Forerunner: Preparing Christians for the Kingdom of God

Should Christians Handle Snakes? (August 2003)

August 2003
Volume 12, Number 7

Mark 16:18 says that followers of Christ “will take up serpents.” Does this mean that Christians should use snakes in their worship—that doing so without harm proves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Or does it simply mean that Jesus promises His disciples protection from snake bites, as happened to the apostle Paul on Malta (Acts 28:1-6)? (Corbis/Bettmann Archive)

Personal from John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six):
The Sin Offering

The sin offering is the first of the non-sweet-savor offerings in Leviticus. John Ritenbaugh explains the atonement made through Jesus' perfect offering of Himself for us—and our obligations to Him as a result.

Ready Answer
Should Christians Handle Snakes?

by Mike Ford

Mark 16:18 says that Jesus' disciples "will take up serpents." Does this mean that Christians should handle snakes as a sign of their faith? Mike Ford argues that this is a mistaken belief—Jesus' words merely promise protection.

Prophecy Watch
Today's Christianity (Part Two):
Southern Christianity Moves North

by Charles Whitaker

The Immigration Reform Act of 1965 opened the floodgates to immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Charles Whitaker asserts that, contrary to the liberal secularists intention to marginalize Christianity through it, the Act instead facilitated the rise of a new strain of conservative Christianity in America.


by David C. Grabbe

News, events, and trends for August 2003.
"The United Nations"; "Global Religion"; "U.S. Plan to 'Own' Space."

Bible Study
Parable of the Persistent Friend

by Martin G. Collins

In this parable, Jesus illustrates persistence and perseverance in prayer. Unlike the sleeping friend, God is not reluctant to answer our prayers, but He does want us to be diligent and patient in our requests.