Dec 15, 2003
By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:51 AM
A friend of mine mentioned the Alpha Course to me a few months ago when I said my church was looking for an evangelistic outreach event. It sounds pretty nice — it's a kind of “Christianity 101,” so to speak. The said person lent me the book the course is based on from Nicky Gumbel too, and I've just started it. It seems pretty good. It has lots of good endorsements — hey, even Rick Warren likes it!
Anyone familiar with this course? Have you been through it?
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I’ve run the Alpha Course 4 times, but I’ve been less happy with it at every re-run. Some of colleagues swear by it, and I’ve no doubt that it has done a great deal of good. But it isn’t above criticism.
Never heard of it.
Richard, why did you like it less each time?
Ed: From what I understand Alpha is suppose to be better than that, but I don’t know. From what I’m told, it revolves around an introduction to Christian doctrine rather than attempting to dodge the issue altogether.
I’m reluctant to elaborate Tim, because I don’t want to be a downer on a course which many “swear by”. My main criticism would be the impression that’s given that following Jesus is way of getting evrything to turn out all right. In all the stories and anecdotes, every prayer for healing is answered, every rocky marriage is retrieved. And although “why did Jesus die” is a key part of the course, there’s nothing in it about what “taking up the cross” might mean for disciples. I know it’s only an introduction, but Jesus suggested that his followers should “count the cost” not “add up the rewards”.