Plain Anabaptist Population Trends and Patterns

Six Amish Affiliations

Name of Affiliation Characteristics

Church discipline: Excommunicates anyone who leaves the Swartzentrubers or moves to a non-communing Swartzentruber faction

Technology: Among the most restrictive: SMV emblems not permitted on carriages; no motors in the fields; dust collection systems not permitted in shops; may not hire drivers except in emergency situations, and others

Theological beliefs: Encourage ministers to quote rather than interpret the Bible; strong humility theology

Community practices: Pipe smoking accepted; distinctive dress style such as men’s hair completely covering the ears; bean soup served at church meal; retention of other traditionalist practices

Shared identity: Sided with Bishop Sam Yoder in Holmes County Amish division in the early 1900s


Church discipline: Excommunicates those joining a district considered too technologically permissive or that teaches assurance of salvation

Technology: Forbids pressurized lanterns and travel to work in automobiles

Theological beliefs: Emphasizes Sermon on the Mount; moderately strong humility theology

Community practices: Smoking and bed courtship forbidden; highly traditional dress styles

Shared identity: Withdrew from larger Old Order settlements beginning in the 1950s; later separated from Andy Weaver affiliation; other church districts came over from the Swartzentruber Amish in recent years

Andy Weaver

Church discipline: Excommunicates and shuns any member who joins a non-Amish or New New Order congregation

Technology: Considerable variation but rarely tolerates generators, milking machines, air compressors, mobile phones, or word processors

Theological beliefs: Does not teach assurance of salvation; more likely than above affiliations to explain the new birth doctrine and quote Epistles of Paul

Community practices: Varies considerably among communities but moderately to highly traditional in dress and architectural styles

Shared identity: Sided with Bishop Andy Weaver in strict shunning division in Holmes County in 1955

Old Order - Mainstream

Church discipline: Minority of congregations practice strict shunning, most do not shun members that leave the Amish as long as they join an Anabaptist church that practices non-conformity to the world

Technology: Few church districts forbid milking machines or generators; steel wheels on buggies increasingly uncommon; some permit word processors and mobile phones

Theological beliefs: Humility theology not connected with living conservative lifestyle but encourages members to lay down individual preferences to keep the mainstream Old Orders together as one group; tend to steer away from the assurance of salvation but considerable variation regarding evangelical emphases

Community practices: More accommodating to society than traditionalist groups: tolerates higher lifestyles and amenities such as flower gardens, paved driveways, hunting trips, educational vacations, etc.

Shared identity: Broad Amish identity; tend to see themselves within the narratives of the largest and oldest communities

New Order- Traditional

Church Discipline: Disciplines members primarily for moral failings, rarely for joining a different Anabaptist church community

Technology: Usage of “Non-electric” districts similar to majority of mainstream Old Order districts; “Traditional Electric” districts permit electricity from public utility lines and tractors in field (and often on the road) but not mobile phones or computers

Theological beliefs: Emphasizes doctrine of new birth; teaches assurance of salvation; promotes humanitarian outreach to local community

Community practices: Community work bees; organized youth activities with parental oversight; hands-off courtship; women wear cape on dress every day and dress length generally longer than among Old Order women; tobacco and alcohol forbidden

Shared identity: Traditional electric—moral emphasis that separates them from mainstream Old Orders since late 1950s; Non-electric—moral/spiritual emphasis that separates them from mainstream Old Orders since late 1960s

New New Order

Church Discipline: Rarely discipline for joining a different church

Technology: Most permissive of all Amish groups; permit tractors in the field and on the road, electricity from public utility line, computers, and smartphones with internet access

Theological beliefs: Evangelical and missionary emphasis; teach assurance of salvation; stronger sense of unity with other church groups

Community practices: Similar to New Order practices except that leadership role is less pronounced and activities tend to include church groups with whom they hold values in common

Shared identity: Separated from Non-electric New Orders in late 1970s; later joined by “New Order” side of Tobe division from the 1960s

Information taken from the following article:
Petrovich, Christopher. 2017. "More Than Forty Affiliations? Charting the Fault Lines." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 5(1):120-42.

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