Q&A with Kirk Cameron
Though perhaps most famous for his role on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron’s Christian faith has led him into widely different realms of the entertainment industry: as an actor in the Left Behind series and the inspirational film Fireproof, as producer and host of the popular documentaries Monumental and Unstoppable, and as host of The Way of the Master television series. He and his wife, Chelsea, are also the founders of Camp Firefly, which ministers to seriously ill children and their families. They live in California with their six children.
Confronting ‘The Greatest Danger' To People Of Faith
How did you become a Christian?
Many people think I probably grew up in a Christian home. The truth is, I’m a recovering atheist. I like to phrase it that way because I came out of a worldview where I denied the existence of God. I thought He was part of a different trinity: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus.
When I was about 18, someone took me to church. I wasn’t looking for God or religion—I was looking for the girl that walked into that church. I followed her to the back pew … and heard a sermon that really captured my attention. I was looking at a man, standing in a pulpit, who was very intelligent and articulate—and holding a Bible in his hand. And he believed in the existence of God. I didn’t think those two things went together—intelligence and believing in God. But he captured my attention, my conscience was bothered, and I started asking a lot of questions.
As I got answers to these questions—about God, the Bible, Jesus, evolution, science, philosophy—I started going to church, reading the Bible, and became convinced that I needed to come to God on His terms, if I was ever to know that He was real, and that He cared about me. So I did that—in the front seat of my sports car, parked on the side of Van Nuys Boulevard. I prayed and asked God to reveal Himself to me and make me the man that He wanted me to be. And, as my pastor reminds me, he said, “Kirk, when people ask you how you found God, remind them that you didn’t find God. He wasn’t lost. You were, and He found you.”
What concerns you the most, about what you’re seeing in American culture today?
I’m still trying to figure out life … how God works in the world that He made, and reconciled, and is redeeming. I think the best clues are when we look at the beginning of the story, in the Old Testament, and we see how God works. I don’t think the biggest threat to America, or any nation, or group of people, is who’s [president]. I don’t think it’s atheism. I don’t think it’s Islam. The greatest threat is the people of God failing to be faithful to the One Who made them.
This was always the greatest threat in the Old Testament to the people of God. God would say, “Don’t worry about your enemies. You need to worry about not being faithful to Me … because if you’re faithful to Me, I’ll take care of your enemies. I’ll make sure of your finances, your crops, your children. I will protect you. But if you’re not faithful to Me, I will bring discipline to you, and I will bring enemies to your front door. I will bring them, and they will enslave you, and then you will be in a position where you realize where your pride and your arrogance take you. And then if you call upon Me, I will still be here to hear you, and rescue you, and redeem you.”
So the thing that concerns me is apathy in the church. It’s people who have been blessed so tremendously by God, thinking, “We can just coast on this. We don’t have to step up and be responsible, and steward the things that God’s given us—like our children, like our marriages, like the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” When we don’t do that, we’re now dishonoring God. That is ultimately the great danger: dishonoring the One Who made us.
You’ve been doing some work with Alliance Defending Freedom. Any impressions?
Two things impress me about Alliance Defending Freedom. One: that they exist. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an alliance of Christians lawyers—people who understand and embrace Judeo-Christian values and the values of our Founders, and who really believe those values are important. Who put their necks out there to help people, free of charge, who can’t afford the cost of litigating against the ACLU or organizations like that. That’s been a fantastic encouragement.
Second, I’m impressed at the breadth of education this ministry offers to so many different people. For instance, with the Alliance Defending Freedom Academy, the ministry [offers] different tracks to educate not only lawyers and judges, but pastors, media professionals, and college students, even guys like me. [We learn] how we can all interface —have this fusion of talent and skill—like the Body of Christ ought to be, working to defend religious freedom and the right of conscience. These are the things that make America so unique, and I’m very impressed at the excellence with which this ministry has been teaching these principles and getting them out there.
Do you see creative arts and popular culture as more a friend or an enemy to people of faith?
I believe culture is not something that we ought to just complain about, whine about, run and hide from. I believe God made this world. This is my Father’s world, and Jesus came in love to redeem the world, to reverse the curse. I love when I see people and organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom redeeming culture by using the gifts and talents and skill sets and relationships that they have to influence and create culture, to shine light in dark places.
The arts, the media, entertainment, often capture the heart of people in ways that other things don’t. And if we can understand the importance of being in the driver’s seat with things like music and filmmaking … using TV, using film, using theater, for the purposes of advancing a worldview, now I think we’re in the game. Not running from it, but leading it.