Who are the Mennonites?
Where most of them live: Mennonite churches are mostly in the Northeast,
Midwest, and Great Plains. They seem to be strongest from Pennsylvania to Iowa.
How many people are Mennonite in the U.S.? About 350,000, plus about 370,000
in related churches.
How long has the Mennonite church been here? The Mennonite church started in
the mid 1500’s in Europe. Mennonites first came to the U.S. when some moved to
Pennsylvania in 1683.
Mennonites are well known for: Quiet conservative living, pacifism (not believing
in war or joining the military), and sometimes keeping old ways of life (Amish).
Names of some Mennonite groups: Mennonite Church, Conservative Mennonite
Conference, and the Amana Church Society. Some related groups are the Church of the
Brethren and Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
Where is their teaching from?
Mennonites say all Christian knowledge is from the Bible. Notice they emphasize
knowledge. For Mennonites, faith is less important, knowledge and living are more
important. So for them, the Bible is more like God’s word that teaches us about life than
God’s word that shows Jesus Christ is our Savior.
Mennonites also emphasize an "inner light." They say if you don’t have a special
spiritual experience with Christ, then you can’t really understand the Bible. They say the
Holy Spirit must be in you to guide you in the truth. Otherwise, you can’t understand the
Bible. What does the Bible say about that? Read 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, Romans 10:14-
17, and 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
What is Our Biggest Need?
Mennonites believe that our sin separates us from God. But they do not take that
very seriously. They will sometimes say that we didn’t inherit sin and guilt from Adam.
Read Romans 5:12 to see what the Bible says.
Can We Help Ourselves?
Mennonites believe that people have some ability to do good and please God.
Read Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10-12.
What Does "Salvation" Mean?
Mennonites and Lutherans don’t agree very much on what salvation means.
Lutherans (and the Bible) emphasize that we are sinful and guilty. We need a Savior who
will forgive our sins and take us to heaven, His free gift. Remember, Mennonites say we
are sinful, but they don’t emphasize that very much. Mennonites emphasize that we
should have a good holy life and follow Christ’s commandments. We emphasize faith. Believe in Jesus, your sins are forgiven. Then we can live a
good life to thank God for His gift. Mennonites say the opposite. Mennonites say we
should repent of our sins and change our life. Then we are good believers. What does
John 3:16 emphasize?
Some Mennonites will say that Jesus’ main work was done before He died. We
say our salvation happened when Jesus died and rose again, because that is when Jesus
paid to forgive our sins. Mennonites will sometimes say that Jesus’ life example and
teachings were more important than His death and resurrection. They say His death and
resurrection only proved that His life and teachings were correct.
What Will Happen When We Die?
Mennonites and Lutherans agree that every person who belongs to Jesus Christ
will go to heaven when they die. People who don’t belong to Jesus go to hell. We mainly
disagree on how a person "belongs" to Jesus. We say through faith in Jesus, Mennonites
say you belong when you repent and follow Jesus’ commands.
Do Mennonites Have Sacraments?
Mennonites think sacraments mean nothing, except to obey Jesus’ command.
They say baptism is only something you do to show you are now a Christian. They have
the Lord’s Supper only once or twice a year, only to follow Christ’s command. They do
not believe God gives any forgiveness or other gifts through them. Mennonites also have
foot-washing ceremonies once a year, where they wash each other’s feet.
What Do Mennonites Think About Church?
Mennonites believe the church is all true Christians, called out of the world. This
is how most people recognize Mennonites. They say a true Christian church is a church
with no obvious sinners. So members must try hard to live a good Christian life. If a
person is guilty of a major sin, they are removed from the church. Members will not talk,
eat, or even look at that person. They base that on 1 Corinthians 5:9-11. Some churches
are more strict than others. Some strict churches, like the Amish, try to completely leave
society. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14. They think that means they should not have any kind
of connection or business with people who don’t belong to their church.
Anything Else About Them?
Lutherans are concerned about keeping the right teaching. Mennonites are
concerned about living the right kind of life. We discuss and argue about different
teachings. Mennonites (especially the strict ones) will discuss and argue about what kind
of clothes are okay, if buttons are okay, and what kind of hat you should wear.
What Do Lutherans Say?
Mennonites are peaceful, honest, hardworking people. They normally have good
reputations and strong families. But they need Jesus and His death and resurrection to be
the foundation for their lives. They should trust Christ, not their own works
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God (II Timothy 3:15-17, II Peter 1:21).
We believe there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19, John 10:30).
We believe in the deity of Christ (John 10:33); His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:34-35); His sinless life (Hebrews 4:15, 7:26); His miracles (John 2:11); His vicarious and atoning death (I Corinthians 15:3, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 2:9); His resurrection (John 11:25, I Corinthians 15:4); His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19); His personal return to earth in power and glory (Acts 1:11, Revelation 19:11-16).
We believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of the human nature, and that all are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ, and that only by God’s grace through faith alone are we saved (John 3:16-19; 5:24, Romans 3:23; 5:8-9, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5).
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; those who are saved unto the resurrection of life, and those who are not unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).
We believe in the spiritual unity of the believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:26-28).
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (Romans 8:13-14, I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19-20, Ephesians 4:30; 5:18).
We believe that we as Christians are examples of the love of God in this world. It is this (agape) love that we desire to possess and without which we have no right to call ourselves Christians (I John 4:16-17).
We believe it is the mandate of the whole Church to go into the whole world and to preach the Gospel to every living creature. (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20)
We believe that baptism only matters and is worthy after knowledge and understanding of what baptism is.