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Snake-Handling Pastor Dies During Sunday Service

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Christian Post — A snake-handling Pentecostal preacher who witnessed his father die in a similar fashion, passed away Sunday after he was bitten by a poisonous snake he had owned for years. Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford, 44, was reportedly one of the few pastors who openly shared his beliefs about Christians being commanded by Jesus in the Bible to take up serpents without fear of death.

Wolford, pastor of House of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka, W. Va., died at a relative’s home May 27 after he sat down next to a yellow timber rattlesnake and was bitten in the thigh. The incident occurred during an afternoon service at the Panther Wildlife Management Area.

According to The Washington Post, the service soon came to a halt and Wolford was taken to his relative’s home to recover from the poisonous bite — a common occurrence for the charismatic Christian who grew up with a father who also preached snake-handling during his ministry. Wolford died about 10 p.m., according to a statement from his church.

The pastor, noted for his enthusiasm for sharing his belief that Jesus calls on his followers in passages like Mark 16:17-18 to handle snakes, was officially declared dead Monday at Bluefield Regional Medical Center. It appears that no one aware of Wolford’s condition had called emergency services for help, according to a local report.

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