I am sorry I have not been free to correspond as I have been very busy canning and making apple butter. But it has occurred to me that there is a reason that you do not walk in the truth of holiness. There is a reason that you do not keep standards. And that is because you have not been taught the truth regarding them. I know that your United Pentecostal Church must not say anything like what I am about to write. I am going to take excerpts from Christlicher Ordnung (Christian Discipline). This is a collection of Anabaptist and Amish-Mennonite Church Disciplines. Very often, ordnungs of church districts are not written but more understood by oral tradition. It is much like your tradition of women wearing skirts since the UPC manual does not state you cannot wear pants. It is oral tradition and yet a very strong custom that must not be broken. Our ordnungs are very similar. However, here is part of a written one. Many people do not understand our thinking and what holds us in the position of keeping our ordnungs even though there is nothing "making us do it". I will take pieces and parts of this, whatever is convenient for me to write and share them with you.
.....many of our fellow believers are entirely or partially ignorant of what our forefathers actually taught and required in their churches. We realize that even the best rules and regulations cannot of themselves produce Christians. Christians are made by God...according to the narrow way of life revealed in the Word of God. [B]Yet we also realize that the church is authorized by the Word of God to bind and loose and to make rules and regulations based upon the never-changing principles of the Word[/B]. Therefore the Christian recognizes gratefully the value of church disciplines, rules and regulations, to help him on the way of spiritual pilgrimage. The spiritually minded Christian knows he cannot base his salvation on keeping rules and regulations but only on keeping yielded to the control and ruling power of Christ. Yet we know too that a road without fences, without signposts, without guidelines, and without any straightness or direction is a road on whcih one can easily get lost; so is a church without standards, without rules and regulations-a church in which one may easily get lost. Let us study the old landmarks and seek the old paths.
You see friends, you must understand that the bishops have the say as to what you can do...whether you drive a car or wear buttons or have a TV or wear a beard or cut your hair. If your church has no rules you can get lost like as if you were driving on a road without signs. You must seek the old paths. I am sure you have never heard of this before in your churches. That must be why you quit standards.
In considering obedience to rules and regulations, remember that our Anabaptist forefathers had two very wise principles-first that true obedience comes from the willing love and readiness of the heart rather than the grudging fear of punishment, and secondly, that whoever would be able to come up with a better and more Spiritual rule, they would accept it from him at any time. By these wise principles they avoided the dangers of slavish, hypocritical legalism and cold, dead, petrified formalism. May we follow them as they followed Christ.
I am certain that no one ever did come up with any better rules than they layed down at the time. The reason I know this is because we are still following those same rules. This is not because of legalism as some would claim! Oh no! This is because there are no better rules. When my legs freeze in the winter in my skirts, I know there is no better rule than this or some man would have thought of it by now.
There have been rebellious voices raised from time to time, which claim the Church has no authority to regulate applications of doctrine and practice. But the Bible says "Obey God; obey the scripture; obey the church; obey overseers; obey parents; obey magistrates." Now if obey....means only in the things expressly mentioned in the Bible, then by the same process of reasoning, children do not need to obey parents.....the church has divine authority to make rules and restrictions not expressly mentioned in the Scriptures.
Amen! "If you do not obey and adhere to the stuff we write and say to do, we will label you as rebellious because it is convenient for us!" That's sort of another way to say what they are saying, but it's true anyway. I will never disobey. I want to be a good person, saved and not a rebel.
I sort of noticed in this book that there weren't a ton of rules back in 1527. However as time went on, the men got more revelations from God. Things must have been very messed up before they made up all these rules. I feel very safe now that we have them. Things must have been bad back then. They wrote in 1527 about baptism ,excommunication, communion, spearation, pastors, using the sword, taking oaths. In 1568 after assumably not being able to excommunicate enough which means they weren't having any fun being righteous, they made a number of other articles. First it starts out with stuff about visiting the sick and orphans and marriage and things but then it gets into the good stuff.
Article 17 If a brother or sister becomes puffed up with pride or rebellion against the ministry and elders causing trouble and unrest, such shall be warned and censured by the preaching and application of the gospel; such backbiting and gossip shall not be allowed to anyone, nor shall it be accepted by any brother or sister either from those of other congregations or from local members but shall be dealt with according to the regulations.
Woohoo!! You go elders!! That would cover anything that those rabblerousers said or did that the elders didn't like! "Mmmmooooorre love......mooooorrreee [B]Poooooowwwwwwweeeerrrrrr"[/B] Some songs mean different things to different people. :l4augh: Anyway, the bishops laid down the law here.
They also started with the plain dress stuff here saying they shall hold to the plain and simple style and make nothing for pride's sake.
In 1607 they denounced tobacco use and strong drink although I know some Amish use these things.
In 1630 they wrote this article
If someone wishes to move away because of persecution, it shall not be permitted without a godly reason.
I like that! You can't move. :)
They added more and more. In 1688, a reference to long hair and wearing vain clothing. In 1693-1711 the Amish and Mennonite division happened and things got hairy about a lot of things. In 1779 there was a bunch more stuff, but I always like the clothing stuff.
All young men who take off the beard will be punished with the ban as likewise those who cut the hair of the head according to the worldly style. They forbid the three-cornered neckerchiefs, silken or gauze capes or flowered or checkered clothing or loud blue or any red colors, the pointed or high-heeled shoes or boots made after the vain style of the world and such-like.
In 1865 they added gay colors and how to part the hair and more stuff.
Anyway, I thank God I was born after they made these rules because I sure wouldn't want to be trying to live for God without them. In the beginning of this booklet it told me that these rules were made for my own welfare and that I could easily get lost without them. I wonder if those people were saved back then or if they all got lost. These are the old paths and the old landmarks. Of course it's kind of funny that they were made between the 1500's and 1800's, but they are old landmarks to me.
Your problem is that your landmarks are not old enough. You only go back to about the 1940's. And I'm sure no one ever told you they were old landmarks because they are not even old. I'm sure no one ever told you that the bishops have the right to make these rules, right? Now, I am sure you will join me on the road to true holiness and godliness. :smile: