The son of a Detroit automaker who became a renowned evangelist and best-selling author is being remembered more for his heart than his books.
Dr. Timothy LaHaye was 90 years old when he passed away on Monday after suffering a stroke several days earlier. And while he's likely to be remembered by most people for co-authoring with Jerry Jenkins the 16-volume "Left Behind" series – which sold more than 80 million copies – those who knew him recall the man's love of Christ and compassion for people.
Dr. David Jeremiah pastors Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. He remembers LaHaye first as pastor of Scott Memorial Baptist Church, which became the church Jeremiah pastors today.
Jeremiah says LaHaye never stopped having a pastor's heart. The evangelist was known for taking the gospel to people one on one, including people he had never met, explains Pastor Jeremiah.
"He loved his church, he loved the pastorate, he loved Christian education," Jeremiah shares. "He started a grade school/high school program here which is still is going strong and is very vibrant. He started a college. He inherited a seminary.
"You know the guy was incredible," he adds. "The joke around here at one time was what new organization is Tim going to start this week."
Penny Nance heads Concerned Women for America, an organization founded by LaHayes' widow, Beverly. Like Jeremiah, Nance tells OneNewsNow that LaHaye was known for his love and compassion.
"He had the exact same amount of caring and gave as much attention to the billionaire in the room as he did the waitress or the prisoner," she shares. "He clearly loved people and people responded to him. They loved him back in return."
Nance continues: "Everything he did, every goal that he set professionally was simply about sharing the gospel, equipping people with the Word of God – and most importantly, bringing people to Christ."
Shortly after LaHaye's death, Jeremiah made plans for the funeral with Mrs. LaHaye.
"[She told me] If you don't give the gospel, Dr. Jeremiah, my husband will turn over in the grave. So you better make sure you're ready to do that – and of course I'm always ready to do that," says Jeremiah, "but that was his passion. He was a great evangelist and he used to say that his goal was to go to Heaven and take as many people with him as he could."
LaHaye leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Beverly, four children, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Services will be held in about two weeks.