Judson Eber Conant was a prolific writer, evangelist and pastor.
He was born on June 18, 1867, to a very poor couple, living in MIchigan.
His dad, Eber Maxwell Conant was born in Windham, Ohio on August 10, 1819, to a recently widowed woman. In 1850, Eber was married to Ann, and working as a shoemaker, and living in Medina, Michigan. They had three girls age 6 and under, and a baby boy.
His mother, Sarah A. Crittenden Conant was born in 1838, in Michigan.
His parents were married on October 17, 1865, in Calhoun, Michigan. His dad was 46 at the time, and his mother was 28.
In 1870, Eber was 49 and Sara was 32. Eber was still working as a shoemaker. Two children from Eber's first marriage were living with them: Angelina (22) who was employed as a dressmaker, and George (20), a student. Eber and Sarah had two boys: Judson, 3 and Charles, a baby. The family was living in Hillsdale, Michigan.
Eber, his father, died on January 30, 1873, when Judson was only 6 years old. His parents had been married for just over 7 years. Judson had a brother, Charles, who was around 3 years old.
In 1879, Judson was saved when eleven years old.
In 1880 Sarah had remained a widow and worked as a dressmaker. The mother, and two boys, 12 and 10 years old, were living in Albion, Michigan.
It has been a powerful statement to note that from Judson’s own sermon notes and files, there is nothing about himself or his family. He never referred to them, and only on a couple occasions does he mention himself in a general way. The focus was on Christ when he spoke, and any talk about himself would only direct the attention of the listener away from that purpose.
His works on Evangelism and Salvation are still distributed, published and referred to by many authors.
His clear insight into issues that impact the Christian walk, and his ability to clearly reason with an audience, make his presentations very insightful. His solid stand on the high standards of the Christian life, make his work invaluable.
Comments on J.E. Conant
- “Dr. Conant stands, in my estimation, in the highest rank as a Bible-teaching evangelist. He gives an insight into the Scriptures which is unique, stimulating, and constructive along the lines of the highest type of Christian living.”—Dr. George O. Nichols, Tulsa, Okla. Presbyterian.
- “I consider Dr. Conant one of the best evangelists on the continent. His sermons are far above the ordinary type of evangelistic sermons. His method is entirely different from that used by any other evangelist I know of.”—Dr. R.T. Ketcham, Gary, Ind.
- “In my experience of thirty years as a minister, I have never worked with an evangelist with whose whole body of truth as presented, and with whose methods of work I was so thoroughly satisfied, as with those of Dr. Conant.”—Rev. C.J. Boppell, Seattle, Wash.
- “Dr. Conant combines the best in scholarship, the richest in spirituality, the deepest in Bible interpretation, the sanest in presentation, the finest in methods, and the rarest gifts in evangelism.”—Dr. A. Reilly Copeland, Waco, Texas.
- “Dr. Conant’s work was satisfactory in the highest degree. His preaching was Scriptural and satisfying. His whole attitude, in private and in public, endeared him to the hearts of our people, and I believe this evangelistic endeavor left the finest taste in our mouths. We received 64 into our church membership last Sunday, and more are to follow.”—Dr. Carlton R. Van Hook, Camden, N. J.
- “Dr. Conant is an eloquent, masterly, clear-thinking and heart-searching, yet withal, a kindly preacher. His illustrations and wit are constantly flashing, and many are moved to tears as well as smiles, as he forces home the truth.”—The Herald, Mt. Vernon, Wash.
- “The ten days’ meeting with Dr. Conant has resulted in a continuous campaign of personal evangelism which will no doubt result in the salvation of hundreds of lost men and women in Battle Creek.”—Rev. E. E. Barkey, Battle Creek, Neb. Baptist.
- “Everywhere Dr. Conant’s pastoral instinct was apparent, showing the superior worth of an evangelist who has had the training of a long experience in the pastorate.”—Dr. J.E. Darby, Pittsburgh, Pa. Baptist.
- “Dr. Conant’s methods, in my judgment, are the only real methods in evangelism. The work does not travel away with the evangelist. It is not built on human thrills, and no sentimental gush nor long-haired nonsense form any part of his work.”—Dr. John Feltwell, Altoona, Pa. Baptist.
- “Berea has witnessed many evangelistic meetings during the past years, but in none has the genuine revival spirit been more evident than in the six-day meeting just closed. The large auditorium was filled nightly, and the number of conversions reported was over 450.”—The Berea Citizen, Berea, Ky. Berea College.
- “Rarely has a visitor to our chapel service spoken more aptly or helpfully than Dr. Conant. He is en rapport with the college spirit, and scientific in his method of putting things.”—Dr. J. H. Farmer, Toronto, Can. McMaster University.
- “I consider Dr. Conant one of the clearest thinkers, one of the best preachers, and one of the godliest men I know.”—Dr. J. C. Massee, Baptist Evangelist.
Comments on J.E. Conant's Bible Teaching
- The background of Dr. Conant’s ministry as a Bible Teacher is a thorough grounding in the right divisions of the Word of Truth. Special emphasis is given to putting the doctrines of Scripture in their right places, especially that of Grace, which characterizes this Age. Thus heresies and errors are shown up for what they are, and Bible doctrines clarified and faith strengthened. Dr. Conant’s Bible Teaching is always evangelistic in aim, and souls are frequently saved.
- “Unusual qualities are found in Dr. Conant’s public ministry. Logic and graciousness of spirit are amicable teammates with him. His scholarship is convincing and his utterance effective. He provokes to thought, conviction, and action. So far as reasoning and spiritual pleading may serve, he leaves the unbelieving and indifferent no standing room. The earnestness of the man, his logical method of procedure, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon him, will cause pastors and churches having fellowship in Christian service with Dr. Conant to sense his worth and sincerity.”—Moody Bible Institute
- “Dr. J.E. Conant has just closed a Bible Conference in the church of which I am pastor. I am a graduate of a Bible Institute, and have twice been enrolled in one of the largest of such institutions in the world, and have therefore listened to many of the great Bible teachers of the day. But I am free to say that I have never sat under the teaching of a Bible expositor who, for clearness of exposition, and force of expression, surpasses Dr. Conant.”—Rev. Horace H. Hunt, Hughson, Calif.
- “Few teachers go as deeply into teaching the Bible as Dr. Conant. He stands almost alone in his ability to be clear and convincing. His grasp of Scripture truth is a constant surprise to those under his teaching. His logic is keen and relentless, and yet his spirit of fellowship, love and humility wins the people to himself and his message.”—Rev. W.S. Bradshaw, Logan, W.Va.
- “Dr. Conant is a forceful speaker, clear in thought, by turns humorous, pathetic, scientific, and he has a breadth of viewpoint that gives his hearers a comprehensive understanding of his subject.”—Journal-Standard, Freeport, Ill.
- “Educated and professional men are impressed with the character of Dr. Conant’s messages. His rugged and straight-forward habit of thinking and speaking, and his close reasoning and irresistible logic, make his pulpit work distinctive. Breadth of scholarship and profound research mark every address and exposition, and an unusual grasp of Scripture truth is shown.”—Estimate of his work condensed from reports to Moody Bible Institute.
- “I have never in my life heard finer, stronger, nor more faithful presentations of the great truths of salvation. Dr. Conant has the mind of a keen lawyer, and almost compels assent to his message.”—Miss Emily S. Strong, Pittston, Pa.
- “At our last Conference we had Dr. J.E. Conant for our last weekend climax, and he was superb. He is different. He gives new slants and fresh illumination to old truths, provoking thought, and lifting truth out of lazy acquiescence and riveting it in both mind and heart, so that faith and reason are welded into blessed and restful confidence.”—E.B. Buckalew, Bible Conference Promoter.
- “Dr. Conant’s messages attracted growing and appreciative audiences. A number of outstanding citizens said: ‘These addresses should have been given in the Civic Auditorium.’ I wish they could be put into book form and widely distributed. Our devotion to Christ was deepened; our love and zeal for soul winning quickened, and our horizons of faith and hope widened.”—Dr. Albert G. Johnson, Hinson Memorial Baptist Church, Portland, Ore.
We have been collecting clues from his sermon notes and other sources to put together a sketch of his life. Here are some of the facts:
- 1887. Worked as a bookkeeper and cashier for the Evening Courier of Jackson, Michigan for two years.
- 1889. Went to Colgate of Hamilton, New York
- 1892. First pastorate in Springport, Michigan, where membership went from 20 to 60 in one year.
- August 3, 1893. Justin married Etta J. Iler, daughter of Henry J. Iler, of Canada, on in Clayton, Michigan. Etta Jean Iler had been born September 19, 1865 in Canada, and in 1870 had come to the United States.
- 1894? Second pastorate in West Superior, Wisconsin, where the membership went from twelve to seventy-six
- 1896-1899. Pastor of Rogers Park Baptist Church, Chicago.
- 1897. Published sermon in the Christian Herald found in “Ancient Landmarks”
- September 1897, daughter Ruth is born in Illinois.
- January 1899, daughter Sarah Louise is born in Illinois.
- June, 1900, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dubuque, Iowa. Family lived in a rental house at 72 W. Fourteenth Street. Judson was 32, and Etta was 33. They had been married for 7 years. Etta had given birth to 3 children, but only 2 were living. Ruth was 2 and Sarah L. was 1. Etta's sisters: Grace M. Iler (26) and Evelyn M. Iler (20) were living with them.
- 1901-1903. Pastor at First Baptist Church of Dubuque, Iowa
- October 21, 1902, Preached the annual sermon from Acts 7:22 for the Educational Society at the American Baptist Iowa State Convention held at Pella, Iowa. J.G.Walker, ed., American Baptist Year-Book, 1903 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society), p. 31.
- January, 1904, Pastorate begins in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- June, 1905. MInister living at 3320 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota. Justin was 37, Etta 39, Ruth 7, and Sarah Louise 6. Evelyn M. Iler, 23, (wife's family) also was living there and employed as a clerk.
- October 8, 1906, Preached the annual sermon from Matthew 6:28 for the American Baptist Minnesota State Convention held in St. Paul. J.G.Walker, ed., American Baptist Year-Book, 1907 (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society), p. 36.
- April, 1910. Pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, living at 6331 Pace Street. Justin was 44 years old and Etta was 45. They had been married for 16 years. Ruth was 12 and Louise was 11.
- February 1, 1914. Preached at Trinity Baptist Church, Camden, New Jersey. “Does Prayer Influence God?”
- 1920? Field Representative for Moody Bible Institute.
- April, 1930. Justin is an evangelist for the Baptist Church. The family was living in an apartment and paying rent of $75 a month at 6021 Kimbark Ave., Chicago, Illinois. Justin was 63 and his wife was 64. The girls were living with them; Ruth was single and 33, and Sarah L. was a hospital nurse, divorced and 32.
- 1935. Supply Minister of First Baptist Church, Salem, Oregon. Form letter found in “How we bring judgment on ourselves”
- June 8, 1940. 3821 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. Letter written from Pastor R. Fuller Jaudon of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in the same town regarding an acquaintance. Found in “How we bring Judgment on Ourselves”
- February 28, 1945. Los Angeles, California. The following brief sketch was on a follow-up postcard from Appelman Campaign conducted by “Christ for Greater Los Angeles” addressed to the “Pastor.” The date is February 28, 1945. This may suggest Conant was pastor of Calvary Baptist Church at the time, or on staff there. Found in the file called “The Resurrection Victory.”
- May 13, 1955. Justin died in Los Angeles, just a month shy of becoming 88 years old.
- May 27, 1959. Justin's wife, Etta, died in Los Angeles, at the age of 93 years.