Zachery Tims of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida was found dead Aug. 12, 2011 in a New York City hotel room. While the official cause of death has been kept from the public, it was leaked in news reports that the divorced minister might have had drugs in his pocket when he was found.
Now, ex-wife Riva Tims of Majestic Life Ministries has told Ebony magazine that the 42-year-old preacher was an apparent regular drug user:
“I thought that was stuff in the past. I didn’t realize it was still current. I found out for sure about the affairs and substance abuse at the same time. When he started telling me stuff, I began to dig and other things came out.
“I had no idea it was so much. I’ll put it this way: It’s one thing to have a struggle; it’s another thing to have a lifestyle. When it’s a struggle, there’s grace. But when it’s a lifestyle, there’s no grace.” (Source: Charismamag.com)
While some might think it unwise or unwarranted to speculate that Zachery Tims did indeed die of a drug overdose, there are three points to consider:
1. The New York Daily News reported on Aug. 15, 2011: “The Florida pastor found dead in a Times Square hotel room may have died of a drug overdose, according to a police source. A small glassine envelope containing a white powder was found in Zachery Tims’s pocket, the source said.The powder will be tested to determine if it cocaine, heroin or any other drug. An autopsy on Tims was inconclusive, and further tests are being conducted.”
While the Daily News doesn’t reveal the “source,” there is no reason to doubt its report. What possible motive would the newspaper or the “source” have in adding speculation of drugs to a case that’s already sensational on its own?
2. Tims’ mother, Madeline Tims, has been fighting tooth and nail to keep her son’s cause of death from the public. As with other figures of public interest, New York City’s coroner’s office was going to release information on the Florida minister’s cause of death until they were hit with a lawsuit. As Central Florida News 13 reported on Dec. 19, 2011: “In a four-page document, she said Pastor Tims’ cause of death would be embarrassing to her, his children, her grandchildren, not to mention his congregation.”
How could Zachery Tims’ cause of death be “embarrassing” unless something illicit was involved? People die of natural or unnatural causes everyday — what would make his death, that police say was not caused by foul play, different?
3. Riva Tims, Zachery Tims’ ex-wife with whom he had four children, has gone on record as saying his substance abuse was not “a struggle,” but instead a “lifestyle.”
No, there is no full-proof evidence before the public, but it does indeed seem that Zachery Tim’s apparent “lifestyle” of drug use may have caught up with him in a deadly way.
It’s unfortunate that he lived a double life while claiming to be a witness for Christ. It really makes one wonder how he shepherded an 8,000-member church, and what kind of word those people were being fed.
Paula White took over New Destiny Christian Center in January 2012, although Riva Tims attempted a brief fight to maintain control over the church she helped her former husband found in 1996.
Meanwhile, Riva Tims is trying to keep supporters from being swindled by Facebook fraudsters harassing her people for money for a purported “African orphanage.”