8 modern day snake handling churches

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

This is a brief historical overview of the movement to give some background, and if you want to read more on it, there are an abundance of excellent resources out there available.
  1. Some of the best are Thomas Burton’s Serpent Handling Believers, David Kimbrough’s Taking Up Serpents
  2. Ralph Hood’s and Paul Williamson’s Them That BelieveAnother good reference is Fred Brown’s bookThe Serpent Handlers – Their Families and Their Faith, which focuses specifically on three prominent families in this movement; the Browns in Tennessee, the Coots in Kentucky, and the Elkins in West Virginia
  3. For a first-hand perspective written by one of their own pastors, Jimmy Morrow’sHandling Serpents is a valuable resource.  There are others, however, that I would not recommend due to the fact they misrepresent the people and cannot be trusted except for minimal reference purposes.
  4. One book that is actually a shameful piece of scholarship is Weston LaBarre’s 1973 text,They Shall Take Up Serpents.  LaBarre was an anthropologist who often presented his subjects in a condescending manner, and therefore he has no credibility for me.
  5. Also Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain with extreme caution – the book has some value as a reference, but Covington comes across as being a little flaky and he also created some issues among the serpent-handlers which hurt his credibility with them.
  6. These references, as well as the 1982Foxfire 7 volume which also gives a good documentation on a serpent-handling church in Kentucky, will aid in research.
The Apostolic House of Prayer in WV
 
The Edwina Church of God in Jesus Christ’s name, Del Rio, TN – pastored by Jimmy Morrow
 
The Full Gospel Jesus Church in Columbus, OH – formerly pastored by Richard Williams
 
The Church of the Lord Jesus in Jolo, WV, perhaps the most famous serpent-handling church in existence.
 
The Pentecostal Church of God in Lejunior, KY, an early serpent-handling congregation
 
The Full Gospel Tabernacle in Middlesboro, KY, pastored by Jamie Coots
 
The Rock House Holiness Church, Sand Mountain, AL
 
the Tabernacle Church of God in Jesus Name in Lafollette, TN, pastored by Andrew Hamblin
 
 

16 Comments

  • Reply September 13, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Charles Page know any of them personally ?

  • Reply September 13, 2016

    Charles Page

    No, my interest are the COG congregations who handle snakes

  • Reply September 13, 2016

    David M. Hinsen

    There is one in Castlewood, VA or at least there used to be. Independent holiness congregation.

  • Reply September 14, 2016

    Jim Price

    J. D. Vance in his book; Hillbilly Elegy refers to several churches in the E. Ky Mts. handling snakes since the year 2000, even though the best scholarship says that Mark 16:18 was not in the original manuscript.

  • Reply September 14, 2016

    Charles Page

    My scholarship is the best!

  • Reply September 14, 2016

    Jon Ray

    Jim Price The lacking of Mk. 16:18 could be also interpreted that later the early church did handle snakes and included the text as a reference to what was a clearly well known practiced – especially while at emperors arena fed to the wild beast…

    • Reply September 14, 2016

      Jim Price

      Surely you are not implying that this should be a normal sought after practice. In my reading of history many christians were killed and devoured by the Lions etc. I am not denying that some might have been spared but in the case of snake bites, if the bite is not close to a blood vein and in certain other conditions the person might live. But Christians are not spared from death via auto crashes, plane crashes or war. I cannot believe that so much space has been given to snake handling here in 2016; or we not out of the woods yet?

    • Reply September 15, 2016

      Jon Ray

      Well if so fast delete Mark 16 what goes next? Speaking in tongues or healing?

  • Reply September 14, 2016

    Charles Page

    Paul handled wild beast at Ephesus.

  • Reply September 15, 2016

    Peter Ciple

    Snake handling in church is evil madness. Not biblical.

  • Reply September 21, 2016

    Chris Darkheart

    I’d say it’s at their own risk.

  • Reply September 21, 2016

    Peter Ciple

    I don’t know how people using snakes and praying with snakes in church call themselves pentecostals. That is a lie. Pentecostals DO NOT WORSHIP with snakes. Those who say they are, are liars.

  • Reply September 22, 2016

    Jon Ray

    and yet history tells us that it was Pentecostals who worshiped with snakes (and some still do) – is our history a lie?

  • Reply November 16, 2016

    Julia Duin

    Hi there – I am part journalist, part academic and 100% the author of a new book coming out on young serpent handlers and their use of social media. It is also an update about what’s been happening in this movement in the past 5 years. The University of Tennessee Press will publish “In the House of the Serpent Handler” in the fall of 2017. Wanted to say your info is pretty outdated. Contact me if you wish to hear more.

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