It Does Matter What We Believe

snake(Yesterday morning, a brother told me that this news story would make a good article.  He even gave me the title for the article.  I’m just filling in the blanks).

Just yesterday, I learned of the death of Jamie Coots.  Jamie died after being bitten by a poisonous snake during a “snake handling church service.”  Coots could have received medical treatment, but he refused it based on his religious convictions and died.

Coots became a celebrity of sorts by appearing in the National Geographic television series, “Snake Salvation.”  This television show documented the beliefs and practices of a Pentecostal church in southeast Kentucky that “handles poisonous snakes.”

Members of this religious sect believe that Mark 16:17-18 commands them to engage in this practice. However, a more careful study of the Bible will reveal that Jesus wasn’t commanding Christians to be involved in a “side show” involving snakes.  He was stating that his followers would be given miraculous abilities that would assist them in confirming the message they preached.  An example of what Jesus was talking about is found in Acts 28:1-6 when the apostle Paul was bitten by a poisonous viper on the Island of Malta.  Instead of dying as the natives surely thought he would, Paul simply shook the snake from his hand, and he was alright.  Furthermore, these miraculous gifts were temporary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; Ephesians 4:8-13) and were never intended to last for all time.

Sadly, Mr. Coots’ misguided faith and interpretation of the Bible cost him his life.  While, most of us reading this will not make the same mistake that Mr. Coots did, we may make other mistakes that could be just as harmful to our spiritual health?  If we don’t give great care and attention to reading and studying the word of God, we too can be hurt.

You see, in spite of what you’ve heard some people say, it does matter what you believe.

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Comments 3

  • while I agree that Mr. Coots made a mistake, I disagree that his faith was misguided. God works in mysterious ways that man and woman usually does not understand. Just because we believe he made a mistake does not make us correct. We will all understand it when God explains things to us.

  • Patsy, I find it interesting that you will admit that Mr. Coots made a mistake but are unwilling to say his faith was misguided. The mistake he made was a direct result of his misguided faith. He failed to understand God’s will and sadly suffered as a result. What a tragic way to reaffirm that faith, placed in the wrong things, can lead to one’s destruction.

  • Steve I think you made your point very clear, many people handle snakes by charming them so they won’t be bitten, and when they are bitten they reach for the anti-venom. If you brought a cup of Drano (drain cleaner) and asked him to drink! The people charming side show would be over. Faith placed in the wrong things and little knowledge of Gods word.

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