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Timothy Francis "Tim" LaHaye (April 27, 1926 – July 25, 2016) was an American evangelical Christian minister, speaker, and author. He wrote more than 85 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins.[1]

Tim LaHaye
Born Timothy Francis LaHaye
(1926-04-27)April 27, 1926
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died July 25, 2016(2016-07-25) (aged 90)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Occupation Minister, author
Alma mater Bob Jones University (B.A.)
Western Seminary (D.Min.)
Liberty University (D.Litt)
Genre Religious, apocalyptic, science fiction
Spouse Beverly LaHaye (1947-2016; his death); 4 children
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Unit US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg United States Army Air Forces
Battles/wars World War II (European Theater of Operations)



Early lifeEdit

Timothy Francis LaHaye was born on April 27, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan to Frank LaHaye, a Ford auto worker who died in 1936 of a heart attack, and Margaret LaHaye (née Palmer). His father's death had a significant influence on LaHaye, who was only nine years old at the time. He had been inconsolable until the minister at the funeral said, "This is not the end of Frank LaHaye; because he accepted Jesus Christ, the day will come when the Lord will shout from heaven and descend, and the dead in Christ will rise first and then we'll be caught up together to meet him in the air."

LaHaye later said that, upon hearing those remarks, "all of a sudden, there was hope in my heart I'd see my father again."[2]

LaHaye enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces in 1944, at the age of 18, after he finished night school. He served in the European Theater of Operations as a machine gunner aboard a bomber.[3]

In 1950, LaHaye received a Bachelor of Arts from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. LaHaye held the Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Seminary[4] and a Doctor of Literature from Liberty University.[5] He served as a pastor in Pumpkintown, South Carolina, and after that he pastored a congregation in Minneapolis until 1956.[4][6] After that, the LaHaye family moved to San Diego, California, where he served as pastor of the Scott Memorial Baptist Church (now called Shadow Mountain Community Church[5]) for nearly 25 years.[4] In 1971, he founded Christian Heritage College, now known as San Diego Christian College.[4]

In 1972, LaHaye helped establish the Institute for Creation Research at Christian Heritage College in El Cajon, California, along with Henry M. Morris.[7][8]

Political activismEdit

LaHaye started numerous groups to promote his views, having become involved in politics at the Christian Voice during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[citation needed] In 1979, he encouraged Jerry Falwell to found the Moral Majority and sat on its board of directors.[3][9] LaHaye's wife, Beverly, founded Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian women's activist group.[10]

Then in 1981, he left the pulpit to concentrate his time on politics and writing.[11] That year, he helped found the Council for National Policy (CNP) a policy making think tank[12] in which membership is only available through invitation; it has been reported "the most powerful conservative organization in America you've never heard of,"[13] and should not be confused with the liberal Center for National Policy.[9]

In the 1980s, LaHaye founded the American Coalition for Traditional Values and the Coalition for Religious Freedom. He founded the Pre-Tribulation Research Center along with Thomas Ice in 1998. The center is dedicated to producing material that supports a dispensationalist, pre-tribulation interpretation of the Bible. He and his wife had connections to the John Birch Society, a conservative, anti-communist group.[14]

LaHaye also took more direct roles in presidential politics. He supported Ronald Reagan's elections as United States president.[6] He was a co-chairman of Jack Kemp's 1988 presidential bid but was removed from the campaign after four days when anti-Catholic views which he had expressed became known.[3][4] LaHaye played a significant role in getting the Religious Right to support George W. Bush for the presidency in 2000.[3][9] In 2007, he endorsed Mike Huckabee during the primaries[15] and served as his spiritual advisor.[16]

Left BehindEdit

LaHaye is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction that depicts the Earth after the pretribulation rapture which Premillennial Dispensationalists believe the Bible states, multiple times, will occur. The books were LaHaye's brainchild, though Jerry B. Jenkins, a former sportswriter with numerous other works of fiction to his name, did the actual writing of the books from LaHaye's notes.[17] Jenkins has said, "I write the best I can. I know I'm never going to be revered as some classic writer. I don't claim to be C. S. Lewis. The literary-type writers, I admire them. I wish I was smart enough to write a book that's hard to read, you know?"[18]

The series, which started in 1995 with the first novel, includes 12 titles in the adult series, as well as juvenile novels, audio books, devotionals, and graphic novels. The books have been very popular, with total sales surpassing 65 million copies as of July 2016.[4] Seven titles in the adult series have reached No. 1 on the bestseller lists for The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.[19] Jerry Falwell said about the first book in the series: "In terms of its impact on Christianity, it's probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible."[20] The best-selling series has been compared to the equally popular works of Tom Clancy and Stephen King: "the plotting is brisk and the characterizations Manichean. People disappear and things blow up."[9]

LaHaye indicates that the idea for the series came to him one day circa 1994, while he was sitting on an airplane and observed a married pilot flirting with a flight attendant. He wondered what would befall the pilot if the Rapture happened at that moment.[3] The first book in the series opens with a similar scene. He sold the movie rights for the Left Behind series and later stated he regretted that decision, because the films turned out to be "church-basement videos", rather than "a big-budget blockbuster" that he had hoped for.[6]

Later activitiesEdit

In 2001, LaHaye co-hosted with Dave Breese the prophecy television program The King Is Coming. In 2001, LaHaye gave $4.5 million to Liberty University to build a new student center and School of Prophecy, which opened in January 2002 and was named after LaHaye. He also served as its president.

He provided funds for the LaHaye Ice Center on the campus of Liberty University, which opened in January 2006.[21]

LeHaye's book The Rapture was released on June 6, 2006, in order to capitalize on a 6-6-6 connection.[22][23]

Personal life and deathEdit

Tim LaHaye married activist and fellow author Beverly Ratcliffe in 1947[24][25] while attending Bob Jones University.[4]

In July 2016, the LaHayes celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.[5][6] They had four children - Linda, Larry, Lee, and Lori - and nine grandchildren, and lived in the Los Angeles area.[4] The LaHayes owned a home in Rancho Mirage, California.[26]

LaHaye died on July 25, 2016 in a hospital in San Diego, California, after suffering from a stroke, aged 90.[4][16] In addition to his wife, Beverly, he was survived by four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, a brother (Richard LaHaye), and a sister.[5][6] His funeral service took place at Shadow Mountain Community Church on August 12, 2016, with Dr. David Jeremiah, who succeeded LaHaye as pastor at what was then Scott Memorial Baptist Church, led the service.[27] LaHaye is interred at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, California.

Other viewsEdit


In 1978 LaHaye published The Unhappy Gays, which was later retitled What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality. The book called homosexuals "militant, organized" and "vile."[28] The Unhappy Gays also argues that gays share 16 pernicious traits, including "incredible promiscuity", "deceit", "selfishness", "vulnerability to sadism-masochism", and "poor health and an early death." [2] He believed that homosexuality can be cured.[29][30] However, he said that such conversions are rare.[31]

Global conspiraciesEdit

LaHaye believed that the Illuminati is secretly engineering world affairs.[32] In Rapture Under Attack he wrote:

I myself have been a forty-five year student of the satanically-inspired, centuries-old conspiracy to use government, education, and media to destroy every vestige of Christianity within our society and establish a new world order. Having read at least fifty books on the Illuminati, I am convinced that it exists and can be blamed for many of man's inhumane actions against his fellow man during the past two hundred years.[33]

The Illuminati is just one of many groups that he believed are working to "turn America into an amoral, humanist country, ripe for merger into a one-world socialist state." Other secret societies and liberal groups working to destroy "every vestige of Christianity", according to LaHaye, include: the Trilateral Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, "the major TV networks, high-profile newspapers and newsmagazines," the State Department, major foundations (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford), the United Nations, "the left wing of the Democratic Party", Harvard, Yale "and 2,000 other colleges and universities."[3]


Eschatology and Left BehindEdit

LaHaye has been criticized for his apocalyptic beliefs, in which he asserts the end of the world is near. Other believers in dispensational premillennialism, who believe that the return of Jesus is imminent, criticize various aspects of his theology, saying he has "some real problems with his prophetical teachings in the Left Behind series." It is noted that "in books 8 & 9, LaHaye and Jenkins teach that [non-willing] recipients of the mark of the beast can still be saved". However, in The Mark, "the Chang scenario" is developed, whereby a character receives both the mark of the beast and the sealing of the Lord. In Desecration, his dual-marking was justified in the storyline." This has led some readers to wonder "how a Christian can have the mark of the beast and still be saved" and has been asked many times by perplexed readers on the Left Behind messageboard. Attempts to address this question have appeared on the FAQ page at[11][34]

Many mainstream Christians and certain other evangelicals had broader disagreements with the series as a whole, pointing out that "most biblical scholars largely reject the eschatological assumptions of this kind of pop end-times literature."[35] Others say that LaHaye portrays the Book of Revelation with a selective literalism, choosing to take some things literally (such as the violence) and others as metaphor (the Beast) as it suits his point of view.[36] In The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing, a number of criticisms are raised regarding the series, particularly its focus on violence.[35][37]

Robert M. Price, a professor of biblical criticism for the Council for Secular Humanism's Center for Inquiry Institute and a proponent of the Christ myth theory, wrote a critique of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins's 'Left Behind' novels called The paperback apocalypse, How the Christian church was left behind ("The paperback apocalypse examines the theological framework of popular eschatology, comparing it with the texts to which it erroneously appeals.").[citation needed]

Anti-Catholic sentimentsEdit

LaHaye was a harsh critic of Roman Catholicism, which he called "a false religion".[4] In his 1973 book Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain, he stated that the Catholic Church "is more dangerous than no religion because she substitutes religion for truth" and "is also dangerous because some of her doctrines are pseudo-Christian." Elsewhere the same book compared Catholic ceremonies to pagan rituals.[4] It was these statements that were largely responsible for LaHaye's dismissal from Jack Kemp's presidential campaign. It was later revealed that the San Diego church that LaHaye had pastored throughout the 1970s had sponsored an anti-Catholic group called Mission to Catholics; one of their pamphlets asserted that Pope Paul VI was the "archpriest of Satan, a deceiver, and an antichrist, who has, like Judas, gone to his own place."

The issue of anti-Catholicism also comes up in regard to the Left Behind series. While the fictional Pope John XXIV was raptured, he is described as having "stirred up controversy in the church with a new doctrine that seemed to coincide more with the 'heresy' of Martin Luther than with the historic orthodoxy they were used to," and this is implied as the reason he was raptured. His successor, Pope Peter II becomes Pontifex Maximus of Enigma Babylon One World Faith, an amalgamation of all remaining world faiths and religions.[38]

In Book 9 of the series, The Desecration, Carpathia, the villain, specifically refutes all happenings at Jesus' crucifixion that are part of the Catholic stations of the Cross but not in the canonical gospels, further undercutting the Catholic traditions.[39] Other Catholic writers have said that while the books aren't "anti-Catholic per se" they reflect LaHaye's other writings on the subject.[40]

Despite his anti-Catholic views, he praised traditionalist Catholic director Mel Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, saying that "Everyone should see this movie. It could be Hollywood's finest achievement to date."[41] He also endorsed Catholic convert Newt Gingrich for president in 2012.[42]

Sun Myung MoonEdit

In the 1980s he was criticized by the evangelical community for accepting money from Bo Hi Pak, a longtime Sun Myung Moon operative.[43] He was additionally criticized for joining Moon's Council for Religious Freedom, which was founded to protest Moon's 1984 imprisonment.[43] In 1996, LaHaye's wife spoke at an event sponsored by Moon.[43]


Time Magazine named LaHaye one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America, and in the summer of 2001, the Evangelical Studies Bulletin named him the most influential Christian leader of the preceding quarter century.[20][35]


LaHaye authored over 85 books in his lifetime.[6]

The End SeriesEdit

  1. Edge of Apocalypse (2010)
  2. Thunder of Heaven (2011)
  3. Brink of Chaos (2012)
  4. Mark of Evil (2014)

Left BehindEdit

Left Behind Series

  1. Oct. 1995, Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (ISBN 0-8423-2912-9)
  2. Oct. 1996, Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind (ISBN 0-8423-2921-8)
  3. Oct. 1997, Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist (ISBN 0-8423-2924-2)
  4. Aug. 1998, Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides (ISBN 0-8423-2925-0)
  5. Feb. 1999, Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unleashed (ISBN 0-8423-2926-9)
  6. Aug. 1999, Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist (ISBN 0-8423-2927-7)
  7. May. 2000, The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession (ISBN 0-8423-2929-3)
  8. Nov. 2000, The Mark: The Beast Rules the World (ISBN 0-8423-3228-6)
  9. Oct. 2001, Desecration: Antichrist Takes the Throne (ISBN 0-8423-3229-4)
  10. Jul. 2002, The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon (ISBN 0-8423-3230-8)
  11. Apr. 2003, Armageddon: The Cosmic Battle of the Ages (ISBN 0-8423-3236-7)
  12. Mar. 2004, Glorious Appearing: The End of Days (ISBN 0-8423-3237-5)
  13. Apr. 2007, Kingdom Come: The Final Victory (ISBN 0-8423-6061-1)

Left Behind Prequels

  1. March 2005, The Rising: Before They Were Left Behind (ISBN 0-8423-6056-5)
  2. November 2005, The Regime: Before They Were Left Behind (ISBN 1-4143-0576-1)
  3. June 6, 2006, The Rapture (ISBN 1-4143-0580-X)

Babylon RisingEdit

Babylon Rising series:

  1. October 2003, Babylon Rising (ISBN 0-553-80322-0)
  2. August 2004, The Secret on Ararat (ISBN 0-553-80323-9)
  3. September 2005, The Europa Conspiracy (ISBN 0-553-80324-7)
  4. August 29, 2006, The Edge of Darkness (ISBN 0-553-80325-5)

The Jesus ChroniclesEdit

The Jesus Chronicles series:

  1. November 21, 2006, John's Story: The Last Eyewitness (ISBN 0-399-15389-6)
  2. 2007, Mark's Story: The Gospel According to Peter
  3. 2009, Luke's Story: By Faith Alone
  4. 2010, Matthew's Story: From Sinner To Saint


  • Spirit-Controlled Temperament (Tyndale House, 1966; revised 1993)
  • How to Be Happy Though Married (Tyndale House, 1968)
  • Transformed Temperaments (Tyndale House, 1971)
  • The Beginning of the End (Tyndale House, 1972)
  • How To Win Over Depression (Zondervan, 1974)
  • Revelation: Illustrated and Made Plain revised (Zondervan, 1975 {first printing 1973})
  • How to Study the Bible for Yourself (Harvest House, 1976)
  • The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love (Zondervan, 1976; revised 1998) co-written with Beverly LaHaye
  • No Fear of the Storm (Zondervan, 1977; republished as Rapture Under Attack ({Multnomah, 1998})
  • Understanding the Male Temperament (Fleming H. Revell, 1977)
  • The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality (Tyndale House, 1978)[44]
  • Spirit-Controlled Family Living (Fleming H. Revell, 1978) co-written with Beverly LaHaye
  • Six Keys to a Happy Marriage (Tyndale House, 1978)
  • The Battle for the Mind (Fleming H. Revell, 1980)
  • Life in the Afterlife (Tyndale House, 1980)
  • Why You Act the Way You Do (1987)
  • The Power of the Cross (Multnomah, 1998)
  • Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millennium (Word Publishing, 2000) co-written with David A. Noebel
  • The Merciful God of Prophecy (First Warner, 2002)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (July 25, 2016). "Tim LaHaye Dies at 90; Fundamentalist Leader's Grisly Novels Sold Millions". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Cloud, John (June 23, 2002). "Meet the Prophet". TIME. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Dreyfuss, Robert (January 28, 2004). "Reverend Doomsday: According to Tim LaHaye, the Apocalypse is now". Rolling Stone. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McFadden, Robert (July 25, 2016). "Tim LaHaye Dies at 90: Fundamentalist Leader's Grisly Novels Sold Millions". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weber, Jeremy (July 25, 2016). "Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy". Christianity Today. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hagerty, James (July 29, 2016). "Evangelist Tim LaHaye Penned Best-Selling Apocalyptic Book Series". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ "History of SDCC". San Diego Christian College. Archived from the original on June 8, 2014. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  8. ^ "The 'Evolution' of Creationism: The Creationism 'Science' Period". People for the American Way. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  9. ^ a b c d Goldberg, Michelle (July 29, 2002). "Fundamentally Unsound". Salon. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Beverly LaHaye marks three decades of promoting traditional values through CWA". Christian Examiner. December 20, 2009. Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Tim & Beverly LaHaye: General Teachings/Activities". Biblical Discernment Ministries. Retrieved December 14, 2007. 
  12. ^ Williams, Daniel K. God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right. p. 194. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  13. ^ " Inside the Council for National Policy". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2002-12-02. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  14. ^ "A Christian Looks at the Religious Right". The Religious Right and the John Birch Society. Archived from the original on October 22, 2003. Retrieved December 14, 2007. 
  15. ^ Chafets, Zev (December 12, 2007). "The Huckabee Factor". The New York Times Magazine. 
  16. ^ a b Banks, Adelle (July 28, 2016). "Tim LaHaye, Evangelical Leader and 'Left Behind' Co-Author, Dead at 90". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
  17. ^ McAlister, Melani (September 4, 2003). "An Empire of Their Own". The Nation. 
  18. ^ "Newsweek catches up to Left Behind". Christianity Today. May 1, 2004. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  19. ^ Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. "Left Behind". Left Behind. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  20. ^ a b Alleman, Thomas Michael. "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America: Tim and Beverly LeHaye". TIME. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  21. ^ ""Left Behind" co-author Tim LaHaye dies". Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  22. ^ "On 6/6/6, the Possibilities Are Endless". The New York Times. June 6, 2006. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Numerous marketers making a special date with 6/6/06". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Dr. Tim LaHaye biodata". Tyndale House Publishers. 2008. Author's photo. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  25. ^ LaHaye, Tim; Jenkins, Jerry B. (February 1999) [Hardback 1995]. Left Behind. Left Behind (Paperback ed.). Tyndale House. Photo of authors on rear cover. ISBN 0-8423-2912-9. 
  26. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). Palm Springs Celebrity Homes: Little Tuscany, Racquet Club, Racquet Club Estates and Desert Park Estates Neighborhoods (Kindle). Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. ASIN B00A2PXD1G. 
  27. ^ "NRB Members Remember Dr. Tim LaHaye". NRB News. July 28, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  28. ^ "The Thirty Years' War: A timeline of the anti-gay movement". Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed December 19, 2007.
  29. ^ Michael Schaub. "The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About",, October 2002.
  30. ^ Bob Moser. "Holy War", Southern Poverty Law Center; accessed December 20, 2007.
  31. ^ Thomas C. Caramagno. Irreconcilable Differences? Intellectual Stalemate in the Gay Rights Debate. Praeger/Greenwood. 2002, p. 159.
  32. ^ McGuire, Paul, and Troy Anderson (2015). The Babylon Code: Solving the Bible's Greatest End-Times Mystery (Nashville, TN: FaithWords), Introduction.
  33. ^ Quoted in Arthur Versluis, The New Inquisitions: Heretic Hunting and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Totalitarianism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 121.
  34. ^ "General FAQ". Left Behind. Tyndale House Publishers. 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 'God looks on the heart,' related Jerry B. Jenkins. 'He was a believer first, and thus, always.' 
  35. ^ a b c Tom Sine. "Who is Tim LaHaye? And how did he become 'the most influential Christian' in the country?". Sojourners. September–October 2001.
  36. ^ Rev. Paul Tellström. "Left-Behind: Rationalism Archived October 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.". Sermon at Irvine United Congregational Church. March 4, 2007.
  37. ^ Barbara R. Rossing (1 March 2007). The Rapture Exposed. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00496-6. 
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  39. ^ LaHaye, Tim and Jerry Jenkins. The Desecration, Pg. 20.
  40. ^ Carl E. Olson. "No Rapture for Rome: The Anti-Catholics behind the Best-selling Left Behind Books Archived July 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.". Accessed December 14, 2007.
  41. ^ "Reviews of "The Passion of the Christ" by conservative Christians". Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  42. ^ "Exclusive: Newt snags support of 'Left Behind' author Tim LaHaye". 
  43. ^ a b c Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross. Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. 2004, page 272
  44. ^ Alan Scherstuhl (December 24, 2009). "Studies in Crap: Left Behind visionary Tim LaHaye's "penetrating" look at The Unhappy Gays". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on December 26, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 

External linksEdit