A snake-handling pastor of a Pentecostal church in Kentucky was attacked by a deadly rattlesnake four years after his preacher father was killed by one, according to a documentary released Friday.
A video clip of the documentary shows Pastor Cody Coots, who preaches at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky, handling a deadly rattlesnake while he preaches to his congregation.
But while Pastor Coots holds the creature with one hand, it takes a bite out of his ear and causes a stream of blood to splatter on his light blue shirt.
Pastor Coots tried to reassure church members that he is “not worried” and that God will heal him, but the blood continued to pour down his face even after he wiped it away multiple times.
The Pentecostal pastor eventually started choking, prompting one of the church members to carry him out of the church.
Church members took Pastor Coots to the hospital, where doctors said the snake bite could have been fatal if it had not been treated. Doctors told Pastor Coots the snake almost severed his temporal artery.
Pastor Coots’ father, Jamie Coots, 42, died from a snake bite on his hand after he held a rattlesnake during a 2014 sermon at the same Middlesboro, Kentucky, church.
The Appalachian Pentecostal church is one of the last remaining snake-handling churches in America, where pastors use live snakes to show non-believers that God can protect them from harm. The members of these snake-handling churches believe in a literal interpretation of a biblical passage in the Gospel of Mark, which states:
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Pastor Coots, meanwhile, is reportedly re-evaluating his life and faith after his near-death experience.