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Review: Plain Faith: A True Story of Tragedy, Loss, and Leaving the Amish

Plain Faith

Late one summer night while the Eash family was driving home from visiting relatives, their Amish buggy was hit by a semi-truck.   Seven year old Suetta and five year old Sarah Mae were killed in the accident, and the parents, Ora Jay and Irene, began their journey into despair.

For, while all Amish agreed that the little girls went to heaven because of their age, no Amish adult can ever be sure he or she is good enough to go there as well.  And, even if they had been good enough, dying in the wrong clothing or on a day they committed a sin would negate all the good they had done.  In the wake of the tragedy, these ideas meant that perhaps they would never see their girls again.

Plain Faith is the story of Ora Jay and Irene and how they found the comforting truth of Christ’s salvation.  In their darkest days, they realized, “We’d grown up Amish and lived our whole lives for God…the only problem was we did not know Him.”  This thought and its consequences changed their lives.

Tired of the rat race of Amish life in Indiana and looking for a way to connect with their growing boys before the tumult of rumspringa, they visited the Amish community in Montana.  Later they moved there for a year, and finally for good.  Why?  Because in Montana they discovered the joy of Bible studies, of discussing the Scriptures, of praying together…with their Christian Englisch neighbors.  And in doing so they discovered that the Bible and the Amish way of thinking do not agree.

The focus in their Amish communities was always on rules, not grace; on judging, not loving; on what humans do, not what God does.  The Eash family discovered that anything that focuses our lives on works rather than God is an idol—even if it is a good religious system.

Ora Jay wrote, “…there is no true hope of salvation in most Amish churches.  The concept that faith in Jesus is the only way is not taught.  If we wanted to ensure a spot—we had to work for it and live a good Amish life.”

But, much later Irene wrote, “Knowing that it’s not what I do that puts me on God’s good side, but the blood of Christ.  I can never change his love for me.”  What a blessed change in outlook!

Some people think that theology does not matter, that living a good life is all Christianity is about.  This book shows us that theology, the study of God, is vital to life and death, because in the end it is all about God and what he does, not about humans and what we do.

Tricia Goyer, a prolific Christian author, teamed with the Eash family to share the good news of God’s grace.  Ora Jay wrote some sections; Irene wrote others, and many of their letters to their family and to their grieving parents support group are also included in this book.

Plain Faith is highly recommended for anyone caught up in a works-centered life, for anyone wishing to understand the Amish, and for anyone who loves to see how God works in people’s lives.

For a novel based on leaving the Amish, see my review of The Miting.  For ways to help Amish facing the prospect of leaving their works-centered community for a more Biblical congregation, visit Mission to Amish People.

This is yet another book in the in the 2014 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is also linked to Saturday ReviewsWorks For Me Wednesday , Raising Homemakers.

Disclosure I received a free review copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in order to share my honest opinions.

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One Comment

  1. This looks like a fascinating story, and I love Tricia Goyer’s heart! Thanks for sharing this little gem on Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again this week!
    Tina

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