To Those Who Have “Broken Their Lifetime Vows” to the Amish Church

The Amish Papers - Chapter 14

This short article was written in an attempt to help my many Amish-background Facebook friends have an answer for the common Amish criticism that they had “broken their lifetime vows.” It was posted on Facebook on 11/23/22.

Your still-Amish relatives who are asking you how you could break your lifetime vow to the Amish church are asking the wrong question. They ought to be asking what gives any church the biblical right to require people to make a lifetime vow to it. The apostles had no such practice, because Jesus never commanded it. So, rather than be on the defensive, take the offensive stance, with love and respect. Ask them to show you in the New Testament where the apostles asked anyone to make lifetime vows to any church, sect, or list of rules.

Beyond that, ask them if they are still practicing the Ordnung to which they made vows as a teenager. Have they moved to a different Amish community with a different Ordnung? Then they broke their lifetime vows.

On top of all that, if you had made a lifetime vow to a church that you eventually realized had strayed in many significant ways from biblical truth and practice, you could be sure that remaining loyal to such a church would make you disloyal to God. If you had made a lifetime vow as a teenager to serve Baal, Molech, or Mohammed, would God expect you to keep that vow? We all know the answer!

Breaking a lifetime vow to the Amish church is not a sin; it is an act of repentance.