Liberty University students enjoyed a memorable Convocation Monday as a star-studded lineup of guests helped filmmaker Kirk Cameron promote the one-night screening of his latest project, “Unstoppable,” to be introduced from the Vines Center on Tuesday, Sept. 24. In addition, Dr. Peter Williams, warden and CEO of Tyndale House, delivered a powerful argument for the authenticity of the Gospels.
Convocation — held three times a week and featuring prominent speakers from every walk of life — is always met with enthusiasm from the students, but the robust lineup garnered a unique fervor from the crowd.
|Dr. Peter Williams, warden and CEO of Tyndale House, argues for the authenticity of the Gospels at Liberty University Convocation on Monday, Sept. 23.|
As the festivities began, Vice President of Communications Johnnie Moore reminded students that at Liberty they are encouraged to raise questions and wrestle with their faith. He introduced Williams, calling him “easily one of the most influential Christian scholars” in the world. Tyndale House operates out of the heart of Cambridge University, one of the top universities in the world, and is frequented by some of the most renowned evangelical scholars.
Williams tackled the question, “Can you trust the Gospels?” by pointing to three lines of evidence: the geography of the Gospels, their heavy Jewish themes, and the person of Jesus.
“When you look at the Gospels,” he began, “they really know the layout of the land very well … they know the names of towns, each of the four Gospels has 12-14 different towns mentioned and some of them are quite obscure places.”
Christianity began “in the cradle of Judaism,” Williams said, and the Gospels are written with distinctly Jewish themes. This is a stark contrast to the themes in the Apocrypha, which are more “Gentile” focused, he said, proving the Gospels are written closer to the time of Jesus and from within that culture.
In closing he pointed to the incredible person of Jesus Christ and explained a few of the reasons He, and the Gospels, are valid. This included the remarkable documentation of His resurrection, which notes appearances to several types and groups of people in a number of contexts.
“The variety of appearances is amazing and Jesus appears not just standing but sitting and walking and always eating and always talking … it is such an amazing thing and yet that didn’t just happen to anyone, it happened to someone about whom we know there are remarkable teachings, more miracles recorded than about anyone else, and a great message about how He died for our sins,” he said.
President Jerry Falwell, Jr. then expressed his appreciation for Cameron’s work, which includes a number of television and movie credits as well as deep involvement in humanitarian work, including Camp Firefly, which Cameron started with his wife to minister to terminally ill children.
Falwell and Cameron have developed a friendship over the last year and Cameron even invited Falwell to California last spring where they appeared together on national television. During the broadcast, Cameron shared his enthusiasm for Liberty, the world’s largest Christian university.
|Actor/producer Kirk Cameron interacts with Liberty students after Convocation.|
When Cameron talked about “Unstoppable” with Falwell shortly after he spoke at Liberty last year, Falwell said he decided it was exactly the type of project Liberty and its new Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center should get behind.
He said Liberty is proud to be the official sponsor for the film.
“Kirk uses his skills as an actor and a producer to tell the story of creation, of man’s fall from grace, of God’s ultimate victory over death and hell through Jesus Christ in a compelling documentary that anybody can understand,” Falwell said of “Unstoppable.” “I believe there are millions of people who will go see this film who would never go to church or otherwise be exposed to the Gospel. In (the movie) Kirk does what Liberty University was founded to train you (Liberty students) how to do — go out into every profession, and regardless of what line of work you choose, to become the salt of the earth, the light of the world in your everyday life.”
Cameron promoted the film, along with special guests, including singer/songwriter Warren Barfield (whose song is featured in the film’s trailer); Christian recording artist Mandisa; and evangelist Tim Lee, who is also a member of Liberty’s Board of Trustees. The film will debut Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at Liberty’s Vines Center and simultaneously broadcast to more than 700 theaters nationwide.
“This project is by far the most personal project I have ever made,” Cameron said.
In wrestling with his own doubts, he said he realized that true faith is proven when it is tested by the trials of life.
“I want to settle once and for all that life is stronger than death, good is stronger than evil, and faith is stronger than doubt.”