Bar none, the bigger-than-life character in the Bible that I relate to the most is the man that we all know as “John the Baptist.” Since the Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire, I did cop the name from that film and have affectionately renamed my favorite Bible character John the Baptist-Johnny Doubtfire, and why will become clear later. I can’t wait to meet Johnny Doubtfire in Heaven one day soon. I feel as an evangelist particularly close to Johnny Doubtfire who was really the Old Testament’s last prophet and the New Testament’s first evangelist. A prophet-evangelist like none other before him and like none after him! The likes of him is rare in this day and age. The world and the church are deteriorating because of the great lack of the likes of Johnny Doubtfire.
We are first introduced to him publicly in the very beginning of the gospels as in Matthew 3:1,
“Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness
of Judea saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
And when he came, he came preaching! My oh my did he ever! The world was about to meet preacher-man the likes of which it had never met, seen or heard before. John 1:8 puts it this way,
“There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.”
A man! The world has its own definition of manliness – Mr. Macho, beer drinking, cigar smoking, poker playing, and football fanaticizing. The Christian world also has its definition of manliness – read Maximized Manhood by Ed Cole. True and perfect manhood’s name is Jesus.
When it comes to outside-of-the-box manhood, John the Baptist is about to dwarf all human machismo with a manly-man persona that takes the index of manliness to a whole new level. So imposing was this man and so intimidating was this preacher Johnny Doubtfire that I assure you:
"JOHNNY DOUBTFIRE TODAY WOULD BE LABELED BY THE WORLD AS AN ENEMY
OF SOCIETY AND LABELED BY THE CHURCH AS A RELIGIOUS FANATIC."
If you will:
We are then told in Matthew 3:4 that this wilderness preacher was dressed not in a coonskin cap but in a camel-hair outfit with a leather belt. Davy Crockett had nothing on John the Baptist. Out there in the wilderness in his earthy, back-to-nature garb, preaching repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven, he looked and sounded like the “Wild Preacher Man” of God’s “Kingdom Frontier.”
I am not sure whether it was because of his preaching or because he was a sight to behold, though I would suspect both, John the Baptist drew quite a crowd to his rugged “Wilderness Revival.” John was the hottest thing going in terms of bazaar personalities and attractions. And for added flair, Matthew 3:4 tells us that the hairy man dined on wild honey and locusts. He was a sight to behold and a voice to hear like none other, and they came from everywhere to watch and listen. We read in Matthew 3:5,
"Then Jerusalem was going out to meet him, and all Judea, and all
the district around the Jordan.”
I could only have dreamed of such crowds in my evangelistic crusade days. Jerusalem! It doesn’t say part of Jerusalem. It says Jerusalem. It was like the whole city went out and set up a wilderness campground with John the Baptist as the old fashioned camp-meeting speaker. Not only the Jerusalemites, but all of Judea mind you, plus the river-people from around the Jordan! In my geographical locale, that would mean not only all of Lansing, but the entire state of Michigan and those up and down the Grand River. This wasn’t “Woodstock,” this was “Johnstock.” As I reflect back over the years, my outdoor revivals did draw bigger crowds than the indoor air-conditioned evangelism services. But in either case, nothing even close to this phenom!
THE THREE-GUN EVANGELIST
We know him most commonly as “John the Baptist.” In the Greek language it is “Ioannes Baptistes.” We read concerning the Jerusalemites, the Judeaites and the Jordanites in Matthew 3:6,
“and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they
confessed their sins.”
Ioannes Baptistes lived up to his name! He positioned himself by the Jordan River so that he could immediately baptize the converts. If the church did not have a baptismal pool, I have asked pastors in rural areas to bring in a cattle watering tank. You gotta do what a John-the-Baptist evangelist has gotta do. Water right out of the well at underground temperature. Wake up baptisms! In Johnny Doubtfire’s revivals, the crowd of spectators didn’t remain spectators very long. Right from the get go, there is no such thing as spectator Christianity. That must be established immediately. Sad to say, most of the time it isn’t.
Ioannes commanded his hearers to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized. The Wild West Cowboy had his six-gun, and John the Wild-Wilderness Evangelist had his three-gun – bang, bang, bang – repent, confess and be baptized. And you either did all three or you did nothing! That is how you become eternal citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.
First you must repent! John came preaching and commanding, “Repent.” Jesus did too! We read in Mark 1:15 the first public message of Jesus,
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Ioannes Baptistes was a strange looking man, but even more today he would be preaching a strange sounding message. Repentance is rarely preached anymore. It has receded into the distant past and has become a faint wilderness echo. I have been in evangelistic crusades where if people were "Slain In The Spirit" it was then considered a great revival. Or if people were healed, we then were in revival. Nope! Ioannes commanded repentance for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Repentance alone is the Kingdom priority, and without that you have not experienced revival. If people are healed and fall under the power of the Holy Spirit, those are perks but not priorities.
The word for “Repent” in the Greek is “Metanoeo.” It means to have a totally different mindset. That is, to completely “Change Your Mind!” Ioannes’ message quickly gets into your head and before you know it you have a major headache coming on. All true evangelism and Gospel preaching first of all messes with your head. The Holy Spirit convinces you that you are not thinking straight. You thought you were doing just fine. You thought that you had it all together. You thought that you could live without God just fine, thank you. You thought you were Mr. Bright Brain and that you knew it all. But like the prodigal son your head is not screwed on straight, and you come to realize that your life apart from God is as empty as your head.
In other words, repentance is much more than being sorry for your sins. It is having a spiritual brain transplant. It is coming to the realization that your life is a sorry thinking-sorry mess. You turn back to God as you turn your back on the old rebellious sinful way of thinking and living. Repentance is a whole new way of thinking and living – godly thinking and godly living. If you will:
"NO ONE SHOULD CONSIDER HIMSELF TO HAVE REPENTED UNTIL HE THINKS AND
LIVES LIKE JESUS CHRIST."
It is the #1 major decision in the journey of salvation. Billy Graham called it, “The Hour of Decision.” Repentance is numero uno. Not second or third. Without true repentance, people may talk like Heaven and still live like Hell.
Ioannes Baptistes had his Wilderness-River Jordan evangelism. It is now summer time, and it is common to see evangelism-beach ministry taking place during this resort season. Michael Marcavage led a group of Christians to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to "Spring Breakers" at Panama City Beach, Florida. He shares how they encountered one man who was also evangelizing, and as young people would walk by, he would immediately talk to them, lead them in some sort of "Sinners Prayer" without one mention of repentance. This was taking place in an environment where partiers were rampantly engaged in drunkenness and sexual immorality.
Second you must confess your sins! Can you picture this? Here are all of these new repenters standing one by one with the now soggy, camel-haired Ioannes Baptistes in the Jordan River, and making public confession of their sins to God before John. It says in Matthew 3:6, that they were confessing their sins as they were being baptized. Not confessing only to Ioannes Baptistes of course, but to God.
This was not a private confession by any means, but an open-air public confession of their sins in the Jordan River. Sins never sound quite as shameful and putrid as they do when they are openly confessed and given their rightful names. It is one thing to confess “generic sin,” and it is quite another to confess “specific sins.” Frankly:
“WITHOUT SPECIFIC CONFESSION OF SINS, AT THEIR WORSE OUR SINS
ONLY APPEAR AS MISDEMEANORS AND NOT FELONIES.”
Jesus did not die for generalized, none-distinct sin, nor are we to merely confess neutered naughtiness. If we did, then this second bang in the evangelists’ three-gun would barely be a faint whoops. Listen:
“CONFESSION OF SINS IS SHAMEFUL TO THE SINNER, BUT GLORIOUSLY
FREEING AND FORGIVING TO THE NOW DIVINELY FORGIVEN ONE.”
Without this we as preachers and evangelists are only shooting blank ammunition from toy guns. Remember:
"THERE IS NO TRUE PROFESSING OF CHRIST AS OUR PERSONAL SAVIOR WITHOUT THE
CONFESSING OF OUR PERSONAL SINS TO HIM."
To say that He died for our sins won’t get the job done. Never forget:
"TRUE CONFESSION MUST FIRST DEAL WITH WHAT WE DID AGAINST GOD BEFORE
WE CAN PROFESS WHAT CHRIST DID FOR US."
Third you must be baptized. The Greek word for “To Baptize” is “Baptizo” which means “To Immerse.” It was the term in the first century used for immersing a light-colored garment into a dye. Once the fabric was dipped into the dye, it would be changed in its identity from its original color to a new color. The act of immersing or baptizing signifies that that we have a new identity in Christ.
That is why John the Baptizer baptized (immersed) them in the Jordan. In they went! Not only do the waters of immersion assure us as believers that we are washed clean of all ours sins by the precious blood of Jesus, but that we are new creatures in Jesus Christ. The old sinful nature in us died in Christ and was buried with Christ, and now we are raised with a new nature to a brand new life in the risen Christ. Without immersion in obedience to the Word of God, all we are doing is playing dead and feigning life. But when we repent, confess and get baptized – bang-bang-bang you are truly dead-alive for the first time in your life! It is no longer you who lives. No, you’re dead. Now it is Christ who lives in you. Hear me:
"BAPTISM DOESN’T SAVE, BUT IT DOESN’T MISS BY MUCH."
THE FIERY EVANGELIST
Ioannes Baptistes appears at first glance to be somewhat of an enigma. He seems to be a man who is neither here nor there, someone who is betwixt and between. That is to say, he is really the last prophet of the Old Testament and the very first evangelist of the New Testament. But one thing we know and that is that John was sent from God. We read in John 1:6,
“There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.”
That is all we really need to know, isn’t it? Everything else is peripheral. What isn’t peripheral is that the Greek word for “Sent” is “Apostalmenos” which indicates “Divinely Delegated Authority.” All of Heaven was behind him. This alone explains his meteoric rise and huge impact on the world to this very day. Sermons like this one have been preached galore throughout the ages about my boy Johnny Doubtfire.They are still making films about Ioannes Baptistes today.
So that when Ioannes Baptistes began his ministry, he did not come out firing blanks. You may be familiar with the expression and the superstition, “Knock On Wood.” Will Rogers once said, “I always knock on wood before I make my entrance.” Ioannes Baptistes didn’t knock on wood before his entrance, but when he came he started knocking on heads right away. John wasn’t “Seeker Friendly.” John soon made it known that he wasn’t preaching for your listening pleasure, which is what modern preaching is all about. God forbid that we make anyone feel uncomfortable. Ioannes made everyone uncomfortable!
No sooner had John seen some of the Jewish leaders, namely the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the crowd, but that he looks directly at them, puts his firey spotlight on them like a laser beam, singles them out and before everyone says to them in Matthew 3:7-8,
“You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore,
bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Whoa! Dale Carnegie would turn over in his grave. This violates every principle of positive thinking and preaching. Where did that "brood of vipers" thing come from? This was more like, ‘Bang, you’re dead.” When Ioannes Baptistes preached, you grabbed yourself to check for wounds and blood. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the big dogs of the religious world. They were the heavyweights in all things spiritual, religious and legal. You sure don’t want to tangle with them. They were also considered to be the “good guys” in the white hats, and considered by themselves to be perfect.
Brood of vipers! Ioannes Baptistes was saying with fire shooting out of his eyes, “You’re all a bunch of deadly snakes.” If you will, “You are serpents masquerading as theologians.” At the very least, this had strong anti-social connotations. John, don’t you think you would be better off leaving the evangelism field and opening a fast-food restaurant called, “Ioannes’ Honey Glazed Locusts?” Who knows, it might catch on?
Johnny Spitfire never played it safe. There was no recanting or softening by this fireball of a prophet-evangelist on anything he said. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” was always John’s sharp intention, and he didn’t waste time handing out shoes that didn’t fit. He not only called the religious leaders of his day vipers, but a “Brood of Vipers.” And let me tell you the vipers were now brooding.
“Brood of Vipers” really means “Offspring of Vipers.” In other words, not only were the Pharisees and Sadducees full of the venom of sin – pride, judgmentalism, wrath and hate that would strike at anyone who crossed their path. Even more, they got their viperine natures from their parents. Their progenitors were venomous snakes too according to Ioannes. Ioannes Baptistes was like the football player who after he pummeled the ball carrier, went into the stands to smuck the ball carriers’ parents. I mean, these were the guys, who like Saul of Tarsus, put their prideful confidence in their religious bloodline, their religious laws and their own impeccable righteousness. Ioannes suddenly wraps them all up in slimy snake skins rather than robes of righteousness. Johnny Spitfire knew something that modern religion has rejected, namely,
"SELF-OPINION AND SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS MUST BE BEAT DOWN BEFORE SINNERS
WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE THE LORD."
If you will:
"GOD CANNOT MAKE US WHAT WE MUST BE UNTIL WE DESPISE WHAT WE ARE."
Jesus not only was the extension of Ioannes’ spitfire personality, but in John 8:44 He turns up the heat even more as He directly links with Satan, the prototype viper, those who wanted to kill him, which no doubt included Pharisees and Sadducees, and he says to them,
“You are of your father the devil….”
You talk about going for the jugular. Jesus not only knocks off the good guy’s white hats, he scalps them. That is exactly how the nasty vipers in congregations who seek to rule churches and run the pastors should be dealt with and confronted by denominational leadership. Many churches are snake pits that have never been cleaned out, and the brood of vipers, those controlling generational snakes, continue to bite pastors with their venomous slander, and in many cases poison their ministries as they run pastor after pastor out of town. Denominational leaders should be ashamed of how often they have not stood with their pastors and allowed them and their churches to be snake bit by the same generational brood over and over again. It is shameful! Much of the denominational hierarchy is so often made up of ecclesiastical politicians and not true pastors.
Then Ioannes Baptistes asks them in Matthew 3:7,
“Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
He makes them sound like condemned men on death-row who are hoping for a stay of execution. In and of ourselves, we all are. That is how they should have seen themselves, but it was the furthest thing from their minds. They were the spiritually elite. They were the religious crème de la crème! Such a question about them running out to Ioannes’ wilderness crusade to escape the wrath of God was a huge insult. How could God be mad at them? That couldn’t be, for if anyone was pleasing to God, they certainly were.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees remind me of the Sunday School teacher who was telling her class of youngsters about the crowns of glory that await people who believe. “Now tell me,” she said at the close of the lesson, “Who will get the biggest crown?” There was silence for a moment, and then one bright youngster piped up, “The one who has the biggest head.” The Pharisees had the biggest heads in Judaism, and were a cinch for the biggest crowns as far as they were concerned. The Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death, but they wore the biggest crowns on earth proudly as the majority party in the Jewish ruling body called “The Sanhedrin.” The Sanhedrin was the biggest snake pit of all.
But more than that, the Pharisees and Sadducees certainly wouldn’t be judged, for they as the ruling class among the Jews were the judge and jury who were always making spiteful comments about others and being sure that everyone got what they deserved. As in the case of the proud, judgmental and disdainful Pharisees making public ridicule of the adulterous woman and demanding of Jesus that she be stoned to death. (John 8:4-5) Jesus then spoke the unforgettable words about anyone among them who was without sin casting the first stone. They then all hotfooted it for home!
Then Ioannes Baptistes says to them,
“Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Spitfire Ioannes just won’t let up on them or us. He has them in a headlock and tightens the grip. We are back to bang # 1 in Biblical evangelism and Gospel preaching – repentance and showing by your life that you truly have had a change of mind and heart and are now serving God. It is the Gospel’s large-caliber gun being shot at those who wouldn’t even admit small-caliber misbehavior. They thought that they were the most fruited trees in the orchard, and Ioannes Baptistes tells them that up to now they are barren and have nothing growing on their branches that even resembles real fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. After all, it is by our fruit that we are known as Christians, not first of all by our theology.
Overall, can you imagine making those who believed that they were of all men closest to God feel that that they were far from God and in fact closer to the Devil. Not children of God but offspring of the Serpent! The Sadducees and the Pharisees remind me of Aunt Sarah and Mrs. Wood who were sitting on the porch one summer afternoon with Uncle George. The two women began carrying on a long conversation trying to impress one another with how religious they were. Then at one point Aunt Sarah turned to Uncle George and said, “We both know that Mrs. Wood is a good person, but don’t you think that I live a little closer to the Lord?” To which Uncle George replied, “I don’t think that either of you are crowding Him any.” Wham! Or was Uncle George really Uncle John.
THE DOUBTING EVANGELIST
And so it was that Ioannes Baptistes was the voice in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord. Today’s preaching and evangelizing prepares the way for Santa Claus. And thousands came out to hear him. We are just not sure how many thousands. Then suddenly one day when Ioannes Baptistes was preaching and baptizing, Jesus steps out of the crowd and appears to John and the multitudes in the same wilderness where Christ had been tempted by the Devil. A lot of Divine drama had been going on all at once, as it always does in God’s Kingdom and world. Always!
Then we hear the Baptist’s words about Jesus as we read in John 1:29,
“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, ‘Behold the lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.’
With utter definitiveness and certainty, John identifies Jesus out of the blue as the fulfillment of all the Passover Lambs that had been slain and rivers of blood that had flowed down through the centuries. Those bleating and bleeding lambs pointed forward to this one final and ultimate sacrificial Lamb Who once and for all takes away the sins of the whole world. The Lamb! Not a lamb but “The Lamb.” It was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the ushering in of the New Covenant in "The Lamb’s" blood.
There was no ambiguity or hesitancy in John’s voice or words. There never was. He proclaims with gusto, conviction and celebration, “Behold – Eureka.” No doubt about it, this is the One Who all the prophets have promised. The Sacrificial Lamb to end all lambs. The longing of all the ages has come, and Ioannes Baptistes announced Him without equivocation to the world.
The Baptist remained true to form in a ministry that lasted roughly only a year. Once senses from the very beginning that Johnny Spitfire was not long for the world. He played no favorites, as ecclesiastics and rulers all got their beards singed in is presence. He took on church and government with equal reckless abandon. In fact he was always taking on somebody.
Johnny Spitfire not only came strongly against sin, he came as strongly against the sinner. He knew what we don’t seem to get anymore, and that is that you cannot separate the sinner from then sin or the sin from the sinner. As if the sin we do is bad, but we remain really quite good Jacks and Janes. Give me a break. Johnny Spitfire saw right through that deception, and that is why He was the quintessential ad-hominem prophet-evangelist when he needed to be. He did not say to the Sadducees and the Pharisees that they did snakelike things. He flat out called them snakes. Today’s "Feel-Good" gospel not only will not call sinners-sinners, it will no longer call sin-sin. I have very recently been under preaching in which the pastor said that he would never refer to people in his services as sinners. To that preacher and scores of others I say, "Let Johnny Spitfire lead you back to your right mind."
King Herod had committed adultery with his brother’s wife Herodias and married her. Johnny Spitfire was outraged and in no uncertain terms let King Herod know that what he had done and was doing was against the law of God. Apparently John kept on bugging Herod and confronting him more than once as a lawbreaker, as Mark in his Gospel recalls all of this with these words in Mark 6:18,
“For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have
your brother’s wife.”
I mean to tell you, what was harassed-Herod to do with this wolverine-badger all rolled into one who continued wolving and badgering him about his sin? What could he say, except maybe something like, “I never had sex with that woman?” Instead, Herod had Ioannes Baptistes bound, arrested and thrown into prison.
Herod’s unlawful wife wanted to carry it one step further by having this infuriating meddler into her love-life put to death. While her husband wanted to shut John up, Herodias and her daughter Salome wanted him silenced more permanently and that by cutting off his head, and thereby forever shutting his mouth where all of the conscience-troubling words had come from. After all, it was this Ioannes Baptistes and not their sin that was dishonoring their name, staining their regal glory and blasting their reputation. And given Herodias’ devilish nature that we now know about upon hindsight, it was when Johnny Spitfire uttered his first word against their sin that he in essence already breathed his last and lost his head. Then his fate was sealed by sex-crazed Herod’s promise to his witchy-homicidal wife and her sex-dancing-homicidal daughter.
That is how unrepented of sin in its strength plays itself out:
“SINNERS WOULD RATHER HAVE SOMEONE KILLED, THAN TO ALLOW
THAT SOMEONE TO PRICK THEIR CONSCIENCES OR
DEFAME THEIR NAMES.”
It is the oldest political tactic in the book. Just ask another King, King David, about how all of that played itself out in his relationship with Uriah and Bathsheba.
Backing up just a bit now, it was there in prison where Johnny Spitfire began so uncharacteristically to show chinks in his armor, and began to reveal himself as human after all. Johnny spitfire revealed another side of himself that we had never seen before – Johnny Doubtfire! The Johnny Spitfire who had confidently identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the long awaited One, now sends through two of his own followers a message to Jesus from prison in which he actually doubtingly asks Christ in Luke 7:20,
“Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?”
Who knows what was going through his mind? We can only speculate, but if we were in prison awaiting execution, which he must have sensed was eminent, we too might have a big time gut-check and a faith-shake. Faith is such a vibrant and vulnerable spiritual dynamic all at once. I remember the words spoken to Jesus by the father of the demon possessed boy in Mark 9:24,
“I do believe; help my unbelief.”
So too in the life of Johnny Spitfire-Johnny Doubtfire! He believed in Jesus as the Messiah with all of his heart, but listen to this:
“THE SINCERITY OF OUR FAITH DOES NOT EXEMPT US FROM
MOMENTS OF WAVERING AND DISTRUST.”
“THE STRONG CONDITIONING OF THE ATHLETE WILL NOT PROTECT HIM
FROM EVERY POSSIBILITY OF STUMBLING AND FALLING.”
Every doubting, uncertainty and misgiving does not invalidate Johnny Doubtfire’s faith and/or turn him instantly into an agnostic. I believe that Johnny Doubtfire had more faith in his moments of uncertainty than many people do at the very height of their belief. Though for a moment our faith be less lively does not mean that is not living, anymore than being physically weakened is synonymous with being dead.
So it was that Jesus did not chide Ioannes Baptistes for his momentary lapse in faith’s strong conviction. Instead he sends Johnny Doubtfire’s messengers back to him with an answer that at first sound seems disconnected and even irrelevant. But it must be seen in the context of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies being fulfilled. When Ioannes’ messengers came to Jesus with his doubting questions, they saw Jesus right in the middle of healing people of diseases and afflictions of all sorts, casting out evil spirits and giving sight to the blind. And then He says to the messengers in Luke 7:22,
“Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their
sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead
are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”
So what does that have to do with the price of cheese or the strengthening of a death-row inmate’s faith? Simply this, Johnny Doubtfire who lived in the Old Testament and its strong prophetic-messianic hope, as His question to Jesus revealed, must have known Isaiah 35:5-6 which was the sign of the coming Messiah,
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened: and the ears of the deaf
unstopped! Then shall the lame man leap as a deer: and the
tongue of the dumb shall shout for joy.”
Or again, Malachi 4:2,
“But unto you who fear my name shall the Son of Righteousness arise
with healing in His wings.”
Surely you and I have seen the sunrise in the morning! The rays of the sun begin to burst across the earth. Those rays like majestic wings spread out further and further and cover everything with their light. So when the Messiah-The Long Awaited One shall come, the rays of His light will touch everything. And those rays of light shall be characterized by miraculous healing. Healing shall be in His wings, for that will be the Messiah’s sign. It always has been and it always will be!
Jesus gave Johnny Doubtfire the exact answer that he needed! Jesus thereby gave a strong jerk on the reins of his faith, and guided Johnny Spitfire back onto the strong path of faith’s certainty and assurance. We never hear from Johnny Doubtfire again. We don’t have to, for he went to Heaven with the blessed assurance that Jesus gives to all of His faithful servants as He walks with them though the valley of the shadow of death into glory. How I thank God for the first New Testament martyred prophet-evangelist who I affectionately refer to as Johnny Doubtfire – my hero! What Jesus did for Johnny Doubtfire, he will do for you and for me.