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Joined: 2011/8/12
Posts: 4

 Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...

Hi there,

I would like to start off saying that I’m in no way perfect, I’ve many faults. We also know that no “perfect” church exists. This post & question is more about taking into account the fruit that we’ve seen in the churches we have attended.
With that in mind…

I was just wondering if anyone here has left mainstream Christianity and moved into a church that’s focused on simple living and holiness, like the Anabaptists.

We’re @ a place in our life where we’re in a church where they are preaching the Word strongly. What concerns us is that the majority of youth in the church (teens) are very worldly, including the pastor’s children. We’ve friends in this church who don’t send their children to youth/social gatherings because of this worldliness and impurity amongst the youth. There’s a lack of purity/holiness & of any desire to talk about the Lord, let alone please Him. It’s such a contrast to what is preached on Sunday - & this really concerns us.

We had the opportunity to visit an Anabaptist church recently. It’s small & only a few large families.

In comparing the youth, the Anabaptist children/youth aren’t worldly & appear to be raised up in the same way that we’re wishing to raise our children. There is no concern about bad influence & there appears to be a desire to please the Lord amongst the kids.

We agree with much of what the Anabaptist’s preach about, BUT it is a major lifestyle change. First off it really challenges me. It’s completely different from the way I am used to in Christianity. I am not sure whether it is my flesh that is appalled by the change or whether it is just a bad gut feeling about future concerns of being in a church that could be “dead”.

I’ve spent many years reading the Word & convicted that there are so many things I do not live according to what Jesus calls me to. I just have felt that I literally couldn’t be or live like that in the modern world. One in particular is in my role as a woman. My flesh wants to be in a loud, church where women are vocal & where I can be free to worship God with music etc BUT I’ve been in these sorts of churches b4 & after scratching the surface of what originally looked like being sold out to Christ, there is no good fruit of the Spirit.

I am tired in a way of being around people who are more interested in pleasing their flesh with making money, getting a good house, dressing well, wearing jewellery etc etc and then on Sunday listening to the Word and not changing their lives in a more drastic way. I include myself in this.

I don’t cover, and I am more comfortable in jeans and tracksuit pants most days. I find the covering issue difficult. I wonder, after reading the verses whether covering is meant to be only in church. I also struggle with having to wear dresses/skirts all the time. These are major lifestyle changes for me personally. BUT I am willing to change if this is the Lord’s will for us.

I would love to hear if anyone has made this sort of move in their life and what advice they have.

Should we be concerned about the state of the youth? Should we be concerned about the lack of fruit?

We do not know too much about the Anabaptists.
Should we be concerned about any potential legalism there? Could we end up in a place of dead works, or dead faith? The church is very small, they have been that way for quite a number of years. There doesn’t appear to be any street witnessing rather a focus on people coming to them. Their church goers are generally from mainstream churches where they have wanted to live a life of holiness and didn’t agree with the worldliness in the church today.

We hear sermons in mainstream churches about the Lord and being a disciple – people look the “part” on the surface at church – we’ve been in some churches where they are passionate outwardly, but then when you scratch the surface there is not a whole lot of good fruit underneath.

Of course every church has its own issues and of course we are not perfect either but we would appreciate any thoughts on these issues.

Thank you & bless u all

 2012/10/15 1:52Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471

 Re: Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...


I am in a church of Anabaptist descent. I was born and raised in such a church. Today, we are in such a church by choice.

I, too, have been associated with others from many different churches in a pro-life ministry. I know what issues they have to deal with. I know how they speak and live - I know their testimony. I have worked in the gutter and with the cream of the crop from these churches. Grace, I would NOT trade their culture from mine. NO WAY! Grace, it is about choice. People choose how they want to live, how they want to understand the WORD. They choose. And apparently you are at a crossroad of having to make that choice.

If you are finding yourself at a place where you found a church that is sincere in their walk with the Lord, are obedient to Him because they love him, I suggest you go for it. Not all churches of Anabaptist descent are spiritual. Many are carnal and/or legalistic. But you find these traits everywhere, whether it be Pentecostal, Baptist, Independent, Home Church - the issues just are different, but the mindset is the same.

If you want, you can email me. My email addy is listed on my profile.

God bless.


Sandra Miller

 2012/10/15 9:39Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936

 Re: Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...

Hi Grace_Saved.

RE: Grace_Saved. wrote ///I would love to hear if anyone has made this sort of move in their life and what advice they have.///

I would highly recommend Denny Kenastons Personal Testimony

RE: Grace_Saved. wrote ///We do not know too much about the Anabaptists.///

I would highly recommend these sermons on early anabaptism

RE: Grace_Saved. wrote ///Should we be concerned about any potential legalism there? Could we end up in a place of dead works, or dead faith? The church is very small, they have been that way for quite a number of years///

As with all churches you should becarefull not only for legalism but even liberalism, But some of the Anabaptist congregations are some of the most Real and Spirited Filled Churches that you will find in America.

I would also recommend this book by David Bercot

I would recommend these websights

 2012/10/15 19:18Profile

Joined: 2011/4/7
Posts: 255

 Re: Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...

Hi Grace,

What part/region of NY do live in? I know of a great Anabaptistic church in upstate western NY...

I believe there ought to be an emphasis on going after the lost, and you definitely want to stay away from the congregation of the dead! As far as dress goes, I have a precaution...dont do it just bc everyone else does, or bc that's how you'll fit in. Whatever you do, do it bc you believe it's what Scripture teaches...

Yes, yes, yes, its good you're concerned about the worldly philosophies the churches hold dear...

Headcoverings and skirts are a touchy topic here on SI, and there's been so much written on it that I doubt I need to say anything.

About legalism...which means under the law...but you prolly mean being strict about what you should/shouldn't do or wear etc. A good guideline is to attend for 6 months before joining, to get to know what they're like. But also keep in mind that all of us have alot to learn and God just may be out to teach you something! :)

In the fight with you, :)

 2012/10/16 18:13Profile

Joined: 2011/8/12
Posts: 4


Thank you all for your replies,

I have started listening through the sermons suggested and I have contacted GinnyRose :)

I've also been checking out the websites.

I listened to one yesterday called Worldliness in the church - it was very, very convicting.

The David Bercot books look fanatastic as well.

bless you all & thank you very much!

 2012/10/16 22:22Profile

Joined: 2005/11/10
Posts: 530

 Re: Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...

Has anyone else left "mainstream" and tried something else? We have. Christ saved us entirely out of the world, so we have no church background. We have been in evangelical Protestant churches, home churches, Pentecostal churches, conservative churches, large and small groups, and we are now part of what some would call an Anabaptist church, although not part of any denomination or "conference". We have been seeking for the church that Jesus is building, for truth lived out, and for spiritual life. I don't want to say we have seen it all, but we have searched for it all and had a lot of experiences along the way.

Just a few thoughts on your questions. We have found the Anabaptist practice and expression to be what we are most satisfied with. Are they perfect? Not even close. Since you come from the outside, you will notice their flaws more readily. And they will probably notice yours. Every type of church has its own culture, traditions, and so forth. I personally feel that the Anabaptist practice is a very good way to go, but do not feel it is the only way. I am just trying to say, if you feel led in that direction, go to it. Give it a good try, then you will know first-hand whether you feel it lines up with the Scriptures and your own understanding of the faith, or not.

I predict, if you stay with them for a bit, there will be things that rub you the wrong way, but this will be true of any of the other groups you might try. I encourage people to hang in there with the group they are with. If you are with a people of faith and the Scriptures who are seeking the Lord, and you cannot be satisfied there, you will probably not be satisfied with the next group you jump to either. This is the really fatal element in much of Christianity, that people cannot integrate with any existing fellowship.

As for some of the externals you mention changing, every group has an expression or a practice that they feel is right before the Lord. If you want to go with a certain group that has distinctives, you will need to adopt a good number of those practices. Otherwise there will be the question of why you want to be part of the group if you don't really want to join in with the direction they are choosing to go. Many people paint this as "sectarian" but I don't think it is. Joining a church is like being part of a family, so just think of it as being part of the flow of a family. Let's take a simple example. If you don't want to wear dresses, you won't want to join an Anabaptist church, because they believe that women wearing pants is not the best practice for godly women in this age. Don't take these things the wrong way. Most Anabaptists I know are very accepting of those outside of their church who practice differently, but for their own practice, they know what they want to do. If you want to do the same things, it is just as simple as joining in with the flow of the body there.

Should we be concerned with the state of the youth? Of course! Should we be concerned about legalism? Yes, and every single church I have ever been in has its own set of written and/or unwritten rules. Legalism creeps in everywhere. Even the "liberal" Christians have their set of laws by which they condemn others, so it is not as if only certain groups have problems with legalism, it just shows up differently.

I wish you and your family all the best as you seek to follow Christ and his teachings. May he bring you to that place of peace and rest in him and among a group of people you can love and fellowship and grow with. I guess I should say that many excellent Christians do not choose to settle with the Anabaptists and I feel that they, also, are in just the place where God would have them be. Particular churches and labels are not of top importance. Christ is.

 2012/10/16 23:42Profile

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1529
Scotland, UK


I feel I must warn you that that in your search for Holiness/Purity you could end up in Witchcraft.

A false understanding of sanctification leads to all manner of sinful deeds and deceptions. Paul called those who attacked his Gospel of righteousness by faith “workers of iniquity, false apostles, and Satan’s servants who pretend to be holy and righteous.” These people introduced many outward forms of religious exercise, and they called the people to a more rigorous devotion to right living after their salvation.

Paul called their effort to “sanctify” themselves after salvation through good works a form of witchcraft!

“Who has bewitched you?” he says. “What righteousness did you have that got you saved? You didn’t have any! So, what got you saved? Some good deed on your part? No! You were saved because you believed the message you heard about Jesus! “Now,” says Paul, “having begun in the Spirit with faith, are you trying to perfect yourself through another means; the strength of your flesh?”

In other words, are you trying to be Holy/Pure in your own strength Aaaagh! It won’t work! If you want to be Holy/Pure, if you want to complete the work of the Spirit in you, then you will have to finish the race the same way you started! By faith!

It is faith that got you saved, and it is faith that will make you Holy/Pure as well. Faith will complete the work of God in you: nothing more and nothing less! No good deeds, no pious behavior, no external changes or distinct practices will fill the gap in your personality or end the deficit of your character.

Colin Murray

 2012/10/17 8:45Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7471


Well said. Koheleth.

This point needs to be repeated - one that I think sums up his post:

"Even the "liberal" Christians have their set of laws by which they condemn others, so it is not as if only certain groups have problems with legalism, it just shows up differently." AMEN!

It may be of interest to you to read up on Anabaptist history. "The Anabaptist Story" by William Estep is good. The following series is interesting but be prepared for a lot of commentary and stories. I know this speaker quite well - I went to Bible School at the same time he did. Later he taught Anabaptist history at a Bible Institute and at the end a student was required to make a report on this class. She was in a predicament: he told so many stories she was not sure what to report. (I suggest it may take time for the point of the stories to settle in and minister - I experienced something similar when I took Revelation in Bible School.)

God bless.


Sandra Miller

 2012/10/17 11:27Profile

Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 613


We should be cautious of extremes. Just as one ditch is attempting to produce righteousness by works of law, the other ditch is equally deep - "faith without works is dead."

Remember the simplicity of our Lord's own words - we are to teach all men to obey everything He commanded. The disciples did this and so did Paul, whose gospel ministry he summed up in his own words this way - "but declared first to those is Damascus, and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance."

We must be able to reconcile looking to Christ for His righteousness through faith - with "giving all diligence to add to your faith - virtue, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love."

The writer of Hebrews added "we want each of you to show this same diligence to the full assurance of faith, so that you do not become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and paitience inherited the promises."

Dear sister, if your decision is as I think it is. To pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace ALONG WITH those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. I applaud your genuine concerns. May the Lord guide you.


Alan and Dina Martin

 2012/10/17 13:52Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499

 Re: Moving away from worldly church to Anabaptist congregation...

Hi Grace_Saved,

It might help with this discussion if you could explain what you mean when you speak of "worldly churches." After all, the term is ambiguous and relatively defined by each person who reads those words.

In the world, people (and politicians) will use ambiguous terms for a cause (like "hope" and "change") for which there is no specificity. Thus, people line up behind it with a different perception of what it is supposed to mean.

Now, I suspect that most people who attend real "worldly churches" are unaware that they attend one. After all, much of church tradition today originated in pagan Roman (and even older) traditions.

What specifically constitutes the term "worldly" in your description of a particular church?

How can you specifically determine whether or not a church is "worldly?"



 2012/10/17 14:53Profile

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