Using Mixed Martial Arts Share The Love Of Jesus?



It's been about 3 weeks since the 2nd Annual Spa City Stomp Out! This is the second time LakePointe Church has hosted this MMA Fight in Hot Springs, AR. Last year through this event we handed out 4 cases of Bibles and had an opportunity to pray with many families. We saw many people, including several fighters, begin to follow Jesus that day! It was a no- brainer when we had the opportunity to host the event again this year. The big difference, as our team recapped this event, was that we would be more prepared for those who needed prayer and didn't have a Bible. Last year we were prepared for people who would come drunk, high, or just ready to pick a fight. The only person we had to escort off the premise was some guy who was slamming people over the head with his Bible telling them that they were going to hell! A turn or burn talk, which we don't condone. When this man was asked to leave by one of our pastors, letting him know we had the teaching covered, he would not relent and continued to yell at the people. At this point one of the police officers helping with the event asked the man to stop at which he raised his hand toward the officer who forcibly removed the man from our campus. This offered an amazing opportunity for us to share with the crowd of over 2000 people that this man was not with LakePointe Church and that although hell is a very real place where some will go, we are concerned with teaching about the love that God has for them so that fewer will end up in hell, and that God cares more about their future than the mistakes of their past.

This year we doubled up on our police officers thanks to the Garland County Sheriff's department and some amazing volunteer officers. We also had the Marines with hummers on hand to help with crowd control. That afternoon before the fights we gathered all the fighters and explained the rules of the day as well as the reason we were having the fights. I was able to visit with them and tell them that although we were there to see them use their God-given martial arts skills we are more concerned about letting them know about the love of God through His Son Jesus. At this point I was able to explain the message of God's love and offered to any fighter that today was a day to begin living for Him. At this I several fighters say that they wanted to begin living for Jesus. It was truly awesome and as far as I was concerned we could have ended the day there in victory! But thankfully the day continued. We had over 1500 seats set out around the ring and we had 3 bands lined up to play. I could go on play by play but I will cut to the chase.

The chairs were full by 6pm and the bands began to play. We had slight rain showers that thinned the crowd but the event went off after an hour delay and the crowd returned. Throughout the night I was able to step into the ring and share a message of hope and love in Jesus. We had a prayer tent set up with volunteers ready to pray with families as well as give out a "what's next kit" that had a Bible, devotion book, and invite to church.

By God's grace we were able to hand out 1000 kits and pray with several families. There were no major security issues and we did not have to escort anyone from the event. This was the second year that we tethered the event to help the non-profit organization, Stomp Out Hunger. The mission of Stomp Out Hunger is to eradicate hunger issues in Garland County, especially with the children. This year we were able to collect several hundred bags of food that will be distributed by Stomp Out Hunger this year! Here is a video of one of the messages that was shared that night.



We understand and know that not every church can or should have an MMA Fight in their parking lot. What we do know is that God in His infinite grace and mercy has used this event to allow people that would never attend LakePointe or any other church in town to come to a free event and hear a message that God loves them, and that Jesus is the only way the truth and the life. That Jesus didn't tap, and our God is a Warrior King! For that we are extremely grateful.

Comments

  1. No church should host an MMA event. The goal is to inflict physical pain upon your opponent, which is sinful and does not reflect the words of our Savior, whom you claim to be confessing, who taught us to turn the other cheek and who would not accept any bloodshed in His passion but His own.

    Shame on you.

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  2. As a rule I would rarely agree w/Pastor Fiene but I think he's right. It's hard for me to believe that "God in His infinite grace" used an MMA event in your parking lot where you had to Marines for crowd control to hear a Gospel message. I don't know God as "Warrior King," I do know him as Father. I think this was ridiclous.

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  3. I second Pr. Fiene, this event was neither helpful nor appropriate.

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  4. I also agree with Pr. Fiene. It violates the basic teaching of God's Word, regardless of how much of a Christian veneer you put on top of it. As Pr. Fiene said it,

    "Shame on you."

    Pastor Askins

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  5. This is a gross example of compromising the proper preaching and teaching of God's Word so as to get bigger numbers - in other words, turning the Gospel into quantity rather than quality.

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  6. I disagree with this "do whatever it takes" style of evangelism. Yes, Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, but He didn't open a brothel. I don't see how you can justify encouraging people to break the 5th commandment in the name of Jesus.

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  7. As a new LCMS member, I am appalled.

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  8. where does it even say on your website that you are Lutheran???? is that not utterly deceitful?

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  9. There is a reason that "starter churches" that spring from Lutheran congregations don't include the word "Lutheran" or "Christian" in the title...it would be a horrible misnomer. Lutherans are known for holding fast to preaching the Law in it's severity, leading to the preaching of the Gospel and clinging to it's sweet, saving mercy. They are in the business of absolving the sins of repentant sinners, preaching the Word, and dispensing forgiveness in Christ's body and blood.

    If you want Law wrapped in self-help pop psychology and nature/creator worship songs to guitars and clapping, visit LakePointe.

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  10. I have 2 cents. I don't understand how it is possible that appealing to the flesh, such as this, in an attempt to share the Gospel is any different from including temple prostitutes in the church building while trying to preach orthodoxy. Maybe an Asherath pole or two? When appealing to the base sinfulness of the flesh in order to gather people in one place, you're assembling so many who need the Law preached, rather than a generic 'Jesus loves you, here's a bible' message. but again, that's my 2 cents.

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  11. Greg, thanks for sharing the news about this opportunity and for explaining how it went down! Exciting to hear that you're taking it to the streets and working with your LakePointe folks to show how grace abounds.
    It's pretty cool to see a group willing to connect to the downtrodden, drunk, high, 'ready for a fight' people who might not "fit in" at other churches. I hope and pray God continues to bless this fishing and the growth of the Kingdom of God through the church you lead.
    I love how you're taking the great commission seriously too - that you are working to make disciples (of Christ) of all nations, teaching them what Jesus commanded and baptizing them. It's almost as though y'all actually believe the scriptures and live them out like Jesus did! I guess he did get ridiculed for that, didn't he.

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  12. Przehnder,

    Perhaps you could provide us with an instance in which Jesus organized an event for people to indulge in their blood lust and publicly sin by bringing physical harm upon their neighbor. I certainly can't think of any off the top of my head.

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  13. From your church's web site:

    Do you believe that being a woman is more than shoes and purses? Do you want to learn from biblical women who seek after God?

    If so, Girlfriends Unlimited is just the group for you!

    In Girlfriends Unlimited, women will learn firsthand what it means to be a woman of God by studying not only the Bible, but also learning from women in ministry through books, video messages, and other women in our community.

    ------------------------------------------------

    NOTHING SAYS BEING A WOMAN OF GOD LIKE A B#%^&-SLAP TO THE FACE TO ANOTHER WOMAN! You should be absolutely ashamed of yourself if you thought hosting and promoting this event was in any way God-pleasing. It is an embarrassment to your church body and to Christian women everywhere. A virtuous woman uses her hands for good:

    Proverbs 31:20
    She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

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  14. Please consider the following from Dr. Martin Luther's Large Catechism, paragraph 188, on the Fifth Commandment, "You shall not murder." In the first place, we must harm no one, either with our hand or by deed. We must not use our tongue to instigate or counsel harm. We must neither use nor agree to use any means or methods by which another person may be injured." This is a part of the Confessional Subscription by which this parish is voluntarily bound. God's Blessings.

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  15. "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling"
    -1 Timothy 2:8

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  16. Seriously, fellow pastors, why the Pietism? You certainly have the right to disagree about the wisdom and propriety of using MMA as an outreach method. You can even evaluate and analyze the preacher's words, and if any false doctrine was proclaimed, bring it to his attention.

    However, to claim that MMA is inherently sinful is a bit over the top. Do you also oppose boxing, traditional martial arts (with the spiritual elements removed), auto racing, and football? If so, at least you are consistent in your position. If not, then you ought to examine things more closely, because all of these sports include elements that have the known potential to cause significant harm to competitors.

    MMA itself is merely a multidisciplinary sport in which traditional martial arts, wrestling, and boxing skills are used simultaneously. And contrary to what has been asserted, the intention of MMA is NOT to inflict harm one's opponent. It is a consensual competition in which two adults compete with the full knowledge that injury is likely to occur. If ever observe MMA competition, you will find that MMA competitors are among foremost of all athletes at being respectful to their opponents before, during, and after the match, and that there are an unusually high number of MMA participants who already confess themselves to be Christians or who become Christians over the course of their career.

    I spend a significant amount of time among a segment of the population who some might consider "downtrodden, drunk, high, 'ready for a fight,'" much like those described here, and my methods are definitely very different from those put to use in the event referenced above, but I would certainly seek more substantive grounds before accusing the pastor who endorsed the event.

    Disagree with the wisdom of the medium and evaluate the theology expressed if you feel compelled to do so, but please don't go about inventing sin where none exists by denigrating a legitimate athletic competition that might have more blood, pain, or testosterone than you can personally abide.

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  17. Pietism, Jason - really? If we think this brutal blood "sport" is sin, we are guilty of pietism? That word gets tossed around in our circle so much it seems to have lost all meaning. To assert that the intention is not to inflict harm is simply silly. That is clearly the intention. There can be none other. And yes, the same goes for boxing (although comparing it to race care driving is a real stretch). Christians ought not do it, host it and most certainly ought not say, "this is what God is like."

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  18. Jason, I oppose any "sport" where the goal of the competition is to injure your opponent to the extent that he can no longer compete. That's not the goal of football or racing. It is the goal of boxing and is most certainly the goal of MMA. The videos linked above make that abundantly clear.

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  19. Oppose what you will, I will say that over 80 new visitors showed up the next day. 10+ people either decided to walk with God, or recommitted their lives to do it Gods way that very next day. As a follow up 40+ people were baptized at our baptism bash on July 3rd. You can discuss all day the medium that was used to expand the kingdom, maybe it's not your cup of tea. My charge to you is what are you doing to reach out to those that are lost? It's easy to throw rocks, why waste time bashing what Greg believes God has called him to do? God bless.

    Todd Campbell

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  20. Why "waste time?" Because Pastor Bearss has vowed to be faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. And this bloody revival was faithful to neither of them. Our church body teaches that man is converted solely by the Holy Spirit working through the Word, and not by man "deciding to walk with God" based on some emotional experience he felt at an event where people kicked each other in the face.


    So if Pastor Bearss wants to host events that implicitly deny our church's confession of faith, fine. But then he and his congregation should leave our fellowship, as it is unfair for us to ask them to abide by a confession that they do not believe, and it is unfair for them to ask us to tolerate their rejection of our faith.

    Furthermore, if the Holy Spirit did, in fact, create faith in people through what little Word was present at this event, it was in spite of the event and not because of it. The fact that God will grant growth to His Church even in the face of our foolishness is a testament to the unlimited grace and mercy of our Lord.

    Finally, one thing my congregation is doing to reach the lost in our area is not encouraging them to think that violently attacking each other is somehow a reflection of Christ's love. That seems to be working quite well.

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  21. "Deciding to walk with God." Hmmm... Methinks we have found the problem. It's not a matter of human decision for God thereby putting salvation in our hands so that if we'd just decide to take it all would be well. Rather, it is a matter of God's decision for us where His gracious promise creates and elicits faith from us. Once we start racking up "decisions for Christ," we've departed a long way from scriptural teaching. It reminds me of a Southern Baptist missionary I met when I worked as a missionary in Kenya who walked into the room and proudly proclaimed he just "got 60 decisions for Christ." Well, bully for him. But I had no idea if the "Christ" he preached was an ideology or rather the living Christ who first called us. Pelagianism -- the teaching that we need to do something, however small, to accomplish our salvation -- was wrong long ago and still is today.

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  22. I am really outraged that this "church" which is evidently ashamed to boldly call itself Lutheran or Christian is receiving funds from LCMS Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

    Pastor Bearss, do you doubt the power of the Holy Spirit to reach his people? Is that why you need to have larger than life gimmicks?

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  23. Former TU player dies after boxing match at local church:

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20110923_11_A1_CUTLIN707323

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