Published April 05, 2016
A new documentary examines the relationship between Christianity and mixed martial arts as it follows a group of pugilistic pastors who would rather beat each other up in the cage than do as Jesus and turn the other cheek.
“We’ll just be a couple of God-fearing men punching each other in the face,” one fighting pastor explains in the trailer for the film, “Fight Church.”
The movie also raises the question: “Can you love your neighbor as yourself and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?”
The scenes of organized violence also feature one kid wailing on another in one MMA match.
“Jesus never tapped out,” says a pastor. "He came to finish what he needed to do."
One priest interviewed in the film expresses his disapproval.
“John says love one another,” the priest says. “This is not love.”
“Fight Church” features former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who each discuss how their faith allows them to step into the cage.
Oscar-winner Daniel Junge (“Saving Face”) is one of the film’s directors.
The “Fight Church” website says the film “is made up of passionate, genuine people from all walks of the Christian faith who are trained and prepared to provide practical and spiritual care to fighters, coaches other members of the MMA community and their families.”
MMA pastor Paul Burress, featured in the movie, defended what he does in an interview with ABC News.
“We don’t fight out of meanness,” Burress, of Victory Church in Rochester, N.Y., said. “We have no hate or bitterness in our heart.”