Swiss Amish; New Order Amish; Charity Churches; youth; shunning; rebaptism; evangelical theology; Ordnung; division


The Amish have long faced disagreement over matters of internal policy and adoption of external ideas like evangelical emphases. In Allen County, Indiana, several branches of Anabaptists have developed from the original Swiss Amish settlers because of such differences. This article first reviews the history of new movements among the Amish. It then provides a historical narrative of the events that led to a New Order Amish schism in 2005, emphasizing how fundamental differences between the New Order’s evangelical theology and the Old Order Amish worldview played out on several symbolic fronts, including young adult behavior, home Bible studies, lines of fellowship, understanding of the Ordnung, church membership, re-baptism, excommunication and shunning, and language use in services. Even after the division, neither the New Orders nor the Old Orders were completely unified. The New Order church eventually dispersed with a Charity Church replacing it. Within the Old Order, a toned-down evangelical pulse continues, giving rise to some reforms in youth behavior and stress on internal religious experience. This case of Allen County Amish points to the importance of doctrinal, theological, and practical differences in shaping collective behaviors that leads to new movements among the Amish.



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