In general, Hollywood is seen as a distinctly secular place. Indeed, the movie industry as a whole can be an extremely hostile place for people of faith. Over-sexualized, cut-throat and image-obsessed, living as a devout follower of Jesus can be an extraordinary feat for those who reside in the global capital of entertainment. But some of those who find that their talent has elevated them to the much-hallowed status of “celebrity” are bold enough to live for Jesus, no matter what the cost.
Here’s a rundown of eleven of these courageous individuals.
1. Jim Caviezel
The star of Mel Gibson’s 2004 epic “The Passion of the Christ” has made headlines for his determination to live out his Christian faith in an increasingly sexualized Hollywood movie industry. During a love scene with Jennifer Lopez in “Angel Eyes,” Jim requested that she wore a shirt. Then, in a similar scene alongside Ashley Judd in “High Crimes,” the successful actor flatly refused to strip off.
When asked about these incidences, Caviezel responded: “I do love scenes – but not ones with gratuitous sex. … And it’s not just about my wife, although that’s important. It’s sin, pure and simple. I mean, it’s wrong. … It’s awkward.”
When asked in a Faithwire interview about what it’s like to be a Christian working Hollywood, the actor replied with these staggeringly powerful words:
“It’s like water all around you and nothing to drink. You know if you go out to the ocean and you drink the saltwater, you’ll die.”
Jim recently starred in the Bible-based movie “The Apostle Paul.”
2. Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton is a well-known pro-life Christian actress and star of “The Middle.”
Recently, Heaton got into a spat with an atheist who decided to take her on after she posted a faith-filled message to Twitter. On May 4. the actress tweeted: “‘You come to realize very soon, that prayer isn’t something you do, it’s something that God does that you’re open to. And so the more you try to be open to God, surrendered to Him, His life flows into us in prayer.’ A Carmelite Nun, Life in the Hidden Light.”
John Sharp, an atheist, tweeted back at Heaton, “The idea of ‘God’ was a way of putting literally the fear of God into people to make them believe that if they didn’t do as they were told by their leaders bad things would happen. No God, No Fear, No Power. It’s obvious really.”
“Maybe dig a little deeper,” Heaton replied to Sharp.
“Or maybe stop digging,” Sharp replied.
Heaton threw out the final words saying: “Never stop digging.”
“I say that in a hundred years, if Christians are identified as people who do not kill their children or the elderly, we will have done well. Because that’s clearly coming.” Stanley Hauerwas (thanks to @roddreher )
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) May 10, 2018
Last year, Heaton responded to the report that Iceland has seen nearly 100 percent of women aborting their children who test positive for Down syndrome through genetic testing by tweeting a clarification of her own: “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”
3. Carrie Underwood
Wildly successful country singer Carrie Underwood is no stranger to sharing her faith on the public stage. She has written many faith-based songs such as “Jesus, Take The Wheel” and “Something in the Water.” Check out the lyrics:
“He said, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.
Down every hallway’s a slamming door.”
No way out, no one to come and save me
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me
Then somebody said what I’m saying to you
Opened my eyes and told me the truth.”
They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”
So I followed that preacher man down to the river.
Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood.”
Following her breakout debut acting role in faith-based movie “Soul Surfer,” Underwood was quoted as saying, “It’s easy to have faith when things are going great and you’re on top of the world. I’m winning, I’m selling, I’m on tour and this is all great! But this story is about having faith when the chips are down and how to deal with that.”
4. Denzel Washington
Multi-award winning actor is a man of steadfast faith and talks regularly about his deep trust in Jesus Christ. In a past interview with “Access Hollywood,” Washington explained how, as a young man, a woman had prophecied over his life, saying he would bring the gospel message to millions.
“She had a prophecy. I had flunked out of college and I was sitting in my mother’s beauty shop, and I could see her in the mirror behind me,” Washington recalled, noting that the woman kept staring at him. “She said, ‘You know young man, you are going to travel the world and speak or preach to millions of people.’” Becoming a world-class actor, Washington clearly has been entrusted with a gift to spread the good news throughout this often godless industry.
According to a 2010 Christianity Today article, Washington reads his Bible every morning, chooses roles he can remedy with his faith and has been a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles for more than three decades.
5. Stephen Baldwin
The younger brother of Hollywood megastar, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin has become well-known for his devout Christian faith. He has also been bold in opening up about the persecution that he faces as a Christian actor working in in the movie industry. Baldwin, one of four acting brother’s, spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about how unfairly he is treated on account of his religious beliefs.
When asked about being “outspoken” on his faith, Balwin replied: “Well, if you Google “Stephen Baldwin,” the fourth thing that comes back is that I’m “the Jesus freak of Hollywood.”
He was then pushed as to whether that term “Jesus freak” bothers him. His answer was very revealing as to the notoriously anti-Christian feel of Hollywood:
“Yes and no. It’s unfortunate that because I have believed in Jesus for 15 years that there are many in Hollywood who are unwilling to work with me. That’s not a guess. Casting people and producers have told me that they’ve brought up my name in a room and the response was, “No way, we’re not bringing that guy and his Bible over here.”
Baldwin became a Christian following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His Twitter bio simply reads: “Love All … Serve God !!”
“Jesus is coming back and if you really know what that means, and if you are experiencing and understanding what that’s all about, that’s pretty urgent,” Baldwin said in a 2006 interview with ABC.
6. Kirk Cameron
“Growing Pains” star Kirk Cameron has beecome one of the most recognizable Christian figures in the entertainment industry. Having sacrificed many acting jobs on account of his unwavering belief in Jesus, Cameron is on a mission to utilize the platform God has entrusted to him to share help others find hope in Christ. He founded his own faith-based online publication “The Courage” and also runs online video courses on the subject of developing a Christ-centered marriage and family life.
Cameron starred in the apocalyptic “Left Behind” film series and hosted a series of revival events in the fall of 2016 – a “national family meeting” that urged people of faith to return to biblical principles and to get involved in the election season.
Faithwire caught up with Cameron just prior to the “Revive Us” events — you can watch that interview below:
7. Steve Harvey
The charismatic talk show host is no stranger to talking about his faith in Jesus. “Our relationship with God is the centerpiece for love in our family,” Harvey’s wife told Essence magazine last year.
Harvey has openly discussed his Christian faith over the years, crediting Marjorie with helping to change his life and his perspective, noting that he wasn’t quite happy before he met her.
“I wasn’t who I wanted to be in life,” he told HuffPo Live after the couple got married in 2007. “A woman changed all that.”
The star of “The Steve Harvey Show” and Family Feud has gone viral for talking about God on TV. “You can never give up. You can never know where God is just waiting for you to pass the test. But you have to stay with something and go through the test to get to the end,” he once said in an episode of Steve Harvey Uncut.
8. Candace Cameron Bure
Actress and star of “Fuller House,” Candace Caermon Bure, is another faithful Christian working in the Hollywood entertainment industry. In a 2017 interview with Faithwire, Bure talked about the power of prayer and addressed the common criticism leveled by non-Christians that talking to God is a futile activity.
“It bothers me and I feel sad for the people who write it, because the first thing I think is, ‘Well, they’ve never experienced the power of prayer. They just don’t know,’” Bure said. “Prayer, for me, is always where you start. That’s the start of your solution. Then, yes, you take action.”
Bure went on to offer a detailed assessment surrounding why she believes prayer is the starting place.
“If you don’t start with [prayer] there’s no power behind it, because God’s the power,” she said. “God can do anything, change anything — change hearts. It’s the heart of all of us that need to be changed and that’s where God needs to get in.”
9. Chip and Joanna Gaines
The star couple of reality show “Fixer Upper” have garnered a vast fanbase through their openness and compassion. Though they are reserved to talk a lot about their faith in the media, Chip and Jo have stood up when it really matters. After BuzzFeed published a November 2016 article about the couple’s church and their pastor’s biblical views on homosexuality, they remained silent for some time. But when they eventually issued some comments, it was worth the wait.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE,” Chip tweeted. “U know.. even as all hell “appears” to be breaking loose. All I have to do is look at my 4 precious babies sleeping, or kiss Jo good morning and at least at that moment, at my house, all is right with the world!”
“Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home,” he added in response to the controversy. “A house divided cannot stand. If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow – we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love.”
He said he and Joanna have “personal convictions” and that one of them is that they have love for other human beings, regardless of the differences that exist and persist in the world.
You can watch Chip and Jo’s testimony in their brilliant “I am Second” video below:
When Chip and Jo announced late last year that “Fixer Upper” was in its final series, they demonstrated wonderful faith in God for the future.
“We have the chance to regroup and refresh and find out in two years, thank God we stopped and gave each other time and energy and loved our family more than we would’ve had the resources to do otherwise. Hopefully that will pay dividends down the road,” the couple told PEOPLE.
“We really want to focus on this break and take a step back to let this all soak in,” Joanna concluded. “Regardless of what the future holds, we are hopeful for what God has for us and our family in this next season.”
10. Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford, the singer, actress and host of the TODAY show, has become increasingly open about her devout Christian faith. Despite suffering terrible heartache, including the sudden loss of her husband Frank back in 2015, she remains steadfast in her faith and bold in her declaration of the gospel. Following the passing of legendary evangelist Billy Graham earlier this year, Gifford recalled being personally impacted by this giant of the faith.
“I think the value of a life is if you can look back and say you impacted one person’s life for eternity — how awesome is that? Well, Billy can look back on his life and be absolutely assured that he has impacted millions of lives for eternity,” Gifford penned at TODAY.
Now, of course, his ministry credentials are astounding – his impact for the Kingdom of God is second to none. But that was not the part of Billy that most impressed Gifford during the course of her 50-year friendship with the minister. “The thing that I adored most about him is that he remained the most humble and giant of a man you would ever, ever, ever want to meet,” she explained. “He had this incredible, loving presence of a person for the masses, but then when you were one-on-one with him, you were the only person in the room. Rarely do people have both of those gifts.”
Gifford even explained to her millions of viewers that Graham was responsible for leading her entire family to Christ.
“My entire family came to faith through Billy. My father is Jewish, my mom Christian, and although we didn’t have a devout home, it was just sort of an understanding of that Judeo-Christian tradition in our home. It was Billy that connected the dots for me,” she explained.
I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, LORD, among all the people. I will sing Your praises among the nations. For Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 57:8-10
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) March 15, 2018
11. Kevin Sorbo
The star of “God’s Not Dead” is known for speaking out boldly about his Christian faith. And his reelationship with Jesus was nurtured from a young age. According to CBN, when he was 13 years old he went to a Billy Graham crusade and responded to the altar call. Kevin recalled, “It was a very happy emotional night for me. And I just always remembered it.”
Sorbo was also involved in the making of 2017 faith-based movie “Let There Be Light.” Speaking about the movie to Faithwire’s Lucas Miles Podcast he said that “what independent movies have over big budget movies is character development.”
“An atheist has a stronger belief than most Christians, so to shake that belief in the absence of God … as much as I would love to do that, it’s not for me to do; it’s not for us to do. That’s the work of the holy spirit,” Kevin’s wife and co-producer, Sam, told Faithwire in an interview on the movie. “Agnostics, however, need to be convinced, and the fact is we face evil ideologies in this world and you cannot beat an ideology of evil without an ideology of good.”
Prior to the movie’s release, Kevin added that the team behind the film was hoping to “strengthen the choir” with the storyline, encouraging Christians to get out and share their faith. He added, “I’m hoping to reach out to the agnostics out there.”