Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers
CHAMP C. CONNER
(pages 121 - 122)
Elder Champ Carter Conner, son of John Conner, was born March 13, 1811, in Culpepper County, Va. Upon a profession of his faith in Christ he was baptized, September 14, 1828, by Elder Cumberland George into the fellowship of Broad Run Baptist Church, Fauquier County, Va., and in a short time thereafter entered the ministry. December 23, 1833, he was married to Ann Eliza Slaughter. In November. 1835, he moved to West Tennessee. He was a sturdy pioneer in this part of the state, where he had to "meet and combat anti-nomianism in all its varied forms, but he lived to see it almost extinct." He was a landmarker both in faith and practice; "was utterly opposed to pulpit affiliations with teachers of error." He was a great friend of missions and Sabbath schools, and all co-operative work along Baptist lines. He was a skilled debater and able defender and advocate of Baptist doctrines and principles. He was pastor of Brownsville and other churches in West Tennessee, was president of the Baptist Female College, Hernando, Miss., also pastor of the Baptist church at that place, for a number of years. He was called to be pastor of St. Francis Street Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala., but for some reason did not accept the call. He was a
minister of brilliant parts and rare oratorical gifts, but better suited to evangelistic work than the commonplace visiting and teaching work of the pastorate, although he possessed good social qualities, had a sprightly intellect, and was jovial and friendly. As a minister of the gospel he possessed "rare talent. and almost unequalled eloquence, being able to hold his audience spellbound for hours. He had a soft, mellow voice and a melting eye, nearly always preaching with tears.", He was not only gifted as a preacher; he was a man of acquirements, knew medicine and law, and was posted on matters pertaining to state and national governments. He was a skilled Parliamentarian and an able presiding officer, often presiding with dignity over the Big Hatchie Association and the West Tennessee Baptist Convention. He died at his post, of Pneumonia, February 14, 1875, and was buried at Indian Mound, the place of his residence, in Lauderdale County. At the time of his death he was pastor of four churches: Woodlawn, Grace, Society Hill and Zion.
"Servant of God, well done; praise be thy new employ!"There were some subjects, it is said, which Elder Conner could hardly bring himself in his later years to preach upon. One was "The awful condemnation of the finally impenitent." While preaching from the text: "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" his mind would be seized with such inconceivable horror in contemplating the doom of a lost soul in perdition that he could not go on with his discourse. But to the end of life he ceased not to declare the whole counsel of God and to plead with sinners to flee from the wrath to come.
Burnett, J .J. Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.
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