sponsored by:

Monday, July 09, 2012

Are You A Snake-Handler?

Send a link to a friend

 I read with sadness the story of a misguided West Virginia pastor who died recently from a rattlesnake bite suffered during a serpent-handling service.

Pentecostal pastor Mark Wolford, age 44, had boasted about this service, “It is going to be a homecoming like the old days. Good 'ole raised in the holler or mountain ridge running, Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers.”

Thirty minutes into the service, Wolford began to pass a timber rattlesnake around. He then laid the snake on the ground and sat next to it. The viper bit Wolford on the leg, injecting deadly venom into the pastor that eventually took his life.

Perhaps the saddest part of this story to me is that Wolford’s father had also died years earlier from a rattlesnake bite that occurred during a similar service.

We may think it foolish that this pastor did not learn from his father’s mistake, but pause before you are too hard on this man.

There is a venomous viper that bit our fathers before us that we often seem to want to play around with as well. I am speaking of the serpent of sin.

One of our major hindrances to having the power to fulfill our purposes in life is the scourge of sin. Sin saps our power, steals our peace, and can sear our consciences. Sin is a deadly serpent and must be avoided at all costs. Note these comments on the seriousness of sin:

It is not the ship in the water but the water in the ship that sinks it. So it is not the Christian in the world but the world in the professing Christian that constitutes the danger.

Anything that dims one's vision of Christ, takes away the taste for Bible study, cramps the prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult is wrong, and you must as a Christian, turn away from it.

Harboring sin will cost you the presence of God, the power of God, and the peace of God. Is that vile television program, that wicked internet site, that ungodly DVD, or wicked conversation (gossip, backbiting, etc.) worth what it will cost you? I think not!

Remember what sin did to our “fathers.” Recall the sordid story of David and his sin with Bathsheba. Once David was “bitten” by the serpent of lust, he suffered for the rest of his life.


What about Samson? This man with such potential eventually died a premature death from the snakebite of sin in his life.

Remember the foolish husband and wife in Acts 5? Ananias and Sapphira were bitten by the rattlesnake of riches and both died during a church service.

We dare not toy with, coddle, or play around with sin. To do so is like allowing poisonous snakes to slither around freely in our home. Eventually, we are going to be bitten.

We need an attitude towards sin like that of the great baseball player turned evangelist Billy Sunday:

“I’m against sin,” he said. “I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. When I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition.”

Have you been guilty of carelessly “handling” the serpent of sin, boasting inwardly that you will be the exception? Do you think that you have more faith than others? Do you really believe that you will not eventually be bitten?

Why not learn from the mistakes of our fathers? They were not able to handle this venomous viper and neither are we.

Don’t be a “snake-handler.”
[Tony Bazen, Park Meadows Baptist]



< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor