Growing up in Hollywood as child actors in a family where God is never spoken of might explain why childhood stardom doesn’t always yield a happy ending.
But for Kirk Cameron and sister Candace Cameron Bure, both child stars of hugely popular family sitcoms of the 1980s, God was writing and directing the script for their lives long before their indelible television characters became rerun classics.
“There was no mention or talk of God growing up, so the non-existence of God was normal to me,” Kirk recounts, adding that his schoolteacher dad and stay-at-home mom did teach them “Golden Rule” values that kept them grounded in the midst of fame and fortune.
These days, the 40-something siblings, with families of their own, are still making movies. But they aren’t focused on the optics of what’s trending on social media or political correctness.
“As I’ve gotten older and my relationship with God grows, I realize it’s the most important thing in my life and I’m not ashamed of that in any way,” says Candace, who currently stars in Hallmark Channel movies as well as the fifth and final season of “Fuller House”—the Netflix spinoff sequel to “Full House,” which she starred in from 1987 to 1995. “The only thing that really matters is what God thinks of me and to be that example to those around me, and I really want my actions to match my words.”
And when it comes to living their convictions, Candace and Kirk are similarly outspoken about their Biblical values, especially regarding sexual purity and the sanctity of human life and marriage—Christian beliefs that are regularly mocked and demonized by their cohorts in Tinseltown.
Nevertheless, the only actress Kirk will kiss is his real-life wife. And Candace refuses compromising roles or ones with blasphemous uses of God’s Name.
Dudley Rutherford, Candace’s pastor at Shepherd Church in Los Angeles, says Candace lives for Jesus with grace, poise and joy. “She stands upon God’s Word in the midst of wayward Hollywood,” he says. “I am sure it’s not always easy dealing with those who attempt to demean or disparage her because of her faith, but she has a way of being a conduit for others to see the love of Christ working in her day-to-day activities as a wife, mother, actress and as a speaker encouraging other women.”
Candace has also written bestselling memoirs of lessons learned about prioritizing God’s purposes in marriage, family and career while advocating those same principles as a former co-host of the ABC talk show “The View” (2015-16), alongside very vocal liberal-progressive co-hosts such as Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.
Meanwhile, Kirk has directed, produced and acted in movies and documentaries that challenge the culture’s moral decay with God’s Biblical blueprint for revival in the church and the home, with special attention to the covenant of marriage.
“If we lose the family, and marriage goes down the toilet, and the structure of family is so far away from Biblical standards, Lord help us,” says Kirk, who has six children, ages 16 to 22, with his wife of 28 years, Chelsea. This year, the couple, who adopted four of their children as infants, is in the midst of a 30-city tour leading a Biblical marriage and parenting conference called “Living Room Reset.”
And for more than 20 years, they have hosted a weeklong, all-expense-paid summer retreat for families with terminally or seriously ill children called Camp FireFly.
Thirty-plus years ago, Kirk and Candace’s parents experienced their own marital crisis, which landed the family in church for the first time and helped set the stage for them to live their lives for an audience of One.
Before attending church, the 17-year-old star of “Growing Pains,” which aired from 1985 to 1992, considered himself an atheist. “I considered Jesus to be part of a different trinity when I was an atheist—and that was Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and god,” Kirk says.
After attending his first church service and hearing Chuck Swindoll preach about God’s holiness and mankind’s sinfulness and need for a Savior, Kirk began reading “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh McDowell.
Shortly after, Kirk says, the reality of his sinfulness and God’s righteous judgment intersected while he sat in his parked sports car in Van Nuys, California. There he prayed for the first time and repented of his sin.
“I became convinced over time that it took more faith for me to deny God’s existence than it did to believe that this world was created and that Jesus is who He said He is,” Kirk recounts. “And so, I decided that I would trust Him as my Lord and Savior.”
As a 12-year-old, Candace says, she prayed the “sinner’s prayer,” but it was not until she was married and a mother in her 20s that she realized she had never truly repented of her sin.
“I never knew that I was a sinner; I always thought that I was such a good person because I’d led a good life compared to so many people and especially other child actors in my industry,” Candace says.
Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, helped Candace understand that trusting in her own goodness meant rejecting God’s gracious forgiveness and reaping His righteous judgment.
Chelsea recommended that Candace read the bestselling “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins about the Biblical apocalypse. In the early 2000s, Chelsea and Kirk starred in three movie adaptations of the book series about those left behind when Christians are raptured to Heaven. The plot, which featured a pastor who had been left behind with all the other non-Christians, caused Candace to re-evaluate her standing before God.
Kirk also gave Candace a CD of a sermon by evangelist Ray Comfort called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret,” which compared God’s Ten Commandments to a mirror that reveals a person’s sin in light of God’s standard of perfect obedience to His law.
“Ray said just like if a doctor wants to give a patient chemotherapy, he must first take the time to show the patient the disease and explain to him the consequences of the disease,” Kirk says. “If the patient doesn’t believe that he has cancer, he won’t appreciate the cure, and he won’t appropriate the cure.”
Kirk, who aspired to be a surgeon before his acting career took top billing, says Comfort’s evangelistic methodology was unlike anything he had heard. “I thought he was a modern-day John the Baptist,” Kirk says. “He presented the Gospel by asking questions about obeying the Ten Commandments, and people would admit their guilt. They would condemn themselves, and then he would offer them the Gospel cure.”
Comfort says when Kirk contacted him in 2001 to learn more about his Living Waters ministry headquartered in southern California, an evangelistic partnership was birthed that has since reached 180 countries.
The following year, Kirk preached his first sermon on a Christian television network to a global audience using the former New Zealand street preacher’s message about sin, righteousness, judgment and forgiveness.
“Kirk actually took my Bible, used my notes and shared the ‘Hell’s Best Kept Secret’ teaching on live television worldwide,” Comfort says. “And the next day our website got over a million hits. Part of the reason we’ve got more than 77 million views on our YouTube channel is because of the springboard of Kirk being involved in our television program called ‘The Way of the Master.’”
Candace, who has three children ages 17 to 20 with her husband of 23 years, says she embraced the opportunity to co-host “The View” in front of millions of weekday viewers even though her Christian worldview was usually not shared by her co-hosts.
“It was probably the most difficult two years of my life in the workplace,” she says. “It was a real spiritual battle as well as a mental battle. It felt like an incredible pressure and responsibility because it wasn’t just Candace’s opinion. I was trying to represent a Biblical opinion.”
Media criticism followed when Candace wrote in one of her books about graciously submitting to her husband Val’s direction earlier in their marriage to not discuss her faith in Christ with him unless he inquired further. The former professional hockey player from Russia was indifferent toward Christianity the first eight years of their marriage. Candace prayed daily for two years for Val’s salvation.
“I really wanted him to understand and come to faith, to the point that I pushed him away,” Candace says. “When I completely backed off, that’s when 1 Peter 3:1 really came to light for me. The woman can win her husband over without a word, and it’s by her conduct. And eventually those prayers came true.”
Kirk says he believes that America’s future hinges on returning to her God-fearing roots. “These are very exciting times to live, and it is an honor and a privilege to stand for the principles of truth,” he says. “These are the days when heroes are created. This is the stuff that reformers come out of.”
Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Find out who He is and what that means for your life.