This past week, Dr. Tim F. LaHaye, a respected pastor, international best-selling author and evangelical leader died in a San Diego hospital just days after suffering a stroke. He was 90 years old and best known for his “Left Behind” book series with Jerry B. Jenkins. His loss will leave a void for his many followers.
“The Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins said. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing. If Tim was missing from the autograph table or the green room of a network television show, he was likely in a corner praying with someone he’d just met—from a reader to a part-time bookstore stock clerk to a TV network anchorman.”
Joining Dr. LaHaye for most of his journey was the former Beverly Ratcliffe, whom he married on July 5, 1947. Mrs. LaHaye—a powerhouse in her own right—founded Concerned Women for America in 1979, the nation’s largest public policy organization for women with 600,000 members.
Their union prompted Time magazine in 2005 to name the LaHayes “The Christian Power Couple.” The proclamation came as the magazine named Dr. LaHaye as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
Along with his wife, Dr. LaHaye was a generous benefactor, donating millions to numerous religious institutions, including Liberty University and San Diego Christian College.
“Drs. Tim and Beverly LaHaye have left a legacy at Liberty University,” said President Jerry Falwell. “They supported our growth over the years, and we would not be where we are today without their prayers, friendship, leadership, and generosity. Tim LaHaye always shared his biblical wisdom and encouragement with our administration, our faculty and staff, and our students whenever he visited campus. We have considered them members of our Liberty family since the beginning. Tim will be missed greatly, and we express our deepest sympathy to the LaHaye family.”
“One of the great things I saw Tim and Beverly do was to launch and fund a mission project in Atlanta. It was a mission church that is now a megachurch with 5,000 to 6,000 members,” said Dr. Richard Lee, founding pastor of First Redeemer Church, the mission church supported by the LaHayes. “If it hadn’t been for Tim and Beverly that work would have never started. His life was more generous than most people can imagine. He was so quiet about his generosity.”
LaHaye wrote about his marriage on Facebook during his recent wedding anniversary: “69 years ago today I married the love of my life, Beverly LaHaye. She has been my faithful partner in marriage, parenthood, ministry, and many things we never dreamed. We are still in love today! God has been faithful to us and we continue to claim as our life verse, Proverbs 3:5 & 6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.’”
Dr. LaHaye also founded two accredited Christian high schools, a school system of 10 Christian schools and what is now San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). In 1972 he co-founded the Institute for Creation Research with the late Dr. Henry Morris.
As a couple, the LaHayes hosted a radio show and, later, a TV program called “The LaHayes on Family Life.” In keeping with their faith, the show promoted Christian values.
During the 1970s Dr. LaHaye was instrumental in gathering a coalition of Southern California pastors together to address a progressive agenda that was undermining traditional family values. Also in the ’70s he encouraged the late Jerry Falwell Sr. to establish the Moral Majority as a way to build a similar coalition nationally. He was also widely credited with garnering evangelical support behind the campaign of George W. Bush.
Besides co-authoring the 16-book “Left Behind” series — which sold more than 80 million copies, topping the best-selling lists of The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Christian Booksellers Association — LaHaye was a prolific non-fiction author, penning 60 different titles that sold 14 million copies in as many as 32 languages. Topics he explored included family life, temperaments, the biblical view of sex and marriage, Bible prophecy, the will of God, Jesus Christ, and secular humanism.
Pastor Jerry Falwell, a friend of LaHaye, told Time magazine in 2005: “In terms of its impact on Christianity, it’s probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible.”
Dr. LaHaye was one if not the highest regarded on Bible prophecy. He will be truly missed by millions of readers and followers. As he once said when it came time for the end, he wanted to look Jesus in the face and thank him for including us in the forgiveness of our sins and for making us his children – truly as he said one of the richest blessings in the whole world.
Amen! I’m sure he’s thanking you too Dr. LaHaye for all you have given to society throughout your life.
Peace be with the LaHaye family and La Haye Ministries. Our prayers and sympathy are with his wife, Beverly, his 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and extended other family members.