Our friend and longtime associate in conservative causes Pastor Tim LaHaye passed away on Monday after suffering a stroke. Pastor LaHaye just celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary with his wife Beverley, founder of Concerned Women for America.
The founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and founder of the PreTrib Research Center, Tim LaHaye sold 80 million copies of the “Left Behind” series of novels he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. “In terms of its impact on Christianity, it’s probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible,” the late Jerry Falwell, a friend of LaHaye’s, told Time magazine in 2005.
While he was best known outside of conservative politics for his “Left Behind” novels, LaHaye was an early and influential member of the cultural conservative leg of the New Right coalition that helped elect Ronald Reagan president in 1980.
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. His wife, Beverly, founded Concerned Women for America at about the same time to counter feminist organizations that claimed to speak for women.
As our friend Ralph Z. Hallow observed for The Washington Times, these and other groups brought into politics for the first time legions of evangelical Christians who broadened the Republican Party’s focus on free market and military preparedness issues to include traditional social and religious stands on issues such as abortion, religious freedom and expression, and marriage.
Mr. LaHaye also helped found the Council for National Policy, an ongoing association that brings together Christian leaders in the publishing, broadcast and cable news world, prominent political activists and interest group leaders to fashion — quietly and in private — a social, political and economic agenda that promotes constitutionalism, individual freedom and traditional values.
“Tim LaHaye and his wife, Beverly, hold a unique place in American life,” said Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly. “Through their service in organizing — whether Council for National Policy, Concerned Women for America, or their other efforts, or by their advocacy through the writing and speaking, the LaHayes have made a difference for all Americans and especially for conservatives.”
Despite his vast impact on politics and culture it is for his pastoral work that his closest associates remember him.
“Tim was one of the most godly men I have ever known,” said David Jeremiah, LaHaye’s successor at the San Diego church he led for 25 years (then named Scott Memorial Baptist Church, now named Shadow Mountain Community Church). “Almost every conversation I had with him ended with his praying with me and for me. He wrote me extended letters of appreciation for what God was doing in our church. We shared long lunches together talking about ministry and praying for our nation.
“When I look back over [his] life, I am reminded of Paul’s words concerning King David: ‘He served his own generation by the will of God’ (Acts 13:36),” stated Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain and founder of Turning Point. “Tim’s ministry will continue for many years through the books he wrote, the organizations he founded, and the people that he influenced. But I will miss him when I look out from my pulpit next Sunday.”