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Plain Pain and Plain People

December 15, 2010

The Meeting of Plain People occurred on schedule without a hitch. The last few years it has been rare when we speak at a large gathering, for us to maintain our health or speaking voice all the way through. We have never been unable to complete an engagement, but it is often with a whispering voice and frail bodies. Right on cue, just about three days before we were to leave, I was operating my table saw and experienced a kickback that drove a one-and-a-quarter-inch thick splinter all the way through the largest part of my forearm. It looked like a Halloween gag, with a four-foot-long piece of wood impaling my arm. Our people put out the word and many of you prayed for me. God heard your prayers. It took an emergency operation to have it removed. Vanderbilt in Nashville did a great job and I was able to drive myself to the meeting two days later.

My voice held up very well, speaking about fifteen hours during two half days and one whole day. About 250 Amish and Mennonite were in attendance. I have never had a more attentive audience. It was a great blessing to us to have the privilege of preaching the pure Word of God to these fine people. Most of them had been kicked out of their churches for various infractions. One family was booted just a week before the meeting. Their crimes and vices were things like reading the Bible in English, holding Bible studies in their homes late at night with blankets hanging over the windows so no one would know, refusing to disassociate themselves from one of their family members who had been banned. One man told us that in Pennsylvania alone, over 100 families have been banned—kicked out of the church and not allowed to associate with anyone, including family—for simply reading the Bible. One couple told how they were visiting another community to attend a wedding when they discovered an iPod hidden in the home in which they were staying. They turned it on and heard the Bible taught in plain simple words. It was my Romans messages. They got caught, but it was too late. They had experienced the new birth through faith in Christ alone. Their lives are now filled with joy, but they miss their community.

That brought us to the purpose of our meetings. We discussed with them how they can recreate community in the tradition in which they were raised and still maintain liberty in Christ. It is not my desire to draw away members of the Amish community. I am a Bible teacher, and no one is off limits. I teach all who listen. The Amish are listening and there is a movement of God among them. Pray that their leaders will wake up and return to the roots of their movement.

During the three days I taught through Romans, some in James, Matthew, and all over the New Testament—answering various questions they asked. We have made an MP3 audio of the meetings which includes the audience asking questions and making comments. It is called Plain Talk and is available for purchase. You can listen to more on this subject in our MP3 audio Gospel to the Amish.

Watch a documentary about the Amish

View the BBC documentary “Trouble in Amish Paradise” on our website.

 

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32 comments on “Plain Pain and Plain People”

  1. is there any provision made for communicating with anyone from that gathering? I may live close to some of them and really would like to encourage and be encouraged...thanks

  2. is there any provision made for communicating with anyone from that gathering? I may live close to some of them and really would like to encourage and be encouraged...thanks

  3. Brother Pearl,
    There is a tremendous need for the Old order Amish and other very traditional plain groups to hear the word of God in a language they can understand. I am not Amish, but had Amish grandparents, and relatives. Most of the Amish would not ban a member for reading the Bible in English in private. Now if they are born again and don't keep quiet about their Bible reading, that could be different. Reading the Bible in German is fine, but few can understand it, or even understand what is preached on Sunday Mornings. There are encouraging changes, in younger ministers who mix more PA Dutch into their messages. Many Amish are born again. Plain people need to wake up and return to the roots of their movement. Amen! Let the fire begin with whomever God will use. And may all be inspired to follow the same roots, and the Christ who said, that we are to love our enemies, and that if we want to follow him, we will expect suffering.

  4. Brother Pearl,
    There is a tremendous need for the Old order Amish and other very traditional plain groups to hear the word of God in a language they can understand. I am not Amish, but had Amish grandparents, and relatives. Most of the Amish would not ban a member for reading the Bible in English in private. Now if they are born again and don't keep quiet about their Bible reading, that could be different. Reading the Bible in German is fine, but few can understand it, or even understand what is preached on Sunday Mornings. There are encouraging changes, in younger ministers who mix more PA Dutch into their messages. Many Amish are born again. Plain people need to wake up and return to the roots of their movement. Amen! Let the fire begin with whomever God will use. And may all be inspired to follow the same roots, and the Christ who said, that we are to love our enemies, and that if we want to follow him, we will expect suffering.

  5. This meant so much to me. I never knew i was going to relate to this the way i did, having never been amish, but isn't it this way at times in our "Christian Churches." I believe God woke me up out of a sound sleep to hear this, this morning,( I was woken up in more ways than one). Their joy through all this is what really stood out to me. The joy of the Lord is their strength, something i let go of or lost along the way..no wonder i feel neither strong or joyful...thanks for the video it was a huge blessing to my soul, and a much needed reminder! <3

  6. This meant so much to me. I never knew i was going to relate to this the way i did, having never been amish, but isn't it this way at times in our "Christian Churches." I believe God woke me up out of a sound sleep to hear this, this morning,( I was woken up in more ways than one). Their joy through all this is what really stood out to me. The joy of the Lord is their strength, something i let go of or lost along the way..no wonder i feel neither strong or joyful...thanks for the video it was a huge blessing to my soul, and a much needed reminder! <3

  7. I am a Mennonite, I do know what it is like to be "shunned", it is NOT fun! those of us who are in this situation, need to be LOVED(called, encouraged), not ignored, or gossiped about.
    Thanks for listening. Love to all....

  8. I am a Mennonite, I do know what it is like to be "shunned", it is NOT fun! those of us who are in this situation, need to be LOVED(called, encouraged), not ignored, or gossiped about.
    Thanks for listening. Love to all....

  9. Thank you for following the Lord's leading in sharing with these precious and generous people. We were invited to stay with a family in Ephrata, Pennsylvania many years ago as we were seeking a community to live in and raise our children in a more simple way. Coming from California, we were very different and they were very gracious and kind to accept us. The family was being excommunicated for homeschooling their children. The Dad tried and tried to help their leaders understand that it was the Lord that wanted them to homeschool, and that he was simply seeking to be obedient. The leaders refused and were more and more determined to put them out. The wife was expecting a baby and so her parents were allowed to visit as it was only the husband they were dealing with first. When the parents came to visit, it was very obvious that they did not approve of us being there and yet they were so burdened with grief about the situation of their daughter and son in law and the children. It really was a painful experience to meet them. The husband explained how once he realized that it was no use fighting the church leader's decision, and he said he had done all he could, then the Lord gave him such JOY and thanksgiving of being set free and later even came to appreciate and thank the one man in leadership that was making the most effort to come against him. We haven't kept in touch to know what happened, as our family was going through a lot of upheaval and we were seeking to find a settled home. God is SO GOOD. I know He is still guiding and with them wherever they are even as He led and provided for us and continues to do so! Thankful to hear that He is sending you in to minister to the hurting people caught in that system and unable to have closeness with their family members. Surely that hurts the Lord that they are doing that in His Name, thinking they are doing His Will.

  10. Thank you for following the Lord's leading in sharing with these precious and generous people. We were invited to stay with a family in Ephrata, Pennsylvania many years ago as we were seeking a community to live in and raise our children in a more simple way. Coming from California, we were very different and they were very gracious and kind to accept us. The family was being excommunicated for homeschooling their children. The Dad tried and tried to help their leaders understand that it was the Lord that wanted them to homeschool, and that he was simply seeking to be obedient. The leaders refused and were more and more determined to put them out. The wife was expecting a baby and so her parents were allowed to visit as it was only the husband they were dealing with first. When the parents came to visit, it was very obvious that they did not approve of us being there and yet they were so burdened with grief about the situation of their daughter and son in law and the children. It really was a painful experience to meet them. The husband explained how once he realized that it was no use fighting the church leader's decision, and he said he had done all he could, then the Lord gave him such JOY and thanksgiving of being set free and later even came to appreciate and thank the one man in leadership that was making the most effort to come against him. We haven't kept in touch to know what happened, as our family was going through a lot of upheaval and we were seeking to find a settled home. God is SO GOOD. I know He is still guiding and with them wherever they are even as He led and provided for us and continues to do so! Thankful to hear that He is sending you in to minister to the hurting people caught in that system and unable to have closeness with their family members. Surely that hurts the Lord that they are doing that in His Name, thinking they are doing His Will.

  11. I am so thankful for you writing this article and posting the you tube link. I think for us who aren't Amish should be so glad that we are not persecuted by our own people to read Gods word and to be free to share it with others. It is like keeping a present concealed for ever and not letting the recipients enjoy the wonderful gift inside. I praise God for those willing to stand for what they believe is right. I have always loved the lifestyle these people live, so simple but could never understand why they believed the things they did.

  12. I am so thankful for you writing this article and posting the you tube link. I think for us who aren't Amish should be so glad that we are not persecuted by our own people to read Gods word and to be free to share it with others. It is like keeping a present concealed for ever and not letting the recipients enjoy the wonderful gift inside. I praise God for those willing to stand for what they believe is right. I have always loved the lifestyle these people live, so simple but could never understand why they believed the things they did.

  13. Thank you so much for taking time to minister to the Amish. We have left the church for almost 6 yrs. now after we were told we cannot have Bible Study and we need to stop reading our Bible so much. We had been having secret studies with a preacher who had Michael's teachings on tape,and listened to them in the dark,in secret, and was born again. Thus he set out to tell the Truth to many who were hungry until he was threatened by them to keep quiet or we will kick you out. I praise the Lord for showing us the Light, but am saddened for they are my people,and have many good values.
    They do not see they are now the persecutors and we are the Anabaptists! May God turn them from darkness to Light. Keep up the articles in your magazine that will continue to bring conviction. I hope I get to see your glittering crowns and beautiful robes on the other side....

  14. Thank you so much for taking time to minister to the Amish. We have left the church for almost 6 yrs. now after we were told we cannot have Bible Study and we need to stop reading our Bible so much. We had been having secret studies with a preacher who had Michael's teachings on tape,and listened to them in the dark,in secret, and was born again. Thus he set out to tell the Truth to many who were hungry until he was threatened by them to keep quiet or we will kick you out. I praise the Lord for showing us the Light, but am saddened for they are my people,and have many good values.
    They do not see they are now the persecutors and we are the Anabaptists! May God turn them from darkness to Light. Keep up the articles in your magazine that will continue to bring conviction. I hope I get to see your glittering crowns and beautiful robes on the other side....

  15. Thank you so much for suggesting the "Amish Paradise" video. I watched today and was amazed. I had no idea. I'd love to see a followup if there is one. I'm thankful that there are people ministering to them. I always assumed they were probably all mostly born-again...I didn't know that they weren't allowed to read a Bible in English! How very sad, so happy that the Gospel is being heard and taught. I love the tight knit community that they have and how they all help each other so greatly...now if they all could hear and know the truth what a great day that would be!

  16. Thank you so much for suggesting the "Amish Paradise" video. I watched today and was amazed. I had no idea. I'd love to see a followup if there is one. I'm thankful that there are people ministering to them. I always assumed they were probably all mostly born-again...I didn't know that they weren't allowed to read a Bible in English! How very sad, so happy that the Gospel is being heard and taught. I love the tight knit community that they have and how they all help each other so greatly...now if they all could hear and know the truth what a great day that would be!

  17. Hey I am glad to hear that this site is here. I got to be good friends with a former Amish man in 1999 who i worked with. Jesus brought us toghther and it is Him who has bonded us in our friendship. Now 11 yrs later and I am Driving his fathers construction crew around, Wow how God works. So now i have this what I call little amish ministry trying to Win them to Christ. So I say all that to say Thanks for the article and the encouragement to know that i am not the only one with the Amish communites on my Heart.

  18. Hey I am glad to hear that this site is here. I got to be good friends with a former Amish man in 1999 who i worked with. Jesus brought us toghther and it is Him who has bonded us in our friendship. Now 11 yrs later and I am Driving his fathers construction crew around, Wow how God works. So now i have this what I call little amish ministry trying to Win them to Christ. So I say all that to say Thanks for the article and the encouragement to know that i am not the only one with the Amish communites on my Heart.

  19. Bonjour,
    La Bible en BD ne comporte pas d'erreur, non. Juste une fausse-note. Page 5 :
    "Il n'est pas bon que l'homme soit seul; je veux lui faire une aide (qui lui soit assortie).
    En tant qu'homme, croyant engag

  20. Bonjour,
    La Bible en BD ne comporte pas d'erreur, non. Juste une fausse-note. Page 5 :
    "Il n'est pas bon que l'homme soit seul; je veux lui faire une aide (qui lui soit assortie).
    En tant qu'homme, croyant engag

  21. I was raised amish and belong to an amish group. It is with great concern the way we amish are rated. We are people just like everybody else we have our faults. There is no group exempt from this. Just because there are some bad apples in the basket. does not mean that they are all bad. I can read my bible as often an as much as I want to in ENGLISH or german . And yes I do belive in being justified by faith and not by works. Just in case somebody wounders the amish do not have internet. so I send this at the place where I work.

  22. I was raised amish and belong to an amish group. It is with great concern the way we amish are rated. We are people just like everybody else we have our faults. There is no group exempt from this. Just because there are some bad apples in the basket. does not mean that they are all bad. I can read my bible as often an as much as I want to in ENGLISH or german . And yes I do belive in being justified by faith and not by works. Just in case somebody wounders the amish do not have internet. so I send this at the place where I work.

  23. I have been very encouraged by many former Mennonites and Anabaptists that have sought to follow Jesus Biblically- we have several families locally and several other plain groups in our rural area.
    I also belong to a preparing group and one great book we shared online was the Secret of the Strength. Here are some chapters for free, i know we read the whole thing free but I haven't found the link;
    http://www.anabaptists.org/writings/excerpts/strength.html

    It was a great encouragement to know many have grown weary of the complacence of their original groups and wanted to get back to the basics again, and it is heartening to know that this has happened over and over again, and that people can be reinspired by the word of God such that they want to drop all the manmade rules and start over. This happened with the first reformation (out of the catholic system)and out of Calvinism and out of Lutherism, and it goes on even today. I just pray folks don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, and still cling to what is right and true and just in the Bible. I say this because of the Plain Truth folks. The Herbert W. Armstrongians. when Old Armstrong died, they rediscoered the doctrine of grace, but then they threw out all the OT good stuff too! and then said anything goes. ( practice Christmas any way you like, Pagan practices included) Same with easter (Ishtar), etc. That wasn't too encouraging. There were many good things I learned when they were Armstrong's. like the truth abut the Wednesday crucifixion. (3 days and 3 nights).
    Anyway, it is good hat some are still seeking t please God and to know God's will. The Independent fudnamenntal baptists did it too, and are now doing it again.Some of them have allowed Pastor worship and all the manmade laws that go along with that. Lucky for us, we are truly Independent, and thus are not bond by the practices or dictates of other IFB churches. Many are following the world once again. The biggest divider is the allowing of rock music, and that seems to be a doorway for demons to come and water down the word.

  24. I have been very encouraged by many former Mennonites and Anabaptists that have sought to follow Jesus Biblically- we have several families locally and several other plain groups in our rural area.
    I also belong to a preparing group and one great book we shared online was the Secret of the Strength. Here are some chapters for free, i know we read the whole thing free but I haven't found the link;
    http://www.anabaptists.org/writings/excerpts/strength.html

    It was a great encouragement to know many have grown weary of the complacence of their original groups and wanted to get back to the basics again, and it is heartening to know that this has happened over and over again, and that people can be reinspired by the word of God such that they want to drop all the manmade rules and start over. This happened with the first reformation (out of the catholic system)and out of Calvinism and out of Lutherism, and it goes on even today. I just pray folks don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, and still cling to what is right and true and just in the Bible. I say this because of the Plain Truth folks. The Herbert W. Armstrongians. when Old Armstrong died, they rediscoered the doctrine of grace, but then they threw out all the OT good stuff too! and then said anything goes. ( practice Christmas any way you like, Pagan practices included) Same with easter (Ishtar), etc. That wasn't too encouraging. There were many good things I learned when they were Armstrong's. like the truth abut the Wednesday crucifixion. (3 days and 3 nights).
    Anyway, it is good hat some are still seeking t please God and to know God's will. The Independent fudnamenntal baptists did it too, and are now doing it again.Some of them have allowed Pastor worship and all the manmade laws that go along with that. Lucky for us, we are truly Independent, and thus are not bond by the practices or dictates of other IFB churches. Many are following the world once again. The biggest divider is the allowing of rock music, and that seems to be a doorway for demons to come and water down the word.

  25. @whisperingsage - Although NGJ does not know and may not agree with the information at this link, we encourage readers to judge all things by the final authority of the Bible. We do disagree with the final statement, believing instead that the "biggest divider" is the issue of the final authority of the Bible and is caused by those that do not believe in it.

    Every truth that a given cult might accidentally teach, is already in the Bible for the serious Bible student to learn without being unnecessarily exposed to all the heresy that cults teach.

  26. @whisperingsage - Although NGJ does not know and may not agree with the information at this link, we encourage readers to judge all things by the final authority of the Bible. We do disagree with the final statement, believing instead that the "biggest divider" is the issue of the final authority of the Bible and is caused by those that do not believe in it.

    Every truth that a given cult might accidentally teach, is already in the Bible for the serious Bible student to learn without being unnecessarily exposed to all the heresy that cults teach.

  27. Wanted to pop in and say thanks for shedding light on their practices.
    It's been 12 years since we've been banned from the church and family. For the first time in years my mom and sisters were at my house. It felt wonderful, but they bent the rules and I hope they didn't get in trouble for it.
    We just found out a bishop and 5 or 6 families from his church got kicked out because he refused to ban a family that left the church. Now they are banned but not without the Lord. They are standing strong in Christ. The Amish have many many great qualities but banning people because they want more for their families is bringing a curse upon them. I grieve for the Heritage that is going to waste.