The Kirk Cameron-Catholic Interview

“People are not “proven” heretics (or anything at all) by a handful of misunderstood quotes, by not condemning everything bad the second they see it, or by speaking with a measure of situationally-aware class.” – Lyndon Unger

[Update: Make sure you see Justin Peter’s comment in the comments below as well as my follow up.]

On the Thursday, September 18th Worldview Weekend program, Brannon Howse and Justin Peters talked about Kirk Cameron doing an interview for a Catholic radio program, Busted Halo. The WVW episode can be heard HERE until it gets archived in the Situation Room. Justin talked about the interview more for the Monday, September 22nd edition of his own program, that can be heard HERE.

I’ll say up front that I have appreciated both Brannon and Justin and what they do. I have particularly liked Justin’s ministry of exposing the heresies of the Word of Faith movement. I know a lot of people who have been helped by his teaching in that area.  I had the privilege of meeting him last year at the Strange Fire conference and spent some brief time with him at the RefMont conference in June up in Montana.  And even though I have had disagreements last year with Brannon, I am supportive overall with what he is doing at Worldview Weekend, especially his efforts with pulling together the team of radio/podcast hosts that are heard on his network.

But with that said, however, I thought their critique of Kirk was grossly unfair. They accused him of giving an implicit endorsement of Catholicism because he didn’t immediately go into “sharing” the Gospel at the beginning of the interview when he and the host were making their opening pleasantries. They didn’t like certain terminology he used when he gave his testimony. And they were particularly bugged by the theme of his upcoming Christmas movie.

My honest evaluation: I think they are reading way too much into his comments given in a promotional interview for a recent DVD release and his film on Christmas.

Now, I don’t want to come off as a gushing, wide-eyed fanboy. I have had my criticisms of Kirk as well in the past. In fact, when it came to his teaming up with Glenn Beck for his film, Monumental, in a post I wrote up about it, I agreed with Brannon’s criticism of Kirk’s affiliation with Beck.  But this recent interview was in no way like his teaming up with Glenn Beck for a screening of a movie. Their critical charges against him are in my estimation, so wildly off-target to almost be considered purposefully dishonest.

Kirk, for a while, attended Grace Church with his family where I got to chat with him a few times. Through a weird occurrence of providence, my former pastor from my college days in Arkansas now lives out here in California and he and his wife have become big buds with Kirk and his wife. My family and I once attended a picnic fellowship with my old pastor, his church, and the Camerons. We had a lovely time with them all.  Kirk’s a sincere, genuine guy who loves the Lord.

So when I heard that he was cozying up to a Catholic radio host and treating him as a brother, my immediate reaction was, Really?  I downloaded the WVW podcast and gave it a listen, and when they played the suspicious clips of the interview, I was not hearing what Brannon and Justin were claiming to hear.

I went a step further. I found the September 4th, Busted Halo episode with his interview and gave it a listen. After hearing the 20 or so minute interview, I became irritated. It was like they were not just mistaken about what they heard, but they were intentionally maligning the guy’s character. For example, they got all over him for giving a weak testimony about his salvation experience. They pettily complained about his illustration he used of liking his pre-conversion life as eating a hamburger to his post-conversion life of eating a steak. Sure, maybe it was a silly comparison, but to conclude he now has compromised the Gospel in some dastardly fashion? Really?

They were also critical of him saying that his new movie about Christmas will “talk about the biblical foundations of Christmas.” Both Brannan and Justin jumped on that, saying there are no “biblical foundations” for Christmas traditions, but they all have their origins in pagan religions that were co-opted by Christians. They even played a couple of clips from John MacArthur who talked about the pagan origins of Christmas in an old Q&A session at Grace a number of years ago.

Just a side note: during the Busted Halo interview, Kirk, without naming him, recounted the advice MacArthur gave him about his interest in seminary and his desire with pursuing movies and media culture. I thought that was a bit funny in light of how John was being used to refute Kirk.

Anyhow, if you listen to Kirk’s statement, he wasn’t denying the pagan connections of many of the Christmas traditions like Christmas trees, the nativity, and of course Santa Claus. He was just saying his movie will address the biblical aspects of the holiday. Will he take David Barton like liberties with the history of Christmas and make it Christian when in fact it is a stretch to say such a thing? I hope not; but I’ll be happy to write on that if he does. However, even the world recognizes the Christian elements to CHRISTmas, because they are attempting to tone down those elements during Christmas. Come on people!

Watch the trailer for his movie. I think it looks fun,

Well. With a lot of things in our social media driven internet culture, there is a broader perspective to stories like this one. I just so happen to have a good friend who is also a good friend with Kirk. He texted back and forth with him about the criticism from WVW. Kirk lent us this insight. He stated basically that after he reheard the Busted Halo interview, he figured he could have done better, had been clearer, and maybe more direct with the Gospel. What preacher hasn’t gotten out the pulpit and thought such a thing? How many of us have had similar missed evangelistic opportunities because we weren’t “on the ball” or were just wanting to get out of the conversation and on with our chores?  A similar thing more than likely happened here, because the interview was like the 15th one he had done, and like all of us who are exhausted after a long day of talking, you want to wrap things up and get back home. Is that something we can learn from? Absolutely? Has he compromised the faith? Of course not.

Look it. If Kirk Cameron begins to frequent Roman Catholic TV shows, really becomes chummy with them, speaks at their gatherings, or whatever, believe me, I’ll be the first one calling him out on it. But just because he gave one mediocre promotional interview to a host of a Catholic radio program, I am not ready to throw him under the bus and label him an ecumenist.

BTW, one final thought before I publish my post. Were Brannon and Justin wrong for criticizing him without “contacting him privately first?” I don’t think so. Kirk is a public figure and it was a public interview, it’s fair game for criticism. But I do think Kirk has earned the respect of such a contact and I hope when those two brothers can be shown they have overreacted that they will have the courage to apologize to Kirk in front of their listening audiences.

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35 thoughts on “The Kirk Cameron-Catholic Interview

  1. Pingback: The Daily Discovery (September 22, 2014) - Entreating Favor

  2. I was wondering who was going to say something… It seems that Brannon and co. has been on ‘heretic/heresy witch hunt’ the last few months. As a fairly new christian I have benefited greatly from WVW teaching and I am very greatful. However, I am just not sure of the current direction WVW are steering.
    Thanks for your ministry Fred.
    Regards,
    Frans

  3. You can’t share the gospel with Catholics without talking to them. A kind of trench warfare attitude of talking at them, shouting verses across no man’s land, won’t do any good. Protestants regard the RCC as an institution as having lost the gospel plot centuries ago, but equally Catholics traditionally cannot believe Protestants are saved, being outside the ‘true’ church. This cuts both ways.

    So when a Protestant like Cameron appears on a Catholic show, does not treat them as the enemy, might this in itself make some catholics more amenable to hearing the gospel by dispelleing the notion of the ‘hot prot’ attitude? There is no obligation to get John 3:16 into the conversation every time, and it is not compromise not to do so if it would give the impression of being little more than an attempt to sort Catholics out.

  4. Ken,
    I don’t necessarily think making friends with Catholics in order to “evangelize” them is the best course of action. If a Christian can engage a Catholic, and there are spiritual things being discussed, he or she should be prepared to address them and confront them with the Gospel.

    Moreover, like I stated in my article, if Kirk begins hanging out with Catholics with regularity, I will see that as a problem. In fact, I’ll be the first one to say so. However, in the case under discussion, a 20 minute promotional interview for a movie that just so happens to be on a Catholic radio show, Kirk’s lack of engagement isn’t the epic fail Brannon and Justin are making it out to be. They are manufacturing mole hills.

  5. Good grief. People should give Cameron a break. Few of us can say we make the most of the opportunities given to us. And more so when we are invited to share about our work.

    The Christmas thing is overblown too. Michael Medved does the best program detailing the origins and history of Christmas. The truth is that the Catholic Church was so mixed in with paganism that many traditions were also mixed. Such is Christmas. The problem Protestants face is whether we have to ditch Christmas cranberry sauce because some pagan religion used it in some now unknown ritual or simply enjoy it with thankfulness.

  6. Very good points, Sir Aaron. I was once the weaker brother who couldn’t even mention the word Christmas until good teachers helped me mature.

  7. Fred, you are quite mistaken when you accuse me (and Brannon) of being “purposefully dishonest” and “intentionally maligning” Kirk’s character. These are serious charges you bring with absolutely no evidence. None. My greatest concern is that for whatever reason, Kirk DID treat Father Dave and, by extension, all of the untold numbers of listening Roman Catholics as his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This was the unmistakeable inference at several points throughout the interview on Busted Halo. To deny this is to deny the undeniable (almost like being purposefully dishonest). Every Roman Catholic from the staff at Busted Halo, to each listener, to each Roman Catholic who was informed of the interview by a listener, has been given the distinct yet tragically wrong (and potentially eternally damning) impression that Roman Catholicism is a valid expression of biblical Christianity and that its adherents are saved. Direct, primary source evidence of this will be shortly forthcoming. As I stated both in my interview with Brannon and on my own program, this is not just about Kirk. This is about not giving Roman Catholics a false assurance of salvation. This is about loving Roman Catholics enough to tell them that they are trusting in a different Jesus, a different Atonement, and a different gospel. This is about the purity of the true Gospel.

  8. Justin,
    Thank you for stopping by and engaging the post. I truly appreciate it. Again, let me confirm my gratitude for your ministry and what you do exposing the Word of Faith cult. Your lectures have been a valuable tool for a number of men and women I have passed them along to. So please understand I make my comments with the utmost respect for you and Brannon and pray you receive them as the wounds of a friend rather than a trollish crank looking to pick a fight.

    When I wrote that I thought the initial critique you and Brannon offered of Kirk sounded to be purposefully dishonest and as if you two were intentionally maligning his character, I sincerely mean that. I don’t intend for that to be a meaningless slap against you guys, but I do say that for a few reasons:

    First, I listened to the discussion on Busted Halo. Frankly, I did not hear the “unmistakable inference” that he was allegedly giving the listening audience the idea he believed the host was a fellow believer in the Lord, nor that he blew multiple opportunities to “share the Lord.”

    Look. As an ardent proponent of the biblical doctrine of total depravity and inability, I may be too trusting of people at times. But listening to the entire interview from the Busted Halo program, I heard Kirk promoting his DVD release and his forthcoming movie. It was, as my friend Lyndon points out in the quote I cite at that beginning of my article, Kirk perhaps acting with a bit of situationally aware class. In other words, he wasn’t there to hammer the host about his Catholicism, but to promote his movie. Now maybe you guys think that is an epic fail, but that is your opinion, I am not hearing what you are hearing from Kirk at all.

    Secondly, Kirk said nothing in my opinion that deserved the level of reaction you guys gave to this interview. He is hardly a stealth wolf that needs to be called out and people need to be warned about. Compare his BH interview with that of Rick Warren being interviewed a few months ago on a Catholic TV program. Warren used all sorts of Catholic buzz words like “I was lighting candles” and “meditating” when he wrote Purpose Driven Life. I want to say he made allusions to Mary as well, but don’t hold me to that. There you had a clear inference that Warren was attempting to appease the Catholic audience and give the impression he was a fellow believer with them. I also think he was lying, because I’d bet a bucket of Roscoes fried chicken he never lit one candle when he was writing his book, but I digress. Point being, Kirk never even hinted at such a comradery with his interview.

    Third, instead of rushing to the airwaves and slamming him, the kinder thing you two could have done was contact Kirk a head of time and ask for his take on the interview. I am not saying not to talk about it, but I think Kirk has earned the respectability of being heard first, before we go hammer and tongs on him. Even he admits that he could have done better with that interview. Have you guys even bothered to get a statement from him?

    With that said, I also think the follow up Brannon has been giving to my critique is a bit immature and absurd. Rather than seriously considering what detractors like myself have said about him overreacting, he’s been dismissive and levels ad hominem comments like how small my blog following is. Seriously? Seeing that I have met the guy and know him a bit, know personal friends of Kirk who have been in contact with him since this got all blown out of proportion, and that I work with a ministry that is typically held in high regards by you guys, I would hope I’d have some street cred with you two.

    I am all aware of Kirk’s involvement with Glenn Beck. I agreed with Brannon against him when that all went down. I also have concerns with his reconstructionist/theonomic leanings, though I am inclined to speak with him privately regarding his theological shift. However, in this instance, I think your all’s reaction to Kirk’s interview is amazingly over the top and unnecessarily reactionary. It puts a bad taste in folk’s mouth when it comes to discernment style ministry and turns them away from the otherwise fine work you guys do in this field of apologetics.

  9. Arg! Now I have to go listen to all these interviews myself? I am interested enough I may just do that! Let’s hope this can proceed more nicely than sometimes.

    And I guess I have to take it personally if anyone says anything about Fred’s blog following. I hope whoever is saying things about us knows that me and the other guy are pretty big and tough and come from rough backgrounds.

  10. I used to listen to WVW, and my husband had a subscription to his “Situation Room”. He lost us when he went after Christine Pack- Sola Sisters, and used Justin and a female Bible teacher to back him up.

  11. I get the concerns issued about Kirk. I have the same concerns about EVERY famous person who is a Christian (athlete, singer, actor, politician). Such people always let me down. Kirk’s been pretty solid thus far. He’s too political for my taste and I think that’s where some of his problems surface, but he’s not a heretic and not someone I’m watching real closely. Kirk is also imperfect and will always be imperfect and will, like most all of us, never be able to do what John MacArthur did on Larry King.
    I think I’m pretty bold but I’ve cowered many times in my life and failed to speak up when I should have. Does that mean I’m the next Rick Warren? Or does that mean I’m a human being who gets scared, has brain farts and is just oblivious at times? Could I have been called out? Sure. Would a wiser person than myself coming along side me and gently correcting and teaching me have been the better way? Yes. Absolutely yes.
    We don’t need to have coffee with everyone whom we disagree. We also don’t need to rebuke every person who speaks falsely, or in this case, who speaks in a way that might have been different than how we’d have spoken in that exact situation.

  12. Pingback: Christmas in the Hands of Reconstructionists | hipandthigh

  13. I heard Brannon Howse and Justin Peters talk about the Busted Halo program and was shocked to learn that Kirk Cameron had endorsed Roman Catholicism. Then I listened to the BH interview and realised that KC had done no such thing. So what’s going on?

  14. First off, I don’t think Brannon should be one to cast stones. I don’t get his stuff anymore because of various concerns. I am not familiar with Justin Peters. I just stumbled upon this as I am writing an article for my pastor and church leadership with an exhortation to ignore this movie and hopefully not promote it.

    I listened to Cameron’s speech to Liberty University promoting “Saving Christmas” and didn’t care for his attitude toward those who have a problem with Christmas and choose not to celebrate it. He called them “nit-pickers”. And he failed to make the connection with Catholicism. Each of us must make the choice whether or not to celebrate Christmas and not devour one another over it. Kirk is selling tickets to his movie – that is his way of making a living – wanting to get rears in the seats.

    I see more and more compromise with him. The very fact that he appeared on a catholic program is concerning. Just like he was on Glenn Beck’s program to promote his “Monumental” film.

    And his recent endorsement of Halloween and giving a false history of it, saying it has Christian roots! This is off the charts!!

    My opinion is that Cameron should not even appear on a Catholic program as this gives the impression that they are brothers in Christ. But then, he often hosts the Praise the Lord program on TBN which is extremely ecumenical and full of false doctrine.

    Didn’t’ mean to crash the blog, but when I saw this I had to add my 2 cents worth.

  15. Dear five point Fred,

    I have to challenge you to please provide evidence of the evils you accuse House & Peters of.

    I agree with Justin’s Sept. 27 post. You have libeled these men w/o providing proof of your allegations.

    Are you arguing in your defense that you couched this in, “SOUNDED to be purposefully dishonest and AS IF you two were intentionally maligning his character”? Weak, brother.

    What you wrote was, It was like they were not just mistaken about what they heard, but they were intentionally maligning the guy’s character. “It was like…”? Come on, sir, please PROVE how they intentionally maligned Cameron. Or was it just “like” that?

    And, Their critical charges against him are in my estimation, so wildly off-target to almost be considered purposefully dishonest. A veiled accusation. WERE they, in your estimation “purposefully dishonest”? If so, why not provide evidence of their lies?

    Further, I hope you all will read the open letter to Kirk: http://www.thearmoury.org/2014/09/an-open-letter-to-kirk-cameron-along.html

    Yours,
    Hugh

  16. Let’s take it down a notch. I never wrote that I thought what they did was “evil.” I merely stated that I thought their whole approach was an over reaction and it gave the impression that they were trying to pin something on KC as if he is some major apostate like Bart Ehrman. That is why I wrote what I wrote with intentional wiggle room for my statements. A lot of people agree with me, by the way. Now you may not agree with my take on their review of KC’s interview, but I have to call it like I see it. And, I would add that in subsequent discussions that both guys have made about KC, both of them have tempered their comments by saying they were not out to get him. I see that as indication that maybe they see my point.

    Justin is an acquaintance who has been at our church many, many times to speak. And I am familiar with Beasley, because we attended school together. I only know Brannon through email. I have exchanged friendly emails with both Justin and Michael and I have expressed my disagreement with their assessment of KC’s interview. I think all men run fine ministries and would direct folks to them without hesitation. In this instance, I think they were, as I originally wrote, wildly off target. KC never approved of Catholicism in his interview or gave any words of comfort to the listening audience. I know for a fact KC believe Catholicism teaches a false gospel and that Catholicism cannot save.

  17. Mr Five-point Fred,

    You never wrote that [you] thought what they did was “evil”??

    It was like they were not just mistaken about what they heard,
    but they were intentionally maligning the guy’s character.

    And, Their critical charges against him are in my estimation,
    so wildly off-target to almost be considered purposefully dishonest.

    Sounds to me like you were charging them with evil.

    That is, if intentional character maligning & purposeful dishonesty are evil, of course. . .

    If those are aren’t accusations of evil, then what is?!

    I hope Fred’s right about Kirk, too, Michael. But am very doubtful Cameron won’t eventually pope.

  18. I am shocked by the ignorance towards the Catholic Church on this page. What’s sad is that even Roman Catholics don’t know much about their faith. However, despite what you all think, everything the RCC does is rooted in the Bible. I have to say that the ignorance I’ve been reading about the Church lately has prompted me to go back to school for it so that I will be able to educate people like you.

    I love talking about my religion with others, not to belittle or judge them, but to give them a better understanding as to why we practice and believe what we do.

    I hope I can make a true difference in spreading the true meaning of tolerance among so many confused and ignorant Christians.

  19. Alicia,
    Most of the folks here are not at all ignorant of what it is the Catholic Church teaches. That is why they are saying what they are saying. What you see as belittling and judging are them warning of the dangers of Roman Catholicism. The plain, simple fact of the matter is that the “gospel” of Rome cannot save, and if someone like KC appears to provide affirmation of that false gospel, Christians who are genuinely concerned are right to be alarmed.

  20. Alicia thank you for saying what I wanted to say also. You don’t need to “evangelize” Catholics for we are already Christian Move on to people who don’t know Jesus, who need a personal relationship with him. We are already Saved as Christians and are not a “mission field”. Thank You.

  21. As a Roman Catholic I am flabbergasted at what I have read above. Each Sunday at a RC service there are four readings from the bible: an old Testament reading, a Psalm, and epistle reading and a gospel reading. How can that be non-biblical? If I believe that I have been saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (blood of the lamb) how can you say otherwise?

  22. Thanks so very much for your insight here, as I’m beginning to ask myself in some cases, around some Christians going over board and taking some things out of context? Lord help us?

  23. Pingback: My 2014 Blogging Year in Review | hipandthigh

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  25. I finding it interesting/confusing that the mere association with Catholicism is perceived as less than a Christian or controversial. The Catholic Church is the original Christian church
    dating back to St Peter and what we read about in Acts of the Apostles. When Martin Luther started the Protestant reformation after objecting to some corruption he observed in the church it then led to many denominations of Christianity. The union of all Christians is an important thing and Kirk’s conversation w Father Dave in no way compromises either man’s principals. Dialogue and understanding is a good thing

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