The Death Of Zachery Tims: Relapse Or Rush To Judge?

Questions swirl around the circumstances of the death of Florida megachurch pastor Zachery Tims, much of it fueled by speculation. But it is the unanswered questions from the investigation that have people wondering whether the relatively young minister had a relapse with his addiction or if he died clean and sober.

The public loves a scandal, even where one does not exist. The curious provide a market for the imaginative and the more creative within the media are all too often eager to fill the void. In the death of Florida pastor Zachery Tims, who died in New York on August 12, that creativity has driven speculation that the Reverend may have died of a drug overdose or that a relapse back into his former addiction may have in some way caused his untimely death.

The Rev. Tims was found by a hotel worker when they entered his hotel room, which sources told the Wall Street Journal he was supposed to have vacated the previous day. Unidentified law enforcement sources told the Journal and the New York Daily News that a glassine envelope containing a white powdery substance had been found in a pocket on Tims' unresponsive body. Those and other media sources provided the genesis of further conjecture that the pastor might have died the victim of a drug overdose.

According to the Christian Post, the New Destiny Christian Center, which Tims co-founded with his former wife, Riva, in 1996, called a special meeting of the congregation to address the "rumors" of drugs being involved in the death of the popular pastor. As the Post noted, some, including those who were close to Tims as head of the megachurch, have been calling for a cautious appraisal of the situation. Others seem to be willing to entertain the opinion that the death of the pastor was just another sad story in a long line of fallen megachurch preachers over the years.

Although it is known that the 42-year-old Tims was once an addict and given to a life of criminal activity, information he freely disclosed on the New Direction website and in his memoir, before his conversion to Christianity, there reportedly as yet have been no indications from friends and family members that the Reverend may have had a relapse. Given the pressures of running a 8,000-member megachurch and the recent personal troubles associated with divorce and its concomitant legal worries, there seems to have existed an atmosphere that might have fostered conditions favorable toward a relapse.

It is still unknown what was in the glassine envelope as well. Authorities are testing the contents to identify the powdered substance.

It is also unknown, even if the substance in the envelope ultimately is revealed to be some form of drug, if Rev. Tims was actually taking or using it. The New York Medical Examiner reported that the cause of death could not be determined and that a ruling could be possible when toxicology test results, which would indicate if there were chemicals in Tims' body, became available. The tests and the medical examiner's final autopsy report will take several weeks to conclude.

In summation: All factors associated in the death of Rev. Tims remain circumstantial and as yet provide no way to empirically conclude why or how he died.

Except via extrapolation, conjecture, and speculation -- and perhaps a need to make a judgment on character, a judgment based on nothing truly factual but fostered by the strange need of some to see the successful fail, the mighty fall. And given the list of fallen famous church leaders, from PTL Club televangelist Jim Bakker to Atlanta megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long, the supposition would seem to have precedent. But such thinking denies that each religious leader's case stands alone due to the individual(s) involved and the personal and situational circumstances that comprise it.

Investigators were looking into Rev. Tims' schedule and reviewing surveillance footage to see if he may have been traveling with someone. The pastor was found on Friday, August 12, but he was supposed to have left for Texas the day before. Although detectives originally believed he was alone in New York, rumors have led the investigation to look into the possibility that the pastor may not have been alone or even died alone. Authorities have also requested Tims' cell phone records.

WFTV in Orlando spoke with Orlando Pastor Randolph Bracy about Zachery Tims' untimely death and although he remained noncommittal on the reports out of New York, he observed the one thing he did know: "... sooner or later the truth will come out."

Known to be close with Tims, Bracy was asked if he thought that the pastor may have had a relapse.

"All of us can have a relapse," Bracy noted. "None of us are exempt. I'm not going to judge."

He added that Tims' should be remembered for all the good he accomplished as the pastor at New Destiny Christian Center for 15 years. In that time, he built a congregation of 6 people to nearly 8,000, built a youth center, and was involved in many charitable outreach programs, including giving away toys at Christmas.

The investigation into the pastor's death remained ongoing as of the weekend of his funeral. Thousands attended the public viewing at the pastor's megachurch Friday. The funeral and procession that followed on Saturday, held at the First Baptist Church of Orando, were witnessed by thousands as well.

(photo credit: Utente: Tinette, Wikimedia Commons)

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Comments

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
First of all the Christian Community shoud be applauded for their support for New Destiny as well as the Family. While most may be premature in their conclusions of cause of death, what shocked me the most when it was first announced was that two days had already passed before the Public was informed. The News broke for Texans August 14th, via Roland Martin on the Internet and an announcement @ the Potters House that morning. Normally, celebrity status deaths are reported asap. That's what made some suspicious...and then came the news a day or so later about the alleged drugs. He was suppose to be in Dallas for the Manpower Conferance that Thursday. Hard to believe nobody checked to find his where abouts until 6p.m. Friday ? And no one has conclusively said where or why he was in New York. He will be fondly missed by many . Blessings to his wife Riva and children....a long healing road ahead.

Submitted by VerySadSituation (not verified) on
Very sad situation all around. From out here in TV-audience-land, he seemed like such a personable, friendly, likeable, handsome young man. He was on TBN 7/12, exactly one month before his death (though I read the past few days that TBN, Jan Crouch specifically, had fired him "recently" as TBN felt something was amiss, & that Tims put up a fuss about it. If any of that is true, it must have occurred subsequent to his hosting TBN-PTL on 7/12/11). I wondered if the humiliation from being fired, combined with the Puerto Rico vacation with Riva & the kids the week before his death, may have put him into a depression(?) Several have reported on his speaking at a Boston church, "the last church he preached at before his death," & that he was on fire for the Lord, ie, a great sermon. But I have yet to see a DATE for that Boston speaking engagement. If it was just prior to his death (between the Puerto Rico vacation & heading to Texas Manpower Conference), that could explain a stopover in NY since Boston is approx. 225 miles from NYC, or about a 4-hr. drive. As for the "suspicions," agree: •When one of their guest speakers doesn't show up on Thurs. 8/11 as planned, the Manpower Conference staff surely began calling Tims' home, church, secretary, his cell, etc. that very same day 8/11/11.   •Tims' local Florida staff, in turn, no doubt, then began calling Tims' cell, etc.  •If Tims' Florida church & staff KNEW he was supposed to be in Texas 8/11 per his itinerary, they possibly did not know he took a sideline stop to NY instead. •If Tims' Florida staff DID know Tims' had planned a NY trip BEFORE going to Texas, then they WOULD HAVE known WHERE he was staying in NY. •And if they DID know where Tims was staying in NY, they surely WOULD have begun calling his cell & the W Hotel staff 8/11 when Tims did not show up in Texas that same day. •Therefore, it makes no sense that the Hotel staff did not go to Tims' room until a day later, not UNTIL Fri. EVENING 8/12 at 6pm! •Since Tims did not leave NY on 8/11 as he was reportedly supposed to, isn't it feasible he may have died 8/11 rather than 8/12?  •Or was he just not answering his phone when, surely, either Texas &/or Florida staff began calling him on 8/11 to determine why he was not in Texas by 8/11?) As for why Tims' was in NY, I have read the following over the past few days: •To attend a preseason football game, as reported at ObnoxiousTV blog.  This was proven false by people who live in NY & said no such games took place in NY, as reported at Lipstick Alley blog. •Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown stold WSJ that Tims had a speaking engagement in NY but she didn't know with whom, where, when, etc. --  (Surely Tims' Florida staff knows/knew his planned itinerary?) •A reader comment at NY Daily News said:  "Word on the street is that Tims' was supposed to meet with Al & Jesse that night" (8/12).  -- (Of course that could have been a prank/joke comment.  I haven't seen Al Sharpton nor Jesse Jackson verifying any such "meeting.") I have one question:  Since Tims was a cop in Baltimore before he became a pastor in Florida (& his father was a cop as well), was Tims a member of Freemasonry?  It is a pretty well-known fact that police departments everywhere are awash with Masons (churches & the judiciary system, too); & that Freemasons swear oaths to always assist, help, hide, &/or cover up the troubles &/or crimes their fellow Masonic "brotherhood" members may find themselves involved in.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Hi, just wanted to comment as I attended the last server Pastor Zachery Tims spoke at. I am so grateful that I was in attendance at this service. I had never heard him before and am thankful that the message he spoke "It's In Your Mouth" (Your Future) was very fitting for EVERTHING I was going through in my life that very day. We as humans and Christians tend to JUDGE so quickly. I know that God will use whomever He desires to get the "word" out. I am grateful that he chose Dr. Tims on August 10, 2011 to get the Word out to me! The pastor of the church he spoke at, is a very good friend of Pastor Tims and therefore, I am certain he did the speaking engagement out of the goodness of his heart for a friend. I am glad that I am a friend of God.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Hi, just wanted to comment as I attended the last server Pastor Zachery Tims spoke at. I am so grateful that I was in attendance at this service. I had never heard him before and am thankful that the message he spoke "It's In Your Mouth" (Your Future) was very fitting for EVERTHING I was going through in my life that very day. We as humans and Christians tend to JUDGE so quickly. I know that God will use whomever He desires to get the "word" out. I am grateful that he chose Dr. Tims on August 10, 2011 to get the Word out to me! The pastor of the church he spoke at, is a very good friend of Pastor Tims and therefore, I am certain he did the speaking engagement out of the goodness of his heart for a friend. I am glad that I am a friend of God.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
good riddance

Submitted by Sylvester (not verified) on
Just so my first " anonymous" post won't be confused with the 2nd and 3rd response ...I am Sylvester. Good Riddance???? ..There is appointed unto man one time to die...then The Judgement...Be Careful what you SAY.

Submitted by Anonymous (Nikki) (not verified) on
Good riddance........to any druggie.....and I mean it. I am Nikki and I don't have any sympathy for any fool who sticks anything up his nose but his finger to yank out a booger. I hope he burns in hell, if there is one. And don't give me any of your rhetoric about judgement, please. He knew the consequences of using drugs and he chose to take the risk. I said it before...I have no sympathy and zero tolerance.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You have no idea what he died from! How do you know the envelope with the powdery substance wasn't planted on him right after he was killed by the hands of someone else? You, like everyone else, do not have the full details...stop speculating!!!!

Submitted by nate (not verified) on
This was published on this site the week following Dr. Tim's death There is an attempt to coverup the real reasons behind the death of Mr. Tims. First, it does not take one week-with the modern technology and fast testing procedures to determine what the white powder was. At most, with GC/MS spectroscopic methods and HPLC it would take 10 minutes. Secondly, the whereabouts of Mr. Tims- and whether or not in the hours preceding his death he received visitors is important to establish who was criminally responsible for this supposedly unknown substance. Law enforcement has been aware for the past five years that street drugs such as cocaine and heroin have been cut with a potent heart stopping veterinarian drug. And, that the suspected powder may have came from confiscated drugs in the possession of law enforcement must be ruled out. The problem here is that confiscated drugs are usually "tagged chemically" by law enforcement as a preventive measure. Should an officer make a drug bust and it is later confirmed that the drugs confiscated are in fact, ones that have been tagged, then it would mean that the department may be complicit in the crime or any resultant deaths. Police move slowly for three reasons: 1. When one of their own may have been involved in a crime. 2 When the crime may have implications adversely affecting the integrity of any of it's components. 3. When Mob ties can be shown to be associated with a major event that may cause a public outcry. There are other reasons also that cannot be discussed. Zachary Tims was found with an adulterated admixture of cocaine/MDMA/and 36.65% levamisole,23.003% lidocaine. Additionally, a significant amount of nitrates were present. This may have played a deadly role also, considering the prodigious use of sildenafil citrate and similar drugs by Mr. Tims

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
We should be very glad that Nikki isn't God although she almost sound as though she is sitting on a throne in judgement seat! I've heard better birds sing Nikki.

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