Book Review – Fight Clubs (Jonathan Dodson)

I guess many readers of my blog will already have seen the announcement of Fight Clubs as a free e-book. You can get hold of it from the Resurgence, although it appears that the free offer isn’t available any more, which is a shame, but you can buy the e-book or a printed copy (sadly last time I checked the postage wasn’t particularly cost effective for UK buyers).

The book is subtitled “gospel-centred discipleship”, and in it Jonathan Dodson sets out his vision for how believers can get together in twos and threes and help each other fight sin and enjoy God.

He tells of how some “accountability groups” he had been part of in the past tended towards either legalism on one hand, or simply a therapeutic confessional booth that never addresses the root issues of the sin. Or as he puts it, we tend towards being wimps or bullies.

The heart of his approach is that we must identify the lies that we are tempted to believe which cause us to sin. And then confront those lies by believing the promises and warnings of Scripture, which are given to us as a means of grace that we might fight sin. Ultimately, we prevail as “we fight to believe that Jesus is more precious, satisfying, and thrilling than anything else his world has to offer.”

This is not really a book about technique though. In fact, the concept of the “fight club” groups of two or three people is only introduced at the end. The majority of the material simply sets out how a solid understanding of the gospel is foundational to fighting sin. Dodson draws heavily on John Piper and Tim Keller, with plenty of Puritan influences evident.

Overall I would say this is an outstanding short book. I have organised two “fight club” nights with some men from my church where we have discussed the content of the book. We haven’t yet attempted his formula, but I really like the idea of approaching accountability and discipleship from an explicitly gospel-centred perspective.

Check out Jonathan’s talks from the LEAD 09 conference, in which he gives a seminar on Fight Clubs, as well as expounds on his concept of three aspects of conversion – conversion to Christ as Lord, to the church, and to mission.

2 thoughts on “Book Review – Fight Clubs (Jonathan Dodson)

  1. Thanks for the supportive review! I’m so glad to hear its been helpful.

    Although the book is no longer free (we are a new church plant trying to make it!), it is downloadable for $5 in the UK.

    We’re also providing ongoing gospel-centered resources for FCs through our new blog:

    Hope those help you in your fight to love and obey Jesus.

    Enjoy Grace this Xmas,


  2. Sorry, shouldn’t have complained about the pricing. It’s very reasonable for a superb book. Hope you have some publishers knocking on your door.

    Will definitely check out your fight-club blog, and looking forward to anything more you write.

    Great to hear that you’re planting a gospel-centred church. Will pray that you bear much fruit and bring much glory to God.

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