Teach us to number our days: Rev. Dr. Larry Allen, 1953-2009.
(Tim) Late last night, David forwarded an e-mail that my longtime friend, Larry Allen, had died. It was a sudden death with no prior warning. Larry was on the phone with a co-worker and friend, laughing, and then God took him. The cause of death is unknown.
For seven or eight years, I served on the board of Presbyterians Pro-Life with Larry and that's when I knew him best. Being a witness for the unborn in the Presbyterian Church (USA), a pagan denomination where, as early as 1983, official denominational documents said that abortion "can be an act of faithfulness before God," meant the entire time we were at denominational meetings and general assemblies we suffered the most vile opposition. Everything short of physical attack.
Larry cared very much about the weak and oppressed, being pleased to humble himself in his association with the despised work of speaking up for the unborn. And in speaking up for them, he wasn't simply associated with God's "Yes" in supporting crisis pregnancy centers (which he did); he also said God's "No," preaching and teaching and calling us to repentance for our cruelty in slaughtering our little ones.
So there on the anti-abortion battlefield (just as on other battlefields--think the book of Acts), our bonds grew deep. We hosted Mother Teresa, John Cardinal O'Connor, Richard John Neuhaus, and we wrote, spoke, lobbied, held seminars, preached, but got absolutely nowhere in our work of reform within the PC(USA). The marks (notes) of the true church were entirely absent.
Then, Larry and I both left for the Presbyterian Church in America. Larry planted a church in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, under the PCA's church-planting arm, Mission to North America; and after entering the PCA with my church outside Madison, Wisconsin, I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where I still serve at Church of the Good Shepherd.
For a number of years, Larry and I were members of Great Lakes Presbytery. About five years ago, Larry left the ministry, since serving as a leadership consultant with Built to Lead. Whenever I heard the name, I chuckled. Larry was about 6'6" or so, perfectly fit and handsome. He was a golden boy well-suited to the name of the company he worked for his final years.
Larry was 55 years old and leaves behind his wife, Kitty, and four adult children: Bekah, Rachel, Jim, and John.
Here is the e-mail I sent out to mutual friends earlier this morning:
Rev. Dr. Larry D. Allen (November 6, 1953 - May 21, 2009)
A service will be held this coming Tuesday at the Vineyard Church of Columbus with details soon to be posted on the blog of the organization Larry had been working with, Built to Lead (quite the name for an organization employing Larry)...
Larry cared about the unborn children very much and we regularly talked about the need for an anti-abortion organization within the PCA.
May God comfort Kitty and the children.
In the midst of life we live in death; and of whom may we seek for relief but of Thou, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased.