The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“Jesus was a fighter”: religion that packs a punch

posted by jmcgee

And sometimes a mean left hook:

In the back room of a theater on Beale Street, John Renken, 42, a pastor, recently led a group of young men in prayer.

fists.jpg“Father, we thank you for tonight,” he said. “We pray that we will be a representation of you.”

An hour later, a member of his flock who had bowed his head was now unleashing a torrent of blows on an opponent, and Mr. Renken was offering guidance that was not exactly prayerful.

“Hard punches!” he shouted from the sidelines of a martial arts event called Cage Assault. “Finish the fight! To the head! To the head!”

The young man was a member of a fight team at Xtreme Ministries, a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy. Mr. Renken, who founded the church and academy, doubles as the team’s coach. The school’s motto is “Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.”

Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts — a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles — to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009.

Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events.

The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”

Check out the rest. And duck.



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EllieDee

posted February 2, 2010 at 8:16 am


Again, those who seek Christ,can find Him , where they believe He is. Christ indeed IS a fighter..but his fight was for His TRUTH. I truly doubt, he would sanction pugilism for Jesus. Although Im sure He would see this as another misconception and even more, misrepresentation, of where He truly Lives. I suppose too many “men” think Compassion is too soft a concept.



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Fr. Larry

posted February 2, 2010 at 9:23 am


I’m speechless. Or, as the Brits would say, “gobsmacked.”



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Greycoat

posted February 2, 2010 at 9:48 am


Feminism has infiltrated the church for decades. The church is effeminate. Jesus is not the wussy made out to be by so many. Jesus is a fighter. When Jesus returns he will slaughter millions if not billions and the blood will be bridal high. He’s not coming back as a baby, but as a warrior.
EX 15:3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.



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Fr. Larry

posted February 2, 2010 at 10:56 am


Wow, Greycoat, you seem to have had quite a graphic private revelation about the Lord’s return. Slaughter billions? Perhaps you could re-read the Gospels and tell me where this vision of violence comes from.
And although I’ve seen some wedding parties that were pretty intoxicated, I’m having a hard time imagining blood “bridal high.”
@Deacon Greg: Forgive me if I’m feeding a troll.



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Your Name

posted February 2, 2010 at 11:09 am


Just sounds to me Like Larry needs to read his or someones bible. The book of Revelations tells this. And the bridal its talking about is the bridal of a horse. “Man”



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Mr Flapatap

posted February 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm


I believe that there is a difference between “fighting” and “beating the living crap out of another human being.”



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm


Whatever happened to those Golden Gloves priests who used to build a decent and manly repoire with “at-risk” youths in the slums of American cities back in the day?
I guess all this posturing wouldn’t bother me if folks weren’t using the Gospel to camouflage their post-modern aversion to anything that isn’t “nice”.



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Krzysztof

posted February 3, 2010 at 9:54 am


I support the idea bases on strong historico-@theological evidences: Galilea-the land of constant insurgency against Greeks, Romans, own colaborators (Herods) despised by nice politicians in Jerusalem (ex.J7:52).First Messiah: Jesus from Nazareth was the son of fighters, the Second must also the same! Ex.G.Vermes.
Fr.Larry: do you teach mercy (Lk 23:43) combined with… wrath (Lk 23:28)? Only few verses earlier!St.Paul’s uses examples of sportsmen to suppoert his message.
Who conquered Evil Empire-Communism? Nice politiciaan, card.Cassarolli (VAtican)or the fighters of Solidarity (@CIA,radio Free Europe, R.Regan,etc.)Check the press from before 1989, therefore maybe you will understand better Ex 3:14 (Jewish fighters@todays’ one)



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Greycoat

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm


LOL Larry. No “private revelation” for such is found in the Bible and I reall all of it. I don’t just limit myself to a part of God’s Word, i.e. the gospels. It is ALL important.
“Just sounds to me Like Larry needs to read his or someones bible. The book of Revelations tells this. And the bridal its talking about is the bridal of a horse. “Man”" – Comment by “Your Name”
Amen “Your Name”. Larry needs to pick up a bible and read it. Revelation speaks of the wrath of God. My apology I appear to have misspelled bridle. Not a bridal wedding, but the bridal of a horse.
Jesus is not coming back as the wussy Larry thinks he is. Even in the Gospels Jesus said:
MT 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
Most people are going to hell because they rejected Him. His return won’t be kumbaya for many. God will destroy His enemies. His mercy is NOW. Then there will be not mercy, but rather justice.
Rev 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Tell me if the following verses speak of a “wussy” Jesus?
REV 19:11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
REV 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God; 18 in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
REV 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.



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Greycoat

posted February 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm


-Corrected post-
LOL Larry. No “private revelation” for such is found in the Bible and I read all of it. I don’t just limit myself to a part of God’s Word, i.e. the gospels. It is ALL important.
“Just sounds to me Like Larry needs to read his or someones bible. The book of Revelations tells this. And the bridal its talking about is the bridal of a horse. “Man”" – Comment by “Your Name”
Amen “Your Name”. Larry needs to pick up a bible and read it. Revelation speaks of the wrath of God. My apology however for I appear to have misspelled bridle. Not a bridal wedding, but the bridle of a horse.
Jesus is not coming back as the wussy Larry thinks he is. Even in the Gospels Jesus said:
MT 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
Most people are going to hell because they rejected Him. His return won’t be kumbaya for many. God will destroy His enemies. His mercy is NOW. Then there will be no mercy, but rather justice.
Rev 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Tell me if the following verses speak of a “wussy” Jesus?
REV 19:11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
REV 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God; 18 in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
REV 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.



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