A new documentary set to release chronicles Christian pastors who are also mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and weighs the relationship between the ruthless fighting and Christianity.
The film “Fight Church” follows a group of pastors who love to fight but also spread the gospel, and raises the question of: Can you love your neighbor as thyself while you’re beating the living hell out of him in the octagon?
“We’ll just be a couple of God-fearing men punching each other in the face,” one of the pastors said in the film’s trailer.
Another said “Tough guys need Jesus, too.”
The film also features younger kids who are themselves training to be MMA fighters and being coached by the pastors.
“Jesus never tapped out,” says a pastor. “He came to finish what he needed to do.”
The film features a former lightweight champion in the UFC, Benson Henderson, along with the current heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who both are more than willing to discuss how their faith gives them the courage to step into the octagon and fight.
“I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I wasn’t a Christian,” explained Jones.
It’s also directed by Oscar winner Daniel Junge, who directed “Saving Face.”
The film is causing a controversy amongst others within the Christian community and a priest is featured in the film speaking out about the violence.
“John says love one another,” the priest says. “This is not love.”
However those featured in the film defend what they do, like pastor Paul Burress.
“We don’t fight out of meanness,” Burress, of Trinity Church in Rochester, N.Y., said. “We have no hate or bitterness in our heart.”