This week the Lord Jesus invited Tim LaHaye, one of His greatest Champions of the Faith, to join Him in Heaven. Tim was 90 years old, and had used all of his time to spread the Gospel, edify growing Christians, and bring much-needed hope to a needy world.
I met him in in the ‘60’s in the registration line of Campus Crusade for Christ’s great missionary movement. We had come to a Pastor’s Conference at Crusade’s new headquarters in Arrowhead Springs, California. We were there to learn how to share the “Four Spiritual Laws” with the hippie generation. I was a new, young pastor in Los Angeles (Community Brethren Church), and he was already the well-known pastor of the large Scott Memorial Baptist Church in San Diego and author of the book, Spirit Controlled Temperament, which would become a classic tool of Christian thought in the budding “Jesus People” generation.”
Tim continued to pastor the fast-growing church, establish Christian Heritage College (now known as San Diego Christian College), and write many other helpful books.
Fast-forward thirty very-eventful years; while I was pastoring Solid Ground Church in Alta Loma, California, I invited Tim to speak at our first Bible prophecy conference. It was shortly after he and Jerry B. Jenkins had released their first book in the “Left Behind” series. It was already popular, but at that time no one could have imagined that it would become the all-time best-selling 16-volume Christian fiction phenomenon, and result in the sale of more than 65 million highly-influential books depicting what Bible prophecy could mean to our generation.
We were planning a major Bible prophecy conference for January, 2011, in the Ontario Convention Center. A close friend at church noticed that we had a great line-up of highly respected speakers. He asked if I had invited Tim LaHaye to speak. I told him that since he had become the celebrated best-selling author, I didn’t know how to contact him. He just happened to have a phone number for Tim. The next day I reluctantly called the number, fully expecting to reach an impenetrable organization that might never give LaHaye the message. To my surprise, his wife Beverly, who is quite famous in her own right—as founder of Concerned Women of America, answered the phone, and promptly handed it to Tim. He was very friendly and polite, but asked how I had obtained that number. I mentioned our mutual friend and he laughed, and said they had just moved in to their new home and were surprised to get any call. However, he wanted to hear about the conference, and to my amazement, he said he had just developed a great message to share, and was wondering where he should give it. He said he would like to participate, and called out to Beverly to see if they had any plans for that weekend. She said, “No,” and he immediately told me, “I’ll do it!” Right then I knew that the Lord was putting that conference together! It really did turn out to be a fabulous event, and Tim’s message, “Prophecy as a Proof of Christianity,” was a special treat to the attendees.
We will miss him, but not for long. The Rapture is closer now than ever, and He is already with Jesus waiting for us to join them.