1. Welcome to Baptist Board, a friendly forum to discuss the Baptist Faith in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to all the features that our community has to offer.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

Featured Snake-Handlers...

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by robycop3, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I live just 35 miles from the snake-handling capital of the world, Jolo, West Virginia. Their church there is called "Church of the Lord Jesus".

    Don't let that name fool ya! It's a CULT!

    They base their belief on this Bible verse: And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

    They ignore God in saying in Deut. 6:16 & Matt. 4:7 to not dare the Lord your God to do or not do something.

    However, in their church & what few others there are like it, often hedge their bets! They usually handle timber rattlers, which aren't all that aggressive, & have been well-fed & kept in a cool environment, which makes them lethargic & actually welcoming the warmth of hands upon them. Also, they almost rattle for some time before striking in defense. And, they're often found not too far away.

    One doesn't see diamonbacks, copperheads, water moccasins, or other highly-aggressive venomous snakes in the USA in these churches, let alone species from other countries! But still a number of "worshippers" get bitten every year, with an occasional death. One will often see church members with missing fingers, etc. from past snake bites, which usually went untreated. They'll simply say, "I was bitten cuz my faith faltered".

    This practice was started in the early 1900s by one George Hensley, a "Holiness" preacher who married 4 times & was often drunk. He died from a snakebite in 1955. A prominent "pastor", Gregory Coots, died from a rattlesnake bite in 2014.

    Most of those churches are of some branch of pentecostals, holiness, or charismatix. (While I won't set foot in a pentecostal church, this not a blanket condemnation of that denom. There are a few actual Christians among them. I avoid them because of all their false, man-made doctrines of faith/worship.)

    The practice is outlawed in all states except West Virginia, but the law isn't too-strictly enforced in Kentucky, Tennessee, & Florida, which each have a few small churches.

    Don't be fooled! They're NOT some kinda "super-Christian"! There's no such thing! They're a man-made cult! It's NOT Christian behavior to deliberately do something one KNOWS is dangerous! That's DARING GOD! Would you deliberately play Russian Roulette? (Some of those people have occasionally deliberately drunk strychnine, for which there's no known antidote, and none of them have ever survived THAT !)
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  2. rockytopva

    rockytopva Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    But... The church is so very small! What to they have... 35 members? Its amazing that such a small church, can bring in such publicity! And apparently, by the looks of the building, has not done them any good!
    [​IMG]
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    About 40 myears ago, there were some snake handlers working in the steel mill where I work. I hadn't been a Christian too long, but I knew better than to do THAT ! One of them criticized me for my stance against the KJVO myth, which I easily answered, so then, it was for not being a snake handler.

    I was getting ready to open a furnace's taphole to pour molten steel into a ladle, & I challenged that gent to jump into that ladle as the steel poured into it. He said, "I'm not crazy!" I said, God protected the 3 Jews in Babylon who were thrown into a furnace, & He's well able to protect YOU!" He said, "YOU must be crazy!" But he never again questioned MY religious beliefs!

    After about 6 months, he said, "I turned in a 2 weeks'notice. there are too many sinners here for me to have to work with!" I said, "Why don'tcha do what I & the other Christians do here - set a Godly example in living, & proclaim the Gospel to them?" He had no answer. I can only hope he eventually woke up & came to Jesus truly. (I've not seen any record of his death, from snakebite or otherwise.)

    Again, I won't hesitate to ask any snake-handler I might encounter if he/she'd also play Russian Roulette, or jump from the 16th story of the West Virginia Building, reminding the person all along about Deut. 6:16 and Matt. 4:7.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. rockytopva

    rockytopva Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    The majority of West Virginians are not snake handlers... I hope you realize that!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. rockytopva

    rockytopva Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    The Westboro Baptist church has all but 70 members. Just a little pr and they are world famous. It is amazing the affect pr has on the imagination when in reality these groups are very small!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,517
    Likes Received:
    1,631
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Sunday, May 20, 2019
    Snake handling on the rise in Baptist churches

    "According to a new report, snake handling is on the rise within Baptist churches across the country. The report, released by NAMB this past Tuesday, says that the practice of snake handling as part of Sunday morning worship services has risen in Baptist churches from 2% in 2006 to 17% this spring.

    Al Wittner, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, LA reported the exciting results of snake handling. According to Wittner, "A few weeks ago, we began with just a few black snakes. The folks in the pews felt a little uneasy at first, but they warmed up to it very quickly. By this past Sunday, we added Rattlers and Copperheads. I think the added dimension of poison really increased interest. We had at least 40% of our members in attendance, which was the highest percentage in years."

    NAMB's report also indicates that some churches are planning on adding snake handling as a third ordinance. Along with baptism and the Lord's Supper, snake handling will be a regular part of church gatherings. Pastor Wittner said, "We haven't yet decided whether or not to make snake handling an ordinance. But, if it keeps bringing the lost in through the front doors of the church, we might just have to do so."

    When asked what has brought about the recent increase in snake handling, NAMB indicated that it can be traced to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's recent conference on the last 12 verses of the book of Mark. At the end of the conference, the majority of the scholars said that they believe the last 12 verses are original. This has caused many pastors and laypeople to study those 12 verses.

    Mark 16:17 -18 has caused the stir. In this text, Jesus says, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    According to Pastor Wittner, "We had never really thought much about that last chapter of Mark . Then, after we heard about what happened at Southeastern, we decided that we needed to take another look. We certainly believe in Jesus, so we thought we had better pick up serpents. We haven't yet drunk any deadly poison, but this is scheduled for our fall revival. No volunteers have come forward, but I have faith that they will.""
     
  7. rockytopva

    rockytopva Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    The devil loves to take pr and make a run with it. Which was also held against David in his time....

    And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. - 2 Samuel 12:13-14

    It would be amazing how many people consider the majority of Baptist Westboro Baptist when they are in reality very few. And it would be amazing how many people consider a great deal of West Virginian Christians of snake handling variety when they are also very few. I know of a brother I work with from West Virginia who is a good Baptist Christian who will never gain any pr for all of his well doing.

    If I had an area church into snake handling I may be tempted to visit, but I would not see myself going there more than once.
     
  8. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Messages:
    4,039
    Likes Received:
    746
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    I'm not messing around with no snakes, period! I don't care if they are non poisonous, keep them all away from me.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. rockytopva

    rockytopva Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    With my luck I would end up getting bit and leaving this earth a bit early because of it. So I will not be planning any visits north to West Virginia any time soon and will leave the issue up to the West Virginians as that kind of stuff is illegal here in Virginia.
     
  10. utilyan

    utilyan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    4,236
    Likes Received:
    193
    "if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt "

    I imagine someone crack a beer in their church.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. Alofa Atu

    Alofa Atu Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    50
    Faith:
    Non Baptist Christian
    Activated (not regular) charcoal right away on the bite (water mixed to paste, swap out every 15 to 30 minutes and cover a large area beyond the bite in either direction especially on the blood flow toward the heart) and wound and drink also two large tablespoons in one glass of water. The poison will be removed without any need for the so-called anti-venom.

    Activated (not regular) charcoal will save lives. - Link
     
  12. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    7,732
    Likes Received:
    1,288
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I agree with most of what you say, but I disagree about the timber rattler. Even though it is slightly less aggressive than a cotton mouth or copper head, it's venom is much more deadly and causes significantly more long term damage in non fatal bites. The snake handlers in North Georgia and Tennessee do handle Copperheads as well as timber and pygmy rattlers.
    I think the handlers are sincere, but wrong.
    I do know of a snake handler who regularly handled exotic snakes including a Goboon Viper. He died from the bite of a..... Wait for it......Timber Rattler.
     
  13. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    I live just across the creek from WV, & I can tell you most of it is not that primitive. Not even the community of Jolo where the snake-handlers are centered is primitive nor crawling with snakes. It's just a small, isolated church, in the manner Muslim mosques are so-isolated in WV's larger cities.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    7,732
    Likes Received:
    1,288
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Good luck with venom injected 1 1/2" deep being spread by the vascular system. My Granny was a Cherokee Indian healer(medicine woman). She made poultices, remedies, talked warts off, talked moles off, talked fire out, all of it. It all worked. The doctor used to get her to come to the hospital to "talk the fire out" of burn patients. People would come to her, or she go to, people screaming in pain. Once she did her thing, the pain stopped and didn't come back. Having said that, my cousin got copper head bit and she said "get him to the doctor."
     
  15. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Almost all those snakes are torpid when cool and especially after eating. That's why snake-handlers are known to hedge their bets by feeding the snakes a few hours before handling them & keeping them in a chilly place so they usually will welcome the warm hands of their fondlers. And, they'll use a snake's natural instinct to not waste venom on something it can't eat & is not seen as a threat.

    We don't see those people handling always-aggressive species such as black mambas or Australian vipers, nor playing Russian Roulette or ingesting cyanide.

    Timber rattlers are considered a "safe bet" because of their torpidity when fed and cool despite their powerful venom. However, no venomous snake is a 100% safe bet to handle by an unprotected person.

    I consider snake-handlers to be a cult. they don't heed the admonition of God's, "You shall not dare the Lord your God". They cover their folly when one os bitten by saying, "His faith faltered or was weak." They display their so-called faith in the wrong manner here are the Bible verses they hase their "religion" on:

    Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover,

    The "Church of God With Signs Following" follows only the "taking up " of serpents, with a few drinking poison.(in 1996, a preacher & his asst. in Newport, TN died after drinking strychnine.). we don't see them practicing the other parts of those verses.
     
  16. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    26,244
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Faith:
    Baptist
    The closest I ever came to snake handling was I went fishing with another software engineer and I caught a water moccasin on a bass lure.

    SCARY!!
     
  17. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2018
    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    277
    Faith:
    Baptist
    While there is one instance of the Apostle Paul bitten by a snake (interpreted as poisonous), Acts of the Apostles 28:3, there are no case examples of ". . . they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; . . ." -- Mark 16:18, ". . . nothing shall by any means hurt you. . . ." -- Luke 10:19, anywhere in our NT record. (Luke 4:12.)
     
  18. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    CHURCH OF GOD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING FOUNDER GEORGE WENT HENSLEY

    G.W. Hensley(1881-1955) is credited with founding the snake-handlers' cult. He had a "religious conversion" around 1910 based upon his interps of certain Scriptures. (Which he was barely-literate enough to read at all.) he began teaching a form of pentecostalism that included taking up serpents. he became a mamber of the Church of God, but when it disavowed serpent-handling, he left & founded his own "church".

    He was married four times, fathering 13 children with 2 of his wives. As he failed to earn a steady income, three of them divorced him. He had several conflicts with each of his wives & children over his drunkenness & frequent travels while not providing them with any home or money.

    He was busted for moonshining in TN. but escaped a workhouse & went to Ohio where he began holding "revivals". He established several "churches" with the name "Church Of God With Signs Following" in Tn. & Ky. He continued his career between bouts of binge drinking til 1955 when he began conducting services in Fl. In Altha, Fl. he acquired a five-foot snake (likely a rattler species) that bit him on the wrist. He died the next day.

    After Hensley, the most-prominent snake-handler leaders have been the Coots family. Gregory James "Jamie" Coots(1971-2014) was especially prominent, having been bitten 8 different times during services. He went thru a much-publicized court case in 2013 where he'd been cited for illegally possessing wildlife, finally copping a plea , receiving a years' unsupervised probation & having his snakes returned.

    In 2014, he was bitten on the R hand during a service in Middlesboro, Tn. He later died in his home after refusing any medical treatment. Today, his son Cody heads his "church".
     
  19. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    11,091
    Likes Received:
    313
    Faith:
    Baptist
    And Paul didn't DELIBERATELY "take up" the snake. He was gathering firewood in the dark & didn't see the snake.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Messages:
    8,811
    Likes Received:
    259
    Faith:
    Baptist
    Did you broil it or deep fry it?
     
Loading...