While I share Andrew’s concern, I suspect this latest evangelical trend isn’t all that trendy. As Slate‘s Jack Shafer points out, “The Times accepts estimates from pastors who figure that 700 of the nation’s 115,000 white evangelical churches have taken up mixed martial arts. But the story names only three palooka ministries: Xtreme Ministries, Canyon Creek Church, and Victory Baptist Church.”
Still, while the “Jesus Didn’t Tap” crowd may be numerically insignificant, it’s a prime example of the disturbing resurgence of macho Christianity. At the 9 Marks blog, Mark Mckinley lists four problems with this unbiblical fad:
- It’s derivative and unoriginal. It was lame when Billy Sunday was doing it 100 years ago.
- It makes the gospel man-centered. Coming to Jesus isn’t a way for you to deal with your daddy issues. I get it, your dad didn’t hug you when you were little and you want to be a different kind of man. How about you go hug your kid then? Jesus didn’t come to help you get in touch with your inner MMA fighter.
- Like it or not, the gospel is at least in part about weakness. It’s about the almighty becoming weak to save us. It’s about us being helpless and unable in our sins. There’s no way to Christ that doesn’t start with brokenness and an admission of impotence. Yes, Jesus is the strong man who binds the adversary, but he bound him by suffering, humiliation, and weakness.
- It discourages and mocks godly men who aren’t macho. There is an undercurrent of disdain in all of this. Proponents of this testosterone Christianity can’t help but take shots at guys who wear pastels and drink cappuccino. You might not like guys with manicures, but there’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with it. A reserved, quiet, well-groomed man can be a good Christian. Believe it or not.