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Snake-handling pastor Jamie Coots hailed as 'martyr' after fatal bite

Jamie Coots, a pastor in Middlesboro, Kentucky. snake preacher
Jamie Coots, a pastor in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
A pentecostal preacher in Kentucky who died after being bitten by a rattlesnake is being hailed as a martyr by his colleagues, who will continue breaking the law by handling poisonous reptiles during their church services, according to friends.
Jamie Coots “lived and died consistent with his faith” and his death will only inspire more people to obey an instruction from God in the Gospel of Mark that “they shall take up serpents,” said Professor Ralph Hood, of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“This won’t stop them: just the opposite,” said Hood, a friend of Coots and the most noted expert on the Appalachian serpent-handling tradition. “They will continue, and praise Jamie Coots as a martyr who died for his faith.”
Coots died on Saturday night after being bitten on the right hand during a service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church. The 42-year-old, who featured prominently in the National Geographic series Snake Salvation, refused medical attention on religious grounds.
His funeral is due to be held in his hometown of Middlesboro on Tuesday evening.
Coots’s son, Cody, said his family had expected him to survive because he had been bitten eight times before. “Everybody was getting in, shouting, taking up serpents, speaking in tongues, handling fire,” he told Kentucky’s WKYT-TV. “You could just feel the power of God.”
Coots had continued flouting a 74-year-old Kentucky law banning the use of poisonous snakes in religious services, even after a woman died from a bite during a ceremony he conducted in 1995. Coots was charged, but avoided prosecution after a judge declined to proceed with the case. He was also fined $6,400 in 2008 after being convicted of illegally trading in poisonous snakes.
Andrew Hamblin, a pastor in neighbouring Tennessee who was mentored by Coots and co-starred with him in the National Geographic series, is understood to have been devastated by the death. The Guardian has been told that he intends to continue his snake-handling services at Tabernacle Church of God.
Junior McCormick handling a rattlesnake as Homer Browing looks on during services at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Kingston, Georgia, in 1995.
A man handling a rattlesnake during services at the Church of the Lord Jesus in Kingston, Georgia, in 1995. Photograph: John Bazemore/AP
Hamblin, 23, was last year charged with illegally possessing poisonous reptiles and had 53 rattlesnakes, copperheads and other breeds seized from his church. However, charges were dropped last month when a grand jury voted not to indict him. Hamblin claims the snakes’ appearances are shows of divine power.
In an interview before Coots’s death, Hamblin told the Guardian he disagreed with colleagues who declined medical help when bitten. “God has not moved on you, that authority is not there to protect you,” he said. “So go see a doctor. Do not sit there and suffer.”
Hamblin, a father of five young children, suffered his first bite while helping Coots prepare for a service in July 2010. “I was knocking on death’s door,” he said. “Me and death was just about ready to smoke a cigarette together, but God had mercy on me through a doctor’s knowledge.”
Since suffering the bite, he has been unable to make a fist with his right hand. He said he suffered another bite to his neck the next month but escaped without injury. However he insisted he had no fear when compelled by a command from God to pick up a snake during his services.
“If it’s my point in time to die, I could leave tonight in a car wreck and leave my children fatherless,” he said. “I could die of a heart attack. But if it’s my time to die there will not be a doctor in this world standing over me who’ll be able to keep me here”.
The tradition extends to West Virginia and dates back more than 100 years. Most pastors remain secretive about their work and do not permit outsiders to their services. Several declined to return requests for comment on Coots’s death. “If it’s about religion, I don’t want to talk about it,” said Pastor Jimmy Morrow of Newport, Tennessee.
They claim that only about 10 pastors have died from bites over the past century. However Mack Wolford of West Virginia, who led one of the best-attended snake-handling churches out of an estimated 125 in the region, was killed by a timber rattlesnake in May 2012.
“To the outsider it seems strange, but they have long accepted that they have a ritual that could kill,” said Hood. “For them it’s not a question of whether you are going to die, it’s a question of how you die.
“They would argue that the most important thing is to die being obedient to god. So they can mourn the loss of a loved one from a serpent bite, but simultaneously be confident that they are in heaven. It’s kind of a win-win situation, as far as they see it.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them

Pastor Daniel Lesego of Rabboni Centre Ministries situated at zone 2 Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, made his members eat grass and stepped on them while making illustration that the spirit of God can lead people to eat anything.

According to the pastor: “There were many disciples and you don’t know others. Let God show you as they were deliberately not revealed in the Bible because God wanted someone to do them, new things. Nathanael was a disciple yet there is no book of Nathanael. What about the miracles, signs and wonders? What about how them who were not mentioned, taught. We know about Peter and the rest and it will take God ‘s power to reveal the Christ in Bartholomew, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other of his disciples. Let the stripe open and God show you and you will begin to do them also. The sons of Zebedee and two others, do you know them, they were there and they were participating in the body of Christ.”
“The world cannot see or hear and some behave like the world and they criticize Bartholomew because they cannot see him. What have you eaten? The body and the blood and he lives in me, constantly he is in me, and he lives in me.”
“Come and eat so that your eyes may see. Simon Peter said: I am going fishing, this is wrong. He went back to the earthly position where Jesus found him. These are the types of miracles that will cause many to repent because this is the message through miracles, signs and wonders. Jesus did not come in a friendly manner because they were doing what Jesus did not tell them to do.”
“Paul says: I carry the death of Christ in me because he ate the body.”
 South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
 South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)
South African pastor makes members eat grass, steps on them (PHOTOS)