Joe Keim is the founder and executive director of Mission to Amish People.
Joe was raised in and older order Amish sect. While growing up he was constantly grilled with “do's” and “don't's” and there was never a good answer as to why the Amish lived the way they did so he left home with a friend. The two of them found a place to stay and did get “on their feet” but Joe ended up returning only to end up leaving a few other times.
Joe was taught that Jesus came to earth, dying for his sins, that he was the Son of God and that salvation hangs on baptism. He was also taught that as the water ran over his head in baptism, it washed all his sins away.
At the age of 17 his best friend drowned. Afterward he asked a minister if his friend was in heaven. The pastor told him that since his friend was just under the age to be baptized, he was unaccountable for his sins. Joe wrestled with that because he wondered if anyone can truly know if they're saved. This is critical because as he noted, most Amish groups don't believe in assurance of salvation, they hope that when they die they will make it to heaven.
In July of 1985 Joe realized that our problem is not just the fact that we're sinners, it's that we've sinned and we can do nothing to cover that sin. That was when he had no doubt in his mind that the love of God and the forgiveness of God came down from heaven and covered him as he reached out to Christ and believed in him alone for salvation.
This Crosstalk examines the Amish act of “shunning” which is a form of excommunication. It also describes the 6-point salvation package, the concept of Amish districts and bishops, the upcoming Amish Awareness Conference and much more.
Mission to Amish People
To learn more about the Amish Awareness Conference scheduled for April 10th and 11th in Savannah, Ohio, go to www.amishawareness.com.