Timothy Francis "Tim" LaHaye (April 27, 1926-July 25, 2016) is an American evangelical Christian minister and author. LaHaye is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction that depict the Earth after the pretribulation rapture. He is also known for his strong support for young Earth creation.
LaHaye was born on April 27, 1926 in Detroit. His father, a Ford autoworker, died when he was nine. LaHaye served in Army Air Force during World War II, joining in 1944 and serving in Europe as a machine-gunner.
LaHaye graduated from Bob Jones University in 1950 with a bachelor's degree, and after that he received a doctorate at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He would also receive a doctorate at Liberty University later.
Pastor and Christian leader
LaHaye served as a pastor in churches in South Carolina and Minnesota until 1956, when he moved to San Diego, California to pastor the Scott Memorial Baptist Church (now called Shadow Mountain Community Church), which he would do for 25 years.
LaHaye founded Christian Heritage College, now called San Diego Christian College, and helped Henry Morris found the Institute for Creation Research. Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics ministry, has referred to LaHaye as the "third founder" of the modern creation science movement, after Morris and John Whitcomb.
LaHaye was very involved in the Christian right and was active in numerous Christian right organizations in the 1970s and 80s, including the Moral Majority. In 1987, he served as honorary national co-chairman for Jack Kemp's campaign for president but left after it was reported the he had written statements in his writings that were deemed by the media—who forget that there are such things as theological disagreements—as "anti-Catholic" and "anti-Jewish". In addition, LaHaye was influential in building Evangelical support for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and served as a spiritual advisor for Mike Huckabee during his 2008 presidential campaign.
In addition, LaHaye founded and was active in several conservative organizations.
Left Behind series
LaHaye is most famous for his Left Behind novels, which he co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins. He wrote 16 Left Behind novels, between 1995 and 2007, which sold about 65 million copies and could possibly be considered the most commercially successful Christian fiction work in history. LaHaye's goal of the series was to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ and avoid an eternity in Hell.
LaHaye was named "the most influential American evangelical of the last 25 years" in 2001 by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, and in 2005, TIME magazine labeled LaHaye and his wife, Beverly, "the Christian Power Couple".
- McFadden, Robert D. (July 25, 2016). Tim LaHaye Dies at 90; Fundamentalist Leader’s Grisly Novels Sold Millions. The New York Times. Retrieved Septemer 6, 2016.
- Weber, Jeremy (July 25, 2016). Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy. Christianity Today. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
- Hagerty, James R. (July 29, 2016). Evangelist Tim LaHaye Penned Best-Selling Apocalyptic Book Series. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
- Banks, Adelle M. (July 28, 2016). Tim LaHaye, evangelical leader and ‘Left Behind’ co-author, dead at 90. dispatch.com. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
- Ham, Ken (July 25, 2016). Creationist Pioneer and Popular Author Tim LaHaye Passes Away. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved October 7, 2016.