The Christian Power Couple
In his role as minister and organizer, the Rev. Tim LaHaye, who will turn 79 in April, somehow never achieved the name recognition of, say, Jerry Falwell or for that matter of his wife Beverly LaHaye, 75, founder of Concerned Women for America, one of Washington's most influential antiabortion and anti-gay-marriage organizations. But it is a measure of Tim LaHaye's reach that his role in founding Falwell's Moral Majority is only his second most notable venture. (Falwell was inspired to start the group in 1979 after seeing how LaHaye had organized scores of fellow pastors to work for conservative political causes in California in the '70s.) It wasn't until 15 years later that LaHaye got the idea for a novelized account of the Second Coming. The result, Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (1995), launched a literary empire. The book and its 11 sequels have sold more than 42 million copies (not counting spin-offs like kids' books, CDs and greeting cards) and set the image that many people believers and non-believers alike now have about how the world will end. "In terms of its impact on Christianity," says Falwell, "it's probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible.