most formers I see post are really perplexed, seem to think the Amish are not born again and so really don’t respect their interpretations anyway. I do know, that you are correct from what I’ve witnessed if they have joined another church that still hold to some core values they will lift the bann- but most denominations do not believe in headcoverings, nor take the non-resistance stand-and if those have been forsaken, Amish seem to believe then, that those who have left have fallen into deception and not original Anabaptist doctrines. Then they will see the need for them to repent of forsaking those- (and some other practices in the world). We had a friend who recently married and although him and his wife came from Old Order (and wife’s dad was a Old Order minister) both families came to the wedding- probably because they are still conservative Mennonite, believe in covering, etc-

      1. Understanding versus judgment

        I think the difference between understanding and judgment for me is clear. If we try to understand, we can do so without judgment. The moment we get into saying their way is wrong, I think we are judging.

        Very often those who have left do become born-again Christians. Often it seems like they are then pointing their fingers back at the Amish saying they are not saved, while the Amish are pointing their fingers at those of us who have left saying we are lost.

        I believe I am responsible for the choices I make and for walking the spiritual path that is right for me. It’s not for me to choose the path for others, nor do I want to judge others for the path they walk.

        I don’t actually know which churches are “acceptable” to those Amish who lift the Bann — it may actually vary from one congregation to another.

        I think it’s important not to put all of us who’ve left under the same umbrella. And the same with the Amish… there is actually a lot of variation in their Ordung from one community to another, and even from one congregation to another within a given community.

    16. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      death and morning; apples and oranges

      My impression of the Amish is that they don’t intentionally show their grief publicly, for instance, after a horrific murder like what happened in Penn., several years ago, as English society might.

      In my community there was a television news reported overdose death of a late teen, early twenties woman, and a stabbing resulting in death of a thirteen year old boy. In both cases family and friends said that they don’t want such a thing to ever happen again, sadly it will on both cases, but typically in comparison to conservative faith groups like the Amish on whichever levels, these where very showy and elaborate “look at me, I’m mourning” shows of grief on local television which the Amish do not appear to do.

      Although to be fair, the one relations in the one story locally did, although tearfully, advocate work needs to be done to prevent such a thing from happening again (I forget which, the stabbing or the overdose, it doesn’t matter here). [I also recall the woman in the stabbing story saying that she thought for her family forgiveness would come eventually, but wasn’t sure when, so yeah, there is that tie to Amish philosophy kind of]

      The point is, Amish grief is (seems to be) less showy and subdued, although no less passionate I would imagine, than “English” mourning especially in high profile cases.

      Please confirm the following for me:

      I am making an assumption that the Amish do not directly participate in the creation of roadside memorials to motor/buggy accident death victims in the way English society does, for example, tying ribbons to street lights or roadside safety barriers especially if there the dead is a young person just starting their life, like the way English people sometimes like to do, or do they?

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I was just going to write that I’ve never seen an Amish roadside memorial or cross put up by Amish people, though I know of one that was put up by a non-Amish friend to mark where an Amish friend was killed, but then I remembered what happened in Walnut Creek years ago. A little Amish boy was killed near the end of his driveway. His mother edits and publishes the “Keepers at Home” magazine for Christian women and she wrote about how he had never before run beyond the line the children had as their boundary. Anyhow, he was hit & killed. The last time I noticed, the little white cross & flowers planted were still there. That’s the only one I know of. An Amish family will be more apt to have a memorial scrapbook, or at least in our circle.
        Is Amish grief more quiet? I’ve been to non-Amish funerals and I think there is a difference, but I’d say we are more used to seeing more emotion at the end of the funeral when the family has the final viewing before the coffin is closed. For me that is when it really feels “final.”

      2. Hello,

        I had never heard of them doing that, but the touching story by Don Curtis above is an example where a garden was planted in the place where an Amish woman was killed on her bicycle.

        Remember, I have been out of my community for 34 years, and many of these things vary from one community to another. I would not be able to say for all.

        Oh, I just noticed Mark’s examples of roadside memorials and his description of an Amish funeral and the final viewing is how I remember them also.

    17. Jeannie

      Father Of Abducted Girls

      Praise YHWH for the girls returning home, and although I am so glad they are safe.. I am so grieved at what they endured..

      I will not be shocked if the Amish communities here in around the North Country do become a lil wary of folks they normally dont see at their stand.. I try to make every effort to be courteous to my Amish neighbors and we try to converse with them, so they know my family and I are here to be good neighbors.

      Some are very nice and do talk, then we have the few that dont even look at us. To each his own I suppose.

      Saloma: You hit it spot on sister, we each are responsible for our spiritual walk and who are we to cast judgement..

      1. Thank you, Jeannie, for your kind comment. I encounter many people who seem to be convinced it is their responsibility to get me on the “right” spiritual path. That’s my responsibility. Thanks for the understanding.

    18. City Slicker

      Actions Speak Louder than Words

      The Amish are building a replacement garage for the couple who helped return the abducted girls:

      “Amish Family Shows Gratitude”


      If the link isn’t highlighted, cut and paste

      1. Catherine Segal

        Father of Abducted Girls

        City Slicker’s recent comment, along with Jeanine’s, are what I was hoping to see somewhere in this thread.

        The kidnapping of the 2 girls is beyond tragic, and the vague comments about their abuse heart wrenching. Somehow, someway they will need counseling or they will live the tragedy day and night forever. To use an old saying ‘been there/done that’. Had to do it on my own after graduating high school, but I did it, and it helped 10 fold.

        But seeing that the parents of the young girls are helping to build the couple who found the girls a new barn gives me a sliver of hope that the parents will find a way to get the girls some counseling.


    19. Jeannie

      Father Of Abducted Girls

      I gotta tell ya folks, it is the weirdest thing to see my local newspaper making the rounds on a website I frequent… even more humbling to know that dear excommunicated Amish friends of mine are related to those two girls.. as we had supper with them and the plight of the young girls were brought up in discussion.

      Bu I think it is absolutely wonderful that the father of the girls is then turning around and blessing the family that helped bring the girls home. I just cant help but think how the Holy Scriptures say, what Satan intended for Evil, YHWH will turn it around to make something good come about. I pray that these two families from separate “worlds” will become wonderful friends..

    20. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Don, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I guess we will have to “agree to disagree.”
      The self-defense argument or subject really puts a very different spin on the book I’m reading right now “At the End of the Spear.”

      1. Mark, I have enjoyed the discussion. And I certainly am okay with agreeing to disagree — I have to do that quite often. However, maybe it is my knowing that it is only through God’s truth that we are set us free, and/or my love for people (who need the freedom that comes from such truth), but it hurts my heart when what appears to be Biblical truth is present, it isn’t/can’t be refuted, but it’s walked away from with a simple agree-to-disagree remark. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not above being wrong…, but long years of study have confirmed my stance, and so far nothing has been given here to show where it is in error. I’m a firm believer that we either are freed by the truth, or we’re left to be enslaved by a lie. If there is solid reason showing that my thinking on a topic is wrong, I want to know because I don’t want to be enslaved by a lie; but if I’m right, well, it hurts my soul to that know others may suffer the same kind of enslavement. So I hope that explains why sometimes agree-to-disagree is a place that I can let the discussion rest…, but at the same time it can just pain my heart.

        Thanks again for an friendly and enjoyable discussion. Hope you have a very blessed day!

        1. Mark - Holmes Co.

          You, too, Don. I think it is interesting to discuss things with other people even if “only” by computer. There was a small book I was looking for, but I’ve apparently loaned my copy out. It is called “Why I Do Not Take the Sword,” and I believe it was put out by Rod & Staff Publishers. I’m afraid I can’t quote it, but you might find it interesting.
          Let us pray for each other and seek God’s leading.

          1. Thanks for the suggested book. I don’t see it listed in the places I normally order through, but will keep an eye open. What I am seeing about it suggests that it’s mostly biographical — and while I can genuinely appreciate understanding someone’s perspective on a subject, it will obviously require the book to deal with “thus saith the Lord” to alter my own.

            Prayers said…, and appreciated!

            1. Mark - Holmes Co.

              I’ve probably gotten the title mixed up. The one I was looking for was a Biblical look at non-resistance. I’ll keep looking. Too many books go on & off my shelves and I am really good at mixing titles & authors up.

              1. My bad, Mark. I misrepresented the situation in my last comment. I did find the book by the title you mentioned; it’s just that it isn’t listed as being available there.

                Is this the one:


    21. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Don, I recognize this book and have read it & liked it, but it is not the Biblical explanation I was thinking of, so I’ve gotten titles & content mixed up again. I believe the one I am thinking of was put out by Rod & Staff. I’ll look around. The drawbacks of being a bookworm and having too many books, ha ha.

      1. Can you have *too* many books?

        I hear ya. I started cataloging my books (on computer) — I got up to around 1,500 of them entered…, and I stalled. And keeping up with them mentally is getting harder by the day. 😉

        Yeah, would love to know the book when you come up with it.

    22. Gayle Grabowski

      Thank you Mark and Don!

      I just wanted to say Thank You! for your willingness to share your discussion on this very relevant topic. I have learned so much from both of you!
      Our American government is continuing to negotiate a cease fire between Israel and Hamas, while simultaneously orchestrating air strikes in an effort to defeat ISIS. Are we certain we will be successful at either endeavor?
      We overthrew Saddam Husein and killed Osama Bin Laden, now we have ISIS – what other terrorist group will be created if we are successful in neutralizing ISIS? And how far are we willing to go in our desire to defeat these threats?
      Is there not another way to defeat these groups who have been very outspoken in their desire to destroy our country? And if nonresistance is an alternative, how can this be applied? Is there historical precedence of public policy successfully implementing a nonresistant stance?
      Is the stance of nonresistance really just not getting involved? I am not convinced it is – and I am not convinced we should just ignore the threats being made to our country and its citizens either.
      Don, your explanation of the applicability of Mosaic Law was truly enlightening – this has never been explained so eloquently to me before.
      Mark, your honesty and your defense of nonresistance was thought provoking. My family and I are currently reading two books, “Why We Are Conscientious Objectors to War” by William R McGrath and “Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War” by Lehman and Nolt. My two teenage sons are considering military service, and though I do not believe I should prohibit them from serving, I do feel I have an obligation to teach them the responsibility associated with serving in the military, and what serving means to a Christian. I need them to be able to live with the consequences of their actions. But I am not convinced a perpetual war will resolve this situation.
      Thank you both again for letting us “listen in.” I have alot more research to do…

      1. Thank *You*!

        Gayle, thank you for such a sweet compliment. I am grateful that you have been able to find the discussion useful. And I will agree with you that Mark has certainly brought some kind and thoughtful insights to the table.

        I would also agree with you that, were one of my children entering the military, I would want to try to share with them a Christian/Biblical perspective on it. I doubt that Mark will agree with me on this, but I find the Bible to have several acknowledgements of the proper place for military service. David, Joshua, Moses, Cornelius (Acts), Paul’s regular use of the soldier theme to illustrate the Christian life — all of these lead me to believe that we can’t just write off soldiering as altogether wrong.

        And I share your concern about “a perpetual war” — but isn’t that what Jesus said that there would be? — “wars and rumors of war”…, and not to let that dishearten us too much? Personally, I tend to think that what the wise man said about individuals is also true on the national level: “When a man’s [or nation’s] ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov 16:7). I think that at least part of the reason that we face so much of conflict is because we as a nation aren’t pleasing God.

        But that said, I have to admit that I don’t know all the pertinent information that our leaders do about the situations elsewhere. And IMO it is presumptuous (if not arrogant) for me who knows so little about the specifics to be critical of our governmental leaders who make the decisions and who know more than I do about it. I can — and do — point out and stand against those things (moral and otherwise) that they do contrary to “thus saith the Lord;” but beyond simply stating where they go against the Biblical guidelines, it’s not my place to judge them on what I know relatively little about. Just my $.02.

        Thanks again — and glad to have you along for the ride. 😉

      2. Marcus

        Gayle, about serving the military.
        Me, personally, I wouldn’t serve the US military for a million dollars (who aint worth the paper they aren’t printed on anyways…), why do you americans always have the misunderstanding that the US army serves your interests as a people? The US army serves your government, and your government serves the banks.

        The banks need to make sure that ALL oil-producing nations sell their oil in dollars and not other currencies no matter what, because the gold that used to back the dollar is long gone. They need something else to back it to ensure it’s value and as it seems, oil is just about the only natural resource able to do the job. Hence, the ‘Petrodollar’. Every time a nation wants so sell their oil in another currency than dollar, a propaganda campaign is launched in US mass media in order to get the peoples opinion for a “military intervention” for whatever reason they’ll come up with. When enough lies have been said and their agenda is acheived the troops are sent in. The pattern keeps repeating itself over and over again! Libya is a perfect example of this, with it’s new Gold dinar and the following attack from USA. And you wouldn’t have any ISIS if USA had left Iraq and Saddam Hussein alone in the first place. ISIS is an AMERICAN CREATION.

        America with all it’s pointless wars is bringing more and more hate and new enemies towards itself, and your international reputation is getting worse and worse every day with every new atrocity.

        That being said, I understand completely that your sons are free to do whatever they want. You do good to try to explain to them what it would mean from a christian point of view to serve an army. My take on an issue like this is that america would be so much better off internationally if it would have remained neutral as it were a long time ago. If all americans refused to serve the army, whoever leads your country would have much lesser means to ruin your reputation by going around telling other countries what to do, using military attacks to communicate. And oh, the sons of american families wouldn’t have to go to these wars and die for completely pointless reasons either, that’s something too isn’t it?

        I hope this will give you some understanding how america and it’s reprehensible behaviour with the military looks to us living “on the other side of the pond”. I could also write a ton of stuff about US/NATO provokings in Europe against Russia and what suffering that might cause to us, but I’ll save that for some other time…


        Best wishes
        Marcus, Sweden

        1. Donald F.


          And this has ?????? to do with Amish America? Come on…

          1. Marcus

            Well, Erik did say it was ok to go off topic a little bit as long as we behave. 🙂

            I just wanted to try and make an example of possible consequences when taking to the sword (which has been heavily discussed in this thread), in this case joining the US army.

        2. glen k wilson

          THIS IS MARCUS


          1. InalienableWrights

            Hitler and revisionsit history

            It pains me to see people that parrot the government school taught revisionist history.

            Hitler was a product of Wall Street and the City of London just like many other dictators were. (i.e Stalin, Mao, Sadam Heusane

            I don’t have the time or inclination to debate the point. I just hope that it motivates some of you to dig into the matter>

            Here is one possible starting point:


            1. Marcus

              A reply to InalienableWrights and Glen

              InalienableWrights: There are indeed lots to find out about history and current events if one is willing to examine everything with an open mind, including mainstream media news reporting (and the lack thereof in some cases), official government statements, “truths” you learned in school that are taboo to question and so on. I’d like to point out that I think Saddam Hussein probably wasn’t the best leader ever to rule a nation, but at least there was some degree of stability in Iraq before USA put him out, unlike the complete anarchy that seems to be prevailing there today.


              1. Should we be glad that a war came in between Sweden and Germanys old ties with each other? I highly doubt we’d speak german as native language, but perhaps we would be bilingual having german as second language which would be of great benefit. Mind you, german is the second largest language group in Europe and a very large part of white americans have german speakers as ancestors (do I even need to mention the Amish?).

              2. Sweden is NOT a member of NATO (but the government have been working in secret for some time to gradually affiliate us, completely against the common public opinion that we should be neutral). Also, we do have our own military and it’s main objective today is to follow mainly USA along on it’s international warfare, instead of defending our homeland.

              3. Do I think we are some sort of superior nation? Absolutely not. People here, like in many other places, are getting more distant from God all the time. And we are starting to reap the fruits thereof.

              1. glen k wilson

                marcus 2


                GOOD BYE

    23. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Don, not to keep on about a subject, but you came to my mind last evening when we had our family devotions. In the devotional book our family is reading, yesterday’s topic was Non-resistance. One of the scriptural readings was was Matt. 5: 38-42. Verse 39 really stood out to me: “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” In the PA Dutch column, this is written as “Avvah ich sawk eich; diah sellet naett zrikk fechta geyyich en evilah mensch. Vann ebbah eich uff da rechts bakka shlakt, sella diah da anna bakka aw anna hayva.”
      In the devotional chapter, Maximilian was mentioned. I’ll copy two paragraphs:
      Maximilian lived in Numidia, in Northern Africa. At age 21, in 295 A.D., he was conscripted to serve in the Roman Army. He believed Jesus’s words in the daily reading and said, “I cannot serve as a soldier; I cannot do evil; I am a Christian.”
      Repeatedly, the recruiting officer, Dion, tried to persuade Maximilian to be a soldier. When they threatened to take his life if he wouldn’t take the lives of others, he calmly stated, “I shall not perish, but when I have forsaken this world, my soul shall live with Christ my Lord.” He became a martyr for his non-resistant stand.
      I thought this tied in well with our discussion. Take it for what it’s worth.

      1. Mark, it is no problem to me in any way to add to our discussion. Myself, I enjoy the back-and-forth kept on this friendly level, and apparently it is helping others as we go. So for my part, feel free to add whatever and whenever you like.

        It is neat how either happenstance or God’s intervention bring applicable things into our lives that fit with other things that we’ve been discussing or thinking about. And yes, I’ve heard these verses from Matthew cited in discussions of this topic a number of times. I find it interested that this scripture is used in defense against military involvement…, when in fact a part of it actually involves helping the military of that day. V41 that speaks of ‘going the extra mile’ is a ref. to the laws of the day that allowed a soldier to demand that a citizen help carry the soldier’s gear for up to a mile. Jesus, rather, demanded that we ‘double-down’ and put go twice as far — not exactly an anti-soldiering stance, IMO.

        You probably know this, but for the sake of others that may not: V38 is a ref. to the OT Law that called for judges to mete out fair punishment, and in certain situations that fair punishment was to do unto the perpetrator what he had done to his victim. Jesus here isn’t countering that earlier demand of God (how could He, since he did not come to overthrow the Law?). What He is speaking to (as also seen in v39-40) is instead a person-to-person relationship. What had happened is that individual people had presumed upon themselves to “play judge and jury”, and had misapplied the OT law in order to justify it. Jesus is saying (in essence), “Hey, you’re not the judge here, so you can’t use this law to legitimize your actions against your neighbor that has done something to you. You can’t take that kind of action in order to ‘resist evil.’ Instead, you should go to the other extreme — since you’re not the judge (who is the one to mete out justice) but rather a peer with the one who has offended you, then your focus isn’t on justice. Instead, it should be focused on loving your neighbor (which, obviously, you haven’t been doing).” This is about Jesus correcting the misuse of an OT law…, and realigning the love-motivation that the people should have been basing their actions upon instead.

        Thanks for sharing the story of Maximilian. I have heard the name at times before, but if I ever heard the story behind it I had forgotten. Of course it’s not exactly a parallel to compare (and I’m not saying that that is your intentions) a man being conscripted to the Roman Army in the third century to a person volunteering or even drafted to one’s own army of today. I have a good friend from seminary that is an army chaplain, and I think I know him well enough to believe that he wouldn’t be a part of all the stuff that the Roman soldiers were guilty of back in that day. But even though we can’t put the outside-the-Bible incident on equal par with “thus saith the Lord,” or even the Bible examples (David, Joshua, etc.), Max. does serve as a good example of what we should be willing to do when even our legitimate authorities demand of us something that the Bible expressly forbids. Ah, but that is the real issue, is it not — does the Bible in fact expressly forbid it or not?

        Thanks again for sharing. Wishing you and yours a great day!

      2. Another thought for the mix....

        Mark, I had a thought come to mind related to our ongoing discussion here. Have you ever considered how Jesus’ word in Luke 22:36 come into play on this topic? Obviously there are situations when it’s not appropriate to “stand one’s ground” (e.g., when the Son of God is to be taken by soldiers in order to be killed in order that He can provide eternal life for all the world (Mt 26:52)). But have you noticed what Jesus said just a few hours prior to that (the Luke 22:36 passage)? He told His disciples that there is a time when it’s not only appropriate to have a weapon of self-defense (sword), but it’s such an important thing to have that if it requires selling the coat that keeps you warm in order to get one, then do so — implying that the self-defense weapon is mighty important.

        And also notice that in v38 those disciples said, “Look, we have two swords already.” So, either they were stealing swords from their rented upper room (and I’m not inclined to think so)…, or these followers of the Son of God who daily walked personally with them and could have called all the legions of angels from heaven to protect them — even they carried weapons of personal defense around with them.

        Obviously we can’t take all the actions of the disciples as if they have God’s stamp of approval. But when Jesus says, “Boys, make fer sur’ you got your six-shooters with ya (or the then-current version of it), then IMO it’s hard to make a case against being both willing to and armed to defend oneself.

    24. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Don. I might add though that I didn’t think of military matters in V. 39, but I did think of an incident that happened in our neighborhood recently where something was thrown at some Amish youth on bikes. (And it likely had little to do with them being Amish, as the same vehicle was also targeting mailboxes & traffic signs.) In that case, “turn the other cheek” meant getting off the road until all was quiet and not getting “mad.” 🙂
      Good wishes for you & yours, too.

      1. You are right, Mark — the military aspect is not the kernel truth in the v39 passage. If my response implied that, my apologies. My point was just the irony of this passage being used against military and other forms of “resistance” when in fact in making its main point it uses an illustration that in effect helps the military (or at least those who are a part of it).

    25. Mark - Holmes Co.

      No, I didn’t think you meant a military aspect. I was saying it never occurred to me to connect it to military service.

    26. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Naomi. I’ve been thinking this over a lot the last few days and I tend to agree with you that the God I serve could not possibly ask me to harm or kill another person for any reason, whether for self-protection or to act aggressively. I continue to see the Sermon on the Mount as the blueprint for a Godly life.

      1. InalienableWrights

        “….the God I serve could not possibly ask me to harm or kill another person for any reason, whether for self-protection or to act aggressively…”

        Can you imagine the world that you would live if your ideal were carried out by even the police? You must not support them at all if you are being intellectually consistent…

        I can’t imagine living in the world that you envision. It would be hell on Earth.

        1. Will

          Better hell on earth and heaven afterward. Read Anabaptist history — those people endured a taste of hell on earth and still stuck to their beliefs. That’s why I’m grateful to live in America — we have freedom to choose these things and my respect for any man willing to live and/or die for his beliefs is unshaken. Our inalienable rights give us the freedom to follow our consciences. Kudos to Mark for having the courage to live his beliefs!

        2. IW, while Mark and I don’t agree on the Biblical application on this topic, I don’t think it fair to say or imply there is a lack of intellectual consistency on his part. Rather, I believe it is you that have intellectually misrepresented him. He claimed nothing more than what he felt God would ask of him — he said nothing about anyone else, and that would include the police. To be an objector for whatever reason (Biblically-valid or not) is not the same as imposing one’s convictions upon others. If you know anything about the Amish you know that they hold to some standards (e.g., not owning cars) that they do not criticize others for. So, to make a jump from what Mark believes for himself to suggesting that he demands that of others — well, IMO it’s just not fair.

          1. Mark - Holmes Co.

            Thanks for understanding, Will & Don. I was speaking only for myself. If I’ve offended anyone, I ask to be forgiven, for my intent was to share my own thoughts and convictions, not cause offense or suggest anyone needs to conform to my convictions.

            1. Katherine

              No Need to Apologize

              No need to apologize, Mark. I might not agree with all of your views and I expect you would not agree with all of mine, but I’ll defend your right to express your thoughts and live according to the dictates of your conscience. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion are inalienable rights in our great country. God bless America!

    27. Mark - Holmes Co.

      “Boys, make fer sure you got your six-shooters with you”? Your Bible seems to be written in a different way than mine. (Half tongue in cheek — I think I know what you meant.) Verses 51&52 seem to suggest Jesus desired no harm to come to those who had come to take Him… And this is how I see the scene in my mind, a gentle Jesus resigned to the cup set before Him.
      Matt. 26:52 sounds to me as though Jesus were asking the swords be put away — Put up again thy sword into his place: for they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
      I’ll admit I quickly read those verses this morning and did not spend a lot of time thinking about them or praying about them — this is just off the top of my head. Time to get busy —

      1. Yeah…, as a pastor there are times when I half-tongue-in-cheek “modernize” the Bible stories in paraphrase — so that modern audience gets the impact that the original story.

        Naturally Jesus desired non harm to those that came after him*, but he knew how this story was to play out and self-defense would have only thwarted God’s plan. Like I earlier posted, there are times when such a stance may not be the thing to do. But the bigger point is that obviously there are times when it *is* the thing to do, else Jesus wouldn’t have brought up the subject of getting self-defense weapons in the first place. In short, I’m saying that the scriptures (IMO, clearly) indicate that even Jesus Himself shows that “non-resistance” (although I’m not sure that is the term I’d personally find best) is not the fits-all-occasions approach that it’s claimed to be.

        And Mark, being willing to defend oneself is not “living by the sword.” If it was, then why did Jesus tell them to have the swords in the first place — making His demands self-contradictory?

        * “Jesus wants no harm for the ‘bad guys'” — while I accept that that is true, I think we’d have to equally say that it’s true that He wants no harm for the innocent as well. (Back to my earlier-quoted verse from Ps.) And sometimes the fact is, because of factors that are beyond our control, someone is just going to get hurt in a situation. The fact that Jesus had them strap on their swords clearly shows that He is not against defending oneself in such a situation. How else do you explain His instructions about getting a sword?

    28. Mark - Holmes Co.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Don. I guess we are stalled because both of us have our convictions and scriptural basis for our convictions. I’ll remain committed to peace, forgiveness, showing mercy to those who might seek to harm me and you’ll remain willing to kill to protect yourself against enemies. The curious part is we both desire the same destination when our lives come to their ends.
      That reminds me of a saying I saw in a newsletter lately which doesn’t really tie into our discussion but I thought it was worth sharing anyhow: We can choose our final destination and accept the road that leads there, or we can choose the road we wish to travel and then accept where it ends up.

      1. Good thoughts. It is tough, humanly speaking, as we strive to commit to following He who is Himself the Prince of Peace, yet who Himself said that He did not come to bring peace but a sword (Mt10:34). What is to Him nothing more than the two sides of the same coin is often difficult for us to grasp the one without loosing our grip on the other. Such, I think, may well be the dilemma behind our difference in perspectives.

        I like your closing thought. Sound much like what I periodically share in our congregation as I preach: We can choose our actions, or we can choose the end-result we want; but having chosen one, the other is then beyond our control.