Serpents,Cyanide & Markian Manuscripts

The 4-foot timber rattler sank its fangs into the 23-year-old preacher's left wrist as he rejoiced in God.
Mr. Evans said he was 20 minutes into his tent revival he felt the Spirit ``move on him.'' He leaned over, reached into a handmade wooden box and brought out the rattlesnake. The congregants were still on their feet, their arms waving to and fro in celebration of the Lord, their boots damp from the dank North Georgia air.
The next few seconds were a blur. Mr. Evans never saw the snake strike, but he remembers the feeling.
``It hit my wrist. It was like a baseball popped me. I was preachin', just comin' to the end of my message - it was dark out - and I wasn't watchin' it.'' (quoted here)

This quote and the picture you see were provided over at Purgatorio, where pictures are allowed to speak for themselves. For those who might be new to Purgatorio, he's not an advocate of snake-handling ministries, don't worry. He's a good reformed brother.

Such ministries, however, are built solely upon one verse in the Bible:

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:18 King James Version (KJV)
It’s one thing to build an entire “ministry” around one passage of Scripture, it’s even another to build such a “ministry” on a text that, many scholars say, isn’t in the most reliable manuscripts.
This brings back the memory of a great sermon my pastor, Lance Quinn preached on the last verses of Mark 16 where he gave his studied reasons why vs. 9-20 of Mark 16 shouldn’t be included in the Canon.
Go here to the sermon download page, and search in the “Reference” box for Mark 16.
Now, to peak your interest even further…not only is it a great sermon, but in God’s providence, there were two men visiting our church that particular Lord’s Day who disagreed with Lance’s teaching & openly challenged him in the middle of the sermon!
Around 25 minutes in, you can hear one of the men speak out and disagree with Lance. You can’t hear clearly what he says, but from Lance’s remarks, you’ll get a good idea of the conversation. What impressed me was how calm & humble Lance handled these men and then immediately turned the focus of his sermon on the issues of signs & the gospel ministry. This was a great example of one “rightly handling the Word of Truth” and “being instant in season and out”.


Hannah said...

Ahh you want to hear something funny. Those men and their wives were with my parents, visiting. They were in town for some sort of Familylife thing and came to church with us. I was sitting with my friends but when they spoke up I sunk in my seat and muttered to Naomi not to look because they were with us. Maybe that would be one of my most embarrassing moments of all time. But it would have been worse if I had been sitting with them.

Aaron said...

I remember those details actually. But I wasn't going to indict you, or your parents, or Familylife. :o)