Preacher Dies After Snakebite

A prominent snake-handling preacher, Jamie Coots, died after a snake bit him on the right hand during a church service last Saturday evening. Coots was the minister at a small Pentecostal church, Full Gospel Tabernacle, in Middlesboro, KY.

An ambulance crew and firefighters tried to persuade him to go to the hospital, but he refused treatment. Jamie Coots believed that poisonous snakes could not harm based on Mark 16:17-18.

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 hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

It is sad that Jamie Coots and others who held similar beliefs died because of a failure to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). Do we read of ANY snake-handling preachers in the Bible? No not one. We read about a poisonous viper that fastened on Paul’s hand when he was gathering sticks for a fire in Acts 28:1-6. This apostle of Christ suffered no harm in fulfillment of Mark 16:18.

Only apostles had the power to bestow miraculous gifts upon believers (Acts 8:18). All apostles have been dead for centuries. Miracles ceased after God’s perfect will was fully revealed (I Cor. 13:8-13; Jam. 1:25; Jude 3). What hasn’t changed from the 1st century to the 21st century is Mark 16:15-16. Those who believe the gospel and are baptized will be saved, and those who disbelieve will be condemned.