Actor Cameron brings seminar to Bethany
BY MARK H. HUNTER
Special To The Advocate
November 02, 2012
In a pivotal scene in the movie “Fireproof,” fire department Capt. Caleb Holt warns the doctor dating Holt’s estranged wife that although the marriage might be in trouble, it is not over.
Holding up his clenched left fist to show he is still wearing his wedding ring, Holt, played by Kirk Cameron, advises that the doctor can try to woo Catherine away, but “I’ve got a head start, because I’m already married to her.”
Holt’s love for his wife is a love worth fighting for and in the end, Catherine forgives him and the marriage is restored.
Holt’s method, a 40-day “Love Dare” program, has reignited more than 20,000 real-life marriages since the movie’s 2009 release, according to the “Fireproof” website.
Cameron has updated that “Fireproof” theme and is in the midst of a nationwide Love Worth Fighting For relationship seminar tour, which is coming to Bethany World Prayer Center’s South Campus on Friday.
“There are forces staying up 24-7 fighting for your wife or for your husband — their attention, their loyalty, their affection,” Cameron said, speaking by phone from Los Angeles earlier this week.
“Everything from the job, friends, sports, pornography, the culture — and if we’re not fighting for our marriage, we’re going to watch it weaken and then eventually fall.
“With the world, the flesh and the devil all working against us, we’ve got to fight for our marriages; we’ve got to fight for our kids; we’ve got to fight for everything that is precious to us,” Cameron said.
Cameron and Warren A. Barfield, who wrote the movie’s theme song, “Love Is Not A Fight,” are in the third year of touring and have visited 80 cities ministering to more than 55,000 people, Cameron said.
After the Bethany seminar they’ll go to Brandon, Miss., on Aug. 18 then return to Louisiana for a conference in New Orleans on Aug. 19.
“We had one guy who actually got up in the middle of the conference and walked out into the aisle and proposed to his girlfriend,” Cameron said with a laugh. “We had another couple who said they had been divorced and remained friends and came to the event and decided to get remarried again.”
The conference, with a focus on personal and spiritual relationships, is billed as beneficial for people in all stages of life: teenagers, single adults, newly married couples and longtime spouses.
“Not only is Love Worth Fighting For intended for those struggling in their marriages, but it is a great event for those who are engaged or even people looking to be married one day and they simply want to lay a foundation for the future,” Cameron said.
The Rev. Jonathan Stockstill said Bethany members are glad to host the seminar and are looking forward to it.
“One of our callings as a local church is to see that family and marriages become all that God has designed them to be,” Stockstill said in an email.
Cameron, 40, who was one of Hollywood’s teen stars in the 1980s, is probably best known for his role in the ABC sitcom, “Growing Pains.”
He grew up in a secular home and prided himself as an atheist until he found Biblical salvation at the age of 17, he said.
“We never spoke of the existence of God,” Cameron said. “I thought God was part of a different trinity: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and God.”
A friend invited him to church where he said he heard the Rev. Chuck Swindoll. “He answered many of the questions rolling around in my head. Where do you go when you die? Where do we all come from? Is there really a design and a point to all of this?”
Cameron started reading a Bible a friend gave him and read, “More Than a Carpenter,” by Josh McDowell. In November 1987 in his sports car on the side of the road, “I prayed, ‘Lord, if you are there would you please reveal yourself to me and change me into the man you want me to be.’
“What changed was my attitude of my heart. I went from living in defiance of God to wanting God to do something for me,” Cameron said. “I was honest with my own sin and asked God to forgive me.”
His new attitude was noticed on the “Growing Pains” set, he said. He occasionally had to disagree with scenes and language in the dialog that got him in trouble with the show’s producers and directors.
He discovered “there is no neutral zone, especially in Hollywood.”
As an adult, Cameron has starred in the film adaptations of the popular “Left Behind” novels as well as “Fireproof” and most recently a prophecy-related documentary titled “Monumental.”
He also produces films and co-hosts “The Way of the Master” television program with Roy Comfort.
Cameron said Christians should live dynamic lives, both to the outside world and also to their spouse.
“Jesus says ‘if you are not for me you are against me.’ The Lord wants us to be hot and stimulating or cold and refreshing,” Cameron said. “Your spouse doesn’t want you to be ambivalent toward them. How much more should we be enthusiastic and committed following the Lord Jesus Christ? You are either all in or not in at all.”
While Cameron’s seminar trips take him away from his wife of 21 years, Chelsea, and their six children, ranging in ages from 15 to nine years old, he said he stays in constant touch with her.
“I spend lots of face time on my iPhone, texting between talks,” Cameron said. “It makes me really anxious to get back home. Every time I’m out there speaking on the subject of marriage, it’s reinforcing the principles I know I need to be doing at home.”
If there is one key to a successful, or “Fireproof” marriage, Cameron said, it is forgiveness. In the “Fireproof” movie, the marriage wasn’t restored until Catherine forgave her husband for neglecting her while pursuing his career.
“Forgiveness is absolutely essential,” Cameron said. “God designed marriage to be a school where you learn to be more selfless, because we all come in with a measure of selfishness.
“When that selfishness rears its ugly head it causes pain, it causes guilt,” Cameron said. “The only way out of that dark hallway of pain and shame and guilt is forgiveness. When you learn how to do that it develops your ability to be selfless. It gets us closer to being the spouse that makes a heavenly marriage.”