Flourishing in a Small Place

Flourishing in a Small Place

Flourishing in a Small Place


Born during the Great Depression and the height of the modernist/fundamentalist controversies, Paul Emanuel Larsen entered pastoral ministries in the late fifties. Rooted in historical evangelical theology, he embarked on church planting through expository preaching and evangelism. In the mid-sixties, he also became politically involved in the civil rights movement. For over twenty-seven years, he pastored three churches while pursuing advanced pastoral doctoral studies. In 1986, he was elected president of his denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church. During his twelve years of service, he became involved in both national and international ecumenical affairs. For twelve years, he served as chair of the Annual Meeting of all United States Church Leaders. This included heads of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, mainline Protestant, and evangelical denominations. He aided his church in its emergence from its Swedish immigrant culture and its efforts to become an ethnically inclusive church body. During his tenure, the church grew by more than 50 percent. Retiring at age sixty-five, he spent the next twenty years pursuing evangelization and social justice on behalf of more than a half billion Indian Other Backward Castes and Dalits. He was the founding chair of both Truthseekers International USA and the William Carey Heritage Foundation. The former worked among the poorest of the poor, while the latter developed the first Indian university-accredited evangelical PhD in Christian studies. This book chronicles the way one pastor has sought to navigate the harsh ongoing polarizations in theology, race, and politics.


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