In college they label courses by number to grade how advanced the course is. For example, you could have “Introduction to Philosophy 101.” This will likely be a freshmen course, 2oo then corresponds to sophomores, 300 to Juniors, and 400 to Seniors. Now granted, it isn’t an exact science I had taken some 300 and 400 level course my sophomore year and had to take a 200 level course my senior year.
The point being that the numbers were their to signify the advance level of the course and to guide the student into figuring out what course he may need to take before selecting the one he would prefer to.
My sophomore year at Moody Bible Institute (MBI) I had taken “Apologetics 404.” However I had neglected to realize there were a number of classes I skipped to get to this course. Needless to say I felt completely lost as the professor was asking questions to the student body concerning different philosophers and their contributions to philosophy. I kept thinking, how do they all know this stuff? I silently thought, “Am I really that behind the rest of these students?” I soon found out that these students were all seniors who had taken Philosophy 101 and 200 and 300 level courses on logic and philosophy.
I say all this because I see within conservative evangelicalism an air or an assumption that the Gospel is a Christianity 101 course. You know, the idea that the Gospel is something for merely evangelizing the unbelievers with. And then once people believe the Gospel you give then a quick course on what the Gospel is to make sure they understand it. But then, you move these disciples on to other subjects that are more advanced like 200, 300, and 400 level courses.
The Gospel becomes something of really Good News to unbelievers but once you are “in” you don’t really need it anymore. RIGHT?
My goal over the following weeks is to publish a series of post on how the Gospel is actually THE course in Christianity. As C.J. Mahaney has said:
The Gospel isn’t one class among many that you’ll attend during your life as a Christian – the Gospel is the whole building that all the classes take place in! Rightly approached, all the topics you’ll study and focus on as a believer will be offered to you ‘within the walls’ of the glorious Gospel. (The Cross Centered Life, pg. 75-76)