Tim LaHaye died today at the age of 90.
He is best known for his dozens of evangelical books, especially the fictional “Left Behind” series (co-authored with Jerry Jenkins) with Nicolae Carpathia as the Antichrist persecuting truth-seekers in an end-times future in which faithful Christians have been raptured away before the tribulation, and the rest of the population has been “Left Behind.” That series of twelve books alone has sold over 80 million copies.
LaHaye was a great fiction writer and a very knowledgeable Bible scholar who interpreted Bible prophecies literally. Of course, anyone’s interpretation comes through their own personal filter. I disagreed with him on two key points; LaHaye wrote from the perspective of a pre-tribulation rapture, and with the assumption that Matthew 24:36 conclusively tells us that no one can know the hour or the day of future events. (I have covered the evidence against such views in my recent books, and many articles – as have numerous others like Alan Kurschner and Nelson Walters – no need to hash that out again now.)
His less known “Are We Living in the End Times?” does a great job explaining the Book of Revelation literally, from the school of thought that most American Christians share: pre-trib and ignorant of timing. The book offers insights into the events we can expect to see in the future, and raises the question of just how near those future events may be. Having spoken to Tim LaHaye in person on these topics, I found out he assumed that while we may know more detail on the timing of such events as they approach, he wasn’t particularly concerned about all the signs available for analysis because he didn’t expect Christians to be “Left Behind” to suffer through such events.
I recommend to any of his fans to re-read the Bible and decide for yourself if his end times assumptions make sense.