What IS Alpha?
Alpha is an enormously popular evangelistic system, yet some evangelists have actually expressed genuine concerns about parts of it.
Alpha is now being run in every cortner of the globe, so if it does have any significant problems, then the Christian world needs to be aware of them in order that they can be taken into account.
Equally, all unfounded comments about the course should be publicised as such.
Those are the opening statements in the "about it" panel on the back cover of another book about the Alpha course.
They are written by Doug Harris, the Director of "Reachout Trust", a UK evangelistic organisation.
"Alpha - The Unofficial Guide" is written by Elizabeth McDonald, and was written independently of the two other books available as a critique of the course material.
We should be careful to distinguish between "Official" and "Unofficial" here - the official material is that produced by Holy Trinity Anglican church, Brompton (a southern London parish).
To continue Doug Harris' comments...
This book seeks to settle matters. It identifies the serious points that are being raised and examines how fair they are when compared with Scripture and with Alpha.
Readers will thus gain a clear, factual picture of things. They will also obtain a substantial overview of the main Unofficial Guide, which is a more thorough two-volume work supplying additional background and extra depth on topics introduced here).
Covering the latest versions of Alpha (webmaster's note: yes, the material which HTB does not allow the purchaser to adapt IS subject to change) this manual has been written especially for those Christians who believe that the course may have non-trivial flaws, but who want more information.
After all, the quality of the teaching we give will directly affect the quality of disciples we produce - and the content of Alpha has a powerful influence both on participants and on churches running it.
The author (Elizabeth McDonald) is a long-standing expert on the subject and offers many insights as well as behind-the-scenes data on the world of Alpha.
Note that this work represents a completely fresh approach to the issue, and comprises material not to be found elsewhere.
"alpha - the unofficial guide - overview" (ISBN 1 9015461 0 1) is published by St. Matthew Publishing, 24 Geldart Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LX, UK.
This page is reproduced in conformation with the copyright approval on the flyleaf.
It is hoped to add the author's introduction here at some time in the future.
By and large, what has been written about "Alpha" has not been entirely complimentary.
The two earlier books are shown below...