Book Review: Fight Clubs

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All Christians everywhere are commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20), but some of us aren’t all that great at it. Some of us are great at sharing our faith, but no so good at sharing our lives. We have community groups and accountability partners—but sometimes our idea of accountability is little more than a check list of things to not do, or a mutual pity party where everyone confesses worldly sorrow, but fails to repent.

But we’re called to something much greater than that. We are called to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim. 6:12) as we go forth and make disciples. And Jonathan Dodson, in Fight Clubs: Gospel-Centered Discipleship, wants to remind us of that.

In this short work, Dodson states that it’s by focusing on the person of Jesus that true discipleship happens. “We become what we behold. If we behold the beauty of Christ, we become beautiful like Christ” (p. 15). This is one of the most profound statements in the book, because truly, we do become what we worship. And when we take our eyes off of Christ, we become something ugly. We are not disciples worth imitating, because we are imitating the wrong things.

In focusing on Christ, inevitably our attention is  fixed on what we’re called to—the Gospel, the Church and Mission. We are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus, into community with fellow believers, on mission to make disciples of all the nations. We do not exist in a vacuum. We are, as Steve Timmis says, “not individuals, but individuals-in-community.”

So what do we need? We need Fight Clubs, says Dodson.

“Fight Clubs are small, simple groups of 2-3 who meet regularly to help one another beat the flesh and believe in the promises of God. Men meet with men and women meet with women in order effectively address gender specific issues head-on” (p. 44).

There are three simple rules for Fight Clubs (and no, one is not “Do not talk about Fight Club”). They are:

  1. Know Your Sin
  2. Fight Your Sin
  3. Trust Your Savior

In order to fight our sin, we have to know what our sin is: Is it vanity, lust, pride, anger? Once we’ve identified our sin, we then need to know why we’re prone to it. We need to “get to the sin beneath the sin” (p. 46). Once we know where to strike, we can begin to put our sin to death so that our joy may be complete in Christ. And by trusting in Christ, we can be assured of both the promise of eternal life and the strength of the Holy Spirit to fight and put our sin to death (cf. Rom. 8:13).

Fight Clubs offers a powerful appeal. Biblical community on mission to glorify Christ. This is something that many of us sorely lack in our lives, and the concept is one that I want to implement into my discipling relationships. It’s honestly too easy to slip into a routine of “just hanging out” and not talking about Jesus or getting into some sort of bizarre checklist/sin management type thing that really kills the spirit of the relationship. I would highly encourage you to download the e-book or purchase a hardcopy from Lulu.com, and be inspired to continue to fight the good fight.