According to its website, the National Geographic Network will air a new episode of the religious program “Snake Salvation” on Tuesday September 24 at 9:00 PM Eastern; 8:00 Central. The show focuses on a church in the Appalachian hills where the congregants and leaders hold up deadly snakes as evidence of their faith in Christ.
Snake handling is over 100 hundred years old, and is based on the gospel of Mark chapter 16 verse 18. In it, Jesus said believers would be able to pick up snakes. The members of Tabernacle Church of God and Full gospel Tabernacle believe that, if you cannot lift up snakes during worship; you will go to hell.
There are over 100 hundred churches across the US that participates in snake handling.
Snake handling is believed to be started by George Went Hensley around 1910; according to Wikipedia. In addition to believing in snake handling; the church also believes that denominations (churches that are denominational) are a sign of the beast.
While there are 5 snake handling churches; most of those states have laws on the books against snake handling. In 2008, 10 people were arrested in a sting operation for endangering lives without a permit. Because of this; most worship services involving snake handling have been moved from public places, and are now held at houses.
Hensley died in 1955 from a snakebite.
Would you lift up a serpent as a demonstration of your faith in God?
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Source: National Geographic