The Amish Mennonites have an unofficial tradition where the elders turn somewhat of a blind eye to the experiments of the rebellious younger generation. This tradition is called Rumspringa and although the older generations discourage it, they all did it once and I think if they were being honest they would admit that they enjoyed those days.
Rumspringa is the time when the teenage kids get to go out into the world and experience it for what it really is, the hope is that they will realize just how bad the outside world is and come back to the community to live a fruitful life.
I admire the Amish, I really do. They love Jesus and want to follow the teachings of the Bible. They have traditions that go back many generations and they follow those traditions almost as much as they follow the Bible.
Thing is, traditions can sometimes get in the way of the things that really matter. For the Amish who see the outside world as lost and doomed to hell, their tradition of keeping to themselves is fine but not neccassarily biblical. Think about it, Jesus never told us to isolate ourselves and just let everyone else figure things out on their own. I don’t blame them for wanting to do things their own way, live in their own community and completely ignore the outside world. The world is nuts and it can drive a person crazy, living in a world all your own certainly seems more peaceful but it is not the end all be all, so to speak.
Seeing as how the example of Jesus shows us that He traveled to the towns and villages surrounding His home to spread the news, heal the people and teach them about God. And then seeing as how the Amish keep to themselves and don’t talk to anybody outside the compound doesn’t exactly seem like they are following His lead.
Think of it like this, sin is a disease and Jesus is the cure. When you encounter someone that is sick and you carry the cure, are you not going to offer them that cure? The Amish know that Jesus is the answer that a broken and hurting world needs, but they do not go out and tell those who live closeby about Him. Jesus called us to the great commision not a life of keeping the cure to ourselves.
I say again, the Amish are a people I admire, I truly believe that many of them will make it to heaven and they will do so due to their great faith, I do however also believe that they, at times put tradition ahead of scripture. And they are not the only ones, we all do it, we all put the things we have been taught ahead of what scripture says. You may not even realize that you are doing it unless you dust off that Bible sitting on the end table and read it.
I had a Rumspringa of my own, I was baptized and married in a wonderful church and then after the excitement and novelty of being a newlywed wore off I began to put off going to church and then stopped altogether. It was during that period of nearly eight years that I believe God used to strip away all of the religion flowing through my veins, He allowed me to see the world for what it really is. When you see the world from the perspective of living in the world and not through the lens of religion you can see it, and I mean really see it.
That’s when God picked me up and gave me a smack to the head (metaphorically speaking) He had me start reading His Word, and through that Word He encouraged me to start living my life based on the teachings of Jesus, and not on all of the traditions and religious teachings. It was then that I was able to distinguish between religion and christianity.
Like the tradition of Rumspringa in the Amish community I did go back to my faith, I did not go back to the traditions though, I went back to the faith of christianity before the traditions were added. My faith now is stronger than it ever was and I believe the reason for that is because of those years that I thought I was living apart from God, when the truth is that those years were not spent away from God, they were the years that He allowed me run away from tradition while He guided me right to where He wanted me.
God is in control, even when we might think that we are in control of ourselves, He is always there guiding and directing us, helping us when we don’t even know it. I would not be where I am today were it not for my time spent outside of the church. And I am not advising anyone else to do what I did, because I did not do that intentionally, but I do think people should not just blindly follow what they’ve been taught, they should read the Word for themselves and come to a conclusion based on what scripture says, and what Jesus exampled.
Traditions are good as long as they do not interfere with what true faith actually is, and although every Christian will live out their true faith a little differently I would advise against following only tradition.
The only true way to know for a fact that what you believe to be biblical is to read the book that God wrote. If it aligns with what you’ve been taught, well then you know that you’ve been taught right. If it doesn’t then you know that some of what you know is tradition, and that does not mean it’s bad, it just means it’s tradition and you should know the difference.
Thank you all for reading, you probably do not know how much it means to me. Please if something I say offends, let me know because that is not my intent. My goal is to spread the gospel, introduce people to Jesus and speak the truth.
Please also share this so that somebody you know might also learn something about the Man we call Jesus, our Savior and King.