Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Elder William Conrad

Elder William Conrad was a leader among Kentucky Baptists for most of the 19th century and was an associate of Wilson Thompson and Ambrose Dudley, and many other notables. He was one of the "Old School Baptists" and yet, like many of them, believed that conversion was the same as being "born again," and was accomplished through the means of the gospel. He held the same view as Elders Beebe and Trott. They held that regeneration was not the same as being begotten, believing that regeneration was the giving of life, but that conversion was the birth of that life. He believed that all the elect would be both regenerated and born again by the gospel. Notice these words by Elder Conrad:

"There is also a begetting and being born, but our being born does not give us life; we are born because we have life; but there is a begetting, and previous to this begetting there is no vital or actual existence; but there is eternal decreed, purposed or treasured in Christ before it is given, and in due time we are said to receive it according to the election of grace; and therefore we are said to be the Temple of God, which is holy, which temple ye are." (Chapter 25)

Notice how Conrad says that being "born" of God "does not give us life," for he believed that "regeneration" is what gave life. But, he believed that no one could be eternally saved who was not "born again" by the gospel.

Conrad says this about his long ministry:

"And lastly, that I am now among the oldest in profession that claims to be an Old School Baptist in our part of Kentucky...And, as above, having lived near fifty-five years an unworthy member among them, that these, these considerations connected with my own personal knowledge, while thus to mingle and commingle among the people with whom we have been so long identified." (ibid)

Elder Conrad was also a fellow minister with Elders E. H. Burnam and W. T. Pence, two elders who led the "means" side in the division over means in the 1880s.

Wrote Conrad:

"...thus far this year nearly a like supply, for Elder E. H. Burman, from Columbia, Mo., was with us the first Saturday and Sunday in this month of July, 1875, and Elder Phillip McInturff, from Pennsylvania, last fall, etc." (ibid)

One writer says this about Elder Conrad:

"...in the 1840’s, the Means Baptists, led by Elder William Conrad of Dry Ridge (Williamstown) further purged it of duty faith believers."

See here

Elder Conrad also wrote:

"The import of those observations which they make on your conversation is, you that speak with such fluency and confidence about the doctrines of grace and the necessity of faith, let us see what influence these doctrines have on your own tempers and your own behavior! Show us your faith by your works!" (Chapter 29)

See here for Conrad's work.

Notice that Conrad says that the Old Baptists had always insisted on "the necessity of faith" for salvation, one of the issues in the division over the means question.

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