Hegel was right when he said, "We learn from history that man can never learn anything from history" - Geo. Bernard Shaw
“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.” Mark 16:17-18
So, I read about this pastor down in Kentucky, Pastor Jamie Coots, who took this passage from the Bible and handled poisonous snakes as part of his "method of worship," as the National Geographic channel said in their letter about him, written after Rev. Coots died this past Saturday. From being bitten by a snake.
Rev Coots had a show on NatGeo called "Snake Salvation," and on the show he regularly wrestled with reptiles to prove a point, the point being that he would not die from being bitten by a snake. So much for that...
Rev Coots and acolytes
This "method of worship" became popular in the rural South in the 1940s, leading Tennessee to ban it in 1947, but that didn't deter Rev. Coots, who also got in trouble last year (a year of probation) in that state for bringing in some wriggly killers.
He and his followers are 100% totally entitled to their belief that God will protect them from death by snakebite. After all, Rev. Coots was bitten eight times in the past, and always lived through it. It was that ninth time that got him.
I'm no expert on the Bible or anything else, but I've never seen it pointed out in the Bible where God tells people to take foolhardy risks in His name.
Rev Coots's work will be carried on by his son, whose name is Little Cody Coots.