A new movie, “Fight Church,” raises the unusual question: “Can you love your neighbor while kneeing him in the face?”
The documentary, by directors Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel, is about pastors who practice mixed martial arts with their parishioners.
“Tough guys need Jesus, too,” one parishioner explained in the trailer for the film.
The controversial topic is raising eyebrows because Jesus obviously preached nonviolence and turning the other cheek.
But Pastor Paul Burress, featured in the movie, defends his unlikely evangelization techniques.
“We don’t fight out of meanness,” Burress of Trinity Church in Rochester, N.Y., told ABC News. “We have no hate or bitterness in our heart.”
Some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts today are featured in the film.
“I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I wasn’t a Christian,” explained Jon Jones, a professional MMA fighter.
Despite the critics, the pastors of “Fight Church” stand by their mission.
“We’ve been able to reach an awful lot of people that never would have walked into a normal church service before, but they’ll come over and do some fitness training or do some jiu-jitsu,” Burress said.
The documentary premieres April 24 at the Independent Film Festival of Boston.