ALPHA…WHAT IS IT?
THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA.
REVELATION – (4 times)
“I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the ending,
saith the Lord,
which is, and which was, and which is to come,
the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
I (John) was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,
and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
I am Alpha and Omega,
the first and the last:
and, What thou seest, write in a book,
and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;
unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos,
and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis,
and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. Revelation 1:10,11
And he said unto me, It is done.
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end.
I will give unto him that is athirst
of the fountain of the water of life freely. Revelation 21:6
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end,
the first and the last. Revelation 22:13
The name of the first letter of the Greek alphabet is ‘Alpha’. The name of the last letter is ‘Omega’. In the English alphabet, the first and last is A – Z.
The Bible states that Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the beginning and ending of all things.
That He has been made Lord over all.
And that He has absolute power and authority over everything, both in heaven and in earth.
In the religious world, there is a course which has been named ‘Alpha’. commonly referred to as the Alpha course.
In 1977, the Reverend Charles Marnham, a curate at Holy Trinity, Brompton, a Church of England parish in London wrote the first version of the ‘Alpha‘ course.
No doubt the Alpha course was so named because it would appear relevant and appeal to the Christian community – for which it was originally designed. This course was to instruct Christians as to the beginning of the Christian faith and walk, according to the Anglican tradition. It’s original intent was to instruct Christians in the Anglican parishes.
But a lot has changed since those early days; it has gone through one or more revisions – or small adjustments- . The purpose of this tweeking was so that it would appeal to non-believers* and the Catholic community*. ‘Catholic community‘ is a exclusive term to refer to the Roman Catholic community.
Unless you understand the nature of the Roman Catholic doctrine
you may miss what I am saying here,
and why Nicky Gumbel (the Curate at HTBC), himself wanted it to
appeal to the “Catholic community*.
At the very beginning (late 1970’s), only a handful of people attended the course. Today there are figures of upwards to 20 million folk who have been to the course (a certain percentage of those may be double ups – repeats) in many courtries of the world.
Is this a real revival, of God working in humanity across 169 nations in true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? May it be so.
If there are truly millions of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ as a result of the Alpha course, then we should say – Praise the Lord! May they all go on to know Him and love Him and obey Him and be changed by Him, and get ready for His imminent return. May they go on in true faith and holiness.
Acts 17 gives us a look into the preaching of Paul in Thessalonica. The charge against Paul and those wih him was – “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”
Can we say that about the Alpha course? Can we say it about any ‘work’ of the church?
While we are not to judge motives of the heart of anyone, nor of those who have attended the Alpha course, nor of those who have written the text and produced the Alpha course with all its appendages, for only God knows the heart of all, and He keeps perfect track of all things and He alone is the Judge of all....
…we are required, instructed in Scripture to prove all things.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:21,22
…we are also required to judge with righteous judgment
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
The Greek word for judge here is krinō – kree’-no (2919 – Strong’s Ananlytical Concordance)
Krino means:-“Properly – to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.” Strong’s Concordance.
We are not to condemn in the sense of making an irrevocable judgment on the soul of any person.
We at the very least to righteously distinguish, decide, determine, call in question, think about an issue. We do this in everyday living in respect to many activites or communications that we get involved with in this temporal world. It is a God given ability that He has given to mankind. And this is especially when it concerns other people.
In matters of faith and godly conduct in the household of faith, we must so judge, humbly, in love and respect for the persons involved, and with a resolution that we must do so with impartiality, and with the highest regard for God’s Holy unchangeable standard, just as He has had recorded for us in the Scriptures – the Holy Bible.
We are to love mercy , to do justly, and to walk humbly with the Lord our God. We are to judge ourselves first and make sure that we are clean in God’s sight. And we have been granted God’s mercy and kindness as to how we may be clean before Him who sees all things.
We are to confess any known sin, as it is, without hesitation and without reservation, and flee from that sin and ask the Lord to deliver us from such things again and give to us the power and grace to overcome all temptation and every evil way, or thought. We must resolve before God in truth, for He is the God of all truth, that we will not go that way again. It is important at this point to direct our attention to the reading of Holy Scripture and embracing it for it is our Life and Light. Read the words of Jesus Christ, the words of His apostles, Peter, James, John, Paul, Jude, the Letter to the Hebrews.
We must remember that we all have been found guilty before God, and that we are in no position to act in a superior manner over our fellow man. We are accountable to make sure we do not speak out of hatred for people; we are not to despise them, for they like all of us are made in the image and likeness of God. We must be able to speak out of love and be willing to pray for the souls of men. We must not speak as if we are infallible in and of ourselves.
The following material has been researched and is presented so that you can be more aware of what has been going on behind the scenes and where the Alpha course appears to be (or is indeed) heading.
Once again, I wish to say that God can use any means He wishes to bring people to Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord. This issue is not what God can, might do, has done or will do. The issue is what has God charged men with? And that charge has come to us primarily through Jesus Christ and then through His apostles and prophets.
Such a highly organized programme as ALPHA will take us somewhere, and that by design. Things do not JUST happen. There are no accidents that happen by themselves. ‘Accidents’ happen through the actions or words of people, and through the working of those spirituals beings that work out of sight – whether of God, or of the Devil. ‘Accidents’ may be more correctly understood as a consequence of unintentional – unplanned actions on the part of an individual person. They are unforeseen, and unplanned and unexpected to whom they affect.
‘Alpha’ is a planned programme with certain principles employed to gain a desired effect.
On the surface it is to bring a person to faith in Jesus Christ. And that is in itself a good thing.
The course is a lay back approach to introducing any kind of person to ‘Christianity’. It is described officially as “informal, friendly and fun.”
That approach seems to be quite different to what I read in the New Testament account of introducing people to Jesus Christ.
When Saul of Tarsus was confronted with the resurrected Christ in a vision, Jesus was not presenting Himself in an informal, friendly or fun way.
When the disciple of Jesus, Ananias, was sent to Saul to speak about Jesus Christ, he did not present Jesus in a fun friendly or informal way.
When Paul was imprisoned and brought before King Agrippa, Paul did not present Jesus Christ in an informal, friendly fun way.
When Peter was preaching his first sermon the the power of the Holy Ghost, he did not present Jesus Christ in an infromal, friendly or fun way.
But many preachers today are not so interested in using the pattern and principles in Scripture to measure their own programmes or activities against. They would rather try new innovations, new ideas – or old human ideas dressed up to look new.
We, the church in the West, are a people who do not for the most part labour much in prayer. The apostles of Jesus Christ GAVE themselves to prayer and the Word (Acts 6). Not to books about the word of God, or religious notions about God. Not to programmes and novelties, but to prayer and the word.
…and so we tend to rely on things rather than on Jesus Christ. The evidence of this may be found in one fact. As a general and consistent practice, prayer meetings are the least attended meetings of all church acitvities in the West. And when they are attended, there is much focus on asking God to do things for us in a temporal way. While there is nothing wrong in asking God for help in our own personal lives (and we should), for health for some one sick, or for some employment, and other such things, the prayers of Paul (Ephesians 1 and 3; Colossians 1; Philippians 1), or Jesus (John 17) for example, which deal more with spiritual issues, eternal issues, are not focused on as much if at all. Crying out to God for the lost, in a certain city, my city, your city, identifying with the sins of that city or village, knowing that we too were in darkness, are not so readily found. Remember that Jesus Himself wept over His own city – Jerusalem.
The marvellous thing about God
is that He gives as much attention
to a baby in the faith
as He does to a full grown son in the faith.
If your church is preparing to introduce the Alpha course – or ‘Alpha’ as it is referred to, then consider the following material prayerfully : – but you may reject it outright. That is your prerogative.
I understand that a country or some countries may have produced their own version of the course. You can do your own investigation for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and our Saviour God.
Millions are ‘loving it’ – Alpha But does that make it good? Eve loved the forbidden fruit. She represented at that time half the propulation of the world.
Nicky Gumbel admitted that many who have attended the sessions have gone away as atheists. But that as a fact in itself does not necessarily disqualify the Alpha course, for even Jesus Christ at the end of His earthly ministry did not have crowds of people following Him. Most walked away from Him, even the remaining Eleven disciples – they ran in the other direction.
The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to bring the hearer under conviction of sin – that is NOT fun. Sin is ugly and repulsive to Heaven. Unless we see sin for what it is we will never value the love of God who sent His Son to redeem us from that wretchedness of our sin.
The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to bring the hearer under conviction of righteousness. That is not friendly.
The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to bring the hearer under conviction of judgment, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Informal? Friendly? Fun?
When your car mechanic is talking about some serious issue with your car, he doesn’t use vague terms. You may not understand the language he is using. He is not usually happy about it. But he speaks what he knows and has seen. There is a cost involved.
When your surgeon discover some serious life threatening sickness in your body, if he or she is an honest person, they will tell you what they have seen and known. They are not usually jovial about it. They should not speak in vague but in plain terms. There is a cost involved.
When your house is burning down, and you are awakened to smoke and intense heat, is it a time for fun, informality and friendliness?
The preaching of the gospel is meant to promote the fear of God, by which fear, sinners will flee from sin and run to Christ Jesus – who is a no compromise Holy Saviour, who seeks to save us from all unholiness – all impurities of soul and spirit.
We also read in Acts 3:26 that God sent Jesus Christ – “first to you, blessing you in turning away each one from your iniquities”.
Iniquities is a strong word; the Greek is “ponēria” – pon-ay-ree’-ah; it means “depravity, that is, (specifically) malice; plural (concretely) plots, sins: – iniquity, wickedness.”
God wants to bless us by turning us away from all our depraved thoughts and actions.
God wants to bless us by turning us away from all our depraved thoughts and actions.
And because God is not stingy in wanting to bless us, He is not reluctant in seeking to expose our depravity, nor is He soft in His condemnation of our depraved thoughts, words and actions. He has and still does HATE sin. And His definition of sin is not always the same as ours.
God is a God who loves His people. He loves those who hate Him and loves those who love Him. He shows His love to each in particular ways.
GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS
…WHETHER IN FORGIVING OR IN REBUKING, OR IN DRAWING TO HIMSELF, OR IN CASTING AWAY FROM HIMSELF – GOD IS NO RESPECTOR OF PERSONS…
Remember that God had to rebuke Moses and told him that he could not go into the promised land because he was disobedient one time. This was an act of love.
Remember that Jesus rebuked Peter at one time, by using the same word as He used to name Satan – satanos.
While God is tenderhearted toward us, He is not soft in His preaching against sin. While He is rich in mercy toward us, He is not impoverished or lacking in His means to deal with our sin, or plots, or our malice against or indifference to Jesus Christ.
The preaching of the cross (the suffering and death) of Jesus Christ, the gospel of our Lord Jesus is meant to turn people away from their sinful and wilful rebellion against the Most High and Most Holy God who is God over all, and bring them into full submission to His will and purpose through Jesus Christ alone who alone is both the only Redeemer and Mediator between God and man. Jesus Christ has no helper in the work of redemption and Mediating.
Nicky Gumbel took over the Alpha course in 1990, and he became a curator at Holy Trinity Brompton Church (Anglican). He has written several books; the revised Alpha course being one of them. He pointed out in one interview he would rather write than preach. He has been to various parts of the world including Rome to visit the ‘pope’ – whom he holds in high regard and of whom he speaks very favourably.
Nicky (Nicholas) is well liked and has become a household name among those very familiar with Alpha.
Nicky was present when the…
Anglican “Archbishop praised the work of Alpha in his address to the Pope, saying:
‘Your Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium was inspirational for all Christians. The task of making disciples is of compelling urgency so that the light of Christ may shine into every corner of the world. I have personal reasons for gratitude for the work of the Alpha Course of evangelism, so it is significant for me that it has found a place in the Catholic Church, especially in Latin America.“
Needless to say that the Evangelii Gaudium is a very important, an extremely important Roman Catholic document. Note that Nicky was there with the Archbishop when this was said to the pope, and that he fully supports the Anglican line.
Indeed Nicky speaks very well of the pope and the Roman Catholic church and its doctrine.
The following is a letter to the Editor of Lighthouse Trails Research. (emphasis is added)
When I came across a tweet including a picture of my pastor attending the recent Alpha Leadership conference in England, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Alpha, so I did some research. My concern deepened as I uncovered the focus of this conference. Unity. Ecumenical unity with the Catholic Church. The choice of speakers confirmed my concern: Father Raniero Cantalamessa, (Preacher to the papal household), Joyce Meyer, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Here is the link to all of their talks: https://lc17.alpha.org/2015-talks. (emphasis added)
His main point was that we should look to the trinity as the model of unity, for they are each a part of one body, and are unified. Here are some concerning quotes from this address:
– “This crisis is a massive opportunity for the church to stand together and fight together.”
-“Ultimately, unity is not doctrinal, it’s relational.”
– “Unity is not an option—Jesus is still praying for our unity—so that the world will be one.”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything—disagreement is healthy.”
– “I used to think if some part of the church is different from me, they must be wrong. Now I think, ‘wow, they’re different from me, I must have so much to learn from them!’”
-” I have come to love the Catholic Church—If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?”
– “The same Spirit lives in the Catholics, and the Orthodox, and the Pentecostals and the Protestants, even the Anglicans have the same Holy Spirit living within them. That’s what makes us one!”
– “Unity doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!”
– “We live in a divided world that demands a united church.”
– “Root of all problems in the world is division. Paul gives us the answer to this—it’s in relationships!”
– “The Incarnation demands a visible expression of the invisible church. We may not get this in our lifetime, but we can have signs of it. I believe this conference is a visible sign of our invisible unity.”
The full notes taken are on http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/alpha-2015-gumbel.pdf
Here is part of a full transcript of an interview with AR and NG cited in https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/28/religion-christianity-alpha-gumbel-transcript and written on the Alpha Male blog. (Italics my comment, Emphasis …Edit)
“….A(dam) R(utherford): I appreciate that. Ok, just to get some background, tell me about the origins of Alpha in the 70s first, but also your role in taking over its running.
N(icky) G(umbel): Well I was involved gently in the 70s because I was a member of the congregation here from 1976. It started in 1977 in a flat here. It was a six week course for people who were already Christians. And then, in 1981, it was taken on by someone called John Irvine, who was a Curate here, and he developed it into a ten week course with a weekend, and that really changed the nature of the course quite a lot, and it started to grow quite rapidly. Then John Irvine ran it from ’81 to ’85 and Nicky Lee took it on from ’85 to 1990, and I took it on in 1990. It was already a thriving course, and I did very little to it really except to make it slightly more aimed at people outside the Church, so that was when it really began, numbers wise, to grow.
AR: So, in its first inception in the 70s, you say it was for people who were already Christians. What’s the goal if people are already Christians?
NG: It was the basics of Christianity really; it was designed for people who had become Christians. It was only six weeks … I don’t know what the talks were. I have seen the original syllabus, but it was probably something about the Bible and something about prayer, and something about the Church. They had a different course for people who were enquiring in those days.”
…further on we read
“AR: The way you’re talking about it, although the goal, officially, as you said at the beginning, is a method to explore Christianity in a relaxed and informal setting (and it certainly was all of those things where I did it), surely the goal as an evangelical is to convert agnostics to Christianity?”
Does he answer the question directly?
“NG: This may sound pernickety but I wouldn’t describe myself as an evangelical. These are labels, which I don’t think are helpful. If I was going to use any label it would be Christian, and if you push me any further I’d say I’m an Anglican – that’s the family of the Church that I belong to. There’s nothing wrong with any of the other labels, but if you have any of them I want them all. If you’re going to say, ‘I’m Catholic, liberal, evangelical…’ let’s have them all. But I wouldn’t want to isolate one of those. Personally I think labels are terribly unhelpful because they enable you to dismiss things. But, your main question is the purpose of the course. The purpose of the course is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to explore these things. I was an atheist and I came to experience a relationship with God which had a radically transforming effect on my life, on my relationships, on every aspect of my life, for the better. So, obviously I hope other people will experience that. But it’s very important to me that they have a sense of freedom while they’re doing the course and they don’t feel in any way pressurised in to it. They’re free to come and go as they please, they can explore it in a relaxed way. Obviously I’m disappointed that a lot of people end the course as atheists. I’d love it if that wasn’t the case, in some ways. But in another sense I find it very reassuring that they do, because it means that they can enjoy the course and not feel any pressure to convert. They feel free to make up their own mind, and that is a very important part of it.”
“…….NG: It’s in 169 countries and it’s been translated in to 100 languages.
AR: But the course has a curriculum and, as far as I can tell, the diversity of how that curriculum is interpreted is astonishing. ….So how does the diversity amongst the different denominations affect what is actually taught?
NG: The diversity amongst the denominations is not so great because the course is the same. It‘s the same in the Roman Catholic Church as in the Anglican, as in the Salvation Army. That’s one of the things that had to happen over the years, as it moved. 1966 was the first conference for Roman Catholic clergy. There were very minor adaptations, but there were some things that we needed to just adapt, and things we learnt, actually, through our interaction with the Catholic Church.”
“It’s the same in the Roman Catholic Church as in the Anglican, as in the Salvation Army.”
Minor adaptions for the Roman clergy? Why?
Some things that we needed to just adapt…we learnt…through our interaction with the Catholic church?
What was going on?
What IS going on?
“…NG: I don’t know. Probably one of the strongest movements of the Holy Spirit is in the Roman Catholic Church, so there’s not a huge theological difference between the official teaching of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, for example.”
Nicky Gumbel although firstly “Christian”, is a staunch Anglican. And he states that there is not a huge difference between the official teaching of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church. The Roman Catholic Church has not changed its real character, no can it do so any more than a leopard can change its spots.
“…NG:…I can give you a book by the preacher to the Pope, where he talks about this experience. It’s something that he’s experienced himself, and it’s common throughout the different parts of the Church.”
“…NG: In France, the DVDs are done by a guy called Marc De la Ritz who is a French Catholic. So if you do Alpha in France he’s the person you relate to, he’s the person on the DVDs….
…Last year 1.6 million people did it around the world. ”
“AR: Address the issue of whether the interpretation of the Bible that says that homosexuality is something that can be healed. Is that your stance?
NG: We believe that sex is for marriage, and that’s regardless of whether it’s homosexual or hetero sexual.”
AR pressed NG for clarification on this issue a number of times but NG ducked and weaved. On another site he seems to offer a contradictory position insisting that he takes the Anglican line and his personal view is not relevant.
Influencing millions of God’s people?… and his personal view is irrelevant?
“NG: If they choose to join the Catholic Church at the end of the course, that’s wonderful.”
A part report from the Independent News...“Then there is the gay question: for all the unstuffiness, HTB is as strict on homosexuality as the Catholic Church. The position is that sex outside marriage is a sin, whether hetero or homosexual, and since gay people can’t marry, they can’t have sex.”
(In the previous report with Adam Rutherford, Nicky is reported as saying this, “We believe that sex is for marriage, and that’s regardless of whether it’s homosexual or hetero sexual.”- he appears to be saying that if homosexuals marry they can have sex. and the fact that he did not dispute this, in the next paragraph from the Independent News, doesn’t conflict with it. He refuses to say that Marriage is for one man and one woman. But this is common today among church leaders. And what if gay marriage was made legal in the land – in England, In Italy?…may it never be so. But what if it happened, would the Archbishop (- or the pope) then go along with it or would he fully oppose it?)
The interviewer continues…”Mr Cameron’s Bill to give gay people equal marriage rights is a major challenge to this line. Logically, I say, if gay people are to marry, then the sex they practise will no longer be a sin. “Well, it hasn’t happened yet,” Gumbel says. When I press him, he refers me to what Archbishop Welby said on his first day. Though against gay marriage, he said he was “averse to the language of exclusion”, and “you see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship”. He added that he had “particular friends where I recognise that, and am deeply challenged by it”.
Gumbel is quick to point out that many of his friends are gay, showing me a photo of him with a group of his squash partners. Among them is the adventurer and Alpha convert, Bear Grylls (“sickeningly good at squash. He’s good at everything”). Gumbel is clearly tired of being asked his views on homosexuality. “The position that we hold to here is exactly the same as the church worldwide.” Which is what? “Look at what Justin said in his interview. Justin absolutely put it how I would want to. It holds to the orthodox position while being extremely gracious and accepting.”
source – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/inside-the-alpha-course
Justin Welby it seems is very sympathetic towards homesexual marriage, and if the Law of the Land was changed then it appears he would accept it because it would be made law. The Anglican community is about 85 millions world wide.
The following link gives a clearer picture of the Archbishop’s view on the ‘Gay’ question.
Read the following article from the same source – “Catholic’ Confession is good for the soul“
In another article (below) on Justin Welby we see more of the picture.
Now remember that Nicky and Justin are very closely linked having had a friendship over 40 years, and that the official position that the Anglican Church which they are committed to, toward the Roman Catholic tradition, – is one of seeking unity with Rome.
They say that truth comes out of unity.
This is true as resepect to the Godhead, but it not true as regards to mankind.
Note that the Anglican voice or plea is NOT telling Rome to become Anglican, but rather the Anglican doctrine and practice to be united with Rome. And Nicky supports whatever the Anglican line is.
Also note that Nicky has not disputed or rejected a comment in an interview that if Homosexuals – ‘gays’ get married they can have sex and it would not be sin. And unless he can reject that position LOUD AND CLEAR, then we have good reason to doubt his position.
Homosexual activity has an evil spirit/s behind it – just like all sexual perversions, including masturbation. Homosexuality is condemned in the Holy Bible.
Sodom, Gomorrah and two other cities in ancient Canaan (the land that God promised to give to Abraham, and to his decendents through Isaac and Jacob), were destroyed by God’s intervention because of their injustice, their preoccupation with materialism and homosexuality and other sinful acts. The area that once saw their existence now is a land of suphur ash.
Many modern Bible versions go soft on some sins, including sexual sins. And the church at large is not taking a strong stand against homosexuality, beastiality, fornication, adultery, and abortion. God will judge the church before He judges the world. He is not a partial Judge. He is not a respector of persons or titles.
Jesus said a good tree cannot produce bad (corrupt, worthless, rotten) fruit; nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Matthew 7:17, 18; Luke 6:43, 44 -.”For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.“
Somebody who does not take a strong stand against the view that if two homosexuals marry, their sexual activity is no longer a sin, will be infecting his own writings or his preaching, or his actions with the spirit behind such sins – or depravities. Jesus told us what is in the heart will come out.
While we do not know his heart, Nicky’s word as a highly influential church leader is soft on the Bibilcal view of homosexuality. He needs to make a strong stand just as Paul did. Yes by all means love the sinner…but hate the sin and condemn the sin.
God Himself condemned sin in the flesh – “For the Law being powerless, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh,”
God put on His Son in His body of mortal flesh all our sinful natures and all our sins, and all the curses of the Law. And in His being nailed to the Tree, so were all of these things. And in doing so, all ‘sin’ was condemned by the Holy and Just God.
Sin has been described as, rebellion, rage, pride. God calls sin as to its nature – transgression of the Law.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4.)
The highly respected Justin Welby is open to the whole notion of homosexual marriage, though both he and Nicky defer to the ‘official’ line of the Anglican church.
Unless this view is publicly denied without ambiguity by Nicky Gumbel, the author of the current Alpha course (Is there more to life than this? Why am I here?), then we must make a judgment that is both just and uncompromising, without partiality according to righteousness, not according to men and sentimentality and political correctness.
And I appeal to these men who are shepherds over God’s flock to come into line with Jesus Christ on the matter. Even Israel of old was judged severely for the homosexuality among the priesthood and the nation at large. Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. And God will render to every man according to his deeds: Romans 2:6.
This is why repentance, which is not only a change of mind simply as having a thought or idea internally, but a very clear and unambiguous change of direction for the whole person, spirit, soul and body, is so necessary. For without repentance, we cannot be saved from our own sin or sinful nature. And GOD COMMANDS IT. Repentance is turning from sin once and for all.
We must take the line that Jesus took. While He did not condemn anyone to irrevocable eternal damnation, He did not compromise with sin. He had come the first time to save people OUT OF THEIR SIN – SIN AS GOD SAW IT and sees it – AND, EVERY BONDAGE TO SIN, AND FROM ALL THE POWER OF THE DEVIL. He was willing to show mercy and forgive, but He would warn them not to return to that from which they were forgiven – freed from.
The act of forgiving in the New Testament has a number of meanings: to free fully, to send out, to omit (to remove from record), to pardon, etc.
There are a number of lists in the Bible identifying what a sin is in God’s sight. Some of these lists overlap with others in some details, but all have something different to add to the others..
“Influential evangelical and Alpha pastor Rev Nicky Gumbel yesterday sang the praises of the Catholic Church for being at the fore in bringing new Christians to faith in Jesus.
Gumbel, of Holy Trinity Brompton, the heart of Anglican church growth in the diocese of London and the nation, told a gathering of nearly 900 Catholic bishops, priests and laity: “I love the Catholic Church – she is leading the way in evangelisation.”
“He spelled out his Alpha recipe for success, but said key to his current thinking was the 2013 encyclical of Pope Francis on evangelisation and the joy of the gospel, Evangelii Gaudium.”
“Everyone, not just Catholics, should read the encyclical and put it into practice. He said he was reading and re-reading it. “If every Christian in England put Evangelii Gaudium into practice the nation would be transformed,” Gumbel said, adding that the Church would also be revitalised and transformed.”
“We need to reach the lapsed, and help them to understand what Christian faith is really about at its heart.” http://www.christiantoday.com/article/nicky.gumbel.the.catholic.c
Part of an article on Rowan Williams ex archbishop of Canterbury is in the www.abc.net.au site.
“Here Williams develops Hegel’s argument that there is no such thing as mere individual freedom. Freedom is mediated through community, and any purely individual freedom is pathological.
Human persons “have no legitimate interests that are purely private or individual” – there are no legitimate individual ends which do not somehow coincide with the good of the whole community.
Williams also views the concept of “rights” along these lines. Rights are not something that I brandish like a weapon against the rights of others. Rather I relinquish my purely private rights “so as to negotiate with other persons (,) a good (,) neither mine nor theirs.” ”
Rowan Williams has given full approval to the Alpha course, as has the new Archbishop.
Is RW saying here that individual freedoms must give way to the greater good of society? Is that not exactly what GW Bush and B O’Bama have preached? Is RW promoting socialism in the guise of religion?
Nicky Gumbel’s Holy Trinity Brompton “is the birthplace of Alpha, the “informal, friendly and fun” course, now practised in 169 countries, which numbers the new Archbishop of Canterbury among its recruits.”
The presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT meant to be ‘informal, friendly and fun’. It is meant to be presented in the fear of the Lord, and in power and demostration of the HOLY Spirit, with deep conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. Jesus never took the Alpha approach, nor did Peter, etc. Sinners are going to hell and we want to treat it like a sunday school picnic?
I suppose (wrongly I hope) – Alpha doesn’t warn about that matter.
NG: “I personally feel very optimistic about the church, about the new Pope, about the new Archbishop. We are in a new season. There is so much interest. I’ve never experienced so many young people pouring into church.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/inside-the-alpha-course…
“….very optimistic about the church, about the new Pope…”!!!??
This is a softener and a soothing word which will lead people in his sphere towards embracing the Roman Catholic church…institution.
In an article entitled “Rome and the Anglican Church” Walter Veith raises his concerns about the link between Nicky Gumbel – an Anglican minister, Alpha and Rome. While I am not promoting Walter Veith of SDA, I think he has something worthwhile to say here.
“The ecumenical movement has successfully included the Anglican denomination, partly due to the work of these men:
Nicky Gumbel, – “Reverend Nicky Gumbel, the man responsible for the Alpha Course since 1990, says 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.”i
He also said that they “make it a rule in Alpha never to criticize another denomination, another Christian church or a Christian leader.”ii
Catholic Bishop Ambrose Griffiths commends Gumbel’s Alpha Course for being a “powerful evangelistic tool…it doesn’t contain anything that is contrary to Catholic doctrine.”
Here Nicky is calling for a unification of all protestants, or at least Anglicans and Roman Catholics. And Nicky and his team tweeked it a bit to suit the Roman bishops…. “very minor adaptations,”
Michael Ramsey – “In 1966, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Michael Ramsey predicted the reunification of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. His successor, Dr. Donald Coggan, declared that the Pope would have the authority in such a union. Ramsey and Pope Paul VI initiated the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) in 1967 to investigate doctrinal differences. In 1977, ARCIC issued the following statement: “It seems appropriate that in any future union, a universal primacy, such as has been described, should be held by [the Roman] See.” “
Robert Runcie and George Carey
“In 1989, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Reverend Robert Runcie went to Rome and urged Christians to consider the Pope’s primacy as spiritual leader. He wore a ring given to Michael Ramsey by Pope Paul VI, and told Pope John Paul II that, “It was a sign not unlike an engagement ring.”v
The successor of Robert Runcie was George Carey. Carey was a committed ecumenist, and chairman of the Faith and Order Advisory Group that deals with church doctrinal issues. According to TIME, “he has been closely associated with the charismatic renewal movement, which practices speaking in tongues.”vi
He encouraged parishioners to visit shrines of Mary and rejected literal interpretations of Biblical events such as Creation and the Flood. He has publicly gone on record as a supporter of reunification with Rome.”
The ‘ARCIC’s’ Gift of Authority –
In 1999, the ARCIC issued a joint statement called The Gift of Authority that discusses the role of authority and unity in the two churches. The document promoted Anglican submission to the Pope as a universal leader:
The Commission’s work has resulted in sufficient agreement on universal primacy as a gift to be shared, for us to propose that such a primacy could be offered and received even before our churches are in full communion…An experience of universal primacy of this kind would confirm two particular conclusions we have reached:
* that Anglicans be open to and desire a recovery and re-reception under certain clear conditions of the exercise of universal primacy by the Bishop of Rome;
*that Roman Catholics be open to and desire a re-reception of the exercise of primacy by the Bishop of Rome and the offering of such a ministry to the whole Church of God.ix
With this statement, the Anglican Church has surrendered its Protestant heritage and has subjected itself to papal authority. By doing so, the Anglican Church has officially made itself part of Babylon” amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception-unity_Anglican_Church
(ALPHA) “The course began in Britain and is being run around the world by all major Christian denominations.” so states Wikipedia.
“Pope Boniface VIII said “We declare, assert, define and pronounce to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is to every creature altogether necessary for salvation… I have the authority of the King of Kings. I am all in all, and above all, so that God Himself and I, the Vicar of Christ, have but one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do. What therefore, can you make of me but God?”
“Pope John Paul II said, “The truth of the Assumption, defined by Pius XII, is reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which thus expresses the Church’s faith: “Preserved free from all guilt of original sin, the Immaculate Virgin was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory upon the completion of her earthly sojourn. She was exalted by the Lord as Queen of the Universe…For the Mother of Christ is glorified as ‘Queen of the Universe‘.”
“Pope Benedict XV declared, “To such extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for: man’s salvation . . that we may rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ.”
“Pope Pius IX said, “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved;”
“We confess that the Pope has power of changing Scripture and of adding to it, and taking from it according to his will.”
And N.G. endorses the head of the Vatican and his ‘Christian’ faith, and says the differences between Protestants and Catholics are totally insignificant. And this man has written the Alpha course as it is today which is in 169 countries, and has at least 1.2 million Brits and at least 13 (up to 20) million worldwide who have done the course.
And have these countries been changed like the Book of Acts describes? Church numbers may be increasing, but so is a friendship between Rome. NG especially says not to criticize any Church or Christian. So they don’t. And to reveal the truth about Rome is to criticize it and the present pope who claims to be Christian as they all did before him. But Alpha also makes it a rule “never to criticize another denomination, another Christian church or a Christian leader.” The pope is a ‘Christian’ leader.
Oh that he was indeed.
When Peter and John and the other apostles preached in the Holy Spirit, the Sanhedrin charged them with turning the world upside down. Alpha is not turning the world upside down and it never will. Jesus Christ the True Alpha and Omega will, but not a course with the title of Alpha.
Why can’t we just get back to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If that doesn’t work…NOTHING WILL.
God is not the problem…the church is.
When was tthe last time you heard a sermon on the holiness of God? The adjective holy is used to describe God many times. Once in Scripture is it written that God is love. The love of and in God can only be properly understood in the light of His holiness. Does the Alpha course speak much of the holiness of God?
Does the Alpha course speak freely about Hell? In particular ‘Gehenna’?
Jesus was very comfortable in speaking feely about ‘Hell’ (it is a legitmate word in the Greek English concordance) and eternal punishment for sinners who do not repent and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Does it speak of the Lake of Fire?
Let us witness in simplicity and truth and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us call on God to turn His people back in true repentance…WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED…cried the jailor. He wasn’t in a friendly, fun filled. food filled setting. The earth quaked and the prison shook under the power of God, and the chains fell off the hands and feet of the prisoners. The jailor was petrified with the fear of God and so cried out in dismay over his sinful state…What MUST I do?
Rick Warren endorses the Alpha course. Rick Warren has fallen into bed with Rome and Islam and produced Chrislam. Something is not right if Rick Warren can endorse it. He has a massive following among thousands of pastors worldwide.
The Alpha course goes to great length to make everyone feel good about themselves; it tickles them with stories and anecdotes and jokes. But does it warn them about the coming judgments of God, and a ‘hell’ to shun and a heaven to gain?
DOES THE ALPHA COURSE CLEARLY SHOW to those new or old converts…that
“…man is a sinner who has fallen short of God’s holy standard of glory, and is in desperate need of a Saviour? Does it show sin from God’s perspective or from man’s.
…men have offended a Holy God and we are under His judgment – John 3:36; Rom 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:12; and Romans 1:18.
…or Christ as being our only hope, our only Saviour, and Lord?
…of God’s love for sinners? (Calling a spade a spade – sinners – law breakers?)
…or that the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin and unrighteousness?
….does it present Jesus Christ as the central focus, or the Holy Spirit?
…Does it reveal that the Holy Spirit can only be received when people have truly repented and are submitted to Jesus Christ and the Word of truth of the gospel?
…that the Holy Spirit is not to be the main focus but Jesus Christ alone?
…that the hearer understands the real possibility of deception just as Jesus warned us of and His apostles later?
…of the need for testing the ‘spirits’, and not to believe every spirit?
(all the above points could be made clear by the simple preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But that approach apparently is not good enough or effective enough.
Now we must resort to other means and a less confronting message that is ‘seeker friendly’. May God have mercy on us. None of us are perfect and complete in Jesus Christ; we all have yet things within us that the Lord Jesus must change. So, we do not condemn anyone. But we must hold up the Word of Truth of the Gospel acccording to God, applying it to all, even ourselves; it is the only standard that is fixed and by which we will be judged.)
“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…”
We invited the ‘Spirit’ to come!!?? The HOLY Spirit?
That is NEVER taught in the Scriptures. No one in Scripture invited the Holy Spirit to come. We are to ask the Father in Heaven for the Holy Spirit – Luke 11:13…” If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him (the Father)? “
The joy of the Lord is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. But it is nothing like what Nicky describes here. God says DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!! – And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
Nicky Gumbel should know better.
Where is the fear of the Lord??
To talk about getting ‘drunk on God’ is comparing the gift of the Holy Spirit to a foolish action by men, which action is condemned by God. That borders on blasphemy. Nicky Gumbel is stepping on very thin ice. May God have mercy on us all. The Holy Spirit is not a cheap commodity. It was the Holy Spirit who was lied to by Ananias and Sapphira and they fell down dead in the meeting – Acts 5.
Paul DID NOT say “Get drunk on God”, NOR DID HE INFER IT.
Paul said And “do not be drunk with wine,” in which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praising in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, even to God the Father, Ephesians 5:18-20.
And that does not mean that we can roll around on the floor and bark like dogs or other mimic other animals and get into all kinds of unruly postures – even obscene and degrading postures, as is often the case in many places where this sort of thing goes on.
The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. When there is disorder, one needs to ask if it is another spirit and not the Holy Spirit.
There is no precedent in Scripture to invite the Holy Spirit to come into a meeting let alone into a believer. Jesus told us that we were to ask the Father (in Heaven) for the Holy Spirit. And it is Jesus Christ Himself who will do the baptizing in the Holy Spirit.
As we have said, it was the Holy Spirit who was lied to in Acts 5. A husband and his wife fell down dead. The fear of the Lord came upon the whole church and those living around dared not join themselves to the assembly.
Jesse Penn-Lewis of the Welsh Revival days writes…
“The Holy Spirit is not to be prayed to, or asked to come, as He is the Gift of Another (see Luke 11: 13; John 14: 16). (2) The Holy Spirit is not to be “waited for,” but to be taken, or received from the hand of the Risen Lord (John 20: 22; Eph. 5: 18); of Whom it is written, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matt. 3: 11)”
The Holy Spirit does not “throw a party”…that is the terminology of the likes of Rodney Howard Brown. It is carnal thinking. It appeals to the senses and pride of men.
Here is a man (N.G.) who has a tremendous amount of influence upon millions of ‘Christians’ and he is not alone in that influence by a long shot.
The problem I see is that the man who has spearheaded this course into all the world – 169 countries, is wholly consumed with getting as many churches and denominations in unity with Rome….gently of course
Rome is a leopard that cannot change its spots. Rome is like the Ethiopian that cannot change its skin
Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. ….trouble is, so many people are saying it is too gory, it is not edifying, it is not positive, …gives me nighmares.
Jeremiah had to tell Israel that they had left the Fountain of Living Water and gone to broken cisterns, (I was reminded in a message recently).
I have to say it but Rome is a broken cistern – Jeremiah 2:13.
And people are being softened by Rome’s sweetened lullabies – smooth talk.
Tens of thousands of churches and many denominations are being softened up, and are gradually being lured back to that modern instrument of religious deception and destruction.
Rome does not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, there are elements of truth…enough to deceive the common folk. But it has always been a mixture of truth and error and it will not change.
The pope has said that it is now dangerous for a person to believe in Jesus Christ outside the Church. Rome has indicated that it will baptize into the church any aliens if they find them.
James asks: Can sweet and bitter waters come from the same fountain? James 3:11
Jeremiah tells us good and evil does NOT come out of the mouth of Jehovah – Lam 3:38.
The pope speaks both good and evil.
Rome is like a leopard which cannot change its spots
Going back further, we read that Eve saw the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as being desirable and good for food, and able to make one wise. It was a mixture of good and evil , and the ‘good’ that was an element of that Tree and its fruit could not be separated from the evil inherent in the same fruit or tree.
The writer of the present Alpha course is urging people to join an institution of religion that will not turn away from idolatry, false doctrines and many evil practices, yet this same institution wants and even commands all other religions to ‘come home’.
What spirit is urging Nicky to promote this? The Holy Spirit?
Rome is a powerful politcal machine with immense wealth and is nicely covered with a religious skirt. It influences rulers and nations, and denominations. It has a wide embrace but its arms are iron.
I am speaking about the machine – not all the dear souls who do love the Lord yet remain in that system.
We are to prove all things, even what is written here in these pages.
We are to cling to what is good, and flee from what is evil.
I ask you, What does Alpha have over Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the others?
Isn’t it God who gives the increase? Isn’t His full gospel, the full Word of God, undiluted, uncompromised, the very power of God unto salvation? Romans 1:16.
One last question: The new converts who may find Jesus through this course, they will have seen NG’s face and think he is a man of God ( I hope he is), and they will in time get to hear his plea to join with Rome if they have not already.
…How many will do so ignorantly…unless they are told otherwise?
But they will have been instructed not to criticize denominations, churches, or Christian leaders. They will have been told that the pope is a Christian leader, the world’s best.
Alpha’s instruction is a soft version of those preachers who say things like – “If you say anything against this ministry a curse is on you; or, You cannot judge me, I am the Lord’s anointed.”
In this way the people’s mouths are muzzled from obeying the Scriptures and proving all things.
LET US GET BACK TO WORSHIPPING AND PROCLAIMING AND EXALTING JESUS CHRIST, HIM CRUCIFIED, DEAD AND BURIED, AND RISEN AGAIN, ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND IS COMING BACK AGAIN TO GATHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from one part of earth to the uttermost part of heaven. without props.
Let us declare that god has set a day in which he will judge the earth and all its inhabitants through the one whom he has raised from the dead, and has proved it to be so by raising him from the dead. without props.
LET US STOP COMPROMISING ON THE MESSAGE OF THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST. LET US WARN SINNERS AND SAINTS. LET US LIVE AND WALK IN THE HOLY SPIRIT BY WHICH WE WILL NOT FULFILL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH. LET US NOT SEEK UNITY IN A DENOMINATIONAL SENSE, BUT LET US SEEK THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH IN JESUS CHRIST WHICH IS WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON….without props.
let us call sin sin and not something else. let us call that which is holy – holy, and that which is unholy, as still being unholy….and let us do so. without props.
Let us humble ourselves before the Living God who is to be feared in that He forgives sins. Let us cleanse our own hands from sin and defilements, by confession to God alone so that the blood of Jesus Christ may cleanse us from all sin and all unrighteousness – all depravity. So that He may fill us up with the good things of Heaven, grace, mercy, truth, love, holiness, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.