Baptist pastor, Bible teacher, and writer.
Clarence Larkin was born October 28, 1850, in Chester, Delaware
County, Pennsylvania. He was converted to Christ at the age of 19
and then felt called to the Gospel ministry, but the doors of
opportunity for study and ministry did not open immediately. He then
got a job in a bank.
When he was 21 years old, he left the bank and went to college,
graduating as a mechanical engineer. He continued as a professional
draftsman for a while, then he became a teacher of the blind. This
last endeavor cultivated his descriptive faculties- something God
would later use in him to produce a monumental work on
dispensational theology. Later, failing health compelled him to give
up his teaching career. After a prolonged rest, he became a
But he was not happy. He felt that God wanted him in the Gospel
ministry. When he was converted he had become a member of the
Episcopal Church, but in 1882, at the age of 32, he became a Baptist
and was ordained as a Baptist minister two years later. He went
directly from business into the ministry.
His first charge was at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; his second
pastorate was at Fox Chase, Pennsylvania, where he remained for 20
years. He was not a premillennialist at the time of his ordination,
but his study of the Scriptures, with the help of some books that
fell into his hands, led him to adopt the premillennialist position.
He began to make large wall charts, which he titled, "Prophetic
Truth," for use in the pulpit. These led to his being invited to
teach, in connection with his pastoral work, in two Bible
institutes. Dur- ing this time he published a number of prophetical
charts, which were widely circulated.
When World War I broke out in 1914, he was called on for addresses
on The War and Prophecy. Then God laid it on his heart to prepare a
work on Dispensational Truth (or God's Plan and Purpose in the
Ages), containing a number of charts with descriptive matter. He
spent three years of his life designing and drawing the charts and
preparing the text. The favorable reception it has had since it was
first published in 1918 seems to indicate that the world was waiting
for such a book.
Because it had a large and wide circulation in this and other lands,
the first edition was soon exhausted. It was followed by a second
edition, and then, realizing that the book was of permanent value,
Larkin revised it and expanded it, printing it in its present form.
Larkin followed this masterpiece with other books: Rightly Dividing
the Word, The Book of Daniel, Spirit World, Second Coming of Christ,
and A Medicine Chest for Christian Practitioners, a handbook on
Larkin, a kind and gentle man, deplored the tendency of writers to
say uncharitable things about each other, so he earnestly sought to
avoid criticisms and to satisfy himself with simply presenting his
understanding of the Scriptures. Though he did not intend to publish
his own works, the Lord led in that direction. During the last five
years of his life, the demand for Larkin's books made it necessary
for him to give up the pastorate and devote his full time to
writing. He went to be with the Lord on January 24, 1924.
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