The Course

What does it mean to be a Christian? 

This simple question will guide all of our content in this course. The Christian tradition is deep and wide — historically, geographically, intellectually, and spiritually — and we're going to do everything we can this year to learn about it. Our presentation will move like a giant train along two tracks: (1) the Bible, which Christians believe is God's Word for humanity, and (2) the Apostles' Creed, an ancient and memorable statement of faith that articulates core Christian theological beliefs. Every lecture and every discussion in our course will take us back to the Bible and the Creed, and we'll be continually asking questions like: Who is God? What is "belief" and "knowledge"? What is a human being? Who is Jesus Christ? Why the cross and resurrection? Through different learning styles and forms of engagement, small-group learning communities, and diverse global perspectives, students are invited to encounter the depth of an ancient faith that continues to transform lives across the world.

The structure of our course is different from anything you've experienced before... 

        On Mondays: The entire class — nearly 600 of you! — will gather from 11:00–11:50am in Bauman Auditorium to hear a lecture on our theme for the week. No reading or preparation is required beforehand. At the end of each Monday lecture, students will be asked to write a "Reaction Paper" right there at their seat, engaging with some aspect of the lecture, which they will turn in for credit and as a mark of attendance. (Be sure to bring paper and something to write with!) See Syllabus for details on the "Reaction Papers."
        On Wednesdays: From 11:00–11:50am, students will meet in a section discussion group, much smaller in size (around 20 each), led by one of our teaching team members. There we'll discuss the lecture, as well as readings that have been assigned for that week (which will be completed by students on Monday and Tuesday). How do you know which section you are in and where it meets? See the section list, linked here through our course FoxTALE page—sign in with your GFU email login/password, and find the THEO WEDNESDAY SECTIONS link.
        On Fridays: The whole group will gather back in Bauman Auditorium from 11:00–11:50am to experience a panel discussion, hosted by the teaching team, on our topic for the week. Students will be invited into the conversation to ask questions and interact with their professors, and write another "Reaction Paper" at the end of the session. 

Want a video introduction to the course from two of the professors? 

Dr. Brian Doak and Dr. Leah Payne talk about the course structure, basic college etiquette, and answer some FAQs. 

All lectures and panels will be recorded, and can be accessed through the course podcast, called I BELIEVE.

This podcast that will be supplemented throughout the week with short, extra reflections by the professors! Subscribe through Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Please see our course Syllabus for details on grades and course policies.

For our schedule of readings and lectures, see the Schedule. Students can keep tabs on their study each week by comparing their notes with the THEO STUDY GUIDE, updated each week by our team of teaching assistants (and overseen by the professors).