The mysterious world of religion includes “snake handling churches.” I had never understood the origin of this practice until I read the link. Those who believe snake handling is an important religious statement, of course, cite the Bible.
In the last few years over a hundred snake handlers have died because of Mark 16: 17-18, And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils….They shall take up serpents..it shall not hurt them…and they shall recover.
This last phrase, “and they shall recover” is referred to when those snake handlers are bitten. They do not go to doctors. They die.
According to a new book on snake handling preachers/churches, this branch of the Pentecostals is often looking for “signs” that God is on their team. Pentecostalism is about personal relationships with Jesus/God. And, the Bible talks of miracles. If one believes those miracles are not made up stories it is easy to see why some today would believe God could perform a miracle this Sunday with snakes.
I wonder what a mother from a snake handling church would say to her little girl if she came home from a friend’s house and said, “We went to Sarah’s church. There were no snakes. Why is that?”
If the mother were like other Christians, she would reply, “Well Angie, the Smiths are nice people. But, they do not go to a real Christian church like we do.”
If churches ignore the snakes in Mark 16:17-18 can they be good Christians?