David L. Larsen, long-time TEDS professor, dies

with special thanks to Pastor Lee Eclov for his hand in writing this obituary 

David L. Larsen entered the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ whom he served on March 19, 2021, after several months of declining health. He was 89. Dr. Larsen served as Professor and Chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School from 1981 to 1996. He continued working part-time with DMin students there until 2014.

Larsen was ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church and over the course of 32 years served Covenant churches in California, Minnesota, and Illinois. A native of Minneapolis, he graduated from Stanford University with a degree in psychology. He received an MDiv from Fuller Seminary and was granted an honorary doctor of divinity from Trinity in 1985. He authored 20 books, primarily on preaching and pastoral work.

Larsen was a voracious and broad reader. He had a photographic memory and an extraordinary recall of names. As a preacher, he was an orator, skilled in well-turned phrases, vivid illustrations, and challenging biblical exposition. He never needed notes. According to his wife, Jean, he had two real passions: preaching and teaching people to preach. He loved both the pastoral and academic worlds.

Dr. Larsen was passionate about Jesus Christ. He was an evangelist as well as a pastor and professor. He was in great demand for Bible conferences and was often sought to speak on Bible prophecy, although he loved tackling any part of Scripture. He was an ardent defender of the Bible’s authority and inerrancy.

Pastor Lee Eclov, Larsen’s nephew, said, “David’s booming voice and elocution, his insistence on solid biblical exposition, his pastoral wisdom, and his amazing memory and wordplay left an unforgettable impression on a whole generation of TEDS students, myself among them.”

He is survived by Jean, his wife of 63 years (“Sweetie,” as he always called her), three children, Lorrie Strauss, Tom (Tammy) Larsen, and Dan (Rose) Larsen, six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters, as well as his brother Paul and sister Mary. The Larsens made their home at Covenant Village, Northbrook, Ill.

A private family service will be held on what would have been his 90th birthday, April 16. Anyone wishing to give a memorial gift might do so to a local ministry of their choice. Dr. Larsen had a special soft spot for inner city ministries, like the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

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