My thoughts on Tim LaHaye (1926-2016) :: byTerry James

Tim and Beverly were getting on the elevator at a hotel in Dallas last December just as Todd and I were stepping off. We were the only people aboard.

As usual, Tim and I hugged and we all had a personal moment of greeting before going on our separate ways. The Pre-Trib Study Group is always busy as we all shuffle to our various destinations during that three-day conference in December.

Tim grabbed the material of the sleeve of my cardigan sweater. “Boy, that’s really a nice sweater,” he said and examined it closer.

I told him that my wife thinks it’s out of fashion, but that it was one I really like, so defied her wishes in bringing it along.

Both Tim and Beverly assured me that it was right in style. (Of course we are of relatively the same generation…).

Todd said nothing, knowing little about fashion and of a much younger generation.

Sadly, it was the last time Tim and I would speak. I say “sadly,” not because I’ll never see him again, because I certainly will. I say “sadly,” because I will have to wait an indeterminate amount of time to see him again.

I will miss him while in this body of flesh and blood, awaiting that spectacular reunion above this fallen sphere we call earth.

Tim LaHaye devoted the last years of his life to thinking on what the Bible has to say about the coming of the Lord for His church. God made His opinion known in a spectacular way to the whole world by seeing to it that Tim and Jerry Jenkins’ treatment of that coming, great reunion has sold more than 80 million copies.

Todd tells me that even though the Left Behind series is well past its primetime sales, it none-the-less continues to sell 100,000 copies per month.

Only the God of Heaven could achieve marketing success of that magnitude for any genre within Christian book publishing.

So, the Lord of Heaven used this giant of the faith—as his Left Behind co-author called him following Tim’s passing into the presence of his Savior—to get out the message that Christ is about to shake this world like it hasn’t been shaken since the day Noah climbed into the Ark and Lot was whisked out of Sodom.

The Rapture is about to convulse the rebellious planet in one, stunning microsecond. Tim and Jerry were primary messengers in the Lord’s merciful gesture in seeing to it that many, many are properly forewarned.

One of the last acts of generosity and kindness Tim performed—and he was so kind and generous to everyone—was to endorse my just released book on the very topic of the Rapture. It is a matter I will indeed hold close to my heart.

Tim LaHaye didn’t quite make it to that stupendous event—the Rapture—while in this life. But, he is now outside of this linear restraint we call time. I have no doubt that at the moment of Rapture he will arrive at where our Lord is just a microsecond before those who are alive and are suddenly translated into Christ’s presence.

I know just how instantaneous is that trip into the heavenlies. A Good Friday “Widow Maker” heart attack experience had me there within a blink of an eye, three separate times within a matter of one half hour as my heart stopped before being shocked back to life.

I was sent back to this earth, among other reasons, to write about that subject for which Tim LaHaye became famously synonymous. He went to his and my—and I hope your—Heavenly home and stayed.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I do feel a pinch of envy over the joyfulness my great friend and mentor now must be experiencing.

The following is a news article synopsizing Tim’s prodigious career in God’s work over the years.

“The Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the “Left Behind” series, a multimillion-selling literary juggernaut that brought end-times prophecy into mainstream bookstores, died Monday. He was 90.

“LaHaye died in a San Diego hospital days after having suffered a stroke, according to publicist Johnnie Moore.

“Co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins, the 16-volume “Left Behind” series of novels sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, Moore said, and popularized a Bible interpretation that said born-again Christians will be instantly taken to God in the rapture, while those left behind on Earth endure seven years of tribulation.

“LaHaye was a key figure in conservative political groups, encouraging the Rev. Jerry Falwell to create the Moral Majority; forming the Council for National Policy, a secretive strategy group for prominent political and religious conservatives; and with his wife, Beverly, starting Concerned Women for America in 1979 as an alternative to liberal feminist organizations.

“He was also a prolific nonfiction author, writing more than 60 books that included the Christian sex manual “The Act of Marriage” and “The Battle for the Mind,” whose denunciations of secularism helped rouse the religious right.

“Born in 1926, LaHaye grew up in Detroit, served in the Air Force at the end of World War II and graduated from Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. He earned a midcareer doctorate at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., and joined the Southern Baptist Convention.

“After leading churches in South Carolina and Minnesota, he moved to Southern California and for a quarter-century led a thriving congregation that eventually became Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon. After 1981, he devoted himself to writing, promoting his view of Bible prophecy, family life seminars and political activism.

“Some fellow conservative Christians pushed back against LaHaye’s end-times views, known as premillennial dispensationalism, emphasizing that the books were fictional and should not be read as an exact theological interpretation of the Bible. Still, his books strongly shaped evangelical views of Jesus’ Second Coming and popularized the ideas to the broader public. Jenkins called LaHaye a “spiritual giant.”

“LaHaye extended his influence by founding Christian high schools, San Diego Christian College and a church in the Atlanta area, along with helping establish the Institute for Creation Research, which rejects evolution and contends God created the Earth recently in six literal days.

“In 1987, LaHaye resigned as a co-chairman of Jack Kemp’s Republican presidential campaign after news reports cited his criticisms of Roman Catholicism and Judaism.

“LaHaye is survived by his wife, four children and nine grandchildren, among other relatives. No funeral plans were announced.”