Fight Sports and the Church

Boxing and Martial Arts Ministries in America

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SKU: 9781476673875 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

Fighting sports may seem at odds with Christian tradition, yet modern ministries have embraced them as a means for evangelism and social outreach. While news media often sensationalize fighting sports, churches see them as a way to appeal to male congregants, presenting a peace-loving yet tough model of discipleship.

From martial arts programs at suburban churches to urban boxing ministries geared towards at-risk youth, this book examines the substantial history of church sponsored training in combat sports, and presents arguments by Christian ethicists about their compatibility with church teachings and settings.

Interviews with boxing and martial arts ministry leaders describe their programs and the relationship between fight sports and faith.

About the Author(s)

Richard Wolff is an associate professor of communication at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he advises the boxing club.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Wolff
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7387-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4213-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. The History of Fight Sports and the Church 27
2. Cultural Reflections on Fight Sports and the Church 47
3. Ethical Issues Regarding Fight Sports and the Church 83
4. Case Studies of Fight Sports Ministries 111
Conclusion 147
Postscript 167
Chapter Notes 171
Bibliography 183
Index 193

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Richard Wolff’s book is a swift kick to reductionist accounts of fight sports. Wolff’s nuanced and sympathetic narrative situates boxing and mixed martial arts in the context of broad debates about sport and religion. This volume will be fascinating to scholars, participants, and fans who want to engage the theological, ethical, and cultural issues connected to fight sports.”—Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Christianity, United Lutheran Seminary.