Over 700 Evangelical American churches are electing to go the way of the gladiators. Believing that men in the church have become emasculated, the churches decided that bloody cage fighting, featuring no holds barred martial arts, will bring men—especially young men back into the church. It’s apparent that in today’s society, we are seeing the feminization of men and the masculization of women.
- Men are doubting their sex roles.
- Many men are now wearing earrings, previously worn by only women.
- Women as well are doubting their sex roles wearing military regalia and engaging in combat in complete defiance of Scripture (Deuteronomy 22:5).
- Men are preferring men rather than women (Romans 1:27), and women are preferring women to men (Romans 1:26) with the media and entertainment programming approving of such lifestyles (Romans 1: 32).
Promoting violence for men is not the answer to manhood. In 847 A.D. Pope Leo the IV took a page from the Qur’an and promised that if Christian men would fight under the Cross and die in the service of Jesus against the Muslim hordes that were overrunning Europe—they would be guaranteed entry into Heaven! Never mind there is no biblical verse to back this up, but it can be found in the Qur’an; a couple of examples are sûrah 4:74 and sûrah 9:111. We also know how the Romans kept their populace pacified through bread and circuses which was like today’s food stamps and entertainment, only in the days of Rome the entertainment was gladiators battling each other—many times to the death—to the delight of the onlookers. Blood sports between men have always been a favorite of Pagan societies throughout history. A modern example of such a blood sport can be seen through the bloody sport of martial arts “Cage Assault.” In this sport two or more men are pitted against each other in what has come to be considered the most barbaric and bloody sport around today. A pastor of “Cage Assault” fighting under the auspices of his church is 37 year old Memphis pastor, John Renken, who was allegedly overheard praying, “Father, we thank you for tonight….We pray that we will be a representation of you.” Only to be heard at the event instructing the young men of his flock to inflict “hard punches….finish the fight! To the head! To the head!” Pastor Renken came from a church near Nashville referred to as “Xtreme Ministries” whose motto is, “Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.” As we alluded to in our opening paragraph, the reason given by many of these churches for infusing this barbarism into today’s church is because of the feminization of today’s young men. Who is Jesus that we should follow Him? Is Jesus a prince of war like Muhammad? The Bible tells us who Jesus is when it prophesied His coming to earth:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, NIV, emphasis mine).
When we look at the Scriptures and see the examples given by Jesus to His disciples, we never find the Prince of Peace approving of violence. Consider how Jesus handled being approached and arrested by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin:
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While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest Him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:47-52, NIV).
This is not to say that Jesus did not approve of self-defense or protecting one’s family. Indeed Jesus advised His disciples:
…But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one (Luke 22:36, NIV).
During the time Jesus was on earth, it was not uncommon for a person to lightly slap another person’s cheek during a disagreement as a means of insult. It would be like taking your finger and poking on someone’s shoulder as a gesture of “I dare you to do something about it!” Therefore, in dealing with such an aggressive person, Jesus instructed His disciples, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). Jesus was not instructing his disciples to allow somebody to haul off and hit them without defending themselves, but rather not to let a situation escalate to a point where it could turn into a fight! In other words, we must understand what is being discussed in relationship to the customs of the time. Jesus was teaching all of us to not look for trouble or have a reputation of being violent. He was not endorsing any type of violence, contrary to our new martial arts’ churches when He instructed:
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).
It seems, regardless of all good intentions, a gladiatorial school in our churches is out of place if we are to follow Jesus’ example and His teachings. Teaching our young men to be violent is more in line with the teaching of Islam. Finally, what we see beginning to evolve throughout the world is a “New World Order” which is infecting the very heart of Christendom. We are trying to conform the church to the world rather than conform the world to the teachings of Christ! The Bible warns the church about such an apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3) in the last days where we read:
Now the (Holy) Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1, clarification mine). For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV). The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Tim 4:1 NIV).
While many mainline and seeker-friendly churches are removing any references to the Cross and the Blood of Christ, at the same time they are bringing the cross discipline of martial arts with the blood spectacle of men through the “Cage Assault” into their sanctuaries. This violent takeover of our world’s societies with the emphasis on sex and violence and the importation bloody fighting in our churches is reminiscent of when Jesus asked the rhetorical question regarding the last days “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b, NIV). When warning us regarding the signs of the Last Days, Jesus said would be like the days of Noah, and how were the days of Noah?
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5, NIV). Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways (Genesis 6:11:12, NIV).
Have you noticed the acceptance of the following?
- Filthy language and pornography everywhere we turn—television, movies, the workplace
- Family hour television programming’s use of sexual innuendos—sometimes even nudity
- For a cheap laugh actors and cartoon characters are passing gas or burping—even on kid’s television shows such as Nickelodeon, Disney etc.
- The increase in the use of verbs depicting sexual performance and words referring to the body’s expulsion of waste solids and fluids
One can only wonder how long it will be before this “Cage Assault” phenomenon will become a part of the church’s main fare during the Sunday or Wednesday night worship services, just like the importation of Heavy Metal music has proliferated in many of our so-called seeker friendly churches today. Jesus Himself predicted what He would say to those pastors of violence when they stand before Him on Judgment Day and brag about their efforts to restore manliness to the church through bloody cage fighting:
Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23, NIV).
Do not be dismayed because Jesus gave us words of comfort for those of us living in the last days:
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh (Luke 21:28). He (Jesus) who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22: 20, NIV, clarification mine).
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.