We live in a sports-obsessed world. From fans wearing their favorite team’s colors to high school soccer players practicing after school, we encounter sports every day. Nothing else in our culture produces so much passion and intrigue. Such obsession, for the Christian, must produce critical reflection. How should the Christian think about sports? What does Christ have to do with athletic competition? Can sports be redeemed? In the Arena will answer these questions so that readers:
- Understand how the gospel of Christ shapes our understanding and enjoyment of sports.
- Receive practical instruction on how to use sports in parenting and discipleship.
- Become confident in using the arena of sports for discipleship, parenting, and recreation.
Praise for In the Arena
With sports being more popular than ever in America,
with sports unifying people from divergent backgrounds
and beliefs, with sports—let’s face it—being a religion
to many men, In the Arena could not have come at a
better time. Christians and non-Christians alike need
to know what sports really are. Sports are more than
exercise, more than Xs and Os, more than competition.
David Prince examines the depth of this wonderful gift
of God with a thorough, insightful, and biblically sound
treatment that will not only deepen your understanding
of sports but also your understanding of the God who
There is no one on the planet I would rather read on
a theology of sports than David Prince. Prince is a
preacher of the Word and a lover of sports. This book is
perfect for athletes, for coaches, for parents, and for pastors.
The book shows how to love Jesus and love sports
without idolatry or a sour spirit. This is a book filled with
wisdom, truth, and joy. David Prince applies the gospel
to the playing field and knocks it out of the park.
As a former NFL Player, now pastor, I’ve been waiting
for someone to write this book! That someone is David
Prince. With In the Arena, David teaches us that sports
is a gift of God, a manifestation of cultural rootedness,
a competitive manifestation of the performing arts, an
opportunity for worship, a testing ground that exposes
character, and an opportunity for witness. This book is
so good. This book is a guide for parents and the athletes
While some Christians uncritically absorb sports and
others withdraw altogether, David Prince strikes the
right balance: sports are meant to be good but are never
ultimate. Sports are a “nonessential but inevitable” activity
of people made in God’s image. David Prince has
given followers of Jesus a resource that is richly theological
and intensely practical, equipping the reader to enjoy
sports as a gift from God for the glory of God.
With so many Christians discussing various matters
related to faith and culture, it is a bit surprising to find
so few books addressing faith and sports—for this subject
plays a huge role in cultures around the world. I
often get questions about how one should view athletics
as a Christian. As a former college baseball player, I used
to ask some of these same questions. So I am glad Prince
has tackled this subject biblically, theologically, and
practically. I appreciate his content and his clear writing
style. He hit a home run with In the Arena! I recommend
it not only for those involved in sports, but also for everyone
who lives in a culture surrounded by sports.
The world of sports seems to be on trial for Christian
parents as our family priorities are being placed in a false dichotomy with our children’s participation in
sports or even our adult enjoyment as fans of the teams
of our youth. This is a timely book from David Prince—
a father, pastor, professor, and sports enthusiast. The
enjoyment of sports by Christians is something that
needs to be reclaimed and redeemed, and as a father
and sports fan myself, I am thankful for David Prince’s
treatment of such an underrated area of discipleship
for all of us who love to enjoy athletics. Sports are part
of our sanctification, and Prince rightly and uniquely
points us to this truth.
David Prince is a husband, father, pastor, sports enthusiast,
and my personal friend. He is ideally suited to
speak to the issue of sports, home, and church and
frankly is saying things to which every family should
listen. Every mom, dad, and pastor should buy this
book. In fact, I think every pastor should buy this
book for every mom and dad in his church. That’s how
important I think it is.
Sports are a wonderful gift from God—but, as with
every good gift, sports can become perverted into a god.
In this book David Prince leads you on a theologically
grounded, Christ-centered journey that will enable you
and your family to enjoy the gift of sports without letting
it become your god. Highly recommended!
It is a strange irony that American Evangelicals spend
so much time following and practicing sports, but such
little time thinking through the ramifications. That
is why I am so grateful for David Prince and his fine
book, In the Arena. In this book Prince brings a robustly
biblical argument to bear about the commendability of
sports, sacrifice, discipline, and the pursuit of excellence
for the glory of God.
I have known David Prince since he was nineteen years
old. To say that he is a sports enthusiast is to completely
understate the obvious. But serving first as his pastor
and now a co-laborer in ministry, I can also attest that
Christ is ultimate in his life, not sports. Parents and
families in our sports-dominated culture need the message
of this book for many reasons; but finding the skill
and wisdom to balance sports and Christian development
tops the list. As David says so beautifully, sports
can (should!) actually be a primary means for Christian
training. Sports can be idolatrous for many, but In the
Arena will help root out such false thinking and elevate
the goodness of God in all things. God is ultimate and
sports can serve to show Him that way. You should read
this book and gift it to many.
I have spent most of my life on a baseball field either
competing as a player or as a coach in the rugged
Southeastern Conference for twenty-six years. It is
refreshing and encouraging to read a biblical perspective
on something I have loved for so many years.
Thanks to David Prince, I see my passion and chosen vocation more as a gift from God. Thanks for masterfully
articulating both the challenges and blessings for
people who love sports.
Christian sports fans know that sports can be good
and edifying, but also that there are lines that can
be crossed at which point devotion to sports becomes
sinful. Who can help us think through these issues?
You may not know David Prince, but I do. And if I were
asked to pick one person I could trust to write about
sports from a biblically sound, theologically informed,
God-centered, church-based, family-oriented, eternally
minded way, David Prince would be one of the first
three names that would come to mind. So whether you
are a Christian who enjoys sports or a believer who
questions the value of athletics, this quickly read book
will challenge you with biblical thinking on the subject.
Every parent of a youth sports participant should read David E. Prince’s new book, In the Arena: The Promise of Sports for Christian Discipleship
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