If you do the Alpha Course, it will surely be the Omege of you.
On Sunday the 8th July 2012 on SABC 2, a program called “Life 24/7 IV” spoke about the Alpha Course and the benefits of attending. It presented the Alpha Course as a wonderful 10 week Christian course that anyone from all backgrounds, religions, and viewpoints can attend. It’s supposed to be designed in such a way that people can come to investigate and ask question about the existence of God, the purpose of life, the afterlife, the claims of Jesus and more in a totally hostile free environment. Some people want to get beyond religion and find a relationship with God that really changes their life. Others just come for the close, long-lasting friendships that are built during the Alpha course. The Alpha course has been around for many years, but it’s gaining in popularity again. Please note that each church can tailor the Alpha course to their liking. If it does not reflect the outline below exactly, it does not mean it is any less dangerous.
The problem is the Alpha course is NOT what it presents itself to be and is part of Vatican II’s Evangelization program.
Note: Articles posted by DTW are not an endorsement of the author, their website, ministry or any links therein. Readers are cautioned to use discernment at all times and test everything by the Word of God.
Looking at the Alpha Course!
by Tricia Tillin – The following article appeared in The Times, 11 May 1996
WOMAN LEADS CHURCH BOYCOTT IN ROW OVER EVANGELICAL PIG-SNORTING
A WOMAN has walked out of her church and is holding services in her living room, because she says she cannot bring herself to “snort like a pig and bark like a dog” on a Church of England course. Angie Golding, 50, claims she was denied confirmation unless she signed up for the Alpha course, which she says is a “brainwashing” exercise where participants speak in tongues, make animal noises and then fall over.
She has left the evangelical St Marks in Broadwater Down, Kent, with 14 members of the congregation and founded a church at home in Tunbridge Wells. She said: “I’ll be a fool for the Lord any day, but I won’t be a fool for man.”
However, the church last night denied that she had been refused confirmation, and course organisers said she had misunderstood the nature of the event… “St Mark’s is running an Alpha course at the moment which a number of people are attending. Those being confirmed this summer are attending the course as well.”
Mark Elsdon-Drew, of Holy Trinity Brompton, said the Alpha course included lectures on the Holy Spirit. “It affects different people in different ways.” He said the course had the “overwhelming support” of Church leaders and theologians: “The suggestion of animal noises in connection with the course is unwarranted and could not have been made by anyone who is familiar with the material.”
Everyone is asking “What about the Alpha Course?” What is it, and what are we to believe about it?
The Alpha course is an evangelistic initiative begun by Holy Trinity Brompton – perhaps better known now for its promotion of the Toronto Blessing.
The official history of the Alpha Course begins 16 years ago when a member of HTB, Charles Marnham, set up an informal home group to present answers to basic gospel questions. However, HTB curate, Nicky Gumbel, transformed the course into what we see today. [see endnote] It is designed to appeal to non-believers, with every detail – the food, flowers, hospitality and questions – aimed at disarming the unchurched.
The final weekend away is a vital part of the course – and this has attracted the most criticism, as it gives a chance for the leaders, if they are so disposed, to present the Holy Spirit in an experimental fashion to a captive audience. The course always ends with a Supper laid on to which more non-believers are invited, and so the process continues.
Whatever else can be said about the Alpha Course, it has been a runaway success. In 1991 there were just four courses involving 600 people; in 1993 there were fewer than 10 courses being held in Britain. Now there are an estimated 3,000 being run regularly three times a year, more than 500 of them overseas. These are being run by every denomination, including Catholic.
One difficulty in pinning down the problems with the Alpha Course is that each church running the course will use the materials in a different way. Thus it is feasible, in theory at least, that a church might avoid all controversy and simply use the course to preach the gospel to unbelievers. This does leave unanswered the
question – why does any church need to buy a course to be able to preach the gospel? [Emphasis added]
However, there are deep concerns. Below I present some thoughts on the Alpha Course by a Christian (i) who grew alarmed when viewing the course materials. It is a personal view but I believe it speaks for many.
Alpha certainly starts by preaching the gospel; the first three talks on Video One focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the three talks on video Two
which cover fundamental steps for new Christians, such as ‘How can I be sure of my faith?’, ‘Why and how should I read the Bible?’ and ‘Why and how should I
pray?’ are all good. But as the course progresses, some of the talks tend to wander off into lengthy accounts of HTB’s experiences of the Toronto Blessing and associated ministries, novel exegeses of various Biblical passages common amongst pro-Toronto preachers, calls for unity despite truth and an over-emphasis on the Holy Spirit, all of which are less than helpful, to say the least, to potential Christians.
Clearly the aim is to bring as many into God’s Kingdom as possible but by the end of the course I cannot help feeling that the Toronto Blessing may have been the greater beneficiary.
The Alpha course was virtually unknown until Eleanor Mumford of the South-West London Vineyard church brought the Toronto Blessing from the Toronto Airport Vineyard church in Canada to HTB, via Nicky Gumbel in May 1994, (ii) and Nicky Gumbel spends a substantial amount of time relating to Alpha participants in video 3 talk 9, exactly how it occurred:
“Ellie Mumford told us a little bit of what she had seen in Toronto… .it was obvious that Ellie was just dying to pray for all of us.. then she said ‘Now we’ll invite the Holy Spirit to come.’ and the moment she said that one of the people there was thrown, literally, across the room and was lying on the floor, just howling and laughing….making the most incredible noise….I experienced the power of the Spirit in a way I hadn’t experienced for years, like massive electricity going through my body… One of the guys was prophesying. He was just lying there prophesying. . .” [Emphasis added – Important See article: The Biblical Holy Spirit vs.The False Unholy Spirit of Fire]
Gumbel’s description of the antics that went on in the vestry of HTB after their invocation of the Spirit seems to me to bear no resemblance at all to what happened on the day of Pentecost. (iii)
Yet Alpha participants are being taught all this as part of an evangelistic/Christian Living course as though it is normal and desirable, with absolutely no mention made of the need to test the spirits (1 John 4:3), and at the end of this talk are prayed for, corporately, to receive it. Thus, they are initiated into the Toronto Blessing without a whimper of protest amongst them.
“I believe it is no coincidence that the present movement of the Holy Spirit [TB] has come at the same time as the explosion of the Alpha Courses. I think the two go together.” [Nicky Gumbel, ‘The Spirit and Evangelism’, Renewal, May 1995, p15].
So one of my concerns is whether the TB, which is being experienced at HTB, can possibly be divorced from the Alpha Initiative. In view of the similarities of emphasis and content between the two, I’m not sure that it can. Alpha also promotes, as does the leadership of the TB, ‘unity’ between Protestants and Roman Catholics, with no consideration, or perhaps realisation, of the unreconcileable doctrines of the two Churches, and so another concern is its trend towards ecumenism.
Heavily influenced by the ‘Signs and Wonders’ ministry of John Wimber in the 1980s, power evangelism has been one of the preparation grounds for the Toronto Experience. It focuses on a pragmatic/experiential rather than a proclamatory/doctrinal approach to spreading the gospel. As such it tends to shift the focus away from the shed blood of Jesus on the cross and onto the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit carried out by men. This is the method of evangelism favoured by Alpha. [Telling Others pp21-24;29-31].
ALPHA COURSE AND THE NEW AGE
All of this heightened interest amongst Charismatic Christians in ‘Signs and Wonders’ and the supernatural experiences of the Toronto Blessing is a reflection of spiritual and cultural changes going on outside Christianity, in which New Age experiential mysticism predominates.
Nicky Gumbel is aware of this paradigm shift from reason to experience:
“In the Enlightenment reason ruled supreme and explanation led to experience. In the present transitional culture, with its ‘pick-and-mix’ worldview in which the New Age movement is a potent strand, experiences lead to explanation”. [Nicky Gumbel, Telling Others, p19].
Post-Christian neo-mysticism is already so pervasive that virtually every non-christian participant of Alpha – or any other evangelistic initiative – will reflect to some degree New Age thinking. In New Age philosophy “experiences lead to explanation” yet, like the Toronto Experience, the thrust of Alpha is towards the experiential, not the written Word. One pastor who has made use of the Alpha course writes:
“One of the problems of proclaiming the gospel in a post-modern world is that culture itself warms much more readily to lifestyle than to doctrine. But the Christian lifestyle is not Christian faith… .I am sure that many people are being converted through the Alpha course, but I have a suspicion that some of those people are being converted to a Christian lifestyle rather than to Christ.”. [Ian Lewis, ‘The Alpha Course’, Evangelicals Now, Dec 1995]. [Emphasis added]
The two testimonies given by Alpha participants at the beginning of the first Alpha video are prime examples of this. There are certain basic elements one would
expect to hear in a classic conversion testimony: the conviction of sin leading to repentance and subsequent assurance of God’s forgiveness and salvation through
the death on the cross of Jesus Christ. But these are not there in any form in these two testimonies.
A relationship with God is referred to, as is the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, prayer, an interest in Bible reading, church-going, Christianity and what
Alpha has done for them. But Jesus and what He has done for them and a relationship with Him is not mentioned at all. Yet the Lord Jesus is the gospel, He is salvation, He is their new life so how can He possibly be so completely overlooked in a basic conversion testimony? [Emphasis added]
Adherents of false religions claim a relationship with God, and a prayer life, but they are not saved. Many church goers read their Bibles and have an interest in church and in Christianity, but they are not saved.
Likewise, more compassion/understanding at work, more patience, tolerance, confidence and deep feelings of contentment can equally well be produced by a
sense of psychological well-being. Without the cross they do not constitute salvation. The attempt by Nicky Gumbel to bring Jesus into the testimonies by asking exactly what had made these differences, was met with a blank look and the response: “Just the relationship that I’ve developed with God. Simple as that.”
These testimonies seemed to me to be, as Ian Lewis suggests, only evidence of conversion to a Christian lifestyle, not to Christ. And when the “Christian lifestyle” is
an endless round of blessings’, supernatural ‘experiences’, spiritual ‘parties’ [see video talk 14] and ‘play’-times (iv), then the transition from the counterfeit
spirituality of the New Age to Christianity is really only one of degree, not kind. In which case I would echo the question of one evangelical minister who asked:
“What is it they are converted to?” [Emphasis added]
EVANGELISM OR CHRISTIAN LIVING?
“Scripture tells us that salvation comes through hearing the gospel, and I would expect any course aimed at non-christians to concentrate primarily on the facts of the gospel. The Alpha course deals with the basics of the gospel in two sessions… While these are unequivocal gospel presentations, the remainder of the course deals essentially with what may be described as Christian living… When we used an adapted version of the course in our church, non-christians were left behind by about the sixth week. They still had very fundamental questions about what Christians believe, which were not answered by talking about how Christians live and for this reason the course seemed more suited to people who have already made a commitment to Christ.” [Ian Lewis, Evangelicals Now, Dec 1995].
THE HOLY SPIRIT WEEKEND
White Alpha training manual pp26-36/Video III talks 7-9 “We live in the age of the Spirit.” [p29].
Christians have always referred to the period of time between the first and second advents as the age of Grace, or the Church age. That has not changed. Why encourage now, in such a precarious spiritual climate, the New Age concept of the Age of Aquarius (the spirit)?
Continuing his observations on the New Age Nicky Gumbel writes:
“I have found on Alpha that those from an essentially enlightened background feel at home with the parts of the course which appeal to the mind, but often have difficulty in experiencing the Holy Spirit. Others coming from the New Age movement find that rational and historical explanations leave them cold, but at the weekend away they are on more familiar territory in experiencing the Holy Spirit.” [Telling Others, p19].
But it is the “rational and historical explanations” of sessions l and 2 which are the essence of the gospel (Acts 2:22-41; 6:9-7:60; 8:26-38; 17:16-33) and which the unbeliever must grasp and accept with his mind, under the convicting and illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, if he is to repent and experience salvation in his heart (Romans 10:13,14).
Nevertheless: “At the end of the course I send out questionnaires… if there is a change I ask when that change occurred. For many the decisive moment is the Saturday evening of the weekend.” [Telling Others, p120]. This is the time when Nicky Gumbel invites the Holy Spirit to come and participants are filled with the Spirit. [Telling Others, pp117,120,123; Blue Alpha training manual p18]
I find this extremely worrying. The “decisive moment” should surely be the point at which a person steps over from eternal death to eternal life through the conversion experience (John 3:16; 5:24; Romans 10:9,10,13 and other refs). But most of the testimonies in ‘Telling Others’ seem to confuse the experience of conversion with the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit.
But is this surprising when Nicky Gumbel himself seems to treat conversion as a preliminary to the main event? The breath of new life into a repentant sinner is
taught in talk 7, but Nicky Gumbel does not make it clear that this happens at conversion (2 Cor 5:17). Rather, he suggests this is due to a second experience: the baptism in the Spirit.
The following testimony is an alarming example of the confusion between conversion and baptism in the Holy Spirit, but it is by no means the only one:
“….my wife encouraged me to read an article in a magazine about the Alpha course at HTB. What had stuck in my mind was how the work of the Holy Spirit was described as of paramount importance. I knew in my heart I had to have his power in my life at any cost. So I… enrolled on the course and focused on the weekend where the work of the Holy Spirit is discussed… .Never mind the weeks of pre-med, I just had to get into the operating theatre… .I looked at the order of play, saw that the third session on ‘How can I be filled with the Spirit (which I identified as the main one) was at 4:30pm and simply hung on like a marathon runner weaving his way up the finishing straight with nothing but the finishing tape as the focus of his attention… .the prize was so near but we were getting there so slowly. I literally wanted to scream out ‘Do it now! Do it now! I can’t hold out any longer’ I’m not exaggerating when I say I was in agony.Then Nicky Gumbel invited the Spirit to come and oh, the relief.” [Interview in Renewal, Oct 1995, p16; Telling Others pp36-37]. [Emphasis added]
Though the prayer at the end of these talks includes repentance, the gospel talks are not at this point uppermost in participants minds, and the corporate request “inviting the Holy Spirit to come and fill us” is then made by all in the room. [Emphasis added]
HOW CAN I RESIST EVIL?
Session 9 White Alpha training manual pp39-45/Video IV Talk 10.
In section II of this session Satan’s tactics are listed: destroys; blinds eyes; causes doubt; tempts; accuses. All of these Gumbel applies to the area of Christian behaviour. Deception, the tactic focusing on belief, is omitted. This oversight can be deadly. Deception concerning doctrine is Satan’s most powerful weapon against the Church and new Christians need to be made aware just how practised Satan is at deceiving Christians through false doctrines and false spiritual experiences. (v)
Gumbel points out in this talk that occult activity “always comes under the guise of something good”. The Toronto Blessing is seen as “something good”. How strange then that neither he nor anyone else at HTB thought to test the Toronto spirit before accepting it and then passing it on to everyone else. (vi)
HOW DOES GOD GUIDE US?
Session 10 White Alpha training manual pp46-51/Video IV Talk 11
The “Guiding Spirit” and “more unusual ways” of guidance referred to in this talk, especially guidance by angels, need thorough testing against Scripture in today’s
religious climate in which false prophets and occult ‘spirit guides’ masquerading as angels of light abound. [Emphasis added]
A testimony in HTB in FOCUS: ALPHA NEWS, Aug 1995, in which Jesus is referred to as “a guiding light” (p14), is just an inkling of what may be to come.
DOES GOD HEAL TODAY?
Session 12 White Alpha training manual ppS8-62/Video V Talk 13
During this talk Nicky Gumbel tells Alpha participants of the visit by John Wimber to HTB in 1982 to demonstrate God’s power to heal. He says:
“John Wimber then said ‘We’ve had words of knowledge’ these are supernatural revelations, things that they couldn’t have known otherwise about the conditions of people in the room… specific details were given, accurately describing the conditions… .as the list was responded to, the level of faith in the room was rising.”
Gumbel says that he still felt “cynical and hostile” until the following evening when he was prayed for:
“So they prayed for the Spirit to come….I felt something like 10,000 volts going through my body….The American had a fairly limited prayer. He just said ‘more power’….it was the only thing he ever prayed. I can’t remember him ever praying anything else… Now we’ve seen many kinds of these manifestations of the Spirit on the weekends… these manifestations… and the physical healings themselves are not the important thing… .the fruit of the Spirit… these are the things that matter, the fruit that comes from these experiences. So we began to realise that God heals miraculously….” [Emphasis added – Important See article: The Biblical Holy Spirit vs.The False Unholy Spirit of Fire]
Nicky Gumbel gives no indication here that he or anyone else attending that meeting tested the spirits to ensure that everything came from the Holy Spirit.
And, of course, the fruit of the Holy Spirit does not come from “these experiences” but from the daily sanctification by the Holy Spirit through obedience to the Word (John 14:15;21;23-26;15:l-7;10;14-15).
Once again Alpha participants are not being warned of the very serious dangers of accepting anything and everything from anyone and everyone. So they will walk out of the cocoon of Alpha and straight into the path of the “enemy the devil [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. (1 Peter 5:8).
WHAT ABOUT THE CHURCH?
Session 13 White Alpha training manual pp63-68/Video V Talk 14
“The Alpha course is… adaptable across tradition and denominations… I know of its uses in Catholic… churches.” [Martin Cavender in Telling Others].
Adaptable in what sense exactly? Alpha’s publications manager advises that, while presentation of the material can be adapted to suit, the content should be followed exactly. (He makes particular reference to the weekend dealing with the Holy Spirit in this respect) [Christian Herald, 9:12:1995].
If the content of the course teaches the fundamental historical and theological facts and doctrines of the Christian faith as recorded in Scripture, then, having tested and proved that to be so, any Protestant church using Alpha could follow the course exactly. But could a Catholic church do that?
In talk 8 and in section II of this talk Gumbel teaches Alpha participants that the differences between Protestants and Catholics are “totally insignificant compared to the things that unite us… we need to unite around the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus; the absolute essential things at the core of the Christian faith on which we are all agreed. We need to give people liberty to disagree on the things which are secondary.” [Emphasis added]
I agree wholeheartedly with the last sentence but that is not the issue here. It is on the essentials that Protestants and Catholics do not have unity. That was the whole point of the Protestant Reformation. Discussing the price of unity in the Church, Bishop Ryle wrote:
“Our noble Reformers bought the truth at the price of their own blood, and handed it down to us. Let us take heed that we do not basely sell it for a mess of pottage, under the specious names of unity and peace.”[Warnings to the Churches, 1877, p128].
Still Gumbel says: “We need to unite… there has been some comment which is not helpful to unity. Let us drop that and get on. It is wonderful that the movement of the Spirit will always bring churches together. He is doing that right across the denominations and within the traditions… we are seeing Roman Catholics coming now… Nobody is suspicious of anybody else… People are no longer ‘labelling’ themselves or others. I long for the day when we drop all these labels and just regard ourselves as Christians with a commission from Jesus Christ.” [Renewal, May 1995,p16] [Emphasis added]
‘Adaptability’ of the Alpha course to include Catholics, not necessarily to convert them, is referred to in Alpha as ‘unity’ and I am concerned that Alpha is contributing – albeit unintentionally – to the undoing of the Protestant Reformation through the promulgation of ecumenism disguised as Christian Unity.
(2) UNITY AND FALSE DOCTRINE/TEACHERS
“A disunited church, squabbling and criticising makes it very hard for the world to believe”. [Gumbel, Renewal, May 1995, p16]. Consequently “we make it a rule on Alpha never to criticise another denomination, another Christian church or a Christian leader.” [Telling Others, p114; and this talk, section II]. [Emphasis added]
Yet there are times when failure to ‘criticise’ – or rather to rebuke and correct (2 Tim 3:16; 4:2-5) – is actually to be disobedient to the Word of God. Although in talk five Gumbel only applied the rebuking and correcting to Christian behaviour, it also applies to false teaching. We must certainly not judge one another’s sins or their hearts (e.g. Matt 7:1-5), or their personalities, but we are to test all teachings prophesies and practices against Scripture and judge whether they are true or false (1 Cor 2:15;16; 1 John 4:1). [Emphasis added]
According to Ephesians 4:3-6 Christian unity comes through our being baptised through one Spirit into “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all”.
Unity is also essential to Latter-Rain doctrine, to enable the incarnation of Christ into His physical body (the Church), because He cannot incarnate a divided body. But Latter-Rain is a “different gospel” (Gal 1:6-7) with a faulty eschatology which is insinuating itself into Charismatic fellowships these days; one of its most successful routes being the Toronto Blessing (vii).
It is vital that we “earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). If not, we may find ourselves, and those new believers we have nurtured, part of the Apostate church.
(3) THE PARABLE OF THE PARTY
In section IV, Gumbel says the Church, though God’s Holy Temple, so often loses “the sense of the presence of God in its midst”. He is making reference here to the Sunday meetings of believers rather than to the Church as the body of Christ and uses the parable of the Prodigal Son to explain that Sunday services should be like a ‘party’.
“Jesus was saying that….the Church is like….a feast and a celebration, and at a party everyone has a good time. There’s fun, there’s laughter… .Why shouldn’t there be laughter at the biggest party of all? and that’s what we’re seeing today, laughter and fun, and people getting drunk – not with wine, Paul says ‘don’t get drunk with wine – be filled with the Spirit, Come to a party where you can get drunk on God… .I was at a party like that last night. It was a whole load of church leaders, and we invited the Spirit to come… It was a party thrown by the Holy Spirit. It was a fun place to be. The Church is meant to be a party…”
The Church will celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb when the Lord Jesus returns, but I find no references to “fun” or “parties” anywhere in Scripture, except in denunciation. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 for example. Until Jesus returns and we attend the marriage feast of the Lamb, there is no place for “parties” or “festivals”;
not even “to the Lord”.
It may only be part of Alpha’s teaching which does not accord with Scripture, but I would say with Paul: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Gal 5:9).
Every Christian and every fellowship is able to witness to the gospel. Many fellowships create their own evangelistic courses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It should not be necessary to rely on the methods and techniques of another fellowship when we have all the instruction and teaching material we need in
Scripture, all the experience we need in each of our relationships with the Lord Jesus and are each empowered by the Holy Spirit to go and do it. But if leaders do decide to use the Alpha course they should at least consider the following points in light of the concerns above:
That they ensure non-believing participants have fully understood the meaning of the cross and are saved (sessions I and 2) before propelling them into a course on Christian Living. (sessions 3-14).
That they ensure converts are fully aware of their conversion experience and are becoming stable in their daily relationship with the Lord Jesus before thrusting them into the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for which they are not yet ready and which could allow into their lives the influence of an alien spirit through ground given,
That they ensure participants understand the different nature of the work of each person in the Trinity.
That they ensure the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and his convicting and sanctifying work in a believer’s life is not submerged beneath the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit.
That they ensure participants are taught to proceed from the Word to experience, not from experience to the Word.
Following from this, that they ensure participants understand that deception regarding doctrine and supernatural phenomena has always been Satan’s main weapon against the Church and that knowing and standing fast in the Word is our weapon of defense, as it was for Jesus (Matt 4:1-11).
That they ensure participants are taught to become Bereans (Acts 17:11) able to test everything against Scripture for themselves, not relying on leaders, who are not infallible (e.g. Gal 2:11-14), to do their thinking and living for them.
That they revise the booklist on pp72-75 of the white Alpha training manual as it tends to display a bias towards writers sympathetic to the Vineyard/Toronto
Experience / Restorationist persuasion, while omitting other sound and more obvious choices in several of the sessions.
In 1877 Bishop Ryle wrote: “The Lord Jesus Christ declares, ‘I will build My Church’….Ministers may preach, and writers may write, but the Lord Jesus Christ
alone can build. And except He builds, the work stands still….Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, andthinks that nothing is doing. But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great builder makes no mistakes. He knowswhat He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning. He works by a perfect, unalterable and certain plan.” [J.C. Ryle ‘The True Church’ in Warnings to the Churches, 1877, pp13-14].
[Note: Nicky Gumbel dates his call to evangelism (Tape Five of the video set) to the 1982 incident in which he received prayer from John Wimber. On that occasion, he experienced such supernatural power that he had to call out for it to stop. Wimber gave a “word” that Gumbel had been given “a gift of telling people
Churches, 1877.(vi) During the Leadership Consultation held in January and March 1995, by the Centre for Contemporary Ministry, it was noted that Wm Branham also practised
impartation of the Spirit, which others could then pass on. Arnott has likened the Toronto Blessing to a virus. (See Haggai 2:10-14).(vii) See ‘Birth of the Manchild’ in Mainstream, Spring 1995, ppi-5 for the eschatology being taught at some Vineyard churches.
source: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/alpha.html / http://www.banner.org.uk/ms/ms2962.html
The Alpha Course is Endorsed by:
“One of the most effective evangelism tools for the 21st century.”  Pastor Rick Warren – Author of The Purpose Driven Life
Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Lie” is not built on biblical theology but based on popular psychology which downplays sin. Rick Warren has lied about his position on same-sex marriage, prayed to all gods of all faiths at inauguration of the secular President Barack Hussein Obama, forcing the ChrIslam movement (or syncretism) – the idea that we “all worship the same god.” – See Yale University statement claiming to “seek peace” with Islam by accepting that at the core, Islam and Christianity worship the same God. Rick Warren also denies the work of the Holy Spirit, he says; “Let me be clear: If you’re losing the battle against a persistent bad habit, an addiction, or a temptation, and you’re stuck in a repeating cycle of good intention-failure-guilt, you will not get better on your own! You need the help of other people.” The Purpose Driven Life pg 212. Rick Warren joins forces with Dr Mehmet Oz and other New Agers to promote New Age Reiki to the church.
“Most of us skip bases in developing our faith, leaving us plagued with unanswered questions. Alpha fills the gaps. Alpha fosters spiritual peace and stability.”  Bob Buford – Founder: Leadership Network – Author, ‘Halftime; Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance’
Bob Buford of Leadership Network … has been working since the mid-1990s to create a youth culture based on “emergent” theologies called the Emergent Church – a mixture of New Age paganism, eastern mysticism and evangelical dominionism. Bill Bulford is friends with Ken Blanchard, a major proponent of mysticism. Well-known church growth guru Peter Drucker consulted to Bob Buford as well as Rick Warren.
“In recent years Nicky Gumbel has helped millions of people consider the claims of Jesus Christ in fresh and stimulating ways through a course he put together called Alpha. It is in 130 countries throughout the world. It has swept Europe, Africa and increasingly the U.S., and very few people alive have done this much to help people far from God draw nearer to Him – and many find Him.”  Bill Hybels – Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
Bill Hybels along with a whole host of other evangelical Christian leaders, including Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Brian McLaren, Richard Cizik signed a letter to the Muslim community entitled “Loving God And Neighbor Together” that openly equates Allah with the Christian God. This letter was in response to an open letter from 138 prominent Islamic leaders entitled “A Common Word between Us and You”. He promotes ecumenism and praises the Roman Catholic Church. Supports ‘freemason’ Promise Keepers. Associated with C. Peter Wagner. Bill Hybels served on the board of James Dobson’s ‘Focus on the Family’ which incorporates the false gospel of ‘self esteem’ and humanistic psychological counselling. Well-known church growth guru Peter Drucker was mentor to Bill Hybels.
“Every person I have ever talked to who has gone through Alpha has had nothing but wonderful, wonderful things to say about how God used it to transform their thinking and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.”  Dan Kimball – Founding pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA
Dan Kimball is an Emergent who promotes Contemplative Spirituality / Mysticism: Lectio Divina
“I encourage my readers and viewers to learn more about the Alpha course. Alpha is a great way to put into action all that we learn through in-depth Bible study; Alpha is a tool for mobilizing men and women to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. God is blessing the Alpha approach to evangelism, we see that in the millions of people who have attended an Alpha course worldwide and have given their life to Christ.”  Joyce Meyer- Joyce Meyer Ministries
Joyce Meyer is a Word of Faith Charismatic / New Age teacher who preaches along the lines of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Fred Price, Charles Capp, Benny Hinn, Paul and Jan Crouch, etc. Joyce Meyer has said the most horrific things, and preaches that Jesus was a sinful man who needed to be born again, that He deserved to go to hell and that He went to hell for us. See article here: Jesus-First Born-Heresy. She also teaches that we are little gods: Joyce Meyer is a Little God With a Big Christ Consciousness.
And then this is the most incredible statement by Joyce Meyer:[audio:http://www.discerningtheworld.com/images/wpi/Joyce-Meyer-All-Seeing-Eye.mp3|titles=Joyce Meyer – All Seeing Eye]
Transcript: Time: 00:14:19 “We’re never going to mature and develop godly character until we learn to live….. with the all-seeing eye on us all the time.” — [Joyce Meyer – Transcript – Enjoying Everyday Life – Be Imitators of God – 7/10/2010]
“The Alpha course is a most engaging way of passing on the basics of Christianity. It is a tool for evangelism and nature that I highly recommend.”  J.I. Packer- Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada
J.I. Packer, a Calvinist andEcumenical signed the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” document and says, “….What brings salvation, after all, is not any theory about faith in Christ, justification, and the church, but faith itself in Christ himself. … What is ruled out is associating salvation or spiritual health with churchly identity, as if a Roman Catholic cannot be saved without becoming a Protestant or vice versa, and on this basis putting people under pressure to change churches.” — Read rest here: J.I. Packer’s article in Christianity Today (12/12/94) entitled “Why I Signed It,” an explanation of why he signed the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” document
“The Alpha course is intelligent, biblically based, and incredibly interesting. I am convinced that when historians look back on the last few years of church history in the twentieth century they will have to acknowledge that the Alpha course became a significant instrument in bringing thoughtful people to a faith in Christ and into the church. For the inquiring mind, there is nothing better around than the Alpha course.”  Tony Campolo – Professor of Sociology, Eastern College, Pennsylvania, USA
Tony Campolo, and Dominionist and an Emergent who holds an evolutionary view of the origin of man and the universe, writes favorably of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a New Age Cosmic Christ follower) in his books, and promotes meditation and all forms of Contemplative Spirituality. He follows Kingdom Now theology and places the promises for a future earthly kingdom right now in this world. He is also an environmentalist with a Manifest Sons of God ideology as he says “God saved us in order that he might rescue all of creation. The earth is groaning and waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be redeemed and filled with the Spirit. Why? So that they can invade the planet and rescue it from the demonic destruction that has played havoc with the atmosphere, the ecology balance, all the things we see around us. Our call is to be God’s agents, to rescue not only the human race but the whole of creation.” He also believes in Pantheism, and expressed his in an address in Prestatyn (UK) in 1988 that “Jesus is in everyone” philosophy: “One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet….” For more PLEASE read here: Tony CampoloNotes: http://www.alphausa.org/Articles/1000119303/What_Church_Leaders.aspx http://www.alphasa.co.za/content.php?pID=9&id=2
Please read this article regarding Vatican II and it’s Evangelization Program: The New Evangelical – Evil fit for a New Dark Age
My wife I went to an Alpha Course about 12 years ago to check it out. I found that one of our teachers knew very little about the Bible’s teachings. This teacher had told me that he’d been “drunk in the spirit” at one point and was convinced it was from God.
I have to say that the people who were running it were all enthusiastic, dedicated and decent people. They meant well but their views of Scripture were somewhat flaky.
One of the highlights of the course was a Holy Spirit Day and a chap who was praying over me at that event kept urging me to speak in tongues that I almost felt embarressed with his constant urging that, to get him off my back, I started to mutter some Spanish. As he wanted to believe I was “speaking in tongues” he was quite delighted. I intended to tell him later, as I felt I was being deceitful.
My brother-in-law who attended Alpha at the same time admitted that he had some kind of experience but he is still not a believer. He seems to be more interested in Buddhism. So much for the Alpha course! From personal experience I feel the above article is truly needed.
One really good, detailed expose on the subject is “Alpha, the Unofficial Guide” by Elizabeth McDonald & Dusty Petersen which is published by SMP (St Mathew Publishing) Cambridge, England. This book exposes Alpha logically and without condemnation and it also shows what true Christianity is. And it deals with the erroneous teachings of Rome, &c.
I have reviewed it on Amazon–if you want to know more about it–under the title, “Alpha, Fiend or Friend?”
This is the best book on Alpha I’ve come across. It is detailed but an easy read. It will certainly bless you and it is an ideal gift with which to bless others. I can’t praise it enough.
Do not get me wrong – I am most certainly a born again believer, and have seen such nonsense as mooing and barking and shaking and hysterical laughter, and poor doctrine in many churches I’ve attended, so much so that I haven’t attended church for 4 years. If I could find one decent enough I would certainly remain, and I will say that the lack of fellowship is not where anyone wants to be: before anyone points the finger at me. Thus I congratulate Ms Golding for making a stand for her sanity and salvation. However, I did an Alpha course back in 2000. This did not make me born again, of course, however, I never saw one bit of the nonsense I’ve mentioned in the opening of my comment. I also attended at another church to support someone through Alpha and there too, there was none of the hysteria. At both, as Martin Horan has stated, the people seemed well-intentioned but perhaps their spiritual knowledge lacked, and I was even accused of being in league with the devil due to my many questions. However, I took it for what it says it is. The Alpha course is good for an introduction to Christianity and to explore for many of those people who were never brought up in church. I do not link Alpha with any of the crazy stuff I’ve seen in churches. This is quite a sad day that even within the Anglican church and what I would deem as more mainstream churches, we are now seeing the Spirit of Deception at large. Perhaps my memory fails me as 12 years is quite a lot, and I’m making excuses and forgetting a whole lot. I think we must be careful to not shake the stick at something that can be helpful to the lost, only because we see false teachers (named in your article) endorsing such a course, but in reading your article and what Gumbel actually states, I’m shocked as I didn’t realise there is such a whole barrage of falsehood stated during the course, such as unity doctrine. You are correct, every church SHOULD be able to evangelise, but how many of these actually preach the truth of sin, repentance, and hunger after God, in light of the deception that has infiltrated even His bride?
If you read properly, it states that churches can ALTER the Alpha course and present what they want – but the underlying spirit is ECUMENISM.
What are all these ‘courses’, seminars’..etc etc all about?? How typical of human beings, that in their arrogance, they cannot just read from God’s word, and study it, they need to add their own ‘slant’ to everything. I was so caught up in a church that ran endless courses and seminars blah blah blah… and I ended up exhausted and confused!!
I knew of the Alpha course (you would have had to live under a rock not to know of it), but I never had any interest in looking into it..even when I was still walking around with a blindfold on.
I feel sorry for new Christians. The best thing you can teach a new Christian is.. read and study the Bible and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you. Don’t read any books and don’t attend any seminars etc. Their are too many ‘Christians’ out there trying to ‘ply their false doctrine wares’.
learn much more about the Alpha course. and its jesuit foundations. Remember that Jesus said . “narrow is the path and few there be that find it”
Vox7, I am sure you mean well, but I must say to beware of Walter Veith and Amazing Discoveries!
He is 7th Day Adventist which is a cult passing itself off as a legitimate Christian denomination because they mix truth with the error of following a false prophet and putting people under the bondage of law and observing the Sabbath.
I would advise that people not watch this video or any of their teachings or productions lest it cause someone to stumble.
Excellently throughout and presented, very insightful, and objective. I confirmed and reaffirmed my doubts, about alpha course, I done it more twelve times, correct as stated.
Now, I grew up to to steadfast and agile no to be fooled, not all churches are here to save us. I smelled the rot from the beginning but surely gave myself a chance, each time, thanks Lord my rebellious nature, that keep me doing it again and again. That what kept out conviction, my mind in it, but heart rebelled against the enemy, Lord your word, in the Bible is more than enough, no need for other books or alpha courses.
Thank you sir,
Blesses with more of His wisdom, and thanks for this analysis.