Does this really happen in U.S Churches?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Ben W, May 1, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    In serpent handling churches, no one is required to handle the snakes, and in most no one under the age of 18 is allowed to handle snakes. When they do handle snakes, it is in the summer and fall months when the rattlers, cottonmouths, and copperheads wh ich are commonly handled can be caught. Church members capture their own snakes. Some snakes are used more than once while others aren't, depending on their health.

    However strange serpent handling may seem to the casual observer, the practice from a traditional perspective is comprehensible. Taking into consideration the people's values and their particular religious tradition, even though you may reject the speci fic doctrine, you can understand why they believe it. If we are aware of their traditions personally or vicariously, we can understand why they take up serpents. We must remember that serpent handling is not a deviant civic practice of a relatively small group of people that should be ignored, tolerated, viewed as a spectacle, or legally terminated. Serpent handling is a complex traditional religious belief of a group of American Christians which should be respected for what it is (Burton, 421).
    http://www.les.appstate.edu/courses/appalachia/religion/snake.htm
     
  2. violet

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    Yep, though I have never, ever known anyone who does it. I tend to think of it (probably stereotypically) as a Appalachian occurance... :eek:
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

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    It does happen, but only in really looney tune churches. I think it is very rare.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. BobRyan

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    I believe there are a few of these in GA and Tenn. If you are free to "make up practices" that you don't find in the Bible - this is certainly one of them that could be "made up".
     
  5. west

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    There was a show I think it was 60 mins or 20/20 that showed churchs that do that .Lot of the people died from snake bites and some were messed up for life from the bites !I am from from Pa. And heard of churchs in West Virginia that do that crazy stuff .They drink poison to .

    they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
    MK 16:18
     
  6. Jeff Weaver

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    Yes, the do exist, and are present in at least, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, if not other places as well. All I know of are in Appalachia, but that only goes to the extent that I have read about them, which isn't much. I have never been to one of these congregations, but have known a couple of people who have.

    Some of these congregations hire people to get snakes for them. I have been asked to help do this, but declined. I don't like snakes.

    As for them being looney, probably no more looney than lots of other groups. They are hyperliteralists, but of course lots of us are hyper in other ways as well. That said, I wouldn't participate with them, no way, no how. But I don't believe they are looney, misguided yes, looney no.
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Jeff,

    I said Looney Tunes :D

    That's all Folk's [​IMG]
     
  8. jacob62

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    Why do they do this?Scripture indicates that if you are a follower of Christ,and happen to be bit...
     
  9. mioque

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    "They drink poison to ."
    "
    I read somewhere that the poison they use is diluted to the point that it is save to drink. :D
    They may be crazy, but not that crazy.

    "Scripture indicates that if you are a follower of Christ,and happen to be bit..."
    "
    The interpretation apparently is that if you get bitten and life you are still on the right side of the equation.
     
  10. rlvaughn

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    As far as I can tell, all of the snake-handling churches are independent and autonomous, but most of them go under some variation of the name "Church of God" - "Church of God with Signs Following" is a very common name. A very good article can be found here:

    Church of God with Signs Following

    According to the "Encyclopedia of American Religions" (J. Gordon Melton, ed., 1996), adherents have been estimated between one thousand to five thousand, with churches north & south from central Florida to West Virginia and west to Ohio.

    I saw a book awhile back that looked interesting, and I started to buy it - "Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia" by Dennis Covington, revolving around the story of a Sand Mountain (Alabama) snake-handling pastor who had been accused of attempting to kill his wife with rattlesnakes. I may buy it yet.

    As for me personally, I tend to agree with singer Wendy Bagwell, who said, "If God told me to pick up a snake, I surely would... But He didn't, and I ain't!"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Rattlesnake Story, by Wendy Bagwell (You'll need Windows Media Player to listen to this)
     
  11. gb93433

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    Those who believe Mark 16:9-20 think that snake handling is in accordance with what that passage of scripture teaches.
     
  12. gb93433

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  13. bmerr

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    Contextually, Mark 16:18 has long since been fulfilled. There is no Scriptural record of anyone drinking poison that I know of, but there are several accounts of apostles and those to whom the gifts of healing were given healing the sick.

    As far as the snake-handling, I don't think that was part of the deal. Mark 16:18 does say "They shall take up serpents, but I don't think Jesus meant they would do it intentionally.

    In Acts 28:3-5, we read of Paul taking up a snake, but it was atttached to his hand via it's teeth! Paul didn't go looking for a snake to pick up, it was accidental.

    Those who handle venomous snakes on purpose and expect God to protect them are deluded. Doesn't the Bible say that we are not to put God to the test?

    Even Jesus, God in the flesh, refused to jump from the pinnacle of the Temple just to prove He could. God gave us common sense, and He expects us to use it.

    Or, we could get creative and go around licking light sockets and see who can do it without being electrocuted. Who wants to go first?!?

    Just another result of not seeking the whole council of God.

    In Christ,
    bmerr
     
  14. music4Him

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    I thought the snake handeling scripture was speaking of pharisee's? Them old vipers! Twisting everything (to their own advantage?). But if anyone drinks their poision (or listens to their words) they won't be hurt (because we know the truth). (I know its just an opinion but thats one way I have veiwed this scripture.) [​IMG]
     
  15. Nevertheless

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    That was good. </font>[/QUOTE]How do I get it to play? All I get is a link to download WMP, which I already have.
     
  16. Sularis

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  17. Melanie

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    How interesting, I would personally run a mile as I am terrified of snakes.

    I thought only the Hindoos had snake temples as the snake is seen as a WISDOM thing, never found out cos my idea of wisdom is to run away ....
     
  18. bmerr

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    bmer here. I had never thought of it like that! Very interesting perspective!

    In Christ,
    bmerr
     
  19. mioque

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    Once when I had to fill in for our regular sundayschool teachers (who were covering Mark's Gospel at the time) I did bring a friend's python to class.

    Maybe I should have told the kids it wasn't poisonous a little earlier...
     
  20. music4Him

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    LOL [​IMG]
     

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