Gap Bible Series — Fall 2020

November Gap Bible Series Seminar

The Anabaptist Emigration to Pennsylvania in the 18th Century

November 20-21

Thomas Martin


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Friday, November 20, 2020
7:00 p.m. EST: Swiss Origins of Pennsylvania Dutch
8:00 p.m. EST: Menno's Christology and Its Significance

Links mentioned in seminar:
Confessions of Faith in the Anabaptist/Mennonite Tradition
by Thomas Finger
Christ, Fully-Human by Adam Parker

Saturday, November 21, 2020
9:30 a.m. EST: God's Providential Care of the Anabaptist Refugees
10:30 a.m. EST: Lessons to Be Learned from the Plain Community

At the time of the Protestant Reformation in western Europe, there arose a group of believers in Switzerland, separate from Reformed and Lutheran churches, who faced fierce persecution and martyrdom. Leaders of the movement taught that infant baptism was invalid in the eyes of God and urged adult believers to undergo the waters of baptism, even though already baptized as infants. They were accused of being “re-baptizers,” or “Anabaptists,” and the name stuck.

Most of them were united by a commitment to separation of church from state, peaceful non-resistance, avoidance of oaths, believers’ baptism, and rigid separation from apostates to a point of splitting homes and marriages. They also came to be called Mennists or Mennonites.

Many Anabaptists emigrated to Pennsylvania where William Penn sought hard working, honest people, regardless of religion, to populate his so-called “holy experiment.” Additionally, near the end of the 18th century, followers of Joseph Amman, or the “Amish,” came to America in waves, and a few landed in eastern Pennsylvania. Their conservative views led them to strict self-denial of progressive tools, machinery, and ways of living that sets them apart even until today.

Tom Martin will summarize the history, doctrines, and lessons we can learn from the tumultuous events of the Anabaptist emigration to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, during the eighteenth century.  

Thomas Martin has been a practicing lawyer for 48 years, serving 17 years as a magisterial district judge in Chester County after an active legal practice. Tom has both Anabaptist and Reformed ancestors who settled in Lancaster County in the early 18th century. In fact, he continues to maintain the family farm established in 1727, one of the oldest in Pennsylvania. Tom has been married to Bonnie for 50 years, and they have two children and six grandchildren. He enjoys collecting rare books, and has served as an elder of several churches.

The Gap Center for Biblical Studies, located in the town of Gap in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, exists to glorify Almighty God as He has revealed Himself in the written Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments by the spread of the Gospel through educational lectures, seminars, classes, and training courses.


Audio from past conferences is available at




Reformation 21