Amana Church Society

 

The Community of True Inspiration

Glaubensbekenntniss (Profession of Faith)

    The Community of True Inspiration's position on ten vital tenets of the religious faith, Glaubensbekenntniss or Profession of Faith, was originally issued in Germany in 1839, as a tangible clarification of the Inspirationist faith.  The documentation and issuance of the Inspirationist Glaubensbekenntniss was in response to questions raised by the citizenry of the area where the group resided, which prompted the local government to conduct an official investigation.  Other persecution and events further served to prompt a response from the Inspirationist Community in the form of a declaration of faith.

    In the Amana Community's Inspiration-Historie (official chronicle of events) and in the Inspirationist Spiritual Leader Christian Metz's Tagebuch (Diary), one reads and learns of events which motivated the issuance of the Glaubensbekenntniss.  The following is a brief account of circumstances and events that led to the declaration and publication of these important Inspirationist tenets of faith which, in conjunction with the Twenty-Four Rules of True Godliness, still constitute the foundation of the Amana Church.

    When the New Community came into being after 1817, the Twenty-Four Rules of True Godliness, as presented by Inspiration through J.A. Gruber in 1716, were re-adopted as the foundation of The Faith.  With their re-adoption, certain tenets were established, however, they did not include the Inspirationist position on Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, and Oath-Taking.  During early 1830's, Community members were being persecuted because of their refusal to swear oaths; because their children were being educated in schools taught by non-state certified teachers--although the Community did pay taxes to support the state-sponsored schools which they chose not to permit their children to attend.  These subjects, though they varied from time to time, were the primary reasons for persecution.

    A more subtle reason for persecution was that new members came to the Ysenburg and Armenburg areas, joined the Community and worked in the mills and fields which the Inspirationists leased.  This caused residents of the area who were not members of the Inspirationist Community to feel that jobs were being taken from them.  This reasoning was not valid since the woolen mills and other enterprises did not exist until the Inspirationists established them.  Another more innocuous form of persecution was the ever-increasing tax and rental burdens on the Inspirationists for the land and buildings which they leased.

    In 1839 the local citizenry instigated the government at Darmstadt to send an inspection committee to the Inspirationist Community's schools.  Also, the release from oath-swearing, while granted to the Community by the Ministry, was now being protested by the government at Giessen and by the provincial government.  Christian Metz wrote"So now, gradually, that precious religious freedom for which we had withstood persecution, suffered so greatly, and given up so much, would come to an end.

    In a final effort to present and clarify their views before the ministry at Darmstadt, the Community issued the Glaubensbekenntniss, or Profession of Faith, in April 1839.  The struggle continued for some time. No ruling was issued by  the Ministry until the fall of 1842, but by then a committee had been dispatched to America to seek a homeland in the New World for the Community of True Inspiration.

    The Profession of Faith prepared 123 years after the Twenty-Four Rules of True Godliness serves to explain certain additional tenets of the Inspirationist Church.   Over the years there have been some modifications, but the precepts as outlined in the Glaubensbekenntniss still form the basis for important tenets of the Amana Church.

THE APOSTLES CREED

    We are unanimous in our belief in one almighty God, the Father, Maker of heaven and earth and all that is visible and invisible; and in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only son, born of the Father to the salvation of the entire world, God from God, light from light, light which illuminates all mortals who come into this world; true God born of the true God; not created by the Father in the same way as all else is created.  Jesus came from heaven for all mankind and for our salvation and He became flesh through the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and he became man.  It is also for us that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffer, died, was buried, descended into hell, and, arose on the third day, according to the scriptures, then ascended into Heaven where He sits to the right of the father.  He will come again in glory to rule the living and the dead and of His reign there shall be no end.  And we believe in the Lord, the Holy Spirit which emanates from the Father and Son and gives life.  Along with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is honored and conjointly addressed in prayer.  This Holy Spirit which spoke and worked through the prophets still speaks and works today.  It speaks and works toward repentance and renewal of the heart, toward chastisement and punishment, so that we should renounce our ungodly natures and worldly desires and live disciplined, righteous and godly lives in this world.  According to the content of those passages, we perceive and acknowledge a holy universal Christian Church, a Communion of Saints, regardless of their stand within or without a religious creed, a forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body, and an eternally blessed life.  Amen

BAPTISM

    With regard to baptism, we believe, as the holy Apostle says, "We have been baptized into Christ's body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit." Jesus says, "What I am telling you so earnestly is this: unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God."  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Ghost."

The Lord Jesus merely complied with the impartiality (or righteousness) when He consented to being baptized.  Indeed He bade His disciples to go out into the world to teach and to baptize.  He, however, emphasized spiritual baptism which occurs through learning and originates from the Holy Spirit.  Because the Spirit is the essential element in the precept of baptism and because the most important things are easily obscured among the trivial, we hold the outward signs not to be absolutely necessary, indeed, even as a hindrance.  By not giving undue importance to water baptism, the spiritual baptism which should occur among the blessed can take place uninterruptedly.  Just as circumcision does not make a one a child of Abraham, so does baptism not make one a Christian, if he is not baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Our belief on baptism conforms to the meaning of the Apostle Paul when he said: "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the eloquent wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."  "He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical.  He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal.  His praise is not from men but from God.

Accordingly, the Inspirationists believe spiritual baptism and baptism with fire to be the essence of this sacrament, and that the bath of regeneration or re-birth through faith, repentance and the renewal of the Holy Spirit is absolute necessary baptism toward forgiveness of sins and the attainment of salvation.

CONFIRMATION

    The Children of the Inspirationists are confirmed in the following manner, along with other necessary scholarly instruction, diligent effort is made, by their parents as well as their teachers, in encouraging the youth to strive to awaken within themselves an inner sense of that which is good, to love their fellow man and to strive toward an understanding of Jesus' teaching and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.

MATRIMONTY

    We believe that marriage is ordained by God and therefore its practice is continued among us.  It is stipulated in advance, however, that matrimony take place in the Lord, so that God in His grace may consecrate it.  It must thus be entered into and kept according to the precepts of the Holy Scriptures, with all propriety and with true Godly respect.  Yet, we also value the instructions of the Holy Apostle Paul who repeated the attestation: "Marriage is good, but to remain unmarried is better."  Insofar as remaining single is a state chosen, according to Paul's meaning, when a person feels himself called to the Lord constantly and uninterruptedly.
    After marriage plans have proceeded, the union is made in the Prayer Assembly.  At this time the couple is earnestly reminded of the many sacred obligations of each to the other.  Whereupon they make mutual promises to fulfill those duties and hold one another's hand signifying faith in their nuptial tie.  The proceedings are then blessed through the elder, and, having been opened with a hymn and a prayer, are concluded with a hymn and a prayer.


 

 

PROMISES BY HANDSHAKE INSTEAD OF OATH

    We recognize and acknowledge the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles as the most precious and important fundamental doctrine of our faith which we, in accordance with the conviction of our conscience and in our desire for salvation must cherish and hold fast. The Lord Jesus bid, "But I say unto you, do not swear at all; let what you say be simply 'yes' or 'no'; anything more than this comes from evil." Further, "But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your 'yes' be yes and your 'no' be no, that you may not fall under condemnation." The yes and no as mentioned above are not regarded among us as the common or ordinary "yes" and "no"; rather they are Gospel words by which we declare by God's truth and the words of our Lord and Saviour and trust of our beliefs or discourse. In accordance with this evangelical conviction, the Inspirationists, instead of taking an oath, give their hand in promise to present and attest to the truth faithfully according to their knowledge and conscience. An falsification of contradiction is regarded as perjury by them and is thus subject to the civil authorities, but it is perjury toward God to swear a corporeal oath.


REGARDING CIVIL AUTHORITY

    The inspirationists recognize their obligation to be loyally and obediently subject to the civil government.  "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore, he who resists will incur judgment.  For rules are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Would you have not fear of him who is in authority?  Then do what is good and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience." 
    Also, the Inspirationists are obliged, through an inspired testimony as well as according to I Timothy, Chapter 2, Verses 1, 2, 3, to offer prayer in behalf of the government during their services.

ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMUNITY

    Elders are designated through the Spirit of Inspiration and they, with the consent and approval of the already appointed Elders and Community members, regulate the spiritual and material concerns of he Community according to Divine will.  From time to time the fellow members of he community are thoroughly examined and tested, by the same Spirit, with regard to their spiritual state and way of life; in accordance with the strength and grace God bestowed upon them, and which is so active within the Community.

THE PRAYER ASSEMBLIES OR DIVINE SERVICE

    Prayer Services are conducted during the forenoon and afternoon of each Sunday and Holiday, as well as one a day on two weekdays.  In addition, prayer services are held each evening.  The Meetings begin with a hymn, thereupon while the assembly kneels, each member in turn voices a personal prayer.  The presiding Elder prays a common prayer wherein the sovereignty is included, and concludes with the Lord's Prayer.  Then a chapter from the Holy Bible is read and considered after which the presiding Elder or on of the other Elders presents a brief admonition or suggestions for practical application of the reading as he feels necessary.  Thereupon, after reading of a Psalm and an Inspired Testimony, the Prayer Meeting is concluded with another hymn and benediction.

INSPIRATION

    Among members of the Community, this term is understood to be a presentation and influence or vitalization of the Holy Spirit as one of the talents which God promised the people and which was already given to them in the Old Covenant, and, through all time up to the present.  "For to you and your children is this promise."
    Even though only a few from time to time attain this spiritual gift, it is surely treasured and regarded by the Inspirationists as a pure and gracious gift from God which presented through the same Spirit, serves them next after the Holy Scriptures as a guide and course toward salvation.  As the Apostle says: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed..." Even now this good Spirit is active in many believers in various ways and in accordance with their degree of preparedness and capability.  "There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but the same God who inspires them all in everyone."