Thursday, 31 May 2012

Snake-handling Pentecostal Pastor dies from rattlesnake bite

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Mack Wolford believed viewed snake-handling as a test
of Christian faith
A pastor who believed Christians must handle rattlesnakes as a sign of their faith has died – after suffering a rattlesnake bite at an outdoor service in Bluefield, West Virginia.

Mack Wolford, who was 44, based his belief on Mark 16:17-18, which says:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Wolford was well-known in his region of the US on account of his snake-handling, an archaic Pentecostal practice that he continued to enthusiastically promote, despite watching his own father die from a rattlesnake bite when he was just 15.

Appealing for followers to join him at what would be his final service last Sunday, Wolford promised an inspiring day out in the West Virginia countryside. “I am looking for a great time this Sunday,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “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. Praise the Lord and pass the rattlesnakes, brother.”  
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