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A Concise Explanation About Mennonites Beliefs and Practices

Mennonites Beliefs and Practices
There is a common misconception about the Mennonite community living an obscure life, riding buggies, wearing bonnets, and shunning technology. The truth is that they live a communal Christian life, this SpiritualRay article shares information on the Mennonite beliefs and practices.
Mary Anthony
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
Advocates of Peace
The Mennonites believe in being a peace witness, they forbid their members from joining the military service. They believe in service through church missions and local community.
Mennonites are a group of Christians from the early 1500s who are neither Roman Catholics nor Protestants. The Mennonite Church emphasizes on a Christ-centered life, peaceful living, and service to others. In keeping with the traditional teachings, they believe in a life close to spiritual responsibilities and following the texts from the scriptures.

They encourage their youth to join church service in the form of various missionary works and voluntarily helping the ones in need, both nationally and internationally, through agencies such as the Mennonite Mission Network and Mennonite Central Committee. At present, there are about 1 million Mennonites worldwide, with churches in South and North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Brief History of the Mennonite Community
★ They were called the 'Anabaptists' in the 1500s, which changed to 'Mennonites' in 1536, when one of the early leaders Menno Simons, a Dutch catholic priest, embraced the Anabaptist faith and strongly advocated it and led it to prominence in Holland, in the early 16th century.

★ The first Mennonites had mainly Swiss and German roots.

★ To avoid persecution for their beliefs, they fled to Russia and Eastern Europe.
★ Many older traditional Mennonites still speak a low German dialect called 'Plautdietsch', and eat traditional food.

★ Swiss-German Mennonites migrated to North America in the early 18th and 19th century, bringing with them their customs and traditions. At present, they are found in all parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kansas.
What is the Term Anabaptists?
★ During the religious reforms of the Roman Catholic Church, by Martin Luther in 1519, there was a small group of Christians in Zürich, Switzerland, who believed that the Catholic Church and the Evangelists did not follow the teachings of The Bible especially pertaining to Baptism.

★ They believed that Baptism was solely for the followers of Christ. Baptism could not be given to infants or just believers of Jesus Christ, but to those who committed themselves firmly to the teachings of Christ.
★ They were termed as 'Anabaptists' as they 're-baptized' those who wanted to join their faith through 'Water Baptism', which would take place in front of the congregation as an oath to follow Christ and his teachings.

★ They were persecuted, tortured, and killed for over 100 years due to this belief by the Catholic and Protestant governments.
Religious Beliefs
★ Scripture is the supreme authority over the church.

★ They believe in the Trinity―The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

★ The Last Supper is the sign of the New Covenant Jesus established through his death on the cross.
★ They believe that the ones who believe in Christ will find eternal salvation in Heaven. There is no specific belief on Hell, except that it spiritually separates one from God.

★ Their communion consists of the act of washing of the feet, and distribution of bread and wine.

★ As Christ was raised from the dead on Sunday, they hold their church services on Sundays.
★ The worship service is sermon-centered. A Capella is the four part congregational singing.

★ They believe that Christ is the Son of God, Savior of the world, and a human and God.

★ The Holy Spirit is the agent of Salvation, who moves one spiritually towards God.
Social and Cultural Beliefs
★ Some Mennonites vote, while some don't. They mostly avoid lawsuits and believe in solving their legal issues in an alternative negotiation way.

★ They believe in a peaceful leaving. They go by the teaching Love one another, and hence, do not participate in violence or war. They do not encourage their youngsters to join the army, instead they encourage them in missionary and church-based humanity services.
★ Historically, Mennonites were allowed to marry only within their community. Presently, only the very traditional Mennonites follow this rule. The match is made by the Priest or someone elderly in the community. Today, matches are made through church camps, retreats, and institutes of higher education. Divorce is strictly forbidden.

★ Mennonites typically have a nuclear-based family system. New households are created in every generation and dissolved with the death of the last spouse.
★ In old times, the Mennonites practiced passing down the inheritance, at present, it is through bilateral terms. In rural areas, the property is passed on to the person who has last taken care of the owner.

★ Mennonites educate their children according to a strict moral and cultural code, there are specific dress codes for all ages. They prefer educating their kids in institutions and schools established by them.
★ Music is controversial, some groups have banned the playing of instruments, and emphasize only on the singing of classical church songs and music. The most conservatives sing only in the German language.
A culturally religious and peaceful community, the Mennonites believe in leading a pious life of service and goodwill to others. Though the community had to face major persecution in the beginning, they have been diligently working for the better of the society and country as a whole.