American 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 manufacturer.
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. During 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 evangelism.
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.
Used with permission of the Rev. Clarence Larkin
Estate, P.O. Box 334, Glenside, PA 19038, U.S.A., 215-576-5590