What Is The Alpha Course? Is It Good or Bad For Learning the Bible?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The Alpha Course is sweeping the nation and the world.  Is the Alpha Course good for new Christians?  Is it good for beginners in the Bible?  Is there a hidden danger in the Alpha Course?

What is the Alpha Course?

Maybe you haven’t even heard of the Alpha Course, but you may be hearing about it soon.  This course is sweeping across America and is rapidly spreading around the globe.  Many denominations are using it to introduce new believers to the Bible and biblical doctrines.  What exactly is the Alpha Course?  It is basically an introductory course to the Christian faith.  In general, it is a fly-over and a shallow look at God and the Bible.  It was created for new believers and the brainchild of the Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican church in London in the 1980’s, so it has been around for over 30 years now.  It has been hailed as a way to explore the meaning of life and is being widely used in churches, homes, prisons, universities, and a variety of locations.  There are specific courses for specific locations and vocations, like Alpha in the Workplace, Alpha for Prisons, Senior Alphas, Student Alphas, and several others.  Today, over 35,000 courses have been offered in over 170 countries and almost 20 million people have taken the course.

The Alpha Course attempts to answer many of the questions new Christians have like; how do I read the Bible?, how can we have faith?, does God still heal today?, in what ways does God guide us?, why did Jesus have to die?, who is Jesus?, who is the Holy Spirit and what is His role in the believers life?

What is the Alpha Course

The Alphas Course, by not defining sin properly, fails to give the emphasis of Jesus sacrifice, the reason for His sacrifice, and for His resurrection.

Problems of the Alpha Course

The Alpha Course tends to generalize Christianity and glosses over many of the distinctive doctrines of the many different denominations.  For example, Roman Catholics have complained that there is no emphasis on the Virgin Mary.  Baptist’s are upset that teachings on baptism are ignored.  What is not ignored, and in fact is overemphasized, is the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit, tongues, and healing by prayer and therein lies some of the problems with this course.  For example, the Book of Acts is taught as normative doctrine instead of its intended use as a historical account of the church.  Conversely, the letters (epistles) of the New Testament are not so much normative but address specific issues that affect churches and are not construed as specific doctrines.  This is just the opposite of the way the books in the New Testament were intended by their writers.  This course tends to over emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit instead of Jesus Christ and His glorification.  There is also a gaping hole where major doctrines are not taught, like sin, sanctification, glorifying Jesus Christ, and loving one another.

The narrowness of these courses do little to allow an all-encompassing view of the story of redemption, the fall of man, the work at Calvary by Christ, and the duty of Christians in the church.  What theologians say about Jesus is emphasized above and over His actual ministry and commands.  It tends to completely ignore the Great Commission, even though Jesus’ imperative command was given 5 times just before His Ascension.

The Alphas Course, by not defining sin properly, fails to give the emphasis of Jesus sacrifice, the reason for His sacrifice, and for His resurrection.  These are the main themes of the Gospel, yet they are glossed over by the course and instead give ambiguous information about Christianity in general.  The course is highly superficial and there are very few specifics except in the gifts of the Spirit.  Actually the role of the Holy Spirit is over emphasized giving a  slightly different view of the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit in many cases, Whose purpose is to always point too and glorify Christ, is elevated in status and importance over Jesus Christ and the Father.  The gifts of the Spirit are sought after, prayed for, and raised in importance above that of Jesus Christ’s rightful place in the church.   The central focal point is not Christ but the gifts of the Spirit, which is contrary to what Christ taught the disciples in His High Priestly Prayer in the Gospel of John.

Dangers of the Alpha Course

The Alpha Course is now the fastest growing Christian education course in the world, according to Christianity Today, and it is growing at an exponential rate.  Dangers are that the main message of the gospel is glossed over to make it have basically little or no effect.  The crucial elements of Communion, Calvary, the cross, the reason for Christ’s sacrifice, and the inerrancy of the Word of God, and the Bible, are not emphasized.  Even the importance of the Great Commission is missing.

Also missing is the essential element of salvation by grace alone in Christ alone by faith alone.  The tendency of the course is to speed through or do a fly over of the Bible in general.  A crash course of the framework of the Bible can never replace the essential doctrines of the faith.  For example there is nothing given of the desire of Christ to make disciples of all nations, to come out of sin, to repent and be baptized, to grow in grace and knowledge.  A simple rote memorization of the Bible or of God is nothing short of being called the great omission.  Even the Devil and his demons know God exists and Satan could quote the Bible.  The demons believe in God and tremble but this doesn’t mean that they are acting on this belief.  What is missing is the desire to be hungering and thirsting after righteousness or to have practical applications like loving and serving one another that is covered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 12.  There is a lack of focus on being regenerated, being renewed in mind, or growing in holiness through a lifelong sanctification process.

The greatest problem may be the elevating of the gifts of the Spirit and the lack of not glorifying Jesus Christ, to Whom the Holy Spirit is to testify of, speak of, and Who strives to glorify.  It seems to be more of a me-centered teaching.  The greater proportion of teaching about the gifts of the Spirit indicates that the gifts are more important than the Gift Giver.  Despite the Alpha Course’s best intention, it is overtly charismatic and under emphasizes the holiness of God, thus the “works” of the Spirit are seen as more important that true worship of God in Spirit and in Truth.  The experiences are seen as a validation of the Spirit’s presence more than an inner conversion and the outward expression of that conversion.  For example, there are testimonies of hundreds who have attended their conferences who have been “bounced” from them due to their lack of speaking in tongues rather than Jesus saying that we would know them by their fruits.

The Alpha Acronym

The acronym for Alpha may surprise you and it seems unbiblical in a great sense.

Anyone can come

Learning and laughter (e.g., having fun)

Pasta and pudding (e.g. food)

Helping one another

Ask anything

Could anything sound further from the main message of the gospel?   To repent, to turn from one’s sins, to place your faith in Christ Jesus, to be baptized, to take the gospel into all the world, to make disciples of others, our spiritual depravity, the sinfulness of sin, to grow in holiness, to love one another and be a servant of all.  There is a roaring silence from these critical essentials of the gospel so it is like another gospel.  A real-good, feel-good, me-centered gospel that has shades of being a false gospel.  It is overly charismatic and underwhelming in the proclamation of the gospel.  You will not find a lesson on the gospel as seen in Romans 10:9-13:  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Instead it’s if you don’t declare with your mouth in tongues, you are not truly filled with the Spirit and you would not be welcomed at many of their conferences.  We are told to be wary of such gospels that appear to be teachings of God yet even an angel of light appears to be bringing truth, yet the most dangerous teachings are those who mix truth with error.  Having 99% truth with 1% error renders it all useless and like asking someone to take a drink of spring water with just a drop of cyanide in it.  There are hundreds of biblically sound teachings available and there are hundreds of books that can teach you how to study the Bible, but truly God the Holy Spirit is the teacher of Scripture and the Holy Spirit always points to the Person of Jesus Christ.   Jesus is the Word of God and the Word of God is Jesus Christ.  If you get into the Word of God, the Word of God will get into you.  The Holy Spirit strives to point us to Him, to glorify Jesus Christ, and to make Him known to others.

A good study Bible with commentary is an excellent source for learning.  So are many Sunday school classes, Wednesday night Bible studies, and a Word-centered worship service.  Instead of depending on an Alpha Course, look to He Who is the Alpha and the Omega.  The reference to the Alpha and Omega refers to the Greek Alphabet and its like saying in the English Alphabet that Jesus Christ is the A to Z and everything in between.   This is what is meant in Revelation 22:13 where Jesus Himself states that I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  To just have the Alpha is to miss just about everything and His being everything from A to Z.

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Short June 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

“Alpha is excellent in my opinion… course material was great… practical, equipped the students to have natural conversations with other students… definitely saw people come to faith… the content is good… I was told that Alpha was ‘light on sin’ so I went into the course pretty much assuming that was the case but it wasn’t, I was looking for it. I felt it struck the right balance in that area.” Justin Dodson, Campus Crusade director Kent State

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Jack Wellman June 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for your comment sir. I see that your email is referencing to the Alpha course but let me say this that what I see missing are the crucial elements like one of the things that is necessary is that we must see the exceedingly sinfulness of our sin. A person must come to realize that they are desperately wicked and at the present moment, before salvation, they are separated from God by their sins. God is so holy that He can not even look at sin. No one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven that is not made perfectly holy by the righteousness imputed toward them by Christ.

Also I could not find much on the main message of the gospel: To repent, to turn from one’s sins, to place your faith in Christ Jesus, to be baptized, to take the gospel into all the world, to make disciples of others, our spiritual depravity, the sinfulness of sin, to grow in holiness, to love one another and be a servant of all. There is a roaring silence from these critical essentials of the gospel so it is like another gospel. That’s what makes the gospel the gospel.

Jesus NEVER laid hands on his disciples, the result of which were “manifestations” of uncontrollable laughter, mayhem, shaking, animal noises, vomitting, or any of the other demonic disorder of the Toronto and Brownsville “things”. Some were made to feel unwelcome if the didn’t speak in tongues and have powerful “manifestations of the Spirit” and I find none of this happening in the New Testament churches or in the earliest recorded church history.

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ailsa cummins June 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I’m surprised to hear such critiscisms of a tested method of evangelising. Surely discussions in an informal are to be encouraged with new Christians who would find it difficult to broach such topics on a typical Sunday??

This is an introduction, of a limited number of sessions, to Christianity not a thourough “bible bashing” Many people have come to Christ through Alpha and Youth Alpha introdution courses (5 souls at our local Church a few weekends ago) I pray these individuals will continue to attend church and continue to grow in their understanding of the gospel. The depth and breadth of the learning will come over time and will be as deep and wide as the praeching and exposure the individual has over time……also surely an issue in many Churches every Sunday???????? Also I know many old died in the wool pew fillers who have found a new depth of experience of Christ through attending a course and discussing topics anew with others of varying experience of Christ.

I generally find the articles useful and thought provoking when I visit this site. I find this one quite judgemental and somewhat bigoted sounding. I felt your highlighting the acronym was petty and of no use other then underlining a poor point. It could equally mean the beginging of something great that will eventually lead to embracing the Alpha and Omega. Perhaps you could think about developing an Omega course to deal with pithier topics – sin, denominational differences etc etc and to compliment the alpha introduction rather than simply berating it.

I pray that this does not put confused searchers off attending such a course.

Blessings in and through Christ – Ailsa

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Jack Wellman June 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I pray also that those who are considering taking this course read this article. A major gaping error is that there is no speaking of conviction of sin which lead to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. No mention of assurance of salvation through Christ’s death! Indeed, there is a total absence of it in their testimony of what Christ has done for them.

The Bible teaches that salvation is in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches that in order to be saved we must place our trust in Christ. We must believe that He is the Son of God the only Saviour, and that He died in our place at the Cross, bearing our sin and penalty. However this act of faith is not a mere assent of the mind to these truths. It is not a mere consenting of the human will to accept the doctrine of Christ, but, rather, it is the result of the Holy Spirit’s working in the heart and soul of individuals, regenerating them, changing them by His power that they may receive Christ as He is offered to them in the Gospel. John 1:12,13 – “But as many as received Him [Christ], to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Scripture teaches that those who receive Christ, those who believe in His name, do so not because of an act of human volition, but because God the Holy Spirit has changed them from within. He has convinced and convicted them of their sins and so changed them that they repent and believe upon Christ.

This teaching is absent in the Alpha Course. Indeed, it appears to be what we could call ‘conveyor belt’ Christianity, whereby after being informed of the facts that make up the Gospel, a prayer of acceptance of Christ is recited and a person is “filled with the Spirit” and the person then is a Christian. Salvation here is more a conforming to what a Christian ought to be, than a change wrought by the Holy Ghost in the heart of a sinner. It makes conversion out to be just filling in a decision card, walking down the aisle, saying the sinners prayer and then reciting a prayer of acceptance of Christ. Really? Do you think Christ needs our acceptance? We are brought to repentance and we place our trust in Christ and have faith in Him to save us…it is fully a work of God…not reciting a prayer of acceptance. Huge difference. The acronym came from the Alpha Course itself. It was not my invention by the way.

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ailsa cummins June 22, 2012 at 3:20 am

Thanks for the reply – I do understand your concerns – I was just surprised to read such criticisms from such a respected Christian. I would have thought that if you (Jack Wellman) or I or the youth workers at my local Church lead a course like this then there would be mention of conviction of sin and salvation throught the blood of Christ and that many other folk who lead the course, which opens discusions rather than dictates content, will cover the aspects that you when reading the alpha material find missing.

I think that the aspect of the article that surprised me was the lack of objectivity which usually seems present in articels on this site. I think your judgement of the course does not take into account the depth of teaching that goes on in individual Churches and the ammount of prayer that will surround the Alpha course. I think of Phillipians 1:18 highlights this ” ….so long Christ is preached in every way possible…..” God himself will convict of sin and trouble those who are His children. The Alpha course in the UK has been a great outreach Churches to young, old, christian and non- Christians and I think your Judgement whilst understandable is too harsh and one can never know how Christ can work though humans to reach souls -and to actively put seekers off from doing this type of course in not as helpful or enlightening as I find the other articles on the site.

Blessings – Ailsa

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Jack Wellman June 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Thank you Ailsa. I guess my main concern was the number of those reached, youth or otherwise, would be the majority as being a false conversion. To believe that someone is saved by reciting a prayer of acceptance of Christ is not understanding that repentance is necessary because of our spiritual depravity and our present condition of having God’s wrath upon us. The good news is useless unless we tell them the bad news that they are separated from God by their sins and that it is not ever about “accepting Christ” but about Him accepting us and we place our faith and trust in Him, not just accept Him.

As for putting “seekers off from doing this course” is to deny that no one seeks after God and that not one seeks God on their own but to go into this course with eyes wide open to the full gospel presentation. I can see some benefits of it yes, but this “accepting Christ” reciting is useless unless there is regeneration from within and a full acknowledgement of the sinfulness of humans and our need to repent. It is good to profess Christ, it is good to confess Christ, but above all must possess Christ and show fruits of repentance as in a changed lifestyle.

Blessings to you also my friend and thank you. I am sorry I may not have handled this course as well as perhaps I could have. My concern are for the eternal souls of those who are reciting “a prayer of acceptance of Christ” without the brokeness of their sinfulness and trusting in Christ…not accepting Christ.

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Robert Driskell June 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hello All,
My concern with this course is, as the article stated, its focus is too much on things other than the Gospel. As shown by the episode of the thief on the cross, it is faith in Jesus that saves us (Luke 23:32-43). People must recognize their sinfulness before they admit their need for salvation and a Savior.
Too many times our current “sales pitch” for coming to Christ has little to do with Jesus or the Gospel. It is more about what we can get, or experience, if we “accept” Jesus into our lives. That phrase should be an oxymoron; it is absurd to think we “accept” the King of kings and Lord of lords (not to mention Creator, Sustainer, etc.). He accepts us; forgiving us of our sins, cleansing us, and empowering us with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Any course or system hoping to evangelize the lost, must include the elements of “…sin, righteousness, and judgment…” (John 16:8 ESV) any conversions seen may end up being false conversions.
I think that may be more than my 2 cents worth, but getting the Gospel right is critical to reaching the lost in an authentic manner.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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ailsa cummins June 22, 2012 at 3:24 am

I agree with you – and the Alpha course does this in many cases I’m sure. There are probably many more Christians sitting in congregations listening to unsound preaching each sunday than will ever be reached by the Alpha course.

I pray that more Christians from every denomination will run courses such as this surrounded by prayer and soaked in biblical teaching leading souls to Christ – Hallelujah.

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Jack Wellman June 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Amen to this comment Ailsa. As a pastor, I preach expositionally, without notes, straight from the Bible. This tends to lesson the probability of error and you are right, there are many Christians who are listening to unsound preaching, no doubt. Great point.

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Andy Ansell June 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

One of the major dangers of the Alpha Course, is that it is accepted by the likes of the Roman Catholics, who REJECT that Biblical teaching that we are Justified by faith ALONE, apart from any good works, which is the central plank of the Christian Message. The fact that the Roman Catholics, and Liberals, like Methodist, and the majority of Anglicans, as well as the Greek Orthodox, among others, can embrace this “course” as it stands, shows ver clearly that this is a very cleaver ploy of the enemy as intoducing hersey into the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must not be deceived by its world-wide acceptance, and its claim that it has seen countless people turn to Jesus. What Jesus? What is the Gospel message that they preach, if its not “another gospel”! One of the main people behind this deception, is Nicky Gumble. This man has published a booklet called, “What About Other Religions” (1994), in which he states, “The fact that Jesus is the only way to God does not mean that we simply write off all other religions as misguided or demonic”! How very wrong indeed!!! As Jesus Christ IS THE WAYS AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (John 14:6), and that NO other “religion”, or “faith” believes that He is, is evidence that they are ALL demonic! If fact, EVERY other “way” is of the devil, as none have Jesus Christ as their Saviour! And they ALL are indeed “misguided”, as NONE of them tell you that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is the ONLY Way to get to heaven! With this unbiblical nonsense by Gumble, who is deceived by the enemy, how can anyone accept anything that comes from him or his church?

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Jack Wellman June 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thank you Mr. Ansell. Your main point is perhaps the most relevant reason for staying away from this course. There is no other way to the Father and thus to eternal life except by Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) so you rightly point out the danger of this not writing off all other religions. This sounds much like universalism and Jesus speaks of only one way and He is that One Way…so, thank you for pointing out one of the most glaring errors of this course and which makes it even more dangerous. This is clearly “another gospel” which Paul warned about which is not really a gospel at all but universalism. I don’t like their “accepting Christ” reciting for each and every one that they feel is ready to “accept” Jesus. This is not only totally useless unless there is regeneration from within and a full acknowledgement of the sinfulness of humans and our need to repent but it gives a person a false sense of security that they are saved when they really might not be at all.

Thank you so much sir for contributing an outstanding objection to this course. In the church I am under-shepherd of, it’ll never happen!

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Andy Ansell June 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm

For those “Evangelicals” who are still deceived, let then listen to what Roman Catholics and Nicky Gumble have said.

In Alpha News, July 1997 issue, Catholic Bishop Ambrose Griffiths commended the Alpha Course for being a “powerful evangelistic tool…it doesn’t contain anything that is contrary to Catholic doctrine.”

In February 2004, after shaking hands with the Pope in the Papal Audience Centre in the Vatican, Gumbel said, “It was a great honour to be presented to Pope John Paul II, who has done so much to promote evangelisation around the world…what unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us.”

This is the same “pope” who said:

Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour (cf. Ad gentes, nn. 3, 9, 11)” (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue – Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 19 May 1991, n. 29; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 July 1991, p. III).

“EVEN WHILE THEY DO NOT RECOGINIZE OR ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AS THEIR SAVIOUR”!!! What a demonic heresy!

This is the same “pope” who wote an article that said that Mary was the co-redeemer with Jesus! Another blasphemy! And then Nicky Gumble praises this man who represents the “doctrines of demons”!

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Jack Wellman June 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Wow Mr. Ansell. This is deeply troubling. What would he say to Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” There is no wiggle room in this at all. The dangers of universalism continues to spread its deadly tentacles sir. Thank you for this wake up call. This course I am more and more convinced is doing far more harm than any good it purports to do.

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Peter Hooper June 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Alpha courses have never claimed to be a theological course or to cover every aspect of Christianity. Their advertising is based around getting people to think about the big questions of life. They do that in an inclusive manner designed to attract people who, in the main, are not Christians. (We could debate the definition of ‘Christian’. I am using it in the sense of those persons who have consciously accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, some signs of which would include – amongst many others -regular prayer, repentance, bible study, church fellowship etc..)

Alpha, from my understanding, wants people to ask – and debate – the big questions. Alpha then gently puts forward answers from a Christian perspective without being offensive and pushy.

Each week introduces a little more Christianity is included as the course continues to get people thinking more deeply about a creator God, and its implications, with the aim of introducing people to worshiping communities where they will (hopefully!) receive ongoing teaching in the knowledge and love of our triune God.

Our Lord Jesus did not demand that his disciples knew it all before he called them. He spent three years giving them first hand teaching including witnessing his many miracles – but still they failed to fully understand even after his resurrection!

I think that judging Alpha – or ANY simple introduction – the way Mr Wellman has is not only very unfair, but very wrong and, I’m sorry to say, plays into Satan’s hands.

Whilst I have never run – or attended – an Alpha course I seen the way that our Lord Jesus has worked through these courses. Many many non-believers have slowly but surely had their eyes opened and been saved. Many have become leading members of church fellowships and, in my experience, are often the most willing and effective evangelists in their fellowships.

No such introductory course is the place to debate the theological differences between different denominations. To introduce such concepts would not only be unintelligible to people who have yet to accept there even IS a God, but would highlight the different understandings of the scriptures and the (deep) divisions between us. It could only reinforce ideas that God is a man-made idea and atheism remains much sounder.

My wife keeps me very aware of the dangers of introducing concepts too early. (eg In my case particularly evangelicalism versus liberalism, orthodoxy versus Roman Catholicism etc). Firstly we feed babies on breast milk, gradually introducing other liquids, mash and solids. To damn a loving mother for not lecturing her new-born on the law of gravity, Pythagoras’ Theorem, or even the differences between edible and non edible fungi would, in my opinion, be just as inappropriate as some judgements on Alpha.

There is a time and place for everything. Pulpits and bible study groups are the place for fuller development and elaboration. Alpha’s job is to help encourage new people to even think about entering our churches, let alone becoming part of our home groups etc.. Given the opportunity there are changes of emphasis that I would make to their material, and some things I’d include. Originally I was reserved about the course, but are witnessing the fruits of it I am convinced that it is a tool powerfully used by our loving Father.

I think that we must also look at what ALPHA the organisation, says and promotes, rather than what different course leaders say and do. Alpha claims that “tongues” is ONE of God’s gifts (albeit perhaps the most easily acquired) and definitely does *not* claim that one must or should have that gift. I am at a complete loss to understand the comment “there are testimonies of hundreds who have attended their conferences who have been “bounced” from them due to their lack of speaking in tongues”. Are those testimonies truthful? Have raging charismatics have taken over Alpha in the USA and written their own version of it? The comment definitely does not reflect the scene in Australia or in any published Alpha course materials that I have seen.

I have yet to find a perfect – or even near perfect – introductory course on Christianity. However, even a cynic like I cannot dispute the way our triune God – Father, Son AND Holy Spirit have used these courses.

PS: I have NOT been given the gift of speaking in tongues, nor do I subscribe to any suggestion that it is an essential gift [although I HAVE been known to raise my hands in praise.] 🙂

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Jack Wellman July 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Thank you for your comment Mr. Hopper. No, there is no perfect introductory course. Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of us all of Holy Scriptures, but as I stated before, they believe that a person is saved by reciting a prayer of accepting Jesus. I guess my main concern was the number of those reached, youth or otherwise, could result in a false conversion. The Spirit of God saves us when we place our trust in Jesus Christ and that is saving faith. We are not saved by reciting that we “accept Jesus.” To believe that someone is saved by reciting a prayer of acceptance of Christ is not understanding that repentance is necessary because of our spiritual depravity and our present condition of having God’s wrath upon us. That we need to turn from our sins.

I could not find in this course the main message of the gospel: To repent, to turn from one’s sins, to place your faith in and to trust Christ Jesus, to be baptized, to take the gospel into all the world, to make disciples of others, about our spiritual depravity, the sinfulness of sin, to grow in holiness, to love one another and be a servant of all.

I am not demanding that we know it all and you are right, Jesus never did either, but Matthew 7:23 warns me, and warns us all that He will say to “many” “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” This is a frightful thing and I would not anyone to believe that they are saved just because, as the Alpha Course states, just recite a prayer of accepting Jesus and you are saved. Where is that in the Bible?

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kim January 4, 2016 at 9:09 am

All I can say is while there is area of improvement on many courses, if the Alpha course promotes people to explore Christianity, read the bible, and become followers of Christ, then YES, it is a good thing. I began reading some posts but had to stop because of time. I did want to share some simple thoughts. I have been a Christian all of my life by baptism and upbringing. I recently have made changes to start living like a Christian, exploring and learning things I never knew, so growing in faith. Finding a wonderful church to be connected in, attending small study groups, actually reading the Word now, using my God given time, treasures and talents to bless others, attending an Alpha study at my “old” church, and reconciling with my former husband and now remarried. So let Alpha be a learning tool if done properly and in a biblical way, to believers and non-believers to grow in faith and take their next step towards salvation. I have to agree, let us not find faults among the Christian denominations, but unite in Him. The evil one likes when there is separation among Christ followers, so beware of this.

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Andy Ansell July 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Dear Mr Hooper, I have read your comments and can see that you have a clear lack of understanding of what the “Alpha Course” is about. For starters, how many people know that the “L” in “alpha” means, “Learning and laughter. We believe (and have proved!) that it is possible to learn about the Christian faith and have fun at the same time”? FUN? This is what is called “cheap grace”. It is NO FUN that we are sinners who are on our way to eternal punishment, if we do not repent and believe the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. Something that Alpha DOES NOT DO! It is NO FUN that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became Incarnate, suffered very greatly at the hands of sinners, who murdered Him, and then nailed Him to the cross for our sins! NO. There is NO FUN anywhere in the Holy Bible. The whole setting of alpha is to make people “comfortable”, which is very much against the very way Jesus did things! Read the Gospels and you will very clearly see how Jesus dealt with the peoples of His day. There were NO JOKES, or light-hearted talk, but a very serious warning to all, that unless they repented, the wrath of God abided on them! But making people feer at ease, and having jokes and laughter, how then is it possible to tell them the serious fact, that without Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we are all destined to eternal damnation? As I have said before, I am convinced that this course is NOT the work of the Holy Spirit, though He will indeed use it to reach people with His Truth, as He does save Jehovah’s Witnesses even when they read their own corrupted Bible translation! Praise Him that He does, but this does NOT mean in any wayb that this course is from Him. Lets not mince out words here. The preaching of the Ture Gospel is VERY SERIOUS business indeed, as percious souls will go to hell with any other gospel, which the Apostle Paul says, is no gospel at all! Mr Wellman has done well to point out as he has, the great dangers of this whole movement. It is very important that we all take heed of the Truth as taught in Scripture, and stand against the half-baked “gospel” that alpha and the likes are spreading. Mr Hooper, does not the fact that the likes of the Roman Catholics, and Greek Orthodox, embrace the teachings of alpha, and have no objections, ring any alarm bells with you? Are you saying that all that the Reformation stood for and achived, is Biblically wrong? Are you saying that we can be “justified” before God by any other means, apart from faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross? As both the Roman Cathoilcs and Greek Orthodox STILL teach, even though they accept and teach the alpha course! This, my friend tells me very loudly that this course is one of the biggest threats to the True Gospel preaching, much as the book by Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, which is another false presentation of the True Gospel of the Holy Bible!

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Peter Hooper July 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

Mr Ansell

Thank you for your reply.

Firstly,I have good understanding of Alpha.

Secondly, I am very much a reformist and know the Gospel well.

Our Gracious God gave us the gift of humour and happiness. I fail to see why these should be excluded from learning a) there IS a God; b) He loves each and everyone of us; c) there IS salvation, forgiveness, love etc etc etc.. This is wonderful news, the best news – so why make it dreary?

I think that Jesus made people very comfortable when he fed the 4000, 5000, turned water into wine and so on. That’s in every Bible version/translation that I have ever seen.

In all Alpha courses of which I am aware – and that’s a good number – repentance IS clearly taught. Maybe is additional to the videos/CDs – I don’t know. Quite frankly I don’t know how anyone can teach about accepting Jesus as Lord WITHOUT teaching repentance. I would say that it CAN’T be done.

I have no love for Roman Catholicism, but to condemn something just because they like it or might use seems very strange to me. Where does it stop? Does this mean that we can’t use a commentary if the Romans approve of it? Does it mean that we can’t use the Bible because the Romans use it? Does it mean that we can’t take a shower, because they do?
Yes, I know that’s a silly extreme, but my point is where do you draw the line? Surely we must look at the MERIT of things, not where the Romans or Orthodox etc agree or disagree.

Maybe they “embrace” the course because it attracts the non Christians to a forum where they might learn the God is a God of Love – not just a God of anger, retribution, fear, eye for an eye, hell and damnation. God loves us and wants us to respond to him, to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

If people fail to respond appropriately then there will be consequences. Submission out of fear is not, to my mind, what our Father wants. He wants us to respond willingly, out of love, respect, thankfulness and with our hearts and heads.

I do not accept universalism for one moment, and from what I know of Nicky Gumbel’s teachings I don’t believe that he does. I take your quote very seriously and shall be reading the book to see what is said and in what context before I can comment further. Certainly I am unaware of the Alpha EVER suggesting that there is ANY way to salvation other than through Our Lord Jesus. I believe that is the whole point of Alpha!

You say that some bishop (of which there are hundreds, if not thousands) has said that Alpha does contradict the Roman teachings. That comment is open to debate, in my opinion, but let’s just take it at face value for a moment. How on earth can it be interpreted as suggesting that Alpha endorses all the falsehoods of Roman doctrine? That is a huge leap that not even Superman could take.

I am not saying, nor implying, “that all that the Reformation stood for and achived, is Biblically wrong”. That question, given the tone and context of your reply, is pushing the bounds of non-offensive Christian discussion. If you had waited until you knew me better you would find that question absurd. However I hasten to add that I do NOT support ALL that the ‘Reformation’ did and said. Bear in mind that ‘the Reformation’ covers an awful range of extremes, different expressions and beliefs.

I think that our mutual distaste for much (the majority?) of Roman Catholicism really is a digression from a discussion of Alpha. The Popists claim orthodoxy and so how could that disagree with Alpha IF it is orthodox? To date I think it’s important points are totally orthodox. We can all debate biases – real or perceived. We will all have things that we would prefer to be promoted or omitted. But I am yet to be convinced that the course is in anyway dangerous. I have not been at all convinced that Alpha promotes any way to the Father other than through his Son, Jesus the Christ.

I hear, or believe I do, Mr Wellman’s concern regarding “the prayer”. The course – as available in Australia – does NOT suggest that reciting a prayer per se is going to save anyone. Saying sorry is a darn good start. Accepting Jesus as one’s Lord sounds pretty promising to me.

It is important to see Alpha for what it is. It is baby’s milk. It is what we teach our toddlers. It is a start NOT a finished gold-plated super-sized Doctorate In All Things Christian. Its approach – whether or not we agree with it – is to invite people into a friendly setting with a well prepared meal and fellowship. In my opinion Alpha has proven that this approach is more effective than being belted around the ears with a length of 4×2.

In its chosen setting Alpha raises questions with which it is hoped most people can relate and in fact want to know the answers. As I understand it, the intention in providing fairly simple (ie understandable) answers to these questions is to lead people to the Father through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Alpha is the first step – not the final (Omega) step in one’s Christian journey.

My understanding of the criticisms that I have read in this thread is that Alpha is expected to cover everything in full detail. I have always understood that Alpha does not expect to turn out mature Christians, but little baby ones – or even just persons who are open to knowing more – who will attend a church meeting where they can receive deeper and fuller preaching.

I think we are ascribing too much to Alpha’s intent – and ability.

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Andy Ansell July 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Let me make myself very clear here, as I find that what I have said thus far has been misunderstood, or not been fully grasped.

There is no doubt in my mind, that the alpha course, is NOT the work of the Holy Spirit; and nor is Nicky Gumble a true man of God, in the Biblical sense, but, what the Apostle Paul calls in Chrinthians, a minsiter of satan. Now, before I am criticised for saying this, or people thiniking that this very harsh, listen to the FACTS.

The Bible very clearly tells us that we are to separate from those who do not walk according to the teachings of Scripture, and teach “another gospel” and present “another Jesus”. Without the need to spell things out here, a search by those interested, in Google on the teachings of the church of Rome, especially on how to be “born-agian”, will inform you that is has NOTHING in common to what the Holy Bible very clearly teaches. As I have said before, they hold that Mary is the “co-redeemer” with Jesus, which is nothing short of blasphemy! Their teaching of the “mass” is clearly demonic, as are other teachings, which are also available online.

With this in mind, we return to the main person behind this alpha course, Nicky Gumble. Here is a man who supposes that he has been sent by God on a mission, and that he with his course, is going to give the world the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and salvation in Him ALONE, by faith ALONE. No, this is something that neither Nicky, nor alpha believe or teach! Nicky, like the very corrupt church of England (which has been so from before the time of John Wesley, etc), is very much determined to have “unity” with the church of Rome, that great evil that has its roots in hell. He is quite comfortable to speak at Roman Cathoilc conferences, but not to tell them that their way to Jesus Christ is NOT Biblical, and that they are all on their way to everlasting punishment, if they are not Biblically born again, which, if he were are true representative of the Gospel of Jesus, he MUST do, or else precious souls will be lost forever. This he does not do, but rather strives, like those deceived into the “evangelicals and catholics together” farce, were in the 1990’s, and continue to be till this day, to a false unity with a false “church”, which does NOT have its foundation on the Lord Jesus Christ. ANY other foundation is of the devil, as is ANY other “way” to be born-again. PLEASE very carefully and prayerfully read this links I am posting, and then come back and tell me that this man, Nicky Gumble, and alpha are from the God of the Holy Bible. It appears many thousands have been deceived into believing that this “way” called “alpha” is Biblical, when the very leaders behind it are clearly NOT from the Lord! This false “unity” which alpha is designed to try to achieve, is very clearly a clever work of the devil himself!

http://www.htb.org.uk/news/article/nicky-speaks-catholic-congress-dublin

http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2012/03/new-start-for-the-english-anglican-roman-catholic-committee-(english-arc).aspx

http://www.dublindiocese.ie/content/50th-international-eucharistic-congress-involves-alpha

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Andy Ansell July 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I forgot to add a very important matter. Nicky Gumble, along with the church of England, are involved in working with the church of Rome, to “evangelize” the world! I am sure that all those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, by being truly born again, would fully agree that in the first place, those who are enslaved to Roman Catholic heresy, should first be evangelized themselves, and then afther they are born-again according to the Holy Bible, and not their own teaching, then they can cowork to evangelize the world? On of the links I just posted will show how the CoE is joining with the RC’s to give the world the gospel. But, what “gospel” is this going to be? For those of us who remember the “evangelicals and Catholics together” agreement of the 1990’s, will know that it was said then, that they must not “evengelize the Roman Catholics”, as this would be “sheep stealing”!!! This is based on their misguided assumption that all Roman Cahtolics are themselves born-again, and that there was no need for them to be “evangelized”!

Another important link has come up, http://www.takeheed.net/Take_Heed_2012/Current_Concerns/June_2012/False_Revival_12.htm

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Andy Ansell July 16, 2012 at 5:30 am

Please do read very carefully what Nicky Gumble says in his booklet, “What About Other Religions?”. In which there is a section called, “What about those who have never heard about Jesus?”. Please see what he says, and then see whether this is what is tautht in the Holy Bible, which must be our FINAL Authority of ALL matters. You will not how he has completely misunderstood the salvation of saints in the Old Testament (even through the Book of Hebrews says that Moses knew of Jseus!), and with this faulty theology has presented what is known as “evangelical optimism”, which is the grave error that says that millions who have never heard of Jesus, will be saved! As with the story of Philip and the Ethopian in Acts, we can see that the Lord can arrange for the Gospel to me presented to those who truly seek Him, and according to Romans chapter one, there are none without excuse. But, to say that salvation is possible for those who have never even heard about Jesus, is wholly against what the teaching of the Bible is all about! See especially points 4 and 5 in what Gumble says. He quotes John Stott, though considered by many evangelical, rejected the Biblical teaching of eternal punishment of the lost, which begs the question, as to why Jesus came, if it were not to save from sin and its consequences? What bother to tell Judas that it would have been far better that he was not born? The facts speak for themselves.

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What about those who have never heard about Jesus?
This is the second question raised by the New Testament’s claim that there is no other way to God. If we can only be saved through Jesus, are all the rest damned? If so, is that not unjust? In answering these questions I usually try to make the following five points.
First, the Bible is a practical book, not a philosophical one. It does not answer hypothetical questions directly. This question can only be hypothetical since it can only be asked by someone who has heard about Jesus.
Second, we can be sure that God will be just. When Abraham asked the rhetorical question, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18.25), he clearly expected the answer, “Yes, of course He will.” We need not fear that God will be unjust. [If God would be unjust than no higher court could be found, and we’d all be in terrible straights’] He will be more just than we are, not less. On Judgment Day, every right-thinking person will say of God’s judgment: “That is completely just.”
Third, what we do know is that no one will be saved by religion. We are saved by God’s undeserved love through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2.8,9). He died for us so that we can be forgiven. We receive salvation when we accept the gift by faith.
Fourth, it is important to note that it is possible to be saved by grace, though faith, even if someone has never heard of Jesus. ”Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4.3). Paul tells us that David also speaks of “the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4.6). This is possible because the Cross is effective for all those who lived before as well as after Jesus. Abraham and David were forgiven because of what Jesus was to do for them on the Cross. They did not have the advantage that we have-that the person asking this question has-of knowing how it is possible to be forgiven. They did not have the assurance that we have as a result of knowing about “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2.2). Nevertheless, Paul tells us that they were justified by faith. in the same way, the person who lived at the time of Jesus or after Him would be justified by faith-even if the person had never heard about Him. Jesus tells us in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector that the tax collector who said, “God have mercy on me, a sinner,” went home justified before God (Luke 18.9-14). Surely the same is true for anyone today who has not heard of Jesus but did what the tax collector did. So the essential elements would seem to be a God-given sense of sin or need, and a self-abandonment to God’s mercy. If a man of whom this is true subsequently hears and understands the Gospel, then I myself believe that he would be among the company of those, whom one does sometimes meet on the mission field, who welcome and accept it at once saying (in effect): This is what I have been waiting for all these years. Why didn’t you come and tell me before?” And if he never hears the Gospel here on earth, then I suppose that he will wake up, as it were, on the other side of the grave to worship the One in whom, without understanding it at the time, he had found the mercy of God.”
Fifth, as John Stott points out, there are biblical grounds for great optimism. Abraham’s descendants (spiritual as well as physical) will be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22.17). “In the same vein we seem to be assured by Paul that many more people will be saved than lost because Christ’s work in causing salvation will be more successful than Adam’s in causing ruin and because God’s grace in bringing life will overflow ‘much more’ than Adam’s trespass in bringing death.”? (See Romans 5.2, 15.)
***********************************************

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Jack Wellman July 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Andy, this is most excellent. I love your logic and biblical references. What would Mr. Gumble say about Romans one and two? I think he must have skipped these two chapters because it says men are without excuse. This is all the more reason I am concerned with the Alpha Course because if the originator of this course has such doctrinal errors and questions God then why should he be leading so many others into a ditch? I wonder if he has ever read Matthew 7:23 before? I wrote an article about his concern and I believe it explains it well about those who have never heard the gospel. Its not amazing that those who are lost and never heard the gospel and are judged but that anyone is saved at all! God is good…thank you Jesus.

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-happens-to-people-that-have-not-heard-the-gospel-of-jesus/

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Dennis September 14, 2015 at 11:52 pm

Why don’t we call it the Jesus Course,are we not strong in the lord,to where we must use UN Programming to bring people to Christ You must test the waters before you swim

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Andy Ansell July 16, 2012 at 5:33 am

Please excuse any mistakes! thanks

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Costas NL September 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Hidden Secrets of the Alpha Course

Nancy Thomson

This 325 page Alpha Course book by John D. Christian is truly a masterpiece of research that brings together the hidden agenda behind the global takeover.

Alpha is being used in over 150 countries encompassing 49 different languages. It has infiltrated the homes, schools, universities, business, hospitals, prisons, churches and even the military

Since London is known to be the headquarters of the occult, it is not surprising that the Alpha originated there. In1970 an English cleric, Charles Marnham, devised a four- week series of lessons for non-churchgoers and new Christians. In 1981 a former barrister of Holy Trinity Brompton extended the course to 8 weeks. This is how the fastest growing ecumenical evangelization program in world history began.

Alpha presents itself as a “new beginning” and its course structure became a tool for church growth and indoctrination. Videos and tapes, specially produced by the speakers are based on the book titled Questions of Life. This book sets out the structure and content of Alpha. Group sessions included weekly suppers and discussions, culminating in a “Holy Spirit weekend away.” Hailed as a means to bring people to a personal salvation the Alpha course does this without preaching the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit Weekend Away, which is mandatory, is actually a thinly disguised devil worship experience. Alpha’s Questions of Life book, the basis of the whole course, is the structure used to pervert the Gospel. In addition to the growth and “Holy Spirit Weekend” the Alpha course has mind-control encapsulated and propaganda is used to sway the masses.

In just over 20 years the Alpha system is growing like wildfire in Protestant and Catholic churches. Marriage courses, Alpha in the Workplace, and 80 percent of all prisons and universities in the UK now run Alpha. There were 8,142 Alpha courses running in over 7,300 all denomination churches in the UK alone. The number of churches in the U.S. using Alpha is growing faster than any other country. Growth is a very important factor in this system. It’s not surprising therefore that our mega-churches such as Rick Warren’s PURPOSE-DRIVEN Saddleback Church are involved. The true purpose behind the PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH AND LIFE is the establishment of a final One World Religion. Key advisors from all over America gathered in London in 2003 to report on their plans to implement Alpha into the U.S. churches.

The congregation and friends of Holy Trinity Brompton financed the Alpha development resource courses were sold at a profit. Since the goal was to involve the whole world in their project in 2001 Alpha International was founded. Capitol investment became worldwide, and was headed by a Jewish banker, Ken Costa, Chairman of Alpha Partners. This banker just happened to be Vice Chairman of UBS -Warburg, London. UBS stands for Union Bank of Switzerland-Warburg. The banking firm of Walburg has long been linked to the giant international Marxist Rothschild banking conglomerate based in the City of London. Isn’t it strange that Warburg would be running a Christian organization?

Our Federal Reserve System had as its prime mover the late Mr Paul Warburg whose brother was involved with the international banking house of Kuhn, Loeb that included Jacob Schiff . The Schiff’s are the oldest contemporary Jewish family dating back to 1370. These men, besides implementing our Federal Reserve System, helped found the Bank of International Settlements in Switzerland that is scheduled to become the World Bank. The huge Rockefeller Manhattan Bank united with the Chase Bank controlled by Kuhn, Loeb. Then the Rothchild/Warburg took over control of this bank.

Many are under the false impression that banking conglomerates J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller are American. They are not. Rockefellers owned a small portion of their bank and J.P. Morgan was founded in London. British control of our banking system dates back to the original founding of the Virginia Company.

Books authored by the Warburgs contain communist propaganda. James Warburg was a member of Franklin Roosevelt’s Brain Trust, masterminded Eisenhower’s presidential campaign, and was chief financier of the United World Federalist World Government movement.

Communism is the end product of apostate Christendom-both Catholic and Protestant. All “New Age” Bibles were produced by 2 English professors who were Communists and Christian Socialists. Bibles promoted by the Alpha library are these: The Bible for Today, The Contemporary English Version and the NIV. These are actually communist versions based on corrupt text. Fabian Socialism is linked to a “Christian Socialist” organization. The “war on terrorism” is a classic British Fabian Socialist strategy. Inflict a series of “terrorist attacks” against a targeted population, use reaction from the attacks to justify the solution—i.e. to implement a police state over the region. Fabians acknowledge the principal tenet of Marxism, the abolition of private property.

On August 15th 1995, Russia and Boeing signed a contract to develop the first module of the new Alpha International Space Station. Massive sums of money by the U.S., Russia and the European Space Agency have been spent. Scheduled for completion in 2006, we are told the International Station is just “a scientific space laboratory.”

Alpha MIRCAL lasers were being developed at White Sands Missile Base in 1985. Some speculate that the Alpha MIRCAL lasers could be used for mind control purposes in connection with the International Space Station.

This is just a smattering of history and events presented in the Apha book that brings every area of our existence under the elitists control. Perhaps more can be presented at a later time.

http://isburg.net/essays/HiddenSecretsoftheAlphaCourse.htm

http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_V/HiddenSecretsAlpha.html

HiddenSecretsoftheAlphaCourse.pdf
Size: 43.8 MB Content will be available for download until November 08, 2012 19:50 PST.

https://www.yousendit.com/download/TEhYeW4zT2JVbTlOeDhUQw

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Robert B December 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It is easy to pick on something in an artificial environment. Building a paper dragon, lighting it on fire to draw attention. If you have the perfect study –please share– just let it’s efficacy be that of Alpha.

Have you been through an Alpha bible study?

BTW… many a false teacher and preacher uses expository preaching. Expository preachers take great pride in their method. Many have tenuous messages filled with poor exegesis, religion and no life.

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Nicholas March 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Alpha Course is a course developed for the “shallow ground” it roots fast, and the cares of the world cause the new shoot to wither and die.
I just looked at their website and the “Author and Finisher” of our faith Jesus Christ is not even on the home page. A pebble is their logo, and no mention of “no one can come to the father but by me” or “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life”
The Alpha course takes Jesus’ title “the Alpha and Omega” to its self without giving any credit to Him. And the Alpha course is a blending of secularism and religion (just what the Romans did with Christianity and now that is called Chatholism).
As Jesus said that in the end times people would be mislead because they have itching ears.
Alpha course is nothing short of “Christianity for Dummies” and the risk is that millions of people believe that they are going to heaven, but wide is the gate that leads to distruction.
Jesus said behold I stand at the door and knock and anyone that opens that door I will come in and sup with him and he with me. We do not need the pope, the alpha course we need a Personal Walk with Jesus!

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Eric Martin July 22, 2013 at 10:31 am

I was searching for Greek Alpha when I came across this site and I read lots of very critical stuff including this “It tends to completely ignore the Great Commission, even though Jesus’ imperative command was given 5 times just before His Ascension.”
How totally wrong. I bought the Alpha materials and started inviting people for small meals, showing the Alpha videos (then the DVD’s) and leading people to Jesus. All who came to faith then went deeper as they joined churches and grew in their faith. My previous passionate attempts to lead people to Christ created more bad stories than successes and very few disciples. Alpha helped me start fulfilling The Great Commission. It puts 101 evangelism in the hands of every believer with a heart for the lost. You must use it because it works and is annointed by God!

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luis August 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Since the Alpha course is not that good,what courses would you recommend.
Thanks

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Jack Wellman August 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thank you Luis. I believe Lifeway has some of the best but presently our church is using one called “A Lifeguide Bible Study” from IVP Connect. Another great one is a book which has a study guide and lessons in it called (I believe) 30 Life Principles from Charles Stanley (IntouchMinistries.or) but also 30 Days to Understanding the Bible from Max Anders and Billy Grahams “Christian Worker’s Handbook” or even “Partners 1on1 Discipleship from Mike Fabarez which is from FocalPointMinistries.org.

Sorry I gave you so many choices but any of these are excellent.

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luis August 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Since the Alpha course is not that good, what courses would you recommend? What would you teach person that is begining to be interested or is a newlyborn christian?
Thanks

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Jack Wellman August 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Thank you again Luis. For someone who is just beginning as a newlyborn Christian, I recommend “30 Days to Understanding the Bible from Max Anders.”

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Troy October 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

I agree with Ailsa and Dave in the first comments…I didnt read the rest. Alpha struck a great balance of what the Bible says among all denominations…well except for yours. Its unfortunate that your obvious disagreement of the use of “the Spirit” in this course lead to a bad review of it and possibly robbing the lost or new Christians from this blessing. This has been a great tool to help atheist and agnostic into Christianity …maybe not so much with Baptist. 🙂 Anyway…there doesnt have to be shaking, convolutions, and snake biting. But there does need to be Gods spirit controlling our life.

To anyone reading this review….It is a great cousre…take it and find out for yourself. The format is great and Nicky Gumbel is a great speaker. Very interesting to hear his stories. I guarantee that you will be glad you went and will want to bring others.

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Kostas October 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

The Alpha Course and the New Age
The Alpha Course

Quotes from Nicky Gumbel,
the creator of the Alpha Course

“Jesus said ‘I am the Way’ … but it doesn’t mean to say you write off other religions … There is validity in pretty well all religions”
“Jesus himself is here right now … [P]icture him … standing in front of you”
“[We] find true happiness – [through] high self- esteem”
“[T]he age to come has begun…. [T]he age to come has broken into history … [T]he powers of the new age have erupted into this age.”
“‘[T]he Church is Christ'”
“Satan … [is] defeated … and we are now involved in the final mopping-up operations.”
“All hell is smaller than one pebble … smaller than one atom.

Quotes from The New Age and Alpha
by Dusty Peterson/Elizabeth McDonald.

For many years now Dusty Peterson and Elizabeth McDonald of the UK have devoted themselves to exposing the deception and danger that lies within the Alpha Course. As the Alpha course grows quickly in popularity, it is high time to take a look at the New Age underlayers of this program.

The New Age of Alpha
by Dusty Peterson/Elizabeth McDonald

“The Alpha Course has swept the globe and is being used by an incredibly wide range of groups … including Anglicans and Roman Catholics, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists. Where other evangelistic initiatives have petered out very swiftly, Alpha has done the opposite. From its roots in the late 1970s, Alpha has grown to stunning proportions today and millions have already participated. What is the secret of its popularity – and what issues does this raise?”

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Andy Ansell November 20, 2013 at 1:39 am

I read this post by “Troy”, and see the sad state of many Christians today. He starts by saying, “I agree with Ailsa and Dave in the first comments…I didnt read the rest.” Typical of the majority today, who have their blinkers on and assume that they have the truth, and the rest cannot be right, because they do not agree with them. This might sound harsh, and so it is. People like myself, and others who have posted here, have presented some very serious “facts” on the Alpha course, and why we believe that it is NOT the work of God The Holy Spirit, and this is disregarded. Nicky Gumble is said to be “a great speaker”, so this means to some that what he says must be right, regardless of whether it is Biblical or not. Or, whether what Gumble himself believes and teaches, is Bible-based or not, does not seem to matter any more. I have seen this in the many contacts that I have had over the years, of those who blindly support Alpha. You challenge what they say, and they think that you are resisting the Holy Spirit. This reminds me of the days of the “Tononto Blessing” (or rather, Deception), was was blindly followed by the masses, you were convinced that the likes or Rodney Howard-Brown, were some great men of God, even though he rejected the Deity of Jesus Christ while He was on earth, and taught that He was but a mere man during His Incarnation. So, now we have Nicky Gumble, who is referred to as “great” by some blind followers, who are content to ignore certain facts about this man. “The fact that Jesus is the only way to God does not mean that we simply write off all other religions as misguided or demonic” (What About Other Religions” Kingsway Publications 1994). Gumble here is in GRAVE error in what he says. The fact that no other religion, way, or faith teaches that Jesus and He ALONE is The Way and The Truth and The Life (to the exclusion of ALL others), can only mean that they are indeed very misguided, as they are not guiding anyone to Jesus Christ. Add to this another fact, that, as none of these others are from the God of The Holy Bible, leaves us with only one possible conclusion, that they are very demonic and of the devil himself. And YET Gumble, and those who follow this deceived man, still think that he speaks from God. Add to this another fact, that Gumble is content to refer to die-hard Roman Catholics, who are not born-again, as “brothers and sisters”, and to the great deceive, the “pope” as a “good christian”, further shows that this man is very greatly deceived. It is no wonder that even the Roman Catholic church gladly embrace all that Alpha says, because Alpha does not hold to the great doctrine of “Justification by faith alone”, apart from ANY works, which is the bedrock of the True Christian Gospel. IF Alpah were to preach this, then no doubt the likes of the Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and others would be offended and have no part with this course. The main question must be, IF this Alpha were from God The Holy Spirit, the would He use someone like Nicky Gumble, who is confused and deceived and unBiblical in what he says, to do it? The only answer can be, NO.

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Adam May 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

God has provided hurdles in the Bible to separate the sheep from the goats. All we need is a five second look into any worship service to know if it is of God or of the devil.

Sheep will be obedient to the Bible and goats will be rebellious, that is their nature.

Sheep will practice male headship, i.e. no female elders or pastors.
Sheep will practice modesty, no women with bare shoulders or in pants, no men in short pants or T-shirts.
Sheep will have the men bareheaded and the women wearing head coverings during worship.
Sheep will be praising the Lord God with their voices, a capella style. Goats will be using demonic musical instruments for worship (entertainment).

The Alpha course is run by churches that are not Biblical Christian churches to start with, in other words it is a non-Christian course run by non-Christians to swell their numbers. This they have the right to do and is of no concern to Christians.
Just because someone calls them self a Christian does not make it so, only those that meet, follow, obey the biblical standard in both orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right practice), qualify as Christians.

I personally always look at the women to see if a church is Christian or not. Where the orthopraxy is seen as a reflection of their orthodoxy, or lack there of.
Women wearing pants God calls an abomination, Deut 22:5. Women not wearing head coverings are rebellious, 1 Cor.11:1-16. Women wearing jewellery are disobedient. 1Tim.2:9.

Jesus’s blood saves repentant sinners, not abominable rebellious, disobedient false Christians. Mat.7:21.

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Jack Wellman May 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Adam, these comments of yours are spot on. Thank you sir for adding what I failed to say more comprehensively in this post. I thank God for men of faith like you who have the passion, the hunger, and the thirst for righteousness and the truth. Well said.

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Adam July 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Thank you for your kind words Jack Wellman, many do not like the truth, preferring a demonic illusion. Understandably so, for biblical truths are spiritually discerned and foreign to those carnally minded. Yet we must stand firm and continue to preach the whole word. Even if that means ridicule.

Should I ever say anything which you disagree with, please point it out, I would rather be harshly corrected so that I may wisely follow the narrow path, than lovingly tolerated and left ignorant on the broad path.

Thank you and God bless you ministry.

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Jack Wellman July 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Adam, your humility is so precious to me my friend. I too want anyone to point out where I make mistakes and they will be doing me a favor for the Proverb says that “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.” I will correct, with gentleness and humbleness but I also need to be corrected to so if you find me in error, do me a great favor and point it out brother. I tell my church sometimes that “Part of my sermon will be perfect! The part where I read out of the Bible.” LOL

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Andy Ansell May 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Adam, you sound like a person who either does not know his Bible too well, or just using it to suit your own theological bias, which is far from what Scripture actually teaches.
Let me explain what I mean. You are way off by suggesting that any worship that have “musical instruments”, is demonic. This is not Biblically right. If you just look at Psalm 150, you will clearly see that musical instruments are very much part of worshipping God. I am no Pentecostal or Charismatic, and yet I cannot accept that we are to only us the “organ” instrument for worship, which is not even mentioned in the Bible. Did you know that the word “Psalm”, if from the Greek, “psalmos”, which literally means, “twitching or twanging” with the fingers, as when playing a harp, and therefore any stringed instrument? By what Bible authority do you make such a bold claim?
While I do believe that the Bible teaches male headship/leadership, in that women cannot teach or have any authority over a man. I do not hold it to be Biblical that women do not have any role in the church, as they are allowed to be a Deaconess (Romans 16:1); or that they are to keep completely silent in Church, as they are indeed allowed to “pray” and “prophesise” (1 Corinthians 11:5). Nor are you right in saying that women must cover their head, as Paul clearly says that they do not have to (1 Corinthians 11:15-16). As for women wearing “pants”, you say that the Lord calls this an abomination, quoting Detueronony 22:5. What of verse 11, which says that we should not wear clothing of “mixed fibre”? Are all your clothes 100% of only one material (cloth)? By your reasoning millions of true, born-again believers like myself are living lives that are an abomination to the Lord, because our clothing is made from mixed cloths?
You will cearly see from my own posts here, that I have serious doubts about the Alpha course, YET I cannot agree with your conclusion that they are all run by non-christians, as I do know many fine church leaders who are most certainly born-again, and love the Lord and His Word, who do teach the Alpha course. Misguided they may be, but to say that they are non-christian, is very harsh, and wrong. Its like judging leaders like John Stott, who did not believe in an “eternal punishment”, but in “annihilation”, that he was not saved and a heretic. Certainly NOT. He may have believed in and taught “hersey”, but by no means this makes him a “heretic”. The teaching on “hell” is NOT a central doctrine which one need to believe to be saved. It is taught in the Bible as being “endless, conscience punishment”, but no where is it a requirement for salvation. There is no doubt that the Lord in His mercy, love and goodness, IS using the Alpha course to save lost souls, as He has done many Jehovah’s Witnesses who only read their own translation of the Bible, which is not orthodox. We CANNOT put God into a “box” and tell Him what He can, and cannot do. He IS GOD after all. You also distort what the Bible says, when you say that women that wear jewellery are disobedient, quoting 1 Timothy 2:9. Here is what this verse says from the original Greek: “in like manner also the women, in becoming apparel, with modesty and sobriety to adorn themselves, not in braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or garments of great price”. NOTE the words that are used here, “modesty”, “sobriety”, and “great price”. Saying that they sould not wear EXPENSIVE items of clothing. And not “adorn”, which actually comes from the Greek “kosmios”, “well arranged”. The objection here is not that they should not wear “jewellery” and “clothes” of any kind, but, not “of great price”. To dress “modistly”. See 1 Peter 3:3, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes” (New Living Translation). Not a forbidding, but caution on how one must dress. It is interesting that the Greek “kosmios”, comes from “kosmos”, “world”, or “worldly”.

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Adam July 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Dear Andy, how the Jews worshiped, with or without musical instruments is irrelevant to Christians. The moment you have to turn to OT scripture without NT support to establish how Christians should live, you are in danger of legalism.

Regarding the word “Psalms”, I’m sure you are aware that the Hebrew word is Tehillim which means praises. You cannot translate a word into another language, Tehillim – Psalms, then tell me the meaning of the translated word as if that meaning also applies to the original. It certainly does not. Tehillim does not mean “twitching or twanging”, Psalms may well mean that, but that is not the word King David used for his odes to God. So if you want to insist that Psalms means “twitching or twanging”, then I must insist that it is the incorrect word to use for the translation of the word Tehillim.

Regarding women praying or prophesying aloud in a church, in disobedience to 1Cor, 14:34, which you claim 1 Cor 11:5 permits, please show me how you arrive at the conclusion that 1Cor 11:1-16 refers to an assembly, which in light of 1Cor. 11:17,18, Paul only then begins speaking of when the assembly gathers together what is to be their conduct. Prior to this, verses 1-16, are not in an assembly setting.
The reason verses 11:5 and 14:34 clash for you, is because you have mistakenly placed the first 16 verses of 1Cor chapter 11 into a church setting, which Paul has not.
Remove the illusion of a church setting and the verses do not clash. Women are to be silent in the assembly to the point where even a question is forbidden them to ask. How much more so then a discourse, statement or commentary?

As far as head coverings go, two different Greek words are used, katakalupto and peribolion, The katakalupto refers to a cloth head covering. Cloth coverings in the OT Greek Septuagint were called katakalupto, thus when Paul used the word katakalupto, everyone versed in the Septuagint knew it to mean a cloth covering.
The fact you confuse the meaning of peribolion with katakalupto is because you are not.

Regarding women wearing pants, first mention is Deut 22:5 where God calls it an abomination, second mention is 1Tim 2:9 where Paul instructs all Christian women to wear modest apparel, aka cosmios katastola. Any Christian women wearing a modest katastola, a style of dress, would never be guilty of being an abomination. The wearing of a katastola would ensure that.
To take it one step deeper, only the katastola style of dress is permitted unto women, modest at that and in line with 1Per 3:3, not a himation, ie fancy cut or material.
Thus only plain, modest katastola are permitted to Christian women, not only are pants forbidden, but so is worldly styles and fashions of dresses and skirts that are not in line with the katastola limitation.

Regarding mixed fiber? Am I a Jew that I am under the law of Moses, or am I a Christian under the law of Jesus? Raising this makes you appear confused as to what is what. We are no longer under the law, so please do not ask what if questions based on the law of Moses.
So no, we are not abominations for wearing mixed cloths, but certainly women are for wearing pants, pertaining (resembling, looks li9ke, similar to) men’s clothing. If men support and encourage this abomination in their women folk, then they are just as guilty, because clothing style is a law of Moses that has been carried through to the NT, wherein it has been modified to allow only one style of apparel for women, as mentioned, the katastola.

You mention someone called John Scott and say of him: “He may have believed in and taught “hersey”, but by no means this makes him a “heretic”. But of cos it does.
A tree is know by its fruit. If John Scott believed in and taught heresy, then he is a heretic. Only a heretic can produce heretical teachings, ie. the fruit of a heretic is heretical teachings.
Is this not clearly understood anymore, that a bad person does bad things? that’s how we know they are a bad person. One’s actions, thoughts, deeds, etc. externally reveal what is inside one.
A good tree does not produce bad fruit, and a bad tree does not produce good fruit.

As to what makes a Christian a Christian, the same thing that makes a Dalmatian a Dalmatian. An established standard. For the Dalmatian it is the breed standard and for the Christian it is the Bible standard.
A white dog with black spots that falls short of the breed standard cannot be called a Dalmatian, call it a cute dog, but never a Dalmatian.
Likewise a Christian is identified by biblical standards, fall short of biblical standards and one simply is not a Christian, a nice person sure, but a child of heaven, no.
Only those who believe in Jesus will be saved, and those who believe will be obedient. A lack of obedience indicates a lack of belief and a lack of belief a lack of salvation.
I cannot conclusively prove heaven or hell, but I can conclusively prove if a person is obedient to the Bible or not and thereby identify the saved, for they shall be obedient.

A Jesus who permits His followers to be disobedient to His Fathers commandments, to ignore them, rebel against them, to replace them with heathen worldly standards, is not the Jesus of the Bible, but a Jesus of wishful thinking, a imaginary Jesus who cannot save.

So please do not come with an imaginary Jesus, twisting God’s Holy word so that it should not be offensive to the worldly heathen, by denying head coverings, separations, male headship, dress code, etc, and tell me one has salvation in the biblical Jesus, because if I look upon a person and see the worlds influence in their external appearance, then I will conclude that the outside which I can see, is a reflection of their inside which I cannot see, and if that reflection I see is worldliness and not obedience to God’s commands, then I will have to conclude that person is a child of their father the devil, for it is him they imitate in their worldliness and not God whom they obey.

I hope my plain speech above was able to convey the importance of the narrow path of salvation. Because few are they who find it, so if what you believe is believed by the majority of “Christians” then what you believe is clearly the broad path false teachings that lead to damnation. For the faithful are few in number.

How to tell if a preacher is of God or the devil, simple, are they preaching to encourage one to embrace the world and be friends with the godless heathen, or are they calling for one to be separated from the world? James 4:4

God requires His faithful to be separated in thought, behavior, dress, manner and speech from the world, if one is not, then pray tell, why does one think that one is a Christian when one does not meet minimal Christian standards of basic separation from the ungodly heathen?
In a public setting, with one glance, I should be able to spot the Christian in the heathen crowd by the way they dress. Different to the heathen around them, whilst similar to Christians the world over.

Travel from Ireland through Europe and Russia to Siberia and observe how the older rural women dress. Irrespective of whether they are Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox, they will all be wearing long dresses/skirts, covered shoulders and head coverings. Why, because despite whatever traditions their respective churches may have added to the Bible, they at least understood the basics and obeyed it.

The church once had a universal dress code, because it was a biblical Christian dress code. It still is a biblical Christian dress code. Those who depart from it do so because they are not Christians, they have perished from a lack of knowledge.

I know it is hard to be a biblical Christian in a world filled with fleshly lust and desires, that is why we need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to assist us, thus those who are biblically obedient have the Holy Spirit indwelling, and those who are not, well how can they be without the Holy Spirit.

One last word Andy if I may. When you come across conflicting theological opinions, check when they were first written, basically anything written after maybe 1830, certainly after 1960, should be suspected as a false teaching, it was perhaps the time when the church fell. Most modern interpretations that clash with traditional interpretations, are less than 100 years old. Can we really assume that only now in the last 100 years, have theologians become wiser than all the past 2000 years of established theology, that they can overturn and discard biblical teachings held since Jesus called the first apostle to Him? I think not.

An honest look into Christian history spanning 2000 years will show the truth and expose the modern false teachers, the servants of hell who cunningly distort and twist God’s Holy Word, so that Christians and heathens can live together as one people and be suckled by the same beast of worldly abominations. We are not citizens of this world and never will be.

For further information google: headcoverings.info.

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Andy Ansell July 31, 2014 at 2:42 am

Hello Jack Wellman, I don’t know if this topic is under your control or not, but my last response to this guy “Adam” has been removed from here. Would you happen to know who did this, and why? thanks Andy

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Jack Wellman July 31, 2014 at 7:30 am

Hello Mr. Ansell. I have no idea why your comment does not appear. I have not done anything with it. Maybe you could comment again with what you said before. I am so sorry. I do not know what happened and it was not deleted as I checked the trash file in the moderators dashboard.

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Michelle August 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

All of the animal kingdom and we were born as god created us, naked. Adam and Eve were naked in Eden. The animal kingdom lives naturally with no shame in its genitalia. Headscarves? The bible also states our God hates gluttons, and if our God is so unmerciful, most Christians will be punished for gluttony.

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Andy Ansell September 2, 2014 at 6:49 am

Michelle, are you suggesting that we all walk around in the nude? If so, I suggest that you are seriously deluded. yes, before the fall Adam and Eve were naked, but the Bible does not consist of a few chapters of the Book of Genesis. If you care to read elsewhere you will very clearly see that clothing is indeed part of how God wants us to live. The greatest proof of this is when God became Incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the Gospels tell us that He never walked around with no clothes on. Your reasoning is pointless.

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Larry December 29, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Andy, I think Michelle’s point is regarding the recommendation for the woman to cover her head. But I do believe Peter may have been naked when he was fishing and Jesus told him to fish the other side of the boat–I am puzzled by his act of putting the garment on to dive into the water but that is another story. Do you think the whole clothing thing may have something to do with shame in having moved away from God? I do believe the Roman solders dressed Jesus up and dressed him down and all the while what did Jesus say in rebuttal? Paul walked about as a voice for the we (all the church) his message was one of unity Christians to be a single kingdom (and Jesus brought us this message) under one King, in which no one believer is pointless nor should we contrive points of culture into points of law, lest we move away from the Cross.

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Rene Evidente December 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I am Catholic and just completed the Alpha course in our Parish. While this article admits that it is an introduction to the Christian faith, its main criticism is that it does not teach the doctrines such as that of the Blessed Virgin, etc. Well, in my opinion this is the best way to start (that is why the author called it an introduction) the many who are in the fringe of any church denomination, Catholic or otherwise. It opens the reason for being in the Christian faith from whence one can grow into the doctrines the author speak of. Have you witnessed any Catholic renewal programs that starts with doctrines ever succeed? We Catholic should accept the fact that we have not succeeded in massive Christian evangelization when you start with the Cathecism.

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Nicholas Hughes December 12, 2014 at 9:40 pm

The issue with any “Secularized” religion is that you are trying to marry the unbeliever with the believer. Alpha pretends to be authentic by using God’s title “Alpha and Omega” as its authenticity of its correctness, when actually they deceiving the participant.

The Alpha Course method is that of preaching to the “Shallow Ground”, they experience quick growth, but the cares of the world cause them to turn away.

It’s time for Christians to stick to the task of preaching, teaching, healing, feeding the poor, taking care of the widows, visiting those in prison and loving the Lord God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving their neighbors as themselves, then true revival will take place.

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Larry December 29, 2014 at 10:04 pm

This is certainly interesting dialogue. I can see many good Biblical foundational comment and some infused with mere human supposition and rhetoric…really no bare shoulders or tee shirts–is this the law? What does Jesus say of the law? And Acts is an historical account? How is it that Scripture is reduced to history? What exactly did Jesus mean, do you suppose, when he said”…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit…” and why should this message be excluded? Do we or should we concern ourselves with what Baptist, Catholics or any other denomination doctrine may be? Yes any Jesus following Christian is commanded to watch for imposters (e.g. Matt 24:4&5) and recommendations to go with commentary is a recommendation to go with what a earthly figure makes of Spirit powered text–and this leads to word definition or acculturation problems. Jesus came to show us humble service and the Gospel inclusive of the Spirit–He breathed it on the disciples (Read John 20:22) of course Thomas was out that day so maybe there is hope even for the doubter. I challenge Christian men to get up out of the chair, stop being concerned with how you look in your suit, stop glaring in judgment the way the lady with bare shoulders looks, the sound of the missing instruments–God loves the way they sound in worship by the way, and raise them arms and praise welcome of the Spirit–He is Jesus sent and is to be embraced–this is warfare not romper room get in the fight.

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Adam January 13, 2015 at 5:03 am

Well Larry you raise at least three things I would be in disagreement with.

tee-shirts
bare shoulders
musical instruments

While there are many verses to use I will choose Rom. 12:2 – “be not conformed to the world” to briefly address our differences.

The basic premise I present is that the satan rebels against God. People of the world under the yoke of satan will be rebellious. That is how we can tell the difference between the children of God and the children of satan.
God’s children hear His voice and follow Him, they are obedient to what God has commanded, for as Jesus said -“if you love Me, keep my commandments”

God has commanded modesty. In rebellion, satan will demand immodesty from his children.

Tee-shirts as Wikki states, were invented around the 1890’s as men’s undergarments. It was only in the 1950’s that rebellious youth started to wear them in public without an overshirt.
The wearing of underclothing in public reached new heights in the ’60’s with the invention of the speedo and bikini.
Just because the world has accepted the wearing of undergarments in public, does not permit the Christian to do likewise.

Women like men desire recognition and admiration, it is a natural human weakness. Filled with the pride of life, people will find ways to garnish admirers. There is no better or faster method than the visual through the lust of the eyes, a fact not lost on the multi-billion dollar pornography business.
Women who mistake men’s glances of lust as glances of admiration, will dress immodestly to attract such glances, for the more flesh exposing body hugging her attire, the greater the the number of lingering glances she will receive.
Make up, hairdos and jewellery serve what purpose, other than to likewise attract admiring glances of lust.
No Christian woman in light of 1Tim. 2:9. should be dressing in such a manner that attracts lustful glances from men.

Musical instruments have been forbidden from being used in worship from the 1st century. They continue to be forbidden in Christian churches.

There are many unbelievers who have been convinced by false teachers that they are believers, but their lack of obedience and biblical standards betrays them that they remain still unbelievers, even though they may call themselves Christian.

In the churches of these false believers, one will find immodest dress, no head coverings, no gender distinctive dress codes, musical instruments in worship, the wearing in public of tee-shirt undergarments, women ministers, acceptance of homosexuals, belief in evolutionary fairy tales, and everything else forbidden unto Christians.

It is to be expected, for the children of satan, even if they call themselves Christian, can never walk the narrow path that the children of God walk.
By their fruits you will know them and their fruits are disobedience, rebelliousness, falseness and worldliness.

But I do not blame them, for they have been mislead by the false preachers, intent on fleecing innocents in the name of religion with their false promises of salvation.
I blame biblical observant Christians for tolerating this abomination and not calling these false Christians out on their lack of obedience to God’s Holy Word.
For God has told us that by their fruits you will know them, not by what they call themselves.
While we remain silent, satan has a field day.

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John McD January 9, 2015 at 4:23 pm

I became a Christian on the Alpha Course and so did all of the members in my family. This was run by an Evangelical church. We are now members of a Southern Baptist Church. I am not sure why you think this course is not effective or is trying to deceive people.

It refers to the Bible constantly, explains clearly we have to repent of our sins and informs us that Jesus the only way to God. Your website is not helpful and confusing for people who are interested exploring Christianity.

The Alpha Course is a fantastic course and I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the Christian faith. It changed my life for all eternity.

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Jack Wellman January 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Thank you John for your comment but I stand by the assessment of this course. Yes, many come to faith in Christ by it but they also do much harm. Some I have heard from tell me that they mix half-truths and present them as full truths but a half-truth is a full lie. Rev. G. Richard Fisher (a pastor from another church in another state) who was not part of this group said: “The idea of a fatal attraction has come to mean a relationship that was thought to be wonderful, and then finally turning out to destroy the person who embraced it. Alpha may very well fit that description. It promises to take people through Bible terrain but in reality turns them inward to their emotions and experiences. It locks them into a ‘detour and cycle’ of fickle emotions, carnal feelings and self-focus and away from the true lover of the soul.”

Instead of becoming the modest platform for delivering the Gospel, became the gospel. Is Alpha really what people need? Are new converts really new converts? Tricia Tillin from the UK, in her analysis of Alpha, wondered how these new converts could be so excited about the Alpha Course to exclude the mere mention of Jesus in their testimony. [1]

Alpha in the wrong hands works in favor of those promoting “easy believeism” to the detriment of precious souls. Jesus is not easy nor is He available to the proud and impenitent. Jesus is easy and available to the humble and penitent who recognize their sinfulness and need for Him (Luke 18:13). A person who does not see their depravity will never see their need for the Savior. Alpha does not recognize human depravity in the same way the Bible does, and in my opinion its biggest omission.

The Alpha program has achieved this ecumenical acceptance because it is doctrinally weak. It refers to salvation, the cross, the death of Christ, etc., in such a general way that false doctrine is not refuted. It says salvation is by grace—but it does not say that salvation is by grace alone by faith alone through the blood of Christ alone without works or sacraments. It refers to the Bible as God’s Word in a general sense, but it does not explain that the Bible is truly God’s inerrant, infallible, supernatural Word that must be revered and obeyed in every detail; that the Bible alone is the authority for faith and practice. It refers to Christ’s death on the cross, but does not plainly explain the vicarious atonement that was required for man’s salvation. It refers to man’s need, but it does not describe man as a totally depraved natural sinner. If Alpha were that specific, it is certain it would not be ecumenically popular in this hour of apostasy.

Alpha lays the central doctrines of the true Gospel aside in favor of the all positive, watered-down salvation message. Why? Churches no longer want to offend the seeker-friendly crowd, which was so obvious in the church I attended. This maneuver by wayward church leaders explains why the Alpha Course glosses over sin as nothing more than a bad cold that will go away with the Alpha treatment. Repentance has been redefined as nothing more than a change in attitude followed by learning how to avoid making bad decisions and poor choices.

The problem with the Alpha Course is not the truth it presents but the truth it fails to include, or generalizes and misrepresents. While it is true that a pastor or teacher grounded in the Gospel may compensate for its errors, Alpha in the hands of wrong leadership (and there are many) will preach a Jesus that does not exist and cannot save. The result will be false conversions that give people a false sense of salvation without any power to change. They will flow easily into new church movements that have similarly gutted the Gospel to increase its appeal.

1. Looking at the Alpha Course – by Tricia Tillin – Apologetics – Paraphrased

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Colin January 13, 2015 at 7:27 am

Hi all, I have ready the majority of the comments on these pages and am glad to see that so many have opinions and all of them are valid.
Mr Wellman, I do agree that there are many issues with the Alpha course and you have highlighted a few of them but I would like to ask a simple question, have you ever attended one? I like some earlier people became a Christian via an Alpha course (in 1998), I have since led 3 and will be leading my fourth in about a week (the first time that I have led one in 10 years).
I was definitely less aware of scripture when I first attended the course (and sadly even when I frst led an Alpha course), but I have learned a lot in the last 15 years and I have significantly grown in my love for Jesus during this period, my knowledge of the Word and my understanding of said scripture have all improved so I go into teaching this course with a much greater awareness of the message that I will be speaking. I also have a greater awareness of the harshness with which teachers of the word will be dealt with we the don’t get it right. I will be preaching Christ and Him crucified, I will be telling people that He is real, that He really died for my sins, that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God.
Alpha was a starting point for my walk of faith.. it was not the end of the journey, it was just the beginning. It is up to me (and people like you) to be like the Baereans and take everything that we hear and test it against the Word of God. We are supposed to be discerning.

The Alpha course is not perfect but it is at least a start especially when allied to churches and pastors and teachers whose greatest desire is to see people coming to faith in Christ in the full and amazing knowledge of His grace, love and sacrifice, that He would die for a poor wretch like me (and like them). It is also essential that we speak of the Holy, awesome, majestic King that our Father in heaven is, but some of these things are what we as Christians bring to the conversations that we have with those that are not saved yet. I look at Alpha as a way to tell people about the King I love for 10 unfettered weeks.
I suppose that those churches that will use the Alpha course as a tool and apply neither prayer nor discernment will reap what they sow…..but that is certainly not the case with all churches.
It is not perfect…but it a a start.

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Jack Wellman January 13, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Thanks Colin. Can you tell me how you came to be born again or what you did or felt? Just curious. I am glad that you are saved…that is the main thing. I would also say that the Alpha is not perfect, and neither am I.

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Colin Byrne January 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Hi Jack, I will happily tell you. I will give some background first. I met my wife Vinita in November 1998. She is Indian and had come over to the UK on holiday and to visit a cousin (who just happened to work in the same company as me). The cousin arranged a get together with her Christian friends and I was also invited. It was love at first sight…pretty much. Vinita’s cousin also happened to be hosting an Alpha course at her house while Vin lived there. Vin attended one night and heard a lot of talking about healing. Sge poke to one of the ladies resent and told the lady a bit about her background which had been quite hard. This lady acknowledged that Vin had had a hard life (this was the first time that anyone had ever said this to Vin). The lady offered to pray for Vinita and she did but at the end of the prayer and as they chatted a bit more, this lady pointed out to Vin that she was a sinner (she pointed this out in the most loving way, in fact she pointed out that we are all sinners). Vin could see that this lady clearly had a personal relationship with this God that she was talking to and Vin wanted some of that. Later that night, Vin prayed with her cousin and invited Jesus into her life and for the first time ever, she knew peace. Vin has always described this as going from being a ping pong ball bouncing around a room…and on this night she was still!! So my next few conversations with Vin are all about Jesus! This was quite a shock to me….but I was already hooked! Vinita decided that she was going to attend a full Alpha course in January and as I had asked Vin to marry me in January, I decided that I should go along…to learn more about this Jesus. it is worth noting that I was raised as a Catholic in Ireland and Jesus had never seemed so alive or real when I was younger.
The first few weeks of the course were weeks where I didn’t pay too much attention. As the weeks passed, the questions moved to what I considered as deeper issues such as evolution and how the earth was made! I’m a scientist so this was fascinating. The more I heard about this Jesus, the more I realised that He was real. More importantly, he was not just real and dead, he is real and alive. This was an amazing thought, the more I thought about this, the more I realised that He was real, alive and interested in me as a person. This was quite mindblowing. Why would the creator of the entire universe be interested in me! As the Holy Spirit day approached, I had one of those moments where I realised that if Jesus was really man and really man then I had to make a decision as to what I was going to do about it. In fairness, I sort of already knew so on the Holy Spirit day (which was a Saturday), I knelt and prayed and asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Vin and I were baptised together the following day and we were married on the Friday of that week. It was an amazing start to our life together! It is nearly 16 years on and we now have 2 boys. God has been in control and it has been an awesome ride so far, so many blessings!!

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Alexander M. Calisher February 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Hello everyone,

The conversations here have been quite interesting. There have definitely been some strong arguments on both sides, not to say that all were correct.

I would like to remind everyone of 1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 7:15, and Ezekiel 22:27. They say, repsectively,
“Be sober, be vigilent; because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may
devour.” (KJV)

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s
clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” (KJV)

“Her princes in the midst are like wolves ravening the
prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get
dishonest gain.” (KJV)
In regards to the 1 Peter 5:8, it is an imperitive reminder that Satan will try to use any means by which he can to lead people away from the Truth. This, by great means, includes false conversion. As an evangelist, apologist, and pro-life abolitionist I see this more frequently than believable! The issue of abortion is the best sociological and moral issue to speak on that will drive out this observation. Jesus says in Matthew 7:23, “And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” This is part of Jesus’ concluding thoughts on the issue of true and false conversion in that chapter. (Incidentally, Jesus says about the parable of the sower and his seed in Mark 4:13, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” The parable of the sower and his seed is the key to understanding true and false conversion as the other parables discuss- the good servant form the wicked servant, the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the good fish from the bad fish, the wise virgins from the foolish virgins, etc.)

In the second verse listed (Matthew 7:15), Jesus warns us that false prophets will be disguised as follwers of Christ, yet they are in all reality followers of Satan. It is intersting to note that in the days of prophets- Jesus says there are no more prophets but the Word of God is His voice to us now- if just one thing that a prophet said would be or happen and it was not or did not happen, he was to be put to death. this shows us the seriousness of lying about God. Remember, Annanias and Saphira died not because of their dishonesty about the tithe but because of the dishonesty to the Holy Ghost. Jesus says that many will cry out, “Lord, Lord!” He does not say some or half but many, meaning most. Most who call themselves Christians are not Christians because they have been deceived by the ravening wolves or the roaring lion. Wow! God says in Psalm 19:7 (the first part) and in 19:8 (the last part) this, repsectivley,
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul…”
(KJV)

“…the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening
the eyes.” (KJV)
The Bible makes it clear that the Ten Commandments are used to enlighten the sinner’s eyes for the revelation of his need for the Savior (not “a” Savior, by the way) in the hopes of his conversion. Jesus did this with the woman at the well and the rich young ruler for two examples. Many versions of our modern gospels avoid stressing the Ten Commandments in fear of offending those who might come to the cross. Quite frankly, Jesus was not concerned about that, so neither should we. I say this not to be harsh, condemning (“he that believeth not is condemned already,” John 3:18, middle part of verse), or arogant, but I say this because it is, in a harsh reality, true! Jesus tells us that His spirit draws the sinner to repentance, and that Godly fear worketh repentance. If God does not draw and if Godly fear is not in the sinner’s heart they will not come to the cross. That is not to say they never will, but, rather, that he will not until he stops resisting Christ (or as was said of Paul, kicking against the pricks) and humbles himself. For the Lord resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. The modern gospel does not teach this. Instead it teaches us to come to Jesus for love, joy, peace, eternal life, a glorified body, etc. It sells the benefits and not the job, for sake of illustration. We need to come to Christ with a repentant and contrite spirit that we may be forgiven of our violations of God’s righteous law- David called God a “righteous judge”- and may be granted a pardon from our eternal death sentence- hell. The modern gospel hesitates on the discussion of hell, as well, for sake of information.

The last verse is key to the issue of teaching materials we use in the church and elsewhere. Again it says,
“Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves
ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls,
to get dishonest gain.” (Ezekiel 22:27, KJV)
Satan will use anyone in anyway, whether they be knowledgeable of that or not, to lead away those form the Truth of Christ. What a better cover than to deceive people into thinking they are saved when they are not. Satan had me in this deception for twelve years. Let that sink in. It was only by God’s grace through well-known evangelsit Ray Comfort’s video entitled True & False Conversion that I realized I was one of the many deceived by the devil to see my blood “shed” in hell, so-to-speak, soul destroyed, and have made dishonest gain from my lost soul. (You can purcahse your copy of True & False Conversion as well as purchase Biblically-based gospel tracts at http://www.livingwaters.com.)

My friends, we need to be sober and vigilent as the devil is roaming around seeking those of whom he can devour spiritually and, ultimately, physically! We need to be on the alert for this. Therefore, if just one doctrine is wrong with any cirriculum, we should discard it. If something is questionable, search the Scriptures (for in them we shall find eternal life, and the truth will set us free). God had a high punishment for the prophets, should not we? God told Ezekiel that if he [Ezekiel] did not warn the Israelites of their sin and impending judgment as God commanded him, he would die as a guilty partaker. If God was so adament about sharing truth and exposing falsehood and since God is constant, is that same message being given to us today? If so, why are we so laid back as to believing that all who profess Christ are genuine converts? Why do we not challenge the enemy, demolish strongholds as the Scriptures tell us to do, and warn the world of the adverary’s battle plan (that we know)? Fellow Christian, be strong in the Word of the Lord, always abounding in His work. Study to shew thyself approved a workmanship of Christ. Be an ambassador for Christ. Be crucified with Christ!

“Crucified with Christ,”
Alexander M. Calisher

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Russell Tims March 1, 2015 at 3:35 am

Just read this and feel quite sad that you seem to have utterly missed the point here, and perhaps not done a course like I did.
The course I did covered key questions over 10 weeks, and they were a mere guide to the following group discussions, which of themselves offered huge learning opportunities for all who were there.
This is about discovering Jesus, not a 10 week crash course of doctrine and ‘How to be a Christian’ and therefore cannot and should not be anything other than ‘General’ in its approach.
If you leave Alpha with deeper questions than you arrived with… it has done its job. The next thing is to ensure your Church can then offer well guided Christian learning from this point onwards.
Alpha cannot and should not be seen as a Crash course to Christianity.

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Leina November 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm

We love the Alpha Course! I am shocked by this article! We led this course ourselves for many years and saw fruit! We prayed that presenting the word of God in 1. The Bible (would speak for itself)’ and 2. The Holy Spirit would show up and do only what he could do, I.e. Convict of sin), and they did! It was amazing to see as we used this course as a tool to introduce people from all Nations to Christ! And he was glorified! And many came to faith and were baptized and went back to their countries changed!

God will use anything, even imperfect people and programs (the alpha program is not perfect), and he can make anything beautiful. In my opinion, I feel this article is going way overboard. Grace be with you!

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Chris March 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Not sure about ‘overemphasis on Holy Spirit’. It is the Spirit who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement and Jesus left the Holy Spirit with the church when he ascended to heaven and He is part of the Godhead – He is divine. Without His work people arent going to see Jesus so it would be worth welcoming Him. The shear numbers of people being genuinly saved through the course show that God s stamp of approval is on it.

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Jack Wellman March 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Thank you Chris. Let me ask you sir, is God concerned with numbers? Isn’t salvation fully a work of God (Eph 2:8-9) and not a course nor of the will of the flesh (John 1:13)? Those who are “genuinely saved” by any means shows that God alone gives the increase (Acts 2:47) and receives all glory (and no man or course) and He gives no man or church a stamp of approval. It is Jesus Christ’s church and the first words of His earthly ministry taught that the gospel must include the need for repentance and faith or belief (Mark 1:15), so as long as this course teaches the need for repentance (turning away from, forsaking sins) and putting their trust in Christ alone (Acts 4:12), then I’m good with it. If so, then it is good; if not, it will produce many false converts. True sir?

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Shadreck Banda June 26, 2016 at 2:22 am

Indeed, as several people have commented, the Alpha course serves more as an introduction, and not an exhaustive Theological course. It may not be perfect, yes; but it is to a good extent suitable for its intended audience, and it has helped thousands of people come to the Christian faith.

These people will be learning more about the Bible as they continue to attend their respective churches. I know of another popular introduction to the Christian faith called ‘Evangelism Explosion’ which takes about 30 minutes to deliver to a person. It has been running for about 50 years and has also led many people to Christ. It too is heavily criticised by some people.

I think it’s not easy to come up with a Christian course that is perfect and which will be free of criticism. Where there are serious issues with these courses we can try writing directly to the people running them to improve. Surely, they have ears.

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