Denomination Differences

Amish vs. Mennonite Beliefs

The Amish and the Mennonites are closely related. Both were born out of Swiss Brethren which formed in 1525 during the Radical Reformation. The Jakob Ammann then split from the Swiss Brethren in 1693 and formed the Amish after the Swiss congregations denied that excommunicated persons should be socially shunned and believed that people could be saved without openly following Christ to avoid persecution. The remaining Swiss Brethren became known as "Mennonites" after an early leader named "Menno Simons".

In the early 18th and 19th centuries, most Amish emigrated to the United States. Mennonites are also primarily located in the United States but have large congregations through the globe, largely due to the Mennonites stressing the importance of evangelism and Amish not proselytizing. This difference continues today.

There are more differences between Amish and Mennonites than that, of course. The most obvious difference being that Amish reject most personal uses of modern technology, while Mennonites do not and use most technology that anyone else would. Amish also live in their own communities, while Mennonites live among the general population.

At the core both have very similar theology, but it manifests itself in quite different ways. Both believe in head coverings and dressing modestly; but for Amish this means men always black pants and women always wearing plain, full-length dresses, while most Mennonites dress the same as any other conservative Christians, except with the women wearing small, lacy head coverings.

Regardless of their differences, Amish and Mennonites are quite similar and often have a special kinship with each other over other Christian denominations.

Belief Table

AmishMennonite
Number of Members374,000[1]2,130,000[2]
How does one get saved?Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.Baptism can be by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.
What is the trinity?The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
What is the human nature?Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?Yes, Christian perfection is possible.Yes, Christian perfection is possible.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.
Did Mary ever sin?Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has three ordinances: Baptism, Holy Communion, and Footwashing.[3][4]Traditionally, the church has seven signs/ordinances: Baptism, Holy Communion, Footwashing, the Holy Kiss, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage.[5][6]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made directly to God unless the church might discipline for such sin, in which case it must be confessed to the bishop.[7][8]
How should a church be structured?Congregationalist: Every church congregation should be independent and governed by its members.[9]Generally congregationalist: Every church congregation should be independent and governed by its members.[10]
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?The Bible is infallible, but not every word is without error.[11][12][13]
Who can speak with God's authority today?Nobody today can speak for God.Nobody today can speak for God.
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.Varies widely
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is never permissible.Divorce is only permissible for adultery.
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Divorce is never permissible.No, a Christian should not remarry while his former spouse lives.
When does a fetus become human?Humanity begins at conception.Humanity begins at conception.[14]
Is contraception permissible?No, contraceptives are not permissible.Yes, contraceptives are permissible.
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.[15]Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?Yes, women should cover their heads to symbolize submission whenever in public.Yes, women should cover their heads to symbolize submission whenever in public.[16]
Should Christians drink alcohol?Most believe no, alcohol should be totally avoided.Varies widely[17]
Should Christians fight in wars?No, Christians should never fight.[18]No, Christians should never fight.[19]
Do icons glorify God?No, icons and images of people violate the Second Commandment against graven images.[20][21]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.