Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Are we Mennonite?
We believe the term "Mennonite" has become very watered down, with many even "conservative" Mennonite churches mingling with the world to the point of becoming nearly indiscernible and no longer holding to the values which anabaptism historically espoused. In spite of the good that he did, our religious patriarch is not Menno Simons, as would be implied by assuming the term "Mennonite". In terms of general values and practice we would probably have the most in common with the values held by a "Beachy-Amish" or "Plain Mennonite" church, while in an organizational standpoint holding more in tune with a "Charity fellowship" with a focus on the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith.
Are we Amish?
We admire Amish self sufficiency, work ethic, sense of community, and many of us even hold to the same long-term goals of "returning to the land"; however, we are not opposed to appropriate use of technology in accomplishing this, allowing us to be responsible stewards of the earth that Yahweh created. While we eschew television, we have found that the internet, while admittedly controversial in many areas, has proven a valuable tool for ministry outreach and home businesses allowing fathers to stay at home and participate in raising their families the way Yahweh intends for it to be. We operate automobiles and have telephones, and some of us have electricity and running water. We also do not eschew proper use of photographs, although we realize the propensity to sin which these have become when used irresponsibly. Some, but not all of our members lean towards "plain dress", and many but not all of the women who attend wear a head covering. We leave these decisions to individuals and do not condemn one way of life as opposed to another, providing each member maintains a conservative basis of morality and modesty.
Are we Hutterite?
Although we accept technology like the Hutterites do, we homeschool our children and; do not believe the state has any compelling interest or place in the classroom. Further, while we practice a sense of community, we do not hold communal property and goods as the Hutterites, and espouse a more Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures.
Are we Mormon?
Although many of us have large families and encourage older sons and daughters to remain at home until they marry (leading some to jump to false conclusions), we DO NOT practice polygamy or look up to any one man as our spiritual leader or prophet, nor do we hold to the teachings of Joseph Smith or Warren Jeffs, but rather denounce them. We do encourage close-knit, extended family units with one man as the head of the home and one woman as the mother of his children, with marriage being for life and something which cannot be annulled or redefined, either by the government or the church.
Are we 7th day German Baptist?
Although we espouse the same belief in the Sabbath and baptism by immersion, we do not practice communal ownership of property, or promote the celibate lifestyle which essentially caused the seventh day branch of the German Baptists to die out as a natural consequence.
Are we Shakers?
Although one of the major Shaker communities in Maine was known as Sabbath Day Lake, they did not keep Saturday as the Sabbath. We also believe in a physical resurrection and do not promote Mother Anne Lee's teachings on celibacy, eternal progression of souls (reincarnation), or ecstatic dancing, nor do we place women in positions of spiritual leadership outside of the home, or believe that Mother Anne Lee was the second incarnation of Christ. Virtually speaking, we hold nothing in common with what came and disappeared as the "Shaker movement", apart from that they lived a basic lifestyle, as did everyone at the time the Shaker movement peaked.
Are we Quakers?
Although we are proponents of non-violence, and take a firm stance against racial discrimination, we do not support the ecumenical movement which modern Quakerism has sadly embraced.
Are we members of the "Twelve Tribes" Communities?
We support much of what the "Twelve tribes" communities teach including keeping the seventh day Sabbath, Hebrew Feasts, and using Sacred Names; however we do not make communal living a requirement or endorse the teachings of Elbert Eugene Spriggs regarding skin color, national origin, or three eternal destinies. Much like the twelve tribes communities, however, we do homeschool our children and include them in our family owned occupations and cottage industries.
Are we a Charity Fellowship? .
Charity fellowships were founded by the late Denny Keniston, with the most well-known being in Ephrata and Leola Pennsylvania. Although we recommend many of their teaching materials on family values, we do not hold to the standard Christian "dispensationalist viewpoint of the Old and New Testaments. One might call us an unaffiliated non-denominational "charity-style fellowship" with a focus on the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith.
Are we Jewish?
Although we eat kosher, observe Sabbath on the seventh day and keep the Annual Feasts of Lev 23, we do not espouse extra-biblical Jewish traditions or rabbinical opinions, and believe that Messiah Yahshua is the Jew which we are to follow, instead of the non-believing rabbis. We reject the stance of modem Judaism and the secular state of Israel on many moral issues, although when the restoration of all things is complete, we do believe that Yahweh will reveal the Messiahship of Yahshua to many of the sincere Jewish people. Additionally, we believe that many of the Mennonites, Amish, and others with anabaptist origins, have ancestry among either the Jewish people or the twelve tribes of Israel.15
If you don't consider yourself a part of any of the above groups, why do you place importance"plain dress", conservative values and what do you respect about the anabaptist way of life and standards?
What we respect about the anabaptist movement, although certain doctrinal errors and traditions of men are undisputedly evident in their religious philosophy, would be their multi-generational vision, community spirit, and exemplary work ethic which stands in stark contrast with the failure to convey eternal values to the next generation in the traditional Christian church as well as the Messianic Jewish movement. Statistically speaking, although a minority of Amish youth diverge from established customs, approximately half in the larger communities and the majority in smaller Amish communities remain within the norms of Amish dress or behavior during adolescence and when all is said and done, between 80 and 90% of Old Order Amish teenagers choose to be baptized and join the Amish church. In each breakoff that loosens the established conservative standards, however, the number of youth lost to the world and abandoning Biblical principles dramatically increased. By living a basic lifestyle, we are able to more effectively screen out negative influences on our children, and more closely align ourselves with the original will of the Creator when he created Adam and Eve. The multi-generational legacy which has come to be renowned among the anabaptists is something we should all admire and seek to emulate if we endeavor to raise a righteous generation which will influence future generations in a positive direction as the Bible commands.