A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a gathering in Columbus where I was able to view some plans for the new ark being built in Kentucky. Answers In Genesis, the good folks who brought us the Creation Museum put on the presentation. It was inspiring in several ways. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of why they believe this ark will be ‘successful,’ and I got to meet the makers of the VBS my church uses every year from Answers In Genesis.
One part of the presentation concerned me. The speaker told us that the ark will be built by Amish. At least in Ohio, Amish are known for their work ethic and craftsmanship; but what concerned me was when they (the Amish) were categorically described as “faithful.” Faithful to what I wondered? My understanding from a former Amish man who became born-again and had to leave the Amish community is that Amish do not believe in justification by grace through faith alone. I approached the speaker and asked the questions. He assured me these Amish people were saved, and that the Amish were like any protestant denomination. It ended friendly, which was good, but I left feeling like there was more to say. Here is the letter I wrote him today via email:
While we were together, I brought up a concern that I had concerning the description of the Amish as faithful. I believe the implication of the statement would lead a listener to believe that Amish is a valid part of the Christian church. I know at the time you understood my concern in general, but I wanted to follow up with some more information for you to digest. I am bringing you this information as an evangelist who loves the lost, and a brother who believes we may have a disagreement (however slight). I trust the Spirit of God will lead us to Truth.
Here is a link to the missionary I mentioned which can provide much more information to you about the Amish than I can. I encourage you to take time to peruse their site.
I think I can sum up what I want to say quickly. (oops, I should’ve removed that sentence!) Amish is not a denomination of Christianity which holds to some different beliefs about non-essentials. I would maintain that what is clearly known of the Amish religious practices is nothing less than another gospel, that is, a gospel of works-righteousness. Amish can be better compared to Roman Catholicism than to any mainstream protestant denomination like Baptist or Presbyterian.
Now does that mean the people who you have building the Ark are not born-again? I don’t know. I have confidence that the people at AIG are capable of listening to someone’s testimony and asking them probing questions which reveal what the person truly believes. It is the loving thing we can all do. We certainly wouldn’t want the Ark builders to miss the “boat.” 🙂 But sometimes it can be hard and offensive to question people about their faith. And the Amish are notoriously reserved about it. That’s a really bad sign…how can we keep from singing His praises if we know we’ve been saved from His wrath by Him?
I would seriously wonder why a saved person would want to be identified with a religious organization which is so clearly understood to be outside of “justification by faith alone” Christianity. I would question any Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness or Catholic who claims to have been born-again, yet cling to the religion of their youth. We would certainly do it with any Muslim or Hindu! So please, do not stamp Amish people as saved, any more than you should stamp Baptists, Methodists or Presbyterians!
I can certainly imagine that run of the mill unregenerate folks would have very little problem “faking it” for the sake of a multi-million dollar business project. I’m not saying that is what is happening, but it refutes the idea that the only reason they would want to be a part of this endeavor is because of shared faith. Catholics everywhere will advance pro-life material with Jesus’ name in it, regardless of whether it is protestant or evangelical in nature due to a general lack of discernment.
Brother, please take this seriously and trust that I love you and want only the best for you, Ken Ham and AIG. I do, in fact, have confidence that the Lord is the focus of AIG and the ARK. I do believe this is a worthwhile project, and I look forward to using it in my evangelism. Once I get an Ark replica, maybe I’ll take it downtown with me when I street preach and see if it sparks any conversations.
Thanks, brother. I hate to be long-winded, but I hate to be unclear more. Have a great day.
Please let me know what you think. Do you know anything about the Amish religion? Was I too harsh or unclear? Thanks.