Tim LaHaye

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Tim LaHaye
Born (1926-04-27)April 27, 1926
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died July 25, 2016(2016-07-25) (aged 90)
San Diego, California
Occupation Minister, author
Genre Religious, apocalyptic, science fiction

Timothy F. "Tim" LaHaye (April 27, 1926 – July 25, 2016) was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker. He is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.


Early life[edit]

Tim LaHaye was born on April 27, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. He died on July 25, 2016. His mother was the former Margret Palmer and his father, Frank LaHaye, was a Ford auto worker who died of a heart attack in 1936. His father's death had a significant influence on LaHaye, just 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, 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."[1]

LaHaye enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1944 at the age of 18, after finishing night school. He served in Europe as a machine gunner aboard a bomber.[2]

LaHaye received a BA from Bob Jones University in 1950. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Seminary. In 1958, the LaHaye family moved to San Diego, where he became pastor of the Scott Memorial Baptist Church in San Diego, serving there for almost 25 years. In 1971 he founded Christian Heritage College, which is now known as San Diego Christian College.

Political activism[edit]

LaHaye has promoted or started numerous groups to promote his views, having become involved in politics at the Christian Voice during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1972 he helped establish the Institute for Creation Research at Christian Heritage College in El Cajon, California, doing so along with Henry Morris.[3][4] In 1979 he encouraged Jerry Falwell to found the Moral Majority, and sat on its board of directors.[2][5]

Then in 1981 he left the pulpit to concentrate his time on politics and writing.[6] That year, he helped found the Council for National Policy (CNP) a policy making think tank[7] in which membership is only available through invitation; it has been reported "the most powerful conservative organization in America you've never heard of,"[8] and should not be confused with the liberal Center for National Policy.[5] 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 have connections to the John Birch Society, a conservative, anti-communist group.[9]

He has also taken more direct roles in presidential politics. He was a co-chairman of Jack Kemp's 1988 presidential bid; he was kicked off the campaign after four days when his anti-Catholic views (see below) became known.[2][10] LaHaye played a significant role in getting the Religious Right to support George W. Bush for the presidency in 2000.[2][5] In 2007, he endorsed Mike Huckabee during the primaries.[11] Huckabee reportedly found the Left Behind books to be a "compelling story written for nontheologians."[11]

Left Behind[edit]

Main article: Left Behind (series)

LaHaye is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction that depict 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.[12] 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?"[13]

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. Seven titles in the adult series have reached No. 1 on the bestseller lists for The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.[14] 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."[15] The best-selling series have 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."[5]

LaHaye indicates that the idea for the series came to him one day about 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.[2] The first book in the series opens with a similar scene.

Recent activities[edit]

In 2001, LaHaye co-hosted with Dave Breese in the prophecy television program The King Is Coming. His book The Rapture was released on June 6, 2006, in order to show a 6-6-6 connection.

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 serves as its president. LaHaye also provided the funds for the LaHaye Ice Center on the campus of Liberty University, which opened in January 2006.

Personal life[edit]

Tim LaHaye married activist and fellow author Beverly Ratcliffe in 1947.[16][17] They have four children, Linda, Larry, Lee, and Lori, along with nine grandchildren, and live in the Los Angeles area. His hobbies include skiing, jogging, motorcycling, and golfing.[18] He owns a home in Rancho Mirage, California.[19] He died after a stroke on July 25, 2016.[20]

Other views[edit]


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."[21] 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." He speculates whether those who accept gays even though they are so unhappy or "those who practiced Old Testament capital punishment" on gays are more "cruel and inhuman." He has called the book "a model of compassion."[1] He believes that homosexuality can be cured.[22][23] However, he says that such conversions are rare.[24]

Global conspiracies[edit]

LaHaye believes that the Illuminati is secretly engineering world affairs.[10] 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.

The Illuminati is just one of many groups that he believes 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."[2]


Eschatology and Left Behind[edit]

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 LeftBehind.com.[6][25]

With the presumption of eschatological plots, persons and conclusions, and with so many people basing their eschatological understanding on the Left behind series, LaHaye has been accused of violating the warning given in Revelation 22:18–19 not to add to or take away from the words of the Revelation.

Many mainstream Christians and other evangelicals like Tom Sine have 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."[26] 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.[27] In The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing, a number of criticisms are raised regarding the series, particularly its focus on violence.[26][28]

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, ( Amherst, NY Prometheus Books 2007, ISBN 1-59102-583-4) in which he writes p 11 " The paperback apocalypse examines the theological framework of popular eschatology, comparing it with the texts to which it erroneously appeals. It goes further, demonstrating that the New Testament promise of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ has long since fallen victim to a self-imposed statute of limitations. That is, this pseudo-event was never predicted as happening someday, in the sweet by-and-by; rather, it was always mentioned with the promise of a swift fulfillment in the ancient readers' own day. That promise failed, and there is as much reason to postpone it, still expecting it, as there is to hold onto one's ticket from a defunct airline. It will not be honored, and it is high time to make some alternative plans. I will reinforce this point with a historical survey of disappointed eschatological expectations. "

Anti-Catholic sentiments[edit]

LaHaye has been a harsh critic of Roman Catholicism, which he has called "a false religion".[10] 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.[10] 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."[29] 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.[30] Other Catholic writers have said that while the books aren't "anti-Catholic per se" they reflect LaHaye's other writings on the subject.[31]

Despite his anti-Catholic views, he praised Roman 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."[32] He also endorsed Catholic Newt Gingrich for president in 2012.[33]

Sun Myung Moon[edit]

In the 1980s he was criticized by the evangelical community for accepting money from Bo Hi Pak, a longtime Sun Myung Moon operative.[34] He was additionally criticized for joining Moon's Council for Religious Freedom, which was founded to protest Moon's 1984 imprisonment.[34] In 1996 LaHaye's wife spoke at an event sponsored by Moon.[34]


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.[15][26]


The End Series[edit]

  1. Edge of Apocalypse
  2. Thunder of Heaven
  3. Brink of Chaos
  4. Mark of Evil

Left Behind[edit]

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 Rising[edit]

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 Chronicles[edit]

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)
  • 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)[35]
  • 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 also[edit]


  1. ^ a b John Cloud. "Meet the Prophet". Time. June 23, 2002.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Robert Dreyfuss. "Reverend Doomsday: According to Tim LaHaye, the Apocalypse is now". Rolling Stone. January 28, 2004.
  3. ^ "History of SDCC". Sdcc.edu. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ a b c d Michelle Goldberg. "Fundamentally unsound". Salon.com. July 29, 2002.
  6. ^ a b "Tim & Beverly LaHaye: General Teachings/Activities". Biblical Discernment Ministries. Accessed December 14, 2007.
  7. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=lqf3KBaqgI8C&lpg=PP1&dq=God's%20Own%20Party&pg=PA194#v=onepage&q=policy%20making%20think%20tank&f=false "God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right". Daniel K. Williams, Oxford Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-19-534084-6
  8. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20021202132338/http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/council_020501.html "Vast, Right-Wing Cabal? Meet the Most Powerful Conservative Group You've Never Heard Of". Marc J. Ambinder. May 2, 2002.
  9. ^ "The Religious Right and the John Birch Society". A Christian Looks at the Religious Right. Accessed December 14, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d Rob Boston. "If Best-Selling End-Times Author Tim LaHaye Has His Way, Church-State Separation Will Be... Left Behind". Americans United for Separation of Church and State. February 2002.
  11. ^ a b Zev Chafets. "The Huckabee Factor". New York Times Magazine. December 12, 2007.
  12. ^ Melani McAlister. "An Empire of Their Own". The Nation. September 4, 2003.
  13. ^ http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/mayweb-only/5-17-41.0.html?paging=off
  14. ^ Leftbehind.com official website of book series. Accessed September 8, 2007.
  15. ^ a b Thomas Michael Alleman. "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America: Tim and Beverly LeHaye". Time magazine. Accessed September 8, 2007.
  16. ^ "Dr. Tim LaHaye Bio". The official Left Behind site. Tyndale House Publishers. 2008. Author's photo. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "Biography for Reverend Tim LaHaye" at the Internet Movie Database. Accessed December 13, 2007.
  19. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). Palm Springs Celebrity Homes: Little Tuscany, Racquet Club, Racquet Club Estates and Desert Park Estates Neighborhoods (Kindle). Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 412 (Kindle location number). ASIN B00A2PXD1G. 
  20. ^ http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/july/tim-lahaye-dies-left-behind-coauthor-stroke.html
  21. ^ "The Thirty Years' War: A timeline of the anti-gay movement". Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed December 19, 2007.
  22. ^ Michael Schaub. "The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know about". Bookslut. October 2002.
  23. ^ Bob Moser. "Holy War". Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed December 20, 2007.
  24. ^ Thomas C. Caramagno. Irreconcilable Differences? Intellectual Stalemate in the Gay Rights Debate. Praeger/Greenwood. 2002. page 159.
  25. ^ "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.' 
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Rev. Paul Tellström. "Left-Behind: Rationalism". Sermon at Irvine United Congregational Church. March 4, 2007.
  28. ^ Barbara R. Rossing (1 March 2007). The Rapture Exposed. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00496-6. 
  29. ^ Jimmy Akin. "Catholic Answers Special Report: False Profit".
  30. ^ LaHaye, Tim and Jerry Jenkins. The Desecration, Pg. 20.
  31. ^ Carl E. Olson. "No Rapture for Rome: The Anti-Catholics behind the Best-selling Left Behind Books". Catholic.com. Accessed December 14, 2007.
  32. ^ "Reviews of "The Passion of the Christ" by conservative Christians". Religioustolerance.org. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  33. ^ "Exclusive: Newt snags support of ‘Left Behind’ author Tim LaHaye". 
  34. ^ a b c Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross. Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. 2004, page 272
  35. ^ Alan Scherstuhl (December 24, 2009). "Studies in Crap: Left Behind visionary Tim LaHaye's "penetrating" look at The Unhappy Gays". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 

External links[edit]