woman fatally bitten by a snake in church

8 11 2006

This sad story calls for discernment. Apparently this woman attended a church that believed that believers would demonstrate their saving faith in the practice of snake handling. This is truly sad. No doubt they are referencing Mark 16.17-18 which says:

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

These signs were promised to the apostolic community (Matt. 10.1; 2 Cor. 12.12) and served to authenticate the preaching of the word (cf. v.20). These ‘signs’ were not intended to become normative for all ages. For even a generation after the apostles we see the writers looking back in describing these miraculous signs (Heb. 2.1-4; cf. also 1 Cor. 12.29, 30).

This is truly sad because of the sufficient preciousness of fellowship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit without the trumped up drama of handling snakes. Does not a story like this compel Paul’s words to Timothy to your own hearts:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth 2 Timothy 2:15

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