SAN DIEGO, July 26 (UPI) — Tim LaHaye, the well-respected leader of the American evangelical movement, inspiration to Jerry Falwell and co-author of the 16 best-selling Left Behind novels died Monday after suffering a stroke last week. He was 90.
The Left Behind novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, sold millions and cracked the mainstream beginning in the 1990s with tales based on the Bible’s Book of Revelation and followed a group of people “left behind” after the second coming of Jesus.
“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don’t expect to be filled until I see him again,” Jenkins said in a statement.
The books made Christian fundamentalist sermons into page turners that were equally lauded and criticized. Some critics accused the books of being anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic as well.
The series eventually were turned into movies, video games, and clothing among other things. The books are considered perhaps the most successful Christian fiction in publishing history.
Lahaye was also a highly influential evangelical minister in Southern California, helping inspire and build Pat Robertson‘s Christian Coalition of America and Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority.