No smoke, no mirrors, no equal

I first met Todd one chilly morning last spring when I arrived a little late to the Sunday school class he was teaching at Mapledale Baptist Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He smiled warmly and welcomed me, then returned to teaching the Book of Jeremiah to about a dozen adults. His folksy plain speaking belied a deep knowledge of the scriptures.

And had me feeling guilty. As guest preacher that day, I felt I could perform a courtesy by sitting in on the church’s one adult Sunday school class before leading the morning service. Instead, I was schooled by a very gifted teacher who related exceptionally well to his fellow classmates.

Since that day, I have been back to Mapledale several times to preach and have always made it a point to get to Sunday school on time. But my interest in Todd — and respect for him — grew immensely when I learned he has graced the pages of Ripley’s Believe it or Not several times as escape artist Anthony Martin. No illusionist, he has certifiably escaped from secure jail cells, submerged metal boxes, and while free falling — shackled — from an airplane.

Check out a recent television appearance.

And while Todd won’t tell us how he manages the escapes, there’s one thing he can’t keep secret: his faith in Jesus Christ. Whether teaching Sunday school, preaching at the farmer’s market, or performing his stunning escapes, he is unapologetic about the way Christ has freed him from the shackes of sin and death. As his Web site declares,  “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).