Kirk Cameron:  “Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell?”

Orginally published on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 at 7:17 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron recently addressed the SBC pastors convention via video... here is part of his presentation: Can I speak to you from my heart for a moment? I realize that, theologically, I’m not worthy to wash your socks. But imagine this scenario with me, if you will: Imagine I’m a “seeker”- I’m a non-Christian, sitting in your church week after week after week listening to you. Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell?

Will you ever tell me the truth clearly enough so that I realize that my sin has made me an enemy of God: that I am currently on the path that leads to destruction, with the wrath of God dwelling upon me, and that unless I repent and put my faith in the Savior, I will perish? Or have you decided that it’s better to simply entertain me, and on Sundays I can come to have my “felt needs” met with good music and good advice? Pastor, while I would appreciate that, it’s the ultimate betrayal of my trust in you if you don’t tell me the truth. Will I ever hear the words “repent,” “surrender,” “turn to the Savior,” “be born again”? If you don’t tell me those things, how will I ever know to do it?  Please don’t leave it up to the Wednesday night small-group leader. They’re taking their cues from you. You’re leading the flock.

And now I speak to you as a Christian. If you and I fail to teach the whole counsel of God, and we don’t warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and run to the love of Christ on the Cross to save their soul, we make a terrible mistake. It doesn’t matter how happy a person is- how much a sinner is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season- without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the Day of Judgment. The Bible says, “Riches profit not on the Day of Wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” You see, that’s how Kirk Cameron realized he needed a Savior. I had riches, but I knew that it was the righteousness of God that I needed in order to be saved from my sin.

Any thoughts?

HT:  Alpha and Omega

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  There are 81 Comments:

  • Posted by Spica

    He totally nailed it…

  • Posted by eric wright

    I like his humility. He admits to his lacking, but then gives his perspective. It also sounded like someone speaking out of love for the church and not simple to judge the wrongs they perceive are being done.

  • Posted by

    I think if I were an SBC pastor, I might respond by saying something like this:


    It wasn’t the words of a pastor that convicted you of sin your, it was the Holy Spirit.  The beautiful thing about the work of the HS is that He enters into a conversation with each person individually and uniquely.  The sovereignness of His work is this; although every person needs to fully understand their depravity and separation from God, every person comes to this understanding differently.  You apparently came to this understanding like a ton of bricks hitting you on a Sunday morning listening to a sermon, and you responded accordingly.  My experience was more like this;

    I began to get a hint about my depravity in a youth rally.  It wasn’t completely explained, but enough was explained to get me thinking that I had a problem worth considering.  Also, I noticed something in the people who were part of this group (YFC) that I wanted to be with them.  A friend (not a close friend, but a new friend) invited me to a small group bible study with other girls.  It was here that the scope of my problem became clear, as well as the scope of the solution.  By the time I fully understood what a terrible person I was (am), I was in relationships with people who I understood this about me and still loved me.  I think, if I had gotten the whole picture at that youth rally, before I had any kind of relationship with another Christian person, I’d have felt hopeless instead of hopeful.

    And Kirk, my ministry experience has been that most people are more like me than you.  That is why we don’t hammer people with the message every Sunday morning from the pulpit.  Instead we speak the truth, encourage questions more than we spout off all the answers, and guide people to relationships where we trust the Holy Spirit will unfold the whole story for them.  And praise the Lord, it works!!!

    So to answer your question, yes, we always tell the truth enough that you will understand you are a sinner, deserving God’s wrath but able to receive His grace.  I don’t tell it alone from the pulpit, but we tell it together, as a community of faith.  We believe that it takes the community to fully communicate grace.  Stick around after the sermon for a few weeks and you’ll see for yourself . . .


  • Posted by Daniel

    Some might argue that the wage of sin is death.  Not ‘hell’.  Some might also argue that ‘hell’ is a post-biblical construct (which fuses both the Greek ‘Hades’, which is simply death, and references to the valley of Hinnom--Gehenna--which is a metaphor for total destruction), and that God’s wrath is always (by OT and NT prophets) conceived historically.  God’s wrath was poured out on Israel, and Jesus was a ransom for many.  The story has moved on.
    The point now is not to scare people with empty threats of a metaphysical post-mortem torture-chamber, but rather to point out that the wage of sin (at personal and corporate levels) is still death, and that God is remaking the world, and invites us to repent and join him.
    My two cents.

  • Posted by

    I think that is worth at least 20 cents Daniel, because it is soooo valuable to remind us that if salvation is about nothing more than getting to heaven (and out of hell) when we die, we might as well all cash it in as soon as confess our sins.  This is a pretty miserable place, EXCEPT for the influence of redemption infiltrating all of creation . . . through the redeemed.  And that is an important truth, regardless of one’s theological views about hell.


  • Posted by

    Kirk says “If you and I fail to teach the whole counsel of God,” and I totally understand his passion and devotion, but the whole counsel of God includes ministering to felt needs and being nice to people.

    And it also includes presentations of the Gospel that are not necessarily delivered in the exact words Kirk has decided it needs to be.

    just another .02

  • Posted by Leonard

    We see people come to Christ almost EVERY week in our church because we ask them too in partnership with God’s Holy Spirit.  No matter what I may be speaking about, at the end of a service I simply ask, If you are sitting there and realize you do not know this God we are speaking about today, that would be the starting place.  in more than 90% of our services people respond with a yes, I want that Jesus. 

    With that being said, He is right in that over 200,000 churches in this country will not lead anyone to Christ in the next 12 months.  The average church will lead less than one person to Christ this year, His style might not be for everyone but his message is accurate that pastors must lead that way.

  • Posted by

    I agree with the fact that we have a calling to share the gospel with those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, but there are factors that come into play.  Living in Oklahoma (Bible Belt), a very large percentage of the population knows of the gospel, and have been told of their sins in church as well as the street corner and elsewhere.  They have been told so much, that they can probably share the Romans road, FAITH outline, EE, etc. back to the church folk.  The problem is that they grow bitter and resistant when they are continually approached and notified of their sin (just us judging them from their perspective).  The point I’m making is although some run to Christ upon the realization of their sin, others must experience true love and life transparency from sincere everyday seeking believers.  Kindness leads to repentance.  There are lots of ministries that use scare tactics to get people to “pray the prayer”, but I would love to know the stats on those folks, what percentage goes on to be dedicated followers of Jesus.  Those who accept Christ through relationships have an earthly example. Hopefully the believer(s) loving on them have shown them what following Jesus really means.

  • Posted by

    “Everybody Spends Eternity Somewhere” - Andy Stanley

    A friend of mine once told me that evangeslism should be like selling a house. Instead of spending all out time showing people how to sign the contract, we need get them to experience the house… walk through the rooms, imagine what life would be like etc.

    I really liked my friends idea. But it didn’t sit right.

    A couple of days later, I realised the problem. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO SELL A HOUSE. WE ARE RESCUING PEOPLE FROM A FIRE.

    The truth is, Jesus was not hanging on the cross so that I could have purpose and meaning in life. So that I could sort out my relationships or my finances.

    Jesus was hanging on the cross because there is a coming wrath, and in the words of Andy Stanley: “Somebody has to pay”.

    So should we preach judgement - of course. It is primarily because of this judgement that I need Jesus. Yes Jesus can give me purpose in life. Yes he can make me more loving. Yes he can chnage my life. BUT HE WAS ON THE CROSS BECAUSE SOMEBODY HAD TO PAY.

  • Posted by Leonard

    I would say it is not “either/ or” but “both/and.” Jesus did come to give us life and life more abundantly.  He came so we could know forgiveness here and now, freedom from sin here and now, purpose and meaning here and now, healthy relationships here and now a well as an eternity with Him.  If this were not true IMO the bible would be silent on so many life issues, the law would be silent on life issues too.

  • Posted by

    Hi Leonard

    I agree with you!!! It is certainly both/and.

    I guess I am just trying to make the point that Jesus could have done a lot of those things for us without having to go to the cross.

    The reason he was on the cross though was because of the coming wrath.

    I am all for talking about how Jesus wants to change our life here and now, but somewhere along the journey seekers need to understand that they stand condemned before a holy God unless Jesus pays for thier sin.

  • Posted by Daniel

    The problem with focusing on post-mortem hellfire as that from which Jesus saves us is that we miss the pre-mortem hellfires people face every day.  Jesus saves us from our sins.  Our sins are in the here and now and affect us in the here and now.  The wage of sin is death.  The wage of pornography is divorce, abortion and heartbreak.  The wage of greed is poverty and crime.  The wage of pride is scandal and backbiting.  Jesus saves us from all of these.
    By reducing God’s salvific work to ‘saving souls from hell’, we drastically short-change ourselves.  I would suggest that the more biblical paradigm is not to make Jesus ‘my’ or ‘your’ Lord and Savior, but rather to proclaim that Jesus is Lord (whether we choose to acknowledge him or not) and Savior, and that he demands everyone’s allegiance (though in the short run, his purposes are carried forward by the Church). 
    So yes, we do want people to ‘say the prayer’ (or rather, to be publically baptized), but the prayer isn’t salvific.  God’s Spirit is salvific, and God’s Spirit flows freely when the individual will is brought into willing submission under Christ’s Lordship. 
    Long story boring, the goal is to turn people from death to life.  Kirk’s approach doesn’t seem to tell them what they’re turning to.  What is life?  What is God’s Reign?  What is the Kingdom?  What does it mean to pledge allegiance to the cross?  Am I making sense?
    I’m descending into incoherence, so I should probably stop.  I hope this was helpful to someone.

  • Posted by slw

    I hated Growing Pains, but find myself liking Kirk Cameron, particularly when he talks like this!

  • Posted by

    There is a message that honors God which God will bless and through it the Holy Spirit will regenerate the heart of man or woman - to expect a blessing to fall on man when man is in defiant opposition to proclaiming the Truth, as KC outlined very humbly and respectfully, is to expect the unexpectable. All the man-centered methods that are proclaimed as God-honoring and God-blessed by the numbers flocking to them ignore that it is the wide gate and broad way that lead to destruction. Could God bring someone to salvation through a faulty gospel presentation? One might think so, but consider what we are told to do to those who preach a gospel different than that which was given by Paul - we are told to consider them accursed. Have any opponents to this message ever read a non-Message by Eugene Peterson version of Galatians 1? It decries any type of man-centered nature to a gospel and implores the Galatians to be ever vigilant to remain faithful to the message Paul delivered to them and that if he or an angel from heaven were to come and change it, which the Wonderful Plan nonsense does, well they are to be accursed. Not too much room in there to debate his thoughts on the subject, really.

    In Mercy and Grace…

  • Posted by Leonard

    The message Paul was decrying in Galatians was about changing grace to works.  It was in response to people who came after him and said that you can be forgiven by Christ if you believe and are circumcised.  His words were that if someone comes behind me and teaches something different than I have taught...let him be accursed. 

    Much of the controversy surrounding how the gospel is communicated today is not really about the Gospel as much as it is about style.  A new movement is afoot to call the Gospel the entire story of the bible and another to reduce it to three facts and a prayer.  I suppose that somewhere in the middle is a better picture.  Often people confuse a message Peter, Steven and Paul would give as the whole gospel without taking into account their audiences were primarily Jewish in those messages.  Meaning simply, they were explaining to Jewish people the conclusion of their faith as it points to Christ.

    In Galatia Paul traveled to give the Gospel to gentiles and was followed by some people who stated basically, Paul did not give you the whole story.  See there is a Jesus, there is a salvation, there is a forgiveness to be found after you are circumcised and take on a Jewish faith.  Paul followed up his visit with his letter to say, DON’T LISTEN to them.

  • Posted by Leonard

    Daniel, I appreciate your understanding of your belief and the way you express it.  Thanks!  I would not go as far as you in some thoughts in regards to the statement, “I would suggest that the more biblical paradigm is not to make Jesus ‘my’ or ‘your’ Lord and Savior, but rather to proclaim that Jesus is Lord (whether we choose to acknowledge him or not) and Savior, and that he demands everyone’s allegiance (though in the short run, his purposes are carried forward by the Church).”

    If I misunderstand your thinking please forgive me, but the personal nature of our friendship with Christ cannot be overlooked in scripture.  For example, “what must I do to be saved… is a question that is asked by people.  Love the Lord YOUR God is a very personal was of describing the greatest commandment ever.  Peter’s response to Jesus in John 6 when he asked if they would leave… “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."” This too indicates a very personal nature to salvation.  IMO is is very biblical to make Jesus my Lord and savior.  It is true eventually every knew will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord but it is also true that right now, they don’t.  The Lordship of Christ from a positional perspective was never in doubt since before the foundations of the world the lamb was slain.  From a practice perspective the Lordship of Christ is not close to being practiced by over 4 billion people. 

    I agree it is not the prayer that is saves, but the surrender of the will.  But the prayer for millions upon millions is the entry.  Sort of like the speaking of vows do not make your marriage great, but married people love being married when the vows are kept. 

    IMO on reason we get our panties in such a wad about the gospel message has to do with our understanding of making disciples.  We think getting people to say a prayer is making a disciple but in reality making a disciple is a much longer process.  Saying a prayer in my mind is about recruiting disciples.  The reality is that in many countries of the world, (I have been there) the understanding of this is more clear because of the cost of starting the journey.  TAFN

  • Posted by Daniel

    Thanks for your input Leonard.  As long as people realize the point is discipleship and not magic, I’m fine with traditional formulations.  As I’m sure you’d agree, it’s a simple question of emphasis.  Some people emphasize the process too much (as if being baptized into the faith didn’t hinge upon a decision), whereas others emphasize the decision too much (as if praying the prayer was the end of the road).  I’m sure we’ll both agree balance is the key.  You make a vow, then you keep it.

  • Posted by Tony Myles

    I’d like to help Kirk, but “first there’s this skit that our wacky drama team put together” and “then I have a video I want to show you.”

  • Posted by

    I would be curious to know if Wendi, Peter, and Daniel would also disapprove of the message that Paul, Peter, John, Philip, John the Baptist, Barnabus, etc. preached as they took on the task of spreading the COMPLETE Gospel message to the world?  The Biblical message of sin righteousness and judgment to come and the salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is still a relevant message today.  Unfortunately there are too many pastors that want to boast of the size of their church as a measure of the success of their calling that they take out the parts that offend most so-called “seekers”. 

    The most loving thing we can do is to tell them there is a hell (and it is what we deserve) as well as a heaven...there is sin as well as righteousness....there is grace as well as judgment.  But if we make people feel uncomfortable, they might not come back which means less money in the kitty each Sunday. 


    The Bible says that God has chosen the foolishness of the message preached to save those who would believe.  No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws their heart and He uses His Gospel message to save the lost.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is an intergral part of that salvation but so is the message preached.

  • Posted by Tony Myles

    Then there’s that whole clanging cymbal thing in 1 Corinthians where a sense that we love someone matters more than anything we say, even if it is truth.

  • Posted by

    C Fontenot,

    HAPPY Sunday!

    I would argue strongly that Paul, Peter, John, Philip, John the Baptist, Barnabas, and the rest did a GREAT job of presenting the gospel in context in different places. I don’t believe anyone here has ever said that the whole Gospel shouldn’t be presented in order to make sure we have plenty of people coming back and giving next Sunday. (For the record, in our church, we specifically ask that guests do NOT give in our offering. Usually TWICE during the service.) The one thing we have said is that every presentation of th Gospel might not look the exact same.

    My continued concern with folks like WOTM is that they seem to assume that every presentation of the Gospel is made in the same manner (or it’s not genuine and therefore salvation can’t occur), when Paul (and the others) varied his approach quite a bit. He was loving and sensitive to the culture he spoke to. I often find that the WOTM folks are not.

    The most loving thing we can do, actually, imho, is to practice and model patience and kindness, and all the rest of that fun stuff from 1Cor 13. The MOST excellent way…

  • Posted by

    I think that allowing someone to stand on the tracks while a train is bearing down on them isn’t very loving.  Certainly you don’t say something abusive or insulting to them, but a decent human being at the very least least calls out, “Hey you!  There’s a train coming!  You need to get off those tracks!”

  • Posted by


    What if you knew for a fact (or at least were nearly certain) that yelling “Hey There’s a train coming!” was an ineffective way to get the person to move (even though at one time it had been very effective), but knew for a fact that if you got to know the person, became friends, doing life together, would more possibly result in the person leaving the tracks…

    I weary of the idea that spreading the gospel only consists of saving people from hell when they die. It’s a very incomplete way of telling people what Christ has done and what it means, and it has become more and more apparent to me that people are looking for more than that, and Christ has SO MUCH more to offer…

  • Posted by

    Peter said: “He was loving and sensitive to the culture he spoke to.” Speaking of Paul, really? Sensitive to the culture? I think we ought to define what we mean by “sensitive” because some might think that he didn’t preach an offensive message to them if you say that he was “sensitive” to their culture. The fact that he knew much of the beliefs of the groups he preached to in no way should be interpreted as he was not offensive in his message, I mean come on Peter the gospel message is in itself a wholly offensive message if it is accurately presented to the natural man, any other assumption or presumption is to describe what isn’t and say that it is. There are many who say they haven’t changed the message when they completely have. They no longer talk any about repentance when it says in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is not willing than any (of the elect mind you) should perish but that all would come to repentance - yet many pastors don’t deem it necessary to elaborate on what exactly repentance is. So long as people are sorry that they’ve sinned and recognize they are sinners, this is enough, NO IT IS NOT! Worldly sorrow leads to death whereas godly sorrow leads to what? Repentance, not to be repented of (2 Cor 7:8-11). Paul caused such a great sorrow among the Corinthian church that they saw how they had offended God, (which is what an unregenerate man, woman or child consistently does), and because of that they experienced godly sorrow which brought repentance and salvation to them in which Paul was then joyful.

    But Peter the current trend in American churches, claiming evangelical leanings, is to so water down the message of the gospel that even the sinful unregenerate adulterer or thief would not feel convicted under what passes for “preaching” or “evangelizing” today.

    As to your question to Melody, Peter, - that is to assume the unassumable - no one knows on whom God will bestow the gift of faith, (Eph 2:8) that is why the argument that a Calvinist is not an evangelism minded soul when the truth is quite the opposite and church history bears that out. C.H. Spurgeon was 100% Calvinist and it is highly unlikely that there is living now a more committed evangelist than he was - the originator of the mega-church (From the Spurgeon Archive: The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification.)
    Have you ever read the sermons Charles Spurgeon preached? Remarkably true to God’s word and God blessed his efforts tremendously in a time when even Charles was seeing a great falling away from the faith once for all delivered to the saints. (See the Down-Grade Controversy http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/dwngrd.htm)

    And we have many “leaders”, teaching many other “leaders” that they must modify their services and yes their messages (don’t make it too intense or too long as you’ll scare away the “seeker") to meet the culture where they are at and not drive many away?  What god is that? Whom one would think could not penetrate the heart of the “cultural addict” and conform them to the image of His Son as He has promised to those who come to Him under His terms, by His grace and the Father’s call? Jesus asked “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

    Kirk is to be commended for his message and leaders should take note to what he has said because they are to be judged not only for their own life but the lives of those who sat under their teaching they will also be held to account for, to what degree I am not sure but that is for God to know and us to understand in glory . How well they taught will be examined by God Almighty, a fact that causes me to tremble at the thought and consider with great reservation before I would enter a pulpit and deliver a message to the Children of God. Church leaders would do well to observe what is revealed about what God will bless in Is. 66:2 which simply says the following:

    “For My hand made all these things,
    Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD
    “But to this one I will look,
    To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

    One important question: The beginning of wisdom and also the beginning of knowledge is what?The fear of the Lord. Yet who could be fearful with much of what passes as a gospel presentation today, what with all the God has a wonderful plan for your life/Jesus loves you, messengers running around and leading churches? Food for thought.

    C Fontenot and Melody - wonderful thoughts.

    Peter, finally, Jesus loved the rich young ruler and then proceeded to tell him that which would send him away sad for had much wealth to eternal Hell for all we know about him, was that the wrong thing for Jesus to do? (Mark 10:21, 22 NASB says: <i> Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

    In Mercy and Grace....

  • Posted by

    What do people think of Bill Hybels approach???

    He often communicates to people’s felt-needs. He is very seeker-sensitive. But he is also wiling to be direct when he has to be. He also is very much willing to talk about being rescued from Hell.

    Think about it… What happens when we become a christian…

    #1 We get the Holy Spirit who gives us…
    > an intimate relationship with God
    > comfort
    > guidance
    > the power to overcome sin/addiction etc

    #2 We get our sin paid for, meaning that we have…
    > peace with God
    > freedom from guilt and shame
    > forgiveness of sins
    > escape from the coming wrath
    > eternal life with God in heaven

    Why can’t we talk about all of this???

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