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What Is Alpha?
So Why Should We Test and Evaluate Alpha For Ourselves?
the Gospel is a message that has eternal consequences, therefore any and all Christian teaching can not be measured by a trendy or even well thought out presentation, a celebrity speaker, or the accolades of others, but only by the truth of Scripture.
Roots And Branches
The Anglican Church, John Wimber, The Toronto "Blessing"
Brownsville Assembly of God:
Alpha Glosses Over Sin and Repentance
Over Emphasis On The Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit Weekends - The Gospel is not central to the course, but these weekends are..
The Role of The Holy Spirit - According to Scripture
Alpha completely misrepresents the work of the Spirit
Church Growth - or Peter Didn't Need Ten Weeks.
Alpha or Peter's methods?
Many are concerned that Alpa is just too flexible
Alpha and Catholicism
Alpha is offered by thousands of parishes around the world. Also Nick Gumbel's interaction with the Catholic Church
Unfortunately, Alpha's weaknesses and flaws completely overshadow anything that can be said in its favor.
Footnote II - Todd Hunter and a rogues gallery of apostate Christians
What Is Alpha?
Alpha started out as a short course at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB)- an Anglican church in London. It was designed as a basic 10-week introduction that unpacked the basics of Christianity. Each session examined a different question and encouraging the participants to discuss the topic and share thoughts and ideas. Nicky Gumbel, known as the developer of the Alpha Course joined HTB as curate to Vicar Sandy Millar in 1986, took over running Alpha in 1990, and became Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in 2005. According to the Strasburg Presbyterian Church in Strasburg, Virginia, Alpha stands for
- A - Anyone interested in finding out more about the Christian faith. Adults of all ages are welcome.
- L - Learning and laughter. It is possible to learn about the Christian faith and to have fun at the same time.
- P - People meeting together. Eating a meal together gives people an opportunity to know each other and make new friends. (Some say the P stands for pasta and pudding)
- H - Helping one another. The small groups afford a chance to discuss issues raised during the talks.
- A - Ask anything. ALPHA is a place where no question is seen as too simple or too hostile. 
In a critique, reformed clergyman Tim Chapman mentioned some of Alpha's strong points. For instance he said it was well produced with exceptional quality resources. He also praised "the underlying concept" and "the emphasis it places on the value of relationships".
Perhaps the most significant contribution that Alpha has made is the emphasis it places on the value of relationships. The practice of guests returning to the same group each week, sharing a friendly meal together on neutral ground ensures that people are put at ease and better able to hear a talk and ask questions at the end. This is where Alpha is at its strongest. 
At one time it seemed that, even if you hadn't actually taken the course yourself, wherever you went in the Christian world you were constantly running into something or someone connected to Alpha. Either you met/knew someone who had taken the course, heard or read about someone's experiences, or you came across yet another church advertisement for - or article on Alpha etc.
In fact, it was so popular and so well known that in December of 2008 the online edition of Time Magazine carried an article entitled "Finding Jesus in London". It spoke about the "growing number of young, highly educated and moneyed Londoners" who were turning to the church and that the focal point for many of these people was Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB). The church became so popular that it ...
"began encouraging hundreds of its congregation to attend dying churches around London — as much to ease its own congestion than anything else". 
It didn't take very long for the Alpha Course to wend it's way across the Atlantic arriving on these shores about 1996 and spreading quite rapidly. In an interview conducted in February 2007 Todd Hunter, then president of Alpha USA, remarked that he had witnessed hundreds of young people coming to the course at his friend Nancy Hanna's church in mid-town Manhattan, just as they did flocked to Holy Trinity Brompton in London. When asked how many churches were using the Alpha Course at the time, he estimated the number at 8,200 with
"438 Youth Alpha courses being run, 220 on college campuses and scores more in prisons, work places and military settings such as Iraq and Afghanistan. 
See Footnote I
More about Todd Hunter who, as president of Alpha USA, was involved with a rogues gallery of deviant Christians
Alpha UK lists quite a number of endorsements from both secular and non-secular sources on both sides of the Atlantic. For example, it was called "a novel approach to Christian education" (The New York Times), "a miracle formula church leaders are hoping will reverse this religious decline" (Time Magazine), "The world's most popular course in Christianity" (The Independent), a modern marketing method used to "promote and explain Christian teachings around the world" (Newsweek). etc.
Obviously what the secular media has to say means absolutely nothing in terms of assessing a Christian course however, a number of well known religious figures were equally enthusiastic. .
In my opinion Alpha accomplishes an incredible task, in making people interested in faith and in making faith relevant to the modern man. I especially appreciate the ecumenical spirit of the Alpha Course: There is no pressure on anybody to join a different denomination, but just to join Jesus and to put Jesus at the centre.’ – Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household
The Alpha Course has now become one of the most reliable and important means of drawing people into the church. It has enormous potential.’ – Alister McGrath, President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, UK
To me, Alpha is an expression of the work of the Holy Spirit ... It's accessible, it's easy, and it’s user-friendly. It's extraordinary. It's leading people into a personal relationship with Jesus and building a community that engages with the world and changes it for the better.’ – Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
I thank God for this Alpha movement ... It is a method which I’ve seen with my own eyes so you can believe me when I say: I've seen it, it works. I praise God for it.’ – Richard Chartres, Bishop of London. 
Alpha has succeeded in many cases in turning faithful churchgoers from an inward focus on church work to an outward focus on evangelistic outreach. - Christianity Today
And there were others
"The Alpha course is a most engaging way of passing on the basics of Christianity. It is a tool for evangelism and nurture that I highly recommend." - J.I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver
"Alpha seems especially blessed in that the Lord is using it to reach all sorts of people in all sorts of spiritual conditions." - Luis Palau, Evangelist. 
Alpha once boasted endorsements by Rick Warren and Billy Graham
If you have never heard of Alpha, I want to challenge you to check it out. It is one of the most effective evangelism tools for the 21st century ... 40 Days of Purpose and Alpha fit together like hand in glove ... these two are similar programs inspired by the Holy Spirit... So, as the author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life, I, Rick Warren, want to tell you that Alpha has my 100% endorsement and I would encourage you to use it in small groups in your Church and everywhere that you can." 
Billy Graham has invited Alpha leader Nicky Gumbel to speak at a major conference he is organising in Amsterdam, Netherlands, this July. Mr Gumbel has been asked to speak at a workshop on the Alpha course at the conference, to be attended by 10,000 evangelists from around the world. Mr. Graham wrote, "Your experience and expertise as a leader will be a great asset to the conference, and participants will gain invaluable knowledge and insight from the content of the workshop." 
It is sad but true that a commendation by Rick Warren does not provide sufficient reason to run out and sign up for the course. In fact, considering Warren's extremely poor track record, anything and anyone he endorses should be viewed with extreme caution. And unfortunately, the same goes for Billy Graham whose opinion can be taken with a grain of salt after he put a stamp of approval on the false gospel preached by the Roman Catholic church.
The Enormous Problems With The Purpose Driven Life
Section on Catholicism
So Why Should We Test and Evaluate Alpha For Ourselves?
What we need to remember is that the Gospel is a message that has eternal consequences, therefore any and all Christian teaching can not be measured by a trendy or even well thought out presentation, a celebrity speaker, or the accolades of others, but only by the truth of Scripture. It is every Christian's duty and responsibility to test what is being taught in the name of Christ and not render judgment based on popularity and the commendations it has received - regardless of who made them.
Also one had to consider the fact that...
Alpha is Alive, Well and All Over The Globe
Until recently I was under the impression that Alpha was yet another passing fad that had already made way for the next new trend. However, it seems that I could not have been more wrong. Translated into 112 different languages, Alpha is still alive and kicking, having already outlived most of the fads that have invaded the professing Church over the last several decades.
Alpha courses are currently being run all over the US. In September 2019 I did a random search on Alpha's Find an Alpha Near You page  for courses being offered in and around Chicago alone and came up with 36. Alpha's 'Global Page' links to numerous Alpha courses in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.  There are dozens of separate Alpha courses in Singapore , at least a dozen in the city of Madras in India , and an equal number in London (no surprise there). Alpha Hong Kong's web site states that
"So far, more than 600 churches, organisations, schools, prisons and offices have run Alpha in Hong Kong. More than 75,000 people have attended an Alpha." 
Alpha's reputation and many endorsements do not make it untouchable. Much to the contrary, the popularity of the program renders scrutiny imperative. Its claim to be a practical introduction to the Christian faith makes it vital that the Gospel message is both clear and Scriptural -- that what unbelievers are being introduced to is in fact the Gospel message as presented by the Bible.
And the only way to be sure that any teaching complies with God's word is to carefully compare it with God's Word. And by that I do not mean using a few out of context verses to prove a point. Teachings have to be compared with the whole of Scripture.
See Context is Crucial
Also See Alleged Biblical Support For The Prosperity Doctrine
After careful examination should any of them be found to false teaching not in accordance with Scripture, the Christian is not only instructed to reject it absolutely, and to rebuke and avoid those teaching it and not to have any fellowship with them at all.
- Mark Them And Avoid Them-- Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. (Romans 16:17 NASB)
- Rebuke Them-- This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, (Titus 1:13 NASB)
- Reject Them-- Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, (Titus 3:10 NASB) (Titus 3:10)
- Turn Away From Them-- holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (2 Timothy 3:5 NASB)
- Receive them not--If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11 NASB) [For a more complete list see Judge Not?]
Fraternizing With The Enemy
While it is true that churches may use the course materials in different ways and avoid all controversy, it is more than likely that most churches follow pretty much the same format as the original course run at Trinity Brompton itself - including the Holy Spirit weekends (more about that later). For example, Alpha Australia says
We want to highlight the importance of including these sessions on the Holy Spirit, regards of whether it is over a weekend or a single day. Please do not skip these sessions. Without the Holy Spirit, it is just not Alpha. Alpha is so much more than an intellectual discussion; it's about providing opportunities for guests to experience God personally through the Holy Spirit. For many guests this is the most transformative moment on Alpha. It is a significant time where their questions change and many guests make a commitment to follow Jesus. 
I would like to begin with the organization that the founders/leaders of Alpha belong to, and the various people they were influenced by.
Roots And Branches
The Anglican Church:
Holy Trinity, Brompton is an Anglican Church. The term 'Anglican' generally refers to the Church of England and those churches that are in communion with it. The Archbishop of Canterbury is symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion - an 80 million-member loose-knit worldwide Christian grouping (which includes the U.S. Episcopal Church),
Dr Rowan Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held from December 2002 to December 2012. Under his watch in 2003, the Church of England announced the appointment of Jeffrey John, a priest living in a celibate domestic partnership with another man, as the Suffragan Bishop of Reading. In the same year, the Episcopal Church in the USA consecrated Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. The fact that he was a priest in an openly gay relationship led to significant controversy.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica
"the ordination and consecration of openly homosexual individuals remained a controversial issue that threatened to divide the Anglican Communion (the worldwide association of Anglican churches)... Williams was cautioned by Rome over the consecration of homosexuals as bishops (Williams himself once ordained an openly gay man). In 2008 Williams faced further controversy when he suggested that the English legal system should adopt parts of Shariah, or Islamic law, as a means to promote social cohesion. 
The Dalai Lama
In May 2008, Dr. Rowan Williams welcomed the Dalai Lama to Lambeth Palace (emphasis added)
" ...A warm and searching discussion took place, and the meeting ended with a time of shared silence. It was a privilege to have this opportunity of engaging with a great spiritual teacher." 
The problem is that not only does the Dalai Lama believe in and teach on the coming of the Maitreya, he has also has initiated thousands of people into the Kalachakra initiation, part of which is the Shambhala myth which prophecies and promotes, a "holy war" (Shambhala war) by Buddhists against non-Buddhists, in which "supremely ferocious warriors will throw down the barbarian hordes" and "eliminate" them.
At the dialogue at Magdalene College in Cambridge, UK on September 17, 2015 attended by both Rowan Williams and the Dalai Lama, both expressed their admiration for Thomas Merton.  I can certainly understand the Dalai Lama describing Merton as a strong bridge between Christianity and Buddhism. However for a Christian Bishop to do so is totally reprehensible. Christians can have friends among or work alongside atheists or people of different faiths, but there is no "bridge" between Christianity and any other religion or belief system.
The Dalai Lama
What a tragedy it was that Merton wasted his life exploring Buddhism and other religions, rather than the word of God...
A tragedy multiplied many times over that so many thousands have seen fit to suspend all common sense, ignore the many many warnings in Scripture, and blindly follow this man as a spiritual leader.
While one can not fault the founders of Alpha for what the Archbishop of Canterbury does or does not do, one has to wonder why so called Spirit filled men do not follow Scripture's instructions and call their church to account for their many deviations from Biblical Christianity. But the beliefs and practices of the Anglican church is far from the only problem. The path Nicky Gumbel took began very early on.
Remember that little verse in Matthew 7:18 that tells us that a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit?
Well ... it didn't.
The numerous references to John Wimber in Alpha material is explained by the fact that Nicky Gumbel was very influenced by him. In a video series, Gumbel traces his call to evangelism to a 1982 incident when Wimber laid hands on him, and "He experienced such supernatural power that he had to call out for it to stop." Wimber's "word of knowledge" that day was "God is giving to that man power to tell people about Jesus Christ".
The following is just an extremely condensed summary of John Wimber (1934-1997) who converted to Christianity through the Quakers in 1963. He eventually joined the faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary and was strongly influenced by Fuller professor C. Peter Wagner, a pragmatic 'church growth' expert who relied on the success of a methodology rather than its doctrinal correctness. Whether or not it was Scriptural was not the point. If it 'worked' it was used.
Therefore it is no surprise that after Wimber founded the Vineyard Association, he
applied this type of pragmatism to the practical side of Christian life and ministry. He focused more on experience and feeling than on doctrine. He warned against "worshipping the book" and mocked those who judge everything strictly by the Bible, saying they have "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Book" (Wimber, as cited in Counterfeit Revival, p. 109). On another occasion Wimber warned against being "too rigid" and "too heavily oriented to the written Word".  (See Wimber and the Vineyard)
However, to be noted is that in the year before his death, John Wimber and the Vineyard Board and Council had decided at its annual meeting to cut the association's ties with the controversial Canadian church.
I have no idea what happened in the interim but Gumbel's journey down a dark path continued when he got involved with...
The Toronto "Blessing" -
- one of the most bizarre things to ever hit the church.
Named after the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, it claims to be a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, comparable with the day of Pentecost. This "blessing" is spread when a leader, who has already received "the blessing" himself, passes it on to others, usually in a meeting of a church. The basic idea being that the anointing of the Holy Spirit is transferable and, through touch, can be passed from one person to another. These impartations are often accompanied by people laughing uncontrollably ("holy laughter), and staggering about as though drunk ("drunk in the spirit"), falling backwards onto the ground ("slain in the spirit"), making animal noises etc.
Eleanor Mumford, wife of Pastor John Mumford of the Southwest London Vineyard, was in Toronto in May 1994 where she received the so-called blessing. On her return, Nicky Gumbel, then curate at Holy Trinity Brompton 'received' from her. He testified that he had an experience "like massive electricity going through my body." Thus the Alpha's course's emphasis on the Holy Spirit should come as no surprise to anyone. In fact, Nicky Gumbel spends a substantial amount of time relating to Alpha participants in video 3 talk 9, exactly how this 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. . ." 
Gumbel got himself together and rushed to a meeting at Holy Trinity Brompton, where he apologized for being late. When he closed that meeting with prayer and said, "Lord, thank you so much for all you are doing and we pray you’ll send your Spirit,” the same strange phenomena were again manifested. One of those present lay on the floor with his feet in the air and started laughing like a hyena. 
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Later Sandy Millar, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, invited Eleanor Mumford to speak at both the morning and evening Sunday services on May 29. Time Magazine's Aug. 15, 1994 Issue reported that people are now "Laughing for the Lord" in London's fashionable Knightsbridge neighborhood ...
"It's Sunday evening in London's fashionable Knightsbridge neighborhood. Though pathetically tiny flocks of Londoners attend many Anglican services, Holy Trinity Brompton has a standing-room-only turnout of 1,500. Oblivious to the hot, airless sanctuary, the youthful throng buzzes with an anticipation more common at a rock concert or rugby match. After the usual Scripture readings, prayers and singing, the chairs are cleared away. Curate Nicky Gumbel prays that the Holy Spirit will come upon the congregation. Soon a woman begins laughing. Others gradually join her with hearty belly laughs. A young worshipper falls to the floor, hands twitching. Another falls, then another and another. Within half an hour there are bodies everywhere as supplicants sob, shake, roar like lions and, strangest of all, laugh uncontrollably.
And goes on to say that "lines outside Holy Trinity now start forming an hour and a half before services". 
The Alpha program's explosion into international popularity coincides with Holy Trinity Brompton becoming a British headquarters for the unscriptural Laughing (or Drunken) Revival. In Nick Gumbel's words,
"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. .
Branches: The so-called Laughing or Drunken Revival that broke out in the Brownsville Assembly of God in Florida can be directly traced to Sandy Millar, then vicar at HTB. See Footnote II
See The Toronto Deception
A brief but precise summary of the origins, progress and underlying erroneous doctrines of the phenomenon known as the Toronto Blessing.
‘Slain’... By What Spirit?
The texts put forward to 'prove' that being slain in the spirit and other related manifestations (laughter, shaking and other bodily convulsions) are Biblical, do no such thing. The Scriptures are void of any account that even faintly resemble an of these mostly bizarre happenings. Where then does the practice originate?
Doctrines Directly Derived From The Occult
The church that should have been a bulwark against evil has, with apostate leaders and a Biblically illiterate population, has latched on to the coat tails of the world and adopted practices DIRECTLY derived from the Occult. Few have taken the time to find out what is behind these practices and the people that teach them. We cheerfully walk labyrinths, spend countless hours emptying our minds in the pursuit of mystical encounters with the Father, think nothing of babbling in languages unknown to us, laughing hysterically, or simply fall over on the church floor often having what looks suspiciously like convulsions. Some of us are even convinced that drum circles can be used to praise God.
Alpha Glosses Over Sin and Repentance
Somewhere along the line we began to preach shallow and horribly abbreviated Gospel messages - speaking only of the God of love, the wonderful relationship we can have with Christ, how we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit and do great things and, of course, that we are 'saved'. We want our religion quick, easy and painless - a very dangerous attitude when it comes to our eternal safety.
When we speak of salvation, the message should begin with the wrath of God. Telling someone that they can be saved is completely ridiculous if they neither know they are lost nor what it is they need to be saved from. Telling someone that there is a pardon available is an absolute waste of time, if the person does not know they are already condemned. Unless a person understands and appreciates their true standing before a holy God, they cannot recognize their need for a saviour.
See The Wrath of God
Since both Testaments equally emphasize the love of God and the reality and terror of God's wrath, the emphasis placed almost exclusively upon God's love is prime evidence that much of the modern church no longer holds to Christianity as taught by the Bible.
Sin: The Bible tells us "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:8) for "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Neither apostle minced words when it came to the fate of the unrepentant sinner.
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)
The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Pay careful attention to the last point.. the penalty for sin is death. Alpha's treatment of the consequences of sin is so brief and cryptic that most listeners probably do not hear it, never mind grasp what is at stake. Participants will be told little or nothing about God's wrath or His coming judgment, much less how terrible that day is going to be.
Jesus' death on the cross meant He gave His blood which the Father accepted in place of ours - However, salvation and eternal life do not come without anything being expected of us. To imagine that we can live our lives like the rest of the world, but still be welcome in God's presence, is little more than wishful thinking.
What you believe about Biblical repentance is, quite literally, a matter of life or death. Do not be fooled by the watered down Gospel message of just believe and be saved heard in so many churches today. On innumerable occasions, the Scriptures record God as warning that He will only have mercy on those whose repentance is real, but will destroy those who do not repent and turn from their sin. Biblical repentance is not a one time clearing of your conscience that makes you feel better . Neither is pulling up your socks and/or sorrow for wrongdoing - it goes much deeper than that.
Conversions in Alpha tend to be an emotional experience without any understanding of the holiness of God, or the need to be saved from His wrath
There is no recognition of the need to repent and to turn to God as a matter of life and death. People feel forgiven but do not seem to have realised the depth of their sinfulness or repented of their sin. People feel cleansed without having consciously put their faith in Christ. Often this happens when people are in some ecstatic state. Alpha may regard this as conversion but it is not what we find in the Bible. 
See Sin, Repentance and Salvation on This Page
See The End of the Age
God's kingdom will be preceded by a devastating period of time such a man has never before seen. There is a day looming on the horizon when mankind's iniquity will reach the brim, at which point in time He will say, "enough!" and will pour out His wrath, or retributive justice, on the earth, bringing punishment to the transgressors, and an end to the injustice and suffering in this world.
Over Emphasis On The Holy Spirit
Alpha gives more weight to experiencing the 'power' of the Holy Spirit (which they equate with God's love), than any of the above. Author Jules Evans who joined an Alpha program and said he was "lucky enough to be in a group with Nicky Gumbel and his wife Pippa" made the following statement,
The Holy Spirit session, Nicky told me, is the heart of the Alpha course, and also the most controversial part. Many people have said to him, we love Alpha, we love the discussion groups, couldn't we just have all that without 'Come Holy Spirit'. 'But that would be like a Mercedes without an engine', he says. 'Nice to look at, but lacking in power'. 
As said by Dusty Peterson in The New Age of Alpha ...
"Some readers may feel led to argue that participants frequently have Spirit-given experiences during the Course. While it is true that various supernatural manifestations are seen, many of which are recorded in official publications from Alpha's home church – These include: uncontrollable shaking / jerking uncontrollable laughter painful burning sensations white 'lights' in the head a voice in the head, and electric shocks. Many Alpha supporters believe these experiences to be proof of baptism in the Holy Spirit – and therefore proof of salvation". 
However, there is a serious problem with this assumption simply because these manifestations often happen to participants before they ever make any commitment to God. In fact, many participants actually assume that their experience was synonymous with conversion. We need to remember that the Spirit of God is only ever given to believers ("And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:32 NASB). ]
Most of these experiences take place the so-called 'Holy Spirit Weekend' ... a thinly disguised opportunity for initiation into the Toronto Blessing experience.
Holy Spirit Weekends - The Gospel is not central to the course, but these weekends are..
This Holy Spirit day or weekend, which is a vital part of the course serves the function of bringing people into a close, emotionally-charged atmosphere where they are more receptive and suggestible and. This allows the leaders, if they are so disposed, to present the Holy Spirit in an experimental fashion to a captive audience.
Stephen Hunt is a British professor of sociology at the University of the West of England who's primary research interests include the Charismatic movement. His book The Alpha Enterprise was published in 2004, During the course of his research, Hunt attended several 'Holy Spirit days' or weekends. Chapter 14 of The Alpha Enterprise opens with the words..
"The Holy Spirit weekend is in many respects the centerpiece of the Alpha programme. It has two principal functions: firstly, to bring a greater integration to the Alpha Group which is attempted through a round of pre-organized activities; secondly, to provide a series of teachings on the Holy Spirit which emphasize the charismatic core of the Alpha course. Yet these two days are not limited to the instruction of doctrine since the Holy Spirit is meant to be 'experienced' in a profound way. The weekend is, therefore, deliberately planned, at least ideally, to be held at a particular stage of the course and to coincide with teachings on the Holy Spirit and, as one clergy interviewee suggested to me, 'it brings the course alive".
By the time the guests are invited on the Holy Spirit weekend they would have had a basic introductory talk on Christianity, teachings on Christ and the atonement, the significance of the Bible and how to read it, how to pray, and how God guides and communicates with the believer. The teachings on the Holy Spirit come next in the form of three talks on overlapping themes that are the real theological substance for the weekend". 
He goes on to write (Emphasis Added)
the day was built up by course leaders from the very beginning of the programme and was awaited with some anticipation by all those involved". 'This is kind of what it was leading up to', Mary the course leader had explained a couple of weeks prior to the Holy Spirit Day. 
The Fullness of the Spirit
In the talk 'How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit', the fullness of the spirit is presented as a subsequent experience to conversion'. According to them, 'Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian is filled with the Spirit' (Alpha manual, HTB Publishing, page 33).
The passage he is referring to is part of Paul's instructions to the Ephesians to walk wisely. Each instruction, regarding what they should refrain from, is accompanied by a related instruction regarding what they should do. For example, he said ... (All Emphasis Added)
- a) there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (5:4 )
- b) Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (5:11 )
- c) So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (5:17 )
- d) do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (5:18 )
Paul was merely telling them to be filled with the Holy Spirit instead of wine.
Also Note: it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how people can drink/partake of a person, or be filled with a person. If the Holy Spirit is a separate being, either He abides in a person, or not. The amount cannot vary.
For more on this topic see Is God a Trinity... Part III l
The Holy Spirit... a Separate Person, Or The Divine Presence And Power Of The Father Himself
Also See Tongues.. and The "Second Blessing" Chapter 1.
Although most Pentecostals and Charismatics teach that all Christians have the Holy Spirit, i.e they are regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit when they are converted, there is a 'second level' of blessing, or a deeper work of God's grace available to the believer. This 'Second Blessing' is likened to the special outpouring on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on the disciples filling them and empowering them in a unique way. The Assemblies of God, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with almost 70 million members, describes this blessing as "a vital experience of the Christian life" and "a special work of the Spirit beyond salvation". However, not everyone shares the opinion that the Pentecostal position on tongues is Biblical nor that the 'Second Blessing' is a blessing. What is certain is that it is an issue of no small magnitude
The Role of The Holy Spirit - According to Scripture
It is very clear that the Holy Spirit weekend is the highlight of Alpha. However this completely misrepresents the work of the Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will glorify Him and not draw attention to himself (John 16:13-15). He also clearly identified two aspects of the Holy Spirits function.
Unbelievers: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Believers: Jesus told the disciples that He would "...ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (John 14:16) and went on to say that the Father would send this Helper in His (Jesus') name and very importantly He would teach them all things and "bring all things" to their remembrance, whatsoever He had said to them (John 14:26) . He would also guide them into all truth and disclose what is to come (John 16:13). The Spirit also assures us of salvation (Romans 8:16); helps our weakness and intercedes for us.
The Apostles did not distinguish between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of Jesus Christ. This means there can be no difference between the two ministries.
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; (Acts 16:6-7 NASB)
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9 NASB)
Jesus did not knock people over, or cause his disciples to be "slain" or get "drunk in the Spirit" and behave embarrassingly like lunatics. Much to the contrary, He Jesus rebuked and drove out the demons that caused people to behave erratically. Which is why we can only conclude that these antics can only stem from occult sources or be psychologically induced .
However, if you consider the terrifying parallels between being slain/drunk in the spirit has with the Hindu practice of 'awakening' a person's Kundalini (a concentrated form of life force said to be lying dormant in our bodies) there is little question that these practices are demonic. Not only are the the requirements for receiving are the same, but the methods of transmissions are the same and the resulting physical manifestations are virtually indistinguishable. How then can these practices be Christian? See Slain in The Spirit
Church Growth ... (or Peter Didn't Need Ten Weeks).
Alpha has been seen as the key to rapid church growth, at least according to the web site of the Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada  or simply an effective way to revive dying churches.
For example, a November 2001 article in Christianity Today International tells of Peoria Heights Congregational, a 94-year-old United Church of Christ congregation in central Illinois that was shrinking with only four new adults congregants in 1996, and older members dying off rapidly.
The situation did a turn around when church leader Phillip Meagher started using the Alpha Course, bringing "the dramatic results" Meagher sought. "His church will likely add 40 new members a year starting next year? 
They certainly make it sound quite impressive. That is until you consider that on the day of Pentecost Peter preached a sermon that had no illustrations, no catchy title, and no amusing anecdotes. He did little but tell them the "good news" that Messiah not only died to set us free from sin, but that he rose that we might too. And he wasn't too nice about it either .. soundly laying blame for the torture and death of the son of God on his hearers. Accusing people usually antagonizes them, however the response from the crowd suggested horror.
Luke tells us that "when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, 'Brothers, what should we do?' (Acts 2:37). Peter's response was again short and to the point. He told them they had to .. (Emphasis Added)
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ..." (V. 38) and exhorted them to "Be saved from this perverse generation!" (V.40)
The result? Three thousand souls were baptized, continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And all this less than ONE DAY. So apparently Peter's methods were far more effective than the "dramatic results" of 40 new members in a year.
See Seeker Friendly, Church Growth Failures in The Bible
According to a Christianity Today article, Alpha has a "lay-led, relational format" and people are in fact advised to "tailor Alpha in minor ways to their local needs". But many are concerned that it is just too flexible, bringing up the possibility that
"Catholics could add tradition, the Mormons could add the Book of Mormon, the Christian Scientists could add Mary Baker Eddy, and the Seventh-day Adventists could add Ellen G. White".
And adapt it they have.. The "All Saints' Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California, in 2004 added an "Alpha for the Gay Community" to its existing course". 
Nicky sent the Alpha course content to representatives of 44 denominations to see if they had disagreements with the material. None asked that anything be removed - although a few asked that some of their particular denominational materials be added - it wasn't, because the Alpha course is designed so that it can be used as widely as possible. 
Alpha and Catholicism
The Alpha course certainly doesn't seem to rub any Catholics up the wrong way. Alpha is offered by thousands of parishes around the world, endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Cardinals. See Alpha - Catholic Context HERE
People who in the context of Catholicism and Protestantism, tirelessly repeat the silly statement that 'what unites us is greater than what divides us' as Nicky Gombel does, must be blind to the fact that the differences between them are not a manner of style or disagreement about non-essentials of the faith but a gigantic chasm between fundamentals. Nicky Gumbel claims 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.” 
Apparently Gumbel does not consider how a person is saved to be an "essential".
Anyone who bothers to look it up should quickly realize that the official position of the church is that salvation comes through grace, but the grace is distributed a little at a time through the official sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a Church of England Curate Nicky Gumbel should well know that the average Anglican or Catholic Alpha attendee is trusting in christening, baptism, and confirmation, confession of their sins to a priest, Mass, the rosary, good deeds etc. to get them to heaven. Yet, he never ever explains that works cannot save. Thousands of Roman Catholics have completed Alpha, said the sinner's prayer, received the 'spirit' and spoken in tongues, without ever realizing that none of the above can do anything to contribute towards a person's salvation. And there is more - plenty more. The problems are so large and so numerous that an entire section on this site is devoted to Catholicism.
In fact, he has admitted that the sections in Questions of Life about baptism and holy communion were carefully scripted to enable them to be used by Roman Catholics and evangelicals alike.
Christians seem to totally forget that they are followers of the Man who called the Pharisees white-washed tombs and drove the money- changers out of the temple. We are students of the Apostle Paul, who called down God's curse on anyone who preached a different gospel, the man who publicly confronted Peter.
Gumbel and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
In 2003, the Independent Catholic News reported [Emphasis Added]
"Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, well known to many of us through the Alpha programme, told us of the development of the Alpha programme and how rewarding it has been working with Catholic Evangelisation Services (CES) and developing and sharing the programme so widely". 
Nicky Gumbel Meets Pope John Paul II
In February 2004, Nicky and Pippa Gumbel were presented to Pope John Paul II by Father Raniero Cantalamessa.
Beneath the photo of Gumbel and the pope, is a personal statement made by Gumbel after returning from Rome .
On his return from Rome, Gumbel said: "It was a great honour to be presented to Pope John Paul II, who has done so much to promote evangelisation around the world. We have been enormously enriched by our interaction with Catholics in many countries. It is a great privilege to meet inspiring leaders from different parts of the church – Catholic, Baptist, Salvation Army, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, and so many more – and discover that what unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us." 
And Pope Francis
Nor was this an isolated incident. In November of the same year, they met with Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a few months before he was elected Pope. Nicky Gumbel also met Pope Francis in 2014. 
And in 2015 a historic evangelisation initiative called Proclaim '15 was launched across England and Wales, "to support, inspire and encourage new expressions of parish evangelisation" On the 11th of July a major conference took place in Birmingham which was scheduled to be attended by 850 representatives from every diocese in England and Wales. Keynote speeches were by "Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Bernard Longley, Rev Nicky Gumbel from Alpha" 
At the Leadership Conference 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall Gumbel interviewed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols. The Archbishop who spoke of the "huge influence" Cardinal Nichols had had on him said, "The Church, when it is visibly united, speaks more powerfully to the world, by the grace of the Spirit of God, than we can ever begin to imagine. Gumbel obviously agreed. Here are some quotes from his opening speech entitled "A Vision for a United Church."
- 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!
- Unity doesn't mean we're not interested in the truth! The only way to get truth is through unity!”
- I have come to love the Catholic Church - If God has given them the same Spirit, who are we to oppose God?” 
Note: The Conference was also attended by Joyce Meyer.
See True and False Unity
Although doctrine has often been allowed to divide people in disgraceful ways, division is not something that can be avoided. you could scour the Scriptures for the next ten years without finding a single word about being united at the expense of truth. On the contrary, since all too often what passes for "unity" is nothing but compromise, Christians are commanded to separate themselves from those that believe and teach false doctrine. They are to refuse to have fellowship with those who cross over the line. It is far better to be divided by truth than united in error.
Catholics and Protestants.. How Big Are The Differences?
The ultimate factor in deciding the legitimacy of the Catholic Church is its presentation of the gospel, its answer to the age-old question of "What must I do to be saved?"
Additional Articles in The Section on Catholicism
Many claim that the Alpha Course has not only caused many people to become believers but has also helped many Christians understand more about their faith. And, I can imagine this could be true if churches presented a more Biblically based version of the course in which participants are clearly made to understand that good works do not save.
Churches that gloss over sin, the wrath of God, and subsequent judgment in favor of an unbalanced focus on the power of the Holy Spirit are not preaching the Gospel message. The 'Holy Spirit weekends" are nothing more than an open invitation to demonic influences and need to be avoided at all costs.
And then you have Alpha's blatant ecumenism. No course that preaches the unadulterated Gospel message could possibly gain the support of Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals. That fact alone should tell us that 'something is rotten in the state of Denmark '- a line from Hamlet used to describe a smell of corruption or that something is not right.
Unfortunately, Alpha's weaknesses and flaws completely overshadow anything that can be said in its favor. In the Bible, sin and/or false doctrine was often symbolized by leaven even a little of which, as both Jesus and Paul pointed out, was a very dangerous thing.
And Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6 NASB)
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? (1 Corinthians 5:6 NASB)
Leaven was used as a symbol of evil because, given time, the yeast reproduces, spreading throughout the dough or batter, biologically changing the chemistry of the dough as it works. As Paul asked the Galatians who were turning from the truth of the Gospel to doctrine preached by false teachers.
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. (Galatians 5:7-9 NASB)
Alpha is not a little leaven but a very large amount that has insidiously made it way through the church.
Footnote I - Alpha USA - Todd Hunter
Unfortunately the picture was no better on this side of the ocean. As Christianity Today pointed out, Todd Hunter - President of Alpha USA for some time - made the journey "from Calvary Chapel through the Vineyard, the emerging church, the Alpha Course, and now the Anglican Mission in America" 
Which means he was involved with a rogues gallery of deviant Christians. The list includes John Wimber, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Willow Creek, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. He served as National Coordinator of The Association of Vineyard Churches from February 1994, was acting Director of the Vineyard at the time of John Wimber's death in November 1997, and became the National Director in January 1998, serving in that capacity until he resigned in May 2000.
Hunter assumed the role of Executive Director of Alpha USA in the spring of 2004. When he accepted the post, he made the following comment
To my knowledge, Alpha is the most holistic approach to evangelization available to the local churches. While exploring sin, the cross, and resurrection, it also introduces seekers to life in the Kingdom and the Spirit -- in a way that leads naturally to discipleship to Jesus and love for neighbor. The Alpha course, being communal, relational, and full of dialog, is a great tool for reaching postmodern and post-Christian people.”
And added "Some very kind words from people who've also impacted me in some way throught their writings as well as ministry". (misspelling in original)
Theologian Dallas Willard, commented, Todd Hunter is a uniquely qualified frontline leader for the kingdom of Christ in the world we now live in and must live in tomorrow. He has the solid substance of mainline creedal Christianity and the character and power of one who moves in the Holy Spirit.
Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, said, I've known Todd Hunter for over a decade. I can only imagine how many seekers will wind up in the kingdom under his leadership of Alpha.
Author Richard Foster, founder of Renovare, said, I am thrilled at the appointment of Mr. Todd Hunter as the national director of Alpha USA. Todd's deep Christian commitment, vast experience among the emerging churches, and visionary application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to post-modern culture will serve him well in this new post. Alpha's highly successful missional work will be extended all the more under his able leadership.
Author Brian McLaren, founder of Emergent Village, commented: Todd Hunter is one of the finest Christian leaders I've met sincere in faith, sensitive to the changing culture, honest, approachable, intellectually vigorous, and sensitive as a human being. His appointment is good news for the church at large in the U.S. and for our changing culture.
Author Leonard Sweet, Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, said, This is great news for the church. He's one of the most creative leaders in the church today and one that can build on Alpha's success and take it to higher and deeper dimensions of service. He's a next-level thinker". 
Although none of these commendations can be verified (the source links on Sivin Kit's Garden are no longer accessible), Hunter's relationship with most of these leaders is a known fact. For example, in 2008 Brian McLaren's website said the following
In an April 11, 2003 blog, Hunter called Dallas Willard "my favorite mentor", recommended Richard Foster's "The Celebration of the Disciplines" (April 06), then suggested that for a "better treatment" of the subject of the disciplines, the reader should
see Dallas Willard’s "The Spirit of the Disciplines" and "Hearing God" and "The Divine Conspiracy"; see also Richard Foster's "The Celebration of the Disciplines". Then follow their bibliographies for more good stuff, a la Nouwen, O’Conner [from Church of the Savior], etc.) 
When asked by The Leadership Blog Interview [September 07, 2005] who had made the biggest influence in his life as a leader, he replied
"John Wimber: though he had a few faults, he was a consummate leader.
Dallas Willard: he is a spectacular example of "what it means to be a follower of Jesus". Though his profession skills as a philosopher/theologian are immense, his qualities of being are even better!"
He added that among the books that have changed his life are all Willard's books, "especially the Divine Conspiracy".  Note that the front flap of Richard Foster's "The Celebration of the Disciplines" emphasizes that (Emphasis added)
See Contemplative Prayer.
Chapters 2 and 4 have a little more about "The Celebration of the Disciplines". Chapter 7 is devoted to Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and Thomas Keating.
Even after he resigned the post (He is currently the founding pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican in Costa Mesa, California), Todd Hunter planned on being a consultant to Alpha USA remaining on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and taking an "active role in promoting Alpha, teaching on Alpha's practices, building relationships and advising the organization on strategy".  [PLACE IN TEXT]
Footnote II - Brownsville Assembly of God:
In January 1995, Steve Hill, a Pentecostal evangelist stopped over in London on his way back from a missionary trip. Hearing of the happenings at Holy Trinity Brompton, Hill sought out Sandy Millar and requested that he (Sandy) lay hands on him and was knocked down.
Six months later on June 18, 1995, the Laughing or Drunken Revival broke out as Steve Hill was preaching in the Brownsville Assembly of God near Pensacola, Florida, at which John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville church, fell to the floor and lay there for almost four hours. "When I hit that floor, it felt like I weighed 10,000 pounds. I knew something supernatural was happening" (Kilpatrick, Charisma, June 1996). He has been so "drunk" that he could not drive himself home. [PLACE IN TEXT]
Unless otherwise mentioned, all URL's were accessed in September 2019
 The Alpha Course Examined by Tim Chapman. Web site of the The Anglo-Reformed Movement.
 Eben Harrell. Finding Jesus in London. Finding Jesus in London. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1866094,00.html
 http://doableevangelism.com/2007/02/04/interview-with-todd-hunter/ Link is no longer valid
 http://www.alphahouston.org/testimonials.html. Link is no longer valid
 Billy Graham Invites Alpha. Alpha News Online, No. 3, March-July 2000.
 Find an Alpha near you? https://alphausa.org/try
 Get in touch with our teams around the globe. https://alpha.org/global
 Alpha Everywhere. http://singapore.alpha.org/alphaeverywhere
 Find an Alpha near you? http://india.alpha.org/try
 Our Vision. https://alpha.org.hk/en/about/
 09 Holy Spirit Weekend/Day Away. https://australia.alpha.org/easter-leadup/2016/3/8/cf2jypnmuh1hjf0jw1uco59wjnq2as
 Rowan Williams. Archbishop of Canterbury. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rowan-Williams
 Archbishop welcomes His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to Lambeth Palace for meeting of Faith Leaders. http://aoc2013.brix.fatbeehive.com/articles.php/1262/archbishop-welcomes-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-to-lambeth-palace-for-meeting-of-faith-leaders
 Second Day of Growing Wisdom, Changing People. September 18, 2015.
 David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, Way of Life Literature. John Wimber and The Vineyard.
 Toronto "Blessing" Error. https://www.biblebelievingtruthwatch.net/toronto-blessing-error.html
 Dangers of The Alpha Course. https://kimolsen.net/tag/holy-trinity-brompton/
 Richard N. Ostling. Laughing for the Lord - Revivalist fervor has invaded the Church of England. Monday, Aug. 15, 1994.
 Nicky Gumbel, 'The Spirit and Evangelism', Renewal, May 1995, p15
 Chris Hand. Is the popular Alpha Course leading people astray? http://www.banner.org.uk/misc/alpha.html
 Jules Evans. From the Alpha course to the Book of Mormon.
 Dusty Peterson. The New Age of Alpha. https://www.bayith.org/TheNewAgeOfAlpha.pdf
 Stephen Hunt. The Alpha Enterprise: Evangelism in a Post-Christian Era Paperback – Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 17, 2016)
 Ed Hird - Missioner, Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada. Three rapid growth churches say: Alpha is Key.
 LaTonya Taylor. Evangelism: Adaptable Alpha Course Draws Praise and Worry.. Popular British import has big goals for American outreach. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/november12/14.27.html?start=2
 Take Heed Ministries. The Rotten ‘Fruit’ of Alpha USA?. http://www.takeheed.info/the-rotten-fruit-of-alpha-usa/
 Think Eternity. Mobilize: National Alpha Conference . https://www.thinke.org/blog/tag/alpha
 Nicky Gumbel. Session 13 White Alpha training manual pp 63-68 Video V Talk 14
 Westminster: over 2,000 celebrate 40th anniversary of Charismatic Renewal https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/10892
 Alpha News, " Alpha International, Holy Trinity Brompton, London England , March-June 2004. page 7. As quoted in Alpha And The Pope - Commentary by Roger Oakland. http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c25.shtml
 Nicky Gumbel meets Pope Francis. https://alpha.org/catholic-context/stories/nicky-gumbel-meets-pope-francis
 Proclaim '15 - historic evangelization initiative https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/27889
 Letter to the Editor: Alpha Course Founder, Nicky Gumbel, Asks for Ecumenical Unity with Catholic Church. May 28, 2015.
 David Neff. The Accidental Anglican. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/september/11.66.html
 The "unofficial" Todd Hunter Journey. May 31, 2004 http://sivinkit.net/archives/001045.html
 Todd Hunter’s New Site – Worth Checking Out. https://brianmclaren.net/todd-hunters-new-site-worth-checking-out/
 Todd Hunter. Sunday, April 06, 2003. [http://toddhunters.blogspot.com/
 http://leadershipblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/leadership-blog-interview-todd-hunter.html. Wednesday, September 07, 2005
 Elaine Hansen. https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2008/april/todd-hunter-leaving-alpha-to-launch-new-ministry.html